News Bands 1QI: Benjamin Finger, Shirlette Ammons, Brain Vacation, Ejector Seats

1QI: Benjamin Finger, Shirlette Ammons, Brain Vacation, Ejector Seats

Posted March 16, 2016, 3:12 p.m. in Bands by Cheryl
1QI: Benjamin Finger, Shirlette Ammons, Brain Vacation, Ejector Seats

Welcome to our almost daily quickie Q&A feature: One Question Interviews. Follow us at facebook & twitter and we'll post an interview four days each week, typically every Monday-Thursday.

 

After our social media followers get the first word, we post a wrap-up here at the site and archive them here. This week check out Q&As with Benjamin Finger, Shirlette Ammons, Brain Vacation and Ejector Seats. 

Benjamin Finger

SPB: Do you have a somewhat clearcut idea of what you want to do when composing and/or producing your music, or are you more inclined to just "let things flow" and be more improvisational?

Benjamin: First of all, the answer is a multi-sided one. When it comes to composing and producing music (in my case) it seems to depends on many things; 

- How the idea for the album came in the first place.

- What label I´m releasing the album on.

- Will I record everything on my own or include other guest musicians?

- Where I am while recording the album, in the studio or mostly using the laptop (while travelling for instance).

- If I have a specific theme I´m exploring.  

- What kind of mood I´m in. Also, what I`m reading or what kind of films I´m watching during the making of the album? I guess the seasons also affects me whether I like it or not. 

- Is everything planned out in advance or should I go for improv?

- How much time I have (deadlines, if I´m using practice spaces etc...)

- Am I trying out something I haven´t done before? 

- What kind of musical expression am I looking for?

My last album, Amorosa Sensitiva, released on Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records is a good example that combines some of the points I mentioned above. It carries elements of clear cut ideas when it comes to the production side (who I wanted to be involved in the project and how I wanted it to sound) but it also rests heavily on improvisational elements in order to let some of the pieces drift into unexpected territories. That´s what makes the album interesting to me, because you have this disturbed and noisy side of it but then suddenly everything cools down and the atmosphere changes into something else, more quiet and cleaner perhaps. Maybe there´s more of a minimalistic approach to the ambient tracks. I felt that the listener needed a break after the intense tracks that opens side A and B. But there´s still something behind that curtain, lurking in the shadows. The mood really never rests, you´re never fully at peace. The album is also very much inspired by a book I read by a Swedish author, Ola Hansson. And I´m sure that the book subconsciously affected me when I was composing the 6 pieces on the album. Obviously having a band on this release also made the sound much thicker. A cello (Elling Finnanger Snøfugl) and a saxophone (Are Watle) really makes a quite a difference; it paints with a broader palette and creates a wider scope musically. 

 

In short, I guess I go for all kinds of musical approaches when I´m creating music. I have no preferred or specific way. The most important thing for me is to keep on feeling inspired for each new album. The only way to achieve that is to constantly be open and search for new ways to express myself. (Sometimes it happens through careful planning, other times by accident, luck or coincidences, etc...) That´s why I try to change my musical expression from album to album. I´m afraid of being tied down to a specific sound or genre. I have nightmares about that! And that´s not an easy task to achieve after having released ten studio albums when 2016 comes to an end. 

Allow me to finish the question with a poem I wrote about producing sound (haha, bad translation from Norwegian, please forgive me):

What if the sentences where equipped with sounds, each letter a tone

The structure of the sentences would be composed of tones

The chords would be the prerequisite for the language

That would have left the letters with the freedom they deserve

Then you could construct a dialogue without noise

You could describe yourself as a piece of privileged silence

It might have ended up in hysterical silence, a utopian tone

A vision on the border to contain sound

So why not trust the silence of the sound?

Benjamin Finger at Twitter: https://twitter.com/benjaminfinger

Shirlette Ammons

SPB: What is the strangest trend you see in music (or in the industry vs the art)?

Shirlette: Strangest trend to me is how much people are relying on pop culture, particularly pop songs, for their politicization. I do celebrate and embrace the affirmation, momentum, and empowerment provided by songs that speak to people's struggle, but the 3-minute activism feels symbolic of the way information is disseminated and ingested in this age. It's great as a catalyst for the work of breaking down barriers, but by no means does it reflect the deeper, more intentional work needed to change systems of oppression and disenfranchisement. Sometimes a song is just a reason to dance and that's ok with me.

 

Brain Vacation

SPB: Ectasy, meth, or ludes? 

Brain Vacation: We don't do drugs all that often, but our singer has seen Phish play a few times so there's definitely something going on there. We never really expected to release that information into the world, but there it is. Please go do lots of meth and listen to our new record.

 

Fluffy (Ejector Seats-bass/vocals)

SPB: What was your first tape/record/or cd that you ever bought?

Fluffy: That's actually a really tough question...I grew up with an older sister, so I was subjected to her & her pot smoking hippie friends playing a shitload of classic rock: Bad Company, Queen, Deep Purple etc, etc...it was cool...

I liked everything, I slept with a transistor radio under my pillow listening to crappy AM pop radio!!! But EVERYTHING changed when a friend of mine gave me a Sex Pistols tape! That opened me up to a whole new world...discovering bands & LPs that I still absolutely LOVE to this day: the Damned, The Clash, Buzzcocks, but my life changed when I bought the RAMONES It's Alive LP. Nothing was ever the same!!!! I played that album SSOOOOOOOOOO much I'm amazed that it never wore out!!!

Listen, a lot of people love the RAMONES but, after hearing It's Alive, not one of their studio albums is relevant in any way. It’s Alive IS THE RAMONES!!!! I saw them twice within a month of getting this LP at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney, and they played that set verbatim...Gabba Gabba HEY sign and all!!!!

I've seen & heard a lot of music in the 36 years since It’s Alive came out, but that record still gives me chills. It's a band at their peak, there are no producers in the way..this is Raw & Fast Ramones, how they were meant to be heard. How they really were

DON'T EVER BUY A RAMONES LP UNTIL YOU BUY IT'S ALIVE!!! 

RIP-JOHNNY,JOEY, DEE DEE & TOMMY.

 

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