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Profile: Naomi Punk

NaomiPunk

It’s a calm, if not damp night on the North side of Chicago. On a residential street near the Loyola campus, dim street lights give off an orange glow that is enhanced by the newly formed rain puddles. The last thing you would be expecting to take place on a quiet night like this? An earth-shattering, face-melting punk show. Below ground, in a DIY venue space known as “Albion House” (in reference to the street the space is located on), Chicagoans flocked out to see some raw local talent, leading up to Seattle/Olympia natives, Naomi Punk. Violent Success caught up with Captured Tracks‘ rising stars to discuss their sound, Seattle’s music scene, and their new album, Television Man.

Violent Success: After you guys started playing together, how long would you say did it take for you guys to find your sound?

Travis Coster: I think it was always kind of found

Nicolas Luempert: I think it was really found in Summer of 2011, on the west coast tour.

Travis: Yeah, but we had already had those songs. I feel like we were never trying to make a sound. We were never like: ‘Alright, we gotta have a cool, unique sound if we wanna do what we want with music.’

Neil Gregerson: We didn’t have a focus.

Travis: Yeah. I feel like the focus has just always been trying to make a pop song- trying to arrive at pop melody or structures. I feel like it’s always been driven by an idea of finding a new way toward a pop transcendence. Not like ‘pop culture’ pop; we never went pop or something. We were always trying to move toward repeating parts until we heard beautiful things and liked ‘em.

VS: So What’s your favorite part about performing the material live?

Neil: Oh, I need to think about that.

Travis: I guess I really like playing for the energy that’s there.

Nicolas: Yeah, I mean before this and I feel like all of us, in all the bands we were ever in always focused completely on playing live opposed to recording. Whereas this started as more of a recording project, and then turned into a band.

Travis: Where it was not for the live setting exclusively. So playing these songs live is acrobatic, a little bit.

Nicolas: Yeah, we were kind of translating the songs at one point. Which is cool, it’s cool to translate.

Travis: I feel like they still have to get translated a bit.

Neil: That’s just what happens when you play something over and over again.

Travis: We kind of relearned this old song that we never used to play live, and we play it live now. It’s on The Feeling and it’s totally- I listened to the old version the other day and I was laughing at how different it was. We totally translated it to like this kind of different song but it’s the same song. So I guess there’s a lot of translation that’s involved and there’s a dynamic element to it that’s really interesting.

VS: So would you guys say that Seattle’s music scene has influenced your music at all?

Travis: Well, we grew up around Seattle and and got into a lot of music by going to a lot of punk shows and underground shows. I met Nick when he was like fifteen

Nicolas: Yeah, I was fourteen

Travis: Fourteen? Yeah. And we were at a show that we were playing together, in different bands, and I was like ‘Hey are you gonna go to this show?’ And we would go to these really weird shows and they were really far out and that opened up how we thought about what we were doing. Not necessarily in terms of there being three or four cool Seattle punk bands that we really liked a lot.

Nicolas: And also, there were so many different bands that were kind of like us where it was completely focused on the live setting and not even focused on recording so there were so many places to play. There was a scene without there needing to be some weird material they were supporting.

Travis: There’s literally no documentation of like 50 bands that we would see all the time that would be amazing. Or if there was documentation, it was not representing them at all…but that band was the most meaningful band in that moment or had this visceral energy. And playing live has always been really important, so when I asked to start a band with Neil and Nick I was like: ‘Dude I really wanna do this band but I really want it to be focused on this recording project- or, not recording project but having there be this compositional dimension to it and have it be like a recorded document. Material versus performance, but now it’s performed.

Neil: I would say we probably record a lot less live than a lot of bands do.

Nicolas: It’s kind of like a recording project where we figure out the songs as you’re recording.

Travis: Yeah, we record a bunch of drums and we’re sending the songs to each other and working on them separately. Adding a lot of elements and then figuring out how we’re going to do it.

Neil: It’s only been a recent thing that we’ve all lived in the same place.

