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KFAI - Root Of All Evil
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From the archive...
Dear Boy

One Question Interviews

Dear Boy

Posted Jan. 22, 2016, 12:07 a.m.

Ben Grey (Dear Boy) SPB: What is your favorite TV theme song? Grey: I'm afraid you've touched on a bit of a nerve because I love TV theme songs. I will give you three. * Twin Peaks & Angelo Badalamenti -  Too much has been written about this piece of music, so I'm just going to go ahead and spare you. But I will say that it's just insane how something can set a tone for a show that has such inarticulate tone. It's perfect and I'm sure this is the first you're hearing of that ...

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KFAI - Roar of the Underground

One Question Interviews

Quite literally, a one question interview. Also known as 1QIs, we post these first to our social media on a near-daily basis, with the archival piece here. Check 'em out.

World Domination, Inc.

One Question Interviews

World Domination, Inc.

Posted March 31, 2020, 5:24 p.m.

Jeff Moses (World Domination, Inc. / 월드 도미네이션 인코퍼레이트)

SPB: How do you find the international artists who are on the label? 

Moses: All of the bands on our label come from the personal connections we've built from being involved in the punk scene for over 20 years. With the bands from outside Korea, it's not different.

Right now, Iman's League (Singapore) and Green Eyed Monster (Japan) are the only two non-Korean bands officially on World Domination, Inc. We met both of them while ...Whatever That Means was on tour in Southeast Asia and Japan. We played together in their countries, booked them tours in Korea, and then made it a little more official by becoming their label here in Korea.

Beyond the bands officially on the label, we've done releases with bands from the US, Mexico, Malaysia, and have an upcoming release with a ska band from the UK. Again, these are all through the personal connections we've made through touring abroad and booking tours here in Korea. That's one of the most exciting parts of being a small DIY label. Any show or band you book could lead to new connections with great bands from all over the work. It's really cool.

Screaming Females

One Question Interviews

Screaming Females

Posted March 30, 2020, 5:18 p.m.
What's That Noise?

Marissa (Screaming Females)

SPB: How does your choice of guitar define the Screaming Females sound?

Marissa: I never put much thought into what sort of guitar I wanted to play in Screaming Females, because I didn't have much of a choice. My G&L was a gift given to me when I first began playing, and it always seemed to suit my style of playing fine. When Screaming Females first began playing shows and touring, I tried playing out with some other guitars but they never felt right.  

I guess there's a lot to say about the history of guitar-based music and the stratocaster, but I'm sure there are plenty of articles about it on the world wide web!  I'm no expert!  

Debt Neglector

One Question Interviews

Debt Neglector

Posted March 29, 2020, 11:18 a.m.

Alex (Debt Neglector)

SPB: Songs about girls: yay or nay? (Why? Any favorite examples?) 

Alex: Songs about girls are fine I guess if it’s done respectfully. Some of my favorite bands write songs about girls but there are times when it can get a little cringe inducing. Like I don’t want to hear a song about a “nice guy” complaining that the girl he likes doesn’t like him back. That’s her right not to be interested in you, and she doesn’t owe you anything. You can be bummed about it sure, but don’t portray it like that person has wronged you in some way.

But I’m not a total curmudgeon. “Punk Rock Girl” by the Dead Milkman is such a sweet song about being really into someone and there’s nothing misogynistic about it. They just run around town together causing trouble and having fun. It’s both silly and romantic.

I’ve never found myself able to write a song about romantic relationships though. Like I recently went through a divorce and we’re finishing writing a new record now, but there’s not a song on it about it. Even though there are other personal topics on the record I couldn’t really delve into that for some reason. At least not yet. I think when situations are complicated and convoluted it can be hard to boil them down to a two-minute punk song while doing the situation justice. Plus the world really seems to be falling apart around us so I get to spend a lot of time yelling about that instead. 

Disconnect Disconnect Records

One Question Interviews

Disconnect Disconnect Records

Posted March 24, 2020, 8 p.m.

John (Disconnect Disconnect Records)

SPB: You've had a good run in 2019. What do we have to look forward to in 2020?

