Archive for ‘Interview’

May 19, 2016

John Grant Brings His Icelandic Intellect to the Emerald City

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During the Renaissance, art and intellect mingled as an equally provocative and exciting duo. Both were highly valued and experimented with during this era. From Michelangelo to Galileo, from Shakespeare to Copernicus, huge strides were made in human civilization within the span of a couple hundred years.

Fast forward to 2016, where facts are being ignored for “gut feelings” and most artists are struggling to pay rent. Sometimes, much to our lament, it seems that art and intellect have failed.

However, maybe we’re about to experience a second Renaissance. At least, that’s the little glimmer you’re left with after speaking with musician John Grant.

Grant is bringing brains back into art in a big way. After becoming enamored with Iceland after a visit, the classically trained and over-educated musician moved there to create his second album and to add the Icelandic language to his repertoire (he already knows at least four other languages).

“Before moving there, I wasn’t attached to anything at the time and I was having some success with my first record, so I had a little bit of flexibility,” Grant explained during a conversation with us. “I was invited to play in Iceland so I went there and I just sort of freaked out over it. Got excited about the people I was meeting there and the landscape and the language so I decided to stay there and learn the language and make my second album and sort of build a little life for myself there and I haven’t regretted it.”

He’s become proficient to the point where he wrote the lyrics to Iceland’s Eurovision song last year. In Iceland, he finds a certain vocational equality that is lacking elsewhere.

“They don’t really encourage certain careers as being more valuable than other types of careers. They don’t put emphasis on being a lawyer or being a doctor as being better than being an artist.”

The title Grant’s latest album, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, is the English translation of the Icelandic word for “midlife crisis” and the Turkish word for “nightmare.” But despite the rather grim title, the album delights the senses with clever lyrics and vivid swells of stringed instruments juxtaposed with spoken word and the electronic staccato of synths. It is an auditory blend of brooding balanced with blithe.

Grey Tickles, Black Pressure defies what we’ve come to expect from an album. The songs stand individually rather than as a cohesive story, jerking the listener to attention with every track transition. And within Grant’s cynicism for the modern world, listeners will surely smirk at the candidness or cheekiness of his lyrical wordplay.

“I’ve pretty much been turning to humor since I was born. Sort of as a survival mechanism but I also just really love good humor,” Grant said. “I’ve always included that naturally in my music sort of as a reaction to myself. And that’s a reaction to the absurdity of life and the difficulties of life and the difficulties of getting perspective and overcoming yourself. Leaving the past behind you and being in the present takes a large dose of humor.”

He has a knack for finding comedy in dark times, of which Grant has overcome several. He struggled with addiction in the past (he is now 11 years sober) and announced he is HIV positive at the Meltdown Festival in London. Fortunately, he always seems to find the silver lining and cites comedic powerhouses like Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Gary Larson and Looney Toons among his long list of his greatest influences.

The tour for Grey Tickles, Black Pressure will be passing through Seattle this evening at the Showbox. Grant is planning on putting on a great show.

“Look forward to some authenticity in music,” said Grant. “Expect to see three people on stage who are passionate about music. Who are very excited to be there and to connect with them in whatever way is possible given the atmosphere of the moment. We’re doing what we love to do and we feel really grateful to be doing it.”

We were also pleased to hear Grant has a particular appreciation of Seattle’s musical legacy, and of the next-level audiences in the Emerald City.

“I do really like playing Seattle because there’s a really deep appreciation for music up there,” said Grant. “There’s quite a long history of great music coming out of Seattle. I think people in Seattle are really appreciative of a wide range of music and it makes me look forward to going there.”

Catch John Grant at the Showbox at the Market tonight – doors open at 7:00 PM.

August 13, 2014

Chatting Up the ‘Lady: An Interview with Adam Schatz of Landlady, Man Man

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With all the admiration that’s constantly being heaped on some other music cities, we sometimes feel that being music-loving Seattleites is a city-centric version of Stephen Colbert’s “Who’s Not Honoring Me Now” segment. Are we really not worthy of admiration anymore? Clearly we all think we’re still great but it’s always nice to hear people from other places say nice things too.

