segunda-feira, 23 de julho de 2012

Under an Impressive Sky by Echodrone - An Interview


Para iniciados, o Echodrone não é nenhuma novidade, muito pelo contrário, são cultuados e tem no curriculo uma discografia irretocável, mas o novíssimo Bon Voyage alça voos até então somente ensaiados pela banda.

Bon Voyage é daquelas obras cristalinas e etéreas que vislumbram o paraíso por completo, uma verdadeira ode com a benção de Robin Guthrie, Neil Hastead e Rachel Gosswell, o Echodrone, presta uma homenagem aos icones máximos das canções ofertadas aos deuses e ao anjos, mas não confundam com uma mera cópia, Bon Voyage é mais alias muito mais do que isso, se o APTBS atualiza J&MC e MBV, o Echodrone atualiza Cocteau e Slowdive sublimemente, engrandece a cada cristalino acorde de suas guitarras, a paz, o isolamento, a candura, todos os sentimentos fundem-se e geram uma leveza, que satisfará aos anjos mais sedentos de delays.

O TBTCI recebeu o album em vibrações de euforia, e propos a banda uma entrevista o que gerou em contrapartida uma nova euforia, condensando ambas gerou-se uma extensa e maravilhosa história de como se faz música para a alma credenciando-se para a trilha sonora do paraiso.

                                                    ***** Interview with Echodrone *****

1. When did Echodrone starts, tell us about the history...
Eugene - Echodrone started in 2005 when I put an ad up on craigslist to start a shoegaze/ambient band with like-minded folk. I had never really played in a band before, except for a brief stint with some of my high school buddies back in the 90s. Anyways, I think Brandon saw All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors as one of my influences in the craigslist post. He was looking for a shoegaze band after playing in indie bands for a few years. He immediately e-mailed me and we hit it off from the start! We spent the next several months practicing throughout the Oakland/San Francisco area at various rehearsal rooms. Craigslist also brought us the original 2nd guitarist and drummer, who were replaced by Mark in 2007 and Meredith in 2008.

Meredith - I was in another project at the time when I fell in love with Echodrone. I invited them to play a show which ended up being practically empty, but I was so happy to see them nonetheless. I joined up after my last project fell apart when they asked me. I had to drive an hour from SF to the Oakland ghetto to practice with them once a week, but it was worth it.

Mark - I remember looking through a ton of Craigslist ads hoping to find something that would appeal to me and stumbled across a post that made me want to investigate further. I then checked out some music and instantly knew I’d found something special so I jumped on board the summer of 07 and we started writing a bunch of new material and redefining the sound. The main difference to me is the production side of it... especially the vocals! I love engineering when it’s time to do the vocals for Echodrone!

2: Who are your influences?
Eugene - I think everyone in the band comes from slightly different musical backgrounds. It might be best for all of us to go into our individual influences. I guess some of the biggest influences on my songwriting and guitar playing are Sooyoung Park (Seam/Bitch Magnet), Glenn Branca, Jim O’Rourke, Stars of the Lid, Swirlies, Steve Reich, Stockhausen Talk Talk, Arvo Part, Briano Eno, This Heat, American Analog Set, Godspeed You Black Emperor...there are a lot of other ones that I can’t think of right now :)

Mark - I pretty much listen to everything. I enjoy a good song that affects me emotionally or gets me to feel happy, sad, or in the mood to have fun. I'm always searching for new music and enjoy the classics as well! As far as influences growing up I was way into The Cars, Led Zepplin, Prince, Pink Floyd, The Police, Tortoise, Stereolab, Jesus and the Mary Chain, Echo and the Bunnymen and many others I can't think of right now. Lately I've been digging Hooray for Earth, Beach House, and Ulrich Schnauss. There are endless influences for me and I try and borrow bits and pieces from everything I feel is good listening.

Meredith - I listen to a ton of genres, but most often get inspired by stuff that sounds raw. I like my distortion dirty and I like hearing people play loose and singing without autotune.

Brandon - I’m influenced by a ton of shoegaze and post-punk bands. Some notables are The Smiths, Talking Heads, Gang of Four, Slowdive and Medicine.