John: 2019 was great for Disconnect Disconnect, working with some great upcoming bands (Blowfuse, A Time To Stand, Drunktank, Stone Lions, Kill The Rooster), great new albums from some bands we’d worked with before (The Decline, Primetime Failure, Thousand Oaks), and working with some personal heroes (Ten Foot Pole and Radar State).

This year I’m trying to keep everything “business as usual,” working with some great new UK and Euro bands and helping some better known bands get their albums out in the UK. We’ve already got a couple of releases announced, with the debut Hell’s Ditch 7” sure to be the start of great things from this band made up of ex and current members of UK faves River Jumpers, Bad Ideas and Maycomb, whilst we’re doing the UK release of “You’re Not Broken. I Am” by The Beautiful Mistake, which is the band’s first release in 15 years! Other than those, we’ll be handling the new The Sewer Rats LP in the UK, and I’m hoping 2020 will give us a new Harker record!

As a “one man band” I have quite a lot of freedom to do whatever I want, so expect to see a mix of bands with sounds from across the punk rock spectrum, just with the general rule that if I’m passionate about the band I will try to help them out and promote some great releases. Please keep an eye on our social media channels (/disconnectdisconnect or /disconnectdisconnectrecords) and get involved to help us spread the great word of punk rock!

Solo Ansamblis

One Question Interviews

Solo Ansamblis

Posted March 23, 2020, 8:53 p.m.
What's That Noise?

Vytautas Leistrumas (Solo Ansamblis)

SPB: Walk us through your gear setup from your last tour. How do you implement the mix of live and electronic elements?

Leistrumas: Let's start with a very important, beloved and sometimes hated Elektron Octatrack MK2, which serves as a midi host, effects machine and also plays some backing tracks as well as gives tempo for our drummer. We feed Arturia’s Minibrute and Microbrute signals into it where effects are applied. Midi notes, CCs and clock are being fed to Novation Mininova and Arturia Minibrute synths and (sometimes) a laptop computer, which generates time code signal for visuals and lighting. We use MOTU MIDI Time Piece to split a midi signal. Then there's the wonderful YAMAHA Wind Synthesizer WT-11, which is played like a clarinet using WX-11 Wind controller. Our Godin electric guitar is going through some Boss pedals like reverb/delay and drive straight to a stereo Peavey Classic Chorus 212 amp. Of course, we use two mics to pick up the stereo chorus effect. Our bass is something basic - Musicman bass guitar to an amplifier. We love to use Korg Volca Keys small synth for various effect sounds as well as synth-wave sounding melody lines. Last, but not least - our drummer plays Roland SPD-SX and Roland TM-2 samplers plus a regular drum set. Main and monitor mixes are done in Waves eMotion LV1 v11 mixing console by our sound engineer with all those nice waves plugins, therefore we always have the best possible sound.

Kitten Forever

One Question Interviews

Kitten Forever

Posted March 22, 2020, 10:03 a.m.
What's That Noise?

Kitten Forever

SPB: You change instruments at points in your set. How do you make sure that you have the best setup for all 3 of you on a given instrument (and don’t require too much time re-tuning or adjusting when you move)?

Kitten Forever: Here is Laura, Corrie, and Liz answering the question via video:

OvO

One Question Interviews

OvO

Posted March 20, 2020, 8:21 p.m.
What's That Noise?

Bruno Dorella (OvO - drums,)

SPB: Walk our readers through your self-described “minimal drum kit.” How did you arrive at your sizes of what to include (or not include)?

