nyctaper Interviews

The Gradients: September 5, 2014 Shea Stadium Interview/FLAC/MP3/Streaming

October 14, 2014

[Photo from the Studio at Webster Hall show by Stephen Balser, as featured on the band’s facebook page]

The night of their self-titled and debut record release at Shea Stadium, Emilio Herce sat down with The Gradients, comprised of Charlie DY, Sammy Weissberg, Luca Ba, and J Boxer, to talk to us about their song writing process, touring down to SXSW, and the DIY ethic they bring to their live shows. Featured with this interview is a full live set for streaming and download. You can catch The Gradients’ next show at Palisades this Thursday.

NYCTaper: All of you play in different bands. Do you ever had a moment when you’re writing a song, but you decided, ‘hey, maybe I want to save it for this other band’”?

Sammy: Not for me, this is the only band I write music in. I also play in Bluffing and Le Rug. But Bluffing’s all John.

J. Boxer (John): Nah, I definitely know. There’s definitely stuff that I write where I’m like ‘this would be really weird for Gradients.’

NYCT: The Gradients have four songwriters, most bands have only one or two, so how does the song writing process work? Does everyone have equal input, or does someone bring in a skeleton and then lead in the process of building it?

Luca Ba: I mean, usually one or two people will have an individual thing that they bring in.

NYCT: Like a riff? Do you ever bring in a complete song?

Luca: Some people have.

Charlie: A lot of times it’s a song that gets changed, like as a band we’ll work on it. Also it’s funny that you say that cause like, we have a lot of trouble naming our songs, and a lot of the time they wind up being labeled as whoever brought it in, like ‘Sammy New,’ or ‘Charlie New,’ or ‘Luca New,’ ‘John New,’ but I wouldn’t say that any of those songs truly belong to that person.

Sammy: I think in this band you can’t really bring in a song, and like anything is subject to change. Every song I’ve brought in has basically just ended up different.

NYCT: You guys are releasing a four track EP, each of you writing one song. Are those songs written yet, are you still working on them?

Sammy: We’re playing two of them tonight. One is pretty close to being done. I guess the fourth one we haven’t even started yet.

Charlie: Mine is in the lab.

NYCT: At what point do you feel comfortable performing a song. When it’s fleshed out entirely?

Luca: I think often it’s not.

NYCT: So the writing process happens on stage too.

J Boxer: We know we’re not playing it the way it’s going to be, the finished product or whatever, and there’s kind fear or nervousness about it, but that’s what you have to do.

Sammy: Just play it over and over again, that’s kind of how I write songs anyway. Usually when I write something, I play it every day, like multiple times a day and over a long period of time things start to develop. I think that repetition is a good way to develop ideas, if you just have it in your ear.

J Boxer:  I feel good about the two new ones that we have.

Charlie: The first show that we ever played as a band, way before John was in the band, we got offered a show and we weren’t ready, but we just played it.  We were just like ‘why not, we were going to open the show.’ It came together on stage, and I feel like that vibe carried out into our band in general. You know a lot of times, like honestly, we’ll play a song, and the lyrics aren’t completely finished, but they’ll even grow from what we come up with, when we play it.

NYCT: Was this years South By your first tour experience as a band? How was that?

Luca: We became a family with the other members of Bluffing, Heeney and Slonk Donkerson. I’d say that those four bands are joined forever.

Charlie: It was a pretty magical time in Austin. I mean it was a great experience, and we played a lot of great shows, but it really almost felt like a musical vacation.

Sammy: It wasn’t the most organized show.

Charlie: The last tour we went on was like totally just you know play, go to the next place.  Austin, we played a bunch of shows getting down there, and we got to Austin an we kind of went nuts. A lot of bonding and hanging out.

NYCT: Are you going to do anything differently in the studio this time around? Did you learn anything last time, that you’re not going to do this time, or is there anything that you’re going to bring over from the last record?

Luca: Ideally it won’t take as long to come out, I would say.

Sammy: I think I learned a lot about overdubs, like what sounds good, and what doesn’t and I couldn’t really explain it any more than that, but there are things on the record that obviously bug me, so you’re not going to be totally satisfied.

Download the complete show: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the complete show:

The Gradients
Shea Stadium
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded by Emilio Herce and Shea Stadium
Produced by acidjack

Multitrack digital soundboard>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (mix down)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects on individual tracks, compression, imaging, exciter)>Audacity 2.0.3 (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 Growing Pile>
02 Boxed In
03 [new song 1]
04 Gradients
05 [new song 2]
06 I’ll Find Your Grave
07 In Perspective
08 Charlie 182
09 Shelf
10 Something to Blame

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT The Gradients by visiting their bandcamp page, where you can buy their debut album release.

Zula: August 7, 2014 Shea Stadium – Interview/FLAC/MP3/Full Stream

August 26, 2014

[Photo from the band’s Facebook page]

Zula released one of the more underrated albums of 2013, the spry This Hopeful, a sweet and well-produced pop album with electronic flourishes. The record was a damn fine confection of a debut LP, with just about everything you could want in such a debut. It had solid hooks, yet room to grow.

Brand-new correspondent but veteran music writer Emilio Herce sat down with the band earlier this month. His interview is below, along with a full MP3 and FLAC download and stream of the show, below after the interview. I mixed down Shea’s multitrack audio, and the audio quality is outstanding. Enjoy!

Zula Interview, by Emilio Herce

Zula’s music has been described by the New York Times as “pointillistic structures with a mainspring of minimalism.” New York locals and cousins, Nate and Henry Terepka, took a couple moments before playing their tour kick off show at Shea Stadium to talk to me about their writing process, Arto Lindsay, and touring with site friends Friend Roulette

NYCTaper: How did you decide upon “This Hopeful” as the title for the latest record? Was that an easy choice to make for the band?

Henry Terepka: It wasn’t an easy choice. [Laughs] It took a few months of brain storming, and living with a few different ideas.

Nate Terepka: That was one of the last things we figured out for the record, I feel like.

HT: Yeah, it’s hard, it’s like the way we wrote those songs, they were kind of each on their own, as individual moments, individual feelings, and so it was one of those albums, it was kind of ‘these are the songs we’ve got.”

NYCTaper: Did you have other songs that didn’t make the record; are you saving those for later?

HT: Yeah, we kind of have a surplus of material in general as a band. The big challenge for us in terms of picking the songs was which were going to make it on the specific vinyl format, which has a time constraint on it, which I didn’t know about going into the process.

NYCT: Your songs and the stories in them all have a hopeful bent, but the universe they exist in has this sort of anxious cloud hanging over it. Is this a unifying theme in the music of Zula, or were there events surrounding the writing of the first album that shaped the record’s outlook?

NT: I think our writing is reflective of our internal space when we’re writing a song. I think we both write sort of stream of conscious with our lyrics, and I think we both feel hopeful and anxious.

HT: Yeah, that’s definitely something that’s not going to go away from our music anytime soon. I think those sentiments are important to, I guess, our perspective, our worldview.

