domingo, 7 de março de 2010

Got That Feeling with Ceremony - An Interview

Algumas coisas são completamente indescritiveis, mais ou menos assim, vamos pensar que você, no caso eu, fã confesso de Skywave e logicamente das duas vertentes diretas depois que a banda se dissolveu, ou seja, A Place to Bury Strangers e Ceremony, não consigo mensurar qual é mais ou menos importante, o que dá para se dizer que é, o APTBS vem galgando a passos largos a trilha para atingir um publico cada vez maior e com isso a lenda do Skywave vem junto, já no caso do Ceremony os passos são em menor escala, mas vejam só, colocando as 3 bandas lado a a lado, tendo como patrimonio maximo o Skywave, o Ceremony é o que mais se assemelha a sonoridade assustadoramente fenomenal do Skywave, com alguns detalhes há mais, o lado eletronico do Ceremony esta mais latente, mas o noise, o Phil Spector e seu wall of sound, o lado post punk, J&MC, New Order esta todo condensado em seus dois albuns o homonimo e Dissapear ambos irretocaveis, sem contar com o spli junto ao SVI e ao ep da emblematica Never Last Goodbye.

Então ok, quem me conhece sabe que Skywave é banda de cabeceira e que tanto o APTBS como o Ceremony são idolatradas por mim, agora algo simplesmente sensacional é o fato de poder conversar diretamente com Paul Baker e John Fedowitz sobre toda a história desde os primordios do Skywave passando por influências, como eram os shows, o relacionamento com Oliver e saber que eles são grandes amigos até hoje, como o Ceremony começou, o que eles sentem em tocar ao vivo, os planos futuros, enfim, dá para notar o tamanho da felicidade deste que vos escreve sobre o quão importante foi poder viabilizar o que vira nas linhas abaixo.

Sras e Srs, com você Paul Baker e John Fedowitz, do Skywave para o Ceremony para o mundo:

***** Interview with Cememony *****

Q: Let´s talk about the old years…when did Skywave starts, tell us about the history...
Paul - Oliver and I met in school in 1992 when I moved to Staffordshire. We didn't always agree on things, but eventually became best friends. We started a band and tried out people for drums and bass, but no one really worked out so we recorded our first demo in 1995 with me playing drums and our friend Mike Mirza doing additional drums. John Fedowitz and Jamie Drake recorded us, and through process of elimination John became our drummer, because he somehow understood our mindset.

John - I remember when I first heard Skywave, it wasn't a bunch of guys getting together starting yet another local band. I was excited to hear they needed a drummer and I seemed to fit in. Paul's uncle had lent him a classic old Ludwig 1966 drum set and I was fortunate enough to borrow that for the first few years I was in the band. I finally bought my own drum set in 1998, and the first song we recorded with that was "Under The Moon" on Paul's 4-track.

Paul - I always thought we had an original sound based on such disparate elements as noise rock, shoegaze, Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, and underground lo-fi pop, but with our limited technology we did the best we could. Which most of the time was really good.

John - Playing those songs, I thought it was best thing I'd ever heard. I never expected anyone else to appreciate it as much as I do.

Q: Who are your influences/heroes?
John - I love the Ramones, the Misfits, Kraftwerk, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain, and everything else one would expect.

Paul - I'm a big fan of A Place To Bury Strangers, Slowdive, Oasis, Ladytron, Lee Hazlewood, and what John said. I don't really have any heroes.

Q: Tell us about the Skywave´s was it?
John - In our hometown, terrible, but when we left town they made us feel welcome and appreciated. Playing live with Skywave was always physically exhausting. Paul and Oliver pushed me as a drummer to play harder and faster than anyone could be expected to play, but I loved it.

Paul - We played some really great shows and had some awful shows, but I think we always tried to bring something to the audience that was lacking in every other show. Basically, we were bringing energy and excitement, and even in the underground press at that time, nobody cared about us providing the noise and the songs at the same time. I'll always be grateful for the fans that made us feel appreciated wherever we went.