Dorella: There are different reasons why I choose to play without kick drum. First, when I started playing drums in a band I didn't really know how to play. I was a guitar player with a good groove, but that was it. I didn't own a drum kit, nor did I have money or space in my flat to get one. But people kept saying I was talented, so I took a couple of lessons and I started to take it seriously. But I felt I was a quite standard drummer. Not the best, not very original, just a normal drummer. I wanted my own sound. Plus, I'm right-handed and left-footed. I was influenced by the most tribalistic parts of Neurosis, and a big fan of the Babes In Toyland drummer; I was looking for that wild approach. And finally I stepped into Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. Boom. Stand-up drums. All the wild, tribal sound you need. In fact, there are just three sounds you really need. Boom (kick or floor tom). Cha (snare). Tsss (cymbals). So I started with snare/floor tom/ride cymbal, only. Then I integrated a hi hat (which forced me to sit down, and this is good for my back) and Roland SPDSX pads. A drum set should just be what you need it to be. Looking for your own set is a lot of fun, a sort of signature."

Lamniformes

One Question Interviews

Lamniformes

Posted March 17, 2020, 6:50 p.m.

Ian Cory (Lamniformes)

SPB: Lamniformes is a one-man project, of sorts. Have you played in groups where you weren’t the primary songwriter and, if so, what did you like or not like about that dynamic? 

Cory: I haven’t been the primary songwriter for any of the musical projects that I’ve worked on outside of Lamniformes. I am a drummer by trade and didn’t write full songs myself until college when I learned some basic piano and midi programing skills. This means that while playing in other bands the most I could contribute to the writing process were drum parts or suggestions for larger structural decisions. Sometimes I would give feedback about parts written by other band members, but I lacked the technical language to offer useful alternatives or additions to their work. By the time I had gained some fluency in that language, the projects that I found myself involved in didn’t call for additional songwriters, so these days I am rarely involved in songwriting decisions for any project other than Lamniformes. 

Before I go any further in discussing the various pros and cons of these arrangements, I think it would be helpful to categorize the various arrangements I’ve worked in:

  1. Totalitarianism: These are projects where every musical decision is made by a single entity. There is no wiggle room or need for creative input. Sometimes in the case of musical theater or cover projects the creative decisions aren’t even made by the musicians playing the music. These are more likely than not paid gigs, and are best approached as a job rather than as personal expression.
  2. Songwriter authoritarianism: There is a single primary songwriter who has final say over any creative decision from songwriting to arranging, which may or may not involve suggestions from other bandmates. In recording setups, this would also put the songwriter in what is traditional the “producer” role. This is how Lamniformes operates.
  3. Arrangement democracy: The songwriting itself is controlled by a primary songwriter, but arrangement decisions (i.e. individual parts, instrumental, timbral, and dynamic choices) are fielded out to the other members of the band. The songwriter will likely still have final say, but will leave it up to the drummer to write drum parts, the bassist to write bass parts, etc.
  4. Songwriter confederacy: The classic Beatles set up where there are multiple primary songwriters in a project who bring in their own separate songs which can then be arranged in one of the previous methods described.
  5. Songwriter aristocracy: Some band members have democratic input over the songs, others do not and play the parts written by the “ruling class.” I’m pretty sure this is how Steely Dan worked.
  6. Band democracy: All band members have equal say in how songs are written. Very common in the early stages of a musician’s career and in amateur settings. Much rarer in “professional” contexts.

In my experience, categories 4 and 5 are very rare so I won’t talk about them at length.

Category 1 is very common for working musicians, but isn’t really talked about much in settings like this because they completely defy all independent music cultural conceptions of art being primarily a form of self-expression. Some people might find the idea of “clocking in” to play music that they don’t have any personal investment in soul crushing, but personally I’d take playing corny musical theater gigs over customer service any day.

Category 6 sounds great on paper, at least for a lefty like me. But while I’m all in favor of expanding democracy in matters of real world importance, like say in the workplace or government, when it comes to songwriting I’ve found full democracy to be self-sabotaging. There are three big problems with band democracy:

Time: Writing as a group requires every musician to be present in a rehearsal space, to be given a chance to offer their thoughts and suggestions for the structure of a song, and then to work out their parts in real time. In the time it takes a group of three or four musicians to reach a satisfactory compromise about one song, a single songwriter can potentially finish multiple songs. Realistically, time spent in the rehearsal studio is better spent rehearsing and not fussing over the details of an unfinished piece of music. This issue can be mitigated by members writing separately or having fewer members contributing to songwriting, which both quickly lead to less democratic arrangements that I described above. 