NYCT: When do you consider a song to be “done”?

NT: I think that song and recording are two different things.

HT: There’s like a complete idea, thinking about what’s a complete idea, and then there’s thinking about how to present an idea in a way that does justice to that idea. Sometimes those processes get mixed up a little bit.

NYCT: Do you consider the songs on the last record done, or are they still changing?

HT: They’re always changing in live performance. We try to keep things fresh, you know, to keep being in the moment. I think compositionally, we’re pretty happy with where they ended up.

NT: Yeah, I don’t know. That’s an interesting thought. ‘Done’ seems intense in a way. I’m happy with the recordings. I think those recordings are complete, but I’d like to think that songs can take on new life or if they’re not taking on new life you can put them aside.

NYCT: How important is improvisation in your work, like on stage? Is that a part of it or do you pretty much play the songs as they are on the record?

NT: I’d say it’s very important. I think that certain things, structures end up getting a little cemented, but we try to work things into our arrangements where rather than “we’re going to do this for a certain number of measures,” one of us will cue something and then give ourselves the space to stretch out, and I think in general we welcome people trying new lines or messing around if they’re inspired in the moment. We embrace the roughness and magic that can sort of pop up in the moment of playing a song.

NYCT: You often play, and have recently toured with the band Friend Roulette, another band known for their rhythmic and dynamic ability. Has playing with them affected your approach to music? Are there any stories you’d like to share from the tour?

HT: It was really fun getting to know that band, hanging out with them, and soaking up their vibe. I though that one impression they made, is just that over time they were really kind of putting a world together. You could, you know, have whatever feeling you wanted about it, they weren’t asking you to feel one particular thing about it.

NT: Yeah it was really cool getting to know them. I always liked them, but I liked them more and more, seeing them play more shows and spending time with them because I think something what’s not apparent right away is just how that band goes back really far. They’re all very close friends, and that’s very much a band of friends that’s sort of in their own world and vision.  They have a really strong vibe that maybe’s a little hard to penetrate at first.

NYCT: Is that something you try to go after yourself? Your songs are pretty straightforward and accessible, but there’s something to be said about listening to them over and over again.

HT: I think we write more complicated songs than we intend to, but we’re not necessarily as good at intentionally withholding pleasure in the way that I’d like to be a little better at.

NT: Yeah, I mean we don’t want our songs to be difficult I don’t think. Pop satisfaction and approachability is something that we aspire to. At the same time there’s a slot of things, a lot of conventions towards accessibility that are a little bit boring and I think we try to do the best that we can to balance accessibility with surprising ideas.

NYCT: The band has always been able to recreate live the sounds on the record, no easy feat. Have you ever written songs, or parts of songs, which have proven difficult to perform on stage?

HT: Our process is pretty oriented towards our live performance as a band, and I think that at least for the last few album projects we’ve been doing our recordings have followed our live arrangements, or come after our live arrangements, but I’m interested to try those approaches. Both Nate and I come from multi-tracking backgrounds, layering stuff and doing stuff that like is not playable live necessarily.

NT: But I also think that we don’t get attached to the specific sound source of a part, more so the role that it plays in a song. So if in the process of recording for a record we end up tracking this part that we can’t reproduce live exactly because of the sound source or whatever, whatever role that part ended up playing in the composition might come into our live set but it’ll be different.

NYCT: In a recent interview, Arto Lindsay, a fellow New York musician, and pioneer in the No Wave movement during the late 70s and 80s said: “Everywhere I go people think I’m too cynical or my humor’s too negative or I treat my friends badly, and I say, ‘That’s the way we do it in New York!’” It seems like Lindsay was being facetious, but do you think there’s any truth to this? How does it compare to your experience as New York based musicians?

HT: I work for a music publisher and we had a composer come in once, an older gentleman who had extensive plastic surgery. He made a kind of odd impression on my staff, but one of the things he said during the course of his interview, he was talking about getting ripped off for music by a company. He was like “So I’m from New York, so like fuck you!,” and that was his whole thing, like you’re from New York, so like fuck you I’m going to beat you up, but I think that that’s a little antiquated.

NYCT: You think that’s old school?

HT: Yeah, I think that’s old school and I think that New York City more than anything is defined by multiple identities, not having one particular identity that you can pin down, but Arto Lindsay’s got a really interesting perspective and certainly we try to take cues from the way he presents himself, and there’s a long tradition of like sarcastic and sort of pessimistic… because in New York things are real, that’s one thing I think is like a legit assumption about New York as opposed to other places.

NYCT: What do you mean by real?

HT: People are open about what they want, so if that means expressing negativity, then that’s totally appropriate, because that’s within the healthy bounds of human emotion.

Direct download of the complete show: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the complete show:

Shea Stadium
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded by Emilio Herce and Shea Stadium
Produced by acidjack

Multitrack digital soundboard>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (mix down)>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects on individual tracks, compression, spacing, exciter)>Audacity 2.0.3 (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 Lucy Loops
02 Basketball
03 Getting Warm
04 [tuning]
05 Be Around
06 [tuning2]
07 Speeding Towards the Arctic

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Zula, like them on Facebook, and buy This Hopeful here.

NYCTaper on Homegrown Radio NJ – Listen to the Stream

April 30, 2014

Homegrown Sunday Ramble #17 New Neil Young, NYCTaper Interview, Summer Music Festival Preview by Homegrown Sunday Ramble on Mixcloud

We (nyctaper and acidjack) were on the excellent webradio station Homegrown Radio NJ on Sunday night. The “Sunday Ramble” guys are clearly knowledgeable fans of the site and the interview went extremely well. We had a great time talking to Paul and Dave. The interview with us begins at about 30 minutes into the stream, but please listen to the whole show on this stream. Also, tune into the Sunday Ramble every Sunday night from 7pm to 9pm.

We had so much fun doing this interview that we’d love to do more. If you have a radio show and want us to talk about live music in NYC, send us an email.

Deakin: The NYCTaper Interview by Jarrod Dicker

September 12, 2010

[photo courtesy of Shockmountain]

Tomorrow night Deakin (Josh Dibb) will perform his first solo show in NYC. The show takes place at Glasslands, where he supports Prince Rama at their CD release show. NYCTaper will be there to capture audio of this performance.

Since he took a leave from performing live with Animal Collective, Deakin has kept busy. In the interview below, Josh discusses his current solo career and looks forward. We’re very happy to welcome back Jarrod Dicker to NYCTaper for this excellent interview.

Deakin Interview:

JD: The September 13th show at Glassland’s kicks off your forthcoming tour with Prince Rama. What fueled the decision to begin the tour in New York?

Deakin: Well, I usually prefer to hit New York towards the end of the tour. This tour came about because I wasn’t already on tour and I don’t have a record of my own to tour right now. I figured it would be cool to go out and tour with somebody else for the time being. I asked them to do it and we began to throw around a bunch of ideas. Their record is set to release on the 14th, so they already prepared to do an album release show at Glasslands. The show is very much theirs; they started planning that before we even agreed to tour together.