Songs like Landlady’s “Washington State is Important” offset our fictitious complex. It’s not exactly about music or Seattle but it’s a good song with a positive message about our home state, so we’ll chalk it up as a win for the KEXP crowd. With the good vibes flowing, we set out to chat with Brooklyn’s Adam Schatz [LandladyMan Man, Vampire Weekend (guest musician), many more] and caught up with him last week at the start of the tour in Illinois.

On the tour, Adam gets the rare honor of playing back-to-back sets, first as the frontman with Landlady, then after a short stage change, as part of the Man Man collective. As Adam told us from the road last week, it’s “double the sound checks, double the shows and of course, double the fun.”

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January 11, 2013

Fresh Starts, Gorgeous Mermaids and Leonard Cohen: Words w/ ON AN ON

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Nothing like a story of reinvention to kick off a new year of interviews. This week, we follow up our conversation with PonyHomie’s Brando Feist with a chat with a “new” favorite artist who falls somewhere on the dreamy, electronic rock spectrum. This week, we were lucky enough to catch up with ON AN ON‘s Nate Eiesland to discuss his band’s phoenix-like beginnings, their new sound and what to expect from their upcoming show with San Francisco’s Geographer this Sunday.

Everything we’ve read about ON AN ON mentions the seemingly highly inauspicious start of Scattered Trees breaking up just weeks before scheduled studio time. What ultimately made you decide to move forward with a new band rather than taking one of the other presumably simpler alternatives?

The choice was pretty clear when we were faced with the opportunity to start fresh. The three of us were interested in making music that may have been too far of a leap for Scattered Trees to make sonically. We were ready to make something that was more satisfying to us creatively than what we were doing at the time. It was a perfect storm for us to be able to make a record and to follow our intuition without having any loyalty to a former sound or image. We knew the music that we were making would define everything else for us, rather than the other way around. That was exciting to us.

Was the dreamier atmosphere and fuller electronic instrumentation of Give In something that was going to happen with the next album whether it was Scattered Trees or is the shift something that came from this being a new band?

I think a shift was inevitable, but the freedom that came from starting a new band gave us an opportunity to push further and be more adventurous than we would have been before. The three of us see eye to eye creatively, and we’ve been playing music together for the past 10 years. We work well together, but this was something entirely new to us. Having a clean slate was a challenge, but a really exhilarating one. We were like animals in the studio, we relied on instinct rather than opinion. We were hungry for some immediacy. We didn’t want to self edit too much and end up over processing every decision. We agreed we’d rather have a record alive with vulnerability and flaws than something perfectly executed but neutered. Perfection is boring.

Your lyrics have long explored very personal, often immensely heavy subjects. What themes does the new record cover?

There are a lot of different things going on lyrically in Give In. I’ve been writing about life and death, but from a new place emotionally. It’s been interesting to see my perspective on something so big and important change over time. That shift comes out in Give In. I’m also not as depressed now, and that comes out in the songs too. It’s not a concept record or anything, but it feels like one sonically in some way if that makes any sense. We were really in another world recording this record. We didn’t think about anything else for a month straight.

How did you three settle on ON AN ON as the band name?

A gorgeous mermaid said it to me in a dream.

You mention in the Scattered Trees “Moving on” post that recording Give In drastically changed your approach to making records. How so?

In the past I tended to overwork things I think. I went too deep into my own ideas, and I didn’t have the know-how to make it back out without shredding myself in the process. That’s so much better with ON AN ON. Dave (Newfeld) created an amazing creative atmosphere for us in the studio. There was this sense of urgency, but we knew we didn’t have to prove ourselves to anyone at the same time. We were just creating and exploring. He has an incredible knack for pulling out what’s unique about you as an artist and then capturing those moments when everything is out of the way.

What artists would you cite as some of the most prominent in your development as musicians?

Leonard Cohen is at the top of my list. Songs of Love and Hate changed my life in some way that I can’t really describe. I also discovered the Notwist as a teenager and I haven’t gone 3 months without listening to Neon Golden all the way through since.

We’re shamefully under-informed when it comes to great bands playing in Chicago and/or Minneapolis. Who shouldn’t we miss when they come to Seattle or if we find ourselves in your hometown(s)?

Out of Chicago you should check out Supreme Cuts and Moon Boots for awesome electronic sets. Some good shoegazy bands there are Radar Eyes and Bare Mutants. In Minneapolis there’s Brother Ali, Dark Dark Dark, Dial-up, and if you are ever in Minneapolis on a Sunday or Monday night go to a bar called Bunker’s and catch Dr. Mombo’s Combo for some amazing funk/R&B that will blow your mind.

