The Infinite Beat 4.5 w/ The Blank Tapes

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Drinking with Jackie-Lynn

The Infinite Beat 4.5

Last night at Safari Sams was the weirdest yet. I guess we were cleaning up after Trail of the Dead from the previous night. No sweat. There was four bands and a lot of music. Where were the people? It wasn't a total loss. The Flying Saucers came on and played their version of punk rock. Whatever makes the girlfriends happy? Asher was cool even though they were down to two members. The Blank Tapes was pretty good, even though I didn't know who was in the band. They didn't really seem like the most friendly band. The last band was The Front. They had some potential. Not even sure what I played. I played "Country Girl" by Primal Scream about 5 times, according to some. Here is a vague list of what I remember being played. I was using mostly my laptop and CDs and not any vinyl.

Here it is:

Primal Scream "Country Girl"
The Kills "I Hate The Way You Love"
Babyshambles "Killamangiro"
Primal Scream "When The Bomb Drops"
BRMC "Wishing Well"
The Black Angels "Bloodhounds On My Trail"
The Rapture "Out Of The Races"
The Subways "City Pavement"
Freeheat "Facing Up To The Facts"
Be Your Own Pet "Girls On TV"

The Duke Spirit "Lion RIP"
Freeheat "Keep On Truckin"
Primal Scream "The 99th Floor"
Blonde Redhead "Equus"
The Black Angels "Black Grease"
Babyshambles "Fuck Forever"
Wire "In The Art Of Stopping"
Dirty Pretty Things "Bang Bang You're Dead"
Freeheat "Back On The Water"
Primal Scream "Suicide Sally & Johnny Guitar"

Dirty Pretty Things "Gin & Milk"
Joy Division "She's Lost Control"
BRMC "Steal A Ride"
Darker My Love "Opening"
The Rapture "Olio"
Massive Attack "Risingson"
Wolfmother "Woman"
BRMC "Mercy"
The Rakes "Retreat" (Pnones Remix)
The Arctic Monkeys "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor"

Autolux "Blanket"
Singapore Sling "Rockit"
The Raveonettes "Veronica Fever"
John Foxx "Burning Car"
Verve "Bittersweet Symphony"
Magazine "Because You're Frightened"
Annie "Happy Without You"
The Kills "Love Is A Deserter"
The Tears "Refugees"
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Phenomenon"

The Flaming Lips "Free Radicals"
Be Your Own Pet "Bicycle Bicycle"
Brakes "Heard About Your Band"
Beck "Sissyneck"
Morrissey "The Father Who Must Be Killed"
The Vines "Don't Listen To The Radio"
PIL "Death Disco"

Joy Divison "Unknown Pleasures" in its entirity

Some Indian music
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


The Infinite Beat @ Safari Sams

WHO: The Infinite Beat 4.5 @ Safari Sams. DJ Alexander Laurence returns tothe Safari Sams for a second time. We also have the bands The Blank Tapes,The Front, The Flying Saucers, and Asher. There will be surprises....

The Flying Saucers 9pm
Asher 945pm
The Blank Tapes 1030pm
The Front 1115pm

Midnight: Dance Party!!!!


WHERE: Safari Sams - 5214 West Sunset Boulevard (east of Western).
Very close to Red Line Metro train (Hollywood and Western station). 323 666-7267

HOW: Five dollars (Print this out and it will be 2 dollars)

WHAT:Safari Sams is the newest club in Hollywood. They have great nights likeCheck Your Ponytail and Dandy. Also bands like The Bellrays, The MorningAfter Girls, Petra Hayden, and Jolie Holland have played at the new location.The old venue in Huntington Beach had acts like Jesus and Mary Chain andJonathan Richman. So there is a rich history.


About The Infinite Beat:

"For a decidedly professional approach to uncovering the mysteries lurking insidethe heads of musicians as well as a catalogue of live show reviews, checkout Mr. Laurence's blog, the Portable Infinite. You will see that the manis engaged in some serious musicology. Many of the interviews are "spot on"as they say. Additionally, for those who either love or hate LA, the Portable Infinite is also a resource to music and art happenings in the City of Lights. Lastly, (Alexander) Laurence has hit the decks himself with some DJ gigsat places like Safari Sam's in Hollywood, spinning his heady brew of Brit-Pop, Post-Punk, New Wave, and Goth. Watch out Rodney Bingenheimer, there's a newkid on the block!"

Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


Lansing-Dreiden @ Troubadour

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

All photos by Alexander Laurence
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink

Elefant Interview

Elefant Interview
By alexander laurence

Elefant is a cool band from New York City. They started in 2002, and soon toured heavily and supported bands like Stellastarr* and Interpol. Their first album was Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid (2003). They were very popular immediately. After two years of relentless touring, they signed to a bigger label and started working on their second record. The Black Magic Show (2006) came in April. They already had finished another supporting slot with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, before they went off on their own headlining tour for this album. The second album has a bigger sound. It is more rocking. It was very shocking to heard for some fans. They didn’t realize that Elefant has more layers and mystery to them than your average group.

I spoke to Jeff James in Portland right before their show. When I caught up with them Diego was off listening to the Argentina friendly that was going on. He was wearing his Argentina team jersey and seemed to be really into football. He would be glad to know that Argentina has done good so far in the World Cup. I spoke to their manager in LA a few weeks later and I found out that their tour of Mexico was amazing and mind-blowing, and twice as intense as some of their American audiences.

Diego Garcia: vocals
Jeff James: bass/vocals
Mod: guitars
Kevin McAdams: drums

AL: How has the tour been going? This is your first headlining tour for the second album?

Jeff: It’s been very good. Very quick and painless. The LA and the New York shows were stand out gigs. They both felt important at least. We had a new record and everyone came to check it out.

AL: The show in LA was at the Wiltern, which is a rather large venue. Some places like Berbati’s Pan are a little smaller.

Jeff: That has to do with the state of radio in America. The place where we are getting played on the radio, we play big venues, and where we are not played on the radio, it’s smaller clubs. My guess is they find out about your band in the bugger cities first, and the rest of world finds about it later. I don’t know about these things. I just learned how to play bass and joined a band. I should have taken more statistics and business classes. I think about that stuff half of the time now.

AL: How did you all meet?

Jeff: We were in different bands in New York City. It’s a normal story. Diego played in a band that played with Kevin and Mod’s band. That is how they met. I met Diego at an Interpol show. He didn’t see me play that night. He was there to see Interpol who was playing later that night. He saw me hanging around and asked me if I played bass guitar. I thought that he had seen the show. I said: “Yeah, I play bass. Did you see the show?” He said: “No, I didn’t see it, but I like the way you look.” Whatever. My band soon fizzled out. I called him and he was still looking for a bass player. He asked a lot of people to play bass in Elefant. And here we are.

AL: I heard that Shawn Christensen of Stellastarr* played in a bunch of bands with members of Elefant.

