terça-feira, 24 de novembro de 2015

Space is the Place with Whimsical - An Interview

Sabe aquelas preciosidades completamente escondidas no submundo dos bons sons, aquelas que realmente nasceram no momento e na hora errada, mas que os deuses da música de certa maneira sempre atuam por maneiras obscuras e em alguns momentos algumas dessas maravilhas perdidas retornam afim de resgatar e transportar sua história e seu real merecimento.

Pois é, é basicamente isso que aconteceu com uma pequena grande banda chamada Whimsical. Em 2000 no auge no novo indie rock, veio a mundo o único e precioso álbum, Setting Suns are Semi-Circles, que para os iniciados é simplesmente item de colecionador, mas naquela época o shoegaze clássico do Whimsical obviamente não foi compreendido e a banda até tentou mostrar força mas o sucessor Sleep to Dream nunca foi terminado, continuando até pouco tempo sem ganhar forma de vir ao mundo.

Mas eis que, 2015 chegou, e a Saint Marie Records, gravadora predileta por aqui, fará o favor de nos brindar com o segundo e desejado álbum do Whimsical. 

É uma história tortuosa mas que enfim, chegou o momento do Whimsical ser devidamente realocado para o lugar onde sempre deveria estar. E para quem não os conhece, eis agora aqui nestas páginas a história e demais pormenores da história deles.

Para bandas como o Whimsical, o TBTCI tem uma classificação, ACIMA.

***** Interview with Whimsical *****

Q. When did Whimsical start? tell us about the history...
1. I tried to start a version of Whimsical in 1997, but it didn't actually happen until the summer of 1999. The first official line up of myself, Krissy, Tim, and Joe came about in July of 1999 and Mark joined in Feb of 2000. We played our first show in Chicago in Jan of 2000 and I think we had signed to Seraph Records by early summer of 2000. We went into the studio and recorded Setting Suns are Semi-Circles over the summer and it was released on cd in October of that year. Joe decided to leave the band soon after and Mike joined in on bass. This line up played Chicago about 1-2 a month for a few years, as well as recorded the Love Me/Sleep to Dream promo cd. Mike decided to leave the band in 2003. Brian joined on bass and we continued to play about once a month in Chicago with bands like Kill Hannah, Mira, Breather. Whimsical was unhappy with Seraph Records and we decided to leave the label in early 2004. Around this time, Tim was asked to leave the band and he was replaced by Andy on drums. This was the final line up of the band that recorded the unreleased second album, Sleep to Dream. Andy and I had played in a Shoegaze band called Mystified Thinking from '91-'95, so he was a good fit. The band spent the fall and winter recording 11 songs and the feeling in the band was that it had run it's course. By March of 2005, we were about 90% finished with the album when everything just stopped. Nobody was into the band anymore as some of us had moved onto other bands by this time. Whimsical just sort of faded away. In the spring of 2015 I found the missing hard drive with the unfinished album. I decided to take it upon myself to finish the album and see if i could get it released somehow. Shoegaze and Dream Pop were long dead when we were originally around, but it is alive and well in 2015. It was refreshing to hear these songs for the first time in 10 years and I really think people will love the album. In September of 2015, I sent out 10 cd's to labels and within a week, we were signed to Saint Marie Records. They will be releasing Sleep to Dream sometime in 2016. We couldn't be happier as all of us are still friends and there is no bad blood between us.

Q: Who are your influences?
2. In the very early ‘90’s, it was Slowdive and The Cure with some Ride, Lush, Verve, Joy Division and Lycia thrown in for good measure. By the time I started writing for what would become Whimsical, I wanted to try some shorter and more simple songs. I really liked Motorhome from Chicago, and I tried to copy some of what they were doing by adding that to my existing influences. If you’ve never heard their two albums, Sex Vehicle and Man of the future, go out and find them.

Q. Make a list of 5 albuns of all time…
3. Obviously I could make a list of my top 20 albums and still have trouble picking my top 5 albums. Some of these are not even really considered “Shoegaze” but to me, it’s all the same. If you asked me tomorrow, it might be a totally different list. If I’m just talking about the Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Ethereal genre, I’d say my top 5 albums would be:
1. Slowdive-Just for a Day
2. The Cure-Disintegration
3. Lycia-Ionia
4. Seefeel-Quique
5. Ride-Nowhere

Q. How do you feel playing live?
4. I love playing live. It’s one of the top two reasons I do this. I haven’t performed in two years because I had a baby and it’s just become too hard these days. From the time I was around 15 until I was 37, I played live 1-2 times a month with one of my bands. It’s a huge high for me when a show is going well. There’s no other feeling like it in the world. Whimsical hasn’t played a show since mid 2004, so it’s been a long time.

Q. How do you describe Whimsical sounds?
5. I’m not sure how i would describe us. We are very song oriented and not very noisy. Some bands try to copy My Bloody Valentine and just go for the most fuzzed out song possible, but we never did that. We were always more clean a sounding with pop song structures. Sort of like early Ride and Lush I guess. You could play our songs on an acoustic guitar and it would basically sound the same without the FX pedals. I always referred to us as Dream Pop.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs ?
6. On Setting Suns are Semi-Circles, we recorded all the music at a studio that I worked at. All the vocals were recorded at my home studio and then we mixed it at the real studio. It was sort of rushed, but we gave it our best shot. I wish I could have mixed it differently though. The new album, Sleep to Dream, was recorded mostly at my home studio back in 2004 and finished at my home studio in 2015. I think it sounds more like how I always thought we sounded live. It’s not perfect by any means, but it does the job for sure. We just recorded the drums first, then the bass, then all the guitars go last. After that we do the vocals and whatever added sounds as well. Pretty straight forward recording process that most bands follow really.

Q. Which new bands do you recommend?
7. I really like Mint Julep, Seasurfer, Anne, Pinkshinyultrablast, The Appleseed Cast, and Nothing is pretty good if you can get past their bullshit. I thought the first two Silversun Pickup albums were great, but the last two albums have been terrible. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone important.

Q: Which band would you love to made a cover version of?
8. I recorded a version of Dagger by Slowdive that is very different to the original. Most people might not even be able to tell it’s the same song. I’ve also done A Strange Day by The Cure as well. These might be released someday. I would love to do Ionia by Lycia or She’s a Superstar by Verve.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
9. We will finally have Sleep to Dream released sometime next year by Saint Marie Records. I know a few songs will be on some compilations as well. I still have around 10 old demo songs that we never used from when the band was originally around, so you never know, there could be a 3rd album at some point. I would love to get a version of the band to play some festivals if possible. All of us are living in different states at the moment, but if the opportunity presented itself, we’d love to play again.

 Q: Any parting words?
10. Up until 6 months ago, I never thought I would hear these songs again. The hard drive had been lost for many years and I was always sad that no one would ever hear these songs. Now the album is coming out on a great label like Saint Marie, and it’s almost like this is how it was supposed to happen. When the band was active, no one gave a shit about this type of music and now there are a ton of bands, labels, websites, etc. It’s great that we finally get a chance to let people hear the album. We hope people enjoy it, because it was about 4 years of writing and we never thought it would be released. Thanks for the interview and for helping us spread the word about Whimsical.