JD: How about the routing of the rest of the tour; did you have any say choosing locations and venues?

Deakin: Yes but originally we wanted to do a southern tour. We used the booking agent from Animal Collective and we talked about ways we could possibly re-route it to the south. But personally, I don’t want to be touring for more than three weeks. This is the longest tour I’ve ever done by myself so I don’t want to go into the territory where I’d be doing a five week US tour. So the routing we ended up doing works out the best and we’re happy with it. Its also the places where Prince Rama has to be because they’re going to keep going after I stop.

JD: How did your relationship with Prince Rama materialize?

Deakin: I’d been spending a lot of time with Prince Rama ever since Animal Collective helped record their album back in April. We all became pretty good friends and doing a tour with them seemed to be the obvious choice since they’re touring on that record. I felt it would be good promotion for them. As I said, I don’t have the advantage of promoting my own record right now and since they do, we can both essentially help each other out.

JD: You’ve performed in the New York area many times over the years. What, if any, expectations do you have from the Brooklyn crowd this Monday at Glasslands?

Deacon: Actually not much in particular. New York tends to be a slightly more intense place to play than most other places. I don’t know if its because I’ve spent so many years living there or if its other elements of New York that make it like that. I don’t really have any specific expectations. I feel like New York generally ends up being a little bit more energized and people who want to know what’s going on will form an opinion of it quickly. New York is always a place where people’s opinions get in the middle of their listening experience. I guess that sounds like the way it should be but its definitely more intense in New York. Another difference is that a lot of my friends who haven’t seen me play yet will be there. On a personal level I hope they like it [laughs].

JD: 2010 has been a year where you focused more on yourself and your solo work. You’ve played selected shows since January here and there but they have often been spread out and spontaneous. How do you look at this year, personally, and what to you want to get out of it?

Deakin: I’m very conservative about the dates I pick for a large part because I don’t have a record to tour around yet. Even with my background–which I feel does help out a lot in terms of people knowing or caring that I’m playing a show–not having a record sort of makes it difficult. So I’m just waiting for an album to happen. The songs I’m working on in my mind are taking their time working themselves out. Its helpful for me to push myself out there and play live shows because it motivates me. It helps me in trying to take things to the next level. I think this year has been about that for me. This year has been about me doing things that I’ve been pretty shy doing in the past. Its a matter of taking opportunities as they come.

JD: How have fans been reacting to your solo material?

Deakin: You know I’m not exactly sure. Its definitely a mixed reaction. I have people come up after shows that seem really psyched but I’ve also made the mistake going on message boards now and again and reading fan reactions there. Some of them are good but a lot of them are nasty. I know better than to look there. I find when people take the time to write things on the internet, often times they want to say something gnarly. I just think Animal Collective have gotten so much attention these past few years. People that have come to know about us have really trying opinions of us; they’re either really excited about it or really hateful towards it. So I feel there’s a lot of that energy when I play shows, both the obscene excitement and desire to criticize. Its sometimes a little hard to want to engage yourself in that. But I often find there’s a middle ground. I just try to ignore it for right now because I don’t think it helps me when trying to accomplish what I set out to do. Its just what it is.

JD: Your role as a solo artist is very different from your role in Animal Collective. Is it difficult to jump back and forth between projects? Is it a complicated transitional process?

Deakin: They’re many things that make both pretty different. I’m responsible for a lot more when I do my solo work. When the four of us–or three of us, whatever it ends up being at the time– are working together we all have a big hand in what all the songs come out to be. In general Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) and/or Dave Portner (Avey Tare) are the primary song shapers or melody makers for AnCo. Everybody really has their separate role. I don’t consider myself a drummer or maker of rhythms where as Noah is really great at it. But I don’t have Noah with me now [laughs], so I’m trying to take on everything in a sense. I am used to having those guys around so its definitely a different role. I feel like there’s a certain level of ease and fun that can be removed when you don’t have the comfort of playing with the other guys. If we’re on stage and all four of us are going at it, there’s a lot of energy going back and forth between us. You hope that the other guys are getting inspired by that and you feed off what the other guys are doing. When its me by myself and I feel like I’m lagging, I need to sort of push myself and its a stranger feeling than when I’m playing live with the dudes.

JD: What inspirations guider your musical process as of late? Is it different than say the creative energy you harbored a few years ago?

Deakin: I think its really similar in a lot of ways. They’re a lot of benchmarks sonically, for me that remain the same. I guess for me, the level that has become new again is the songwriting element and what that really means. I wrote a lot in high school and would work to complete songs. And when we started doing AnCo stuff I let a lot of that go.

JD: In terms of traditionally writing songs?

Deakin: In terms that I started to create more of my music through jamming. I create from a place of jamming. That’s really important to me whether its a matter of picking samples to loop or just finding a sound on my guitar that I’m psyched on. I’ll start to mess around with it and melodies usually come out of that. I have to spend a lot of time just going over and over and over playing on the same idea. Its out of that where I’ve been able to understand how I preconceive things in my head and figure out how to realize them.

JD: Do you follow that same philosophy lyrically?

Deakin: When I play live, for the most part, I make up the lyrics as I go [laughs]. Initially that came from the first couple shows I played. I hadn’t quite figured out exactly what I wanted to do yet and I did envision that I would get to a place where it would become real clear. All in all, its scary as hell, but I’m kind of open to it in a way. When it works it works really well but when it doesn’t it becomes really frightening, especially when you’re playing live in front of a lot of people. Personally I get more out of it when I let whatever seems appropriate at the time come out. Its been really helpful for me in terms of writing and figuring out what I want songs to be about; what emotions or energy I want to come out through them.

JD: As you stated before, you would like to create a solo album eventually once all the mechanics work themselves out. Would you ever take some of this material to the boys of Animal Collective and possibly use it on an AnCo album?

Deakin: I can see it going both ways. I definitely intend on doing a solo record but I definitely would be psyched to take some of the stuff I’ve been working on to the dudes as well. I think I started off this year with really clear expectations on how it would play itself out and I found that I have to give in a little more when working solo. When I’m working for other people its easier because I’m given a deadline and a clear purpose. While I’ve been exploring this process of doing it by myself I realized its a lot harder to say I’m going to spend a month recording a record. To me its just an open process. I absolutely want to make a record but I just don’t know when. The improvisational thing is that I have songs but its very loose structures. There’s this sort of a looseness built into it. Parts can change how they cut in and lyrically as well. There’s a lot of space for melodies to change.

JD: Anything else fans should be looking forward from the AnCo or Deakin camp?

Deakin: We’ve always been doing home recordings but this year it suddenly became a little bit more intense. I helped engineer Prince Rama’s record and then I did Dave’s record that’s coming out in October. That t was a big project and based on a couple things we have done at his house, we’re psyched about where we are. And Noah just asked Dave and I to mix his record when that’s finished so I’m really looking forward to that.

JD: Seems like you have a lot on your plate.