Taste: Reaching a successful consensus about a song is only possible if the musicians involved have a shared vision of what they are trying to sound like. That isn’t a given in most bands. Conflicts of taste can slow down the songwriting process or kill a song before it even gets started. Now sometimes creative conflicts can result in interesting music, but more often than not it can lead to resentment and hurt feelings that can tear a band apart.

Talent: The bluntest way to put this is that sometimes a good musician can be an absolute shit songwriter. I say this as someone who was terrible at writing songs despite being good at drums until recently.  

The purely democratic bands that I’ve played in were often very frustrating experiences, even when they resulted in some very fun music. More often than not, the problems caused by the “three t’s” made these bands untenable in the long run, or slowed production to such a crawl that the pace of adult life rendered them obsolete. I don’t want to write a band democracy off completely, but these days I can’t imagine finding the time and space in my life to make one work. 

The fact of the matter is that some band members' time and efforts are better spent on tasks other than writing songs. Songwriting is a specialized skill, just like booking shows, accounting, designing merch, running social media, or audio engineering. In this respect, band democracy is better when implemented on the administrative level. From each according to their ability, etc.

Quick caveat: bands that write or perform in an improvisational style can cut through a lot of these problems. Your results may vary as to whether the results are worth listening to though.

All of this is to say that all of the projects I work in these days fall into categories 2 and 3, and I prefer it this way. Humeysha, Sharpless and Bellows are all authoritarian states where the songs are fully formed by the time I start playing them, although Zain, Jack and Oliver are each open to hearing my suggestions for the details of drum parts for live performance. Gabby’s World and Small Wonder are both arrangement democracies. Gabby and Henry aren’t very focused on rhythm in their songwriting, but both do have a clear idea of what they want their songs to sound like, so it’s my job to write drum parts that fit those ideas. 

I find both of these categories fulfilling and productive in their own ways. Maybe I would feel differently if I didn’t have Lamniformes as an output for my own songwriting, but I think that even if I weren’t writing songs I would find it gratifying to help others bring their visions to life in whatever capacity they need from me.

Gnaw

One Question Interviews

Gnaw

Posted March 16, 2020, 7:56 p.m.
What's That Noise?

Gnaw

SPB: Was the mic’ing of your diverse instrumentation fairly straightforward when you recorded the new EP, or were there some things you and the engineer did to find the right mics or experiment with sounds?

Brian Beatrice: The creative process behind Gnaw is always about trying to push instruments, production, and the recording process beyond the conventional limits. For example, "Rid the City" grew out of experiments with guitar signal processing, removing it from anything related to a rock context. The guitar was converted to midi and then run in parallel with the audio signal through different software and synth modules, including custom patches inside Native Instruments Reaktor.

Carter Thornton: As far as unique mic recordings we always have to make the most of whatever environment we are afforded to record in. If we're all in one room for a band recording we jump through whatever hoops are necessary to maximize or avoid sound isolation (depending on what the piece calls for). Our friend Jason Tubbs who did live sound at the Knitting Factory, way, way back, has a big mic collection he’d let us borrow liberally from over the years. We’re also always capturing direct signals for future manipulation and/or re-amping. Much of the stuff has also just been run dry and straight into the mic jack of a shitty computer, which always helps to evoke some close claustrophobia.

We also make heavy use of stereo Zoom recorders set back a few feet from the sound source (whether an amp or an instrument). The same recorders are used for a lot of the field sound capture elements. In the basement recordings that work their way into most pieces we rely on homemade contact mics and other dust pile inhabiting gear: it's hard to remember specifics involved in that because it tends to change a lot. We also build our own instruments and electronics – those secrets cannot be disclosed. Get Alan Dubin to sing in your band and go to a pawn shop and buy some old pedals that only work half-way. That's probably the best Gnaw-style sound making tip.

The Blackjaw

One Question Interviews

The Blackjaw

Posted March 10, 2020, 5:31 p.m.

