atj interview :: depreciation guild

ATJ presents THE DEPRECIATION GUILD, Wed, Oct. 22, 2008, for After the Jump’s CMJ Showcase at the Knitting Factory NYC, performing at 8:45pm inside the Tap Room, along with Best Friends Forever, My Teenage Stride, A Sunny Day in Glasgowthe Pains of Being Pure at Heart, & Ringo Deathstarr.

Listen :: Darklooming (In Her Gentle Jaws, 2007)

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

The band started in 2005 with me [Kurt] on guitar/programming/vocals and another guy who’s no longer in the band named Akira. We’d had a band together in high school and when that broke up, we stayed friends through college and wanted to continue making music together. From it’s conception, I had the intention that this new project would be something unique in it’s sound. I had been learning how to program NES chip-tunes for a couple years prior to the band’s formation because I had always loved their stripped-down tones and wanted to make music like it, and so I decided to combine it with the wall-of-sound style of pop that I enjoyed listening to. I wrote and recorded a few demos in my bedroom that, in retrospect, weren’t very good. Soon after that, they were released on the 8bit-peoples net label. Then we started playing shows which were sort of awkward at first since I had never been in a band with live electronics, let alone one that uses a famicom on stage. The whole thing has been sort of a weird experiment that I’ve doubted would work from time to time.

After about a year, Akira quit to pursue his Master’s degree and Christoph joined since he was a great guitar player and we had similar musical tastes. We played shows and wrote songs together with this lineup for over a year until recently when Christoph’s brother Anton joined on drums. I can say now, after being a band for about 2 years, the live shows are finally coming together into something that’s enjoyable and engaging.

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.

It’s november, and there are only a few leaves twitching on their branches. Outside it’s the same swirly shade of silver-gray as yesterday. There is a tea tin somewhere in the house with $12 in it. You’ve been typing in numbers for days to make a song that no one will hear. You go outside and the sound of the wind makes you feel alone and, like you, messed up.

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 enjoy performing live. I used to not enjoy it for fear that we were letting people down — that the sonic impact of our live show was something less than our recorded material. It always seemed that you couldn’t really feel the music and let it transport you someplace good, the way you could when you listened to it alone. We’re constantly working on it, Anton is a great drummer, and we have interactive visuals now that my friend Hayden and I designed, so that there are more dimensions to our live experience. We’re getting much better. We usually prepare for a show by trying not to forget all of the important cables that connect things, which sometimes doesn’t happen. One of our favorite songs to perform live is “Dream About Me”.

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

We’ve received a lot of really nice compliments on blogs and websites regarding our first album, In Her Gentle Jaws which we released last year. It has been really nice to hear, since we gave our album away for free download and it doesn’t exist on any physical format. So it somewhat justifies the work we put into making it. Also, whoever it was who said “you guys need a drummer” was right. We have one now.

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?

It took a week to record and a week to mix/master the album…with almost one year between those two steps. We recorded the album on borrowed hardware, and borrowed time from our friends who helped us out for nearly nothing. The album has its flaws, but I think it sounds as good as it could have, given the surrounding circumstances and shoestring budget.

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

I hope the melodies make listeners feel good, but it’s ok if they don’t.

MIA: Any recommended records so far of ‘08?

KURT: Days – “Downhill” — You know when it’s mid-April and the air outside is really brisk but the sunshine cuts through the leaves and you can actually feel the heat on your face and also the world smells like grass and wet rocks? That’s what this album sounds like.

ANTON: Flying Lotus – “Los Angeles” — According to my iTunes play count, Flying Lotus’ album Los Angeles has been receiving more rotation this year than I care to admit. It’s one of those rare albums that grabs your ear immediately but is challenging enough to stand up to repeated listens. Flying Lotus has a knack for pairing impossibly catchy melodic hooks with sounds normally regarded as undesirable (tape hiss, static) and creating a uniquely fresh brand of fuzzed-out hip hop that is jarring as it is comforting.

CHRISTOPH: Portishead – “Third” — One of the most startling unique and gorgeously unsettling albums heard in far too long, Portishead’s third full-length release appropriately titled Third comes after an 11 year hiatus where the band remained out of the public eye with their future endeavors shrouded in mystery. Seemingly out of nowhere, they returned this year as a fully rejuvenated entity with the sound of a band fearless of reinvention. Third perfectly blends the stark urgency of 60’s American electronic and 70’s krautrock with their own brand of doom-and-gloom trip-hop to make an enormously powerful album that demands full and repeated listens. Truly a classic album.

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

We’re all pretty into Dario Argento and David Lynch movies. They have a great atmosphere to them. It’s like you’ll be in a really colorful cathedral with beautiful stained glass windows and lights everywhere and there’s also a dead girl who got stabbed hanging from the ceiling. Or, people are in a totally normal situation only they’re behaving and speaking in ways that aren’t normal and you don’t know why yet. It’s unsettling. Also, I’m a pretty big fan of Vaughan Oliver’s work and i have most of his books. I like his font choices.

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


1. Play AloneAsylum Party
2. Head DownMoev
3. Come Into Hell And Murder HateBabel 17
4. No WayDessau
5. EvelynClan of Xymox

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