Travis: That makes it sound like it’s The Postal Service…(laughter)

Neil: Well ya know, there was an hour…

Travis: Yeah, there was a period of time where I lived in Seattle and they lived in Olympia. So whenever we would play together, we would have to do a five-hour long practice and then we wouldn’t see each other for at least a couple weeks.

VS: So what has been the biggest shift from The Feeling to Television Man?

Travis: There isn’t that much of a shift. I feel like we got better at writing songs and better at recording ourselves and honing the vocabulary of our music.

Nicolas: I feel like it also got more collaborative.

Neil: And just more active, in general.

Travis: When we were making that album, Television Man, I feel like we’re not trying to change what we were doing with The Feeling, we were just refining it.

VS: Who are some of the artists who have influenced you guys musically?

Travis: I love punk music and I grew up listening to a lot of punk music and I feel like there’s this magic, raw power in punk music. Like Iggy Pop, ‘Raw Power’. There’s something that’s bigger than it, an aesthetic even…

Nicolas: I feel like the whole thing with Punk music, like with all the bands we used to like a lot, focusing on the live performance. Focusing on a visceral thing, not a material thing.

Travis: We all have been influenced by different things and different parts of music history and appreciating them without trying to incorporate them into this project.

Neil: I would say, with this band, it’s less like we’re tapping into what we’re into and putting it into the band, it’s more like we’re tapping into what the band is and then building on that,

VS: If you could tour with any band playing today, who would it be?

Travis: I was thinking about Magic Markers earlier. I feel like that band is really cool because they’re so focused on the live experience and they’ve been doing music for a long time. They’re artists doing their thing, which is really cool and I feel like it would be fun to see them live every night because they’d be playing really different sets. Some of their songs last eight minutes some nights and some nights they’ll last like 20 minutes, depending on how they decide how to take it which is really cool, and kind of rare in music.

Neil: They’re a real band.

VS: Say you were forced to describe your sound to someone who has never heard you guys before, doesn’t know anything about you. How would you describe Naomi Punk?

Travis: What would you say, Nick?

Nicolas: It’s pretty loud?

Travis: It’s pretty loud (laughter) (To Neil)What would you say?

Neil: Last night they were joking about how the final judge of the music, it’s not really humans but it’s aliens.

Nicolas: You have to think about the completely neutral point of the alien intelligence.

Travis: And if you’re not thinking about how the aliens would review it-

Nicolas: If you’re focused on humans only then it’s- you’re out of the game. it’s already over.

Neil: But it also means thinking about someone in the future.

Nicolas: It just means neutral. Well not neutral but completely blank. But ya know, that’s kind of funny. It was a really good joke.

Neil: I forget what the question is now (more laughs).

 

A Creator of Sound and a Curator of Aesthetic, Loke Rahbek (Croatian Amor, Lust For Youth, Sexdrome, Vår)

loke I’d like to begin with the versatility in your orchestral range. Whenever I hear your music, I always expect something different. Where does that fascination of creating something new, separate, come from? Do you feel that separating each style of music with a different moniker allows for greater intimacy and individuality with the project? Can you elaborate why you choose a separate moniker for each project. 

LR: I don’t know, that it is so strange to want to do different things. I try and bike a new route to our store everyday and go to a new place to swim, I try and enjoy the view from as many angles as possible. I imagine that it will change with years, that I someday will know my favorite route, and my favorite part of the harbour, but it would be much too early to settle now.

The different projects all serve different purposes, they could not be one, or I don’t think they should rather. I look at them somewhat like different parts of the same body. Hands, ears ,eyes, genitals. They have different assignments, but work for the same machine so-to-speak. Or costumes in a big closet.

There is freedom in new names. That is an important aspect; to be totally free

What’s your writing process when composing new projects? Do you let influences submerge you entirely in what you want to capture or does influence bare a small presence when you decide to venture into new music projects? How does it effect the overall aesthetic of the composition? 

