Interview: Joomanji’s Amir Oosman


JoomanjiAmir Oosman is a drummer, producer, engineer and manager for the hip-hop/soul group . He and the Los Angeles-based band are currently touring California, recently playing at Sacramento State’s Wednesday Nooner series, in support of their most recent album “Manj.”

Speaking with Oosman, we covered the origin of Joomanji and his place in the band and the music world.

Emiliano: Has drumming and production been a life-long pursuit for you or is that something you started with Joomanji?

Amir Oosman: As far as drumming goes, that started earlier in life. Probably around when I was 12. I started on a drum set and basically played in school groups through college, and Joomanji was actually one of my first passionate projects. It’s a band I pieced together with a couple of other guys I went to school with. Them being, Robert Finucane on keys and Jonah Christian who is also a keyboard player/beatmaker. The three of us formed the group in undergrad during – Jonah and myself – our sophomore year.

On the production side of things, Jumanji actually influenced me to produce. I didn’t actually start producing till a little later on when I was maybe 20 or so. I started to learn some more programs on the computer, Jonah put me onto Ableton and then in grad school I made a point to take a lot of engineering classes for ProTools and started engineering sessions for other bands. It now has come to a point where it’s great that all three of us can contribute production, engineering and mixing, as well as the compositional side of the music.

E: What do you think it was about Joomanji specifically that made you so passionate?

A: I think it was just very different for me. I just started to get a little bit more comfortable in my own skin as a drummer and Jonah and Rob both opened my ear up to hip-hop, soul and funk. Rob has a really incredible taste in the classic 70’s type of music and Jonah has a really great variety of Jamaican music/90’s hip-hop music that I’d never heard, including producer J Dilla, The Roots and Erykah Badu. There was all this music coming my way between the two of them that I really gravitated towards.

The way we really started was Jonah had his beat tape with maybe 10 or 12 beats that he had made through the course of high school and college and I had never heard anything like it. So, we started to preform them live as a trio around our college and then just slowly added musicians and singer. The core knit of the group was just this organic, grass-roots, ‘let’s just try stuff, let’s just experiment.’ Nothing forced, just everything natural. That’s why I think we’ve stayed together this long and that’s why we continue to feed off of each other and influence each other. It’s a big part of why I think the group works well together.

E: You guys also tour around California as Joomanji correct?

A: Yeah, definitely.

E: When you’re on the road, what are you guys listening to in the car when you’re together?

A: Recently, on the car ride up [to Sacramento], we had been listening to the new Kendrick Lamar “untitled unmastered.” We try to circulate something new as well as old playlists that Rob puts together or something that Jonah might have put together. Classic tracks, like Jill Scott or Erykah Badu. Most of the time on the car rides, if there is a new record out, we try and grab that and really engage ourselves. I remember a few tours back when “To Pimp a Butterfly” had come out, by Kendrick Lamar, we all quietly listened through it top to bottom and it was interesting to experience it all together, you know what I mean? You all kind of talk about your experiences with your first listen. It’s fun and engaging to see how everyone else reacted to it.

E: Do you think that helps inspire your passion in music when it becomes a more communal experience?

A: Definitely. That’s a huge part of why we respect each other so much; we’re open to each other’s critiques and each other’s opinions verses being closed off. We all care about each other and want to know how everyone thinks and how everything effects each of us as far as the music goes, and writing goes and shows go.

E: On Joomanji’s most recent album, “Manj,” you guys worked with Carlitta Durand of the Foreign Exchange on the song “Divided.” How did that collaboration come about?

A: That was all through Jonah. He had found a channel to reach out to Carlitta, maybe through a mutual friend online and she responded to the track and fortunately enough recorded on it. That was a unique collaboration where we broke out of our shell and went for some guest artists.

The entire record, “Manj,” that full length you can see track-to-track there is a lot of different vocalists and that really showcased – there’s a cohesive sound but there are a lot of different vocal arrangements going on around the production and around the instrumentation. We still kind of keep that hip-hop, jazz, soul vibe going on throughout but tying it all together with different vocalists is still a challenge. We still work with a lot of guest vocalists, but now when we tour we’ve really honed in on Lindsay Olsen and Austin Answan as our vocalists. It makes people identify with the group a little easier now that we have a core group.

E: Do you have a favorite track off of “Manj”?

A: Honestly, my favorite track off that album is “Around the World.” It’s always kind of been, mainly because of the way we recorded it. The experience of writing and recording that track was definitely something I won’t ever forget.

E: Could you explain that experience?

A: Basically, Jonah came down to LA to visit me, before we had all moved permanently down to Los Angeles, Austin and myself were going to school at the California Institute of Arts. Basically, we were in the studio; I booked out an entire weekend just to see what we could come up with. Jonah came through and we just started fiddling around and he just started playing this piano line, and we looped it, and then I went and recorded a few drum lines over each other. The sketch of the track was there, we kind of took some breaks but we didn’t really leave the studio.

The real magic had happened when we found this loop Jonah had done in Ableton of live instrumentation. I called Austin over and he wrote a really great hook and a great verse and it kind of just started turning into cold calling musicians, like, “Hey, I want sax. Hey, I want flute. Cool, I went to school with someone who did that. Do you know anyone who speaks Portuguese or French? Do you know any keyboard players, bass players?” It was one after another and it turned into this twenty hour session where every thirty minutes were just like a big party. People were coming in to add to the track but in their own unique way. It really ties in with the song.

 

Joomanji has “a multitude of new music” coming within the month of April and over the summer, which can be found on their Soundcloud and Facebook pages. KSSU

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The English Beat: Right On Time With Dance, Love, and Unity


Friday night, 1980s college radio darlings, and ska legends, the English Beat played to a crowd of nearly 1,000 fans at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood, Colorado. The show was a non-stop dance party that kept everyone moving and grooving (some were even skanking).

The English Beat works the crowd into a dance frenzy at the Gothic Theatre, May 22, 2015.

The English Beat works the crowd into a dance frenzy at the Gothic Theatre, May 22, 2015.

The new English Beat line up is incredibly tight and never (you see it coming, don’t you?) misses a beat. From Dave Wakeling’s soulful storytelling and King Schascha’s high energy toasting, to the wailing sax, precision drumming, bouncy keys, and first rate bass and guitar work, there is just no standing still.

The band played classic Beat songs, opening with “Rough Rider” and skillfully working through other favorites like “Tears of a Clown,” “Twist and Crawl,” “Save It For Later,” and “Whine and Grind.” General Public tunes like “I’ll Take You There” and “Tenderness” were also included, along with a few songs from the forthcoming album Here We Go Love.

The new songs were fresh and lively numbers that fit nicely into the English Beat tradition. The sound was clearly identifiable as the band’s trademark brand of ska, yet Wakeling’s pop sensibilities gave the tunes a modern and contemporary sound. The Beat’s music is as relevant today as it was back in 2 Tone era, ska revival days. College radio and commercial, “alternative” stations would do well to reintroduce the band and incorporate the new material into the rotation. Legions of new fans would inevitably follow.

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A non-stop King Schascha and Dave Wakeling keep the crowd jumping.

Before the show, I had the chance to sit down with Dave Wakeling and discuss the band, the new album, college radio, and a few other topics.

Dave, thank you so much for being here.

My pleasure…

I first heard your music in 1983 and fell in love with it. It was discovering the likes of the Beat, and other punk, ska, and new wave music that eventually led me to book bands and even help start a student-run radio station while in college. The station, KSSU (Sacramento State), will be 25 years old next year.

Fantastic…and a lot of college radio stations wound up carrying the flag, didn’t they? ‘Til the ‘80s became like a golden oldies option.

I.R.S. (the now defunct record label) didn’t play the top 40 marketing game, so college radio was very important to us. We were number one in the college charts, but we were jealous as hell of all the other bands roaring up and down the top 40.

A number of the ‘80s bands have been deemed one hit wonders and some people have focused on how much hair dye they used. The result was that many of these bands became marginalized as goofy, golden oldies types. I think the English Beat wound up retaining its legitimacy by not being over exposed.

Congratulations on the forthcoming album. It’s great that it was crowd-funded through Pledge Music. Previous English Beat themes have been both political and social. What topics can we expect from the new album?

Thank you…you can expect similar themes, but with a newer sound. The goal is to make a record that doesn’t sound like an English Beat record would have sounded then. The new album is called Here We Go Love. It’s about love as a theme, maybe something tangible and it’s also about how life goes on. New songs include The Love You Give…lasts forever even when you’re gone and How Can You Stand There?…when all around you is a lie or how can you stand there and not dance to this irresistible beat of life? Dance and war are conflicted…perfect. We’ve also tried to be a little scurrilous!

What do you want the new and prospective Beat fans to know about you and the band? What would you say the English Beat stands for? And, don’t tell me love and unity.

Basically…at the end of the day, it’s a dance band. We have always been a dance band. It’s about fun and having a good “knees up.” But, we’ve always been about love and unity.

Late night show appearances can be powerful for new and reemerging bands. Any plans?

“Yes, let’s do it! We’ll do them all!” [laughs]

He then asked me to call Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel to get him an appearance. I suggested Saturday Night Live and he agreed to all of them. Jimmy, Lorne, Jimmy, are you guys in?

You’ve had songs included in soundtracks in the past and many of your contemporaries from that era have been featured in recent ads (Pogues, Clash, Depeche Mode, etc.). Any plans to pursue the licensing realm?

I’ve always thought Save It For Later would be great for a pension or a retirement fund.

Feelings on Spotify, Pandora, other streaming services?

NONE! [laughs] No…really, I do think they are great from a music discovery perspective. It’s amazing to me how young people find music these days. They can really drill down into music on the internet. It’s very different from the days of going to the record store to find out what the cool kids were listening to.