If you lived in a parallel universe where all bands in 2013 had to become tribute bands, which band would you choose as your new identity for the year?

Great question. I’d have to go with the Beatles. It may be an answer you get a lot, but if I seriously had to perform only Beatles songs every night, it’d make for a good year.

Anything in particular that you’re looking to do with your time in Seattle?

We will probably eat a fantastic meal somewhere and then stick some gum on the wall in Post Alley.

What should people expect from your set this Sunday?

A giant wet dream on Monday morning.

1/13 (Sunday) – Geographer with On An On + Haunted Summer @ Barboza // 8 pm // 21+ // $10

January 4, 2013

Breakups, Death and Dance Music: An Interview with PonyHomie

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We’ve written about PonyHomie several times over the past couple years. But today, in honor of the release of their new album, Remable, and their headlining show tonight at Chop Suey, we thought you’d want to hear it straight from the horse’s – err, Pony’s – mouth.

We caught up with Brando Feist, vocalist and synth master for the dark electro-dance trio to learn a little more about the new album, the band’s creative process, and what we can expect to see at the show tonight.

SEA live MUSIC: What can fans expect from the new album, Remable?

Brando: Remable is a bit of an odd record, to be honest. Though many of the songs are very dark lyrically, the melodies are deceptively uplifting. People quite often mistake some of our darkest, saddest songs for love songs or happy tunes. We’re just happy to have people listening and having their own take on these songs that the three of us now know so well.

SLM: Do you guys collaborate on songwriting, or does one of you do most of the heavy lifting?

Brando: Our writing process has always varied… typically I [Brando] will have an idea or a new keyboard effect and show Mike [drummer] and Ramon [bassist], ask them what they think, and take it from there. I usually write lyrics and song structure by myself to really focus on the content. When I feel like the song is completed on my end, I will send it off to the guys to have them start thinking of parts. The hard work starts when we all three put our ideas together to nail down drums and bass parts. Often what Mike and Ramon come up with is nothing close to what I originally envisioned, but I am always happily surprised by the results.

SLM: Where do you draw most of your inspiration from for PonyHomie’s music?

Brando: Lyrically, I typically draw inspiration from loss and sadness, depressingly enough. Loved ones I’ve lost in one way or another. I’ve written about death and made it sound like a breakup, and I’ve written about breakups and made it sound like death. I try to have a sense of ambiguity in my lyrics to let the listeners decide for themselves what they want the song to be. Musically, my inspiration comes from new music. When I hear the latest tracks from my favorite artists, that’s when I am drawn to my keyboard and pushed to write something new.

SLM: Can you tell us a little about the recording process? Did you do all the recording in Seattle?

Brando: All of the recording was done in Seattle. When we originally recorded our demo to send to Scott Colburn (our producer), we figured that he would like to rerecord almost everything for the album. We were very excited that he thought much of what we had sounded great as is, so we decided to focus on turning our demo into a cohesive album. We kept all of the original keyboard parts, recorded in my studio apartment, and many of the bass parts that were recorded at Mike’s house. For the rerecording of the drums and vocals, we headed to Gravelvoice Studio, where Scott helped us finalize our tracks.

SLM: How did you decide to focus on synth, rather than guitar, as the main instrument for the band?

Brando: I had been playing guitar for many years, and had started to lose interest. I was finding it difficult to write new songs that sounded like new songs. I wanted to start focusing on more electronic and dance driven music, mainly because that was what I had been primarily listening to at that time. I purchased the Nord and immediately began writing songs I couldn’t possibly have thought of with guitar. I still love playing guitar, but I continue to base even our most guitar centric songs around the strength of the keyboard.

SLM: You use some really great vocal effects – how did you come up with the right balance?

Brando: I have no idea. There was a lot of tinkering involved. I played with the settings until I found something that sounded great or made me laugh and I stuck with it. If I thought it might work, I used it and didn’t look back.

SLM: Do you have anything special planned for your show at Chop Suey?

Brando: We have a couple of old tricks up our sleeves. They aren’t necessarily things we haven’t done before, but I think people will get a kick out of it.

SLM: If you were to arrange a national tour, who would be your dream bands to play with?