LR: It rarely starts with music, most often there is a picture or a word or a sentence. Something that gets stuck in the system. The writing process is different in every project and for every time really, sometimes I lie on my back for a long time and listen, sometimes I shout till I lose my voice. Somethings are best recorded early in the morning and some late at night, it depends the project and it depends on the day.

Posh Isolation really delves further into the realm of versatility with each of its releases. What do you feel are the important components/aspects when picking up a project and releasing it on Posh Isolation?

LR: It has always felt like Posh Isolation decides for it self what it wants to do. The pallet is broad definitely but, I think all the colours still match.

The visual aesthetic of the label is striking and abrasive. When you began Posh Isolation what was the attraction to the imagery attached to the labels art and music? With the aesthetic you adhere to, what do you want it to do to the listener? 

LR: The visual is the first meeting, the first impression. It depends on the story, it depends on the room, what indicators you want to give. If you are going to church you wont usually wear your bondage gear. If you go on a date you might wear a dress that you wouldn’t wear to a job interview. It is a lot like peacocking. Presentation is everything.

To go further into Posh Isolation, what was the initial idea spurred from and what is the symbolism behind the name? 

LR: The initial idea was to put out the first Damien Dubrovnik album. When that was done it felt like there was more to be done, now 130 releases later it still feels like there is more to be done.

When you create a new music project, do you find yourself thinking about the sonic aesthetic behind the project and then the visual aesthetic, which comes first or do you build an idea that revolves around both imagery and sound at the same time? 

LR: Well it is difficult to give a straight answer to a question like that cause it always changes, and it is never one or the other completely. I am not a musician, I don’t think in music most often, I think in images and translate them. But, I guess they correlate, the images follows the music and the word and vice versa.

What kind of transition is there into making music of a different style and how do you prepare yourself to enter a completely different mindset? 

LR: They [mindset] are different of course but, they are also there, all of them floating next to each other in the same bloodstream. Yesterday I read “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad by a lake in Sweden and it moved me, then I ate lunch. In the evening I saw my good friend play a beautiful piece in an old mine facility, with 20 meters or more to the ceiling. Then I checked my emails and after that we had drinks, I chatted about big and small with a beautiful girl, then I talked with a boy about making music for a long time. All those situations require different mindsets, each action or communication is unique. The day before I performed with Damien Dubrovnik and that, again, required something else. But, all the emotions and the reactions are in there, the hand that beats is the same hand you use to caress someones forehead or turn on a light switch or wash vegetables. Sometimes I shout, sometimes I scream, sometimes I sing or talk, the transitions are natural.

Do you find that the projects, though separate, interconnect with one another and help your composing? 

LR: Yes.

What was it like playing the last Sexdrome show? Do you feel that you will ever come back to Sexdrome or do you feel like the progression you’ve made in your career as musician has made you want to conclude the project permanently? While we are on the subject of projects ending, why did you decide to end Var and do you feel that the style of music Var made will ever resurface in your music again? 

LR: It is important to know when to stop, it is almost as important as knowing when to start. Everything moves and everything has a peak. Sexdrome ended because it had served its purpose. Playing the last show was an incredible experience; and the fact that it could be that proved that it was stopped in time. There is nothing worse than when people dont have a sense of when to stop talking. The same counts for Vår, it said what it wanted to say. In the end, everything must go.

Continuing with Lust For Youth, how do you feel about the groups gained popularity and lighter/brighter sound on International?

LR: I am very happy with the album and about the time we spent making it. I am curious to see what’s next.

What was it like writing a Croatian Amor album whilst writing the LFY album? 

LR: To be working on several different projects at the same time is not new for me. That is the position I have put myself in, they learn from each other of course, but they are also completely different.

The Wild Palms has a very unique method of purchase. Do you think you’ll have more releases which involve a level of highly significant level of intimacy with the album and in purchasing the album?

LR: I hope so, The Wild Palms has been a very rewarding experience.

How do you want/feel this to affect the listener when listening to the album?

