From the South towards the Setting Sun, Shadowgraphs seamlessly transport their sonic signals in ‘Another Time’

Like Krispy Cream and Pepsi Cola, Shadowgraphs formed just east of the Appalachian Mountains amongst the Longleaf Pines of North Carolina. Founded in 2014 by Wils Glade and Bryan Olsen, the two wrote, recorded, and released two full length albums by summer 2017.

While listening to these first records, it became clear that the two had shared a focused vision since the beginning. Their music is almost reminiscent of a Robert Beatty album cover, an alluring landscape where layers upon layers of warm and rich textures are waiting to be discovered beneath the surface.

Last year the duo released their third LP titled ‘Another Time’ and headed west on a 3,000 mile journey to Oregon. I caught up with founding member Wils Glade to talk about it all.

“Channel the past, become one with the present, and wink at the future.”

– Frenchpressley

 

SHADOWGRAPHS

returntozero

‘Return to Zero’ (2015) 

Can you give me a little history on the formation of Shadowgraphs leading up to this release?

Bryan and I had a mutual friend named Blake who was moving to San Diego and before he left he was like “yall need to meet! you guys are like the same people and into the same things”. I remember when Bryan and I first started hanging out, we were excited that out of everyone we had met we were into the same type music.

For this first record you guys recorded and mixed everything in Bryan’s home studio. Was this a first for you both?

Yeah, it was real trial and error back then. I had never used tape/analog gear, but knew about mixing techniques from my previous band, and Bryan had never really spent too much time mixing, he was more about recording. So it was great for the both of us to learn from each other.

Would you say you guys were more interested in recording techniques at the time over playing the songs out live?

Yeah, actually Bryan was like “I’m too old for playing out” (this was 5 years ago lol) so it was just a recording project at first, but then people kept talking about wanting to see us live, so we eventually slipped into that by adding two members and then officially starting the band.

venemousblossoms

‘Venomous Blossoms’ (2017) 

For this record you guys opted to have someone else do the mixing. What led to this change?

Well on RTZ, we recorded and mixed it ourselfs, but then paid a pretty penny to have it mastered somewhere fancy. The overall change in audio wasn’t that big of a difference from where we had it, other than making it louder, so we thought that the change in audio would be a greater difference in the mixing process. So we decided to give that a try.

How do you see that “extra ear” in the mixing process playing a role in the overall sound that you guys are trying to capture with your recordings?

It was probably the best thing we could have ever done. We were really excited with what Drew had done with the record and it kept us from getting into endless hours of mixing debates. He was really fast and we learned a lot from his process by just observing his workflow in the room with him.

The record release show for this album was the first time I had the pleasure of experiencing your live set. What was the process like for taking this songs from the studio and fleshing them out for a live show?

I think about half of the songs were songs we were playing live already, so we felt more confident with those after recording, but for the new ones there were a lot more things to consider. Like since there were a good amount of keys on the record, I started introducing keys to our live set. Then Bryan and I would figure out the best guitar parts for us to play live even if the other had initially written that part.

This album marked your first release with the label Golden Brown. Can you tell us a little about how this relationship came to be?

Yeah, we were actually about to put out VB by ourselves with a PR company called Parachute form Portland, OR, who had reached out to us. The head guy started pitching out the record and then said that he actually has a good friend with a label who would probably be really into the record and could put it out with a bigger PR budget and vinyl. That’s when we met Thom & Brooke Sunderland of Golden Brown Records.

timetime

‘Another Time’ (2018)

It appears a lot has changed for you guys since the last record. Most notably, you uprooted from Charlotte, NC and made the trek to Portland, OR. What factors influenced and or inspired you to make the move?

Bryan and I had been looking for a new city to move to when we realized we wanted to start playing shows in a city more often without having to worry about playing to the same people every time. When we were on tour for a month, we fell in love with Portland.

Any magical happenings on the journey west?

We met a drummer with beautiful hair who might be Fonzi from Happy Days and he has been the mot magical thing in the band since sliced bread.

I’ve never been to Portland but I imagine it being quite a different place than Charlotte. Growing up in Charlotte I witnessed some amazing shows but I always struggled to find root in the music and art scene. Any thoughts on this?

Charlotte has an amazing music scene, but Portland is more dedicated to their art and music scene, so you run into a lot more opportunity.

Was Charlotte ever limiting in anyways for the project? 

I think Charlotte was perfect for the project, but we didn’t want to play too much in town to the point where people got sick of seeing us live, so we felt like we needed to move to a bigger city.

Before relocating you had the two musicians that played live with the band for a few years correct? Was there ever talk of everyone making the move? 

Oh yeah, but Ethan, our bass player, has an awesome job at Muzac and plays in a couple other bands in town, so it didn’t make sense for him to move out if we weren’t making a decent amount of money off of the band. Shaun, Bryan’s older brother, stayed at first, but recently moved out to Portland to join us again.

Did you have people in mind to fill those spots before moving to Portland?

Only a bass player at first, which was Bryan’s younger brother, and went on tour with us last summer.

How have the west coast shows been so far? Do you feel you music is received any differently?

We feel like people are more into the type of music we play. Charlotte always had a great response, but surrounding cities were always iffy.

Let’s talk a little about the songs on the new record. How much material had you written before the move compared to new ideas that took shape in Oregon?

We finished the record before the move, but Bryan did lyrics for four of the songs after he moved out to Portland alone. Actually, the song “Neighbors” went through a complete transformation in Portland right before we mixed.

Has the writing process changed in anyway?

I’d say, on this record, it was a little more streamlined since we were recording digital, but it was a lot more piecemealed since Bryan and I weren’t always in the studio together.

The title of the new record is ‘Another Time’. Can you talk a little about any major themes or concepts behind the title and the songs contained within?

The title just has to do with our big move and recording/writing this whole record in piece meal and different locations.

