Adam Perry (adamice9) Wed 18 Apr 07 17:41
Off to Sweetwater. Great questions today!
Steve Silberman (digaman) Wed 18 Apr 07 17:44
How did you guys get into the Apple Music Store? > Great SF bands like Deefhoof and BRMC completely bypassed the SF scene on their way to international recognition and stardom. That is interesting... How did they do that?
Steve Silberman (digaman) Wed 18 Apr 07 17:44
Have a great time at Sweetwater!
Gabriel Leis (gummyazul) Wed 18 Apr 07 19:35
We basically self released our 3 EP's under the Redgummy Records label, which is just me without a plan. We digitally distribute our music through IODA (Independent Online Distribution Alliance) which then services it to Apple iTunes as well as all the other major pay download services. They are a great resource for small labels, because they bundle the music together and are able to get a better rate for the artists than they could negotiate individually. I have no idea how those bands pulled that off, other than that they are super good and deserve the success they have achieved.
Steve Silberman (digaman) Wed 18 Apr 07 21:31
That's cool, Gabriel, thanks. A two-sided question: What frustrates you guys most about the state of music these days? And what makes you happiest about the state of music these days; how are things in excellent or promising shape?
Adam Perry (adamice9) Thu 19 Apr 07 01:12
Hmm...I'm teaching all day tomorrow, so won't be able to get to those questions in-depth until perhaps the evening...but it'll be good to think of them all day. But I will say that my favorite things about music today are probably #1: that (unless you're some manufactured artist like In Sync or whatever) you really have to earn your keep by being a great live band, because record sales ain't what they used to be. And #2: that there is SO much amazing original music going on in this country right now it's impossible to describe or even to completely follow. Which brings me to the #1 thing that frustrates me about the state of music today: that virtually none of this music can be located on your FM radio dial, which is owned by Big Brother, or on MTV, which apparently no longer plays music.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 19 Apr 07 07:43
Gabriel mentioned being influenced by Bob Dylan. Adam just talked about Big Brother. I wasn't able to find any lyrics from TLXN online so it's hard to tell from the CD if you guys are carrying forth that folk tradition of writing biting lyrics with socially relevant allusions. I was so pleased when I heard John Mayer's song "Waiting on the World to Change" because I thought my own son's generation, your generation, no longer did the Dylanesque thing: and when you trust your television what you get is what you got cause when they own the information, oh they can bend it all they want Can you share one of your stanza's for us that maybe carries on this tradition? Gabriel and Brett, since you are the lyricists of the band, what are your thoughts on sending social messages with your songs??
Adam Perry (adamice9) Thu 19 Apr 07 08:01
Gabriel actually went into a poignant diatrabe about this subject last night on the way to the Sweetwater gig, when talking about the effect Broken Social Scene has on him. Hope he can share those thoughts here today. Meanwhile, I have to go teach preschool to Italian kids.
Steve Silberman (digaman) Thu 19 Apr 07 08:03
We're patient! Have a good teaching day.
Gabriel Leis (gummyazul) Thu 19 Apr 07 10:59
I'm not sure we quite have the biting socially conscious lyrics that carry on the folk tradition in the vein of Dylan. (If you click on the song titles on our website, the lyrics will appear, except for Into the Fire, but maybe I can get those up today). The first record is entirely about a loss of connectedness to the physical earth, so the consciousness is a bit more spiritual and environmental in nature. At the time I was religiously reading Neruda's Stones From the Sky, and was heavily influenced by his end-of-life grasping for the physical manifestations and connections to the earth. #45 is one of my proudest moments, and I think that lyrically it can hit pretty hard, but it doesn't bite. Both Cold Thoughts and Spill the Ink (from Into the Fire) have a lot of back-at-the-man disgust in them... "Simple lies we idolize throwing passions from our lives as if they were disease" ...but it's hard for me to pull lines out that are direct enough to use as examples. I'm no Dylan, but this conversation has me inspired to better incorporate my disgust in some current material.
