very worthy contender, and lucky for me, I recently got a chance to speak with Kit Day, guitarist for the beautiful post-rock band, about the new album, breweries in Eugene and which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle deserves a crown of superiority over the others.
Your new album just dropped a few days ago to an overwhelmingly receptive audience. What's going through your mind right now?
Overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation. We've always had such great fans who have supported us from the beginning, but I don't think we were quite expecting this kind of response.
What got you into post-rock? Any show or specific album that really influenced you to start creating this kind of music?
My first exposure to post-rock was when I got the opportunity to see my all time favorite band The Cure in Concert. 65daysofstatic was touring with them and I had no clue who they were or what to expect. I remember someone saying they didn't have a singer and thinking, "Meh I just hope they are over with fast so I can see The Cure." Man was I in for a surprise, I was so blown away by the dynamics of 65daysofstatic that I actually forgot about The Cure for a minute and was instantly hooked on post-rock, I absorbed every bit of it, from Explosions and Mogwai to lesser known bands like Sunlight Ascending. I loved it all!
On your Facebook, it looks like you all were in the studio way back in March to record Heroes and Ghosts. Have you been recording this whole time, or were you initially just planning to record something shorter, like an EP?
Honestly it only took about 4 days to record the album. Initially we were going to have D-Wreckords record the album and then have Alex Bhore from This Will Destroy You mix it for us. Alex was out on tour till June so we were waiting for him to get back. When he returned, we ran into some complications so we ended up having D-Wreckords mix and master the album for us. Derek already had a full schedule tracking other bands so he fit us in as soon as he could. We're very stoked on the great job he did for us.
Yeah, the mixing on the album is fantastic throughout, from the careful
tones to the tons of dynamic subtleties.
from D-Wreckords Studio produced the entire album. He's based in
Portland, OR. He was very easy to work with, we highly recommend him to
every band looking to record. Check him out here.
Prior to heading into the studio, what did you want to accomplish with the release of Heroes and Ghosts?
Heroes and Ghosts was written after a time when Chris lost his mom, Austin lost his Grandpa, and Josh lost his dad. This album was written to interpret the process of losing a loved one and to take you through the journey of loss, pain, sadness, and eventually healing. This album included a lot more emotions with it then our previous releases.
A lot of your song titles seem to reference environments, like a beach or the moon. Do you write songs with certain scenes or characters in mind?
We don't usually start writing a song with a certain environment in mind but as we continue to build and expand on a song they do seem to create musical landscapes that we all catch on to usually. And being from "The Great Northwest" I think we lean a bit more towards nature and beauty of that matter to explain what we're trying to express.
"Selah" is one of the more interesting tracks on Heroes and Ghosts. What influenced you to include a speaking section on a primarily instrumental record? Also, who wrote the words being recited and who is the voice?
We have wanted to include poetry of some kind in our music for a while now. We experimented with it in some of our earlier songs but nothing fit properly. When we set out to write an album about going through the grieving process of losing a loved, we thought we could make something work. We have a good friend, Brandi Ibrao, who recently lost her grandmother to cancer. She is a talented writer so we asked her if she could write something on the process of grief she experienced. She sent us the poem along with a recording of her reading it. We loved it. We set music to it and put it in the middle of the album as kind of a resting spot, a chance to reflect on the previous songs, prepare for the upcoming songs, and contextualize the album as a whole.
Any favorite releases from this year?
I am always exited for a Sigur Rós release, and Kveikur was everything I hoped it would be.
If I happened to be driving through Eugene, Oregon, what would be on the "Things I Must Do While in Eugene" list?
Eugene is a very beautiful city to live in! It's close to both Portland and the Pacific coast which is a huge perk. There are many things to do in Eugene including visiting the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, traveling the "Wine Trail" which consists of more than a dozen vineyards / wineries that surround the city, or hiking Mount Pisgah and Spencer Butte. Of course our favorite is visiting the Oregon breweries.
Any plans to make your way east in 2014?
At the moment we have nothing planned. That may change with 2014, we'll see.
One more: what is your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and why?
Leonardo. Leonardo was always the one who seemed to keep a cool head even in the face of a fight.
Thanks again to Kit and his fellow soundscape wizards in This Patch of Sky for taking time out of their busy schedules to chat with us! Listen to the band's new album here, and if you like it, be sure to give it a vote as one of post-rock's "Best Releases of 2013."