Sunday, June 15, 2014

Interview with Andrea from Nü Sensae

Nü Sensae is a band from Vancouver, Canada that plays songs in the key of aggression. Their songs often to me sound like the difference between being a "survivor" and a "victim" in a case of abuse - Andrea Lukic takes the wrongs of the world and flings them back into the void. It's powerful. Coupled with a rib-aching screamed delivery, lyrics seem to make more sense. I don't know how much of Nü Sensae lyrics are from life and how much are stories, but they ring true. For instance, on their split 7" with the Coathangers, Andrea sings "She made him promise/To Show off her Body/The trophy; the eye/I would give it to you/His hands are tied/Float in the front room/Images annexed/Taped off in the chrome/No one’s asking/Quickly morphing/You watch them bloom." It's an image unsettling as it is vivid - seemingly coming from a horror movie or the news any day of the week.

Nü Sensae have released three full-length albums, including their previous LP Sundowning on Suicide Squeeze. They've been going relentlessly for a few years between tours and recording and now they seem to be taking a well-deserved rest, at least for a little bit, while working off-and-on recording a new album. They're a consistently engaging band that, in my opinion, has never taken a false step. They're a breath of fresh air in punk-rock, a genre that sometimes spawns more copycats than prototypes. Nü Sensae mixes in grunge, one of my favorite things, and even some classic rock chops, which is great to see.

Check out the band on their Facebook Page and keep an eye out for them when they're on tour

Jordan: So I was just reading the piece about you and your books and I liked the comparison you had to Kenneth Anger. Are you big into magic?

Andrea: I would say I’m interested. I read a lot about it. I’m interested in magic in all forms - as an art, as music, as health. I find that it’s a productive thing to learn about - you can project your problems onto other sources. Like, reading about planet alignment and seeing that it can help you not put such a burden on yourself.

J: Have you read anything good lately, not just in regards to magic?

A: I really like Richard Brautigan. I’ve been reading a book about his writing - it’s cool. I don’t usually do that. When I was younger, I’d see those books and not understand. I’d get home from the library and see that it wasn’t actually one of the author’s books that I wanted, but a book about the actual writing.

J: What a sick joke!

A: It’s cool now because I’m somewhat of an information hoarder. Not like general information - I can’t do a crossword, but I invest a lot into the things that I want to know. And you can talk to your friends, but it’s sometimes rare to have multiple friends who read the same thing. Now those books are interesting to me - there’s a crossover in music with lyrics. It’s why I like going to karaoke nights. I’ll sit by the machine just to see the lyrics.

J: Whoa cool!

A: Other people are singing, but I’ll see popular songs that I just never really knew the lyrics to.

J: It’s always interesting to see if bands can sneak in something. I remember when I heard that Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” referenced crystal meth.

A: Oh yeah, that one’s crazy!

J: I couldn’t believe it.

A: Yeah, it’s really sad. It has some uncomfortable moments in it, but it’s just overall such a dark song.

J: I heard the guy say that he saw it as a response to Lou Reed’s “Taking a Walk on the Wild Side” in a 90s perspective.

A: That’s really cool. I have a lot of respect for that song. It’s kind of a magical song - I always hear people talk about when they first heard the real lyrics to that song. It’s awakening and centers around a moment.

J: Have there been other examples of similar things?

A: I don’t know any specific ones. That’s a big one. In general there are older songs that sound happy, but at Karaoke, you hear someone with a mediocre voice singing. The song can’t hide behind a strong voice so you begin to realize that the song is terribly sad. You think “some person wrote this pining for someone who isn’t as confident.” I can’t think of any off the top of my head. I remember once at karaoke, someone did a Beastie Boys song and I remember thinking that the lyrics sounded like something from a hardcore song. I mean, they were a hardcore band. A lot of hardcore songs are about getting stabbed in the back. It was that “sabotage” song and it was so angry. You realize some real backstabbing happened.

J: I guess I don’t really know the Beastie Boys oeuvre that well - it’s a pretty glaring hole in my music knowledge.

A: They were really influential to a bunch of young people. They’re really cool dudes apparently too.

J: There was a documentary on breakdancing I saw in high school - I was really big into breakdancing then - and there was a section about how the Beastie Boys pretty much made Adidas into being the shoes to wear for breakdancing. That’s my only real reference to them other than Futurama.