Germán Picazo  (The Blackjaw)

SPB: Your record is called Burn The Artisan. What do you hold against them?

Picazo: We’ve nothing against the artisans, it’s just an irony figure of speech. We have been composing, practicing and then recording the album for about 3 years so it feels like we were cherishing, crafting and taking care of a piece in these immediate and fast consuming times.

Wake

One Question Interviews

Wake

Posted March 9, 2020, 5:54 p.m.

Ryan Kennedy (Wake-bass)

SPB: You've recorded split EPs before. Which band(s) are on your wishlist for future splits?   

Ryan:

  • Gadget
  • Swarrrrm
  • 324

Sutekh Hexen

One Question Interviews

Sutekh Hexen

Posted March 7, 2020, 8:56 p.m.
What's That Noise?

Kevin (Sutekh Hexen)

SPB: Walk us through Sutekh Hexen’s setup.

[Here] is a sketch and quick video clip of the primary noise setup that I have used in Sutekh Hexen 2010-present.

This sketch represents the absolute base setup. Various distortions, delays, or reverbs are switched out depending on what we're going to do. It has been an integral part of my setup and remains adaptable for studio recordings or live as needed. I almost exclusively focus on playing guitar for live, so Ryan (synth/electronics/vocals) and Mack (modular synth/electronics) fortify our live sound with a larger and much more dynamic range of sonic output in addition to their essential roles.

The mixer itself is pretty key to control the bass, treble, mid, etc. It should be noted that two of the effects are custom effects by my friend Jeff, who was one of the lead architects for Apple's iCloud technology (pretty wild). He is a really bright guy and into similar interests, just not metal or anything darker/cold/evil; he has been an awesome friend in helping develop and customize these things. This would not have been possible without his engineering, generosity and support. 

1) Custom Noise Generator - Inspired by electromagnetic fluctuation data that was captured by NASA wind satellites and then converted to sound. I have two versions of this concept, this refers to the latest version. The three knobs from L-R are: impact, tone, and sustain. Variances of this effect has been used or sampled and applied in nearly everything that Sutekh Hexen has recorded and released. There are two triggers: one is activation and the other is a "sports announcer switch" ...essentially a tension toggle that allows me to "glitch" the signal when active by holding or tapping.

2) Octave/Fuzz - Was created for me years ago when I wanted to consolidate multiple effects and this was the result. I honestly do not think we could duplicate this one because I think some of the parts, like the transistors, are no longer in production. The three knobs from L-R for this are: volume, tone, and sustain. Similar to the noise generator but something you could actually plug a guitar into and get audible results. I use it live for Eye of The Quill (main riff) and segues... it's amazing.

24-7 Spyz

One Question Interviews

24-7 Spyz

Posted March 3, 2020, 5:06 p.m.

Jimi Hazel (24-7 Spyz - vocals)

SPB: The music industry has changed a lot over the years. What’s been the most common constant since you got started? 

Hazel: The mentality of the new guard is the same as the mentality of the old guard. The box is still the box and as long as it has four corners, those that sit in ivory towers behind desks will always want to fit you into said box. 24-7 Spyz has remained true to ourselves, our craft and our fans because there has never been a box strong enough to contain us...............

 

Listen to 24-7 SPyz' new record, The Soundtrack to the Innermost Galaxy.

Glare Of The Sun

One Question Interviews

Glare Of The Sun

Posted March 2, 2020, 9:15 p.m.

Chris (Glare Of The Sun)

SPB: Your record Theia is over an hour long. To contrast that: what is your favorite record of around twenty minutes and what would you take from that record to Glare Of The Sun?

Chris: Twenty minutes seems tough first, but it's not, if you spent your youth with hardcore/punk or grindcore like Martin and me!

For example, one of Martin's favourite albums ever is "Back from Samoa" from Angry Samoans. It's about 17 minutes long. Man, we wrote songs longer than this!

I for myself love stuff like Nasum, Exhumed, Pig Destroyer... they all had pretty short albums in terms of length, but with a huge impact on my musical development! 