LR: I touched upon this in another interview but, my hope is that the release will be a shared piece somehow. Equal in its communication, making the relation less asymmetrical. 

Now that you’ve concluded Sexdrome, finished The Wild Palms and International, what are you venturing in next? 

LR: That is a secret.

What’s next for Posh Isolation? LR: That is also a secret.

Profile: Craft Spells

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The title of Craft Spells‘ new album is quite the anomaly. The second full-length LP from the dream pop group is entitled Nausea but the melodies featured are so serene and lovely, nauseous is the last thing you’ll be feeling upon listening. It has been three years now since the endearing debut, Idle Labor, with an equally accomplished EP shortly following. Fans have been eagerly awaiting the new album as well as a chance to see the Captured Tracks darlings live. Violent Success was lucky enough to catch up with frontman and founder Justin Vallesteros before their stop at Chicago’s Township and chat about shifts between albums, major influences, and his best live show experience.

Violent Success: Between albums, have you noticed any significant changes in your songwriting process?

Justin Vallesteros: Sure, sure thing. On the first record, I really didn’t own any of the recording equipment that I used. So after three and a half years I acquired a lot of recording equipment and the sonics are a bit more broad- more atmosphere to the songs. And three to four years of life in general, I have more to bookmark into songs. So lyrically, there’s a big change as well and just the tone of everything now that I’m 26 years old; in and out of Seattle and San Francisco and just kind of found myself in a place where I’m a bit more confident in what I’m doing and what I want musically.

VS: So what do you think sets Nausea a part from Idle Labor or Gallery?

Vallesteros: Well the whole tone is completely different. It’s a lot of atmosphere. It’s more like my idea of composing an album rather than writing a record- a rock record. So that’s the biggest difference, really.

VS: Who would you say are some of the artists or bands that have influenced you in your own music?

Vallesteros: In the old music?

VS: Yeah

Vallesteros: Oh yeah, a lot of that C86 stuff and you know, the Factory Records stuff. The Durutti Column, New Order, The Cure…stuff like that. Pretty obvious things. Not much of shoegaze. I do like shoegaze but people have called that record “shoegaze” and I don’t remember any of that record sounding like shoegaze.

VS: Do you have any dreams collaborations? Anyone you’d really like to work with?

Vallesteros: Yeah! There are two Japanese composers, I don’t know if it’ll ever happen, but there’s this dude named Cornelius, he used to be a part of this band called Flipper’s Guitar. He makes music by himself now. His Wikipedia says he’s influenced by The Beach Boys and Beck and he’s a part of the shibuya-kei scene which is like jazz and trip hop-sounding music or kind of like city music. And that’s like what I love and I would love to work with him. And in the same case, Ryuichi Sakamoto is this Japanese composer who’s a part of this band, Yellow Magic Orchestra. Greatest contemporary piano player, to me and it would be a dream, for sure, to work with someone brilliant like that.

VS: So when you are writing songs, do you tend to focus more on your own personal experiences or things that you observe happening in the world around you?

Vallesteros: Both. I mean that all exists together. From the beginning, everything that I’ve done recording-wise has been kind of like a bookmark to my life. Each song is something to remember eventually, and a record is a good representation of someone’s time over a certain amount of years.

VS: So what’s your favorite part of getting to perform the material live?

Vallesteros: When we played Brooklyn at the beginning of this tour it was a 1500-person capacity place and it was so nice that everyone didn’t touch their phones. I didn’t see one cellphone and that made me so happy. It was almost like we showed up and then all of a sudden, we took everyone out of that world that they’re in and brought them somewhere else and that was really special to me. So I guess that was something new for me. Really taking people out of the mundane and bringing them to a new, whimsical world.

VS: So you’re on Captured Tracks which has a lot of rising talents like Wild Nothing, DIIV, Beach Fossils. Have you noticed if any of your labelmates have been influencing you at all? Do you guys get ideas from each other or collaborate?