Brando: I’ve thought about this question a lot, and I don’t have a really good answer. I can think of some absolutely amazing bands that I would love to meet and to play shows with, but we wouldn’t necessarily fit on a bill well together. I could write a list, but it would be several pages long…

SLM: What is the story behind the bandannas?

Brando: I wanted a give a sense of anonymity to us as musicians… to let the audience focus on the music and what was being played rather than who was playing it. I never really wanted to be an anonymous band, because that just seemed like far too much work to hide our identities from the friends who were coming to see us play. The first couple shows we played, we kept the bandannas on the whole show, but by now they’ve become more of a symbol for us.

SLM: What music is on heavy rotation for the PonyHomie crew right now?

Brando: Since meeting with Scott Colburn, I’ve been checking out a lot of his other production work. My favorites come from the Portland band Nurses, and Brooklyn based Prince Rama. Both fantastic bands. I also have gotten very into a band called Royal Bangs… their album “Let It Beep” is phenomenal.

1/4 PonyHomie / Redwood Plan / Ever-So-Android / Jabon @ Chop Suey :: Tickets are $8 :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: 21+

July 27, 2012

Arriving with a “Refreshing Departure:” An Interview Jake Rohr of Fort Union

If a look back at the creative output of mankind has taught us anything, it’s trying times make for good art. Sure, there are some other lessons in there as well but to steal a line from Sean Nelson, “happiness writes white” and there’s nothing like discontent to get the ink flowing.

In modern times, few topics push artists as consistently and as reliably as break-ups. Tonight’s recommended headliner, Fort Union, has its start in an ending. What makes their story different than the traditional “Blood on the Tracks”-esque inspiration is the new Seattle/Portland duo taps into the shared experience of a band break-up to fuel a new beginning. Rising from the ashes of Friday Mile, Jace Krause and Jake Rohr took the opportunity to embrace change and explore less traveled, more experimental sonic terrain.

In advance of their album release show at the Tractor tonight, we were lucky enough to catch up Jake, the Seattle half of the equation, to talk about the band’s genesis, the debut album and their new approach. If you like what you hear (and read), be sure to head over to Ballard tonight for what promises to be a great show. Widower and SLM favorite Cataldo will open.

The self-description of Fort Union as a “refreshing departure from Seattle’s ‘guy with a guitar’ music scene” has certainly struck a chord with music critics and likely fans. While people know what not to expect, what key elements should they expect from Fort Union, musically speaking?

At their core, I think the Fort Union songs are accessible pop tunes with catchy melodies and we could’ve easily gone down the familiar ‘guy with a guitar’ folk/country route with the instrumentation and production. But that didn’t really interest us. Early on, our goals were to take this songs, flip them upside down, stretch em out and throw some texture, atmosphere and weirdness in there. Ryan Lynch’s guitar playing is huge part of setting our sound apart. It’s a constant presence throughout the record, both creating space and tying things together.

Your bandcamp page prominently mentions Fort Union formed from the ashes of a band breakup. How did Friday Mile’s end affect your approach to songwriting, arranging and recording in ways that wouldn’t have been possible if Friday Mile was still active and Fort Union was just a side project?

Jace and I had a handful of the Fort Union songs on the back burner while Friday Mile was still together. They had a bit of a different feel so we kept it as a separate project. Honestly, I would’ve loved to have worked on the two projects sided by side, but the restraints of jobs, schedules and finite amounts of energy didn’t allow that. When the band broke up, Jace and I dove right in on the Fort Union songs.

Speaking of recording, how did your experience recording in Jace’s garage differ from past recordings you’ve done and how did that ultimately impact the sound and feel of the album?

Our past recording as Friday Mile were all done in proper studios with engineers and producers. I think that was the right choice for that project and we learned a lot about the recording process by working and observing professionals. With Fort Union, we had a lot of ideas for the feel and vibe of the record, but the actual songs hadn’t been all written. We recorded as we wrote, initially just as demos that allowed us to play multiple instruments ourselves. I think early on we had the idea to go into a professional studio, but as the songs took shape over multiple passes we found that we really liked the way our recording sounded as is. We got the songs sounding as close as possible to where we wanted them and handed them off to Gary Mula to mix. He heard what we were going for, tore them down and built them back up. They sound beautiful thanks to his expertise but retain our original vision.