Deakin: I mean there’s also a lot of other stuff that I’m looking forward to at this point in addition to music. I want to get more involved with sustainable building and plant medicine. I’m seeing how I’ll be able to do all these different things. I’m super inspired to do it and want to find a way to feed my need and apply myself in other parts of the world. I’ve been doing carpentry and building on and off the entire time I’ve been working with AnCo. I’m starting to feel I really need both energies to be firmly rooted in my life. I’m hoping next year could be a lot about that. We’ve been talking about future AnCo stuff as well. Were not entirely sure when it will be exactly, but its something we’re all starting to feel and look forward to.

J. Tillman: The Interview by Jarrod Dicker

December 11, 2009

[photo courtesy of David Wells]

Shortly after J. Tillman performed at Bell House in Brooklyn, a concert recorded by nyctaper, the writer Jarrod Dicker interviewed Josh for the site. This is the third installment of Jarrod’s interview series for NYCTaper.

Josh Tillman doesn’t really listen to that much music. His creative influences span beyond any restrictive constraints within a specific artistic genre and thus produce a product dissimilar to a lot of the music throughout the scene today. However, for someone who doesn’t listen to music, he sure as hell produces a lot of it.

Year in the Kingdom released on September 22nd and marks the seventh studio album written by Tillman since 2005. Not only that, this is his second album released this year following the January release of Vacilando Territory Blues. J Tillman is a music making factory and has no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. “I’m already writing another album,” he explains to me. “I’ve been working on a lot of songs for that.”

So what else is there to know about the mysterious Fleet Fox? Jarrod Dicker spoke to J about the fan reception of the new album, the recent tour and the philosophies and motives that propel the man behind the beard to continue to create beautiful music.

Meet J Tillman

Jarrod Dicker: Hey Josh, Jarrod Dicker here.

Josh Tillman: How’s it going man?

JD: Good Good

JT: Nice

JD: I’m just going to get right into it if you’re cool with that.

JT: Cool

JD: How has the audience reception been so far on tour performing the songs from Year in the Kingdom?

JT: Sometimes it goes over really well and sometimes there’s a bit of confusion. I think, with a good show, there’s usually a potent combination of the two. The live arrangements are so drastically different at times than the album versions aesthetically. But when it works it works really really well. I’ve been overall pleased with it.

JD: Where did the inspiration draw from to immediately create another record after the release of Vacilando Territory Blues in January?

JT: I think it’s just in line with the writing cycle that I’ve been doing. I’ve kind of been putting out albums at that pace for a few years now. Really for me, it just feels like a natural pace or cycle. It didn’t really feel like a novelty. It was really the pace that I’ve kept. I think it’s really as simple as it’s what I love to do. It’s not like I tour and do promotional stuff at a volume that prevents me from recording as often as I’d like. It’s not like I’m going to make an album and then go on tour for a year and a half straight or anything. I didn’t even tour behind the last record.

JD: I’ve noticed and read that your voice sounds different on this record than the previous six. Was this due to a different recording style or is it meant to translate a different feeling/tone unlike your prior releases?

JT: My voice has changed. I’m a pretty slow learn. We definitely used a different production style on this record as far as close mic’ing everything and going for more pure tones. That was something that was an interesting prospect to me. Just the process of learning what you can and can’t do with your voice and trying different deliveries. I never really knew how to sing properly and you get a sense of that on my first few records. But yea, it’s a work in progress.

JD: Cool… on this album you play most of the instruments on the tracks. What is your live performance set up like? Do you include many band members? And do you also lug around the many instruments used on the album like the Hammered Dulcimer, Banjo, Recorder, etc?

JT: No, we kind of transposed all of those things. We do have a bunch a symbols, a gong and other stuff. But for the most part I really just kind of transposed all the arrangements into the parameters and the instruments that my friends play. I’ve never really been too interested in recreating an album exactly as it is into the live setting. I like the freedom of being able to just use the live show as an opportunity to more so deconstruct what’s going on in the album than to recreate it, you know?

JD: Definitely and that seems to make for a more exciting and innovative feel in the live setting. And now since you’ve participated in both solo work and a group (Fleet Foxes), do you favor leaning in one direction over another?

JT: They both serve very different purposes. My role is so drastically different in each one that they aren’t even comparable in my mind. I couldn’t really say. I enjoy doing both for very different reasons.

JD: What mindset do you have when you enter the studio? It seems that your albums are very artistic and visual, taking on more than just a familiar melodic structure.

JT: Yea. You can’t really do anything creative without a source of inspiration. Do you mean…

JD: I’ll rephrase. For this specific record and set of songs are they just a group of songs you assembled together or were they meant for the album because they all share an common theme?

JT: Right…Right…Yes the songs all sprang out in one kind of condensed period of time. It wasn’t like I just had a bunch of songs lying around. I think the songs serve; well to me the album is a very singular thing. The songs really only exist in concert with each other. I think the songs are representative of something other than just myself and the fact that I write songs. I don’t think that was the reason they came into existence.

JD: And now I think your brother’s band is backing you on this tour. Do you enjoy collaborating with your brother Zach and how did this particular touring marriage materialize?

JT: We’ve toured together in Europe a few times now and there’s really just nobody else I’d rather do it with. I had to call his manager and get clearance from his booking agent and our promotional firms thought that it would be a good cross synergy situation to have us opening for each other. And just to get cross marketing going on and cross branding for both of our brands. [laughs] Nah I’m just kidding…

JD: Damn I was just thinking, “What the fuck these guys are brothers?”

JT: Yea it was just like the most natural thing in the world, a very natural situation and organic scenario.

JD: You made an album, Long May You Run and I know that the Fleet Foxes have played with Neil Young. On top of that, many reviewers compare your sound to that of the Laurel Canyon 60s crowd. What does Neil mean to you and is he your BIGGEST inspiration musically?

JT: Yea I think as far as a musical influence for sure. A lot of my influences exist outside the realm of music. I don’t really listen to THAT much music. I have a few things that I like and Neil Young is one of them. But even with him it’s more of a philosophical influence. Just the way he conducts himself and his creative integrity; the narrative art that exists in his albums. All of those facts have been a big influence on me. Certain things like putting out two albums in one year, etc, that idea of, “Well if that’s what you feel like doing, do it.” There’s so much bullshit that you can allow to be a factor in your decision making process and the way that he has never let that contaminate what he does artistically has always been a big influence on me.

JD: Your music, to me, brings a sort of minstrel 1700s quality to it that I find incredibly unique. Where does the inspiration come from to incorporate harmonies and strings to your music?

JT: I’m not sure if I view it in that way. There’s an influence in all modern music within the 12th century troubadours when people started writing ballads about earthly love and unrequited love; using music as a way of expressing romantic feeling. That’s kind of a pretty vital mean in the development of modern music. But I don’t feel any kinship musically to 17th and 18th century times. Definitely some of the schools of thought from the 17th and 18th century are an influence on me, like Decartes but not musically.

JD: You grew up in a religious household that, I’m sure, barred particular music from entering the housing gates. How were you able to access the music that led you to want to lead a life as a musician?