Gabriel Leis (gummyazul) Thu 19 Apr 07 11:43
I just posted the lyrics to Cold Thoughts and Spill the Ink (from ITF) on our website (just click on the song title) and maybe Brett will do the same for his two songs from that record as well. Cold Thoughts is written to "the man" so you might find a sentiment there that is pretty direct. I try to affect change through my music and lyrics a bit differently than protest singers do though. It's not as direct, but if you can stir up someone's emotion properly, their mind will often wander to the types of places that are systematically buried and repressed by very calculating practitioners of stupidity (our political and economic leaders). This liberation of spirit runs through our music, and if this spark creates a fire in someone else's soul, then it can be just as effective as a direct lyrical challenge in the style of Dylan's Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll or Masters of War. (ok, maybe not quite as effective, but we are not followers, we our pioneers of our own paths).
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 19 Apr 07 12:49
> I just posted the lyrics to Cold Thoughts and Spill the Ink wow, from my unspoken wish to your website. thanks!
Adam Perry (adamice9) Thu 19 Apr 07 14:37
<<<<I try to affect change through my music and lyrics a bit differently than protest singers do though. It's not as direct, but if you can stir up someone's emotion properly, their mind will often wander to the types of places that are systematically buried and repressed by very calculating practitioners of stupidity (our political and economic leaders>>> I'm immediately thinking of Coltrane here. Instrumental protest music. Or as a more modern example, the absolutely astoundingly powerful Arcade Fire, whose songs are about rebellion (and inspire the same) but were virtually devoid of popular culture references until the line "MTV, what have you done to me?" on their current album.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 19 Apr 07 15:30
>>> Neruda's Stones From the Sky This is one of my favorite poems!! Reading evocative poetry like this can only help your lyrics. You guys are in a very enviable spot of being able to share your words with a wide audience. (You don't need to be didactic), but may your lyrics become mantras for positive change.
Steve Silberman (digaman) Thu 19 Apr 07 16:38
Great point about Coltrane. The Dead were another "protest" band who rarely had current or obvious references in the lyrics. "The only war that matters is the war against the imagination." -- Diane DiPrima A public service announcement: TXLN's song "Sympathy," linked on their MySpace page, is a really cool song. A question: Who are your favorite SF bands and why? (Mark Kozelek/Sun Kil Moon utterly rules my world, though Koz is not at his best live and is probably an utter dick to his million girlfriends. But still -- the man is possessed. Nick Drake meets Crazy Horse in a Tenderloin hotel at 3am.)
Brett Chulada (brett-chulada) Thu 19 Apr 07 17:30
alright ya'll talkin' about "the man". i'm realizing i write from a more personal viewpoint. a pervasive theme about personal rebellion/revolution. the experience of the soul held in the body that runs all over wondering "what the fuck?". how does the individual come to terms with the enviornment they're thrust into without being asked? what are the highs and lows that measure our stay here? what, in retrospect, was meaningful? 'into the fire' is about someone returning to the city after the city spit them out. someone who had been over-run by the extremes of the urban experience, went away to purge them, then returns and views their city with an-comfortable clarity. knowing they're on the edge of being swallowed once again. the pursuit of 'the un-defined' is the spirit that drives this person's passions, sometimes to places not so savory. also the process of creativity, idea fishing. the open ended nature of possibilities. into the fire once kissed, can't come back now. twice shy and i don't know how to express an inward riot settin' sail for the the firmament ferris wheel, helicopter 9 to 5 and the here-there-after stone skippin' cross a dry lake bed a thud in the dust into the fire 'cause it's par for the course it's just a matter of time before you're there on the floor i need more you'll never fill it up it's spilling over the side it's goin' over the top side-step what you should be facin' fear's on and your heart starts racin' it's so easy just to blow it off but everything you resist persists city-wide degradation bad vibes, but who knows where from it's comin at you but it won't let up back in the fold... ...and into the fire 'cause it's par for the course it's just a matter of timing before you're there on the floor slide it under the door so that i can write so that i can riot signin' off to the night the un-defined
Brett Chulada (brett-chulada) Thu 19 Apr 07 17:40
although not on the recording of 'spill the ink', we do a verse at the begining of the long instrumental jam. parafin you know their hearts are sterno red the only world we know has come a-light and all must pay a heavy price the price of life in paradise if you want to spill the ink amplify and consecrate this speaks to "the man", for sure. then to the responsibility of the artist to work with this world in order to create.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 19 Apr 07 18:00
>> The Dead were another "protest" band who rarely had current or obvious references in the lyrics. Hunter relished the edges of ambiguity, but I would say that "Truckin'" was a pretty vivid statement of Big Brother stompin' on the longhairs.