Any music, events, paintings, foods, textures, etc. that you can recall having a conscious influence on the new record?

There are too many to cover. We love all types of music and art and constantly find ourselves in different phases.

How have you guys been with all the wild fires taking place? Have these events shaped your writing in anyway?

Its pretty crazy during “the fire season.” It looks and feels like you’re on a planet in Star Wars when it happens, so I’m sure it will influence a couple new songs in the future…

lastly, a few questions regarding the recording process…

Did Bryan’s home studio make the trip?

For the most part, mainly his outboard gear and mics along with some of my own mics and outboard gear. Another Time was primarily recorded in Charlotte, NC. All of the drums and some other instruments were tracked in Bryan’s old studio, parts in my house, and then most of Bryan’s vocal takes out in Portland, OR. This time around we didn’t record to tape, so we had more flexibility with utilizing more tracks for things like multiple synths and vocal harmonies. We love tape and the process of tape, but since we hand done an LP on a 2″ 24 track for the last release, we wanted to still use analog gear but not limit ourselves to ideation. The recording process was a lot faster, and we spent a lot more time tracking vocals and harmonies. But because there were about twice as many tracks on each song, when we mixed in Athens with Drew Vandenberg, the process was a little longer.

What was the process like for this new record? (recording / mixing / mastering)

Another Time was primarily recorded in Charlotte, NC. All of the drums and some other instruments were tracked in Bryan’s old studio, parts in my house, and then most of Bryan’s vocal takes out in Portland, OR. This time around we didn’t record to tape, so we had more flexibility with utilizing more tracks for things like multiple synths and vocal harmonies. We love tape and the process of tape, but since we had done an LP on a 2” 24 track for the last release, we wanted to still use analog gear but not limit ourselves to ideation. The recording process was a lot faster, and we spent a lot more time tracking vocals and harmonies. But because there were about twice as many tracks on each song, when we mixed in Athens with Drew Vandenberg, the process was a little longer.

You guys are keen on using some vintage and unique gear to get nail down that oh so sweet sound. Can you tell us a little about your current studio setup and some of your favorite gear used to make this record?

We used the U67 a bunch running it into a Langevin pre which sounds super creamy and big. We also loved using this old dbx sub harmonic synthesizer on the kick drum to add more “umpf”. And we also added in some sub bass synth, below the bassline, to a couple tracks which we hadn’t done before.

While it’s probably never been easier to record at home, most bands I know still flesh out songs before taking them into the studio for for someone else to record them. How does having your own studio, with the potential to record at any time change / shape your writing process?

It’s awesome and really great, the only downside is you don’t really have any deadline, other then when you are going to mix in the studio, so you can kinda go a little nuts and it can be hard to decide when something is done.

Do you guys ever feel overwhelmed with choices / too many options when being on both ends of the recording process?

Definitely, especially when you are recording in a comfortable environment with no time limit.

Do you see yourselves forever doing the recordings?

I don’t know. I think we’ll still keep doing them, at least for demos, but are always down to switch it up and have talked about working with someone to record and mix for a record. We want to try out everything.

Tell us all the secrets behind the album art  !?!

Haha, well the devils are us and we are ready to take over the world.

You guys have a very tuned in sound that is only made more realized by your overall focused aesthetic. From your wardrobe selection to your social media postings, can you talk a little about the influences and thoughts that inform this uniformed vision?

We enjoy bands that kind of escape from their day to day life and put on more of a show when it comes to live sets. Like Allah Las, Of Montreal, Temples, etc.. So we are all for having our music be apart of an art aesthetic that carries into our social media postings and clothes.

Can we expect a full U.S. tour at any point?

Possibly next Fall, but we will see how this spring turns out!

What is the verdict on that recent Nicolas Cage movie?

Dude, it’s soooo good. The aesthetic of the movie, not Nicolas Cage. But then again Nicolas Cage is kind of a piece of art…

shadowyo

Bryan Olsen (Left) & Wils Glade (Right Reading Book)

Check out the latest music video by Shadowgraphs and follow them further by softly clicking on the links below

Bandcamp

Instagram

 

 

Album Artist Spotlight – Marcus Keef

keef yo

Marcus Keef (1934 -2012)

Marcus Keef, born Keith Lionel McMillan was an English artist responsible for capturing some of the greatest album cover photos of the 60’s and 70’s. The majority of his design career was spent working for the progressive label Vertigo after initially being hired to create the cover for the labels first release in 1968. Keef’s photos would oftentimes encompass the entire front and back of the sleeve, known as gatefold style. He experimented heavily with infrared film while exploring false color techniques. In the late 70’s he stopped making album art and pursued film. He went on to produce a number of music videos for the likes of Paul McCartney, Blondie, The Who, and most notably Kate Bush. He past away in 2012 at the age of 77.

keef first album cover

Colosseum – Valentyne Suite (1969)

keef - black sabbathBlack Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)

keef - affinity Affinity – Affinity (1970)

keef - indian summerIndian Summer – Indian Summer (1971)

keef - nirvanaNirvana – Local Anaesthetic (1971)

keef - rodRod Stewart – An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down (1969)

keefBlack Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

keef - bowieDavid Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World (1970)

 

Playlist coming soon…

 

 

Published 12/13/18 @ 8:02 AM by Frenchpressley

Amsterdam Based Artist Mirjam Debets Walks Us Through Her Wild and Colorful Visual World

Dansgroepje_1

IF: Can you start off by telling us a little about your background and how you first became interested in the world of VJing?

MD: I studied 2D animation at the HKU (Utrecht University of the Arts), where we mostly worked on making short films. I liked it, but I kind of struggled with the format of a narrative short film. I never really knew how to express my ideas in 2 minutes, or my concepts ended up being too big or too abstract. So the second half of my studies I started looking for a way of creating visual arts that felt less rational and more intuitive to me. That lead me to combining animation with music, because simply listening to a song has always created an infinite flow of visuals in my mind. That same time I went to an EDM festival in the Netherlands, where I got a bit of an idea of what most VJing was like. Then It felt like I just had to try it!