Q. How do you describe Skywave sounds?
John - Not very different than Ceremony sounds; loud guitars, great songs. I feel like Skywave never stopped, we just changed our band name. I would love for Oliver, Paul and I to make music together again sometime.

Paul - At the time, our music was a reaction to all the garbage coming out in the music scene. We didn't belong anywhere and didn't care where we might have fit in. Still don't. We always wanted to be the loudest and yet most melodic band anyone could ever hear.

Q: In your opinion what´s the best Skywave´s ep, song, album....etc..
John - I think "Synthstatic" was our best album and never thought it would be our last. I always thought there was so much more we could have accomplished, but the EP we released in Poland indicated where we were headed. I thought "Over and Over" was perfect as a demo, but I never thought it could sound as good as it did after Paul and Oliver re-arranged and recorded it. I was amazed at how they transformed it into what it became.

Paul - "Synthstatic" was our best album, I also think "Don't Say Slow" 7" is one of our best releases because of the B-Sides. I think a lot of our best songs were resigned to B-Sides for some unknown reason, maybe just to sabotage ourselves.

Q: Too many people consider Skywave one of the best bands ever and the reason for the ressurection of shoegazer....what´s your opinion about it?
John - I'm so flattered by this question, but at the time Skywave existed we were making music for ourselves. Very little music coming out at that time appealed to us, even in the underground scene. But when we played shows with Alcian Blue and Aerial Love Feed they were always exciting and gave us hope by giving us something awesome to listen to and experience.

I don't mean to leave anyone else out, but those were the two bands who always put a smile on my face.

Paul - Overall, I think shoegaze music is very boring. I like some of the soundscapes some groups are able to create, but it doesn't mean anything without a song. The song is what makes me feel something. Without that, it's a waste of everything. I think that as Skywave and Ceremony we've always been a rock and roll group first, with shoegaze as an element of our sound. I like the Ronettes, Dusty Springfield, and Hank Williams Sr. just as much as any shoegaze band. For me it's great rock and roll songs first, effects second, if at all.

There are some really fantastic groups making great music now, such as Then (from Spain) and obviously A Place To Bury Strangers. Shoegaze seems to be a label that fits too many groups with which we have nothing in common.

Q: Tell us about the end of Skywave...
John - There was never really any talk of us breaking up, but Oliver wanted to move to NYC and I wasn't prepared to move my wife and two young boys to NY. I always understood him getting out of his hometown, as there's not much to do here.

Paul - I knew we'd be better off as a band in New York, but at that point I was disillusioned and depressed and wasn't having any fun being in Skywave. I just let it go because I didn't really care anymore. I think we were the best band happening at that time and I wouldn't change anything we did, but due to my mental instability I couldn't do it any longer. But now I wouldn't write off the idea of a Skywave reunion tour of some kind, if John and Oliver are into it.

Q. Do you still have contact to Oliver?
John - Yes, we're still great friends and I talked to him yesterday.

Paul - Of course, we never stopped being friends and I consider him one of my oldest and best friends. I'm really excited for his success in A Place To Bury Strangers. His motivation was what made Skywave as popular as it was.

Q: When Ceremony starts?
Paul - In 2003, John already had a bunch of songs he'd written and recorded on his own, and when Skywave fell apart he asked me to play some live shows with him. We didn't have a name or a band exactly, but we figured we'd play with a drum machine and it just progressed from there. The first show went really well and we thought we'd just try to make a band out of it, and it led to regular shows, albums, the next thing we knew we were an actual band.

John - I felt like we should keep on going because we were both writing and recording. Skywave tried out the drum machine thing without much success, but I think we were able to make good use of drum machines for Ceremony. I started playing bass and everything just seemed to click. It seemed so simple having a two-piece band, as we agreed on things 98% of the time. There was never any odd-man-out mentality.

Q: What´s the fundamental difference between Skywave and Ceremony sounds?
John - The third opinion. Before we used to talk and talk, always second-guessing ourselves. Now it seems much easier and we move along more quickly with less stress.