Vallesteros: No. There are definitely some instances where you chat each other on G-chat, or whatever. But we just send songs to each other, we never tell them “you should do this” or “you should do that.” And when we all got signed we were kind of on our own. We were found by Mike Sniper at different times and didn’t know each other really so we have our own sound. It’s cool though, the first releases for all of those bands- we had this aesthetic that was like this huge group of bands that really had this vision and sound that was kind of relative. Over the years- most of these bands have a singer/songwriter that does everything in the band- it’s cool to see everyone branch out by their second record and just push the sound. It’s nice, in that sense, everyone’s branching out to their own thing. So it’s groovy. No one’s ripping off anyone yet. Not yet. I’ll call ‘em out.

VS: When you first started out making songs in your bedroom did you ever expect this project to turn into what it is?

Vallesteros: No, no. I’m originally from a town called Lathrop, which is kind of near Stockton, and the only band that really came out of their was Pavement. So that set a pretty high standard where everyone really didn’t make plans to get signed one day or tour or whatever. Yeah, I never expected it. So I had about five songs on Myspace, when Myspace was still a thing, and Mike Sniper randomly messaged me for mp3’s. All he wrote was: “MP3’s?” After that, I had a record done and that was it. So it was very natural and I’m still weirded out by it today, so it’s pretty cool. It still makes me happy, which is groovy.

VS: Say you had to describe your sound to someone who’s never heard Craft Spells beefore, how would you do that?

Vallesteros: Yeah, I think it’s relative. I’m a normal dud like everyone else. I’m not a personality, like “that crazy songwriter guy.” A real dude with feelings and that’s something people can generally associate with in their mid-20’s or even when they’re younger, however they wanna interpret it. I think I’m just relatable in that sense. It’s hard to describe the whole sound in general, but it just feels like your world.

VS: What do you want fans to walk away with with when they listen to your music or say, come see a live show? What do you want them to get from the experience?

Vallesteros: I want them to feel relieved from the oversaturation of just everything in this world. Relieved that you got to escape for like 45 minutes and relieved that you can actually listen to a whole record and read to it or work on your art to it. Instead of trying to focus on, “is this hip enough?” or “is this cool enough?”

(Bottle breaks nearby)

Vallesteros: That’s so sick! I hope that’s on the recording.

VS: (laughs) Probably

Vallesteros: Groovy

VS: I’ll be sure to include it when I’m typing it all up: sound of glass smashing!

Vallesteros: Yeah, cool. Perfect! But yeah, I hope they’ll take it and feel relaxed, finally. No anxiety.

Profile: The Ivorys

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Chicago is one of the biggest cities for music, filled to the brim with talented acts. So how do The Ivorys set themselves a part? By playing genuinely great rock music. With catchy guitar hooks, lively beats, and vocals that are juggled seamlessly between all three members, this power trio has been steadily making a name for themselves not just locally, but all across the country. Violent Success caught up with dummer, Brendean Peleo-Lazar and talked to him about the band’s influences, their live show, and having their songs used on major ad campaigns.

VS: How long have you guys been playing together?

Brendan Peleo-Lazar: I have been playing with Sam White (vox/bass) since we were wee young ins around the 7th grade, I think we were 11 and 12. The Ivorys as a name started early on in high school, then I met Neil Candelora (Vox, Guitar, Keys) at Columbia College in 2009 and we have all been playing together in lineup ever since.

VS: What is the songwriting process like for you? Is it really collaborative?

Peleo-Lazar: It really is collaborative, but I like to give my band mates space! Neil and Sam will most of the time bring in a melody and a hook and we will build from there on arrangement, drum part, lyrics, etc. Sometimes when we are not at our seven levels studios, the demo that Neil would make in his bedroom is sometimes the finished product.

VS: What has been your best live show experience thus far?

Peleo-Lazar: We really love playing great Chicago venues such as Schubas (when we opened for Oberhofer) and Metro Chicago, whether we are headlining or not. My personal favorite shows are the DIY house parties and loft shows that we throw by ourselves because everyone has fun at those!