IF: How would you describe VJing for someone that perhaps has never heard the term? (Maybe imagine trying to explain your art to your 45 year-old Uncle who works at the Post Office)

MD: I’ve had to explain this quite a bit to my actual uncles and aunts, but I think I told them something like ‘working at concerts and using small clips of video and trigger and mix them to the music that is playing, which the audience can see on the screens’. I’m often a bit cautious with saying the visuals are there to complement or amplify the music, as I think in the ideal world those two strengthen each other equally.

IF: It seems that VJing is most often associated with DJing, particularly in the EDM world. What are your thoughts regarding this seemingly inevitable connection?

MD: I guess that makes sense, as the biggest VJ scene is probably still in EDM, but I think it’s starting to get bigger in other genres as well.

IF: Are you interested in working with DJ’s at all? Do you feel there is a strong difference between working with a DJ versus a band? (Particularly regarding the crowd and how they view / interact with with the visuals)

MD: I’d love to work with DJ’s! I think working with my band was actually quite similar to working with a DJ, as the focus wasn’t so much on the performance of the musicians. When working with a band there’s usually someone very charismatic up on the stage, or the dynamic between the musicians to look at. With a DJ you can create much more than just a ‘visual backdrop’, because you’ll have a lot more of the audience’s attention.

 

IF: Do you feel that live visuals ever cater to or even evoke the idea of drug use at a show?

MD: Hahahahaha well… when we did our first show with Synth Niklas a lot of people told us afterwards that it felt like a total trip without being on drugs. So maybe yeah? But I think often when people say something looks ‘trippy’, they’re really just saying the aesthetic or theme seems a bit abstract or associative. Personally I don’t necessarily need drugs to appreciate this, but I’m not opposing that some people do sometimes.

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IF: Can you tell us a little about living in Amsterdam and how it has shaped you as a person and influenced your art?

MD: I’ve lived in amsterdam for about 5 years now, but since I was a teenager I’ve been going to concerts here and exploring bits of the city. I guess the best thing about Amsterdam is how it’s the biggest mix of cultures and people you’ll find anywhere in the Netherlands. There’s obviously a variety of art, music, food and events available, but sometimes just walking down my street and noticing a very well designed poster or someone dressing really eccentric is even more inspiring.

 

IF: Anyone that has worked in video, especially in animation, knows that the process can take time. What is your workflow like? Do you ever find it difficult to get your ideas across sometimes in the animated realm?

MD: Because I was schooled in making animated short films, I think I’ll always have a bit of a narrative or arc in the back of my mind, but I’m trying not to hold on to that too much. I really enjoy working on something when I don’t have a very specific outcome in mind, and just see where it goes along the way, sometimes lead by the material I’m using, a bit of music or a specific technique. I think that worked out pretty well so far, and allows me to keep a very playful feeling towards the things I animate. The biggest compliment I’ve ever had is still my mom saying she could really see the joy I had in creating my work, by looking at the final product 🙂

 

IF: Much of your work consists of white and or neon lines against a black background. Are you drawing things by hand on black paper and animating them afterwards?

MD: I do draw everything on paper, but I invert it Photoshop afterwards, so it’s actually just black lines on white paper. The animation is a combination of both: usually I’ll do the specific (character) movement on paper, but the more general motion is done digital.

 

IF: How do you choose the colors you are using in your work?

MD: That happens quite intuitively. I personally love very bright colors and strong contrasts, but lately I’ve been trying to study how to get a little more balance in tones and shades. Apart from that I always prefer totally ‘unrealistic’ colors when it comes to designing something.

 

IF: Are programs such as Illustrator or After Effects a big part of your work flow?

MD: Basically my workflow is something like this: animating a loop on paper, scanning it and editing it in Photoshop, and adding additional movement, effects and color correction in After Effects.

 

IF: The objects in your animations are very free flowing and often appear to resemble different aspects of Nature? If this a conscious theme you try to work with?

MD: I think my work is often just a big mix of (maybe seemingly) random things that I am currently interested in or that fascinate me. But animals and nature are definitely a big part of that. When I was 4 or 5 years old my uncle gave me a subscription to the kids magazine of the WWF and most of my drawing as a kid was just copying the photos of Frans Lanting, so I guess that love for nature goes way back haha. I think often adding animal traits to human characters or the other way around feels like a way to make the character’s expression a little more abstract and in that way maybe a little less intimidating.

kwallen

 

IF: What kind of software and hardware are you using for live performances?

MD: For VJing I use Resolume and my MSI notebook, and whatever projector is available at the venue. For the shows with Synth Niklas there was actually a lot more hardware involved: we had smaller screens on the stage as well, so two more projectors and because some of the visuals were triggered by midi also a massive amount of cables, midi interfaces, contact mics, etc. It’s always quite a challenge to get it all working before the show!

 

IF: Last year you connected with a band and did a run of shows with them doing live visuals. How did you hook up with this band and what was the experience like?

MD: So when I decided I wanted to do a collaboration with musicians for my graduation, I actually just put a little music video with a message on facebook. I went for coffee with a few of the people that replied, but with Niek (from Synth Niklas) I noticed right away that we had very similar ambitions. We both wanted to kind of step away from the things that we learned in college (he graduated as a Jazz/Pop music drummer from the HKU) and create something that really put both our fields in a new perspective.

 

IF: You’ve mentioned that you enjoy experimenting. Do you leave much room for experimentation when it comes to a live performance?

MD: I think a lot of stuff that we do with my band is quite experimental, performance wise. We try to do a lot of aspects of our show in slightly different from the way people are used to, like playing around with the setup of the band vs. audience, projecting visuals in multiple directions, using more extreme lighting and making the visuals super synchronized to the music. For me this means I get to experiment with for instance video mapping, midi syncing and creating concepts that really fit the space or location where we perform.

