Musical Rooms

September 23, 2009

Musical Rooms Part 89: Teengirl Fantasy

Filed under: Interviews,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 12:44 pm
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teengirl
“As of late we are always on the move, so we don’t really have one specific room where we play music. Any floor, basement, attic, etc. where we can set up our equipment will work. This is a picture of the most recent room we’ve been playing in, which is also our living room in our new apartment in Amsterdam. We have such a beautiful view of Amsterdam’s Centraal Station right outside of our bay window. So lucky! It’s fun to watch all of the people going down the bike path in between songs.

Our set-up (SP-404, Electribe mk2, MPC1000, MicroKorg, and Juno 6 and this amazing Echolution delay pedal that Nick just picked up), is fairly portable and allows us to set up pretty much anywhere. We don’t have any real amps so in the past we’ve monitored our mix using anything from headphones to blown out battery powered baby practice amps. Right now we are using the television speakers, which works pretty well. Maybe when we are older and have the stability and ability to use a real studio space we will, but this set-up works just fine for us now.

When we are writing songs each of us brings our own ideas (a loop, collection of samples, or drum pattern) that we’ve been working on individually, which we then jam on with the each other and add even more ideas to (layers, structures, forms). Often we’ll write songs in short spurts then develop them more by playing them out live at shows. Thus most of our writing process usually occurs live, but there have been times when we are recording an already performed song where we we will get another idea for a part, which will in turn effect how we play the song live again. Other times we will improvise and jam for hours from scratch and may or may not use any of it. After a long time of playing all of the bass and midrange sounds make us fall asleep and we end up forgetting songs if we never hit record.”

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Teengirl Fantasy is Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss, two friends at Oberlin College in Ohio (although they are currently enjoying a semester abroad in Amsterdam). It’s tough to classify their music within one genre -both Harmonia and Cece Peniston serve as equal reference points. Their love of drone, 4/4, and warm gating synths force new classifications of electronic music. Since forming less than a year ago, they have toured the US coasts opening for acts such as Dan Deacon, Telepathe and THE GZA. Their debut release was the ‘Portofino’ 7″ on Merok Records and on September 5th they released a limited edition 12″ of 113 copies (each with unique artwork) on Dick Move Records. Their debut album is forthcoming on True Panther Sounds. They play The Thomas House, Dublin on Saturday, September 26th. Doors are 8pm and admission is €10. Support is from Angkorwat. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/teengirlfantasy.

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September 22, 2009

Musical Rooms Part 88: HEALTH

Filed under: Interviews,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 10:06 am
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health

“My favourite space to create music in is not exactly “my favourite”, but it’s the only one. It’s a room in a former textile factory, which is now a practice spaces for bands. It’s owned by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. The room has very tall ceilings and concrete walls. It has a carpet floor, lots of bad smells and gets incredibly hot. But the sound is amazing.
In here, we have piles of all of our guitars, drum kits and various bits of recording paraphenalia. There are stacks of acoustic guitars that are never touched as well as shelves of unused guitar pedals and a vintage Tascam mixer connected to a 2005 iMac.

The most important things to have in here are all of our equipment and a mini fridge for the beer. This place is a 24-hour lockout, so it’s always available at any time. We usually set a time and meet there. Rarely are we there alone. For me, working with a group is most important. My solo time is devoted to finding new sounds with my equipment. We usually start with an idea or concept written and then fleshed out on paper. To record ideas, we use an iMac and an ancient mixer. To play, we use everything that we use live. I don’t want to give away any trade secrets, but my bass is a Rickenbacker.

What I like most about this place is the sound. It’s a great place to record.”

Musical Rooms was talking to John Famiglietti of HEALTH.
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LA noise rockers health started out in LA’s art space The Smell making and their huge wall of sound includes a homemade guitar pedal/microphone called a Zoothorn. The four-piece are fronted by Jacob Duzsik and released their debut album, HEALTH, in 2007. They have also toured with Crystal Castles who they had previously collaborated on a 7″ with. Earlier this month, they released their second album Get Color, on City Slang. They play The Village on Thursday October 1st. Doors are 8pm and tickets are €14 including booking fee from WAV Box-Office (Lo-Call 1890 200 078), City Discs, http://www.tickets.ie and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/healthmusic.

