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

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

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.

sedcairn

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.

spk-1

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.

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