Paul - Now we just trust our instincts. I was overly self-conscious back then, but now I realize I can only give it my best effort and try to please myself. We're more comfortable being ourselves now, and I really enjoy what we do.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the albums?
John - We work on our songs together in our studios. On my songs, I usually record everything until it seems just about finished, and then I get Paul to record something, a guitar or vocal, to bring the different elements together to make it sound complete.

Paul - A lot of our songs are almost solo projects, merely due to necessity because of schedules, but we do play and sing on each other's songs very often. Our best songs happen when we work together, without question. Especially when we're on different pages musically, one of us will bring some sound or idea into the song that the other wouldn't ever have thought to incorporate. That's when things fall into place very unexpectedly.

Q: About Ceremony gigs, how do you feel playing live?
John - I really like playing live, but I don't like the way my stomach feels before playing a gig. While we're actually playing I feel like it's the way it should be. Our albums do feature a lot of overdubs, but we end up performing the songs pretty accurately , considering that we barely practice...

Paul - Playing live is kind of nerve-wracking, but I still enjoy it. I feel like I enter some kind of trance when we're playing, which is very strange. When it's over I can barely remember anything that happened. Given that mindset, sometimes it's hard to talk to people after a gig. What it comes down to is that I just want us to play our songs the best we possibly can, and everything else is secondary. We're not good at selling ourselves, we just want our music to speak for itself. Hopefully it does.

Q: Which bands would you love to make a cover version?
John - We have covered songs by the Cure, Jesus and Mary Chain, Lee Hazlewood, Depeche Mode, we've always talked about doing a Chemical Brothers song. The problem with that would be that there wouldn't be any vocals and maybe nobody would get it but us. It's usually fun to play songs that aren't the bands' most popular songs, but one exception would be playing My Bloody Valentine's "You Made Me Realise" with Alcian Blue when we were still Skywave in Canada. All 7 of us were playing. Who knows what that sounded like, or if it was even recognizable, but it was a blast!

Paul - I recorded a version of the Paris Sisters' "I Love How You Love Me" with Rita Botts that I'm really happy with. Jake Reid and I also recorded a version of the Jesus and Mary Chain's "On the Wall" that I think sounded really cool. Maybe someday that will come out on something.

Q: Which new bands do you recommend?
Both - Screen Vinyl Image, A Place To Bury Strangers, Oblisk, December Sound,
Then (from Spain), Was She A Vampire (from Russia), My Dead Girlfriend (from Japan), The Silent Section (from Denmark), and we love the recordings by The Offering, the coolest band that we've ever known in Fredericksburg. Stellarium are awesome, and we're really excited to have a split 12" coming out with them soon on Custom Made Music. Samideani are a really cool band from Italy that we listen to a lot as well.

Q: What´s the plans for records, a tour....
Both - Our new album "Rocket Fire" is set to be released April 27th on Killer Pimp Records, and we're really excited about that. It has a lot of songs we've been working on for quite some time and it's about time they're finally being released properly. There's the first single, "Someday" which has the B-Side "Cracked Sun" not available on the album, and the second single "Leave Alone" and it's B-Side are also exclusive to the 7". We also have the split with Stellarium coming out in a few months and we have enough material for another album within a year, hopefully.

We're currently working on a tour with Screen Vinyl Image and our labelmates Soundpool, covering the eastern USA and maybe a bit more. Our next plans include the UK and Europe,as the reception in Japan was so warm.

Q: Any parting words?
John - Thank you for giving us the time to bore you.

Paul - Thanks for letting us set some things straight. We really appreciate everyone who listens to our music, and we're very grateful for the chance to play our music for anyone who likes it. We're huge fans of music and to anyone who wants to make music, just be yourself.
Paul & John many thanks for all!!!!all the best!!!....Renato

Ceremony - Our Last Goodbye EP
Skywave - Don´t Say Slow EP