Jeff: Shawn grew up with Kevin. They both grew up in upstate New York. I am not sure how they met, but they have known each other for years. Mod recorded Stellastarr*’s first demos. Shawn played bass in a very early version of Elefant. It was called Circus. Diego asked all these people who were lead singers later in other bands, to play bass, like Paul Banks, from Interpol, and Marcus, from Ambulance LTD.

AL: It seems funny now that you all knew each other?

Jeff: I moved to New York in the summer of 2000. There were a lot of bands playing at Luna Lounge, Sidewalk Café, and the club Tiswas. It was all in the Lower East Side. We all kept bumping into each other. That was right around the time that the Strokes started to happen. You would see bands play there all the time. Things were happening for all these bands at the same time.

AL: Did the success of the Strokes inspire you?

Jeff: That was in 2001. We started in 2002, and there were a lot of bands that were taking off at the same time. There were a lot of people in New York at the time.

AL: Diego had already written some of those songs on the first album.

Jeff: He definitely had a few. The first song I learned was “Misfit.” That was the first song we ever played together. I came into the room and we played that on the first day. Some of the first record was already written. We have some awesome songs that we have never recorded. Hopefully one day we will go back and re-record them. Maybe one day we can put them out as b-sides.

AL: How do you decide what goes on the album?

Jeff: Whatever fits. We are very album conscious, music nerds. At least I am. I have respect for the album as a concept and a piece of art. Some people think the first record and the second record are so different. They thought the first album was so planned. Like it was “Hey, let’s do some 1980s rip-off thing.” Those were the songs that fit together. We had songs with different styles that we were working on then. We had songs that were more rocking or heavier. We also didn’t want to have a long record. At the time there were all these CDs that were sixty-five minutes, and you couldn’t even listen to the whole thing. I love Radiohead, but I haven’t heard the end of Amnesiac. We were conscious of having a record that you could listen to at one time. People think we have changed and that we are more rock. We have always been a rock band and we have always had those types of songs.

AL: Some of these songs were played at the previous tours?

Jeff: Yeah. We played a lot of these songs before when we were on tour. When you put out an album that is thirty minutes long, by the time you play a headlining tour, you need more songs. You can’t just play thirty minutes. You have to give people their money’s worth. You want to play for at least forty-five minutes. We used to play “The Clown” and “Black Magic Show.” We played half of the songs from the second record in the previous shows. There were a few songs that didn’t make it on the record too.

AL: When were the songs written for the second album?

Jeff: The writing was happening all the time. We had tons of songs built up from before. We played a new song at the record release party for “Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid.” The writing had started then. Some songs didn’t make the second record because they were out of their time. I wish we could record more. That is one of our main goals after this record and tour: we don’t want to have three years between records. We don’t want that to happen ever again. We must have written sixty songs. That was frustrating. We only released eleven songs, but they were the best. There are still some good songs that didn’t make it. There are other songs that just got old and we couldn’t find the excitement to play them anymore. We have some demos. They will see the light of day.

AL: Diego writes all the songs?

Jeff: We tear them apart and put them back together again. Diego is a songwriter. He is really not a complex musician. He lets us take care of that stuff. We are not making it more complex, but making it more musically exciting. Part of Diego’s genius is that he writes simple songs. Every great song is very simple.

AL: Diego plays guitar too, right?

Jeff: Yeah. When he was fifteen, he learned how to play every song by the Velvet Underground. He wasn’t studying riffs by Jimmy Page. He was just playing chords. He was just writing songs. He didn’t care about riffs, solos, or even playing good.

AL: Do you think Diego will ever play guitar onstage?

Jeff: Yeah. We leave stuff open. You can’t blow your load too early, so to speak. Like, on the second record, Mod sang a lot. He didn’t sing on the first record at all. It was just me doing the backing vocals. On the second record it was me and Mod singing backing vocals. Maybe on the third record we will have a lot more singing on the record. We can have three part harmonies, and explore all that. Then also Diego is a great guitar player, but he hasn’t played any guitar on any of the previous records. That is another direction to happen with the music Elefant. It will definitely happen because we always want to try new things.

AL: Is it much different being on Hollywood Records, which is a bigger label?

Jeff: The major difference is the money that we spend. There is a big difference when all your records are in the stores. That is all you can ask for really. It’s great when you records are more available and out there for people to buy. Every label is the same. There are no more cool labels. All labels have horror stories and they have examples of great bands that have made great records. All labels have fucked things up. Labels are trying to catch up with things. The radio stations are all corporate. Bands can’t even get played on the stations. There are as many amazing bands right now than there ever has been, maybe more. The radio station and the culture do not reflect that excitement. Nobody is having a hit. If some of these great bands were being discovered and having hits, things would be like the Swinging Sixties in London. It would be crazy. It’s sad that these great songs take so long to find an audience.

AL: I was hoping that the Internet could create a new musical society. But a thing like Pitchfork has created a bunch of musical snobs, and haters of music. The Internet has created certain writers who use their own personal dilemmas to view music, and reduce everything to a knowable value.

Jeff: This Pitchfork thing is insane. As it moves to more instant assess and more Internet based, it creates more power. Some of those people are into it for the greater good of music. They all think they are Lester Bangs. They are not. They are just some assholes. We had some guy at Pitchfork who thought we were stupid. It was like he thought we didn’t even read books. He was going on like “Who are these guys to reference great literature?” He thought that we didn’t even read these books. Fuck you! We all went to Universities. What fucking community college did you attend? You probably went to a computer college. Those writers should include all the schools they attended. Pitchfork can lick my balls basically. It’s the most read website, but we know we are good. They can tear it up. We have better pop songs than anyone else.

AL: Just because Diego doesn’t play guitar, and he is a front man, people might see it as not so serious. So might think you are more pop like Duran Duran than Pink Floyd?

Jeff: Yes. We are entertainers. We are playing pop songs. It’s not as serious as people want it to be. There is a lot of humor. People don’t get the jokes I guess. How do you say “I offered her chocolates and beer.” Those are funny lyrics. I don’t understand when people say: “How can they sing such absurd lyrics? These lyrics are horrible.” They are pop lyrics. “She loves you, yeah yeah yeah.” How fucking simple is that?

AL: There is a lot of talk about you being a New York band. Do you or any of these bands live in New York anymore?

Jeff: Everyone is so busy nowadays. Everyone is always on tour. There is no more hanging out like we used to. There is no New York scene. We recorded our new album in Los Angeles. We were not complaining. I like all the new records from those bands. I think the new records by the Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs are amazing. I think our record is amazing. What you going to look to Canada? It’s okay. There is still a lot of action in New York. It’s just music.

AL: We are just talking about it too much?

Jeff: The more you talk about it, the less mystery there is. There are people that are amazing at doing that. Bob Dylan has never been honest in an interview in his life. It’s all a mystery. R.E.M. was like that. Radiohead took that and ran away with it. They had artwork on their record that was too bizarre to make heads or tales of it. Mystery is a big part of the band.

AL: Did you work with Ed Buller?

Jeff: We started recording with Ed Buller. The label wanted us to work with someone who was bigger. They wanted a hit maker. There was a lot of pressure on Ed. We worked with him in LA too.