A: I think they’re really influential in terms of music, but also just the cool guy style.

J: Are you guys working on a new album?

A: We’re working on it right now. We took a pretty long break from doing it. We took a break because we had been touring so much. Brody, the guitarist, got married. We don’t do grants or things like that so it’s so financially daunting touring and recording. Sometimes you just want to chill and make food at home and do nothing. I needed a break.

A: I’ve been going so hard since I was like in Kindergarten. I went to school right after high school and started the band then and I didn’t really stop until this year so I never had a chance to not do anything and see what it’s like.

J: What do you do with your time?

A: I do a lot of visual arts, but aside from that, I’ve been booking shows here and giving some payback for all the favors from friends like letting people sleep on my couch. That’s the thing when we were touring a lot - I couldn’t do that because I didn’t have a place.

J: Have you booked any shows you’re especially proud of?

A: I guess all of them are cool. The last one was weird because I got into a confrontation with middle-aged washed-up rockers who were being pricks. It’s kind of disheartening. It doesn’t happen that often, but they were the most sexist pigs ever and it was so fucked. I’ve been on tour to so many places and small towns and hadn’t been treated like that.

J: God.

A: It’s really weird. You forget that people are still small-minded. It seems to always come from these alt communities. This fucking rocker alcoholic guy in his 40s with his handbag girlfriend who had a shitty idea of what was going on.

J: It’s not good to be reminded - I don’t know. Maybe it is good to be reminded.

A: It’s just weird, like when someone you meet is racist or something - you think “you’re still around?” It’s totally archaic.

J: It’s something I’ve been curious about. Even in primary school you learn about Martin Luther King jr. and equality. So where do you learn racism?

A: Right. It should be inherent to treat people well, but I guess that doesn’t always happen.

J: It’s disheartening. I don’t know. There’s got to be a way to deal with it. It’s like how you always seek for the perfect comeback for something and you get it like 20 minutes later.

A: It was so cool cause I felt that in the moment - the guy was saying “you’re a cunt,” “you’re a bitch,” and I was telling people to leave cause it was done. And I kind of lost it on them, but at the time, I was wishing that I could have said something that was a coherent message to them. It just so happened that one of them reached out to me through an e-mail to ask “hey, are we still banned from that venue?” And it was so nice to word it all nice and tell them exactly who they were and what they contributed and how they effect the show going population. It was cool being able to write it out to the people. Sometimes that happens.

J: it’s always good to teach a lesson. You have to do it correctly, though, or otherwise, it can hurt your cause.

A: Yeah, for sure, which is why it was nice to write something coherently.

J: Who are some of the bands from around there that are nice to see or play with?

A: I’m not that good at seeing new bands from around here. The last show I booked there was this band from around here who has been playing for a while called Koban. There’s a girl on bass and a guy on guitar and a drum track. When I first saw them years ago, it was really stripped down, but it was really weird and intriguing. Now they’ve developed their sound so it’s full and just sounds really good. Their album is actually coming out next month.

A: Another band that I like is called Cave Girl. Clarence is my friend in the band and she’s really funny.

A: Cindy Lee is my favorite one. It’s Pat from a band called Women and my friend Morgan plays drums and there’s a rotating guitar player. I really wanted to play bass in that band and there’s kind of a wait list so if anything happens, but I hope it doesn’t of course. I’ve never asked to join someone’s band that already had members (laughs) but they’re so cool and definitely one of the best bands. They’re very melancholy and their music sounds very complicated.

J: I have to check all those bands out.

A: Oh, my friend Dave has a band called Flyin’  that sounds kind of like Spacemen 3 - they’re really cool and they have a tape out. The vocals aren’t like Spacemen 3, which is nice.

J: I’ve seen Spiritualized a couple times.

A: I’m seeing them next weekend.

J: Where?

A: In Calgary - there’s a festival and my friends White Lung are opening.

J: I love that band! I listened to Sorry four times yesterday. I love that record and am super excited about the new one.

A: They’re opening.

J: They’re opening for spiritualized?

A: Well, it’s a festival and the bill is one of those things that just makes no sense.

J: I like it that way.