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September 16, 2009

Competition: win a double pass to see William E. Whitmore

Filed under: competitions,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 1:44 pm

whitmoreUS songwriter William E. Whitmore plays Whelan’s this Sunday, September 20th. To win a double pass to the gig, just answer the following question and leave your answer in the comments by lunchtime on Friday.

Which US state does William E. Whitmore come from?

Update: Congrats to Morgan, enjoy the gig.

Link: Musical Rooms Part 87: William E. Whitmore

Musical Rooms Part 87: William E. Whitmore

Filed under: Interviews,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 12:38 pm
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wwhitmore

“The space where I create music is my cabin in Lee county Iowa, on the family farm. It’s in the middle of nowhere in the woods. The cabin itself was built by me over the course of the last few years inbetween tours. I made it out of recycled barn-wood that I found myself. It’s very rustic and well worn and it’s special to my heart. A lot of the materials were gathered with the help of my father before he passed away, so it’s like a tribute to him and his spirit. I have a collection of stringed instruments including acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, lap steels, a dobro, a violin and several home-made cigar-box guitars. I’ve got a few amplifiers and a mess of noise making devices such as shakers, drums, and wood blocks. The most important things for me are the banjos, guitars, a snare drum and my song notebook. I also have piles of books and records for inspiration.

When I’m not on tour I spend all my time here as it is also my living space. The line between inspiration and life is non-existent. My south window looks over the horse pasture and the hills and woods just beyond. These are the elements of song. Isolation is important although I do gather ideas from others at times and I find the creative process is a living, breathing thing that wakes up with me and follows me to bed at night. It grows in the same way that trees grow and with nourishment it can flourish and take root. Just like a tree, it can die without proper care.

My equipment is simple; pen, paper, instruments and a pot of strong coffee. Around about sundown the coffee turns to whiskey, just like magic. The muse and I tangle back and forth until an agreement is reached. What I like most about my creative environment is that it exists where I grew up and feel most at ease. The space itself is like an instrument to be played.”

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Hailing from a horse farm along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, William Elliott Whitmore has developed an intense love and spiritual understanding of the land, which he flawlessly conveys through all of his records. genuity. Born, raised and still residing on a farm in Lee County, Iowa, Whitmore literally cultivates his song cycles from earth. He released Song of the Blackbird (2006), Ashes to Dust (2005), Hymn for the Hopeless (2003) and Calendar Club of Danger and Fun (2002) while working his land. He plays Whelan’s this Sunday, September 20th. Doors are 8pm and tickets are €13 plus booking fee from WAV Box-Office (Lo-Call 1890 200 078), City Discs, http://www.tickets.ie and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/williamewhitmore.

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September 9, 2009

Musical Rooms Part 86: The Tallest Man on Earth

Filed under: Interviews,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 8:59 am
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tallest
“I guess I create music and write songs pretty much all over the place. It can happen in good-sounding rooms where I happen to be, or outside walking the dog. I rent a house on the edge of a small country-town in Sweden, with a living room where most of the songs are finished and then maybe recorded. It has great acoustics, and a door leading out to a big patio facing the woods. pretty much all I need. When I see the dog getting bored from tip-toeing around; when she knows it will only take even more time if she ruins the take, I go out on the patio, trick her to look the other way and throw a frisbee out in the woods as far as I can. She will search until she finds it, usually it takes about four minutes, pefect amount of time to do a take. When she returns, her smile from success inspires me back. I throw it again and get the work done.

I have a computer with all the usual stuff, a bunch of Tandberg quarter-inch reel-to-reel recorders, a Studer B67 and a purple tube compressor. Microphones spread from some really modern-sounding ones to a 1960’s ribbon. All this is spread out in the room together with a bunch of guitars, a nice piano a couple of cents flat, a mellophone and a banjo. When I need to record I’ll just mix and match, and find the best spot in the room for the song.”