On cancer charity events:

Dave talked about the recent An Evening Celebrating the Who event with Pete Townshend, Eddie Vedder and others. The event was a charity benefit for the Teen Cancer America Organization.

The English Beat has supported a similar charity in the U.K. called Teenage Cancer Trust by contributing music to special compilations and releases.

Dave expressed his interest in doing a combined, online benefit for both charities, where he, Townshend, and Vedder could conceivably perform songs from each other’s catalogs (including Save It For Later). “Maybe we each perform three songs…Pete can do four [laughs]. We could do it as a half hour online thing and we could back each other.”

Pete? Eddie? Sounds like a great idea.

On the state of ska:

“One of the things with advancing years is that you forget the things that don’t fit in with your own, employed legacy. I thought I would be more optimistic. I thought that the hippie, punk, tech revolution would have advanced the cause…I thought ska was the stairway to heaven…a platform for social consciousness. I don’t know…I’ve become a bit more fatalist.”

Dave certainly doesn’t come across as a fatalist on stage. In fact, he does a fantastic job of still being an optimist through his shows, where he keeps dance, love, and unity in the spotlight.

Final thoughts:

Dave’s life-saving advice for young ska bands: 1) Don’t fly in small planes, 2) Don’t hot tub alone, and  3) Don’t do “Capri Sun” (or any other fruity beverages) alone.

He would also like a portable hot tub for touring. This could be a great sponsorship opportunity!

The English Beat plays Ace of Spades, in Sacramento, Friday, June 19th.

Jim Bolt is one of the Founders of KSSU the radio station we’ve all grown to know and love.

The Zombie 5 Tour Review


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Last Sunday, I went and saw (in order) Secrets, Born of Osiris, Word Alive, and the Devil Wears Prada at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento. The name of the tour was the “Zombie Five Tour” because it has been five years since the Devil Wears Prada released their “Zombie Ep”- one of their greatest achievements. There was laughing, crying tears of joy, and a lot of sweat in a human sardine can. Here’s how my night went.

Started off with the usual tradition- Dutch Bros. drive thru coffee in Davis. Got myself a strawberry and lime iced Rebel, which is their trademark energy drink, so I was ready for the long night ahead. Accompanying me was my girlfriend while the rest of my crew was saving us a spot at the front of the line. Walking to our spot in line, I could feel the teenage angst staring me down while everyone is decked out in gear ranging from Goth streetwear to gym clothes with band logos. I myself went in some nice khakis and a windbreaker. After hanging out in line and farting on some teens behind me, we quickly hurried inside the venue when the doors opened.

Usually, Ace of Spades has a band open up for the other bands, but Secrets was the first band to go on. The last time I saw Secrets was also at the Ace of Spades, but when they had their old vocalist. For being the first band, Secrets did great. They played some classics, some new stuff, and even a song that has yet to be released. Aside from some ear-piercing highs from the singing, they did a good job.

Born of Osiris

Born of Osiris came next and they straight up murdered the stage. Stage presence out the ying-yang, sound effects on point, and the heavy/technical guitar skills from Lee McKinney reminded me why Born of Osiris is one of my favorite bands. Born of Osiris was like a shot of espresso after the creamer, started off sweet and escalated to a level of strength that even Goku would be impressed by. Well done BOO, well done once again.

The last time I saw The Word Alive was at Warped Tour, and they were all hyped about their newest release, the “Real.” Album. Some of those songs are pretty light, so I thought, “Aw man, I’m gonna see the same performance twice.” I was proven wrong. The Word Alive played a lot of heavy songs, including oldies like “2012” and “House of Anubis”. Before the breakdown to 2012, Telle Smith (the frontman) split the whole entire front half of the crowd like the Red Sea and told them that when he counts the breakdown in, that everyone run at each other as fast as possible. This is what we call a “Wall of Death” and the last Wall I partook in ended up with my shirt getting ripped in half, fighting some fat guys, and almost passing out in the crowd. Fun fact: that was also during a Word Alive set in that very same venue.devil wears prada

Last but certainly not least, the men of the hour, The Devil Wears Prada. I thought that TDWP would only play their EP and a couple more songs. Then I found out from an outside source that their set list was 16 songs. 16 SONGS. The first five were some classics, then the next five were the Zombie EP all in order, all with the sound effects in between the songs as well. After the EP, I did not stay for the whole set list, but I was okay with that. Also, the stage had crazy light displays, including a giant symbol from their album 8:18. The Devil Wears Prada was the very first band that got me into Metal, and to see them live almost eight years after I heard their first album made the night all worth it. They were the best band up on that stage, and I cannot wait to hear what they have next.

Speaking of that, I heard a rumor (which has yet to be confirmed) that The Devil Wears Prada is back on Rise Records and is going to release a Space Ep.

We will just have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading my lengthy memory written onto this blog! If you want to hear more music from these bands and bands alike, or if you know of a band you want on my show, listen in on Tuesday mornings at 8 o’clock on www.kssu.com or contact me via Instagram @gingerbeardthefoot

Much love,

DJGingerbeard

Album Review: “Lost Isles” by Oceans Ate Alaska


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is a metal-core band the United Kingdom with a unique taste. Some flavors of Djent, Thrash, Death, Pop Punk, and even Electronica float around in this UK Combo. When I first listened to Oceans Ate Alaska, they were a scene/emo kid band performing the class “screamo” music with open note breakdowns. This album “Lost Isles” has been a metamorphosis for Oceans. They started out as puny, long-haired caterpillars and evolved into fire-breathing dragons. Here’s my take on “Lost Isles”.

The intro, “Four Thirty Two” is an instrumental with some radio and television broadcasts on natural disasters playing in the background. Great work done in this song, piece and also in the instrumental interlude. The pure talent and raw sound during these pieces show how the band has progressed in accordance to music theory. Tempo changes, experimental tuning, drum variety, all sorts of vocals (both clean and screamed), and of course some master guitar shredding amplify this bands talent ten-fold. You can tell how much work they put into this album just by these pieces alone.

But wait! It gets even better. Oceans Ate Alaska released three tracks before the actually full length release date, which was February 24th. These songs are “Blood Brothers” (Lyric video), “Floorboards” (Lyric Video), and “Vultures And Sharks” (Music Video). One thing you will notice is how thick the accent is coming out of the front-man. It works really well because with the knowledge of where these guys came from, you can match up the style with the accent. With technical drops, crazy good melodies, and use of techno in the background (but not overdone) made me so excited for the release of the full length. Maybe a little too excited because I listened to “Blood Brothers” about five times a day for a week.

Other songs worth mentioning are “High Horse”,”Linger”, “Entity”, and the debut hit “Lost Isles”. “High Horse” is heavy as frick and is similar to Attila’s lyric style. Basically, we are better than you and will hurt you if you try to take us down. With a little bit of Djent influences, this song made me sweaty and flexed out while just sitting in class, which probably made it uncomfortable for the shy girl next to me. “Linger” and “Entity” cannot be fully appreciated without deciphering the lyrics. I will not ruin the surprise, but your mind will be blown. Also, “Linger” as both clean and distorted guitar throughout, which is strange for metal, but it worked out fantastic! Last but certainly not least is “Lost Isles” which is pretty much everything I have just written, but precisely placed together in one masterpiece. I feel like this should have been on the last song on the album just to give listeners those last tears of joy and bliss before popping the album out their car radio.

To hear some new stuff from Oceans Ate Alaska and a variety of other bands, go listen to my show “Shred the Gnar” on http://www.kssu.com Tuesdays at 8 o’clock!

Thanks for reading, DJGingerbeard out.

Album Review: “The Night God Slept” by Silent Planet


SP.CoverThe very first song I heard from Silent Planet was “Tiny Hands (Au Revoir) off their EP titled “Lastsleep (1944-1946)” was love at first listen. I thought, “Gee, these guys already sound experienced and professional.” Turns out, they have only released a demo CD and one self-recorded EP. The album that just came out titled “The Night God Slept” is their first album- ever. Silent Planet is a Christian Metalcore band from Los Angeles. Although they are christian, they do not like to have labels on them and during an interview, their guitar player claimed that they do not want to play in churches, “but we want to play for the broken.” The link to the interview is at the bottom. With this new album, Silent Planet has been signed to Solid State Records and already have some recognition. Bands like For Today and August Burns Red are backing up the release of this new album and on eight of the eleven tracks there are featured christian artists. Silent Planet is coming into 2015 hot with no signs of braking.

Let’s break this album down real quick. First off, the lyrics are amazing. All the lyrics are direct quotes, paraphrases, or interpretations by the vocalist of other sources. These sources include philosophical books, historical events, the Bible, and many more other things. Not only that, but the lyrics all flow together around a central main idea while also remaining connected to all listeners. All instruments at one point do show their max amount of talent, but they remain humble when needed. The instruments are not focused on being the heaviest or most technical, but they are very talented and get crazy at times. The keep the song entertaining while also complementing the vocalist. Also, one of the guitar players sings to bring in that “clean” aspect to the Metalcore genre. By the way, it is good singing not like a girly man kind of singing either.

My favorite songs (in order of appearance) are XX (City Grave), Native Blood, Tiny Hands (Au Revoir), and Wasteland. “XX (City Grave) talks about the objectification of women as sexual beings instead of equals to men and how that is wrong. The song explains how we should treat all women as sisters and abolish pornography, regardless of profit being lost or desires that men have. “Native Blood” is about how Native Americans were kicked out their land by people who claimed to be Servants of God. Silent Planet retaliated against the idea of the settlers being servants by explaining what it really is to be a Servant. They then compare the idea of False Servant-hood to most preachers today. “Tiny Hands (Au Revoir)” is a Holocaust survival story about a Jewish woman who escaped a Synagogue being burned by Nazis by jumping out a giant window into a garden. There are also topics such as the Garden of Eden and the existence of both forces of Good and Evil. Finally, the song “Wasteland”. This song is about the rise of Joseph Stalin and his attempt to abolish God completely, making himself the new supreme figurehead that everyone are supposed to worship. The song also looks at the lives of the soldiers under Stalin who were dying unnecessary deaths after losing their faith on the battle field, hence the name “Wasteland”.