A: I do too, but when you play festivals it kind of sucks. We haven’t played enough big festivals so maybe it gets better. But those kinds where it’s all in different venues and the headliners open - it’s weird that these smaller bands that go all the way there get slotted at the end because of the Black Lips or whatever hype shit is playing. You know there’ll be like a Heineken-sponsored free show and it’s so crappy. I get bummed at those places. I’ll go see a smaller local band and it’ll be empty cause people went to see Andrew WK DJ. It doesn’t make any sense.

J: I mean, I like mixed bills but I’m not a huge festival fan.

A: Yeah.

J: We don’t have a music scene with that many mixed bills in Chicago, but I was just talking to the guys in this band Glow God - do you know that band?
A: No

J: They’re cool - they’re from Oklahoma and we were shooting the shit. They were saying that since Oklahoma is a smaller community, they just have bands from across a bunch of different genres play and I was thinking “Wow, that’s a great idea. There’s not enough of that!”

A: Yeah, I really like when there’s one place - everyone gets a fair set time and shot at playing to a group of people so no one is rushing to different places.

J: Yeah, and some dude’s lying in the street yelling “don’t be a hero!”

A: I remember when I was a teenager going to Warped Tour, and I never saw anything that good, but I feel like I never missed anything. There seemed to have been time to see everything. The complicatedness didn’t exist. Then again, I didn’t know most of the bands. I watched a lot of bands based on their name.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Interview with Simeon of Silver Apples

For one reason or another, Simeon's music had escaped me until very recently. When I saw that they were playing the Bohemian National Cemetery with Wrekmeister Harmonies, however, I was curious. Bill and Dave from Permanent Records turned me onto them and I picked up a copy of their self-titled LP, which has now been played many many times.

Since I am new to Silver Apples' music, let me do a little backstory. Silver Apples were the product of the psychedelic 60s and had two band members Simeon and Danny Taylor. They released their first album (self-titled) in 1968, which included the single Oscillations, but included an early form of electronic music. Simeon had made his own synthesizer system - he used a variety of pedals and telegraph keys to play his instrument, rather than as a typical piano-like rig. In 1969, the band released their second album Contact, but afterwards split due to a bunch of different reasons that Simeon has talked about and there was a period of silence until the 90s when the band regrouped and began writing and recording material again.

Unfortunately, on March 10, 2005, Danny Taylor passed away, but Simeon continues to play live and make music. I got to see Simeon last night as Silver Apples and I have to say that it was as fresh as ever. The songs have absolutely stand up with anything that is currently being released and Simeon has even updated some to give them a little more whimsy and danceability. And it was in the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago, which blew my mind.

This was one of those shot in the dark interviews where I just went for it not expecting anything, but am super proud to be able to put this out. Check out the band's Website to keep up with Simeon. Their music is also available on spotify, and in my opinion, it's definitely worth tracking down a copy of their first record.

Jordan: You have been playing music for a long time. Do you think that the type of person that you see at a Silver Apples gig has changed? Do you have any belief as to why?

Simeon: I guess people have changed altogether. Our audience used to be hippies and earth mothers all twirling around dreamy eyed. Now everybody seems to be more into the music. 

J: Is it weird to see that young people are still listening to the music you made in the 60s? Do you ever think about what your legacy is and how it has affected music? Does it give you satisfaction?

S: I have to say it gives me great satisfaction to see that my statements still have meaning.

J: Do you still use the same oscillators as you did when you originally made music?

S: Some of them are the same. But like everything else, they break. 

J: I know that a lawsuit in regard to the band's artwork assisted in breaking the band up originally. There's a big patch between the records you released as Silver Apples in the 60s and Beacon in 1997. Did you guys write songs and record during that hiatus at all?

S: No I didn't even know where Danny was during that time. We lost touch. 

J: When you play live now, it's done solo. Do you feel as comfortable doing that as when you originally played with Dan Taylor? Are there differences for you?

S: I feel just as comfortable because Danny was such a reliable professional. 

J: What do you find yourself listening to nowadays? Does music still hold the same interest and importance as it did when you started?

S: Sure. I'm interested in mostly anything experimental. People send tracks for me to hear of their work and I enjoy it no matter how rough it is. 

J: How did you decide to play the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago? I'm very excited for that show!

