“I was there with all these pedals and I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I said, I don’t give a $#*&, let’s start making noises!” – Torsten Kinsella
God Is An Astronaut merch table at C-Club Berlin, Sept 2013
Welcome to part 2 in a series of interview podcasts, called “A Touring Daze,” in which I speak with musicians on the road, while I, myself, am living in a foreign space. Back in September I visited the C-Club in Berlin to see God Is An Astronaut light up the stage. The Irish (formerly) instrumental rock band had dotting across Europe in support of their recent album on Rocket Girl Recordings, Origins. In addition to some great stories of being on tour, guitarists Torsten Kinsella and Jamie Dean shared the unique songwriting process on the recent record of sculpting sounds into songs. This month’s piece is called “Post-Pop Tart Rock.”
The band prepares to wash the audience away during soundcheck.
The audio piece first aired on KZSU Stanford 90.1FM on December 2nd, 2013.
Many thanks to Torsten and Jamie in the band, and Vinita at Rocket Girl for making the interview happen. The next podcast will arrive January 1st and feature Canadian collective Esmerine.
“When you’re singing a song, it needs to be the only thing happening in the world right now. You need to believe it and you need to make them believe it.” – Jon DeRosa
Welcome to part 1 in a series of interview pieces, called “A Touring Daze,” in which I speak with musicians on the road, while I, myself, am on the road. To kick off the series, I had the opportunity to speak to Jon DeRosa. DeRosa has worked professionally as a musician for the last twenty years under different guises, names, and projects, including Dead Leaves Rising, Vlor, Aarktica, his own name (solo), and Pale Horse and Rider. In the Berlin alternative mainstay Wild At Heart, we caught up before a gig in September. We spoke about his recent work, touring with Lydia Lunch (in support of his recent 7″ single, “Signs of Life“), and who has armed him with artistic inspiration as of late. This piece is called “Crossing over from Ambient into crooner-pop.”
Recently, Decoder Magazine also published a feature I wrote about the interview. The audio piece first aired on KZSU Stanford 90.1FM on October 21st, 2013.
Many thanks to Jon and Rocket Girl Recordings for the opportunity. The next podcast will arrive December 1st and feature Irish rockers, God Is An Astronaut.
After a week break from the interview blitz on my show, I had the fortune to interview Drew Sullivan, otherwise known as Slow Dancing Society. Sullivan resides in Washington where he produces and composes atmospheric ambient music. His four full-length releases have met critical acclaim from a wide variety of publications and aggregators, including Luna Kafe, Twice Removed, Hypnagogue, and the Ambient Music Guide. Slow Dancing Society absolutely dominated the KZSU charts in 2011. Three Slow Dancing Society records charted in the top 14 ambient/experimental albums at KZSU. Most recently, Hidden Shoal artist Antonymes reworked a series of tracks from Sullivan’s releases on the late 2011 album, We Don’t Look Back for Very Long. It was a pleasure to welcome a master of blanketing, dreamy sound, Drew Sullivan to KZSU.
Drew spoke with me about his musical influences, how the 80s play a pivotal role in the sound of Slow Dancing Society, and the upcoming releases of some of his projects. Unbeknownst to me, Drew has joined City of Satellites, contributing bass, and collaborations have even morphed into something different, titled The October Solution, whose works in progress can be heard here. Check out my interview, and make sure to go to the Hidden Shoal website, or check out Slow Dancing Society on bandcamp, if you haven’t already familiarized yourself with Sullivan’s work. Thanks agin to Drew for his time and to Hidden Shoal for all the support at KZSU. Take care and until next week.
Hey internet fans! Yesterday I spoke with Cory of Three Lobed Recordings over the phone and on the air. Cory Rayborn is the owner and head of Three Lobed Recordings. Three Lobed is a small label out of Jamestown North Carolina. The label began as a website for the Philadelphia heavy pyschedelic band, Bardo Pond, who was then enthused to release on 10″ vinyl the Slab EP under Three Lobed in August of 2000. Since then, Rayborn has moved on from his undergraduate years at Duke to the University of North Carolina Law School and now practices law in High Point North Carolina. Three Lobed has steadily become more and more influential, picking up a roster of artists and friends of friends all over the country. Recently, Three Lobed re-released Bardo Pond and Tom Carter‘s studio psych collaboration, 4/23/03. It’s now a double LP with a bonus track and bonus CD of collaborations that took place on 4/25/03. Coming up this year is the second release from the Gunn-Truscinski duo, titled Ocean Parkway. There is no doubt that this is one of my favorite labels — where else can you find the likes of Tarentel, Jack Rose, Heavy Winged, and Eternal Tapestry releases all on one label?
My talk with Cory covered a lot of different territory. We spoke about his love of taping live shows, and how this made him a star in the taping community, increasing his contacts with artists. Cory also explained his philosophy on releasing music from the artists he trusts and respects. Take a listen to the interview and make sure to visit http://threelobed.com/tlr/home.html for more info on the label.
Thanks again to Cory for the time, hosting, permission, and generous support of KZSU Music.
