quinta-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2016

Midlife Catharsis with Blurring Agent - An Interview

O trio de Minneapolis, Blurring Agent é daquelas preciosidades escondidas que quando aparecem em nossa frente é motivo de comemoração e delírio.

Um incisivo mix de art noise e shoegaze em níveis elevados de decibéis, algo como o elo perdido entre MBV e Slint, assim é o "Blurring Agent" EP de estreia deles que esta disponível primeiramente em formato digital e que brevemente se expandira em formatos físicos.

Barulho em grande escala e alto nível.

***** Interview with Blurring Agent *****

Q. When did Blurring Agent start? Tell us about the history…
In a lot of ways Blurring Agent started about 5 years ago, after Mark finished his masters degree. He picked up playing guitar again after years off, and some of the songs on our EP started to get written in solo form. There were a few aborted attempts to turn those songs into a band. The people never clicked. Last summer, Conor moved to Minnesota, and posted something on Craigslist about being a drummer wanting to start a band. A quick response, and they started to hammer together some more solid versions of the songs. Conor and Mark posted something to Craigslist looking for a bass player with the influences below. Played with a couple people, but Kyle was just the perfect fit. Knew exactly the vibe we wanted. Honestly, we all feel pretty lucky to have found each other through such a sketchy hit-or-miss site.

Q: Who are your influences?
We started the band with the idea of mixing the dreamy shoegaze sound of bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive with the dynamics and aggression of bands like Slint and Unwound. But the individual songs get influences from all over. One song we’ve written is ripping off Nirvana. Another was inspired by the emo band Jejune. One of the newer ones is riffing on a Terry Reilly composition. The key is to take inspiration from everywhere, and filter it through the band and our collective sensibilities. In the end, hopefully you get something that is us.

Q. Make a list of 5 albums of all time…
Sweet Trip - Velocity : Design : Comfort
Have a Nice Life - Deathconsciousness
Swans - Soundtracks for the Blind
Women - Public Strain
But lately I’ve been listening to black metal and avant-pop stuff almost exclusively.

Isis - Oceanic
Radiohead - OK Computer
Boris - Pink
Swans - Children of God
Kowloon Walled City - Grievances

Limiting this to 5 is soooo hard. Ask me again tomorrow, and you’ll get a different list. I think the best albums have to go beyond just having great songs, but have some sort of flow and structure between them, or have a distinct feel. There also needs to be an accessibility where I can throw it on no matter how I feel, but then still they can make an emotional connection. Finally, it needs a staying power where I’m still blown away after at least 5 years. These are going to sound like cop out answers:

MBV - Loveless: You almost lose yourself in the texture of the album. The individual songs are good, but the whole album has to be listened to.

Slint - Spiderland: It starts with this beautiful, simmering energy, slows down to a plodding pace, then builds back up to this great climax.

Built to Spill - Keep it Like a Secret: This was a part of my introduction to indie rock, and it remains a true classic. Again, everything just seems to tie together with this jangly, poppy but epic mood.
Sleater Kinney - Dig Me Out: This is a sentimental choice as much as anything, but this for me was the perfect culmination of the early Sleater Kinney (and the riot girl stuff in general) and the later rock sensibilities and songwriting prowess.

Low - Drums and Guns: This is one of those local-ish Minnesota bands that I just never get to see enough. The album ambles along with a brooding forcefulness. By the time Murderer rolls around, I have to have the lights out, eyes closed and volume up.

Unwound - Leaves Turn Inside You: I liked Unwound in the late 90’s. They were in the list of great math/noise rock bands that I enjoyed listening to. But Leaves just blew my mind. Somehow I had missed the post rock stuff (did not discover that until the mid 2000’s), but this filled a similar void.
So 6, I think I did good. Im sure I forgot a bunch too.

Q. How do you feel playing live?
The three of us, naturally, are all pretty introverted. Naturally, none of us seem likely to want to make a public spectacle of ourselves. So it’s not like the “look at me” showmanship that you get out of some music acts. Rather, there’s something edifying about creating an expression of yourself publicly. Sometimes we hit that zone in the practice space, but it’s not the same as sharing that with other people. There’s a connection when things are just fitting together and the audience gets it.

Q. How do you describe Blurring Agent sounds?
It’s tough to describe how we sound, outside of wanting to sound something in the vein of our influences. We were described as sounding a lot like Sonic Youth after our last show. Crunchy and glimmering shoegaze. The hope is to have blurry, melodic, mathy noise.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs ?
For us, the process was pretty straight forward. We recorded with Ali Jafaar at Ecstattic studios. We knew he had an ear for similar sounds. There’s a pretty decent shoegazer scene in Minneapolis, and he’s recorded a bunch of those. Knowing that, we just put in a lot of practice to make sure we could nail the base performance, then bashed out each song in two or three takes. There's really not that much overdubbing or special studio tricks. Ali just did an awesome job of bringing out a solid performance, then making sure that it sounded right.

Q. Which new bands do you recommend?
How new? Cult of Lip is a great local band that just renamed from Vats. Strange Relations is another Minneapolis band that we think is awesome. The singing drummer is always special.

I think in our practices, we have someone say “have you heard ?” at least a couple times each. To quote….something, “There’s a lot of good music out there, and sometimes you want to hear it”

Q: Which band would you love to made a cover version of?
We might do a cover of a Wire song for live sets. There’s something about covers of songs in a different genre too that are appealing. It lets the band take a song and really transform it into something their own. Mark also has this idea of doing a live, punk rock cover of 4’33” by John Cage. Lots of dancing around for that one.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
Release our EP on cassette, and play some more shows while we’re writing our first LP. Keep making more music. This is just the start.

Q: Any parting words?
Support your local scene. Get out and see a live band. Damnit, start a band, or a blog. Art is meant to be experienced, not just appreciated.