AL: He is more known for his work with English bands like Suede and Pulp.

Jeff: He is amazing. He likes to tinker. We all do. He likes to work with tones. It would have taken a lot longer to make this record with Ed Buller. The pressure of the situation was too much. Everyone flipped out. The label gave Ed a hard time. He left and we got Don Gilmore, who was great. He did a Linkin Park record. We were never going to sound like them. Don created a good atmosphere. He is a funny guy. He must be one of the best producers going right now. We wanted to do something like the first Stone Roses record. It’s like fifteen years later and you are still hearing new things on it. We wanted to make a feast for the ears. We recorded it at NRG in Burbank. We lived at the Oakwood Apartments for four months. A lot of bands and stage moms live there. I thought the Oakwood was like this new place. But Ed Buller said he stayed there twenty years ago when he recorded a Psychedelic Furs record. I read that Nirvana lived there. Wu-Tang Clan stayed there and RZA was there.

AL: What are you doing this summer?

Jeff: We are going overseas. We are going to Mexico in June. We have never been there. That is going to be fun. We are hoping to go to Europe soon. The record is already out in Australia and Japan, so we are probably going over there very soon. That will be exciting. We don’t get played on the radio, so it is great to tour, because that is main way for us to make fans.

(Diego Garcia joins us)

Diego: Argentina just won. It was a friendly. It was 2-0. Everyone looked healthy and good.

AL: Did you see the Arsenal Vs. Barcelona match?

Diego: Yeah.

AL: Arsenal almost won, but they let it slip away. We were talking to each other a few months ago about doing an interview. I am doing it right now. This is it.

Diego: I just did four interviews with Mexico. They were all live on the radio. They were all in Spanish.

AL: Do you have anything to say to the people out there in Spanish?

Diego: Si. Te quiero.

AL: That’s it?

Diego: Te quiero con todo mi corazon.

AL: Thank you. Diego. What do your parent think of the band?

Jeff: My parents have been very supportive of the whole rock and roll shenanigans.

AL: Is everyone from the East Coast?

Jeff: Yeah, but up and down. I grew up in Atlanta. Diego grew up in Florida. Mod grew in New Jersey. And Kevin is from Upstate New York. I used to go to shows in Atlanta growing up. I moved away went I started college. Most bands came through there.

Website: www.elefantweb.com
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


The Black Angels @ Troubadour

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


The infinte beat: safari sams june 28th

WHO: The Infinite Beat 4.5 @ Safari Sams. DJ Alexander Laurence returns to the
Safari Sams for a second time and it's my sixth night of New Music this year. We also
have the bands The Blank Tapes, The Front, and Asher. There also might be surprise guests....


WHERE: Safari Sams - 5214 West Sunset Boulevard (east of Western).
Very close to Red Line Metro train (Hollywood and Western station). 323 666-7267

Website: http://www.safari-sams.com/mambo/

HOW: Five dollars

WHAT: Safari Sams is the newest club in Hollywood. They have great clubs like Check Your Ponytail and Dandy. Also bands like The Bellrays, The Morning After Girls, Petra Hayden, and Jolie Holland have played at the new place. The old venue in Huntington Beach had acts like Jesus and Mary Chain and Jonathan Richman.

Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


Gorky's Zygotic Mynci RIP

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci RIP
by Alexander Laurence

Gorky's are a band from Wales who have been around for ten years. They were part of the Welsh explosion 1996, when a handful of bands such as Super Furry Animals and Catatonia began producing music sung in Welsh. With roots as a punk band, Gorky's has transformed themselves into something more melodic and odd. They are currently on their first American tour in three years with a live show that incudes elements ranging from folk to noise rock. The main songwriter is Euros Childs. He sings and plays keyboards onstage as well as acoustic guitar. His sister Megan Childs plays violin and sings and adds an occasional song. The other songwriter is Richard James who is a very talented musician as well.

The Gorky's came out with two albums last year: The Blue Trees and How I Long To Feel That Summer In My Heart. They have always been an exciting and unpredictable group. I got to talk to the three members during the Noise Pop festival in San Francisco in early March 2002. They are very nice people. We smoked a few cigarettes and hung out a few hours before their show at the Great American Music Hall.

Gorky's home page- www.gorkys.com
Gorky's audio - Click here


AL: You played the Troubadour last night?

Richard: Yes. It was great. We found out that The Birds played there back in the 1960s. That's where Roger McGuinn and David Crosby met each other.

Euros: We saw the posters of Motley Crue and WASP.

AL: WASP used to have fireworks and sparks coming out of the guitarist's crotch. Are you going to incorporate something like that into your show?

Megan: Done it.

AL: Or a fire breathing violin player?

Richard: We did that about six months ago.

AL: How many violins do you smash on a tour?

Megan: Usually about thirty. Depends on how the gigs go?

AL: You have been together for ten years now. What was it like in the early days compared to now?

Euros: Yeah. We started when we were sixteen.

Richard: We all met in school. They are brother and sister. Megan is older so she wasn't in the band at the beginning because it was very much a boy's band. It didn't work out so well. It was a normal teenage band. We play at school and made a lot of noise. For a while we had acoustic guitars. We didn't think that we were doing one thing. We never considered ourselves as a punk band or any sort of a band, even when we were 15 years old. All the first bands we saw live were Welsh bands.

Euros: We didn't grow up in an area or a specific time where there was one type of music going on. When you grew up you would listen to old stuff and all sorts of music.

AL: How come you weren't invited to play on the Tom Jones "Reload" record?

Richard: I don't think that we sold enough records to be invited. He's a horrible man. I hope that he chokes on one of his cigars.

AL: Do you have any influences?

Richard: Yeah. We like The Fall, The Sex Pistols, The Kinks, and The Beatles. We started off with the obvious ones because they are easy to get. Then we got into more obscure stuff because we ran out of obvious stuff to buy. I started getting into Robert Wyatt and some folk stuff. We all liked Soft Machine.

Euros: You get engrossed into a lot of strange music when you are young. I liked a lot of Country Music when I was a teenager. Some of it is a load of shit but I like listening to it. I think that The Fall had great riffs.

AL: Do you like Nick Drake?

Megan: Even though Nick Drake is amazing you don't want to sound like that or copy it. For us, it's not about emulating some other sound. It's more about creating our own thing. Anything that does influence us is not really a conscious thing.

Euros: Bad bands are ones who you listen to their records and it's obvious that you have listened to these three or four other bands. It's like "We love their records" and that's what you get.

Richard: That's how you get all this bland music.

AL: On that last album Euros wrote most of the songs, then Richard has three or so, and Megan has one. Is that how the songwriting responsibility goes?

Richard: It depends. Euros always has written most of the songs. We all bring something to the band. It's good to have different songwriters because you get different things. It becomes mixed and somewhat more interesting.

Megan: We never wanted to define our sound or what our music means. It's freedom to do whatever you want, really. There are no rules.

AL: What bands have you played with?

