atj interview :: inlets

ATJ presents INLETS, Wednesday October 22, 2008, for After the Jump’s CMJ Showcase at the Knitting Factory NYC, performing at 9:30PM inside the Old Office (Best of NYC), along with the Beets, the Lisps, Motel Motel, Alina Simone and the Muggabears. (Please note: Unfortunately, Sebastian will not be able to perform this evening due to illness.)

Listen :: Pictures of Trees (Vestibule EP, 2006)

MIA: Musically, how did the band form, what past experiences do you carry with you?

Inlets happened probably because of the weirder instrumental music I had been making, a growing interest in words, and the need to sing after possibly one too many nights thinking too hard about something or other. I remember playing musical bingo often with my piano teacher when I was five or six. I would spend most of the lessons shooting the breeze with her, sort of like what I imagine therapy is. Therapy for a six year old. I carry that with me.

MIA: Describe the feeling of living and making music in your city, feel free to share a memory or a certain place that makes you feel like home.

One of my first shows I played to a group of no more than four people at a bar where the bartender insisted on showing some video images behind me during my set, assuring me that they would add to the mood. I turned around and saw that he was playing the movie Toy Story. Sometimes making music here is like that.

MIA: Do you enjoy to perform live? How does the band like to get ready and is there a favorite song that you like to play for your audience?

I have no preparations, except maybe a good stomach ache. I don’t have a favorite song, so I’ll do what politicians do and answer my own different question- I sometimes open with a song called “Threads” which is very different from the recorded version. I like starting with that one as a way to ease into the show because it’s a slow-build and languid thing. By the end, any stomach ache is usually gone.

MIA: What has been the most impacting compliment, or criticism, your band has ever received?

Not to be too glib, but somehow the blog Said the Gramaphone once used the descriptor “post-castration” alongside a reference to Steve Reich in describing my song Pictures of Trees. I thought that was a pretty amazing offer- an ambiguous compliment and criticism. It was the first time I felt comfortable receiving either.

MIA: Within your songwriting, is there some type of element that has brought about a certain mood in yr writing, making you feel more/less different than when you started? How long has the recording process taken to complete your album and to finally believe that it’s ready?

I think I started my project wanting to keep things simple. I only realized after finishing the EP I put out, that it was more ornate than I’d planned. Now I’m ok with that, but it wasn’t my original goal. Whatever that tendency in me is, I think it’s added to the imagery of the songs. Writing that EP was much quicker than the album I’m working on now. That’s due to of a lot of things, but a big one is that I’d realized afterward what parts of the musical spectrum I’d ignored the last time around. So I’m spending probably too much time thinking about the range of what I’m currently attacking in this new record.

MIA: What qualities do you hope listeners may take from listening to your music?

I hate to duck an question, or seem like an obstinate jerk, but I really firmly believe I should avoid answering that. This stuff has its own meanings for me, and I wouldn’t ever argue those are anything but interprative. There’s no wrong answer to the question of what a song means to you.

MIA: Any recommended records so far of ‘08?

All I can say is Department of Eagles, In Ear Park. It destroys me/destroys all.

MIA: Name a visual artist or piece of work that inspires you.

The King of Comedy. Part of being a musician (or any artist I guess) seems to be a clamor for attention, which is gross but ok. We all want people to hear our music (or see our art). But sometimes I just wonder if we’re all Rupert Pupkin.

MIA: Please share a mixtape with a theme of your choice.

Songs of self pity that somehow sound happy/silly.

Mr. Pitiful by Otis Redding
Just Once In My Life by Righteous Brothers
I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times by Beach Boys
Stumble and Fall by Darlene Love
No One Does It Like You by Department of Eagles

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