When you uploaded your album to bandcamp, you encouraged fans to set aside 40 minutes as the album was designed to be heard in its entirety. Can you share a little about your approach to the album as a whole and why the entirety is greater than the sum of its parts?

We always wanted people to experience this record as whole. We had done previous records that were more a collection of stand-alone singles and were ready for something more cohesive. These songs flow together and support each other. I wanted to make a great road trip album.

Can you talk a bit about your video trailer project for the album – how it came about, how you selected the local filmmakers and how this played into the bigger picture of releasing and promoting the album?

It’s so hard to compete for people’s attention these days with so many people promoting stuff online the we were looking for different ways to draw people to what we were doing. I realized one day that there are a lot of extended instrumental sections on the record that have a very cinematic quality to them. We know a ton of talented videographers and reached out to see if they could set some images to our music. We gave them 60 seconds each and a lot of freedom. It’s interesting that they independently all went the scenic, nature route. I was very happy with how they turned out.

Going back to Seattle’s ‘guy with a guitar’ music scene, are there any other Seattle musicians that break from that tradition that you’re particularly enjoying at the moment?

Oh man, there are so many bands that I think are doing great stuff out there. One band that I’m really digging right now is a ‘girl with a guitar’ band – Deep Sea Diver. One of my favorite shows of the last year.

What should people expect from your set this Friday?

We want to celebrate and throw a party. Our live set has bit more energy. We’ve got two drummers, percussion, harmonies and we rock the songs more than what you’ll hear on the record.

What’s next for you and the band through the end of the year?

We’re putting together some more shows this fall in the Seattle/Portland area to support the record. But we’ve got a whole bunch of new songs that we’re itching to get to work on. Hopefully a year from now we’ll have another record under our belt.



7/27 – Fort Union, Cataldo, Widower @ Tractor, Doors at 9:30pm, $8

January 11, 2012

Our Top Ten Favorite Musician Quotes from SEA live MUSIC Year One

Exactly one year ago, SEA live MUSIC ceased to be just something that lived in our minds to something that lives on our computers, your smartphones and our moms’ lists of “favorite sites.” Some 238 posts later, we’re 365 days older and more in tune with the nearly infinite reasons that make Seattle one of the best music cities of all time.

Over the past year, we were lucky enough to interview some of our favorite musicians passing through town, more than a few who call our fine city home.

Without further ado, scroll down the page and take a stroll down memory lane with our favorite out-of-context quotes from the past year.

I grew up with a big sister… I probably would choose him as a big brother…if he and I were enrolled in the Big Brother Big Sister program. – D. Crane of BOAT Dresses Like His Idols, Talks to Us

I didn’t have a lot of luck, but I did manage to get one song in MTV’s the Real World where one of my songs plays over two girls fighting in a hot tub! – A Symphony on a Small Stage: An Interview with Lost in the Trees

Mountain people can get pretty weird. – Some Words with Psychedelic Folk Rockers The Fling

A lot of the inspiration really came from my brain failing me and coming to terms with the shabby mind I’ve been given. – Beyond “The Silver Lining”: An Interview with Grant Olsen of Gold Leaves

The troll was very polite and attentive. Although I’m not sure how into my set he was since he never sang along despite multiple requests. – An Interview with Fishboy, Columbia City Theater’s Saturday Night Party Starter

Most Seattle bands are too tough for us. Any individual member of any band from Seattle could beat up our entire band.An Interview with Tonight’s Featured Act, The Features

I haven’t had to eat ramen once on this tour, people sing a long every night, and when it is all done, I don’t have to sleep in the car. I am as happy as can be. – A Few Words with Astronautalis, Playing Vera Project on Friday

I think as I get older, I can appreciate a good turn of phrase or melodic hook, regardless of the context or delivery. – Discussing Blessings, Curses and Everything in Between with Chris Collingwood

Autumn is the heaviest season for me. I feel the relief of summer and still, the weight of phantom school.Optimism, Broken Glasses and School Days: An Interview with Matt Pond PA

The next year I found a job scooping ice cream and things steadily improved from there. As of this moment I count myself supremely lucky for my friendships and experiences in Seattle. – Brainy Feelings Music and the Perfect Tuna Salad: An Interview with Eric Anderson (of Cataldo)

A huge thank you to all of the musicians who have been kind enough to take time out of their long drives and busy schedules to talk with us. And of course, thank you to you, our readers, for your support over the past year. Here’s to a great Year Two!

