WE HUNG OUT WITH OXENFREE | GOLDEN BOY PRESS INTERVIEW #382


Could you introduce yourself?

I play guitar, keys, and yell over everyone else in the band.

What’s your life philosophy? How do you try to apply that to your work?

There's probably two main tenets -- try to help others through the slog of life and do things you're proud of. The first applies more to everyday life than the music we make, but I think art in all forms is a wonderful way to beautify and engage with a world which too often seems overwhelmingly terrible. On the latter, I put a crazy amount of time and energy into writing and working out parts and arrangements with the band. It's work, but work I love, and at the end of the day, I'm proud of everything we've put out to date -- excited to say Another Land is the top so far.

Could you tell us what you think makes you stand apart in the music industry?

We unintentionally became a psych rock gear band, but most of our influences don't come from there -- often far from it. So, I hope those other influences peek through in different and unique ways as we rock and roll our way into your eardrums.

What is it about music that has connected with you the most, opposed to other mediums of expression?

Music hasn't been the only medium I've played in, but its the one I obsess over. There is this beautiful dichotomy of music being nearly impossible to really comprehend -- a cacophony of invisible sound waves -- while being totally inspiring, engrossing, and making you dance around the room. As an artist, it's a wonderful experiment to try to find a gem within the nonsense that you love and can give listeners an opportunity to get lost in a beat and melody for a few minutes.

Could you tell us about your newest work, "Garbage Collector"? What's the story behind the project?

Garbage Collector was inspired by a night we spent outside Burlington last year after a show with our South Carolina brethren Say Brother. We didn't have a place to sleep that night, but thankfully two sisters who caught the show offered us all a place to stay. For no good reason, we ended up staying up until the sun came up just hanging out. Thirteen humans from all over country/world, not doing anything "productive," talking about life and art, imbibing -- you could call it being a garbage degenerate, but it's really a special thing. "Garbage Collector" is an embrace of taking life in stride, making art, and rejecting the modern pressure on "winning" and "success" while sacrificing life itself.

The fun extended version of the Burlington story is that as dawn approached, things went a bit off the rails as we learned both sisters were trying to hook up with their coworker who was also hanging out, then one of the sisters succeeded (as her boyfriend drove home straight from Pennsylvania after somehow getting word), while the other sister took a liking to one of our crew on the couch in the living room. Meanwhile, Emilie, me, and a few of the Brothers opted to retreat and sleep in the vans. A few hours later, with the boyfriend now home and the locals still asleep, we quietly gathered the crew and split.

We're very excited for your EP, Another Land! Could you tell us some of the moments that stand out to you most when you were creating this EP?

Andrija deserves a lot of credit for how the record sounds, including one specific change to Machine. We had chatted a few times in the months leading up to the session to talk ideas and very early on he suggested we flip the beat in the chorus. We tried it in Brooklyn, abandoned it, and I went into the session thinking there's no way in hell we do it. But, he pushed for it again when we got there and playing nice we gave it a go. It clicked and we never looked back. What didn't work in Brooklyn somehow worked perfectly in Nashville and I wouldn't change it now for the world. Machine ended up my personal favorite on the record and I think it's due to whatever magic Andrija worked on us.

If you had to come up with a new genre to describe your music, what would it be and why?

Oh man I have no idea -- you tell us!

What do you want your audience to feel when they listen to your latest work? What are some themes you want them to question or think about long after they hear it?

For me, composing is a means of recognizing and battling anxieties -- everything from self meaning to police brutality. I don't have a "message" for listeners, but I hope folks can connect and relate to what I'm writing about, and in that way it'll provide some sort of feeling of community. Unfortunately, a lot humans are terrible, but I think the majority of us actually aren't and it's important to connect, relate, and inspire each other.

Do you have any rituals you do before you start your creative process for a new project, to get your mind and energy in the right place?

I need to reset my head and ears. I write in cycles, the beginning of which consists of just listening -- to favorite records, the radio, any recommendations I can get. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to get restarted, but when I do all of a sudden there is clarity and purpose and ideas come out of nowhere.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee, black. But, it's probably 50/50 if it does more harm than good to my body and mental state.

What’s a typical day for you?

I work a day job as well, so time can be thin sometimes -- but I use morning walks with the pup and train rides to work out lyric ideas or listen back on rehearsal recordings, then evenings are either spent behind an instrument, at a friend's show, or cuddling with the pup.

What are some of your goals for 2017?

I have two goals for the rest of the year -- be nice to neighbors and actually learn how to use synthesizers. In an oppressive political era, it feels even more important to treat each other with courtesy, respect, and kindness that is absent from the news. On synths, I'm a bit of a vintage gear head, so most of the instruments and effects I work with were made in or emulate tech from the 60s and 70s. But I've acquired a couple 80s and 90s analog synths recently and have spent time just trying to figure out what the hell is going on -- I know I'm way behind the times, but they're pretty damn cool!

What makes you happy?

Strawberry ice cream, guaranteed.

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