 

IF: Is accompanying a band on the road something you see yourself doing more often?

MD: Absolutely!

Untitled1 

IF: In what other outlets could you see your skill set and artwork being utilized?

MD: After getting away from short films at the last years at the HKU, I’ve been feeling curious to try it again. But in a really different way than I used to. I’ve been trying some sculpting as well, and really want to get into painting and other kinds of fine arts. I get bored using or working for the same medium quite fast, so hopping back and forth between different kinds of visual arts and combining them keeps me excited to make things.

 

IF: How do you find balance between making visuals that fit the vibe of the music while still expressing your style?

MD: I think I’ve been really lucky so far, for only having worked with people or doing animation jobs where people just wanted me to use my own style. But I guess that’s quite a luxury and I’ll probably have to work on assignments that are a lot more confined in the future. I do actually enjoy the puzzle of making something that’s really my own thing within the rules of an assignment too though, so I’m not too worried about that.

 

IF: How might some of your animations change or take form when being transferred over to use for a live setting?

MD: First of all, practically all the visuals I make for VJing are perfectly looping of course. Because I mix and layer them while VJing they often look best with high contrasts and I try to make the movements a little more extreme than usual, so it works well on a beat.

 

IF: While visuals can oftentimes be a huge part of a bands or djs performance, the person behind the art isn’t always getting the credit for it. Can you talk a little about how you feel being behind the scenes most the time. (Perhaps touching on the idea of watching people see your art but not knowing who the artist is behind it, unlike the band that is visible on stage.)

MD: When I’m performing with Synth Niklas I’m actually on the stage myself, so I guess I have more or less the same connection to the audience as the musicians. The other VJ gigs I’ve done were more from behind the scenes indeed, but it hasn’t really bothered me so far. I guess there’s always a lot of people ‘invisibly’ working really hard to make a show happen, so I think it’s a little bit part of the job… It’s really fun to be on the stage though, also because it can create a really cool dynamic between the musicians or DJ and the VJ, where I think those two often seem a little bit disconnected.

 

IF: Do you ever find this frustrating?

MD: Not really, but everyone of course deserves credit for their work one way or another! I guess if visual artists are bothered by this they could try to work with an musician/DJ who really sees the value of the visual side of music, or are interested in exploring this. I’m sure they exist! 🙂


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IF: What are you up to when your not working on visuals?

MD: Lately I’ve just  been enjoying living in Amsterdam a lot: cycling around the city, going out in new places, nosing around in thrift stores and art supply stores. I love ‘playing’ outside, chilling in parks, spotting birds and people. Apart from that I’m trying to learn portuguese and I’m on a serious quest to make the best possible cappuccino at home.

 

IF: Any specific visual art and or music that has inspired your work recently?

MD: Watching BBC’s Oceans 2 for sure -David Attenborough’s voice is so therapeutic it drags me through the boring dutch winters each year- and I’ve been listening to a lot of Latin american and african (inspired) music: e.g. El Buho, Chancha Via Circuito, Tribeqa, Sidestepper and Afriquoi.

 

IF: If you could do live visuals for any band who would it be?

MD: Definitely Glass Animals, although their artwork, music videos and even stage design are already so awesome I wouldn’t dare to. Making visuals for Nicola Cruz would also be a total dream!

 

IF: What if you could have any band play a live improv set to your visuals?

MD: I think dutch band Jungle By Night would be really cool! They make super eclectic jazz/afrobeat, and I think their music and my visuals go together quite well. They also play a show at night in Artis, the Amsterdam zoo, each year… I’d love to join that one haha!

 

IF: What are some bands from Amsterdam we should be listening to?

MD: Actually some of my friends have been doing really cool stuff. My friend Jade Welling, who plays violin, is working on an album with singer Elsa Beckman, making beautiful dreamy, folk songs. And my highschool friends, the boys from Leoparte (ska/worldbeat) just released their new EP. Someone recently made me listen to My Baby, which I really liked, and last summer I saw Gallowstreet for the first time (on a festival in Slovakia actually) which was really awesome!

 

IF: What about film / visuals / fashion / anything and everything worth checking out?!?

MD: I guess a lot of people who are interested in visuals probably already know them, but the girls from BBBlaster (Dalkhafine & Loup Blaster) make the coolest visuals and I’ve been super inspired by them ever since I first saw their work. I really like the music videos of animation director Tomek Ducki and I recently discovered australian tattoo artist Alexis Hepburn which now makes me want to spend all my (nonexistent) savings on getting inked.

 

 IF: Do you have any big projects lined up for the future?

MD: We’re going to do a few more shows with Synth Niklas, in a kind of new setting: doing a 3 or 4 day residency at a venue or location and doing a show on the last day. Apart from that I’m hoping to travel to Brazil (hence I’ve been learning portuguese) somewhere by the end of the year with aforementioned friend/musician Jade, to do an artist residency program (and a lot of surfing) and create something awesome there!

Connect with Mirjam
Interview by Frenchpressley
published 4/19/2018

Into Fruition Volume 6

 

aow

album art by AARON OLIVER WOOD

  1. Riot Factory – Gold Celeste
  2. Hey Elbow – Quest
  3. Land of Talk – Heartcore
  4. Ruby Haunt – Desert Candle
  5. Sonny Baker – Swollen, You’re Opening
  6. Jack Tatum – Above
  7. Broncho – Get In My Car
  8. Monochromatic Visions – Deep
  9. Kedr Livanskiy – Love & Cigarettes
  10. Friendship – If You See My Beloved
  11. Hotel Lux – The Last Hangman
  12. Dreambeaches – Trademark
  13. The Peppermint Club – Everything Is Changing
  14. Son Step – Jon Coyle – Fun & Levitating
  15. Contour – Spring/Fall
  16. Zen Mother – Strange Mother
  17. Rosie Carney – Winter
  18. Palm – Dog Milk

INTERVIEW W/ KEITH RANKIN – the visionary behind Giant Claw and Orange Milk Records

IF: Tell us a little about your life leading up to the creation of Orange Milk Records. How did it all begin?

