Archive for November, 2010
2010 has been a great year for us and it’s due in large part to the addition of the talents of Illus Ocean, Atlantic At Pacific and Local Winds to the Alchemist Collective family. Now as the year draws to a close we are excited to reveal another awesome new artist joining the team: BAnanas Symphony. Hailing from the “City of Brotherly Love” Philadelphia, BAnanas Symphony is the work of Yohsuke Araki whose gift for captivating melodies is equaled by a voice fit to deliver them and an experimental production bent that takes them to another plane. Yohsuke is also a member of the up and comers super-group Blackhawks comprised of people from Cough Cool and Nude Beach. We have a special debut release from BAnanas Symphony that will be up in time to add something to your holiday playlists. Check back soon on that. A more full length BAnanas debut is scheduled for early in the new year and it’s shaping up to be something really special!! For now we’ll let Yohsuke introduce himself via this little q+a session.
What are some of your earliest musical inspirations?
Some of my earliest musical inspirations…I guess my earliest would be bands like metallica and nirvana and radiohead because me and my close friend mike learned how to play instruments and record by covering them when we got a recorder at age thirteen. Then at fifteen I got into more indie rock kind of stuff like built to spill, modest mouse, demeberists, all that kind of popular indie stuff in the mid 2000’s, and luckily animal collective when feels had just come out. By the time i turned 17 I was really into them and getting into their whole sort of NYscene, which was like black dice, gang gang dance, white magic, excepter and stuff like that. At the same time my brother was DJing at WNYU and getting into a lot of really obscure stuff but more importantly a lot of dance music as well. So i was sort of getting into that kind of stuff slowly, but surely, throughout my latter teenage years.
What are the live BAnanas Symphony shows like?
I don’t do BAnanas shows too often. I had my first show without a band this weekend actually. I played a show in Baltimore where I did a solo set, my friend dan who is Cough Cool did a solo set, and then we joined into our band and played as Blackhawks. It was a lot of fun. My set was really short, just sort of dreamy and dance-y at certain points. I’d say it was like 10 minutes.
What are your favorite venues to play? Best shows lately?
We’ve been playing this place in Jersey called The Basement Gallery for a few months. It’s sort of where I’ve befriended a whole array of friends and have the most fun playing. But it recently got put down so now I have to find a new favorite spot to play. I like basements, and small venues, and warehouses. The very first BAnanas show was at Glasslands in Brooklyn. They were pretty sweet there because the sound guy was on top of our shit and the vibes there are cool. I’d like to play that place again.
some of your favorite things you’ve been listening to lately?
A lot of Moritz Von Oswald. It’s really inspiring when I listen to all his projects but at the same time I can’t help but think I will never make music as good as his so what’s the point? Other than that I’ve gotten really into Irma Thomas. I really like oldies. A lot of Francoise Hardy because she’s probably my favorite. My brother got me Architecture & Morality by OMD for my birthday so I’m digging that a lot.
What’s the significance of the name?
Well, it’s a reference to a certain band that inspired me a lot a couple years ago, but I’d rather people find out on their own, than revealing it myself. Good luck if you actually care!
I and I’s single The Hardest Part will be out tomorrow! Web savvy visitors may have already found the single edit of the track floating around the web but we now have it for you here in case you missed it.
The Hardest Part (single edit) free download
If you like what you hear pick up a copy of the 3″ cd (8$), c24 cassette (6$) or digital.
Thus far we haven’t mentioned much about the full length I and I record that the single is taken from but for now we can share with you that it will be titled The Alpha Future and that it will most likely be out in early April of 2011.
We are happy to debut for you the new video for I and I’s space disco anthem ‘The Hardest Part’. It is a suitably low key affair but captures the spacious melancholy and at the same time hopeful mood of the tune. It also serves as somewhat of a tour diary of last year’s Norwegian tour. IN JOY.
Less than a week to go before I and I’s ‘The Hardest Part‘ maxi single is out. We’ve got a full stream of the proceedings for you here:
Our friend JJ over at The Cool Deal blog has a new mix out called The Weather is Skitzophrenic. I and I’s ‘The Hardest Part’ is featured as well as a bunch of other good tracks from Teams, Keep Shelley in Athens, Tennis, Teen Daze and many more. It’s got a nice Mr. Stormy looking cover too.
Download and check it out here.
Buy four to get the whole picture! Or at least one for 6$.
One of our new favorite blogs, Neo Noir, has posted some nice remarks on I and I’s upcoming maxi single ‘The Hardest Part’. They’ve included it in their Hype column along with downloads from Memory Tapes, Teen Daze and a bunch of other good tracks. Here’s an excerpt of what they had to say: “It’s a slow burning piano driven epic possessing that ineffable quality that gives weight and drama to whatever you happen to be doing while it’s on. As if you’re in the opening credits of a movie you never knew you were starring in. It comes with some truly stellar remixes from Atlantic At Pacific and Nassau. But the biggest surprise of all is the last track, Pocahontas, which is truly strange in the best way possible.”
Read the rest here.
Once again the cover design of the ‘Hype’ section is really great so we have to share it.