Megan: We have played with a band called Tulip. They are not together anymore. We played with Arab Strap. We supported Stereolab, Spiritualized, and Broadcast. All sorts of good bands.

AL: The new record was recorded in a few studios. Why the change?

Euros: It was recorded in two studios at Rockfield. We started in one studio for a week. We took a week off. Then when we came back, that studio wasn't available, so we moved next door. It wasn't as good as the first one. It was the same place. We had never recorded there before. It's nice. It's in Monmouth, South Wales.

AL: How was this album different from the previous ones?

Euros: Two members had left the band. The drummer and John, who played guitar and wrote a few of the songs. It was all right. We actually worked with two different drummers. Pete is playing with us now in the live shows.

Megan: Every album is different. Every album has its own identity and recording. We have been doing more poppy things recently. The songs on The Blue Trees worked so well together. We know that people liked that. So we already had the songs for this new one, How I Long To Feel That Summer In My Heart. We knew what people would expect. It's quite open whatever we do.

AL: Do you think that many stoners listen to your music?

Richard: Not in any large proportion than any other group.

Euros: Occasionally you will smell it coming from the crowd. People who like George Michael probably smoke it. George Michael smokes it himself, doesn't he?

Megan: There isn't a type of person who comes to our gigs.

Euros: We don't have a lot of party music. Maybe out of the seven albums you could make one compilation of party music.

AL: You have a few songs about sunshine. There's not much good weather in Britain?

Euros: It comes now and then. You have seven days of clouds and no sunshine, then you have two days of sunshine. It's like that.

Megan: It makes a big impression of you.

AL: Do you play any sports?

Euros: We have been playing a bit of badminton lately and try to get fitter. We are trying to offset our other pleasures in life, which is beer.

AL: Have you been doing any Kung Fu or Yoga?

Richard: Do I look like I do Kung Fu?

Euros: No Kung Fu. No martial arts.

AL: Some people described some of the early stuff as "lo-fi." What do you think of that?

Euros: When we started we recorded at home. We didn't want hiss. We always wanted the best quality. We always disliked the term "lo-fi" because it sounds underachieving. It sounds as if you are playing something down or not enjoying something. Our producer hates the term because he thinks it's "high-fi" now. There's so much detail in what we do. "Lo-fi" sounds like something that you do very quickly and record. There is so much tension in our sounds and the production of our records. The last thing it is, is "lo-fi." That is like a Dictaphone that just happens to be recording. There is an attitude too.

AL: When you go into a studio, how much of it is a live recording?

Megan: We usually have all five or six of us playing live on the initial tracks. Then you obviously overdub things over that. It's good to capture things live and the band playing because there is always something special there. A band playing together is what you are. It's being truthful.

Euros: We have a great producer. He's good at capturing the spirit and the chemistry. He's a firm believer in that. That spirit is missing in a lot of records that you hear these days.

AL: In the song "Christina" you rhymed "Christina" with "Magazine-a." How long did you take to come up with that?

Euros: I like trashy lyrics. I like pulp. I am not a poet. I am not writing poetry. I am writing words for a melody. You just sit down with a guitar and try to think of something new and exciting to say. Some songs are a story and others are just about how you feel that day.

AL: Someone wrote: "This album is a concept album about the bittersweet nature of nostalgia for summer." (laughter)

Euros: No, I don't think so. Someone has been reading too much into the songs. It's not a concept album.

AL: A few of the songs start off with a psychedelic musical interlude, then they take a left turn into the actual song. Is that a trick, a style, or a quality that you like in music?

Richard: Sometimes that's nice, yeah.

Euros: When we recorded "Christina" the two parts on two separate days. We did the Intro on one day. It was tracked. Then the next part was played live. It was two different processes of recording back to back. It's very nice to hear that together. I haven't heard the album for a while now, because we are playing it every night. My favorite songs tend to be whatever worked well the previous night.

AL: Richard. The songs that you wrote on the album seem sort of stripped down, bare, and folky. Is that your style?

Richard: I suppose that is more my style of writing. I write stuff on an acoustic guitar.

AL: Do you think that people listen to your music as to chill out after the party?

Megan: I don't know. It's nice not to know. It's good that people are listening to music in different circumstances and it has nothing to do with me. You make this music and I am not connecting with people who listen to it in any other way. When you listen to a record or read a book that you really like, you are not thinking about other people.

AL: When you started out did you send out demos?

Euros: No. We were anti-demo. We sent out demos to radio stations but not to labels. We knew that in Wales people would have heard about us and label would find out after a while playing out live. We were on television. We didn't need to send out demos. The labels knew who we were. It's a small music scene. Bands get taken more seriously now in Wales. There are more resources to put on gigs. In Cardiff. Some places in Wales with a big population sometimes have cover bands and bar bands for two or three months. Or even longer. So it's trash that there is some music scene going on there.

AL: Is it a positive thing that people start grouping bands like the Manics, Super Furry Animals, and Catatonia, and yourself and say that there is a scene?

Megan: It's only positive for people writing about it. It isn't good for the scene in North Wales or West Wales. It has nothing to do with what is going on there and will never change it.

Euros: You don't get angry when the press gets it wrong. You can get angry with the British Press more than over here. Something like "Euros Childs leads his Welsh wizards on another tour of the British Isles." It's wrong because I am not the leader of the band. When we get listed in a magazine, they use the same words from 1997. Every time we do a tour we see the same phrases.


Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


Soft Cell + Marc Almond

Soft Cell
Interview with Marc Almond
by Alexander Laurence

Marc Almond and David Ball formed Soft Cell in the late seventies. Their tenure as students of Leeds University were left behind when "Tainted Love" became a worldwide smash hit. They combined the heart of Northern Soul and the mind of German techno to help create the early Electro scene and influenced everyone from Detroit techno artists to today's Electroclash bunch.
After three albums and a handful of pop singles, Soft Cell broke up in 1983, though the duo would collaborate on and off over the years. Around 2000, there was talk of a new record. This finally happened this summer when Soft Cell released its first album in almost two decades. Cruelty Without Beauty captures the feel of the old group, but is a modern record that brings the band into a new era. At their first American show in New York City they played to a packed house at the Roxy. Their mix of old and new material kept the audience excited.

I interviewed Marc Almond recently to find out more about the longevity of the band.