My ghost trees interview series continued today with Brian John Mitchell out of North Carolina. Brian John Mitchell is the founder and operator of Silber Records as well as the songwriter and force behind the project Remora. The origins of Silber Records can be traced back to fall of 1994 with the development of the zine, QRD. Silber Records has a motto of “drone, love, honesty, sound” and label artists are stylistically diverse but carry a common link through ethereal ambience, acoustic guitars, and a taste for waves of noise. Silber artists include Rivulets, Alan Sparhawk, Plumerai, Azalia Snail, Aarktika, and of course, Remora, to name a few. Remora released Scars Bring Hope in late 2011, which is a move into the studio and a return to post-apocalyptic folk pop songs that are dunked in electronics, drones, and heavy sounds.
2011’s release Scars Bring Hope by Remora on Silber Records
The lengthy discussion I had with Brian jumped all over the map. We spoke about QR, upcoming Silber releases, Remora and drawing comics. Brian is such a good guy and it was a pleasure to get to know him before and after our interview. If you would like to take a listen to the interview, you can do so here. Make sure to head over to the Silber Records home on the web: www.silbermedia.com. Silber is truly one of the great labels I’ve only had the privilege of discovering due to my involvement in college radio at Stanford.
Upcoming interviews on ghost trees (Mondays from 9am – noon PST on KZSU Stanford 90.1FM and http://kzsulive.stanford.edu):
- February 20th (10am): Cory Rayborn, head of Three Lobed Recordings and another label stalwart from North Carolina.
Yesterday I continued my Winter Quarter series of interviews with The Lickets, another group performing in the 2012 Day of Noise. The Lickets are local artists writing and performing a unique form of looped, layered, electro-acoustic, shimmering folk-drone beauty. The Lickets are comprised of Mitch Greer and Rachel Smith, who are also behind International Corporation, the label that releases work by The Lickets and side projects Quintana Jacobsma and Mary St. John. International Corporation also releases films to correspond to musical pieces. The Lickets have received praise far and wide and have been described as “explorative and expansive” (Textura), “deeply enchanting” (The Fly), and “luminously beautiful” (Lost At E Minor). The Lickets will be performing between 10 and 11pm in the upcoming Day of Noise on February 12th, at KZSU Stanford’s studios. It was a pleasure to catch up with The Lickets.
The Lickets’ 2011 release, Here (on Earth)
Mitch and Rachel shared some insight into the gestation of the recent Lickets record, Here (on Earth), released in late 2011. It seems that KZSU had a role in the composition process, and so I find it only appropriate that we charted it 6th overall for the month of December, 7th overall for the month of January (even 11th in November), as well as numerous weekly peaks at #1. On KZSU, that is true consistency and appreciation (see D. Cannibal’s gushing review). Beyond that, the duo also discussed their videos, fun media one-sheets, and what we may hear in the upcoming performance. Download the interview and make sure to visit http://www.lickets.com and International Corporation for more info on their work. Thanks again to The Lickets for their time, permission, and support.
Upcoming interviews on Ghost Trees (Mondays from 9am – noon PST on KZSU Stanford 90.1FM and http://kzsulive.stanford.edu):
- February 13th (10am): Brian John Mitchell, head honcho of Silber Records as well as the force behind Remora.
- February 20th (10am): Cory Rayborn, owner and operator of Three Lobed Recordings and all-around good guy.
Another Monday and another opportunity to interview a terrific Day of Noise performer and musician. Maxwell August Croy is co-operator and label runner of Root Strata, as well as multi-instrumentalist in the duo, En. Along with James Devane, Croy incorporates and processes acoustic sounds like koto, guitar, and vocals into dreamy washes of hazy bliss. The duo released their debut The Absent Coast on Root Strata in fall of 2010, and will be releasing Already Gone on Students of Decay in March. At the helm of Root Strata, Croy has helped establish the San Francisco-based label as the authority on gorgeous soundscapes, ambience, psychedelic hypnotism, and the beauty of warm blankets of fuzz. Root Strata has been home to creative artists like Grouper, Starving Weirdos, Richard Youngs, Yellow Swans, Tarentel, and Barn Owl to name very very few. With co-label head Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Maxwell August Croy organized the On-Land Music Festival, which ran in San Francisco most recently in 2010, as a platform for drone, psych, and experimental musicians as well as friends of Root Strata. It is a pleasure to welcome Maxwell August Croy to KZSU for the 2012 Day of Noise.
Today, Maxwell and I spoke about the origins of En, the personal nature of creating and releasing independent music, and his progression as a musician and artist. Once again, I have uploaded the interview. Many thanks to Maxwell for the conversation, images, preview track, and permission to make the interview available. Make sure to check out En’s website to keep up on tour dates and release information. And while you’re at it, set a bookmark at Root Strata’s webpage, you won’t regret it.
Maxwell August Croy
Another upcoming interview on Ghost Trees (Mondays from 9am – noon PST on KZSU Stanford 90.1FM and kzsulive.stanford.edu):
February 6th (10am): Mitch Greer and Rachel Smith of folky drone experimentalists, The Lickets.