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Sweden’s Kristian Matsson is The Tallest Man on Earth and has been described as “a finger picking virtuoso who plays inspired Dylan-esque folk songs”. Matsson has been recording since early 2000 and released his self-titled debut EP on Sweden’s Gravitation Records in 2006, followed by a single ‘Pistol Dreams’ in 2007 and a full-length album, Shallow Grave, in 2008. He plays Whelan’s this Friday, September 11th. Doors are 7.30pm and tickets are €13.50 plus booking fee from WAV Box-Office (Lo-Call 1890 200 078), City Discs, http://www.tickets.ie and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. Support is from Valerie Francis. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/thetallestmanonearth.

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September 2, 2009

Musical Rooms Part 85: Future Islands

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 7:53 am
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futureislands

William Cashion: “We create music either in Gerrit’s bedroom in Baltimore, or our living room. I prefer any room that we can smoke cigarettes in. Gerrit generally comes up with a bunch of ideas on his own – most of my ideas come from riffing/jamming with Gerrit. Personally, the most important things for me to have in here are my bass guitar and amp. After that, probably computers and keyboards. Until very recently, we were writing every day for about five to seven hours a day working on material for the new album. We often get together in spurts of inspiration, usually after a big tour, recollecting our thoughts and ideas regarding new material. Usually Gerrit will have a drum loop he made and a chord progression or riff and I’ll come in and figure out my bass parts to move along top of/under it. Other times I may have a chord progression or idea that I show to Gerrit and he works with me to figure out his parts. Sam usually hangs out and writes lyrics out while we jam. Sometimes we’ll play the same riff for half an hour and Sam will keep reworking his melody or words (or both). Sam’s words often decide the form the song will take, like when the chorus will start, and if there is a bridge before or after the chorus, things like that. I have a Yamaha bass guitar that I’m pretty sure is a metal guitar (not made of metal, but made for metal music) run through an echo pedal and a Rat distortion pedal. I guess my favorite part of this room is the tape machine (or mini disc recorder), where we capture ideas, the rough sketches of songs that never get officially released.”

Gerrit Welmers: “It’s small and packed full of things, which is nicely balanced. In here, I have midi controllers, computers, and keyboards. There are a couple guitars and small instruments. I also use an Akai Midi Keyboard that controls Reason. There is an audio interface, a mixer, four-track, tape player, overly gigantic speakers that make everything sound like three six mafia and that’s about it. The most important thing for me to have here is my collection of everything that has existed since I was born. I probably spend too much time here. I seem to be writing or playing music all of the time. I tend to work alone a lot. It’s easier for me to figure things out. We, as a group, will then compile the song later. What I tend to like most about this space is that it’s mine.”

Musical Rooms was talking to William Cashion and Gerrit Welmers of Future Islands.

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Future Islands are a new-wave dance band from North Carolina, who now live in Baltimore. Gerrit Welmers, Sam Herring and William Cashion play terse, passionate music built around Welmers’ cart-wheeling synthesizer melodies and Cashion’s post-punk bass pulse. They have been writing songs together since 2003 in the guise of absurdist party project Art Lord & The Self Portraits and their sound has become exponentially faster and surprisingly powerful. They wrote and recorded an EP, ‘Little Advances’, in time for their first tour in 2006. This was followed by their debut album Wave Like Home in 2008, with the help of Dan Deacon’s producer Chester Endersby Gwazda (Dan Deacon). They released Feathers & Hallways, a 7″ EP earlier this year and play upstairs at Whelan’s on September 9th with support from Ear Pwr (Carpark Recordings/Baltimore) and We Cut Corners. Doors are 8pm, admission is €12 plus booking fee from WAV Box-Office (Lo-Call 1890 200 078), City Discs, Sound Cellar, www.tickets.ie and Ticketmaster. For more information visit www.myspace.com/futureislands.

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