S: I was invited to play about 6 months ago and I'm happy to be here too. 

J: Is there anything else you'd like to say?

S: See you there!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Interview with White Hills

White Hills make psychedelic space rock for the apocalypse - it's as heavy as a death in the family and precise as a karate chop to the larynx. Ego Sensation and Dave W are the two consistent members in the band's roster and have been melting faces for almost ten years with different lineups and gear rigs. I've only seen them a couple times, but they're one of those bands where the members transcend the typical musician's role by becoming pure conduits of sound as a near-elemental force. The combination of showmanship, lighting, and virtuosity makes for an always impressive and unique experience.

White Hills have released several records on Thrill Jockey and other labels - there seems to be a constant flow of new music that these guys put out and they never really stop touring. In addition, they've even appeared in Jim Jarmusch's movie Only Lovers Left Alive, where they play "Under Skin or By Name," from their album Glitter Glamour Atrocity, which is being reissued by Thrill Jockey in August - I will surely be picking this up, and I strongly recommend anyone reading this to do so as well.

You can keep up with the band on their Facebook Page and their Website. They still have a few shows left in the US for this summer before booking their way over to Europe, so be sure and catch them if they're playing anywhere near you.

Jordan: You guys have been making music for a long while now. Have you seen any change in regards to who goes to a White Hills show?

DW: The audiences seem to get more diverse. 

ES: We definitely can't pigeon-hole our audience. We always talk with people after shows and the variety is amazing- there are dads with their teenage daughters and both are psyched to be there, groups of young skater kids, a bone researcher from the Smithsonian, a financial analyst that flew from Milan to London just to see us, hippy-spinner women left over from the Grateful Dead era, vinyl-holics, etc. White Hills fans are fascinating individuals.

J: This is a bit of a similar question, but have you seen any changes in the psychedelic community at large? Are there any specific words you would use to characterize modern psych rock?

DW: The big change is that there seems to be more people who like "psych" music now and what is considered to be psychedelic music seems to cover a broader spectrum now. A lot of it is basically "indie" music. That said, psych seems to be a bit of an "in" thing at the moment. It's like the catch all phrase that has replaced "Indie" in reference to something new and played by a younger generation. Funny thing is most of what is considered to be "psych" now really isn't psychedelic at all. It's just good old pop music. 

J: Your live show is really impressive from your guitar rigs to the light orchestration to your wardrobe. What goes through your mind(s) when preparing for a White Hills tour or live show?

ES: We like to transport ourselves and the audience into another dimension. We're always seeking new ways to create that kind of magic- sometimes it's as complicated as an intricate musical passage and sometimes as simple as glitter falling from a cymbal. The point is to create a multi-sensory, provocative experience for people.

J: Do you guys have consistent equipment as you tour or do you change up?

ES: We change things up. We're in a constant cycle of growing, finessing and changing. This involves trying out new equipment- different combinations of amps, pedals etc. A lot of musicians tend to get hooked on their favorite guitars/amps etc and will accept no substitute. Sometimes you don't even realize how that narrow-mindedness limits your creativity.

J: It seems like you guys are on a perpetual tour. Is the live show more invigorating or important to you than a recording?

DW: They are two different things. Both are important for different reasons. There is no point in comparing the two. 

ES: The great thing about performing live is that you get to make that immediate connection with the audience. It's exciting to be involved in that symbiotic relationship- the audience is there for the band and the band is there for the audience and it all comes down to mutual joy and gratitude.

J: What has been the most interesting place for you to play?

ES: We played in Greece for the first time last year. It was fantastic because the audiences were so vocal with their excitement and appreciation of the music.

DW: This is such a hard question to answer, because every place has something unique about it, thus making it something interesting and special. 

J: You guys put out a split 10" with Earthless. It's a great record and also one of those Scion AV records. The Scion program really fascinates me - they've had some really amazing artists on their music program. What was it like working with Scion and Earthless?

J: What role do you think corporations like Scion have and/or should have in music?

DW: It depends. The cool thing about the Scion event was that there was no advertising for any of their cars at the event, or on the record, outside of their name being behind it. I like what Scion does for music. They put on interesting events that span many genres without shoving their product in your face. There is the element that they are doing it for the music more than anything else. 