I can go on and on, but you should go check it out for yourself. I highly recommend that you check out the album playlist on youtube (which I have provided a link) and read the lyrics while the songs are playing. I promise you will not regret it and your mind will be blown.

Thanks for reading! If you want to hear more music like Silent Planet and other great artists, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” Tuesdays at 8am on http://www.kssu.com

Much Love, DJGingerbeard

Links:

Playlist= https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d9HHQqtguY&list=PLCslpjrb7cYjhht_4wASD6IGoivkLfD-z&index=10

interview= https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi_VYGnuHl8

“Shred the Gnar” Version 2.0


For those of you who do not know me, my name is DJGingerbeard and I have a metal/random show Tuesday mornings at 8am called “Shred the Gnar” on KSSU. When I started at KSSU, I wanted to play music that people would not typically hear in the mainstream, or music that when it comes up in conversation would make them cringe. Examples are metal, death metal, post-hardcore, Djent, etc. Last semester I found myself sticking to one type of metal and even replaying songs from already popular artists. My original intent on becoming a DJ had vanished. Two events made me realize i must return to my Alpha Form.

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I was checking out some bands on Instagram when I saw a band that I thought was already great and pretty well-known had released a new album. That album is titled “The Night God Slept” by a Southern Californian Metal band called “Silent Planet.” The lyrics are all direct quotes, paraphrases, or interpretations of the vocalist cited from historical events, intellectual books, and scriptures. I was blown away by the awesome creativity on this album so I looked up an interview with the band. I found out that this album was their first album ever and they just got signed to a record label (which happens to be Solid State Records). That’s when it hit me. One of the things I wished to do as a DJ was to find great bands in the heavy music industry that are not well known and give them exposure.

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The other event that made me realize what I have become was a few days ago in my girlfriend’s car. We were having a nice day going out to eat, when two songs back to back played in her radio from a mix CD. One was from Underoath in their more recent years, so the music was not that heavy. The other was a pop-punk song by a band called “Knuckle Puck”. I loved both songs so i told my girlfriend “I would play this stuff, but it’s too light”. She replied, “You tell your listeners that you play a wide variety of metal and other stuff, but you seem to only stick to a select type of music.” She was right, so now I am changing my ways.

“Shred the Gnar” version 2.0 will not have just metal, but also thrash, djent, hardcore, punk, post-hardcore, electro-metal, pop-punk, and all other sub-genres. Not only that, I will try harder to find not-so-known bands like “Silent Planet” and play them on my show to give them the credit they deserve. I promise you fellow musicians and music lovers alike, Spring Semester for DJGingerbeard will be better than ever.

Listen in for some great stuff at http://www.kssu.com

Tuesday mornings at 8am

Much love, DJGingerbeard

The Ghost Inside/ Attila/ Volumes Album Reviews.


I want to take a moment and talk about some news albums that came out recently, and by recently I mean within the last six months. The Ghost Inside, Attila, and Volumes all dropped some heavy stuff and I checked out all their new albums. Holy snap crackle and pop, they were extravagant. The Ghost Inside with some hardcore melodies, Attila with their IDGAF in-your-face attitude, ad Volumes with a melodic change for the better.

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Once again, the Ghost Inside have proven themselves to be one of the leading bands in the hardcore scene. To all those who say they went “mainstream” and are not underground anymore, I say to you, screw that. If a band can make it big and get paid more so they can actually afford nice things instead of sticking to the underground and getting paid diddly squat for a run down apartment, I say go for it and get big. The first song “Avalanche” straight up pumps up the mood for everybody with a nice build up in the beginning and gang vocals to breakdown as a finisher. The debut song “Dear Youth” covers all aspects of a great song; powerful riffs, relatable lyrics, empowering breakdowns, and a harmony that is off the chain. Well done The Ghost Inside.

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First off, Attila is not a band meant to be taken as “meaningful” or important to your life goals. They are a party hard, DGAF kind of band with a new album called “Guilty Pleasure”. With a mix between brutal exhales and rapping, Fronz (vocalist) has multiple virtuoso moments throughout the song. Some tracks make me shake my head and say “what the heck is this” but tracks like “Guilty Pleasure” and “Horse Pig” get me throwing chairs and flipping tables. Again, they are not very deep and philosophical, but they kill it live. I speak from past experiences when i say they put on a fantastic show with lights, and 8O8 drops. This new album will take their concerts to the next level. I saw an Instagram video of a huge wall of death to one of their new songs and that is enough to convince me that this new album is worth purchasing.

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Last but certainly not least, Volumes. Volumes is a Djent band well-known for their breakdowns, but their album “No Sleep” was not what fans expected this album had a lot of lighter, more melodic tracks on it. Don’t get me wrong, the tracks are amazing and I am happy to hear that Volume’s use of music theory and desire to do less heavy music in their future, but Volumes received a lot of fire. In their song “The Mixture”, the lyrics say “you can have metal back” and in an interview, the vocalists said they are dropping from their label to pursue music on their own path. The album “No Sleep” is the first step in Volumes new style and wave of music, and I love every bit of it.

Thanks for reading, I am DJGingerbeard and to hear music from The Ghost Inside and Volumes (Attila is too vulgar) tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” every Thursday at 9am on http://www.kssu.com.

Mappquest Interviews Autumn Sky


Autumn Sky performing at TBD Fest.  Photos taken by Josue Alvarez Mapp (a.k.a. DJ Mappquest)

Autumn Sky performing at TBD Fest. Photos taken by Josue Alvarez Mapp (a.k.a. DJ Mappquest)

This October, Sacramento was blessed with the biggest (and arguably best) festival it has ever seen on October 3rd, 4th, and 5th.  On Tuesday, September 30th, (DJ) Mappquest had the opportunity to interview a Sacramento local star and performer at TBD Fest, Autumn Sky.  The audio for the interview is linked below to listen to while reading the interview.

MAPPQUEST (MAPP): Alright ladies and gentlemen, you are tuned in to KSSU.com, Sac State student run radio. My name is DJ MappQuest and we are having a special day today. That last song you just heard was Bells by Ms. Autumn Sky off of the Scout EP. It’s an exciting week here in Sacramento as we get ready for TBD Fest this weekend. Hopefully everybody already has your tickets, or at least you day pass for this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And joining me on air here on KSSU is Autumn Sky herself, good morning.

AUTUMN SKY (SKY): Good morning.

MAPP: How are you doing so far?

SKY: I’m really good; I’m in my pajamas.

MAPP: I know, it’s phenomenal! I wish I could do that. But it’s alright. I mean, I know here on campus I’ve seen so many people who walk by and are in their pajamas. I’m slightly jealous.

SKY: I kind of respect that, I can’t leave the house in pajamas. But when people walk by I’m like you know what, one of us is right and it’s not me.

MAPP: So for those who don’t know, Autumn Sky will be kicking off TBD Fest altogether. I didn’t even look at the schedule that thoroughly until just a moment ago. You’re starting off the entire weekend.

SKY: Yeah, yeah we are.

MAPP: So are you excited for that?

SKY: Yeah, we’re all really super excited. It’s going to be 7 people together on stage, lots and lots. We’re also working with an installation artist. It’s just going to be really cool. We’ve been practicing and preparing for like a month and a half now. I think we’re just anxious at this point, we just want to play.

MAPP: I totally understand. Is there any added pressure compared to other shows because of the fact that you guys are kicking off the first ever TBD Fest?

SKY: No. I think it’s more of that it’s a really cool honor. I think we’re more excited. I like to get into a positive headspace before we play. So I’m always just like I’m not nervous, I’m anticipatory. I just want it to happen, like a birthday party.

M: Exactly. What other festivals have you guys performed in?

S: we actually played at Bottle Rock in Napa this year, we opened for Hearts. And we played in their VIP lounge so we actually played twice at that festival, it’s pretty funny. Somebody ended up dropping off one of the shows and they were like “well you’re already here so you might as well play that one too.” We played four shows that day actually, one of them was three hours long.

M: Wow that’s impressive.

S: There was a point at the end of the night where we took a break in between this really long – so we played the Radiohead tribute show, did you know that was happening in Sacramento this year? (MAPP: I knew it was happening but I didn’t get a chance to go out) Well go next year! But we played this last year and it was the night before. It didn’t end until 3am so we loaded in our cars and we got to Napa around 4:30 in the morning. And we slept for about 2 hours and then we got up and had to be at Bottle Rock by like 7:30 for a call time. And we had 2 shows after that and a restaurant gig later on that night that was like 3.5 hours or something. We breaked and my whole band were like sitting along the sidewalk and they were all, like, crying out of exhaustion. They were, like, falling asleep on stage. My drummer almost fell back into the big bay window we were playing in front of. Like, off his drumset. It was teambuilding for sure.

M: Teambuilding and teambonding.

S: Yeah, oh my god. Like when you go through something horrible with your friends and you’re like “now we’re real friends because we know we don’t break under pressure.” That was exactly that.

M: So we just played Bells off of the Scout EP. Do you have a favorite song off the EP at all? Is Bells your favorite?