What they all have in common, is the pure, raw energy coming with their sound! This is what we are trying to achieve as well! Getting away from polished and squeezed out productions, letting moods and energy get through. 

Maniac

One Question Interviews

Maniac

Posted Feb. 28, 2020, 9:03 p.m.
What's That Noise?

Zache (Maniac – bass/vocals)

SPB: What kind of guitar/bass do you use and what do you like about it? 

Zache: I played bass and sang in Maniac and play a Fender Squier P Bass.  Andrew (lead guitar) plays a black Gibson SG. 

Beach Slang

One Question Interviews

Beach Slang

Posted Feb. 11, 2020, 5:47 p.m.

James Alex (Beach Slang – guitar/vocals)

SPB: What is your favorite movie score/soundtrack?

Alex: It’s a deadlock between Valley Girl and Pretty In Pink. I tried to wrestle a winner, but couldn’t. I mean, The Plimsouls, The Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, Otis Redding, Sparks, New Order, The Rave-Ups, etcetera and so on—I mean, how could I choose one over the other?  

But I had an idea.

I made my favorite scenes duke it out. I thought maybe I could split the tie visually. I couldn’t. Again, how do you pick between (1) Valley Girl — when Randy and Julie kiss while The Plimsouls are playing “A Million Miles Away” vs. (2) Pretty In Pink — when Blane tells Andie “I love you…always” while “If You Leave” by OMD is playing? 

Look, I have an extraordinary lack of decisiveness. And I’m a full-time sucker for coming-of-age sappiness. 

So, you’re stuck with me and I’m stuck with a real-deal even-steven, Valley Girl + Pretty In Pink.

 

But enough of my rambling, go listen.

Doc Rotten

One Question Interviews

Doc Rotten

Posted Feb. 10, 2020, 5:32 p.m.

Wes Bentley (Doc Rotten)

SPB: Do you read press/reviews written about you? 

Bentley: Sometimes, for a review, I am more likely to read them because I want to see if it is a positive review. Interviews not so much because I was there and know what I said.  

Smash The Statues

One Question Interviews

Smash The Statues

Posted Feb. 9, 2020, 10:02 a.m.

Tom (Smash The Statues)

SPB: What is your favorite cover to play? Why?

Tom: Covers could be really fun to play. Back in the days we played a bunch of covers that suited us both musically and lyrically. As a political band, you want to get your message through, so it wouldn't make sense for us to play coversongs without powerful lyrics, just because the music was cool. So throughout the years we covered songs by bands like I-Spy, Good Riddance, Adhesive and As Friends Rust. I still get goosebumps from Damien's lyrics “You like your coffee black, your neighborhood white” from AFR's classic Coffee Black. But all those songs somehow fitted the melodic hardcorepunk we're playing. What might make it more interesting is covering a song that is way out of your musical comfortzone.

Fastforward to 2020. In January of this year we recorded a song by UK/Austrian feminist post-hardcoreband Petrol Girls. Right now they're constantly touring Europe and the US. We've been lucky enough to share the stage with them in the past. Some of their members have been long time friends and when we heard one of them is fighting a defemation case, because of sexual misbehaviour allegations to a well known UK musician, we decided to chip in for their Solidarity Not Silence crowdfunder. We asked our mutual friend Roos to join us on their song “Touch Me Again”, a song about sexual harrasement and violence. I got shivers down my spine when I first saw them playing it live. We rearranged the song so it would fit our own style of hardcorepunk. I hope we did the song just. Before it will appear on the usual streaming services, it will be on our bandcamp for donation. All donations will be forwarded to Solidarity Not Silence. To us, that's what punk should be all about.

Is it our favorite cover to play? So far we didn't play it live. But in June we will be playing a Solidarity Not Silence benefitshow, so who knows we might find out if it's our favorite coversong. At least it's the most meaningful.

 

Check it out via bandcamp, or listen below:

 

Lamniformes

One Question Interviews

Lamniformes

Posted Jan. 25, 2020, 7:09 p.m.
What's That Noise?