In regard to Earthless, they are great guys and one amazing band. We've been wanting to play with them for sometime and were psyched when the opportunity arose.  

ES: Throughout history artists have relied on patrons. Some countries actually set aside a budget to support arts and culture but unfortunately in the US it's not a priority. Scion is a good example of a corporation that is being supportive of music without forcing their advertising down your throat.

J: On the other hand, you have put out a bunch of records on Thrill Jockey. How does your experience with Thrill Jockey compare? Do you guys have a tried-and-true system for releasing records on Thrill Jockey?

ES: Scion is like a passionate one-night stand and Thrill Jockey is our adorable, dependable boyfriend! (Don't worry- TJ knows about Scion and vice-versa. We're all very adult.) They have been a great label to work with mainly because there are strong ethics behind the business- they put out music for the love of music and share profits equally with the artists. We only record a new album when the music is ready- it's not based on the label demanding a new product from us.

DW: In the same way that Scion is a patron of music, so is Thrill Jockey. They truly believe in every record they put out. That is rarely seen in this day and age. 

J: It seems like you guys are also always recording music. Are you writing or recording anything right now?

DW: Creating is what we do. Something is always bubbling within. 

J: White Hills to me is a visually enticing band. Who does the art for you guys for stuff like album covers or t shirts? How would you describe the overlap between your visuals and your music?

DW: I have done the majority of the artwork for our releases. In the past we've had Alan Forbes and David D V'Andrea do some artwork for us. The artwork reflects an overall vision for each release that ties directly into the music contained within the album. The visual component is just as important as the music, lyrics and title of each release. They all fit into the greater story of each album. 

J: What's in the future for White Hills?

ES:  Lately we've been experimenting with some new ideas to expand our live show. In terms of touring, there have been a lot of offers from places we've never been before like Australia, South America and Japan so we're hoping to make those plans a reality. We'll be working on a soundtrack for an independent film next year. We like to stay busy and creative.

DW: Let's not forget the re-issue of our second album "GLITTER GLAMOUR ATROCITY" that is coming out in August on Thrill Jockey. This is the album that has the song, "Under Skin or By Name", that we perform in Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive".

J: Anything else you'd like to say?

ES: Challenge your thoughts, walk down a different street, listen to a new album, question the facts, give a stranger a compliment, eat ice cream for breakfast and drink coffee for dinner. Live now baby!

DW: Log off of your computer, go outside, there is a wonderful world at your finger tips just waiting to be explored. Even the most common places you know have a new treasure just waiting to be discovered. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Interview with Rain Drinkers

I was fortunate enough to hear an advanced copy of Rain Drinkers' forthcoming Wood Violet album on the consistently great experimental label Tranquility Tapes. A mixture of classically-influenced instrumentation, field recordings, drone, and other sonic sources, Wood Violet is an effective condensation of the natural and anthropocentric worlds. As an individual interested in both music and sound, it sticks out as a synthesis of what is actively heard and what should be. Where does music come from? Why does format matter? Is music necessarily manmade? These are big questions that don't need answers to be important, but they are questions that can profoundly affect both the listening experience and sonic creation.

Rain Drinkers are a curious band in the sense that they seek knowledge, answers, and further meditation. Their music is a reflection of this and can be used for external pontification and internal dialogue, which raises the next question, which is "what is the use of music?" Rain Drinkers create exceedingly pleasant music, though both Joe and Troy involve themselves in other capacities too in an effort to explore the role of sound in our lives. Needless to say, Rain Drinkers is music for the sonic adventurer and for the questioning listener. It can be both a passive and an active auditory experience.

Follow the band on their Facebook Page and give them a listen on Bandcamp.

Jordan: Where did the name Rain Drinkers come from?

Troy Schafer:  The name as code, as words tend to be:

“May your pure steeds, rain-drinkers, bring you hither, swift as the tempest, your celestial coursers, Rapid as thought, with fair backs, full of vigour, resplendent in their native light.”
The Rig Veda, Book 1 as translated by Ralph T H Griffith

The name as breathe, sonorous form uttered between new friends, is something different altogether.

Joe Taylor: We struggled to find a name that was fitting to us. Mainly because we hadn’t yet found out who we were as a collective. In that respect we have become the name. Its funny how often it works that way. For me the name speaks mostly to one feeling and one truth.

