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.