AL: You lived in New York City off and on for the past twenty years. Was it a real influence on your Soft Cell and solo records?
MA: I spent a alot of time here. New York is like home away from home. It's like a drug you have to get a fix once or twice a year. So I come here and get some energy from the place. I was lucky enough at the beginning of the 1980s to come here and record my first album. When I first came here I thought I'd seen it all and knew it all, and I had been to London, and I'd seen the city. Then I came to New York and realized I hadn't seen it all. The club culture and the nightlife was amazing. We were given the keys to the city....
AL: "Tainted Love" was a huge single....
MA: It was. And "Tainted Love" still is a very big single. It was issued as a remix recently. Wherever you go, you can't run away from it. Soft Cell really comes from disco and dance music. When we started I was working in a discotheque to pay my rent. It was the first American style discotheque in the north on England, in Leeds. I worked my way up from coat check to DJ. It was the only place in England at that time that was playing the American disco imports. David Ball and myself were both fans of 1970s disco, but having grown out of punk as well, we had this strange marriage of punk and disco and dance. That was definitely our roots and that was to be seen in some of our early songs like "Memorabilia" which was a forerunner to the whole electro acid house sound.
AL: I think that some people like yourself, and maybe David Bowie, have done different and new things over time, but then there those bands like The Sex Pistols, Bauhaus, and The Human League who do nothing for a decade then return doing karaoke.
MA: I don't knock people for what they do. Some of those bands from the 80s are happy being a cabaret act and say "I'm going out and doing my old hits." If there's twenty thousand people who want to pay to relive some old times and nostalgic memories, then that's fine. What are they going to do? Sit at home and die? If you were a band who was forcing yourself on the public, and nobody wanted to see you, then I would say it's time to give up. I saw The Human League a few years ago and I thought they were great. I like their last album as well. I always thought that they were a very underrated band especially in Britain where they were very innovated and started off the whole electronic music thing. People owe them a debt. If they are cashing in on their past, all the more power to them. But for me personally I like to bring something new to the table.
AL: You were doing records as Marc and The Mambas, and collaborations with Coil, Jim Thirwell, and others, and now with Magnetic Fields....
MA: I would like to collaborate less now than I have in the past, because I have been too diverse in the past twenty years. I think that I have confused the public as far as what direction I'm really going in. I'm a little bit more single focused these days. I want to do things that are still within my boundaries. I want to do things that have an essence of Marc Almond.
AL: I was always wondering about the performance you did with Lydia Lunch, Thirwell, and Nick Cave called "The Immaculate Consumptive" back in 1982. What was that all about?
MA: We did that here in New York and Washington DC. It was one of those things that you had to hear about more than actually see. It's become better with legend and the test of time. Everyone goes "Were you there? No, I wasn't there but I heard it was really amazing." It's best kept that way in people's imaginations. I'm glad it wasn't recorded. I think it came together because Lydia found a way of getting a huge exorbitant fee from Danceteria for bringing us all together. None of us knew why we were there. Lydia seemed to know why we were there. She had a strategy of paying the rent that month. It was a very shambolic cabaret, and Nick stole the show, so we all hated him after that. He did this mind blowing version of "In The Ghetto" so we were all sick after that.
AL: How do you approach doing each Marc Almond record: "The Stars We Are" seemed more pop oriented, while the Jacques Brel or Georges Bataille stuff seemed more underground?
MA: I always thought of it as being the same. I never really thought of it as being more pop or less pop. I just did the style where I was at the time: maybe it reflected the moods I was going through, or maybe it reflected the music I was listening to at that time. I always think of everything I do as being accessible. Sometimes it's a surprise when people say "That was really underground and uncommercial." But often I have done things that were a reaction to things that I had done before. Not so much now, because I found that was a case of losing direction. I much more focused and not concerned with worrying whether I'm a pop artist or a serious songwriter.
AL: Some people think "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" is a much better song than "Tainted Love." Why is that so?
MA: It's a good song and it tells a story. The song and the persona really encapsulates so much of what I've been about. In Britain, it's the more popular song. "Tainted Love" is a song that has a life of its own, and I don't have anything to do with. When I hear it, or see the old videos of myself performing it, it's like hearing and seeing a stranger. I still perform it live sometimes because I like the reaction that it gets. It's been a good friend, because when I play a concert and people don't know me very well, and it's going down like a lead balloon, all I have to do is bring out "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" or "Tainted Love" and suddenly I have everybody.
AL: Your album "Open All Night" was originally released in England on your own label, Blue Star, and here in America on Instinct. How was that experience?
MA: I originally recorded this record for Echo, which is a label in England. It was like a major independent label, but it went into a state of flux: it changed its format and personnel. I was also signed for a second record. I asked them to let me walk from their label and release under my own label. It wasn't the label I signed with and this album didn't have a place on their label anymore because it had become more pop. I was lucky to have a great quality finished album to start my own label with. That has given me a whole new freedom. I don't have to answer to A & R people and I feel it's my own work. This was the first record where I had full control. At this time it's a vehicle for my own music.
AL: You had a few duets with Siouxie Sioux and Kelly Ali (who used to be in Sneaker Pimps). Did you actually meet these people?
MA: Yeah. I planned a few duets on this album. I just simply rang them up and asked them. When I did the duet with Gene Pitney, "Something's Got Ahold of My Heart," which was a big hit in Europe, we didn't actually meet. I was touring at the time he did his vocals. We did the vocals separately, then later met in Las Vegas, to do the video, which was a great place to meet for the first time. Normally I like to do duets with the people in the room, that's the whole point.
Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


Mojave 3 + Neil Halstead

interview by Alexander Laurence

Neil Halstead has been cleverly thinking about doing his first solo record Sleeping on Roads for at least two years. While in Mojave 3, he started to write some material that seemed more personal, and couldn't handle the fierce democracy that is Mojave 3. After a while he had enough songs and some time to get together with some friends and try something new. His latest Sleeping on Roads, is a wonderfully low-key affair featuring Neil's distinctive voice and some great songwriting.

Compared to his six albums with Slowdive and Mojave 3, Sleeping On Roads sounds like a road album. It is great music without roots and full of freedom and space. Neil Halstead has been called "one of Britain's greatest songwriters"; and he shows us more of what he is about in a more intimate way.

Sleeping On Roads is about lost love. Halstead got together with some friends and finally completed the album this past summer in Airfield Studios, near his home in Cornwall. Ian McCutcheon from Mojave 3 and Nick Holton of Coley Park appear on the record. The result a folky mix reminiscent of Nick Drake and Bert Jansch.

Halstead is still in Mojave 3. He plans on doing another Mojave 3 record as well as another solo record. I caught him on tour in Hollywood in early April. While we were in his hotel room we were able to watch some VH1 "Behind The Music." Ian was taking a shower while we were doing the interview. Neil is very quiet and shy so it took much talking to get him to come out of his shell.


AL: Do you watch this stuff a lot?

NEIL: At home, not at all. But on tour I watch it. I like "Behind The Music." The story of success, failure, and a return to success, makes them really entertaining.

AL: What point are you at in your career?

NEIL: I started Slowdive when I was 18 and that was about twelve years ago. We did three albums with Creation Records. We did a gig and Alan McGee showed up at a gig and was looking for bands. We sent him a tape and then he signed us.

AL: When you started doing Mojave 3 did you send him a tape?

NEIL: No, because we had been dropped by Creation. So after six months we started to record. I was known in the music industry by then. We recorded about six tracks. I went off to Israel. Rachel called me and told me that a label wanted to put out the record.

AL: Since you did this solo record, many people wonder about the state of Mojave 3. Are you going to do any records as a group in the future?

NEIL: We (Mojave 3) are doing a record right now. We started it in January and we will finish it over the summer. It should be out in January 2003. Sleeping on Roads is a record I did with a bunch of friends recorded at home. It was produced by Nick Holton who was a friend at school. I just wanted to do something different.