3. Make a list of 5 albums of all time…
My Bloody Valentine / Loveless
Ride / Nowhere
Soul Coughing / El Oso
Ulrich Schnauss / Far Away Trains...
Engineers / Three Fact Fader
(also the records on Brandon’s top 5...this was a hard one!)

Can / Tago Mago
Stars of the Lid / The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid
eam / The Problem With Me
Glenn Branca / The Ascension
Steve Reich / Different Trains, Electric Counterpoint

Low / Things We Lost in the Fire
Wilco / A Ghost is Born
Beck / Sea Change
Radiohead / Amnesiac
Elliott Smith / Figure 8

Slowdive – Souvlaki
Gang of Four - Entertainment
The Chameleons - Script of the Bridge
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

4. How do you feel about playing live ?
Brandon - I am always too nervous to enjoy playing live as much as I’d like to. But, you get immediate feedback from the audience afterwards which i always appreciated. It would be nice to be able to play some of our newer material in a live context - it would be interesting to see how the stuff would change and how we’d be able to translate the music to a live audience and see the impact.

Meredith - It’s sort of frustrating because it never sounds as good as in the practice space to me. Nerves are higher and the sound is all weird because you are playing forward instead of in a circle. There tends to be less risk-taking and less magic. At the same time, it’s the only time I ever get to really share music with non-band members, since nothing is more awkward than sitting next to someone while you both listen to your recording. Where are you supposed to look? And then I feel sorry for the person who has to comment and say the perfect thing.

Eugene - Live shows are strange experiences for me. As a whole, Echodrone has always aimed to get huge, intricate sounds where everything integrates smoothly. It’s easy to hear this integration in a practice setting because we could completely engulf smaller rooms with our sound. Essentially, you could hear every aspect of our compositions regardless of where you were standing in our practice space.

But we lost this perspective a lot of times when we played on stage. Part of it was the separation of our instruments (I was on one side of the stage while Meredith, Brandon, and/or Mark was on the other side). And, as Meredith said, the other part of it was due to the directionality of our sound in a live setting. All of our sound was directed out toward the audience and away from us. This meant we had to trust each other completely. It also meant that we had to trust the songs themselves, since we couldn’t actually hear each other or perceive the details on stage. In essence, we had to believe that, as long as we played our own parts, the song and the integration of details were actually coming together and existing as we intended out in the audience. It was a leap of faith, for sure, and one that we took with every show.

Mark -I am the black sheep on this one... I totally love playing live and feel having an audience makes me play better and makes me strive for my best. The studio is fun too but doesn’t allow for instant gratification, I always enjoy the moments after the gig is done and the dust settles hopefully leaving our family and friends in a good state of mind. Right now Echodrone isn’t able to play live since we all live in different parts of the country, but once everyone graduates from school I bet there will be a resurgence and the gigs will be flowing again! I love playing for new audiences and experiencing new things so a tour of the world would be a dream come true.

5. How do you describe Echodrone sounds?
Mark - echo-y, reverb drenched and layered in a swirling, drug-induced dream
Meredith - epic but pretty
Brandon - a bed of delays and reverbs, with ethereal vocals laying on top...
Eugene - All the above :)


6: Tell us about the process of recording the new album ?
Brandon - We spent several months passing musical ideas back and forth online, becoming familiar with the verses and choruses if not the structures themselves. When we were able to set up enough time together, Mark Eugene and I spent a week together recording basic tracks and finalizing song structures. It was amazing how quickly the album came together, honestly. Eugene and Mark spent another week or so with overdubs and then Meredith came and recorded her vocals over 3-4 days.