It’s kind of strange to feel like you have deep connections with someone that you have never met in the flesh. Even more strange if you’re working closely together on the kind of soul expressing project that putting out an album is! This is one of the blessing and the curses of the age of the Internets. With this in mind, we find it informative to conduct interviews with the far flung members of this Alchemist Collective and from time to time we’ll share them with you.
This time out I asked Austin Wood of Atlantic At Pacific some stupid questions in hopes of getting some enlightening answers. The answers Austin provided fit the bill and also proved funny and entertaining! I particularly liked learning about the intricate and sophisticated process involved in getting the A@P sound.
1. Have you been to any weddings lately that inspired the track?
My sister had her wedding not too long ago. Her wedding was in Texas on her own property. It was my first time going to Texas since I was very young. The weather was hot and everything felt much different than in Cali. Everything felt very new at that point in my life. Her wedding was blissful and surreal. once returning to Santa Cruz the bliss continued and i tried to express that in my music. Thus came Weddings.
2. What is the scene like there in Santa Cruz? Are there other bands/artists in the area that you feel connected to?
Santa Cruz seems to breed music and most of it seems to be hit and miss. I’ve noticed most of the music is either electronica or really beach drenched music. I remember going to some of my first shows in Santa Cruz and thinking afterwards how i wanted to be in the SC music scene. I do feel a connection to most artists in Santa Cruz, it could be the way the town has been a huge inspiration to everyone and it shows in the music or because its such a “different” place.
3. Is there one piece of gear that you think was crucial to the making of “Weddings”?
My Yamaha PSS was a very important item used. I used my Technics Dolby cassette mixer, which is broken, to give it much more tape sounding definition. I used a really old computer for the original layout of the song and then recreated it using a new one. The Dolby cassette mixer defiantly added most of the crunchy sound to Weddings.
4. Do you go to the beach often?
I love the beach oh so much! I never go in the ocean and I don’t really like to go onto the sand unless i’m completely prepared; but i love knowing it’s there for me as a muse when ever i need him/her. I find it refreshing to look at it as often I can and admire just how majestic it really is.
5. How are the live show preparations coming?
So far very well! I’ve developed a very unstructured strange way to do things haha. But for the most part all i need is a little more money and thus a little more equipment. I do have some awesome changes to Weddings/50/ and Intentional pt.1 in stored for any live viewers!
6. What was it like growing up in Santa Cruz?
Growing up in Santa Cruz has completely made me who i am today. I lived in many of the different cities in Santa Cruz County and have gotten to luckily live a no more than a street away from the beach my whole life. Just recently i moved to the west side where most the gang violence is and have developed a different appreciation for the town. All in all i really feel most at home next to the Pacific ocean in the gulf of Santa Cruz, no matter what kind of people it carries. I have really enjoyed my youth here.
7. Can you tell us about the supposed vampires there?
Bwhaha! Well the movie Lost Boys put a curse on Santa Cruz. Many tourist come through and wonder the same thing. It seems like a great place for vampires, But i’m pretty sure it’s the homeless people and the punks that give it that creepy/mysterious edge. Though I wont lie, I’ve seen some pretty weird shit go down at the boardwalk around the witching hour.
8. Do you surf?
Bahh. Surfers here are pricks. They even have a their own stick they put on their cars that reads “surfing sucks don’t try it” in their poor attempt to sway people away from there set of waves. I would love to one day again soon, but here just isn’t the right place for that. Maybe if i go to Mexico or somewhere with warmer water and less beach bums i might pick it up as a ritual habit.
9. How do you usually start songs? do you have a concept or sound you’re going for or do you just kind of jam and experiment and then develop the song from there?
When I start a song I usually use a soft synth that duplicates the sound of strings or an organ, and then i just jam out to a slow break beat from my outdated dr. 202 till I find the right groove and put it in words on the music program for days till it sounds normal and complete. Sometimes i just letdown a beat and jam and it turns in to something I’m proud of, like 50.
10. What were some of your earliest musical inspirations?
I used to live in a little place called Capitola village in Santa Cruz and thats where i really started getting in to music. My first cassette was The Beach Boys singles! I remember rocking out so hard to that and walking to the beach with my mom, my boogie board, and my battery powered boombox with tape at hand and hanging out at the beach all day eating sandwiches and sitting in the sun. After that around my teen years i got into goth and new wave, like Su & The Banshees and Bau Haus. Definaly some of my all time favorites.
11. What were some of your inspirations for this record?
During the time I made this record I heard and loved the music that was coming out. Music that sounded like it was from a cassette, or maybe not a cassette but maybe a warped memory of what cassettes sound like. I was very interested and found something i love to make. I was hanging out with my girlfriend, Lia, nearly every waking hour and enjoying life, i still am. I know that the weather in Santa Cruz had a heavy influence on the album, I remember waking up looking outside from my window where my computer was on the 3rd floor of the apartment complex i lived in and making a song completely structured around how i was feeling and how it looked outside. I feel very attached to each song and their different approaches of creation and i feel a huge inspiration from where my life is right now and where it’s going.
Austin is currently cooking up some new tracks which will hopefully hear in the new year. For now you can pick up a copy of his debut ‘Weddings’ on tape, or cd here.