JT: Hmmm…When you’re a kid you listen to music in such a different way. I don’t know if it’s all that important; what you’re listening to as a kid. It’s all kind of the same. Granted there’s some stuff I DID NOT like as a kid but I fell in love with music nonetheless. When you’re a kid it doesn’t matter how cool or artistically viable the music that you’re listening to is. You either fall in love with music or you don’t. Some people grow up around cool music and much can be made of that if you want it to. But I know for myself, I came into the music that I listen to now in my adult life like anybody else does, regardless of what you grow up around. I mean there’s not really much of interest there that I can speak to. I fell in love with music that probably wasn’t that cool or great to me as a child.

JD: What should we expect from J. Tillman going into the New Year?

JT: I’m going to make another album. I’ve been writing a lot for that, kind of more of the same. Slogging it out and shoveling dirt.

JD: Best of luck with that. Thanks so much for your time Josh.

JT: No problem

JD: Adios

JT: Thanks for your time man

The Bony King of Nowhere: US Debut and NYCTaper Interview

October 21, 2009

[photo by Dries Segers]

This week Belgian nu-folk sensation The Bony King of Nowhere made his United States debut.

The Bony King of Nowhere will appear twice more in the US:
Oct 25 2009 10:00 Arlene’s Grocery NYC
Nov 2 2009 7:00 The Living Room NYC

In his second interview for, the writer Jarrod Dicker spoke with the artist.

The Bony King from Belgium
Bram Vanparys — The Bony King Of Nowhere

Bram is 22. Bram is Belgian. Bram is The Bony King of Nowhere, and yet, his name will be embryonic anywhere and everywhere in the music race within impending months heading into the New Year. Mr. Bram Vanparys is an emerging nu-folk composer who, earlier this year, released the debut album Alas My Love under Helicopter Records in Belgium. As he explains it, his music is honest (unique) and proffers something different, infusing his inimitable voice with harmonious/melodic backing guitars, vocals, resonance and percussion. His lyrics are customarily dramatic and his intention is to convey his sound across borders for all to favor and adore. Jarrod Dicker sat down with Bram to discuss his debut album, his first time in New York City, his obsession with the 1960’s and what we should expect from the Bony King of Nowhere in the future.

JD: Hey Bram, how are you enjoying your first trip to New York City?

BV: Well, it’s really nice over here. Its my first time I’ve ever been to the states, so it’s a really nice experience. I love it over here.

JD: As you stated, this is your North American debut tour. You recently played at Rockwood Music Hall on October 12th and soon after Crash Mansion on the 15th. How does this experience differ from playing venues overseas, specifically at home in Belgium?

BV: To me the biggest difference is the way clubs are. In Belgium the clubs are really accessible. In New York it’s harder for a band to schedule shows and to make money with their performance. In Belgium, when you play in a cafe around the corner, you can easily earn 100 Euros. In America it seems to be more difficult to make money with your music. So you almost have to invest money because you have to pay for taxis and for instrument expenses. I just think it’s harder in New York for a musician to survive and play shows, however I like this atmosphere. I like the way that you have to fight to get into the clubs. I really like it.

JD: And how would you describe the NYC crowd’s acceptance of your music?

BV: Acceptance is a bit hard. The first show at Rockwood was pretty early, it was around 6pm. So there were few people about at that time. Its also difficult because I do my own booking and I don’t really know how to promote for the shows. For me this is also a learning process [laughs]. To book a tour in New York is certainly a learning process. Crash Mansion was a totally different club from the Rockwood… it was more of a hard rock theme club. I don’t think it was a good idea for me to play there. I just booked it and didn’t really know what kind of club it was. I felt that the more clubs I could play the better. Maybe I should have skipped it because it was more of a fancy/hard rock venue. The band playing before us was doing covers of TOOL and stuff.

JD: Oh so when you say “hard rock” you mean that the music was hard and extremely heavy as well, correct?

BV: Yes it was pretty heavy. The public was also a bit strange, all these 30 year old men in suits and ties. It seems they just got out of work and were drinking beers with their mates. I don’t think it was “our” crowd, the crowd we’re used to.

JD: The Bony King of Nowhere is unique due to your specific and distinctive voice. Were you a classically trained vocalist or did you find your niche through random acts and exploration?

BV: I’ve been playing music now for almost 5 years and in the beginning I was just singing songs from the Radiohead catalog; not on the guitar, I just sang along with the CD [laughs]. That’s how I discovered that I really loved to sing. I also learned a lot from the way Thom Yorke sings and the way Bonnie Prince Billy sings. So that’s how I discovered my voice in a way. I didn’t really discover it; it was there anyway so…I guess I got lucky [chuckles].

JD: Your songs are very melodic in their backing vocals, guitar sound layers and percussion. This is similar to that of Queen, the Beach Boys in that you incorporate these melodic strategies to build harmonies and other musical tactics. Who specifically influenced your desire to integrate melodies & harmonies within your music?

BV: I think it’s mostly influenced from different kind of groups like, of course, Radiohead but also the guys that make music for films and who made soundtracks back in the 50s for western movies. I really enjoy that kind of music as well. Also stuff like Neil Young, Bob Dylan and the Beatles. It’s mostly 60’s stuff; I don’t really love the music right now. I am inspired by the 60’s musicians like modern groups Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear are.

JD: Your lyrics are exceptionally dramatic. Where does the content for your lyrics derive from? Is it personal or is it more a brew up of words?

BV: Yes mostly I just brew up words. Some songs are personal of course. I don’t always have a story to tell, sometimes words just come and afterwards I make a meaning out of them. My song, Maria is about a man who’s dying and he addresses Maria, or Mary the holy virgin, that he really likes the way he lays there in his bed dying and being very ill. It’s just a song about…Well, I think you must feel very happy when you’re very ill laying there in a bed and you know you can rest at peace and not worry. I wanted to describe it in a song. The strange thing about it is I wrote this song about 3 years ago, and I recently bought an old guitar from a man and asked him why he was selling the instrument? He said that he was a guitarist and wanted to get rid of all his guitars because he was dying. He was very ill and only given a few months left to live. So the song Maria, for the album, I recorded with that guitar. To me it was really bizarre because I wrote that song so long ago and now it’s connected with this old man. The new songs I’m writing are more personal. A lot more personal. The lyrics are a lot more important than the first album. I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan. I think his is the best stuff ever made so far. He made me learn that lyrics are just as important as the music itself. The way you sing it is also very, very important as well.

JD: How has the feedback been from your premier album Alas My Love in Belgium, Europe and North America (if it could yet be measured)?

BV: In my own country it’s doing well. They play it very frequently on the radio and I’m surprised about that. To be honest, I don’t really care if people like it in my country because its such a small country. In the states, I don’t know because the record hasn’t been released here as of yet, so I don’t know what people think of it. I do know that some songs on the record were added to the soundtrack of a new American movie called, “Boy Meets Girl” but it’s not released yet. It’s still being worked on. A Canadian man also used a song in one of his dance performances. It might work pretty well in the states I think, I’d love it to of course. I’m looking for a North American release right now so we’ll see about that.