KR: I co-run Orange Milk with Seth Graham, we met each other in Dayton Ohio, and I think we were both starting to get into noise and synthesizer music being released on tape around 2008 or 09. I wanted to be involved with that music somehow, and we wanted a place to showcase our own music. Throughout my life I’ve been attracted to different communities or scenes, feeling the urge to be a part of something or to associate with likeminded people, but those communities have always left me feeling alienated after a while. The beginning of Orange Milk was probably at the start of one of those urges.

IF: What is your current role in OMR? What has changed since the beginning?

KR: There’s obviously more work involved now but our roles haven’t changed very much. We switch off shipping duties every year or so, Seth is handling that right now. I do most of the visual art, and we will both talk to artists and split other duties.

IF: How do you find the artist on the label? Is there anything in particular you are looking for?

KR: I do a lot of soundcloud searching, and we get a lot of great demos. There are extremely vague parameters stylistically that we look for, it’s easier to define as an ambition or work ethic that shines through in someones work. It’s exciting to me when experimentation mixes with an inner drive, the effect is almost like someone pushing beyond their limitations, like when a singer goes just above and outside their octave range. That’s usually an interesting place to be musically. We also obviously have our whole life’s worth of experiences that have built up into a continually refined aesthetic which is constantly being transposed over the music we’re considering, like “does this fit my idea of cool?”

IF: In a recent interview you said “A lot of response to the record so far have discarded the conceptual aspects in favor of the purely musical ones, which I think is perfectly fine and justifiable – that musical reality is a deep part of the work and is by far the easiest entry point into it” What are some of these more conceptual aspects you aim to reach in your music and art?

KR: I think there’s a dual stigma with intellectualizing art and also not being conceptual enough, you’re caricaturized in either scenario. But every action anyone takes has an entire history behind it, we just choose to access that history or conceptual backing in different ways. I find making music more enjoyable when I have a conceptual world brewing behind it, and that usually starts as a vague or general philosophy. For example, I’ve been thinking about how much taste and style is determined by the culture and class systems we’re born into and how that changes a lot of ideas about individuality in the arts. That’s obviously a topic with a lot of facets, so I’ll daydream about it while recording or working. Eventually I find that the recording process, or the simple act of relying on a skill set, merges with whatever my mind has been preoccupied with, and the act of creating music starts to refine and clarify those initially cloudy ideas. It’s difficult to explain exactly, but have you ever been in emotional turmoil and then felt better after verbalizing your thoughts to someone? I think making art is like using a non-verbal language to bring a similar clarity.

keith

IF: We first discovered you through Kate NV. We remember seeing the album cover artwork and being pulled in before ever hearing her music. What was your process in creating this particular album artwork?

KR: Kate had wanted some more abstract, Kandinsky-like art for her cover, and we both tried pieces like that that didn’t seem to work. Actually we both liked what the other had done but didn’t like our own attempts. I remember after that sitting down and thinking “I’m gonna try to really translate this music into a visual.” I’m not as skilled with that translation when it comes to visual art, but it worked for that one, in my opinion. There’s a clearness and calmness to Kate’s NV music and also a bittersweet joy that I latched onto.

IF: What role do you believe album artwork plays in the grand scheme of things?

KR: From my experience, people seem more in tune with their visual sense than other senses, like it’s a visual interface we consciously perceive the world through. Hearing might be more in the realm of subconscious detection, there’s always a lot of sound happening that isn’t considered unless it’s disruptive or specific. That’s all to say that when visuals are paired with any of the other senses the impact can’t be underestimated. Covers dictate our perception of the music, more popular artists use their entire persona and style in that way, to express an identity and a worldview, but for many smaller artists the album cover is all there is to set the scene.

IF: You’ve mentioned the importance of growing up with the internet and also the endless rabbit hole that it can lead to. What are some of positive aspects you see in this as well as any fears you may have?

KR: The internet is creating a more global culture, which also means it will eventually erase a lot of localized culture, or at least replace them with hyper specific internet niche cultures. I’m sure that’s good for some bad for others. Personally, the net let me escape or expand the local culture I was born into, and allowed for probably my first really in depth communication with people different from me which I saw as a blessing. I don’t know, it’s a very big subject. I think the increase of accessible data is creating more malleable and expansive identities, but probably a lot of mental dissonance as a byproduct of the rapid shift. Most aspects of globalization could be seen as good or bad depending on the context.

 

IF: What are you doing when you’re not creating music or running a record label? Any special interest or hobbies?

KR: Going to a movie theater helps me relax, so does talking to people I know. Sometimes when I’m taking a break from music or art I’ll get on facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, all social media and scroll through my feed endlessly.

IF: How did you come up with the names Giant Claw and Orange Milk?

KR: Giant Claw was something I picked on a whim, I didn’t think I would continue making music under the name but that’s how it worked out. When I think about that name I start to hate it sometimes, but that happens when I think about my real name too. Maybe I’ll change it soon? Orange Milk I can’t even remember, I think I just wanted something liquid related.

IF: The year is 2059, the internet has been forbidden for 30 years and all technological progress has been halted. Where are you?

KR: In a concentration camp I guess?

Keith Rankin

Dancing in the Dark with JESSICA WINTER of GLASS

 

IF: Can you tell us a little about your relationship with Scott and how you came to work together musically?

JW: Scott and I first knew of each other when I was about 16 years old down in Portsmouth.  I was playing piano and singing for a mutual friend who also happened to be Scott’s drummer.  It’s weird because we never actually met.  He saw me play but we never spoke.  We finally met when I moved to London a few years later, he was recommended to me by a drummer as ‘the best guitarist in the world’ so I thought I’d give him a go……..  Turns out they were right so I’ve not let him escape since.