The feeling is that of youth and freedom. When I was a child, there were storms where the windows were closed and the family was confined to the basement with rations.  When the worst had past we’d run from the house to splash and turn our heads to the sky and drink. That is an ability music and nature share, to one moment draw fear and the next moment bless you with a release of joy and freedom.   

The truth is that, as an existence, we all; plants, animals, land and water, consume the rain in the most absolute way. I feel that music can share this same acceptance.

Jordan: Do you guys like Rain?

TS: Indecision of the sea, manifest? What’s not to like?

JT: yes. What Troy said.

J: Your Facebook page says that you guys are from Madison but Xavier, don't you live in Chicago? What's the deal, fellas?

TS: Xax Mane Krass resides in the outer reaches of the Milky Way upon the teat of a colossal mole rat.  He comes to me in certain states.

Troy is biding his time in Chicago for academic purposes. Wyrd Wisconsin beckons him home as yearned thoughts alter his blood. Forward!

J: When did you guys start making music or recording?

TS: Joe and I first crossed paths as newly hired valet runners for a birthing hospital in Madison during the summer of 2009. There, we got to know each other through long rambling conversations about electromagnetic radiation and music selections blasting from the cars we parked.  We spent a substantial amount of time analyzing the smooth jazz being piped into the hospital lobby. Initially, we set out to create a collaborative portfolio of jingles. I became a bit overzealous about the jingle writing process and so we settled on scoring a soundtrack to the memories created between the two of us then and there.

My jingling spirit lives on. Hear here, one of my earliest attempts, during the first days of Rain Drinkers (credits à la fin):
J: Rain Drinkers seems to have a lot of acoustic instrumentation combined with electronic production. It's an impressive combination, and an underused one in my opinion that emphasizes beauty. Are you guys classically trained?

JT: You’re right, it seems people sometimes choose a side between acoustic or electric, analog or digital. For me there is a balance to be found between these two spectrums that is beautiful and vast. In the special moments when that balance is found, I’ve realized there was never two separate spectrums to begin with, there is just music. If it makes a sound, it can spark an idea and be used as a vehicle to deliver the listener to a place. That place can be reached with any medium with the right intention. A simple african drum holds as much if not more mystery to me as the most complex program and I love what they both enable me to do.
I am not classically trained. I have been taught what I know from improv with others and a life of ever evolving practice. I have the utmost respect for trained musicians. It is a special treat to play with someone like Troy who is both classically trained and an exceptional improvisationalist.    

TS: Well thanks Joe!

J: Do you find that there are any sounds in the natural world that are especially interesting to you guys? Do you employ found sounds or field recordings in your works?

JT: Thanks for asking. I like this question. One sound that comes to mind is the constant  movement upon a glacier. Years ago I was hiking atop the Kennicott glacier in Alaska. The sounds it produced were so immense and humbling. As it cracked and large rocks and ice continuously fell off their perches I felt comfortably small. I was pleasantly reminded that this earth never needed humans to survive. This amazing garden has never stopped moving and never will.

I do use found sounds and field recordings. One of my favorite to date was capturing the sound of bare legs rubbing against crisp bed sheets in an attempt to evoke a sense of comfort and safety.

TS: Very romantic! On a purely sonic level, my glacier is the sound of three black cats chewing food from glass bowls while I lie in bed.  I fall asleep to their crunching every night, tickling my subconscious.

While I tend to separate my phonographic practice from my musical selves, certain field recordings do find their way into my musical compositions. However, almost all of the sampled natural sounds on Rain Drinkers recordings have been collected by Joe. I always incite him to demonstrate agency and a conceptual link between those recordings and our music.  As you can hear, he is extremely successful in this endeavor.  Drones rarely exist in the natural world. Organic, naturally occurring sounds are brimming with texture, tone and rhythm that constantly evolve in form. Machines are the source of the majority of drones we hear in our daily environment. Taking a cue from nature could significantly reduce the heavily reproduced and cliche happenings within contemporary drone related scenes, resulting in more diverse and expressive sounds.

J: You've put out a bunch of recordings on a few labels predominantly in the cassette and CD realm. Do physical formats mean much to you guys? What determines how you release a piece of work?.