S: Um, you know what I really like Bells. I think it’s there- the three songs that we did put in there we picked for very particular reasons. There’s one called My Worst Enemy, which is really poppy, melodic and it’s got really good strong structure. It feels like a regular pop song. Bells is the showcase for singing, I guess for me. But I actually like Young for the Night a little bit better, just because it’s darker, more moody and atmospheric. It’s much more of a rock song than what people typically expect from me. So I just like it because I can turn it on and then everyone is really confused/surprised. I feel very gleeful, it’s nice.

M: So then I’m assuming that when you were getting ready to put out Scout there were multiple songs for you to pick from so these were the three that you picked?

S: Yeah, absolutely. Scout is really the EP though. It’s just three close-up looks at songs that are going to be on the album. Just early. I just wanted to have some kind of music to give people. It’s been a long time since I’ve had an album. Especially with newer stuff that I’ve written I’ve really hit a good stride in these last 3 years. I wrote some of what I feel is my strongest material. I just had to have music. I’m really very impatient.

M: How do you feel the reception of the EP has been so far?

S: Oh it’s been awesome! I was extremely afraid. I think that if you wait that long you’re just full of fear. You’re like what if I waited this long and it doesn’t go well. What if all my opinions are completely wrong? What if I’m totally wrong? But I don’t think we were. I think we put a lot of love into everything and it has had a really good reception so far. And I think it gives people a more accurate understanding of who I am as a musician and what that means. And where we fit in the world of music.

M: And so are all or any of these songs expected to be on the upcoming album?

S: Yeah, all three of them.

M: And when is the album actually expected to be done?

S: It’ll be this next year, as soon as this festival wraps up actually. It’ll be our last show of the year. We are recording with Pat Hills up in Rocklin. We’ll pretty much be doing that. Focusing on getting that finished, touched up, pretty. Possibly by spring of next year I think is when we’re going to release that and go on tour.

M: So absolutely no shows between now and then?

S: Maybe next year once or twice but definitely not this year. That’s definitely my tag line, seriously though. It is literally your last chance.

M: So you mentioned a tour. Is there going to be an album release party?

S: Oh yeah definitely, even if it’s just myself. The issue with having a band when you are an adult is that everyone in your band is an adult too. We all have fulltime jobs and we have to work everyone’s schedule around. What usually ends up working better is we end up doing a three piece version of the big band. That’s probably what we did with touring just because it’s simpler. We don’t have to – I mean getting 7 people to take 2 weeks off in a row would be almost impossible. Unless, Gods of the Universe, somebody decides we were awesome and they gave us all the money in the world and were like “Do whatever you want, play anywhere.” Then it’s probably a different story. But when you do it on your own and you’re indie like us and you really are a self-run band you’ve got to make it work however you can.

M: So is the tour going to be more of local/regional or are you looking more of a greater tour, like the west coast or something?

S: I’m actually looking to do a west coast thing. We’ve been doing regional touring forever and ever. Lots of stuff in the bay area these last two years actually, kind of on purpose. We played a set with Bottom of the Hill and we were shocked. We were super shocked and surprised. I think we suffer from this weird thing where everyone went to high school with us here and so they see us playing and they’re like “oh well we went to school with those guys.” And they don’t really see it as a “this is an official band.” It’s more like “this is my friend’s band and they do pretty well in town.” We went to San Francisco and nothing is more heartwarming and inspiring. I don’t know it just made us all feel so much better about ourselves. People freaked out and it was so nice. We were like, really? Oh. Maybe it’s just that we shouldn’t be in Sacramento. Forever. I mean we’ll definitely come back, we love it. But we miss people freaking out. We’d like that to happen more.

M: So going back to the album, is there any collaborations you could disclose at this point? Any bands you’re working with, any artists that you’re working with on the album?

S: We’re working pretty much solely with ourselves. Other than perhaps the inclusion of – we’ve been working unofficially with Joe Kye from Joseph and the Well for a while. Love him, he’s awesome. But it really is a band gig now. A band show. Everybody is really super talented and I picked them and eventually I decided that I like them a lot because everybody has a great sensibility, they have great taste in music, and more importantly they have musical taste and musical style that already complement what I’m already doing. I don’t feel that it’s necessary to play with anyone else because I have so much faith in my guys.

M: Alright, understandable. Respectable. So I looked and from what I’ve read and what I understand you are a huge supporter and fan of the Sacramento music scene.

S: Yeah. Well for a long time I used to live in Carmichael, when I was still young. I started playing at 15 years old so it’s going to be 11 years this October of me playing music. For ever and ever and ever everyone I talked to was all “you can’t move downtown and you can’t move midtown because it’s so expensive.” The it’s so expensive sign always floated in front of my eyes every time I looked at the beautiful houses and I looked at the people. My heart wanted to be here so much and one day I finally just decided to freaking do it, just try to make it work. And if it didn’t work I could say I tried. So I went down here and, not only is it extremely easy to find something cheap, if you are the cheapest of poorest musicians like I was you can find something for really not a lot. You just have to have a good network of people. More importantly I would start going to the open mic scene. I mean, I would go literally every single week. It was less for the chance to play my songs as it was to meet the musicians in the area. I don’t know when you play in the suburbs there’s this weird disconnect. You’re in Sacramento and you’ve been playing music for years. But you go downtown and you know literally nobody. Everybody’s like “I know you exist but I’ve literally never seen you.” It was so revolutionary to be able to meet these people that I admired.

M: So what’s your opinion/take on the Sacramento music scene as a whole?

S: The Sacramento music scene is probably in the best place it’s ever been right now and that probably because of the attitude people are giving it. For the longest time we allowed people to talk badly about it. We allowed people to talk down about it. And we kind of accepted out fate when people were like “ugh, Sacramento that’s nothing. There’s no music scene.” Instead of speaking up for ourselves and standing up for ourselves we agreed. And that’s kind of the worst thing we did to ourselves and it took us years to bounce back. We don’t agree anymore because it’s not true. It’s absolutely not true. If you want to have tons and tons of kids at your shows it’s a possibility and it is super fun. And it’s something that happens very often. And if people are still on the outskirts, like I used to be, and they think Sacramento sucks it’s probably because they haven’t been here in a long time.

M: I wholeheartedly agree. I mean, a lot of my friends say “aw, man Sacramento’s so boring. Sacramento this.” And I’m like (S: Just look at them and, like, you never leave your home.) I’m actually from Stockton and I moved up here last year and I’m probably not going to look back because I love the scene down here.

S: you know what I’ve played in Stockton and I didn’t understand how great and how well our scene worked until I went there. Their scene struggles to exist period. I played at Plea for Peace, I love that place. IT’s so scary in a punk rock way. But there’s hardly a scene there and the punk scene is the only thing that holds it together. And I went and played there and I felt so much better. We have venues, we have all ages venues. We have bands that regularly pull over 200 people at every show. That is something that would never happen in Stockton, unfortunately. People have believed badly about their scene for so long that it becomes truth. The difference between us and Stockton is that we refuse to believe that that’s our fate.

M: So with the state of music as it is now in Sacramento, what is your opinion on what can be improved on in the scene for artists in the area and for music as a whole here?

S: I’d really like people to be more connected. I think we’ve got a really good thing in TBD and the Launch team from last year and putting that on this year. It’s so, I mean its life changing for a lot of people here. It opens so many doors for so many bands. I’d just like to see maybe a better community, better communication between bands and maybe something like, even if it’s just as little as having everybody know that this is the music block you go to to read about Sacramento music. And P.S. we need more music blogs, people who blog. It’s something unifying and tying together. Like, San Francisco has more music blogs than you can shake a freaking stick at. Everybody writes about music there. There’s not a lot of coverage so I think people feel pretty disconnected. I don’t think anybody would know that successful shows are happening right now. Just because there’s nobody who – it’s just like if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, that’s kind of like our music scene. Somebody’s got to write about it. Somebody’s got to say some hint about it and encourage people to come out. That’s my biggest thing is we need more music blogs.

Autumn Sky performing at TBD Fest.  Photos taken by  Josue Alvarez Mapp (a.k.a. DJ Mappquest).

Autumn Sky performing at TBD Fest. Photos taken by Josue Alvarez Mapp (a.k.a. DJ Mappquest).

M: For sure and that’s something we’ve been doing something here at KSSU. We’re actually one of the few places that supports and plays local music.

S: See? That’s so cool. And it’s not even that difficult of a thing to do. I don’t know, vie had some interesting takes. If I go play particular songs that over written, if it’s too indie –and I don’t even know what that means, I guess if it’s a happy song sung by a girl its fine but if it’s an angry song sung by a girl then its indie. And even if it’s a better song, which PS it was a better song, they won’t play it because it’s too far out of the range of what people are comfortable hearing. But I refuse to be Ariana Grande. It’s just, she does a great job. She can totally be Ariana Grande. I have lots of feelings and I’m definitely not going to stop at happy and love. I definitely want to keep pushing that envelope and I guess make angry girls a little more accessible.

M: So in looking at your Facebook and some of your tweets you post sometimes pictures and things of that sort because that’s your inspiration for music. Kind of elaborate on how you write music and poetry, because I know you write poetry as well, where do you find your inspiration? What’s your process like?

S: Yay, that’s such a cool question! I’ve been posting very occasional images, really strong images that speak to me. This year in particular I noticed a recurring trend. And it was that I was being attracted to similar images of similar color schemes with kind of the same ebbing theme behind them. And instead of being like “oh well isn’t it funny that I like these things” I purposely started collecting them. I’m like a massive hoarder of really beautiful graphic images. And to me that is part of a wider view of what it means to be an artist. And I think people don’t understand that it’s an amazingly fun thing to be a creative person because your inspiration can come out of anything and anywhere. And as an artist it’s your responsibility make your soul happy, to feed yourself inspiring things, to chase after inspiring things, to read inspiring books, to challenge your worldview and to be super open minded. Because those things are going to make you think and when you think really hard about something that’s been on your mind or been on your heart or something that you’re really distressed about or that you care about very deeply, those are the things that start that spark in you where you’re like I have something to say. And it’s really all about having something to say. At the end of the day I don’t think and unopinionated person would be writing very good songs because you have to have these stark contrasts, highs and lows, blacks and whites. And that’s definitely why vie been posting those pictures. It’s a closer look at the process vie been going through personally this year, and it directly affects and inspires songs that are going to be on the album.