IF: What are each of your roles in the band as far as instrumentation and songwriting, both during the recording process as well as live?

JW: Scott mainly plays guitar and I mainly play piano but we are more drawn to strings, synths and beats nowadays.  Scott is a hook machine first and foremost and I am a melody maker.    I really love doing a full production on the songs before we take them into a bigger studio, I think it’s important to get the vibe before you go in as usually, a big fancy studio will have absolutely every instrument and synth and sound you can imagine and sometimes your sound can get lost in awash of layers and effects.    

IF: How do you typically approach writing a new song?

JW: Sometimes Scott will write an entire song and sometimes I will and sometimes we finish each other’s off……. 😉   We are quite competitive and it pushes us to be better.  There’s never a set thing we do, it just happens at random.  I prefer that I think, if I knew a set format or theory behind writing then it might make music a little less magical to me.

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IF: What are the benefits as well as any restraints of being a two-person band?

JW: It can be both good and bad.  We have certainly felt all extremes of working together so closely, who knows how long we can continue but we are sticking it out for now!

IF: Do you foresee adding new members in the future?

JW: We have a live band now, Lisa Martin on drums and Theo Spark on bass.  

IF: You describe your music as CRANCE, Cry and Dance. Are we crying because it feels so good to dance, or are we dancing because it feels so bad to cry?

JW: It can be all those things! I think of it as a reflection of the writing process and the performance; sitting at the piano pouring out your sadness and then putting it to music that makes you move.  The performance; experiencing those memories on stage but also letting go and expressing it through movement.  

IF: In a recent interview you mentioned “Broken Bones” being your favorite song because it was born out of a traumatic experience with your brother. Can you talk more about this particular experience?

JW: My brother suffered from paranoid psychosis and when I looked into his eyes, he wasn’t there. ‘I’d take those broken bones if I could fix them, hold you close, make the most of what is left’ 

IF: You also mentioned preferring to collaborate with filmmakers and dancers to other musical artists. Can you talk a little further about this?

JW: People have very strong ideas and opinions on music, especially other musicians.  As an artist it’s important to stay confident in your own identity and to keep developing it.  There are so many pathways you can merge into, usually working with another musical artist is just watering down your own sound to blend with each others.  Not every time! I love working with dancers, dancing is the perfect partner for music and it’s inspiring and also enhancing to what you are doing.

IF: What responsibility do you believe filmmakers and artists have in the collaboration process when working with a band? What role do you feel music videos play in the overall message or meaning of a song, or even the image of a band?

JW: Artists are exciting to work with, they can capture an atmosphere in a still image, they can put a twist on something and make it larger than life.  My favourite photographer / artist is Luke Nugent.  He manages to make everything slightly alien and other worldly.  Mint & Lime Films are amazing at making music videos look cinematic for us struggling artists, they work with a lot of us South Londoners. 

IF: Is it important for you to have an image to go with the music? Seeing vs Hearing. What effect do you think seeing a bands image before ever hearing has on the listener? Would you encourage your audience to listen before seeing? Or vice versa?

JW: Image is important to people due to the age of the internet.  If I’m online and I see a photo of an artist, I won’t listen to them if the image doesn’t appeal to me and I’m sure this happens with lots of people too…….  So photos need to sum up everything you are about – which is hard to do in one shot!  However – we are almost back in radio age with streaming services such as Spotify / Apple Music etc – listening to their playlists and related artists is discovering with ears first again and this is a very good thing.  Less visual stereotyping.  The next problem artists will face are the Algorithms of the streaming services.  If your art doesn’t fit into a pure genre, you’re less likely to be on the main playlists and listeners won’t receive as diverse an experience as they might from listening to a human DJ.  

IF: We first discovered your music through Soundcloud, a place where we typically search for new artists to connect with. Recently you took your music down from there. What was the intention behind this?

JW: Not sure…… it might come back soon…….. maybe I had a funny 5 minutes………

IF: The lyrics for ‘’Be Careful’’ are oh so strange. How much of this is literal vs sarcastic and or fantasy. Especially when considering the video, which seems to portray a domestic dispute of sorts – Is this song truly a warning, or perhaps the idea of fear from fully surrendering to another person for life?

JW: The lyric writing was a 50/50 split with Scott on this song, he had one idea and I had another which is probably why you’ve said that!  He took it in the more sarcastic way but at the time I was getting out of a relationship where things had got heavy very quickly so I was very much literal.  For me it truly is a warning, be more scared of the people that want to tie you down and trap you – those people have their own insecurities and you don’t need to be burdened with them……. 

IF: The video for this is particularly striking, as are all of your videos. Does the video better explain the lyrics or add further to its ambiguity?

JW: The video represents a few things to me, repetitious behaviour, the repetitious dance.  Standing unified yet violent and destructive within that unity, being trapped. Also it’s quite funny…..

IF: In the song “What It Is To Believe” you sing “We play a strangers game.” In the video, you murder a man in a restroom who appears to be a stranger, perhaps a man you had just met at the bar that night. It’s strange because know one seems to be aware of your actions. What is this song about?

JW: The girl (me) is blissfully unaware that her actions were bad and it represents the power of belief.  The same for the bystanders who believed maybe she was just dressed up in Halloween, like something like that could never have happened.  We aren’t condemning belief or religions, just describing how powerful belief can be.  ‘Armed with words, stones and flames, we took to the streets in a strangers name. Oh what it is to believe’

IF: What can we look forward to from you both as far as any releases or new material in the near future?

JW: Our new song ‘Vulnerable’  is out Feb 4th on Supernatural Recordings.  We have made a lyric video for it. Huw Stephens at Radio 1 premiered it on Monday and has picked it as his track of the week so we are very excited about that.  We have our first headline show in London in March where you can buy tickets for it here: Tickets

IF: What is the best thing coming out of the UK right now that we’ve most likely never heard?