AL: Do you write all the songs in Mojave 3?

NEIL: I wrote all the songs on the solo record. On the last Mojave 3 record Ian and Rachel wrote some songs. I do music with Nick quite a lot. We just fuck around. We have always done music together.

AL: Do you write music first or lyrics first?

NEIL: Some of the songs are four years old. I write songs all the time. Some songs make it on a Mojave 3 record and some don't. There was not a big plan behind it. I would go over to Nick's and have a few beers and then we would record a few tracks. Most of the songs are written with me just playing acoustic guitar. If I am in a situation where I need some lyrics, I will sit down and write something, and go and record it. Once you get the basic idea of a song down, then you think about whether you want other things going on.

AL: You have been touring for a while now?

NEIL: I came to the USA for two weeks and then I went to Europe for a few weeks. Now I am doing a month here in the states that will be followed by a month tour in Europe. I might play a few festivals in Europe this summer. And I might come back here too. The shows have been really good. People are generally there to see you play. They seem like they are really into the new music. I like touring and I like being in different places.

AL: Do you get to see a lot of the cities?

NEIL: No, because you are traveling and doing soundchecks and interviews during the day. Whatever free time you have is spent doing laundry. I just got off the plane. Occasionally you can see some sites if you have a day off. I have Ian with me on this tour to drive and to sell T-shirts. He makes sure that we have some beers to drink. I don't have a set list Sometimes you are up there on stage and your mind is a blank.

AL: There is one song on the album called "Driving With Bert" that is a reference to Bert Jansch. Why did you write about him?

NEIL: The song is not really about Bert Jansch. The guitar style on the album is reminiscence of stuff by Bert Jansch. The song is really about the end of a relationship. The songs speak for themselves. They are all stories and they are very specific. They are about sad things or people I have known. Anything is appropriate material for a song. For me, I tend to focus on relationships.

AL: The song "Seasons" is about surfing. Do you follow sport?

NEIL: No, I just love surfing. I am from a place called Cornwall and there is a lot of surfing there. There has been a big surfing scene there since the 1960s. There are some long sandy beaches and some long reefs. The end of the summer is always a good time to go out.

What else inspires you?

NEIL: People inspire me. Books and films. I just read a book called Three To Kings by Magnus Mills. It was about this guy who lives in a tin house.

AL: Are there any bands that you have played with that you are also a fan of?

NEIL: Beachwood Sparks, Sid Hilman, and Turin Brakes. I usually watch all the bands that I play with. The audiences have been a wide range of young and old people.

AL: Do you use computers?

NEIL: Yeah. I always like tape but what you can do with computers and editing is just amazing. I think it's clever. It has lowered the cost of making records. It's like film. Anyone can just go out and make a record now.

AL: What do you think of the Nick Drake comparisons?

NEIL: I like Nick Drake but I don't think I am particularly influenced by him on this record. I think that people just hear an English guy playing acoustic music. That's the only common thing for me. I like other artists like Scott Walker and Johnny Cash. I like some country music. I like Primal Scream and The Stooges. I went through a phase when I was listening to a lot of techno. I like a lot of stuff on Warp Records. It was exciting when Drum & Bass was just starting.

AL: Does your family have an interest in your music?

NEIL: Yeah. They support that I do something that I like doing. They have come to shows. They loved it. My parents are retired. They were not musicians. My father was an electrician and my mum was a secretary. My sister is a classical musician. I used to read music. But I was never proficient as a musician. Anyone can play music. You just play it in your own style. Music is about feelings and emotion. You can write something beautiful and you don't have to be a brilliant technical musician to do that. You just have to have imagination to capture something vital.

-- Alexander Laurence

Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink



Cursive Interview
by Alexander Laurence

Cursive released some EPs on Saddle Creek and Zero Hour in 1995 while figuring out record deals. Kasher, Maginn, and Steve Pedersen had played in bands together in the early 1990s. After cutting a deal with Crank! Records they released their first album, "Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes" (1997). They began touring non-stop and played shows constantly in those years.

All this touring resulted in their second album "The Storms of Early Summer: Semantics of Song" (1998). This Saddle Creek album is known for its self-aggressive songwriting and amazing music. Soon after, Pedersen was accepted to law school and Kasher moved to Portland. A year went by before the remaining member of Cursive decided to reform with Ted Stevens. They went into the studio and recorded their most intense music yet. Their third album, "Cursive's Domestica" (Saddle Creek, 2000) was their most welcomed record yet. It was a more personal and intimate release.

At this point Cursive toured extensively with many bands who they inspired and were inspired by including At The Drive, The Dismemberment Plan, Murder City Devils, The Faint, and Planes Mistaken for Stars. Now with the release of a new album, "The Ugly Organ," people are getting ready to be amazed again. With the addition of Gretta Cohn on cello, Cursive sounds like a rejuvenated group. They did a short tour in January and February. Now they are coming back this spring to a town near you to present the entirety of "The Ugly Organ" (2003). I spoke to Tim Kasher on the phone recently while the band was driving around Texas.

Tim Kasher (vocals, guitar)
Matt Maginn (bass, vocals)
Ted Stevens (guitar, vocals)
Clint Schnase (drums)
Gretta Cohn (cello)


AL: Cursive is an odd name for a band. It has something to do with writing. Did you come up with the name?

Tim: Yeah. At the time there was this book that I was reading by V. S. Naipaul. I was intrigued that the British came over to India and forced everyone to learn this penmanship. It wasn't really worth anything. In music, it's like forcing it on them like a discipline.

AL: There's a lot of attention on Omaha, Nebraska and Saddle Creek records. Many people don't realize that many of you where involved in a punk scene there in the early 1990s. What was that like?

Tim: In Omaha it was really great. Mousetrap and Mercy Rules were really cool. It was really inspiring. Living in Omaha is like being on an island because it's separate from anything else. Sometimes bands don't come through Omaha. In forces us to create something of our own. The whole time I have been there, it's been a constant search for venues to play. We are always looking out for places that would let have shows. The last few years, there's places like Sokol Underground, which is a Polish owned hall, and F.O.E.'s. The out of town bands who do play in Omaha play at those places.

AL: Have you toured Europe?

Tim: We have done one tour. But we are going over again in June, 2003. One time we were in the Netherlands and we were making fun of Germany. There's a lot of Germans there. I told them that the whole country smells like cowshit. But it does. It's no big deal. It's not a bad thing. Nebraska smells like cowshit. I was trying to get some mob rivalry going on, like I would with Nebraska against Iowa. I was saying "Don't you hate those Germans?" Trying to egg them on. Apparently they don't think that's funny, especially coming from an American act.

AL: If you stay in the UK for more than six months, you can't give blood to the Red Cross in the states. I learned that because I gave some blood the other day. Have you given blood before?

Tim: Oh really. I didn't know that. That's pretty interesting. I gave blood once years ago.