***As always, you can find our interviews by clicking on, well, the word “interview” on the sidebar.***

January 6, 2012

Brainy Feelings Music and the Perfect Tuna Salad: An Interview with Eric Anderson

Since relocating to Seattle in 2008, Eric Anderson of Cataldo has quickly become one of our favorite local musicians. His ability to craft (sometimes painfully) honest folk-tinged songs infused with clever wordplay and a strong dose of pop sensibilities has made his latest album Prison Boxing a regular musical accompaniment to our (sometimes mundane) daily routines.

In advance of Cataldo’s set at The Croc tonight, Eric was kind enough to answer some questions about Cataldo’s evolution, his new life in Seattle and much more. After reading the interview, be sure to watch Christian Sorensen Hansen‘s excellent video for Deep Cuts (below).

If you’d like to learn a bit more about tonight’s show with Sounds Major, be sure to check out our short preview from earlier today.


How would you say your approach to songwriting or maybe just the process of writing, arranging and recording has changed over the years?

It’s changed a great deal. The biggest change with “Prison Boxing” was the inclusion of bass and drums on almost every song. Our first two records are, for lack of a more accurate adjective, “folkier.” While occasionally quite ornately orchestrated they’re mostly built around a voice and acoustic guitar. This is, relatively speaking, a rocker. We also used recording studios for a couple days which was a new experience.

I keep a notebook of lyrical ideas (analogies, images, cool words, etc), little pegs I try to jam into musical holes. As far as the tunes I’ve historically started with a guitar, banjo, or piano. Beginning with this past record I have been writing melodies without tying them to a rhythm instrument early in the process. Filling those out in ways that surprise and excite me has been increasing challenging and rewarding. Growing disenchanted with strumming an acoustic guitar makes sense given I’ve been doing that more or less exclusively for 8 years and three records.

When we’ve written about Cataldo before we made the statement that your sound falls “somewhere between The Weakerthans and The Decemberists.” How far off were we in your mind?

I have not heard The Weakerthans but you’re in the right building with The Decemberists comparison. Pop music which is worth listening to because of the well-crafted lyrics.

What musicians rank among your favorites for skill with lyrics and wordplay?

Smog/Bill Callahan, The Magnetic Fields, The Mountain Goats. Compelling after years of listening. Songwriters who have made me excited about the unexplored possibilities of a verse, chorus, and the occasional bridge.

Your recent tour dates show a connection to The Long Winters and/or the original Harvey Danger lineup. How did you first come to meet John and Sean?

I met John at a benefit we played for Patty Murray. He was generous with his time and advice for no good reason. Not long after we opened for The Long Winters where he was unexpectedly joined by Sean Nelson. Afterwards I shook Sean’s hand, said, “I never thought I’d see that,” and made my way out of the club. He contacted me not long after and we put this show together. I am proud to be a part of the northwest’s lineage of, as Sean recently called it, “brainy feelings music.” It’s shaped me as a writer and person so I am understandably excited and honored get to play with them.

What should people expect from your set this Friday?

Slightly tweaked band. A John Cale cover. Back to back guitar noodling.

How has Seattle treated you since you first moved here?

I moved to Seattle in summer 2008. I was terrible for a year as my relationship imploded and I ran out of money. The next year I found a job scooping ice cream and things steadily improved from there. As of this moment I count myself supremely lucky for my friendships and experiences in Seattle.

Does Seattle feel like a permanent home or will the next Cataldo record be released in another city?

I have a good job, good relationship, and good band. I won’t be moving soon.

What are your favorite venues as a perform and which would rank highly on a list as concert-goer?

I spent some time in Laura Veirs’ band and had the privilege of playing many cool places. The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, in addition to its amazing history, feels simultaneously huge and intimate. Union Chapel in London pulled off the same trick. It was special to be in both rooms. As far as local rock clubs–Neumos and The Showbox have great sounding stages. The Sunset and Tractor Tavern always give me a warm feeling inside. I recently got to do a little singing with Hey Marseilles with the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya. That stage felt unnervingly accurate which, I suppose, is what you want with world class musicians on it. Any room is as great as the band on stage.

What’s next for 2012?

