sábado, 14 de janeiro de 2017

Sunless with Floating Room - An Interview

Ouvir o ótimo e intenso "Sunless", álbum de estreia do quarteto de Portland, Floating Room é se aventurar por terrenos hipnoticamente espaciais e dolorosos.

Como uma viagem de algum psicotrópico pesado, os efeitos colaterais poderão acontecer imediatamente, durante ou logo após a tortuosa viagem que o Floating Room nos projeta, conduzida pela espectral voz de Maya e pelas quase sadcore, guitarras de Kyle, o resultado de "Sunless" vai além de uma simples curtição.

Algo como se o Codeine se juntasse a Kevin Shields e resolvessem fazer uma jam, o resultado é belo, triste e cinzento.

Absolutamente indispensável.

***** Interview with Floating Room *****

Q. When did Floating Room start? Tell us about the history...
Kyle: The band started at the same time as the recordings, although I’m sure Maya had ideas bouncing around in her head long before that. The band’s name is a mashup of “Picture(s) of the floating world” (Ukiyo-e), a genre of Japanese art with a heavy focus on hedonism and the word room to represent the intimate space where the project was started. The name reflects the feeling of being alone in your room working on something creative--all of the sudden the room is floating, detached from the pressures of the world outside. I’ll talk more about the band’s short history when we get to the recordings.

Maya: Kyle and I began collaborating as soon as we started dating. While I have dated other musicians in the past I have never wanted to start a band with any of my past partners. It’s different with Kyle because we’ve been playing music in the same scene for quite a while and judging on his past projects he’s someone I would’ve enjoyed playing music with regardless of if we were dating. We are both drawn to dark, reverby and organic sounding music. Neither Kyle or I own a working bass so we asked Alec if we could go to his house and use his rig to record, but as soon as I saw him I asked if he’d like to record bass on the song instead. The first song he added bass to was Sad God. When Alec added bass it honestly changed the way I thought of the song. It made it dark and heavy enough to match the words. I was really blown away by what he added to the song and immediately wanted to start collaborating with Alec as well!

Alec: I joined F.R. after being asked to play on some of the recordings. I was most intrigued after hearing the dynamic song “Sad God.” I felt the impact of this song’s heavy emotions while writing/recording the bassline. I’ve been listening to Maya’s other projects since I was 17 years old so I was excited to come together on her new project.

Q: Who are your influences?
Kyle: For this band tons of Slowcore like Duster, Bedhead, Red House Painters Etc… More rockin’ stuff like Deerhunter and The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Swirlies. Experimental electronic poppier music like Björk, Portishead and FKA Twigs, especially for the drums/synths.  And of course PNW sad pop music like The Microphones, Little Wings and Mirah.

Maya: What Kyle said. Maybe add True Widow and Dido, haha. I really wanted to make something more “pop” oriented than past bands I’ve been in yet stay true to my tendency to make emotive, sad sounding music.

Alec: I too enjoy sad music, trip hop, slow heavy metal, electronic, and pop music. Pop music is something I have never played before, it’s been a really fun to bring more disjointed elements of music to pop songs.

Q. Make a list of your top 5 albums of all time…
Kyle:  It is always changing but I do have a top “5” that I consistently go back to. I guess they are pretty obvious choices, but they have all had a long lasting musical impact on me:

Grouper - A I A: Alien Observer/Dream Loss
The Microphones - Trilogy (It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water-The Glow, Pt. 2-Mount Eerie---although I have to say Don’t Wake Me Up is on par with these)
Unwound - Leaves Turn Inside You
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Slint - Spiderland

Maya: It’s stressful to try and decide on my five favorite but here are five that I love, in no order:
Dilute - Grape Blueprints Pour Spinach Olive Grape
Bedhead - Beheaded

Mirah - I can’t decide on which album but had to include her because she was a huge influence on me when I first started playing music
Microphones - The Glow Pt 2 (ugh, didn’t wanna repeat any of Kyle’s bands but I think this is a big one for a lot of us in the PNW)

Alec: I never think in terms of top 5 of all time, but here’s some constants, in no order.
Massive Attack – Mezzanine
Capsule – Blue
Sharon Jones – Give the People What They Want
Andy Stott – Faith in Strangers
True Widow – S/T

Q. How do you feel playing live?
Kyle:  This is the first band I’ve played in that I don’t have to constantly think about singing; it is so fun to just space out on my guitar. It feels euphoric moving around without being bound to the microphone, I get to really fuck with my guitar sounds and parts. Playing music allows me to feel more present in myself than anything else while also feeling completely unattached from worry and the physical world.

Maya: I am hooked on playing music because of the feeling of catharsis and flow playing shows gives to me. In my past bands I have mostly been a guitarist, which I have to admit made it easier to rock out and give into this feeling. I have a soft voice and as a live band we are very loud, so sometimes it is a struggle to try and balance what I am doing on stage… but when it all works out singing is like the cherry on top of the enjoyment that playing guitar provides.