M: I also noticed that on Facebook and twitter you pose a lot of questions to your fans and followers. Any reason behind it? Is that how you feel that you use social media?

S: Yeah. Honestly it’s because I feel there’s a really big disconnect between people who, this past year we hit over 15,000 people, which is crazy and weird and mostly it made me feel disconnected to a fanbase that used to be a lot smaller. I feel like we used to be really super close, I used to know everybody personally and see them at shows. The more it climbed the more I kind of desperately grasped for any semblance of human contact and relationship. So instead of just posting things on my page: please buy my ITunes CD, please go to Spotify, just to the random crowd of ghost people that they’re becoming. Instead of that I kind of like to post questions so they can talk to me and I can talk to them. To that I guess I feel like that’s a more human thing to do. It makes me feel better about the situation. It makes me feel like I still have a little piece of what I had when I first started. I don’t think I’ll ever stop, its pretty cool.

M: Yeah that’s fantastic. It’s something that myself and my cohost on my radio show that I host weekly talk about. In some genres a lot of artists try to do that but in some genres it’s not a thing and after a certain threshold the artist stops communicating with their fan base.

S: They do, yeah. And that’s so sad. Because, I don’t know, I’m at a weird place right now that I’m happy to be playing festivals. That’s a huge plateau. I mean, anyone in music knows that’s a huge plateau. It’s so difficult to break into that. You have to have played a festival to be booked at a festival but unless you’ve played a festival you can’t book a festival. You just have to know somebody or something like that, it’s difficult. But then you end up losing this beautiful – I was a singer-songwriter for a really long time and the cool thing about that to me is that people are very personal. You build personal relationships with people and the reason why I had such supportive people supporting my music is because I knew them personally. I had met them personally, I had hung out with them after shows, they liked a particular song. Or they would email me and be like, hey our little boy really reverberates with my life story. And then we trade, like, personal stories and what we’ve been going through and we support each other. It’s really more of a symbiotic relationship. And you’re right they lose that after a certain point. Then it feels to me that you run the risk of being a really narcissistic person, like it’s just about you.  So maybe that’s what it is. I’m so afraid.

M: you’re afraid of falling into that trap?

S: oh yeah. Isn’t everybody?

M: Yeah. Well almost everybody. Is it ok for me to ask you one of the questions that you posted on your Facebook page?

S: Yes!

M: When in life did you feel most proud about yourself?

S: I… oh man. Ok, so 2 things. I guess when I started going to school – I’d been homeschooled for a long time – when I started going to school and started trying to make friends I was such an anxious, awkward, shy person that even the act of making friends was total revolutionary for me. That was lovely. I think I was proud of myself again when I moved downtown on my own and started supporting myself. I felt like I would walk around and I would be like, I feel like Beyoncé. I pay my bills, I support myself, I run my own business, I’m so proud of myself. I think again this last year I got to be with my whole band – and they’re all guys which is really weird, it’s a really weird kind of unofficial statement we weren’t intending to make that I’m this woman and I front this band and they’re all guys. Instead of it being a weird, like kook, like “oh we hired this sexy girl to make us sexier” it’s like a club and they’re all supporting what I’m doing. Which is such a revolutionary, super cool, just awesome lucky position that vie got to be in. and we ended up winning a hall of fame induction and it was me and all my guys and we were all just standing around and ,like, these people, these musicians that I looked up to my entire life for the last 11 years were like, pretending to bow and it was so weird, so surreal, and so perfect to be right next to these people who’ve supported me while it was all happening and I got to experience it with them. That’s probably something I’ll probably never forget.

M: It’s amazing. So during the next 6 months until the album is done are we going to see you pop up at any open mic nights or with any side projects while the album is getting completed?

S: oh well you know musicians can’t really stop playing. I mean we won’t be doing shows but I’ll definitely be at open mics. I guess there’s a really good one at Goldfield right now, shout out to that one. It’s on Monday nights and it’s supposed to be awesome.

M: Doesn’t James Cavern host that?

S: Yes, I love him.  So I’ll most likely be there.

M: Are there any other side jobs or side projects that you’re working on? Because I know that on your Facebook page it mentioned a lot of the things that are kind of personal to you that you are kind of an advocate for. Obviously you’re there to help spread awareness about autism and depression and sexual abuse and social issues that most issues shy away from.

S: Oh my gosh, you know, I decided not to shy away from because they make me so who I am that it feels weird to cut out this percentage of me and my life experience and kind of whitewash who I am. I think my songs mean more to people when they know that I experience life in a real way, and sometimes in a real bad way. I think that’s more honest, and honest is really my key word when it comes to my band. My songs are honest. I tend to be honest as a person. And that includes with my failures and y successes. I think something that my music tries to inspire in people is that I’m creating this world that they can escape to, almost. That they can feel safe in, that they can feel brave in. and where they don’t have to feel ashamed of where they came from or what they’ve been through and they have someone to talk to if they’re ever at a place where they feel like nobody understands. We want to create kind of a world where we do understand and we have even through exactly those same things and we want to help. I think that’s one of the coolest things you’re able to do when you get to the point where a lot of people see what you post. You can do nothing with it, totally acceptable, or you can choose to do something cool.

M: Totally respectable. Well thank you for your time and for calling in this morning.

S: Thank you so much.

M: Again, you’ve been listening to Autumn Sky as I poke her brain for questions. You can check her and her band out this Friday 3:30 at TBD Fest, the last time they’ll be performing in 2014.

S: Yes, yes, yes.

M: And then next year we’ll look forward in the spring for your guys’ full album.

S: Thank you so much, everybody have a good day.

We’re going to leave off with Young for the Night off of the Scout EP. You can get that on ITunes as well just a little promotional plug for that. Thank you so much Autumn.

S: Thank you.

DJ Mappquest is on KSSU every Thursday evening from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM for his electronica show with DJ Liradan, and every Friday morning, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM for his new music show with DJ Liradan – all on KSSU.com!

Interview: El Ten Eleven – 3/6/14


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The musical masterminds behind El Ten Eleven, Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty, have been on tour promoting their new record, For Emily EP. I was able to catch up with them for a nice chat before their show at Harlow’s in Sacramento a couple weeks ago. (You can listen to the whole interview through Soundcloud at the bottom of the page or by clicking here.)

Sasha Tokas (ST): Do you guys want to introduce yourselves and tell the listeners what instruments you play?

Tim Fogarty (TF): Sure, I’m Tim. I play the drums.

Kristian Dunn (KD): I’m Kristian and I play the bass and guitar double neck and fretless bass. And, is your name Constance?

ST: Yeah, that’s my DJ name!

KD: Oh, that’s my mom’s name!

ST: Oh really?

KD: Yeah, there’s a song on our first record called “Connie” dedicated to her.

ST: Aww, that’s good to know… You guys are on tour promoting your new EP, For Emily. Can you talk a little bit about what went into making that?

TF: Hell.

KD: It’s true, we went to 4 or 5 different recording studios. Something like that. It all started, we went to New York to play a festival and Converse, the shoe company, has a recording studio in New York. We got there a day early so we could go in there and record some tracks that we thought would end up being this EP. We recorded them and thought, “Oh wow, this is the best stuff we’ve done.” Then we went and played the festival, played a bunch of other festivals, went on a tour, and we went back and listened to what we had done and we thought, “Oh no, that’s not good at all. We gotta go back to work on that.” So we went to a different studio in LA and rearranged some of the tracks, redid some of the tracks, got rid of a song, I think, and repeat that entire process I just described 3 times or 4 times. So, the songs that you hear on the EP are so dramatically different from what we originally recorded that you wouldn’t even recognize what we originally recorded mostly. So, it was a very frustrating process cause every time we thought, “We got it, we got it!”, we’d go on tour and not listen to it for a while and come back and listen again and be like, “Oh, no. This is not…”. And in fact, the EP that actually came out still to us, like we’re not even sure, we spent so much time working on it that we couldn’t see the trees because of the forest. You know that old saying? It just got to where finally, we just had to stop. We just put it out. Otherwise, we’d still be working on it and still tweaking it, which is ridiculous. We’ll hope not to ever repeat this process again cause that’s not usually how we make records.

TF: That’s exactly…

KD: Did I nail it?

TF: Yeah, as long as that answer was, is as long as it took us to make the EP.

KD: It was a metaphor for the making of that damn record!

ST: Well, it’s really good.

Both: Thank you.

ST: Since your music is instrumental and doesn’t have lyrics, is there a specific way you convey messages in your songs?

TF: We’ve never done subliminal messages…

KD: Yeah, the way you phrase that question, we should really throw in some… In this day and age, well actually, we do sell a lot of vinyl, but most people can’t play records backwards.

TF: If we had a little sizzling bacon track buried in the mix, I wonder if people would get hungry. I don’t know, you can answer that.

KD: Wait, what was the question again?

ST: Is there a way you convey messages through your music, since you don’t have lyrics in it?

KD: Oh, so usually, this is the process. I mean, if someone really likes our music and they’re wondering what these songs are about, they’ll go on Google or whatever and find interviews where we’re explaining them, and then they’ll understand. I don’t know how else you really would, just looking at the song title. Actually, people have come up to me and asked, “Is this song about this?” Sometimes they’re actually pretty close without having read an interview with us or whatever. So maybe the song title suggested enough. But really, we have to do interviews to explain.

