atj interview :: my teenage stride

ATJ presents MY TEENAGE STRIDE, Wednesday, October 22, 2008, for After the Jump’s CMJ Showcase at the Knitting Factory NYC, performing at 9:30PM inside the Tap Room, along with Best Friends Forever, the Depreciation Guild, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, & Ringo Deathstarr.

Listen :: That Should Stand For Something

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

Jed: The band started out as just me, and slowly has become a collective of sorts. The most constant member besides myself is Brett. What past experiences? I played drums and bass in a few bands in the past, but I’ve been a bedroom musician more or less, with occasional forays into actual bands. Brett was in a band called Garlands in NYC as the drummer for several years, and then he played guitar in The Consultants, in which I was the drummer. Now, he mostly frowns.

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.

Jed: I like pizza.

Brett: NYC is an anxiety machine, and Jed is an anxious person by nature. So it’s probably fair to say that Jed’s jitteriness is magnified by the city, and this is reflected in the songs. Probably.

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?

Jed: We practice for an hour when we know we have a show, so every show is like some sort of nervous high school play. I personally like playing “Theme From Teenage Suicide” live, as well as “Heartless & Cruel”, because I get to shout AND croon.

Brett: I hate rehearsing for the most part, but I love to watch Tris rehearse, so there’s that. My favorite song to play at shows is Airport Lounge, because people love it, and their love makes us play better, which makes them love it even more.

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

Jed: Hard to say. People say lots of nice things. I can think of one paper in Tuscon, though, the arts paper there, where the reviewer wrote this effusive, wordy tome about my uh…brain, more or less, and really seemed to get exactly what I was going for with scary accuracy, without even really mentioning who we did or didn’t sound like. That was a huge compliment, because not only did he love the album, but he understood it in this very personal way that was kind of eerie. It made me feel good that I managed to communicate something perfectly to at least one person. Most impacting criticism? Arguments about originality don’t bother me at all, and that’s really the only negative thing that’s ever brought up, so I don’t know. Sometimes it’d be nice to be more polarizing with what we do. But I do write pop songs- really really short ones at that.

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?

Jed: I have a mental condition that makes me chronically feel like I don’t actually exist, so I’m sure that has some effect on the making up of songs. I never really stop making up songs and recording them, and I could work forever on a particular piece, so really it’s a matter of clearing the table every now and then and making those bits into an album to make room in my head for more. This is absolutely a compulsive behavior of mine.

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

Jed: There’s a sensation that certain recordings give you of looking into a distant little universe that I find incredibly pleasing. I think that late 50s and early 60s doo wop and girl group and Brill Building type stuff was particularly effective at that- records that sounded impossible and unreal but also very human and innocent at the same time. I’m being pretentious, I guess, but I can’t explain it any better. They were foggy glimpses into little universes. “Heart & Soul” by the Cleftones is a really good example. Anyway, I’d be very pleased if I accomplished that with my stuff.

MIA: Any recommended records so far of ‘08?

Jed: King Khan in his various incarnations has several classic tunes. Few people other than the Black Lips and Denise James are doing such authentically groovy 60s music. I don’t know why so many bands try and fail so badly at that, but they do. Those lot are exceptions, though. I’ve heard a little of the new Deerhunter and it sounds very promising, and that’s not coming from a huge fan per se. The Crystal Stilts record is fabulous. Takes a certain variety of VU/JAMC grooviness and does its own idiosyncratic thing with it, which is no mean feat at all. Ribbons is a terrific two-piece with a very distinctive, but still song-oriented, sound. Jenny is like a female Ian Curtis, vocally, only a really amazing guitar player to boot. I think they’re going to be on a lot of people’s lists at the end of the year. Pains of Being Pure At Heart’s recordings are always dynamite. Kip has a great, weird voice and the melodies are always terrific, to say nothing of the nice verby wash and heavy drums. Wonderful pop music. Don’t know what else to say. Others, that I won’t elaborate on for the sake of brevity who are all doing awesome things-, Cause Co-motion, The Autumn People, ZAZA, Pants Yell!, Specific Heats, Eat Skull, Abe Vigoda..

Brett: I haven’t stopped listening to Paul McCartney and Nitin Sawhney’s “My Soul” since it leaked on Youtube a couple of months ago. It’s the best thing McCartney’s done since “Maybe I’m Amazed”.

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

Jed: I like Goya and Bosch. I don’t really understand the point of visual art that isn’t either beautiful or deeply unsettling. Other than that, I’m not really that into art per se. That’s the second time I’ve said “per se” in this interview.

Brett: I’m not much for standing around and looking at paintings, but I’ve recently been completely blown away by the surrealist visuals in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s films. Specifically, El Topo, and The Holy Mountain. That guy knows something that the rest of us don’t, if you know what I mean.

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

Jed: The theme is ghosts, or maybe people who aren’t really there, or maybe people who watch their life go by.

All My Hollowness by Tall Dwarfs
William, It Was Really Nothing by The Smiths
The Ballad Of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest by Bob Dylan
Scalding Creek by Guided By Voices
Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel
Leaving It Up To You by John Cale
Cool/Cough by The Misfits
In Dreams by Roy Orbison
The Boy With Perpetual Nervousness by The Feelies
Wots Uh The Deal by Pink Floyd

8 Responses

  1. maddie

    william, it was really nothing—–listened to it yesterday when i was going through old cds ive made 😀