TS: Absolutely.  Audio recordings fix something already inescapable. The physical material on which music is written is an extension of the recording and an overall part of the sound phenomenon. Each format transmits it’s own audible peculiarities, signing a mark on the story of the sound event. Long before the artifice of our recording process begins, we thoroughly consider how our sonic material will take to any particular format. Duration and possible symmetry of the record, product availability and playback accessibility of the format, fidelity, cultural association with contemporary or antiquated technologies, life expectancy and intentional decay are but a few of those considerations.

J: You have a cassette coming out soon on Tranquility Tapes. I've listened to it and really enjoyed it. How did you guys write and record that?

TS: Our most recent album, Wood Violet, is a tribute to the great state of Wisconsin. It is our first time collaborating with Tranquility Tapes and we’re thrilled to have that work included among the quality tunes being released by Franklin and his accomplished label.
Aside from the track Live At The Wisco, we recorded Wood Violet in two or three takes of long form improvisations which were then condensed and sculpted digitally in post, with a few overdubbed embellishments here and there. It’s a fairly simple, straight forward approach that lies at the heart of all of our recordings.

J: Is there a piece of music that has been particularly important to you from your back catalogue, maybe in terms of personal resonance?

JT: One track that has a lot of meaning to me is “Nemuri” from Bore Upon The Breath of Dawn. Something clicked for me while recording that song. I should mention that it is not my favorite track but it was responsible for changing my approach and put me on the right track towards positioning myself musically in relation to space and time.

A similar thing happened to us as a project during Springtide. There is nothing I have been a part of musically that makes me feel the way that album does.  

TS: Side A on Urthen Web is by far my favorite RD track. It’s clear that I am not alone in this, as that tape sold out faster than any other. I openly invite any label we work with to release it on vinyl.

J: Do you guys play live at all?

JT: We have and it is a great change of pace from the studio. The final track on this upcoming tape is an example of our life work.

TS: A lot of our studio recordings are structured as a kind of live performance except that our only audience is ourselves. As Joe mentioned, the last track on Wood Violet was recorded in a dark, dingy little pub in Madison where I’ve seen some of the most inspiring shows of my life with only a handful of people there to witness them.  

J: Do you guys have any plans for the future?

JT: Nothing was ever planned and still is not.

TS: No sir. Zero agenda.

J: Doesn't pertain as much to your music, but I was an English major so I'm gonna ask. You guys have any book recommendations or any books that have been important to you?

TS: It does pertain to our music. Literature is all the more integral to my sound practice.  

A short list that anyone interested in music, film and/or sound might benefit from:

Abbate, Carolyn. In Search of Opera. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2001.

Agamben, Giorgio. The Coming Community. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 1993.

Altman, Rick. Sound Theory, Sound Practice. New York: Routledge, 1992.

Arnheim, Rudolf. Radio: An Art of Sound. New York: Da Capo, 1972.

Barthes, Roland. The Responsibility of Forms: Critical Essays on Music,art, and Representation. New York: Hill and Wang, 1985.

Barthes, Roland, and Stephen Heath. Image, Music, Text. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977.

Böll, Heinrich. The Stories of Heinrich Böll. New York: Knopf, 1986.

Cardew, Cornelius, Michael Chant. Treatise Handbook, including Bun No.2 Volo Solo. London: Edition Peters, 1971.

Chion, Michel, Claudia Gorbman and Walter Murch. Audio-vision: Sound on Screen. New York: Columbia UP, 1994.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota, 1987.

Derrida, Jacques. Khôra. Paris: Galilée, 1993.

Hellström, Björn. Noise Design: Architectural Modelling and the Aesthetics of Urban Acoustic Space. Göteborg: Ejeby, 2003.

Schafer, R. Murray. European Sound Diary. Vancouver: A.R.C. Publications : A.R.C. the Aesthetic Research Centre, 1977.

J: Anything else you'd like to say?

JT: Thank you so much for allowing us this dialog. We are very grateful for your interest.

TS: In relation to other projects and releases:

a new Kinit Her record is in the works this summer with a very special surprise guest.

Consider gripping the new Untitled No. 1 7” released under my birthname this summer on the mighty Signal Dreams label run by my muffin man Joel Shanahan.

For all other plugs and name droppings, visit