VS: Is there a band that you guys are dreaming of going on tour with?

Peleo-Lazar: Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, The Redwalls, and Cage the Elephant are good contenders for who we would love to tour with someday.

VS: As far as your individual tastes in music go, are they pretty similar or is there a wide range?

Peleo-Lazar: The Ivorys have such a wide range of musical tastes because although we all enjoy similar artists, our backgrounds are way different. We listen to just as much hip hop as we do classic rock believe it or not! But truthfully we are lovers of learning and finding new bands as well as unheard recordings from the 20’s are just as important in order to stay relevant. When people say ”they listen to everything,” we really mean it!

VS: So your song ‘Maraca Song’ got picked up by Forever 21 for a major ad campaign. That’s huge! Tell us a little bit about how that came about.

Peleo-Lazar: We love to license our music as long as it is to products and campaigns that we enjoy, as well as we think the people who come to our shows would enjoy as well. Since we also write custom music for commercials, we got to know some companies who also license original music for commercials… turns out they liked our own Ivorys recordings too! If you dig around online, you would be surprised at the non- exclusive licensing submissions that you can be apart of. We are right now wrapping up a video shoot for a commercial the Ivorys are physically going to be in for a concert finding app in NYC- which also licensed our single, “Drink in Truth Out.”

VS: Being based out of Chicago, are there other local bands you respect or admire?

Peleo-Lazar: We have been really digging Bring Your Ray Gun, Mike Golden & Friends, Train Company, Holy Motors, the Lemons, White Mystery, The Redwalls, and new find, Miniature Tigers.

VS: Who are some of the artists who have had a major influence on your sound?

Peleo-Lazar: Jay Z, the Who (for the live show), Rolling Stones, Jack White/the White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Kings of Leon, early R&B/Motown, Avicii, Erik Prydz, Daft Punk, Kanye West.

VS: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you before?

Peleo-Lazar: “Catchy, dance paced songs that recall what people love about rock and roll, but pushes through current musical trends.” We love vocals and drums more than anything and we are a power trio. If throwback is a correct term then that is only because we don’t use synthesizers or auto tune in our tracks that we record. If you are not afraid to dance and sing back what you just heard on the way out of the club, then the Ivorys are a fit for you.

VS: What do you want your fans to walk away with, either from listening to your music or coming out to see you live?

Peleo-Lazar: We just want people to have a good time with catchy songs and to feel energized enough after our set to go out for the rest of the night and party.

 

Profile: The Analog Affair

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Long distance relationships can be tricky, especially when it comes to working relationships. And yet, members of the indie pop duo The Analog Affair make it work beautifully. Despite being based out of both Washington D.C. and State College, PA, Evan Baker and Cody Moser collaborate to create songs that are cohesive and clean as evidenced by 2013’s Wild EP. Combining modern electronic elements with a spaced-out, dreamy vibe, The Analog Affair‘s overall sound is fresh and encompasses multiple genres. Violent Success was lucky enough to get to talk with the duo about their musical backgrounds, writing, and their dream collaborations.

Violent Success: What are your musical backgrounds and how did you start playing together? 

Cody Moser: Like many people, I really started to love music and attend live shows near the end of high school/beginning of college. I picked up a guitar and keyboard in my early college years and began trying to learn some of my favorite jams. A lot of the songs were by bands like Brand New, Jimmy Eat World, and Death Cab.

Evan Baker: We’re both self-taught musicians.  One day in college I just decided to put the pen to paper and then add some music over it in Apple Garageband.  I’ve since picked up acoustic guitar, piano and am having a lot of fun using my NI Maschine drum pad. We knew each other through most of college (University of Wyoming). Unfortunately, we didn’t start creating music together until the last few months we both lived in Wyoming. Soon after that, we both moved to different parts of the world (Cody went to Tennessee to get his PhD and Evan went to China to study Mandarin). We continued to collaborate using technology. We now live about 4 hours from each other and are trying to make it a point to get together and practice/perform a live set in the near future.