Steve Silberman (digaman) Thu 19 Apr 07 19:08
That, "New Speedway Boogie," and "Throwin' Stones" are obvious exceptions, but my point was more along the lines of Adam's: that even free improvisation is a form of protest. > the experience of the soul held in the body that runs all over wondering "what the fuck?". how does the individual come to terms with the enviornment they're thrust into without being asked? what are the highs and lows that measure our stay here? what, in retrospect, was meaningful? Nicely said.
Steve Silberman (digaman) Thu 19 Apr 07 20:00
Speaking of "the man," if you could recast and redesign the music industry -- everything from venues to delivery of recorded "product" -- what would you Build?
Adam Perry (adamice9) Thu 19 Apr 07 20:02
Favorite SF bands? It's really tough with so many current greats, but I'll name a few absolute favorites off the top of my head: Deerhoof, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Gris Gris, and Rum Diary (who live in Cotati, not SF but they're truly magical) I love Deerhoof because they sound like the more explosive elements of The Who if interpreted by Blonde Redhead. Greg Saunier is a virtuoso drummer and their tiny Japanese frontwoman/bassist Satomi is to die for. BRMC is a band I love because they play the indie blues. A friend of mine from the local band Elephone (their 16-year old keyboardist Sierra, who also fronts Two Seconds) summed up the genius of BRMC recently when she told me "I love them because they created their own genre." Oakland's Gris Gris really can't be explained without a listen to the "For the Season" album, but they represent a lot of what I love about the sixties. The genius of frontman/ringleader/boy-genius Greg Ashley is that (with Gris Gris) he brings to life the What-If of Syd Barret fronting the Mothers of Invention. It'll freak your shit out. Rum Diary barely ever play live anymore, supposedly because of in-band fighting...or so I hear. But just one listen to "Assassins in Mocassins" and you'll get all googly-eyed and fall for them. And, for you Deadheads, Rum Diary has two drummers *and* two bassists. U And some transcendent current bands I *wish* lived in the Bay Area so I could see them more: Helio Sequence, Black Angels, Midlake And just FYI: Midlake's first album was basically enjoyable psychedelic rock and they recently released the undeniably brilliant follow-up "Trials of Van Occupanther," which is a heavily Fleetwood Mac-influenced song-cycle (read: masterpiece) based on the fantasy of being born a man named Roscoe in 1891 who lives with his wife in a house built by mountaineers.
Steve Silberman (digaman) Thu 19 Apr 07 20:06
> "Trials of Van Occupanther," Heh, I noticed that name at Amoeba (best. music store. on earth.) the other day. Thanks for the great tips, Adam! I will have to check this stuff out.
Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Thu 19 Apr 07 20:22
The whole reason for asking about lyrics in the vein of Dylan's which could pierce the social consciousness, is not that all or even most songs should protest the "the man," but, more in line with Steve's question about how the recording industry might be revamped, I would ask why it is that there are so very, very few mainstream rock stations that play contemporary songs with lyrics that take us to the edge. (Other than Rap), is it that they are not being written by the younger generation, or is there a subtle form of censorship in play under the guise of more centralized "program management"?
Steve Silberman (digaman) Thu 19 Apr 07 20:30
> is it that they are not being written by the younger generation I think there's a more pervasive, but less verbal, rebellion among young people now -- almost an *emotional* form of protest. Like DiPrima (again with the DePrima) told me, the Beat aura of "cool" was not an emotional bluntedness, but an active refusal to simulate societally dictated ersatz sentiment. I think behind a lot of music young people like these days, there's an affective disobedience, expressed in phrases like "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank." I'm not that big on Isaac's voice, but Modest Mouse certainly delivers with those titles, and Johnny Marr rocks -- the Smiths' "How Soon is Now?" is maybe my favorite rock title ever.) Rebellion a la punk -- a revolution of attitude.
Adam Perry (adamice9) Thu 19 Apr 07 20:48
That emotional form of protest is exactly what Arcade Fire tapped into with their hugely popular debut album "Funeral." And it's no accident that they dress much like the London Calling-era Clash onstage. Punk rock army fatigues. I'm also wondering what are the favorite current San Francisco bands of everyone here who *isn't* in The Love X Nowhere.
Members: Enter the conference to participate