domingo, 26 de novembro de 2017

I Can Feel the Weight with Silver Liz - An Interview

Quando se menos espera, a magia da sonoridade perfeita chega colossalmente, sem freios, e vai penetrando rapidamente mente adentro, deixando a pessoa sem a menor defesa, onde, a única coisa a fazer é ser abduzido por completo. Assim são os grandes álbuns, sempre aconteceu comigo desta forma.

E, obviamente, isso aconteceu desde que "I Can Feel The Weight", primeiro disco do duo, Silver Liz, começou a reverberar por aqui, mas precisamente, desde 31 de Outubro, data em que esta pequena preciosidade veio ao mundo.

Sonoramente, o estrago entre sonhos derretidos por pedais, que o Silver Liz comete, faz uma certa conexão com o Fleeting Joys, e logicamente remete a MBV, mas isso fica, apenas como norte para seguir flutuando desde os primeiros momentos de "Prelude", passando por contemplamentos celestiais como "Him", "Hazy Daisy", "Float" até o grand finale com "Visitor".

Um trabalho sublime, essencial, mágico, essencial para todo e qualquer, fã de shoegaze, ou nem precisaria ser fã do gênero, mesmo porque o Silver Liz, tem o segredo mágico, do encanto, simples assim.


***** Interview with Silver Liz *****

Q. When did Silver Liz start? Tell us about the history...
M: Well okay, shortly after Carrie and I got married in September 2015, we wrote and recorded a demo of our first song "Talk to You Soon" when we lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We didn't think of ourselves as a band yet -- we just shared the song with friends. My cousin Mark Hunsberger who is an amazing jazz drummer also played drums on the song. Anyways, Carrie and I moved to Chicago in October 2015 because she wanted to study comedy writing at the Second City Theater and I just wanted to be in a city. Before that, my original plan was to go to grad school for music composition, but then I turned down an offer from New England Conservatory in Boston because it was ridiculously expensive and I was losing interest in the "contemporary classical" thing anyways. So, as a result of having no musical direction when we first moved to Chicago, I just started recording song ideas on the guitar, with the intention of having Carrie sing and write lyrics later on. In September 2016, we finished writing "Float" and were really happy with it, so we wanted to send it to blogs. We obviously needed a band name, so we went with "Silver Liz" because when we visited the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Carrie saw it was the name of one of Warhol's screen prints of Elizabeth Taylor and thought it sounded like a cool band name, so that's how the name happened.

The formation of our live band and our first show happened unexpectedly and serendipitously. My friend Gus, who I met while studying abroad at Goldsmiths, University of London, is in Kero Kero Bonito and he posted a status on Facebook about needing an opener for their Chicago show at Subterranean back in October 2016. So I told him we'd be interested in the future, but not this time since we only had two songs and no band. He still invited us to make it happen for that show, so we said 'yes' even though we had no plan. We had only three weeks to write, like, three more songs, find a bassist and drummer, and rehearse the songs. We used our Southwest credit card points to fly my cousin Mark to Chicago to play drums. We found our bassist PD Young because we saw him playing bass in church one day, and without even knowing him, we just went up to him and asked him if he'd play since we were desperate to find a bassist for the show. He said 'yes' and it turns out we all have similar taste in music and he is a really cool guy, so he has been in the band since. The soundcheck at Subterranean was actually the first time all four of us were able to rehearse together. Anyways, it was a sold out show and we had a blast! People actually seemed to dig it! Drew Flippin, who is in PD's band Country Priest, has been playing drums with us after that show and we've played five shows total.

Q: Who are your influences?
C: Well, I would say the influences for this album were Slowdive, Cults, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Beach House, Alvvays, and Tamaryn. Our other influences in general would be Elliott Smith, Radiohead, and Sufjan Stevens to name a few.

M: Yeah, I definitely agree with all the artists Carrie listed. For me, Sonic Youth was also a huge influence on this album; I invented my own Sonic Youth-influenced guitar tuning for a lot of these songs. It is basically a just a major triad with each note doubled so you get that thick, droning, slightly out-of-tune sound you hear in so many Sonic Youth songs.

Q. Make a list of 5 albums of all time…
C: I don't consistently listen to albums all the way through as much as I listen to particular songs (and my top five favorite songs would be almost impossible for me to decide), so I'd probably be able to better name my top five favorite bands/artists:

My Bloody Valentine
Elliott Smith
Beach House
Mac Demarco

M: For me,
Elliott Smith - Either/Or
Radiohead - In Rainbows
The Beatles – The White Album
My Bloody Valentine – m b v
Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation

Q. How do you feel playing live?
C: Still very nervous at first but I typically warm up after the first few songs. It also depends on the audience. For our first show when we opened for Kero Kero Bonito, there were four hundred people in the audience. Even though that was one of my most nerve-wracking experiences, it was also one of the best nights of my life. We fed off of the energy from the audience--they were so supportive and fun. But we've also played to an audience of eleven people so uhh yeah it's a mixed bag.

M: I have a lot of fun playing live. I feel like I can really let loose and express myself when I'm on stage with a loud guitar, ya know? I get really antsy right before the show and mostly just worry about everything sounding balanced, but I don't really worry about messing up anymore. I've had so many truly awful performances when I studied music in college that I've learned screwing up live is pretty much inevitable and life goes on. Nobody really notices when it does happen either.

Q. How do you describe Silver Liz sounds?
C: Gritty noisy guitars contrasted with echo-y, light vocals.

M: Yeah, I think aside from the adjectives commonly used to describe pretty much any band in our genre, one aspect we try to achieve with every song is unpredictability. Carrie and I have very similar ideas about what makes music boring or not boring and a lot of time it has to do with the harmonic progressions. We try to use interesting and unpredictable harmonic progressions in every song and we hope that doesn't go unnoticed. Same thing with song structure and phrasing.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs ?
C: It varies but typically Matt will come up with a tune on the guitar and I will come up with the lyrics and modify the tune and melody.

M: On the technical side, it was very unprofessional. We recorded most of the guitar, bass, and vocals in our apartment. Most of the guitar is recorded DI out of a Vox Valvetronix amp. For the tracks where Mark plays drums, we recorded those at his house in Harrisburg, PA in one long nine-hour session. It was our first time recording a whole drum kit using, like, six mics and some Scarlett 8-channel interface we bought. We recorded them in this office room with walls with wood paneling. I think the drums have a unique sound as a result of our inexperience. For the track "Him" that Drew plays on, we recorded the drums in the balcony of a church so there's this great natural reverb happening. The mic I used for the vocals and guitar is this $50 MXL 990 condenser mic I've had since before high school. There was a hole in our pop filter, so I put pantyhose over it and that fixed it. Everything was recorded into Ableton Live.

Q. Which new bands do you recommend?
C: Our bassist's band Country Priest and also Lazy Legs.

Q: Which band would you love to made a cover version of?
C: Long, Long, Long by The Beatles. Also--Cherry Coloured Funk by Cocteau Twins. I love the unpredictability and range of vocals.

M: I think it’d be really fun to cover some John Maus songs because they are the truth. But yeah, Long, Long, Long by the Beatles is the greatest song ever for sure.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
C: Keep making music, and hopefully tour if/when we get a larger fan base!

M: Yeah, we are going to just write a bunch of songs in all different kinds of styles this winter and then after we have, like, forty, we’ll see which ones fit together as an album.

Q: Any parting words?
C: Thanks for asking to interview us. :) Hope we can come to Brazil some day!

M: Thank you so much for the interview and for the kind words about our album!