JD: The album Alas my love was released on the label Helicopter Records. Do you enjoy being on a record label as opposed to doing it on your own, and also, have they been beneficial in the distribution of your album?

BV: It’s a very small record company. It’s only for Belgians but it does make things easier of course because you don’t have to distribute the music yourself. I love being a part of them.

JD: Jon Kelly, the infamous producer of Paul McCartney and Kate Bush, expressed much interest in mixing your debut album. Have you developed a relationship with him and how does it feel to be recognized by such a musical titan?

BV: It was a great honor just knowing his history and who he has worked with. It was a really big honor. But it’s pretty difficult to build up a relationship with a British guy [laughs] because they’re kind of reserved. It was really nice to work with him however. Everything he did was right. He really felt the same way about the music and the record as I did. It was a pretty amazing experience to work with such a man.

JD: When I listen to your music I hear a lot of connection to Sunny Afternoon and other Ray and Dave Davies material. Did they influence your direction for this record?

BV: No. I know them, of course, but I am not influenced by them because I don’t own any of their records. I should check them out definitely! I only know a few songs of theirs so…

JD: How has American music influenced you personally and that of Bony King of Nowhere as well?

BV: To be honest, I think American music is almost the only music I listen to except for a few British artists like the Beatles and stuff like that. I’m just not really interested in the music from my own country. I don’t know why that is. There is no such music in my country like Dylan and Neil Young. I can name 20, 30, 40 bands that I would never see in Belgium, so I don’t know how that comes to be. It seems that in Belgium, nobody is interested in Dylan, but I don’t know why that is [continuous laughter].

JD: Is the title of your group taken directly from Radiohead’s alternate title to their song There There?

BV: Yes that’s right.

JD: So would you say that Radiohead’s strong influence is responsible for bringing us the product of The Bony King of Nowhere?

BV: I have to be honest they’re really a big influence on me, but not really that big anymore because, as I said, I’m listening to a lot of 60s stuff right now. I think that the first record, like a lot of people said, sounded a lot like Radiohead and you can hear the influence real clearly. It is true that they influenced me a lot, but the second record will be more “honest” music I think. For the second record I am just going to record maybe a few takes, not like 20 takes for one song like Radiohead [chuckles]. I’m going to do it pretty fast — I’ll call it “honest.” Just one take and cut it. That’s another thing I admire about Dylan.

JD: What’s your initiative on changing modern music?

BV: I don’t really plan to change it because I don’t know if it needs to be changed. I think the music on the radio has always been what it was for almost 50-60 years now. I don’t know why I would change it. I think its wrong to have the intention to change something, I just think you have to do your stuff and see what happens. If people like it, that’s fine, and if people don’t like it, that’s fine too [laughs].

JD: When should we expect your second record? What else should we expect from the Bony King of Nowhere in the near future?

BV: I want to be the first Belgium artist to play a song on the David Letterman show. In Belgium, there is such a different climate in the music scene, and everybody seems to make rock music and stuff like that. I just don’t really like it. So I’m going to do something different from all the other bands. That’s what I really want to do. Just make my songs….and we’ll see what happens. Expect the new album in a bit!

JD: Well thanks a lot for your time Bram. I’m looking forward to seeing you at Arlene’s Grocery on the 25th hopefully. I know NYCTaper will be there.

BV: Thank you so much Jarrod. Its my pleasure.

Interview with Darby Cicci of The Antlers

October 12, 2009

[Darby behind the keys and effect at Maxwell’s]

Several months ago I was speaking to all of The Antlers before a gig at Mercury Lounge, and the subject of their many recent interviews came up. I joked that Peter Silberman was taking all the attention of the interviews, and that the other members should get a chance. The natural inclination of any interviewer seeking to learn and report about The Antlers would be focus on the lead guitar/singer/writer of the band, but the two other members are equally compelling figures in their own right. If Peter is the brains of the band, then Michael Lerner provides the backbone with his powerful drum work, and Darby Cicci is the heart with his emotive keyboard work and atmospheric and multiple effects.

The writer Jarrod Dicker spoke with Darby this week in what we hope will be a continuing series of interviews to be posted at NYCTaper.

I Am Darby

The Antlers are a breath of fresh air in a modern melodic atmosphere that’s polluted and sultry with fog of banality. Their sound is soothing and transcends lyrical and musical splendor, amplifying the listener’s sentiments from their inner core like a magnetic force of happiness, sorrow, elation and tranquility. Jarrod Dicker spoke with band member Darby Cicci on the re-release of Hospice, working with a record label, the upcoming international tour and more.

JD: The album Hospice was initially self-released and recently re-released under the label Frenchkiss on August 18th. Has there been a noticeable change since signing with the label?

DC: Yes its one of the best things we’ve ever done I think. Frenchkiss has been absolutely amazing. What we initially were hoping to do was just have it distributed by releasing it ourselves, but then Frenchkiss jumped on board. They were the ones that said its not too late to actually release it properly and put a press campaign behind it. They really do a ton of leg work to get it heard by a lot of people that wouldn’t necessarily have ever even heard of the record or have it in their hands. Its been great. They work incredibly hard getting us set up and distributing it internationally; helping us find publicists and book shows. They really do everything.

JD: Do you enjoy being under a label now as opposed to previously being in your own? I’ve spoken with a horde of musicians and most prefer to try and do it grass roots in some regard. Its usually because they are dissatisfied knowing that their work will be owned by someone other than themselves.

DC: Well ultimately yes, a lot of bands don’t want to be on a label. I was probably in that category before we signed to Frenchkiss. We all definitely had a lot of fears thinking that signing to a label is huge in giving over a lot of control and decision making. I think people were worried that they’re going to be a lot of negative things going along with signing to a label. But Frenchkiss proved me wrong in that respect. They’ve been opened minded to everything we’ve done. They really let us do as much as we want. Its not like you’re signing to a label and they do things for you. Its really kind of the opposite. They let us do as much as we want and it’s only when we need help when they’ll step in and give us direction. Hopefully it never gets to the point of needing the contracts and signing the contracts. Frenchkiss are employed with musicians. So they know what it’s like to tour and they do everything from an artists point of view. So there is no worry there. They’re not going to steer us in the wrong direction. They’re not going to exploit us or put our songs on diaper commercials [laughs]. They run everything by us. We never feel like we’re left out of the loop or the decision making process. Its kind of a dream come true. Its all the positive things without any negatives being on a label like Frenchkiss. I imagine a major label would be a little more complicated situation with employees turning over every nine months or so but ours is really just dealing with a small group of people with an open flow of communication.

JD: You recently played at Maxwell’s in Hoboken and soon you begin a tour of the nation. Do you prefer playing close to home (Brooklyn) and where specifically away from the New York area do you fancy to play most?

