Musical Rooms

June 20, 2008

Musical Rooms Part 33: Damon and Naomi

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 8:57 am
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damonnaomi

“Since 1997, we’ve recorded all our albums at home. Our living room is our tracking space, though we have also used hallways, etc., for effect. Our linen closet turns out to be a useful sound trap: when we open the doors, the reverb changes as the blankets and towels absorb more sound!

We live in a brick Victorian townhouse, now divided into apartments. Consequently there’s a fireplace in our studio, and very big windows. We track at night mainly, to avoid street noise. We are blessed with very kind neighbors! No one seems to mind the drums and electric guitars – a testament to their patience, but also to solid 19th century construction. Little noise travels between floors.

When we’re not recording, we keep only instruments around, for writing – guitars, keyboard, and (a new addition) piano. When we record, everything else comes out of the closets: drums, mixing desk, microphones … If we’re working on an album, we lose the usual bourgeois use of our living room for a half-year or more. The most important thing to have in this space is each other. We live here, so it’s not about grabbing time, but shutting out other responsibilities to focus solely on music can sometimes be a challenge.

Our isolation is important, for writing music. In fact we rented an apartment for a couple weeks in Paris to finish writing the last album – just to be alone with each other, a guitar and a keyboard. But once we have the songs, and start the recording process, we love having other musicians around. On our recent albums, we have worked extensively with Michio Kurihara, the electric guitarist; and Bhob Rainey, soprano saxophonist and arranger of the strings and horns on our newest album, Within These Walls.

We never think about creativity in terms of getting started – it’s just something we do. I suppose we started so long ago, I don’t remember how that happened! I use voice and guitar and it’s voice and keyboard for Naomi.

What we like most about the room is that it’s beautiful!”

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Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Damon and Naomi were once best known to many as Galaxie 500, but have been making music consistently as a duo, releasing their seventh album, Within These Walls last year. In the mid 90s, they were part of psychedelic rock band Magic Hour. July 2008 will see the reissue of their first post-Galaxie 500 album, More Sad Hits, whìch they’ve remastered, and includes new liner notes and photos. They play Whelan’s on Wednesday June 25th with support from Northstation; The Roisin Dubh, Galway on Thursday June 26th and Black Box, Belfast, on Friday 27th. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/damonandnaomin.

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