TF: I mean, people take what they want out of it. So, a friend of ours (he’s actually our booking agent, he’s been a friend of ours for a long time). There’s a song we hadn’t been playing for a while and he’s like, “How come you guys aren’t playing that song anymore?” We’re like, “Ehh, we just, I don’t know. Doesn’t sound good anymore or whatever.” He told us this whole story about his dad passing away and how that song made him break down and cry, live, watching us one time. Which, that song was not about that. It’s actually the opposite, more of a happy song. So, I think people can get a lot of messages that weren’t intended necessarily out of it and that’s cool too. That actually, that kind of stuff means more in a way, just cause, it’s a bonus.

ST: So then, do you guys come up with the song titles first or come up with the music first and then say, “Ah, it sounds like this”, this is what were going to name it?

KD: Yeah, mostly the latter. I mean, I have a running list of song titles. Like the next record is going to be, probably mostly about my daughter. So I have this running list of song titles and the songs are being inspired by that. They’ll all kind of find themselves, the titles and the songs. Typically the music comes first. On this latest EP, the For Emily EP, we wrote these songs with nothing in mind. We were just trying to write cool songs and when it was finished, we were sitting there thinking, “What do we call them?” And when that happens, and it’s happened before, we end up coming up with titles that are dedications. “Nova Scotia”, which is the first song, is a dedication to my best friend, Matt, and I can explain why it’s called “Nova Scotia”. “Yyes!” is the second song and “Yyes” is the company that does all of our artwork and has since the very beginning, so it was a dedication to them. And then “Reprise” is actually, literally, reusing parts from some of the previous songs put back together in a third song. On this EP, they’re just dedications. When we wrote “Nova Scotia”, I wasn’t like, “This is a song about my best friend.” After it was done, I’m like, “What is this song about? Oh yeah, duh, totally is!” The song told me what it was about, if that makes sense.

ST: Ok so, since your music is instrumental, you guys have a lot of layers and depth. It’s very complex, but it’s just you two up there with your instruments and I know you use loops as well, which is amazing, but sounds very difficult to recreate live. Can you talk a little about that?

KD: Its not easy, but we’ve been doing it a while though.

TF: Yeah, its definitely not easy. When we’re making a record, we try to like… we’re always like, “Yeah! Who cares if we can do it live. Let’s just try to write a great song or a great record.” It’s always in the back of our mind that we have to pull it off live. We can’t get too, too crazy, but we don’t limit ourselves with that kind of stuff. And then it always ends up when we try to go play some of that stuff live. Cause some songs we actually do play before we record them and they’re fine live. You know, we’ve already worked them out live. With other ones we kind of write as songs and then we go and try to play them live and it’s like, “Ooh, this is not easy!” It’s like, we have to do two different parts at the same time now. So you know, sometimes they’re a little bit different from the record. It’ll take longer to build parts up cause we have to keep looping and that part gets set, and put another part over it. There’s some songs where a couple things will come in at the same time, which is pretty impossible if you don’t have stuff to record it, which we’ve never done. So, it’s hard, but it’s our own fault. At least we don’t have to sing too.

KD: I do have dreams… I’m so happy with everything that’s happening with El Ten Eleven. We’re very fortunate, very grateful. It’s incredible how things are going. But, I do have dreams sometimes of just playing bass in a punk band. That’s it. All I have to do is play bass; I don’t have to do loops, I don’t have to talk to the audience, that’d be so easy.

ST: What’s the most memorable thing that happened to you guys on tour?

TF: Man, there’s been so many. It’s hard to say just one thing. There’s never been that crazy, crazy thing where like, I got punched by a cop or something like that. We have a lot of little stories that are funny and cool. We were in Chicago, packed up, just got ready to leave, and we were getting ready to pull out and there was like kind of commotion, a crowd full of people walking on the sidewalk. We looked back and a guy just punched a girl out! We’re just like, “Whaaat?!” So, I hate fighting, I’m not a fighter and I didn’t want to get involved, but I was a little hammered and the guy walked past my window rolled down and I was like, “F—— p—-, you punched a girl!” Can I say that?

ST: I can edit it.

TF: Sorry! I was just being accurate. He comes over and I was like, aww man, he’s going to punch me now. I was just trying to back up this girl. So I’m like “S—, Chris, pull away, like I don’t, come on, you know me.” I’m just like, great, I’m sitting in the front seat. I’m going to get decked. And he just punches our mirror out and we leave. I think, wasn’t the girl like hanging back on him or something? It was his girlfriend! So I’m trying to stick up for a girl who takes that s— apparently. So it’s like, you know what? From now on, I’m out of it…

ST: You guys have seen a lot of people get punched!

TF: I know!

KD: You know, if you think about it, we’ve played something like 700 shows or something and every place we’ve played pretty much has alcohol (there’s some exceptions). The amount of fights we’ve witnessed are so small when you consider. I think generally speaking, people who come to our shows are smart people. Honestly, I’m not being boastful, I’m being honest. I think we have kind of an intelligent crowd. It’s not dumb, like “Duh!” With all the alcohol that’s been around our shows for that many years, you’d think we would have witnessed a lot…

TF: I feel like I’ve never seen a fight at our show before.

KD: Yeah, I don’t think. I mean there’s probably been a couple of them outside after. We’ve almost gotten in a couple before. Note to people who own clubs: Don’t give the band that’s packing their stuff up and trying to leave a hard time about leaving faster.

TF: Oh! That’s right that’s right! That’s Boston.

ST: Now I’m curious…

KD: It’s not that great of a story, I just almost punched someone in the face. It’s just a pet peeve of ours. Especially because we used to tour just the two of us and we’d bring our own lights, do our own merch, do everything. And we’d finish the show and we’d, you know, have to talk to fans and like, sell stuff, and immediately start packing our stuff up, trying to get out. Then there’d be some bartender like, “Time to go guys, lets f—— go.” And we’re like, “F— you! What’s the f— does it look like we’re doing?” Like, we’re trying to get out of here, we want to go home too. It would just enrage us. Like, dude, we just made you a bunch of money. You’re going to give us a hard time? Sorry, it’s a little pet peeve. Anyway, in Boston one person took it a little too far and almost got my fist in his nose. It ended up being okay.

ST: So bartenders beware.

TF: Doorman.

KD: Soundman.

ST: All of them.

TF: All of them.

KD: You want it to go faster, help us with our f——- gear. I’m getting all riled up right now!

ST: So surprising coming from… your guys’ music is so calming, you know, so I’m like, where’s all this coming from?

KD: Yeah, right?! Like it would take a lot for us to get in a fight, but when people throw that s— out, like “Aww dude, no, should not have said that!” This is going to be ugly now.

TF: Or taking the last beer of the green room. That’s my pet peeve.

KD: Ooh! That’s a bad one too. This is for all you bands out there who are the opening band: Don’t drink the headliner’s alcohol without permission and even if you do have permission, make sure you leave a couple beers for them when they get off stage. Cause its kind of nice to get off stage and have a beer! Like we don’t need to get hammered or anything, but there was a tour we did and this opening band that will remain nameless that was on the tour with us, every night they would drink all of it, everything. And we had done something like 10 shows in a row with long drives, we were just absolutely exhausted and we got off stage in Salt Lake City, I remember, and Tim walked into the dressing room and there was no beer and there was a case of water just like that [pointing to a case of water on the table]. And he just picked it up and threw it against the wall, right as the promoter was walking into the room. It was a female and she just walked in and saw it and went, “Oop…” and walked back out right as I was walking in. I saw her walk back out kinda scared and thought, “What the hell just happened?”

TF: I can explain! I f—– hate water!

KD: This guy hates water!

TF: I swore again, I’m sorry.

ST: It’s ok!

KD: Is this interview going how you expected?

ST: No! But it’s ok! You guys are giving me a lot to work with. I like it when you guys do that. So how has the experience of being in El Ten Eleven impacted your life? 

TF: I don’t know what I’d be doing otherwise. I don’t know. Not that like it’s, I don’t know, I’m not living in a mansion or anything, but I’ve seen a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I don’t know, actually it’s cool because I never thought we’d be together this long, I never thought… I can remember not being sure that the first record would even be good enough or even, like, ready for primetime. So, it’s pretty crazy, it’s been slow and steady and that’s been awesome, actually. My family doesn’t think I’m such a jack— anymore. I told them, I’ve got this under control, I know it seems crazy playing music but…

KD: When my high school friends see me play, they’re expecting it to be in a divey bar like “Oh, Kristian’s still doing the music thing.” Then they’ll come to the show like, “Oh! Whoah, this is actually legit!”

TF: People actually give a crap.

ST: Ok, so now I’m going to move onto some random questions…

KD: Ooh! These are our favorite.

ST: Mine too! Design your perfect sandwich.

TF: Ah, we’ve gotten asked this before!

KD: A money sandwich!

TF: Did I say that?

KD: You were the one that said that. Cause I went with like an expensive food, like lobster or something. You’re like, “A money sandwich”. Ahh! That’s brilliant! I remember we got asked that in… ahh whatever, it doesn’t matter.

TF: As long as it has something crunchy on it…

KD: A thousand dollar bills!

TF: The sandwich has to have chips. I had a bacon and peanut butter sandwich the other day on an English muffin. Have you ever had that?

ST: No, that sounds kinda weird…

TF: You like peanut butter?

ST: I like both a lot.

TF: Alright, so, English muffin; can’t do it on bread, its not good. English muffin, peanut butter, other English muffin, peanut butter, tons of super crispy bacon, can’t be the soggy, fatty stuff. Mash it all together, it’s like a dessert. They should serve that for dessert.