Mark - We recorded it at my work/live loft in Emeryville CA where I had a lot of gear set up to track us live with us all in the same room while using headphones. The rhythm guitars and bass were recorded direct so there wouldn’t be any bleed from the amps going into the drum mics and vocals were done later. We used a click track and essentially learned how to play the songs while we were in the process of recording and like Brandon mentioned it went very quickly considering the only pre production rehearsals we had were in the form of listening to rough demos we passed back and forth via emails. We were all very surprised how well it came out considering the variables and limitations! The first five or six days were spent tracking the instruments while the last five days were primarily vocals and a few instrumental overdubs. I ended up moving out of the work/live studio so I had to mix the record in various locations, mainly Starbucks because I needed to have an internet connection to be able to use Reason 6 since the software makes you either have a dongle or sign on to their public server for access to use it. I went into a more proper studio at the end to reference everything and make sure the mixes were able to stand up on their own, and of course the rest of the band would give me feedback so it was very much a democratic process like everything we. Oh yeah...Skype was a very important tool for us!

7. What represents the shoegazer classic era to the band?
Meredith - My Bloody Valentine / Loveless to me is the perfect representation of that big, dirty, lovely mess that I have come to know and love as shoegaze. The shoegaze band I probably have the most personal connection with though is Cocteau Twins.

Eugene - I think Slowdive / Souvlaki really encompassed the classic shoegaze sound. It was such an amazing album - experimental sounds mixed with melodic sensibilities. Other bands seemed to emphasize either the experimental side or the melodic side, but Slowdive / Souvlaki was really the only classic shoegaze album that joined these two aspects together into a cohesive unit. But the coolest album, by far, was Lilys / In the Presence of Nothing. I used to play that every morning on my drive to school and I always associate it now with morning dew and the sunrise.

Brandon - 1991-1992 cover the era for me. Lush, Curve, Chapterhouse, Slowdive, MBV were all being played on my local radio station and there was so much good music that it took me 5-6 years to find out about bands like Lilys who were fantastic but not receiving quite as much notice at the time.

Mark - Definitely the early 90’s! It was a great time for music, and like Brandon I enjoyed a lot of the same bands. Swervedriver and MBV were always being played as well as a ton of other good stuff.

8. Which new bands do you recommended?
Meredith - I always jump onto trends late, but some newish bands I like -- Lower Dens, Bowerbirds, Engineers. If you haven’t heard these bands yet do yourself a favor.

Eugene - I really enjoy Solar Powered People...umm, that new Snoskred song is pretty awesome! I’m listening to a lot more ambient and experimental music lately, so if you’re interested in that, check out A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Kyle Bobby Dunn (Runge’s Last Stand is an INCREDIBLE song), Tim Hecker, and William Basinski.

Brandon - I love Drowner, Dead Leaf Echo, 99millionmilesfromthesun, Charmparticles, Daysleepers, Highspire, Resplandor, Engineers...

Mark - Engineers, Solar Powered People, Silversun Pickups, Simon Scott (love the Bunny record!), Ulrich Schnauss.


9: Which bands would you love to make a cover version of?
Meredith - I don’t know. Suggestions?

Brandon - Three songs I’ve always wanted to do shogazey covers of: “Live To Tell” by Madonna, “Sailing” by Christopher Cross, “Time” by The Alan Parsons Project

Mark - “Praying for Time” by George Michael, “No Quarter” by Led Zeppelin, “Echoes” by Pink Floyd

Eugene - “Are Friends Electric” by Gary Numan, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone, “We Are What We Are” by The Other Ones, “Love System” by The .

10. What´s the plans for future....
Meredith - Evolve as a band together. That would be awesome, considering the journey so far.

Brandon - Mere stole my answer!

Mark - Continue to make great music and have a fun time doing it!

Eugene - Mark stole my answer.

11. Any parting words?
Meredith - Thanks for listening to our music!

Brandon - We appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and your readers!

Eugene - Thanks to everyone who has supported us throughout the years! We’ve hit some rough spots in the past, but our love and appreciation for you all has kept us going!

Mark - If you read this much you rock and deserve a HUGE THANKS for taking the time to learn a little about Echodrone. The band is excited to keep growing. We look at our fanbase as our good friends so those of you who have been following since the start, you know it’s been a fun ride and we look forward to the future and what it’ll bring. If you aren’t following us on Facebook it would be great to see y’all there...stop by and say hi.
Thanks Echodrone