JW: Have you heard a band called SWEAT? They are great. Also our friends, Strong Asian Mothers.

GLASS – Facebook

GLASS – Instagram

 

Driving fast through Indianapolis with Sedcairn Archives

IF: I first came across your music after seeing a post from Keith Rankin regarding the album artwork he did for OOBYDOOB. Can you tell me about how you originally connected with Keith as well as the ideas behind the artwork?

SA: I was a fan of Keith’s artwork, music as Giant Claw, and label Orange Milk. I put together a show that he played at the Joyful Noise performance space and kept in contact with him after that. We went back and forth a little about the artwork. I sent him some images that I liked of Breadwoman and Gary Wilson, but he pretty much just did his own thing. I knew he would do something awesome just based on his past work.

IF: You released OOBYDOOB on November 11th. What went into making this album? Were there any specific ideas that influenced it?

SA: This album took a while to put together. After recording some rough versions and performing some of them live with my friend Ostry, he and I went down to Magnetic South in Bloomington to record his drums. At the same time I was working on getting the guest vocalists on some tracks. And then the last step was to have it mastered at Postal Recording here in Indy. Coming off of the Mammoth Cave record I wanted to do something that was a little more fun and included more people. I tried to just go with my instincts and not exclude brighter textures or vocals.

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IF: The first track I heard off the album was “Ima Ned Hed” and it really stood out to me as something I couldn’t quite wrap my hands around.  What is this song about?

SA: It’s kind of hard to say what some of the songs are about. Some of the lyrics come more from rhythmic ideas, but I do have a vague sense of what I’m trying to say by the time a song is done. To me, “Ima Ned Hed” is about understanding that your friends, family, and community are sacred and rare, and believing that you don’t need approval from anyone else. It’s kind of a reaction to being on the internet a lot where there is a lot of information about people’s lives that don’t have anything to do with you.

IF: In the video for “Ima Ned Hed” you strut about half crazily around an apparent abandoned mall before resorting to the woods, petting a rock, then taking off your shoes to wet your feet in the muddy water. What should we take from all this?

SA: Yeah! That video starts off with the song “Steer Me to Sears” by Ostry, and it sets the delirious scene. That is the mall I used to go to as a teen to buy clothes that I thought were cool, now it is barely hanging on with a Target and a Burlington Coat Factory. As a kid, a lot of advertising type images warped my mind into thinking I should aspire to have certain products. Now I realize how silly that is and I spend a lot of time taking my dog to that park where we shot the woods scene. I’m trying to relish things that actually have real value now.

IF: A few tracks on the album feature guest appearances from hip hop artist, including Oreo Jones, Sirius Blvck and FLACO. Was hip-hop / rap something you had planned wanting to have going into the making of the album?  

SA: I had the music for “Out of Body” done and really liked it, but couldn’t think of what else to do with it. Those guys all live in Indy. We’ve performed and toured together. Under the DMA name I did a collab EP with Oreo called “Highway Hypnosis”. He and I both guested on Sirius’ track “Tribe Quest” from his album “Light in the Attic”. I got to know Flaco when I toured with Ghostgunsummer and Bored.

IF: Before Sedcairn Archives there was Jookabox and DMA. What has this transition been like for you as an artist? What does it mean for you looking forward?

SA: To me the difference between DMA and Sedcairn was getting into some more minimal electronic sounds while working LUNA music, and being excited about trying to include those ideas in what I do. I’d like to just stick with one name from here on out and I feel like the OOBYDOOB record included ideas from all of my past projects. I’m thinking more about sinking into some more vertical type sculpting details as I move forward.

IF: In an interview from 2011 you mentioned you like driving fast and wasting gas, sometimes simply driving around for fun, what you called “Riding Holiday.”  Are these joy rides helpful to your creative process?

SA: Haha! Yeah the Riding Holiday track was from a DMA tape that Joyful Noise put out called “Drem Beb”. I do like driving and listening to tunes, and yeah that’s a great way to sort out ideas when you’re losing sight of what you’re working on. I am a believer in the “car test” for mixes, that is where I do a lot of listening.

IF: Ghost Punk, Crust-Funk, Scrimp-Screet. Your music has been categorized by a handful of unique genre titles over the years. Are these in anyway simply used to rebel or perhaps poke fun of the idea of genres?

SA: Yeah! Genres are silly but I understand that we need them to communicate to each other.

IF: It appears many bands have made up new genres over the last few years. I feel part of this is do to the how much music has been made available these days. While many bands tried hard to break free from certain genres in the past it seems many new bands today make up their own genres as a way to stand out, or perhaps out of fear of being stuck in one genre for their entire career. What are your thoughts on this?

SA: I think that’s a fine way to go about things, but no one is forcing anyone to keep doing the same thing over and over. I understand that some people need a starting place to jump off from when they’re listening to an artist that’s new to them. I’m always most excited about music that I have no frame of reference for.

IF: Your work is released through the Joyful Noise Records label. How did you originally hook up with them?

SA: Yes Joyful Noise released my first CD under the name Grampall Jookabox “Scientific Cricket” in 2007. I was a fan of Karl Joyful’s band Abner Trio and would go to see them play at the Melody Inn and give him CD-Rs of tunes.

IF: The Indianapolis music scene has really been bringing in some attention over the last few years. I remember living in Chicago a few years back and seeing a plethora of awesome bands from Indianapolis coming to play. What does the scene in Indianapolis mean to you? What direction do you see it heading?

SA: The music/artistic/creative community here in Indy means the world to me. It is very special and sacred. I’m excited to see what happens next, it seems to be getting priced out of the Fountain Square neighborhood. There’s a lot of really great music going on with people like Oreo, Flaco, Sirius, Hen, Nagasaki Dirt, Raw Image, Grass SM-6, Mathaius Young, so many more. General Public Collective is awesome. Landon from Creeping Pink and Mark from Burnt Ones are doing awesome things at State Street Pub. Mark is putting together a Ty Segall show at the Irving that I’m really excited about because I live in that neighborhood.

