“My favorite space USED to be my own apartment bedroom. It was three separate apartment bedrooms, in three separate apartments because they comprise the spaces where I recorded The Throne…. Those spaces have since been replaced by the basement of our drummer’s family home (in Bethesda, Maryland), where we get together to practice and form new material. It’s a pretty squalid get-up. There are cords lying everywhere, broken percussion instruments stuffed in every corner, and a good half of the room (which all in all must be about 800 square feet) is taken up by two enormous leather couches and an ancient wide screen TV, both of which are largely ignored, if not buried, under musical instruments.
Natural light comes in via two large sliding glass doors leading to a small back yard. When we first got together, it used to be a chore to get there and slog through each song for the first or even thirtieth time. As everybody in the band grew together and started understanding each others’ musical approaches, both the music itself and the group dynamic shifted, and the room became an escape from everyday activity. Now, just being there helps get the creative juices flowing.
In terms of things that are important to us to have, we’re not too choosy. Our ratty 12 channel PA is vital, as well as (obviously) all our instruments. Beer and/or wine is a creature comfort, but we’ve been known to function alright without it. I guess more important than that would have to be all the random auxiliary percussion instruments we have lying around. A lot of good ideas get started by somebody banging on something idly, and then everybody joining in.
On average, we spend about eight to 12 hours a week there, divided into two to three practices of four hours. For now it’s a very regimented schedule, but once we start the recording process for forthcoming tracks on a new album, I suspect we’ll be spending a lot more spontaneous time there, as it’s where we’ll set up all the recording equipment.
Isolation was once central to my creative process. I’m slowly transitioning into more of a herd creature, though. Lately I’ve tried recording things by myself, and it’s just not as nice sounding as when all seven of us in the band are working off of each other. Every once in a while, though, I still need my alone time to gather my thoughts and piece together ideas for new songs.
The space would mean nothing without the people occupying it. I’ve showed up early to practices a few times when nobody’s there, and it just feels like a room with a bunch of instruments. It’s all of us working together, and filling it up with sound, that makes it a living, breathing area. So that’s important.”
Washington seven-piece Le Loup released their debut, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly last year on Sub Pop offshoot, Hardly Art. Heavily influenced by Dante’s Inferno, it was critically acclaimed. They have been compared to Animal Collective and Arcade Fire, using multiple instruments to create a post-rock spools of experimental sound. They are about to start work on their second album. For more information, gig dates and tracks, visit www.myspace.com/leloupmusic.