AL: What do you think of the idea of "bohemianism" as opposed to living your life in tune with the work ethic?

Tim: I don't know. My family are conservative. I think that there is really beauty to the work ethic. My father is a lawyer. He told me once "If you think that I like waking up every morning, working eight or ten hours a day sitting a desk, filling out these papers over and over, that you are fucking crazy." That was the last thing he wanted to do. What he did want to do was have a family and have children and he wanted to provide for them. That's what he does, and that's what most people do all over the world. I would pick being a bohemian over that, but I would also chose not having a family.

AL: What does your family think about your music? Do they come to your shows?

Tim: Yeah, they come sometimes. Mainly they are proud that we have taken doing music seriously and have worked hard at it. Even if Cursive wasn't succeeding, my Dad would be proud that I was trying as hard as I can.

AL: Do any of the members of Cursive have musicians in their families?

Tim: Gretta does. Her father got her a cello when she was two years old. She has been playing her whole life. Ted's father is a guitar and banjo player. That's about it.

AL: When did you start working on the album The Ugly Organ?

Tim: We started writing it about a year and a half ago. We recorded it over the summer of 2002. We worked with Mike Mogus. He works with a lot of bands on Saddle Creek. It's the most lavish record we have done in terms of overdubs and whatnot. Not much of it is done live. We started with the bass and drums. Then we had some guitar tracks. Our early sound is more raw. We want to put out different sounding records each time. It costs a lot of money to be in the studio for long periods.

AL: What is the live show like on this recent tour?

Tim: We are playing four songs off of The Ugly Organ. When it comes out in March we will be coming back and doing another American tour. At that point we will be playing more new songs. At this moment people are still excited to hear songs from Domestica and the early albums. The response to the new material has been great. Unfortunately many people already know the songs because they have been downloading them.

AL: What do you think about Napster and people downloading MP3's?

Tim: It's weird. People are going to have to stop that copying at some point. Wouldn't people think it was outlandish that when a movie was released in theaters it was also released on the internet and people could watch it at home too? Would you pay to see it or would you see it for free? It's becoming absurd.

AL: On the streets of New York you can buy bootleg DVDs or tapes the week the movie comes out.

Tim: My Dad used to get into that when I was little. He used to buy black market tapes.

AL: I like this song "Art is Hard." It seems like you have a few songs about the music making process.

Tim: Yeah. It's just a healthy dose of self-analysis. I think that it is important for anyone who is making art or music or a house, that they are self-critical, so they know what they are doing. We have another song "Sink To The Beat" which is a similar topic. It is something we have been exploring for a while.

AL: "The Recluse" is a great song. How did that come about?

Tim: That was like a short story about a one night stand. The guy is so desperate and lonely that he starts begging and all that. I see this album as a group of short stories. They are different stories very loosely tied to the organs.

AL; Do you do all the songwriting or do you collaborate with all the band members?

Tim: Before we start a record, Ted and I have an ongoing dialogue what the album should be about. What it should sound like. We then go off on our own and start writing, all while the dialogue is still going on. We have practice sessions with the band and we all have suggestions about what different parts should sound like.

AL: It's a mystery to me what The Ugly Organ is. It could be the musical instrument, or the genitals, or the liver or lungs....

Tim: Well, whoever listens to it, it is the organ that they think it is. Whatever organ they are working with at that moment.

AL: What other books have you read other than V. S. Naipaul?

Tim: Lately. I have been reading John Fante. I have read The Road to Los Angeles and Wait Until Spring, Bandini. I just finished that the other day. He's great. He's really romantic.

AL: Has anyone taken up knitting or video games while on the road?

Tim: Gretta has taken up knitting to cure boredom in the van. And Clint plays video games incessantly. So you are right on it. I think that we are going to have a Game Cube on the next tour.

AL: What should people expect on this next tour in March and April?

Tim: We are going out with No Knife and Engine Down on the East Coast. We will have some other bands with us on the West Coast.

AL: Do you get nervous onstage?

Tim: I went through a period when I was getting really nervous because I felt that people expected more than I could give. I also hated flying. Now I am over both of those things. I try to make the best of it. I am trying to find the good in everything.

AL: I know that you are friends with The Faint. I read somewhere that they decided that Cursive was too good musically and that they couldn't compete, so The Faint decided to go into an electronic direction. Is that true?

Tim: It sounds like something they would say. No, it's not true. I think they went into electronic music because we all make a conscious decision to produce different styles of music. I think it's good that we don't sound alike. We all came from the same pool of songwriting. We are all trying to provide something that is exclusively our own.

AL: Are there any hipsters in Omaha, Nebraska?

Tim: No, not really. There are a bunch of young drunks. That's what I would call the hipster scene. Drinking is what connection us all, especially in the Midwest. It's a common hobby. I know a few gun collectors.

AL: If I wanted to start a band, what sound I do?

Tim: I would say don't wait around for handouts. I think that is the problem with most bands. They are waiting for other people to do things for them. We were guilty of it too. When we started we were reluctant to go out on tour because we thought we needed some huge label. Things happened when we started doing things ourselves.

Website: http://www.cursivearmy.com

Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink


Luna + dean and britta

Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham: L'avventura
By alexander laurence

