Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Zelienople - His/Hers

You've had quite a few CD-R/vinyl releases preceding "His/Hers"--- do you feel more pressure making something for these limited "collectors" run releases vs. a new-but-established label like Type? Or are these smaller run releases better for capturing snapshots of the band at certain stages? Is there a "let's try this and see" impulse curtailed by unlimited releases?

Mike: The cd-r releases have allowed us the opportunity to put out music that doesn't have to necessarily fit a proper album format. Ghost Ship on PseudoArcana was a long conceptual drone piece that we recorded during a rehearsal for a show that we specifically created for the evening. Enemy Chorus on Time-Lag was an idea of Matt's about setting up self-imposed limitations, which for these two songs was to record for 15 minutes and then "overdub" a second pass over the first recording, essentially playing along with the first recording. Ink on 267 Lattajjaa was a quick live recording mostly using our newly constructed home-made instruments. So yeah, cd-r releases have given us a chance to get these kind of ephemeral recording projects out into the world.

Matt: Yep. That sounds about right. Mike's right.

How much of your aesthetic do you think of as have been decided upon from the outset versus elements arrived at organically over time? Have there been happy accidents? Unhappy ones?

Mike: Matt usually has a loose song idea that he brings to us without dictating how the end result should be. He gives us some minor clues and then for the most part it strays off into it's own beastly creation. We're not recording in an isolation tank so we're open to incidental sounds and happy accidents. The unhappy ones are the usual irritants like digital distortion and thin sound spectrum results of our louder performances.

Matt: I'd say that the songs are half written, half improv. Recording yourself allows you to spend a lot of time waiting for the more inspired take. But Mike's right, for a louder piece it's tough to get it to sound good without spending way too much time on it.

Bands that don't adhere to basic, easily recognizable songwriting structures are frequently asked to either describe themselves or are defined by influences--- is this fair? Are there influences you'd claim did shape your approach to music? What's been the worst misunderstanding in this area that you've been aware of?

Mike: Having to describe our music makes me uncomfortable. I can never do it, when I try I either sound like a pompous asshole or a self-deprecating mope. As for influences, shit this question probably would've been easier to answer when we first starting to record together but now it's really difficult to figure out if the influence is external (other bands, artists, nature, etc.) or internal (drawing from our previous creative experiences). I'm sure it's all mixed up but I can't really point to anything very specific. What might be influential to me, might not have even been experienced by Matt or Brian. That being said, I can think of a handful of names that might be referenced during a recording session... Neil Young, Brian Eno, Bob Dylan, Slowdive. As for your last question, music reviewers seem to assume we're influenced by the same new shit that everyone else is into at the time. There's been tons of genre labels that have been attached to us "ambient-pop-space-rock-freak-folk-submerged-psychedelia -dronescape-forest-noise-folk-post-rock-post-shoegaze-slowcore-doom." This should the title of our next record.

Matt: We're not old farts, but we are getting older. So like Mike said, it's harder to discern the influences than when we were starting out. I don't think about other people's music as much these days. We've been playing together for over 10 years, so I think that we also influence
each other.

Does playing meditative music live presents challenges? Are the more eruptive elements invoked at this time? What's been the best/worst crowd response you've gotten?

Mike: we mix it up quite a bit live, although our noisy moments are pushed even further the point where ecstatic screaming is invoked!! I can't control myself! I'm never sure what to think of the crowd's response. Lot's of beard-scratching and arm-folding. Occasionaly, people will lie on the floor in front of us... I can relate to that.

Matt: I think that people always respond more to the aggressive stuff during live shows. We did get heckled once, but I think that I was the only one in the band that could hear it. The guy kept asking me to play a Bob Dylan song. It irritated me more than I would've expected.
Zelienople - His/Hers (Type)

Some of Zelienople's favourite things from 2007

Mike: I'm the only one in the band that buys new music and I pass on the highlights (burned copies) and lowlights (regretful purchases or trades) to Matt and Brian. Here's a list of some releases that I listened to quite a bit in '07...

Religious Knives - Remains
Valet - Blood Is Clean
Panda Bear - Person Pitch
PJ Harvey - White Chalk
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - The Phantom Harp
RV Paintings - Trinity Rivers
Jon Mueller - Metals
Loren Mazzacane Connors - The Hymn of the North Star
The Dead C - Future Artists
GHQ - Crystal Healing
Odawas - Raven and the White Night (I vote "Ice" for the song of the year)
Grouper - Cover the Windows and the Walls
Supersilent - 8
Baker/Sandstrom/Williams/Hunt - Extraordinary Popular Delusions

The AM radio through my new Moogerfooger low-pass filter
the above mentioned Odawas
Grouper (especially the 7" on Type)
Geoff Mullen
Some other shit that I can't remember. What're ya gonna do?

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