ST: Sounds pretty good actually, in a weird way. 

KD: Not as good as a money sandwich.

TF: So I didn’t design it, that’s my dad, passed that on. Try it.

ST: Alright, I will. So, what was the last thing that gave you a good laugh?

KD: We kinda laugh a lot on this tour. You know what’s kinda interesting about El Ten Eleven, it’s pretty serious music and stuff, but we’re total goofballs and Tim actually should’ve, if he was more confident, he could’ve been a stand-up comedian or impersonator. He cracks us up constantly. He says so much s— that’s funny, all day long, I can’t even remember all this.

TF: I’m trying to think what was the last time… that’s why I don’t have a mic though. I don’t want to say crazy stuff. Like, we’re trying to be serious up there, like really, you’re going to do that?

KD: But it makes me happy so you should dude. Cause, you know, it’s the same thing every night, it’s great, I’m not complaining, but Tim, cause we did try having him have a mic and it was just entertaining for me. Remember we had a delay on your voice?

TF: Yeah, I was doing Robert Plant.

KD: Led Zeppelin! Everyone was all serious and having been moved by the music and Tim’s all, “Ahh ahh ahh ahh! [impersonating Robert Plant].” Like, ah, this is great.

TF: I did the whole Dazed and Confused. I don’t remember, what was my last hard laugh? Like, tears in my eyes laugh? I can’t remember.

KD: As soon as you turn that off [pointing to my recorder], I’ll remember… We haven’t really messed with each other too much this tour. Yeah, this tour’s been pretty mellow.

TF: We usually pull lots of pranks on each other. I hit him [motioning towards tour manager], with a thing of cheese in the nuts.

KD: Oh, that was good! I remember, that was in Ann Arbor.

TF: No, that was this tour when I threw a thing of cheese, you know in the green room, like lunchmeat, and we just had it in our van and it was like, we didn’t have a cooler or anything to keep it. So, I just threw it like a frisbee, trying to hit the camera, and it just went like… and it was like “Oh!!!”…

ST: So, this is kinda similar to the last one, what is the last thing that left a really big impression on you?

KD: Just anything in life?

ST: Anything, anything in life. Something that really touched you, moved you maybe.

KD: Well, that’s easy for me because I have a two-year-old daughter. So, every day she does something that is amazing and it’s like, oh my God. That’s kinda cheating.

ST: That’s a good answer.

KD: Well, it’s true.

TF: I don’t know. Like, I’ve had a bunch of family friends, parents, stuff like that, die recently and so, I don’t know, it’s been a little more of like, taking a second. Being like, “Ah, man.” Like, here we go. We’re dying now. I like to laugh, but there’s always something in the back of my mind that’s just like, ahh, f—.

KD: That’s why we laugh; to try to bury it. That’s why we do tons of drugs and drinks tons of alcohol; to bury our pain.

TF: It works!

KD: See? Look it, we’re laughing! I could cry instantly if I wanted to, but I’m going to have another drink.

TF: I could too.

ST: Can you describe what you would do on your perfect Friday night?

TF: Can I make mine a Saturday?

ST: Yes, you can make yours a Saturday.

TF: Watch Cops. That’s what I do, Saturday. I don’t have cable anymore, so I have to do this some other time, but let’s see. I would make dinner, that’s probably not that great, but good for me, probably drink something, and watch Cops. Two back-to-back Cops: one new, one old. Whatever happens after that, doesn’t matter. It’s perfect.

KD: I concur with that. That seems pretty… you gotta understand, we’re in bars, venues, clubs, on tour night after night after night, hearing music. So to us, to go out and see live music, it’s just not appealing really.

TF: Yeah, just to be home, watching Cops, it’s like, that’s paradise. I mean, I could say being on a beach, which would be awesome.

KD: In the soft sand, with water lapping on my legs, with a TV, watching Cops. Pork taco.

ST: If there was a song that would be on the soundtrack of your life, whether it’s your own from El Ten Eleven, or something else, what would it be?

TF: I have something, it wouldn’t be ours though. There might be a couple or something. Well, if it’s the soundtrack to my life, yeah, because so much of these songs have been part of my life.

KD: Yeah, it’d be hard not to include.

TF: Umm…man! Good question! Bad answer.

ST: You can pick multiple songs if you want. It can be an album soundtrack to your life.

KD: Would this be after I’m dead?

ST: It could be if you wanted it to be.

KD: I’m just trying to think, if I wasn’t around to explain, because if I was around to explain, just knowing me, I’d probably put stuff on there that I wanted people to hear, to turn them onto or something, cause that’s just how I am. You know, you’re a DJ, that’s what you do. But then, if it was a soundtrack to my life for me, like only I would be listening to, on a desert island or whatever, the choices might be pretty different. So, it’s hard.

TF: I think mine’s going to be “Climax” by Usher, because I’m going to nail it in karaoke.

KD: These guys [Tim and the tour manager] have been f—— singing that song! They were singing it and he really is a good singer, actually both these guys, in the van, they’ll turn on the karaoke version and sing it together. It sounds f—— good! Really good! That’s not an easy song to sing.

TF: Yeah, I think my whole soundtrack would be all karaoke versions of songs. I wanna do a “Bones Thugs N Harmony”, I wanna do Crossroads with him cause he knows most of the words and I’ve tried to learn them, but they’re really hard. Motorhead is another one.

KD: He’s really good at singing the “Ace of Spades”. Can you give her just a little bit?

TF: No, I can’t just jump into it, it’s not that easy. I need to put jean shorts on.

KD: Need to put a wart on your face.

ST: Should’ve brought a karaoke machine!

TF: Aw! Is there good karaoke…? Ah, shoot, we have to leave right after the show tonight because we have a super long drive.

KD: We don’t get to hang out in Sac. Does it offend you when people say Sac?

ST: Nah, I call it Sac all the time. Yeah, I think most of us do.

TF: If you put a “k” on it, that’s a little offensive.

ST: Yeah, that’s weird.

KD: Sac. Sac-k-k.

TF: Sack.

KD: The “k” is silent!

TF: Come on bro.

ST: My last question, what can we expect in the future from El Ten Eleven? 

TF: Lot’s of stuff. I’m excited. When we’re on tour, I’m always excited to go home and start working on new stuff. We always have to stop working on new stuff to leave for a tour, generally. This time, that was totally the way it was. Like, we’ll get together to practice and it’s like, man we gotta leave for the tour and I’m like, should we work on new stuff or work on the set? Ah, let’s just work on new stuff! And then we’re like, ah crap, we should’ve worked on the set a week ago because things aren’t running.

KD: Yeah, the first few shows of tour are always kind of, sh—-, or, always kind of crappy, because of exactly that. We should’ve been working on the set, but we were excited about new stuff and we just put it to the last minute and were like, “Oh, we don’t really have this together yet.” Sorry Phoenix! It’s always Phoenix.

TF: Sometimes they get the last show of the tour though.

KD: Yeah, every once in a while they get it. The last show of the tour are typically good because we have the tour shots, we got it all together, unless we’re fried and thinking about going home. We have the material, we’re getting the material together to record another full-length record. We’re planning on doing that all summer long. We’re going to take a break from touring and just do a few festivals, some one-offs here and there. Probably not even tour in the fall. Like, we might do two weeks in Europe or something. Just fully devote to recording a new record, getting it together, and then having it come out at the end of the year, beginning of next year. That’s where our mind are kind of. I mean, in the middle of a tour, we’re thinking about the tour and stuff, but we are, I agree with Tim. I’m excited to get back to working on new stuff and see what we can come up with and hopefully try to top ourselves.

ST: We’ll be looking forward to it. 

KD: Thanks! I hope it’s really, pure intention.

TF: I think it’s going to be great. I’m excited.

ST: Well, that’s about it for the interview. Thanks for talking with me guys!

KD: Thank you, Constance!

TF: Yay, somebody gives a s—!

Note: This interview isn’t word for word. The transcribed text is my interpretation, but you can listen to the whole interview on the Soundcloud link below.

You can listen to my show, The Beat Hour, live on Tuesdays from 6-7pm on KSSU.com. I play today’s best alternative & indie music, interviews with bands, and have the occasional giveaway. Tune in!

DJ Constance – Sasha Tokas

Interview: Aan – 3/1/2014


Aan2

Over the weekend, Portland based Aan put on an excellent show at Luigi’s Fungarden here in Sacramento. They are promoting their new album, Amor Ad Nauseum, and on tour headed down to SXSW in Austin next week. I was able to chat with them after their set.

Sasha Tokas (ST): You guys are on tour promoting your new album, Amor Ad Nauseam; are the name of your band and the album titled related?

Bud Wilson (BW): Yes, absolutely. In part the album title is to dispel the curiosities of folks who ask what A-A-N means all the time. So, although its sort of asinine because Aan is not an acronym. I think the whole point of the band is just to create those strange moments where you’re like, “I don’t know what the heck’s going on.”

ST: Can you talk a little about recording the album and how it came to be; the process behind putting it all together?

BW: Yes, it was gradual. We started strong, we went out to a cabin and did a bit of basically laying out the framework for the record and recorded some drum tracks and bass and finished one piece fairly quickly and then, as well we ran out of money and then came back into town.

Jon Lewis (JL): We got cabin fever.

BW: Yeah, we got cabin fever. Got real weird. Then once we were back in town we would sporadically go in and work on tracks and just explore the studio a bit. That’s part of that record, just an exploration of the studio and also sort of became music school for us.

Reese Lawhon (RL): Some of the songs pretty much, literally came about in the studio. We wrote them, before we played them together live or anything and just kinda crafted, you know, a piece of music and then, been learning how to play it ever since.