DC: I definitely love playing in New York. We had a whole lot of great shows here and its nice to come home and sleep in your own bed at night. We’ve had some great shows around the country and the world. We have a great fan base in Toronto and Chicago to name a few. We went to England for a week and had a few great shows in London so I’m really excited to go back there. Some really cool festivals as well. We played Monolith this year and a few little cool festivals in the Midwest. Its sort of a growing number of places as these tours continue. It feels like a lot of homes away from home. I also can’t wait to go back to LA and San Francisco.

JD: The international tour kicks off November 16th. Are you eager to convey the sounds of Hospice abroad?

DC: I’m eager to see how it translates [laughs]. I think UK is no real worry. I’m interested to see how it translates in non-English speaking countries. Especially with an album that’s so centric on lyrical content and story content. I’m interested to see how it translates in Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands… I think its going to be great. We’re just really excited to go to these places. I’ve never been to a lot of these countries, so its good to just go.

JD: How did you specifically fall into the Antlers?

DC: That’s probably a good way to put it, I kind of FELL INTO the group actually [chuckle]. I don’t know its weird. I knew Justin Stivers who played bass in the band a while ago and drums on a record I was working on. I was playing solo around town. Justin invited me to see a band he was joining. I went and it was Peter Silberman doing an acoustic set at Piano’s upstairs. I really liked it and Justin started playing bass for him. I went and saw a couple of the shows and I thought something was lacking. So I spoke to Peter and suggested a trumpet would be a good idea. He was into the idea of trumpet and bowed banjo. And it was really when a keyboard player at the time left that I got involved. Just about a year ago is when Justin left and started playing on his own. Peter was rehearsing a lot and getting ready for a tour and that’s when things really started to gel. We rehearsed a lot and kind of felt like we finally found our own sort of interesting sound as a band. Things started to make sense and pick up after that.

JD: You play an array of instruments for the band. What inspired you to play the trumpet, keyboard, bowed banjo and do you prefer one over the other?

DC: I play a lot of instruments so for me its more about playing what fits in and what’s necessary sound wise. I love playing the trumpet and bowed banjo. We had a bass player at the time so it made a little more sense to play these special instruments. Once Justin left and we didn’t have a bass player anymore it was more about finding something that made sense for me to play. Peter’s guitar works really sort of ambient and sort of atmospheric combined with Michael’s drumming so bass guitar started to make sense. So I started to do bass, synthesizer, bass synthesizer, keyboard styles and things like that. Lot’s of pedals and things, its more of a big sound generator at this point its not really an instrument [laughs].

JD: Where did the name The Antlers develop from? Was that a process you were involved in or did Peter have it before you became part of the group?

DC: Peter had it before. The way I understand it is that when you’re doing solo stuff its really hard for anyone to separate you from your music project. So you end up going up to people saying “Hey I’m Darby Cicci from the band Darby Cicci.” Peter started to, well he just picked a name and he started getting more responses to emails when after he changed it to The Antlers. He told me that it was from The Microphones song, “Antlers” but now he’s not sure it might have been from some girlfriend or something. It’s kind of hazy. At this point its just sort of a name. I wouldn’t say it doesn’t have any meaning but…

JD: Its definitely good to have one of those old school band names. Some of these groups now have a name that’s seven words long like “Going to the Grocery Store for Eggs,” or something absurd like that…I don’t get it.

DC: Picking a band name is one of the hardest things for anybody to ever do. Its really impossible. There are so many that are already taken in some variation of some band or have some native connotation with some band. Or it can’t be something you are going to get sick of. Like a lot of bands have really in the moment names that are hard to spell or remember. I don’t know how I would feel about something hard to spell or hard to pronounce [laughs] for a period of time. Its good to have one that you can say and that’s easy to spell [laughs].

JD: What should we expect from The Antlers in the near and far future? Is there a follow up album, more tours?

DC: A new album is going to take a little while because we’ve been touring. Its going to end up that we’ve been on the road nine months out of the year which is crazy. We’re definitely touring a lot through about mid-December. But then we’ll probably start to record and work on a record properly. We have some remixes that we’re finishing up now and will be done soon. Then a lot more touring. We don’t really know, we want to try and spend the winter a little bit sitting inside making music and seeing what happens. It could be a whole new record, it could be an EP, some remixes we don’t even know ourselves. But there will be something.

JD: Thanks man, sounds good, I truly appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. Keep making music and good luck overseas.

DC: Thank you Jarrod.

Spanish Prisoners Release New EP + NYCTaper Interview

April 14, 2009

Spanish Prisoners are set to release their first new music since 2007’s Songs To Forget, an album that came out of nowhere to garner significant critical praise and which earned Spanish Prisoners gigs opening for the likes of John Vanderslice and Daniel Johnston. This month, the new EP Los Angeles Guitar Dream will drop, and Spanish Prisoners will perform their EP release show at Crash Mansion on April 25.

After the success of Songs to Forget, the Fall of 2008 saw several personnel changes in the band. When Leo Maymind returned to writing and recording, the three-song EP that resulted was a pronounced creative leap for the band. While Songs was a lyrically rich pop side of anti-folk, Los Angeles Guitar Dream contains songs of a dreamy textured guitar-oriented rock. We spoke to Leo regarding some of the changes in the band and the sound.

NYCTaper: Hi Leo, I’ve listened to the new EP a few times through already, and there seems to be a real departure from the Songs to Forget. Almost as if you took the last Spanish Prisoners album title literally and drew a line in the sand. Can you walk us through the evolution of the band over the last two years?

Leo Maymind: It certainly is true that this EP is a departure from the previous record. When I listen back to “Songs to Forget” there are things I still really enjoy and things I don’t see doing ever again. I think I’ve also really evolved as a musician and home recording engineer. The band has gone through several different lineup changes since I moved to Brooklyn and that record came out, but none of the people that went in and out of the band actually recorded with me or really made an indelible mark on the “sound” of Spanish Prisoners. I was sort of having a hard time finding people that I felt compatible with, but the current lineup of the band (myself, Amberly Hungerford, Tim McCoy, and Turner Stough) feels like what I was searching for and I’m really excited for us all to work more on writing and recording as a group, which we’ve already been doing a little of.

NYCT: One of the more interesting elements of Spanish Prisoners for me has always been that authentic vulnerability of your vocals — which seemed to accurately capture the raw truths in the lyrics. On this EP you seem to have purposefully added quite a bit of effects and layers to the vocals. Can you explain the stylistic decision to change the vocal sound?

LM: I’ve always liked a layered, effected vocal sound! I think on the first record I was more interested in making sure everyone understood the lyrics, but this time I wanted the vocals to just be a part of the overall picture and not the main focus, even though I think the lyrics are intelligible if you try to understand them.

NYCT: Another surprising aspect of this EP for me is the guitar playing. Previously, you had not really brought your instrumental abilities to the forefront, but the new material has some really outstanding guitar work. Why were you hiding this from us?!