More touring hopefully. Start the next record. Perfect my tuna salad.

Deep Cuts from Christian Sorensen Hansen on Vimeo.

1/6 Sounds Major / Cataldo / Jordan O’Jordan @ The Crocodile :: Tickets are $10 :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: 21+

December 16, 2011

Take a Break from Yuletide Overload with Yukon Blonde at The Croc Tomorrow Night

If your month’s been at all like ours, and we imagine it certainly has, December’s been overwhelmingly jam-packed well before you even thought about flipping over your calendar. While we can’t grant you gift of tranquility, though in this season of Festival yelling out Serenity Now! might not be our worst suggestion, we can attempt to ease your load of stress, year-end obligations and shopping with a recommendation of great live tunes.

Tomorrow night’s recommended band are a group Northern neighbors who happen to play some of the finest Canyon Rock that’s hit our ears for years. We were lucky enough to catch up with Vancouver’s Yukon Blonde in advance of their gig opening for the Fling this Saturday at the The Croc. Be sure to check out their excellent, yet heart-breaking video for “Water” below, scroll through our interview with bassist John Jeffrey and head over to your favorite, least-sketchy Belltown haunt tomorrow to take in the live experience for yourself.

We often hear a lot about the Portland and Seattle scene, for obvious reasons but are far less familiar with what’s going on up in Vancouver. How would you describe the scene and who are three bands our readers should check out right now… err..after finishing reading this interview?
Vancouver is good. Unfortunately we don’t know as much about it as we should. We’ve been on tour so much our visits there have been few and far between.

Our favorite bands from there, who are definitely worth checking out, are Dan Mangan, Black Mountain, Ladyhawk, Brasstronaut, Hannah Georgas, Sun Wizard, Chains of Love, Library..

Sorry that’s more than three but it’s hard to narrow it down.

Is there a usual process, or maybe even a few processes, that an idea goes from being just that to becoming part of a song?

Most of the time Jeff will present us with ideas, whether it’s just a section or an entire song and we’ll hash it out as a group. Jeff’s the architect and we’re the contractors.

How did you first meet up with The Fling and how’s the current tour going so far?

We first met The Fling in Atlanta for our first show together and it’s been a pleasure getting
to listen to them. It’s humbling to watch such a good band every night and they’re just as good people as they are musicians. It’s been great.

If you lived in an alternate reality where you forced to play the catalog of another musician/band for an entire year, which musicians or band’s works would you play?

Well, I can’t speak for the other guys, but if I were to be in an alternate reality I’d love to play another instrument in an improvised setting for a while. It would be amazing to play some music, or attempt to, of the obvious improvisational greats Miles Davis, Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman etc.

Any Seattle musicians or bands that you’re particularly enjoying at the moment?

Fleet Foxes are great obviously; I watched The Head and the Heart in Vancouver a while ago and thought they were awesome.

What’s next for you and the band through the end of the year and beyond?

Well, we have a few more dates left in the States and then we’re lucky enough to go to Australia to play a handful of shows. We’ll be bringing in the New Year in Brisbane!

12/17 The Fling / Yukon Blonde / TBD @ The Crocodile :: Doors at 8 p.m. :: $10

October 25, 2011

Audio Interview with Jack Conte of Pomplamoose, Playing Triple Door Tomorrow

The interwebz has been vital in thrusting a few otherwise unheard of musicians into the spotlight in the past decade. Bands who are able to use the platform in new and creative ways have been able to establish nationwide followings before even thinking about touring. Tomorrow, one such act will be playing at the Triple Door.

Pomplamoose, known for their creatively edited video songs on You Tube, is made up of Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte. The two have employed clever covers of widely known pop songs (Single Ladies, anyone?) as vehicles to drive awareness of their own original tunes.

We sent a few questions over to Pomplamoose in hopes of getting a few written responses from the band in advance of their Wednesday performance at the Triple Door, but we got something even better. Jack Conte took the time to record an audio interview for us, which we’ve posted below. Take a listen and definitely check out Pomplamoose’s videos. And please say hello if you see us at the show!