JL: We all came in with like a rough draft basically.

BW: Exactly. And the goal was for it to be a sort of visual record. That was the one point that was going to be made from the beginning, was that it didn’t listen like a live record, it listened as a… you know you’d sit down with headphones on and go through each track linearly. You can still jump around, but it’s supposed to sort of listen in a cinematic way.

ST: What’s happening to the poor dog on the album cover?

RL: Yeah a lot of people, some people were really disturbed by it. Been getting kind of hate mail about it.

JL: Someone wrote us and they like Aan a lot and then…

RL: But the album cover’s horrible!

JL: Someone replied to them and they were like “Yeah, I love your music, but this cover makes me not really wanna listen to it anymore.”

RL: Which, you know, is understandable.

BW: We would say like, you hate the cover… What do you think the dog feels?

Patrick Phillips (PP): It’s not like we, it’s not like anybody… A dog ran into a porcupine.

JL: It’s not like we got the quills from the porcupine and just threw it at the dog.

PP: It’s not like we had a little, like, blow-dart gun and were torturing an animal.

BW: Absolutely not.

PP: These things happen.

BW: What happened, I’ll tell the story.

ST: Do you know the dog?

BW: Yes, the dog is my lady friend’s mother’s dog. She’s 12 years old, her name’s Maya and she’s fine. That’s the third time that she’s attacked a porcupine. She’s very well known at the veterinarian’s office. This photo was just captured by the veterinarian before she was treated getting all those quills removed.

RL: And she’s fine. We just liked the image and how it relates to the album title.

BW: And a lot of the subject matter on the record, sort of, doing things that you know are bad, continuously.

ST: Can you talk a little about the beginnings of the band and how you guys formed, met each other?

BW: Yeah, it started as a solo project for me (this is Bud) and then I was playing in a band with Reese and brought Reese in and some other members of that band. As time went on people would come in and out. It’s been a three-piece, it’s been a four-piece, it’s been a two-piece, but it never really coalesced until Jon went to the East Coast with us for a tour and I think we started to understand the process of music making as well as the business end and what it takes to be serious. That was probably almost three years ago, or it was three years ago, and Jon brings a lot of enthusiasm to the band and I’m more of the creative minded person so it’s important to balance those two things out. Then Patrick has come on with the band about six months ago and been touring with us. The next record will be with Patrick and it will probably be a lot more of a different direction, but within the same… Things that you would expect from us, but with an emphasis on more, probably more rhythmic things.

ST: It’s kind of unfortunate, but inevitable that bands get labeled under specific genre names and all that. So before people start saying “Oh, Aan is this kind of music or that kind of music”, what do you guys want to be seen as?

BW: I think we want to be understood as just, playing with pop structure. At the end of the day, we’re a pop band. Can’t really not be. You know, so, experimental pop to some degree with atmospheric rock touches. My mom wrote in our local, where I grew up, there’s a newspaper that goes out to about 250 people and she wrote an article in the newspaper and it’s called… What’s it called? It was like “psych-tinged atmospheric rock pop”. Something like that.

JL: It’s pretty accurate.

RL: Decent description, better than a lot of the other ones we’ve had.

BW: Good job mom.

JL: Freak folk. That’s a good one.

RL: Well, we used to be more freak folky, I suppose.

BW: Just ridin’ the wave.

PP: So whatever’s the coolest new thing.

BW: It’s difficult to say what we are, I think what’s happening is what we feel like doing. We don’t put limits on anything.

ST: For your “Somewhere’s Sunshine” video, did you guys come up with the concept for that music video?

BW: No, we didn’t. Some friends of ours have a production company called KYDJ, which is “Keep Your Day Job”, and they’ve always got really good ideas. They took the helm on that one and we just had all the cowboy clothes shipped from my parents, who are ranchers. And then that was it.

RL: Dragged us all out to a field at 6 in the morning and shot til sundown.

BW: Yeah, 6 to 9. 6am. 9pm. It was hellish.

ST: Is there a message behind the music video?

BW: People keep asking that. There must be some underlying philosophical thing there, but they haven’t told us what it is.

ST: Left open for interpretation, right?

BW: Yeah, the best always are.

ST: What was it like going on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins?

JL: It felt like a job. Well, I mean, this is a job, but we also have fun at our job.

RL: It was surreal.

BW: I’ll just do it cause you guys are taking too long. We’re on the radio, they can’t see your cool face. It was really fun, but it was also like music school because we felt like little fish in a gigantic ocean. But we learned so much and met the members of the then Smashing Pumpkins and they were great. It was super cool, it was probably one of the coolest things to ever happen to any of us.

JL: I remember hearing “Zero” when I was, I don’t know, 9 years old at my friends house, like behind my neighborhood and just like freaking out. And then, I don’t know, what was that, like 20 years later, I’m opening for them.

RL: Yeah, definitely never would have thought that we would be opening for this band at some point. It was surreal, but it was super fun. Their whole crew was super nice to us, accommodating. Glad we did it.

BW: Personal growth.

JL: Got rained on everyday too.

ST: Ok, so for some random questions now. How would you guys prepare the perfect bowl of oatmeal?

JL: This is Reese’s.

RL: Well, I probably eat the most oatmeal of the band. I like my oatmeal with some brown sugar or some sort of syrup, berries, and almonds. That’s all I really need.

PP: I usually go savory. Sometimes, like to mix it up, do like…bacon, Sriracha, and egg. I’ve done that one before, its pretty good.

BW: Gross.

JL: Dude, egg in oatmeal?

PP: Don’t knock it til you try it.

BW: I don’t eat oatmeal. I don’t believe in breakfast.

JL: (To Patrick) You put Sriracha on your Pacifico.

RL: Bud does not believe in breakfast, very true.

BW: Its one of my least favorite things: breakfast. Truly. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’d just rather have lunch.

JL: Bud just eats two lunches.

BW: Yeah, I don’t even really eat dinner.

JL: He just eats three lunches. Keeps you going.

ST: What was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life?

BW: Beautiful thing I’ve ever seen… Its probably on DMT.

JL: I was about to say rainbows on mushrooms.

BW: Yeah, I’m sure it was a psychedelic experience. I mean, if we’re gonna be honest, I’m sure it was some profound psychedelic experience.

PP: I was at church. I was a young man then and, uh, sometimes you get to peek behind the veil and see, uh, see something really beautiful like, I don’t know.

BW: Where you going with that?

RL: It was Billy Corgan in his white robe. The most beautiful thing.

JL: Eating noodle salad on a couch.

RL: Which is pretty much how we met him.

PP: Its probably the day Bud was born. I saw him emerge. It was one of the most beautiful things. Just crawling out, a full-grown man.

BW: Thanks dad. Patrick’s also my father.

ST: If you guys could pick a mascot for the band, what would it be?

JL: Easy…

ALL: Chupacabra!

BW: Absolutely, it’s our spirit animal.

ST: You guys had that one ready!

PP: Is this the chupacabra or the…

BW: Jon has “Chupa” tattooed on his…

RL: Since we’ve been touring together, Jon, Bud, and I…

JL: (To Patrick) You might like rabbits, but we like chupacabras.

RL: The chupacabra’s by far our spirit animal, mascot, whatever you want to call it.

JL: The elusive chupacabra.

BW: When we find the chupacabra, which we are looking for…

JL: We’ve been searching…

BW: Jon will get “cabra” tattooed on his arm because currently he only has “Chupa” tattooed on his arm, which is…

JL: To suck.

RL: We got homemade tattoos the last time we were in Austin for SXSW.

JL: We were staying with my friend and he bought a tattoo gun, like, I don’t know, when. But, he never tattooed anyone, so I just gave him this idea of giving me a tattoo cause he needed practice. He wants to do this. So, I just had him tattoo “Chupa” on my…

BW: Yeah, its his upper arm. It says “Chupa” in papyrus font.

PP: What’s really great is that, I have a really great picture of Jon with his shirt off that will hit the internet really soon. Actually, it already did hit the internet and somebody commented on it. They’re like, “Sick chalupa… sick chalupa tat!” Its like… my friends aren’t very smart.

JL: Yeah, I love chalupas. Especially when the Blazers win, I get a free chalupa.

BW: Not anymore.

JL: Yeah, that’s true.

ST: Ok so, last question, what can we expect in the future from Aan?

BW: Trying to get a record out again this year. If anything we’ll be writing new music as soon as we get back from this tour and hopefully supporting some larger bands in the near future. Like I said, trying to put some new pieces of music out by the end of the year.

RL: As soon as possible.

BW: Just trying to turn pro.

PP: Probably expect to see the Smashing Pumpkins opening for us.

JL: Once Billy reforms the band for the third time, they might be opening for us.

RL: On the Mogwai/GRMLN tour.

BW: We are not loved by Pumpkins’ fans anymore.

JL: Yeah, I don’t think so.

BW: We blew that one hardcore. And we don’t even mean to! Obviously we’re fans, and we didn’t have any bad experiences, but we sure say some dumb stuff sometimes.

RL: We’re talking about the hardcore Pumpkin fans.

BW: Yeah, the guys who run blogs.

JL: The 40 year olds.

BW: We love you.

JL: Billy Corgan’s neighbor, I don’t know.

ST: Thank you guys so much for speaking with me tonight.

All: Thank you.

BW: Our pleasure.

Note: This interview isn’t word for word. I interpreted it as best I could, but if you want to listen for yourself, click here and it will direct you to Soundcloud.

You can listen to my show, The Beat Hour, live on Tuesdays from 6-7pm on KSSU.com. I play today’s best alternative & indie music, interviews with bands, and the occasional giveaway. Tune in!

DJ Constance – Sasha Tokas