Alec: I have a strong cathartic connection to live music and think of it as a positive emotional release. A lot of people feel nervous and freeze up on stage, but the rush has been something I embrace. I think it’s cool when a band really moves around and gets the crowd into it. Even though F.R. plays sadder music, I’d rather not think of any of our live shows as a sad experience – rather, one that is dynamic and has a lot of energy.

Q. How do you describe Floating Room sounds?
Kyle: Gray Pop: Intimate, loud, sad, noisey, smart, druggy, floating.

Maya: floating peacefully in chaos and space.

Alec: A spacey, sad but redemptive, trip.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs ?
Kyle: Maya and I were collaborating on the ‘Memory Bed’ EP by my project Drowse, recording vocals, spending tons of time together and starting to date at the same time. Maya had songs that didn’t fit with her band at the time so we started working on and recording them together in her bedroom. She would program drums on Ableton and outline these beautiful songs and then I would add synths and guitars and just play with the sound. We eventually asked my longtime friend and musical partner Alec to play bass and he added a dense layer of darkness to the album. This is how the majority of ‘Sunless’ came together.

Maya also made some of the album by just experimenting with Ableton. The song “Netsuki” came about like this--just drums loops, fucked up guitars, synth and her breath.

When Maya and I first started seeing each other we would record “micro-songs” on our cell phones (different phones have surprisingly unique recording qualities). We would write guitar parts on the spot and then go home and write lyrics about our time spent together. I would later heavily manipulate these recordings on my computer.Three of these ended up on the album--a good example would be the song “Sick Day”:

“Sick Day” is about a day that we were both feeling sick and went to the art museum. We looked at these tiny Japanese sculptures called Netsuke. One was this rotting pumpkin with a few animals eating it: I said it was a cool depiction of the connection between life and death and then started telling Maya about something way too personal for that point in our relationship. Afterwards, we went back to her house and hung out sick in bed.

Our friend Parker Johnson ran a bunch of the songs through his tape deck and he mastered the whole thing. We started playing shows and released the album on the label Maya co-runs, Good Cheer Records (http://goodcheerrecords.com/).

Maya: Kyle taught me a lot about using Ableton while recording this album which was very exciting to me. We recorded most of it in my bedroom. You can hear my dog Oki whining in one of the songs because he’d get jealous of how much time and attention we’d spend on recording. One of my favorite recording tricks we discovered was using a contact microphone strapped to my neck. Through guitar pedals it creates a sound a lot like a guitar. I would still like to figure out a way to do this comfortably live.

Alec: After these two lay down the track, I listen to the song once or twice, then I write a bass line on the spot as I record it. It’s very much a stream-of-consciousness experience.

Q. Which new bands do you recommend?
Kyle: There is a ton of good stuff happening in Portland right now so I’ll stick to our city:

Our friend Taylor is making music as Being Awone that I am addicted to right now: https://beingawone.bandcamp.com/

I saw this band Dolphin Midwives play recently and was immersed: https://dolphinmidwives.bandcamp.com/

Alien Boy just put out a really good 7’ and Sonia is playing drums with us: https://alienboypdx.bandcamp.com/album/stay-alive

Kevin is about to release some new stuff and his music is consistently amazing and weightless: https://desertofhiatus.bandcamp.com/

Turtlenecked is almost the best new band in Portland (competing with Taylor for the crown):https://turtlenecked.bandcamp.com/

Wagner beamed down a mysterious tape this year: https://colossaltapes.bandcamp.com/album/70s-floyd-lite-c36

Maya- Lately I’ve been hooked on Oh, Rose from Olympia, Washington.

Portland bands that Kyle didn’t mention: Little Star, Dreams, Two Moons, Twelve Gardens, Boreen, Havania Whaal and Gillian Frances.

Alec: I second all the bands/ friends who’ve been mentioned above. Out of the up-and-coming portland bands, Born a Lot has been shredding harder than any.

Q: Which band would you love to do a cover of?
Kyle: We were talking about doing Dido, I think Duster would be cool.

Maya: Dido is first on my list. I’ve always wanted to do a really heavy Dido cover. I would also like to cover “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House. That song crushes my heart and there’s a definite possibility of a crowd sing along in the chorus.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
Kyle: We are doing a West Coast tour in a few weeks. After that we want to write and record the best album we can. I dream of touring in another country.

Maya: While I really loved recording the last album ourselves, I am really excited to get in a studio with this band, real drums and all. The next album will definitely sound a lot louder. I’d also like to tour a lot and experience new places through playing music.

Alec: Looking forward to more fun shows. I am also excited to do a full studio recording.

Q: Any parting words?
Kyle: I hope our music inspires people to record their own worlds in their room too.

Maya: self reflection usually helps

Alec: (¬‿¬)