10/26 Pomplamoose / Louise and Genevieve @ Triple Door :: Doors at 6:00 PM :: Tickets are $16 :: All Ages

October 14, 2011

Optimism, Broken Glasses and School Days: An Interview with Matt Pond PA

If Matt Pond were in your social circle, he’d be that one friend who reassures you that he’s “doing fine” so often that you actually start to worry more than if he’d said nothing in the first place. As a critical darling and fan favorite during his early career, Matt Pond’s band originally from Pennsylvania, aptly called Matt Pond PA started to hit some rough patches, ranging from band restructuring to online vitriol, several albums in.

As Matt tells us in an interview this week, he’s taken this all in stride. “In the new computer world, there’s an ample amount of reaction to everything we all do… Good or bad, I’m not worried about what people think anymore.” As fans from the beginning, we’re pulling for Matt and still appreciate his ability to evoke that certain mood of sadness mixed with optimism like few others.

Continue on to read our full interview and head to Neumos tomorrow to take in the live experience for yourself. Local favorite Rocky Votolato will headline.

Your early records in particular almost served as odes to the beauty and wonder of nature intermixed with cleverly worded statements about human relationships. How has moving to the city affected how you find inspiration for your songs?

I moved to the city 6 or so years ago, moved to Hudson last year and put everything into storage before this tour. I have no idea where I’m going when I get home.

It’s good for me to shift perspectives, to see to physical world in different ways. The gypsy juxtaposition works.

True inspiration comes from inside, in each of all of our own worlds. I sometimes feel like I might be a little overpopulated.

How has the balance of subject matter shifted over the years?

Oddly, I’ve become more optimistic.

Songs, shows, band members, albums. It’s not all made of magic. And yet, I don’t want anything else. I’m wicked happy with what I’ve got.

How does your latest EP continue themes from your previous albums and in which ways does it explore different territory?

The latest EP is about letting go of the past. And perhaps a degree of partying in getting it done. Partying can mean nothing more than one lonely fist in the air. Letting loose, however you do it, is a big mantra of mine.

Sometimes people get confused about what I’m talking about. Sometimes I’m even not sure exactly what I’m trying to convey.

Because my/your/our world is so constantly and quickly changing, meanings tend to multiply and divide. Like crazy.

A lot of your music seems almost perfect for this time of the year, especially in cloudy Seattle. What role does geography and climate play in the moods you try to create in your songs?

Autumn is the heaviest season for me. I feel the relief of summer and still, the weight of phantom school.

Tangent. School shouldn’t be as bad as it is. With the belligerent devaluing of education, it shouldn’t be as bad as it’s going to become.

In the height of my teen isolation, I would go home after class just to watch the gold color of New Hampshire light fade into black. Self-indulgent and d-grade poetry, for sure. Yet, it was the first time I traveled beyond my own mind.

How did you first meet up with Rocky and how’s the current tour going so far?

I met Rocky years ago. We were doing a few shows together. I was too shy to say anything more than a mumble.

Last spring we did something akin to a solo tour. I had the best time I’ve ever had traveling in a van and softly rocking. Rocky and I wrote songs together, argued about religion and consciousness and everything. He’s stuck being my friend for life.

The current run is great. Although it hasn’t been easy with these broken bones. But I’ve never seen a group of people work harder to make something come together. Rocky, April, Chris Hansen, Heather McIntosh, John Courage and Dan Ford. They are the balls.

What should people expect from your show at Neumos on October 15th?

I broke my leg at the beginning of this tour. I didn’t want to quit. At the same time, I didn’t want to put on on a hobbled live show.

Personally, I think I’m playing better and harder than I have in my entire life.

Sure, I’m sitting on a spray-painted gold shower seat. And sure, it’s not always awesome, tripping and scuffling my way across the states. But I feel good, I feel strong. If it’s all internal, I think I really like a good fight.

Anything in particular you’re looking to do with your time in Seattle?

I’m going to buy glasses. What I have now are some scratched up bits of semi-translucent plastic with worn black frames. They treat my nose as if it were a slide and only allow me to see what they want me to see.

Any Seattle musicians or bands that you’re particularly enjoying at the moment?

Telekinesis. Love them. And Rocky Votolato. Have you heard of him? He’s the balls.

What’s next for you and the band?

Since I have the leg thing, I’ve been plotting and writing an album I can properly move to. Someday, I will once again be nailing a dance step or two to the floor.

10/15 Rocky Votolato / Matt Pond PA / Kay Kay & His Weathered Underground @ Neumos :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $14 :: All Ages

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