LM: I guess I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the guitar and I usually sought to replace it with other textures (strings, synths, banjo, etc). Recently I re-evaluated my playing and gave it much more thought than I did in the past. I used to just consider myself a songwriter who played the guitar as a tool, but I’m changing the way I think about the instrument. My favorite guitar players (Isaac Brock, Dean Wareham, Johnny Marr, Daniel Rossen) all do things outside of the normal realm of guitar playing and that was something I tried to emulate more on this EP.

NYCTaper was there to record the Songs to Forget CD Release show in 2008.

NYCTaper Interview: Jason Loewenstein + Circle of Buzzards Preview

February 23, 2009

[photo from jakerock]

We have seen Jason Loewenstein and Bob D’Amico perform together many times in the last several years. As the tremendous driving and aggressive rhythm section behind the live Fiery Furnaces, Jason and Bob created the foundation for some of the best live music ever featured on this site. It was then with great delight that we saw the two had formed a new band Circle of Buzzards in the temporary lull in the Furnaces schedule.

Circle of Buzzards will perform for only the fourth time in their brief existence on Thursday February 26 at Glasslands. Sample recordings are available on Jason’s site and on their MySpace page.

We spoke via email with Jason about Circle of Buzzards, the Glasslands gig, and also received some Sebadoh news.

NYCTaper: Hi Jason, thanks for agreeing to speak to nyctaper.
We are pretty stoked about Circle Of Buzzards, having seen you and Bob play together a bunch of times. Is this a project that you two have been discussing for a while, or did it just grow out of the down time in the Fiery Furnaces schedule?

Jason Loewenstein: Circle of Buzzards was born because The Empire State Troopers asked us to go out on the road with them. I wanted to go out on the road with them, but I needed a band and some songs. So I made them up and we loaded up the van.

NYCT: Do you envision this as a long-term project?

JL: I hope so, I think this is a really good band.

NYCT: Do you expect that it will remain a bass/drums duo?

JL: Yes. The elements of rhythm, melody and amplitude are fully represented thru the wanton precision of a highly developed physical representation of our mental state(s) and their connection to the present moment awareness of our 6 senses and the physical aggregates of our audience. We are of and in the present moment and seek to bring all others there with us since they are already there.

NYCT: So what can we expect at the Glasslands gig. I see that there are four songs on your page, are there other Buzzards songs, or might we hear some At Sixes And Sevens material or some covers?

JL: We have a bunch of songs. None of which will come from my solo record. We will probably play for about a 1/2 hour… There will likely be one cover song, but I dont think that anyone will know it. I will probably just pretend that its our song / not mention it.

NYCT: As nyctaper, I find it really refreshing that you have such an open policy towards tapers, as have all your bands. Can you talk a little about your open approach to tapers and the reasons why?

JL: Nothing good can come being a shit-hoarder. Musicians are lucky that anyone would give a shit to make tapes of them!

NYCT: Finally, I guess any Sebadoh fan would find me remiss if I didn’t ask about the current state of that band. Is there anything in the works, recording, tours, etc?

JL: I will be playing with Lou later this year to support a solo record that he just finished…Sebadoh is still very much alive… Just busy with other things at the moment… Lou is gonna tour with Dinosaur, I will be playing with Circle of Buzzards and Fiery Furnaces in addition to making recordings for other bands… When the pace lets up a bit, we can be Sebadoh again!

Naked Hearts: EP Release Show / NYCTaper Interview / East Coast Tour

January 6, 2009

Naked Hearts quickly became one of our favorite new bands in NYC in the Fall of 2008. After we booked them blind for the NYCTaper CMJ show, we captured them live at Mercury Lounge in early October. That set was so impressive so that any trepidation about their CMJ appearance evaporated. A couple of weeks later, Naked Hearts absolutely energized the upstairs room at Cake Shop that CMJ day, to the point where they received a “can’t miss” profile at Deli Magazine. Again in November, they killed at Union Hall, and created much anticipation for the January release of their debut EP.

Well, January is upon us and the new Naked Hearts EP These Knees will be released on the 20th. In celebration, Amy and Noah will throw a CD release party at Cake Shop on January 22, and have invited along another nyctaper fave The Antlers.

These Knees is now available for Pre-Order at InSound [here].


In December, we interviewed Amy Cooper of Naked Hearts about the new EP, the return to duo status as a band, and her recording experience.

NYCTaper: Please tell us about the new EP, due for release on January 20, 2009 — which songs are on it and who produced it?

Naked Hearts (Amy): THESE KNEES was recorded/mixed in ten days at Headgear Studios in Brooklyn in JULY 2008. We recorded all the songs onto 2″ tape and mixed directly to 1/2″. Luckily, we were working with Dan Long, engineer and co-owner of the studio, who is great with working with tape and super fun to work with in general.
We recorded six of our newest songs:

NYCT: You are back to being a two-piece, which is how Naked Hearts started out. The most obvious difference is that Noah is now the drummer live instead of out front on the bass. Is this how you imagine Naked Hearts will remain in the future?

NH: Yes. We always had the vision of the band being the two of us and are happy and relieved we figured out a way to make it work.

NYCT: I see you are going on an East Coast tour to support “These Knees” and there are two dates with the Antlers. I know that two of them were in the audience at your CMJ set at Cake Shop, is that where the two bands met?

NH: Actually, I believe we met at a Sharon van Etten show; which actually ties into the NYCTaper showcase. Sharon had mentioned the Antlers to me a few times, saying we would be great together. So I checked them out for the first time earlier that CMJ week and thought they were great, so I asked them to play a few shows with us!

NYCT: The CD release show is on for January 22 at Cake Shop, anything special planned for that night?

NH: Yeah, we’re going to make it super fun party! Some of our favorite bands are playing Air Waves, MKNG Friends, & The Antlers. It is at our favorite venue, Cake Shop. We’ll have our vinyl for sale, and fun t-shirt giveaways throughout the night. There will be DJ sets and hopefully people will be down for some dirty dancing!

NYCT: Amy and I have a common friend in John Vanderslice, who produced Amy’s solo album a few years ago. Is there anything that you learned at the Tiny Telephone studios that you put to use on this new EP?

NH: Well #1, when an option, I learned to record using tape, of any size. John and Scott Solter are masters of analog recording. They taught me the importance of performance and the sacredness of mistakes. They taught me that the quality of sound is the most important thing. I tried my best to uphold everything I learned from them on this EP.


For those of you outside of the NYC area, Naked Hearts will embark on an East Coast tour after the EP release show. Here is the schedule:

Jan 23 2009 9:00PM THE FIRE Philadelphia, PA.
Jan 24 2009 9:00PM GARFIELD ARTWORKS Pittsburgh, PA.
Jan 25 2009 9:00PM TREEHOUSE Columbus, OH.
Jan 26 2009 9:00PM THE BLUE NILE Harrisonburg, VA.
Jan 27 2009 9:00PM NARA SUSHI Richmond, VA.
Jan 28 2009 8:00PM THE CAVE Chapel Hill, NC.
Jan 29 2009 9:00PM THE RED & THE BLACK Washington D.C.
Feb 06 2009 9:00PM Death by Audio Brooklyn, NY.


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