Ian Cory (Lamniformes)

SPB: Did you experiment much with different drum sizes, cymbals, or drum heads in the studio when making Sisyphean, or did you have a set approach when you went in? 

Cory: I experimented with the kit much less than I expected before going into the sessions. Having spent more years than I should have working over the demos, I came to Pallet Sound with a very specific drum tone in mind. Barring a two minute stretch of blast beats in “Hypothermia” most of the drum parts on the album are pretty slow, which means we could bring in a lot of roominess without losing precision. Seth Engel, the engineer behind the boards for all of the tracking and mixing on Sisyphean, isn’t into artificial reverb, and having heard plenty doom metal albums ruined by tracking their drums in a CGI cathedral, I shared his preference.

Seth had recently brought in a new kit into the studio, a chrome Tama of some kind. It sounded killer once we tuned it up. Seth ended up liking it so much that he started gigging out with it in a few of the bands he drums for. Because the drums themselves sounded so good, most of the experimenting was on Seth’s end, as he moved around the various bafflers and microphones to capture the blend of attack and size that we were looking for. Since I have none of his technical qualifications I’ll spare the Seth the embarrassment of reading my summary of his process.

I brought my own snare and cymbals. The snare is a brass Tama, from an old Granstar kit. I spent my teenage years playing on well-loved house kits, which makes me a terrible judge of when it’s time to change drum heads. Thankfully, Seth set me right with a fresher Remo coated head that I borrowed for these sessions.

I play a pair of Istanbul Alchemy hats and a Sabian Paradigm Crash. The ride I played on Sisyphean was one gifted to me by my old drum teacher Peter Davenport when I was in high school. Even then it was old. The make and model had long since flaked off. It happened to work pretty well as a low crash, so of course I hammered the shit out of it. While we were tracking we could tell that it wasn’t long for this world. It had taken on this, flat china cymbal quality, and a few weeks later a crack perpendicular to the cymbal’s radius opened up. The ride has since been retired.

Like many of the strange technical hiccups that Seth and I ran across while making Sisyphean, this half dead cymbal was a blessing in disguise. Instead of drowning the drums in cymbal soup, the ride sound was short and brutish. It helped the drums sound dirty, earthy, and aggressive. All qualities that aided the heavier side of the record and kept the softer parts from sounding too maudlin. These days I play with a Dark Custom K, an objectively better instrument, but I still have a fondness for the old nameless ride.

I cannot stress how important it was that Seth and I came to drum tracking prepared. There was no wasted time learning parts or finding drum sound from scratch. I had studied the drums on the records that inspired Sisyphean and passed my preferences along to Seth ahead of time. I had also spent the whole summer prior drilling the material with Parker Langvardt, who played bass on the album. All of this preparation allowed us the time for Seth to dial in the equipment and for me to push my performances if certain takes weren’t working without fear of going over our time limit. Preparation saved me time and money, and gave the record a foundation that we could experiment on top of.

Tim Buchanan

One Question Interviews

Tim Buchanan

Posted Jan. 22, 2020, 10:03 p.m.

Tim Buchanan 

SPB: What do your parents think of your music?

Buchanan: My parents love what we do now. They’ve always been supportive, but I think the more abrasive music I helped make when I was younger was confusing to them, as it would’ve been for many I’m sure. Now that I make country music, or something like that, it’s something they’re more familiar with on a basic level so I think it feels just as good for them as it does for me. It feels more like we live in the same world now, which I cherish. 

Several years ago my band called Cherry Death did one of the first songs I wrote that had a touch of a gospel feel. It was called “I Get The Feeling,” on our record called Saccharine. It’s faint in the mix unfortunately, but my MawMaw (dad’s mom) played piano on that song. I grew up going to hear her and other family on both sides play and sing in church choirs here in Oklahoma, so inherently that music became very important to me and it was such a privilege to share that experience. Since then, my music has skewed further and further in that general direction. Having family further back reaching into Kentucky bluegrass groups and as pastors of small baptist churches makes doing what I do currently feel like coming home in a way. We all come to define home in our own ways, and I love the path I’m on. 

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