Dean Wareham was the leader of the Boston band Galaxie 500 from 1987-1991. Dean then moved back to New York City to start Luna in 1992. Luna has made six full-length studio albums since then.
Britta Phillips from Philadelphia joined Luna in 2000. She also acted alongside Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson, Justine Bateman, and Debbie Harry in the film, Satisfaction, before moving to England and making records with Belltower.
L'Avventura was recorded in 2002. Britta and Dean played guitar and bass and keyboards, with drummer Matt Johnson. Producer Tony Visconti made many of the greatest rock records ever, and he is known for his work with David Bowie and T-Rex, as well as the Stranglers. Tony plays additional guitar and keyboard on this record, and contributed a number of string arrangements, performed by the Scorchio String Quartet. The record was produced at Tony's studio in New York City.
The album contains 11 songs, half of them covers, some of them duets in the tradition of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. Now Sonic Boom has released a remix record called Sonic Souvenirs. I spoke to Dean Wareham recently on their first tour. He was also in town for the screening of a film he acted in, Piggie. Alison Bagnall who co-wrote Buffalo '66 directs this movie.
AL: How many shows have you played as Britta and Dean?
Dean: Tonight is going to be our first gig. We played about seventy shows as Luna last year. We did two American tours and one European tour.
AL: When I first moved to New York you used to do shows on New Year's Eve?
Dean: We still do that if we can get it. We played Maxwell's last time. We have done New Year's Eve shows at Mercury Lounge and The Knitting Factory. Most of them are sellouts. There are a lot of New York bands now. Not all of them play on New Year's Eve though. Maybe Patti Smith. We have that sewn up.
AL: Have you worked with Tony Visconti before?
Dean: No. This is the first time. It was our manager's idea. Our manager works with David Bowie. He set it up. Only recently I was aware that Tony Visconti lived in upstate New York.
AL: Did you think he had died?
Dean: I knew he was still alive. I think he had done a D Generation record. He did the last Bowie record. People started waking up to him again. Most people think he was from England. He's not. He's from Brooklyn. He had moved to London in the late 1960s.
AL: What was it like working with him?
Dean: It was great. We were co-producers on the record. I have always been in the background co-producing most of the Luna records. Some people are really anal about that. I don't need a credit. I usually give the credit to an engineer or a producer because they need it more. Everyone knows that I sing on the record. Obviously I have a lot of input on the record.
AL: What was different about working with Tony Visconti?
Dean: Tony was very quick. I appreciate that. We spent about three weeks doing this record. We did the drums in about three days, without Tony. We did some recording at home. Maybe it took a month altogether?
AL: Was it all on tape?
Dean: No. We did the drums on tape. Then we dumped everything on pro tools. That's the one thing that you think about in the back of your head: Tony made all these great records thirty years ago, and maybe he doesn't know about the new technology. Tony really knows what he is doing. He has made so many records. He knows exactly how to solve problems. He would carve out sections of songs. He does a great job with the arrangement of the strings.
AL: He did that on "Nightnurse?"
Dean: He did nice things on that. We can't afford to bring the string section with us on tour. Tony did the backwards space in the middle section. There was a 12-string picking part: he played that on the record.
AL: Who wrote the songs?
Dean: I only wrote three songs. Six songs are covers. Britta wrote two songs. One song "Knives From Bavaria" I wrote for a movie called "Piggie." I am the male lead in the film. I don't know why. I went to the opening last week. I about an ex-junkie play it. He a credit card thief who is running away from New York City. His former best friend, played by John C. Reilly, is out to kill him. He goes upstate to this small town. A teenage farm girl falls in love with him and he is really mean to her. That is the story.
AL: Will it play at Angelika or Film Forum?
Dean: No, it's so hard to get a film to play there because it's so competitive. There are too many films. Just like records. There are ten times as many records coming out now than in the 1990s. There are too many records and films coming out now. What are you going to do about it? You can't kill them all. Everyone wants to be a film director.
AL: You have been here in LA all week? What have you been doing?
Dean: I went to that screening. I also saw The Italian Job. I have a lot of friends here in LA.
AL: What do you think of all these New York bands now? You have played with a few bands from Brooklyn like Calla.
Dean: We did a tour with Calla. They are okay. I like Interpol. They remind me of ten bands from Boston in the mid-1980s and the 1970s. They sounded like Echo and The Bunnymen too. People think that they sound like Joy Division, but they are more like Echo and The Bunnymen. Most of those bands are bigger in London than they are in New York.
AL: What about Luna?
Dean: We are bigger in New York. Galaxie 500 was more like that. We had a reputation in London all the time. Some things break over there first rather than here. They have a weekly music press. They take themselves too seriously over there. It's funny. It's all hyperbole. There's this fanzine called Bangs, from London, and they were talking about Interpol. They called them the darkest and coolest band ever to come out of New York. I like them, but I don't know if they are the greatest New York band….
AL: Who do you like?
Dean: I actually The Strokes. I like that record.
AL: What bands inspired you when you were growing up?
Dean: Music from the late 1970s when I first came to New York. I came there in 1977. I liked The Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, and Television. Those were my favorites. Then I like The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, and Joy Division.
AL: Did you make demos of a few of these songs?
Dean: Yeah a few of them. Since they are cover versions you don't have to demo them because you know how they sound.
AL: How did you pick the songs you did like the one by Madonna?
Dean: I just loved that song when I heard it. I like that album Music that she did. Sometimes you have to close your ears to the lyrics. I don't like her new record.
AL: Then you did a song by Opal called "Hear The Wind Blow." Did you know them back then?
Dean: I met David Roback, but I have never done any shows with Opal or Mazzy Star. Maybe we did one special show with Galaxie 500 and Opal in New York a long time ago. Opal only did one tour with Jesus and Mary Chain and they broke up. We did a show in Boston the same night. I think that Damon and Naomi went to that show. There was a terrible snowstorm I remember.
AL: How do you choose songs to do?
Dean: Mostly they are songs by bands that we like. The only band we did a song by who I didn't like was when we did a Guns and Roses song. I heard that they didn't write "Sweet Child O' Mine." That was a rumor. I met this guy. He told me he knew someone who had written the song and sold it to Guns and Roses.
AL: What about Buffy St. Marie?
Dean: Someone pointed out that she is Canadian that I didn't know. It is a protest song about wasting time and money putting people on the moon.
AL: Don't you think it's ironic that you are in a band called Luna and you are working with Tony Visconti, while doing that song? Did he play on "Space Oddity" with Bowie? Many people thought Bowie was opportunistic.
Dean: Originally he was in Bowie's band, but was he playing on "Space Oddity?" He played on our record too. Everyone who ever heard "Moonshot" by Buffy St. Marie thinks it's a beautiful song. I don't think it was a hit. We did that song in Galaxie 500 but we never released it.
AL: "Indian Summer" is a song by The Doors.
Dean: That is my favorite song. The first Doors album is great. The rest is like lazy blues. Some of their songs are great.
AL: With the songs by Opal and Madonna you are taking songs originally sung by women and doing a male vocal. Why did you do that?
Dean: It's a tradition. The Flaming Lips did a song recently by Kylie Minogue. When we started doing "Moonshot" it started out as a duet, but it sounded better with just me singing it. Many of these songs just sound more interesting when a man sings it. If we do another record, maybe there will be more duets.
AL: Will there be another Britta and Dean record?
Dean: I don't know. Maybe we will do another one. But first we are going to do another Luna record.
AL: What are the rest of Luna doing now?
Dean: They are doing their side project. I don't know if they have broken up. Maybe they will release the secret tapes.
AL: You did a song by Calvin Johnson before?
Dean: That was also called "Indian Summer." It was a different song. For this record we actually did a song by the Halo Benders.
AL: I saw a movie with Sonic Boom talking about that song by Beat Happening. He said that he didn't like the original version.
Dean: He thought I wrote "Indian Summer." I like the Calvin Johnson song. We just worked with Sonic Boom recently. We are doing a remix record with him called Sonic Souvenirs.
AL: Have you done a lot of videos?
Dean: We did one for Luna for the last record. We did one for the song "Nightnurse." Now that we are on a real indie label, they don't spend ridiculous amounts on videos. It's very sickening. When we were on Elektra, the first video cost seventy thousand dollars. I am still asking why? Our manager at the time wanted a big budget video. They just charge you for half of it anyway.
AL: Do you read a lot?
Dean: Not a lot. I am reading Operation Shylock by Philip Roth. I am a big Philip Roth fan. I read the last Paul Auster book. That was good.
AL: Do you have any advice for new bands?
Dean: I can barely give advice to myself. It's a risky business.
AL: What's the hardest thing about doing music?
Dean: You don't have a steady paycheck. It's a struggle to make money. You have anxiety not knowing where the money is coming from. I am lucky that I have never had a day job since 1990.

Share/Bookmark Read more / Permalink