IF: Walk us through a typical week in the life of David Moose Adamson.

SA: Right now I am finally finishing college after leaving to play in bands, I have like 2 weeks left. I travel down to Bloomington to do some work doing digital transfers of obsolete media formats. I work at Joyful Noise cutting limited edition lathe cut records on an old Presto lathe. I work on some tunes, maybe play a show on the weekend. I take my dog to the park a lot, and hang out and laugh with my betrothed.

Sedcairn Archives

OOBYDOOB on Vinyl

Interview by Frenchpressley

Dallas Texas based groove maker SPK talks upcoming releases, collaborations and music production

IF: Can you tell us about your upcoming release and what we can expect to see?

SPK: My first record “In The Thick of it” which was released sometime in October on Bandcamp is getting a vinyl re-release on New Math Records, featuring artwork by a really amazing and talented guy named Ghostdrank.

IF: What is the importance of vinyl and tape to you? Why do you think that there is still an audience for these formats? 

SPK: I definitely think there is an audience for physical formats like vinyl and cassette. I feel like the novelty aspect of the formats initially draws people into collecting tapes/LPs, but after the novelty wears off, you actually realize how different of an experience these formats offer in listening to music. If I’m going to seriously listen to music and give my undivided attention to it, I like to pull out an LP and do nothing but listen to it. There’s some aspect of sitting down to digest a record that is lost with mp3s for me.

IF: Can you tell us a little about how you originally connected with artist Ghostdrank and the collaborations that have followed?

SPK: Me and Ghostdrank went to high school together actually. I saw he was doing animations and they really turned me on, so I sent him some new recordings and he happened to have a real connection with the sounds I had made. It’s been a cool and healthy collaborative relationship, he’s a genius.

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IF: What does your writing and recording process look like?

SPK: For SPK, it’s kind of a stream of consciousness sort of thing. I usually just start writing and playing melodies without a specific goal in mind and see where that takes me. I make a lot of things that I just end up throwing out or putting away on a hard-drive. I think that the whole point of writing songs is to spend a lot of time writing things, regardless of if you like them or not. I like to think of myself as a scientist trying every sort of angle I can think of. I have a keyboard and a few guitars and I program drums and some keys on my laptop, sometimes my friends will play live drums or I’ll also use a small drum machine.

IF: Are you doing most of these recordings in a particular space? If so, what is that space like?

SPK: I did the last two SPK records at my old house in Denton, TX. It was this converted garage space that was damp and had a lot of Junebugs and no windows haha. It was big though so I could set stuff up and have the record button on at all times if I wanted. I record wherever I’m living basically. I’ve recorded at studios in the past but I don’t really like it compared to this workflow.

IF: How did you first get into music production? 

SPK: I got into recording when my dad bought a digital 8track recorder to mess around with. I took to the technology pretty fast and got really obsessed with recording my own songs on it. That was probably the moment that I realized I loved this process and began researching everything about recording and just obsessively listening to/dissecting records. In the 8th grade into the first part of highschool I really dug new wave, stuff like Brian Eno and Talking Heads and Bowie. Those records were my text books for years and taught me a lot about sounds.

IF: It seems we constantly hear about the music scene in Austin, but so rarely hear about any other cities in Texas. What is the music scene like in Dallas? Also, what is your opinion on the hype surrounding Austin? 

SPK: Austin is cool but it’s so overcrowded. I’ve only been out there to play gigs and that’s it. I don’t like it too much, but there are a lot of great musicians and bands out there like Berkshire Hounds, Rotten Mangos, Hola Beach, Magic Rockers of Texas, and Bill Durham to name a few. I really dig San Marcos which is about 30 minutes from Austin, that town has a lot of cool art and people.

Dallas is sorely overlooked. There’s a high level of art being made here across the board. We’ve got harsh noise, hip-hop, rap, jazz fusion, punk, metal, funk… like anything you would want to hear. There’s a lot of interesting and ground-breaking stuff being made here, unfortunately there’s not a strong community of people willing to support up and coming acts. Fort Worth and Denton have cool scenes too, just outside of Dallas. Fort Worth has a great community, I’ve come to love that scene over the last few years.

IF: Can you tell us about your collaboration with Buffalo artist Jon Bap and how the two of you originally connected? 

SPK: I met Jon Bap in Dallas through my friends Rache. I heard “Let it Happen” a year or so ago when he first put it up on Bandcamp and it was incredibly fresh and exciting to listen to. We eventually met on one of his trips to Dallas and that prompted me to send him some stuff I recorded and he kinda just did his thing on it. He’s a really cool artist and human and I’m thankful to have met him.

IF: Both of you seem to have a similar style, one that is very focused rhythmically yet gives plenty of room for experimentation and abstract additions. Without trying to fit yourself into a genre, how would you describe your music to someone you just met that had never heard your stuff before? 

SPK: I don’t think about genre when I make music, but I think people like to know what to compare it to, which I get. Despite the fact that there are electronic elements I wouldn’t call it “electronic.” It’s influenced by jazz and funk and pop music at it’s core. I don’t think I can say it truly sounds like anything established. I’d tell folks to check it out and decide for themselves.

IF: You appear to use a few samples as well as found sounds throughout your music. How does this shape your music? Are these typically building blocks for a new song or do they serve more as accents along the way? 

SPK: I like recording when I go out to places. Occasionally I collect audio of conversations or just outside noise on my phone but I never really go back to them. I went through some old stuff I field recorded and used a little bit on my album. Most of the clips you hear are like 1-3 year old experiments that just happened to work with the songs I had recorded. I sampled one piano part on this album but everything else is just sounds I made. There’s so much to explore with sound and I’m just now scratching the surface.

*Grab a copy of the record here… Buy This Vinyl !