VS: Talk about your earliest moments creating music…

Analog Affair: We started off extremely low budget. We each had a Macbook, a guitar, and Garageband. No microphone. Guitar and vocals were recorded straight into a Macbook microphone. And we had a blast doing it. Over time we’ve upgraded and added some much needed instruments and hardware to our collection. We’ve never recorded in a studio together. All of our recent songs were recorded in our respective apartments using Logic. Right now we’re both really into creating with the Maschine Groove Production hardware and software.

VS: What is your writing process like?

Cody: Our writing process has been fairly consistent for the 6 years we’ve been creating music together. Since we’ve pretty much always lived hours apart from one another, the most important aspect of our writing process is that we’re always providing each other with a lot of feedback and ideas to experiment with during the entire song writing process. The music comes first, the lyrics and vocal melodies come next, and the final arrangement comes last. The music part usually starts one of two ways (1) bass line first then keyboard/synth (2) or a keyboard/synth line first then bass line. Evan then works his vocal and lyrical magic on this ‘first cut’. We then experiment with slight variations of these pieces for additional sections/transitions in the song and repeat the process until we’re happy with it.

VS: When you’re writing lyrics, do they tend to be more personal or conceptual?

Evan: I try to make it a healthy mix of both. Some days I feel introspective and will draw on what I’m feeling at the moment, but it’s always a fine line with that approach because you don’t want to come off as whiney.  Other times it’s much more cathartic to try and piece together abstract phrases and concepts – the end result is a really open-ended passage that people can run with in their own ways.  Either way though, I just try to be sincere in what I write and avoid as many of the pop clichés as possible… most of the time at least.  If you listen to a few songs like solstice you’ll see less the high-concept lyrics, more the “I’m getting some draannnk”.

VS: People tend to define an artist by one release…For this reason, do you think it’s better to release EPs than LPs?

Analog Affair: Good question. I think a lot of our fans may wonder about our unusual discography, which includes 3 officially released EPs alongside a bunch of technically unreleased singles floating around. We’ve been trying to put out a full length album for a few years now. The problem we have run into is that we’re constantly experimenting with aspects of different genres every couple of months. We love the versatility this has given us as far being able to pursue different styles, and it certainly challenges us as musicians, but at the same time it has also made it very difficult to create a batch of songs that are cohesive enough alongside one another make up a full length album.

VS: Assuming music is your first love, what form of art is second closest to your hearts either as makers or appreciators?

Evan: I love visual arts.  I was an ‘art kid’ in high school so I’d always spend time drawing, sketching or painting.  That’s somewhat dropped off though over the past few years as I’ve taken more of an interest in photography.  Ultimately though I’m always working on creating something because the process is pretty therapeutic.

Cody: I’ve always appreciated somebody who knows their way around a yo-yo.

VS: Is there a particular artist you’d like to collaborate with in the future?

Cody: Having Miike Snow remix one of our songs would be magical. I’ve always dreamed of collaborating with Thom Yorke or Jonsi, but who hasn’t?

Evan: Yes. Yes. and YES.  I recently discovered this Swedish electro producer named Saturday, Monday and it’d be insane to hear what he could do with our stuff.

VS: Finally, when writing a song, what do you typically find yourself thinking of most?

Cody: When working on the instrumentation, I’m mostly focused on finding a group of instruments that work well together, so I’m thinking of how certain instruments sound layered over one another and how the tones of the instruments complement each other.

Evan: Lately I’ve just been focusing on the groove – making sure everything flows and nothing is unintentionally fighting against the rhythm or sticking out.  The artists that I’ve seen become successful have a knack for that and for not overwhelming the listener.  It’s really interesting to look at the psychoacoustic side of music and why people find certain types of music more favorable than others.  There’s a lot of strange connections between the natural rhythms of the human body and music.  I also tend to think about will this be fun to play live and what kind of energy will this instrument or arrangement have versus another one… basically I think we both just obsess about creating music nonstop.

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