ATJF Interview :: The Octagon

ATJ presents THE OCTAGON, Sunday, August 30, 2009, at After the Jump Fest 2009. This year’s 3rd annual festival is a three day extravaganza of independent music, and will take place at Brooklyn NY’s Littlefield Performance & Art Space.  Individual and weekend passes are available to purchase online here.

Listen :: The Octagon – Weekends

In preparation for After the Jump Fest 2009, Music Is Art asked The Octagon’s drummer/vocalist Will Glass to answer our ATJF Interview questions, and below are his special replies.


Please share your earliest memory involving or creating music.

Will: 1985, going to Eastland Mall and buying the cassette single of “Touch of Grey” by the Grateful Dead. On the playing side: Christmas 1988, letting loose on a new sears drum set. It would be a solid two years before I realized drums kept time, so until then, I was basically a free jazz drummer.

May you share about your academic background concerning music? Did you study formally? Any special mentors?

Will: I took lessons 1994-2002 and studied music theory 1998-1999 but found bandmates and musician friends to be the more informative teachers. Zack and the Bunny from our band have both had stints in lessons but would probably cite more distant, inspirational musical mentors like R. Pollard or Jerry Garcia.

If you had to explain your music to a stranger, how would you do so?

Will: “Stranger, our music comes from within. It is for our enjoyment and yours, and for all. We have life experiences transmitted sound. Come, stranger, and listen.”

What are your favorite instruments to work with and what aspects do you like most about using them?

Will: The Octagon is a Rock and Roll band favoring the traditional instrumentation of electric guitar, electric bass and trap kit, which we like because they’re our means of expressing ourselves. Our upcoming full length has a few horn cameos, used in a soloist fashion to bring another creative voice to the mix.

What are your inspirations?

Will: Music, friends and life experiences. Also literature and film. For example, Zack’s new composition “Clew Haywood” is named after a ball-player character of that name in the film “Major League”.

On average, how long does it take for you to create a song?

Will: I’m the drummer, and only recently started writing songs. I’ve written eight songs so far, in 2 or 3 years. Most of mine have been a melodic kernel that’s been in my head for years, which it takes a couple weeks to get out into a full song. But a couple just kind of shat themselves out, once I had my bandmates help me figure out chords and stuff. Zack will come up with a song all at once then fine-tune it over a week or two, but sometimes they emerge from his head fully formed.

What would your number one suggestion be for someone who wants to do what you do?

Will: Do it yo!

On the website Music Is Art, our mission is to show how music and art are simply connected. Which albums do you credit as having the biggest influences as far as your life and creativity are concerned?

Will: Sticking to albums relevant to The Octagon as a whole…. Guided by Voices, esp. Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, records that inspire us to write a lot of songs and get them recorded and then keep doing that. Dinosaur Jr’s Green Mind, the product of one tuneful man. The Minutemen catalog, esp. Double Nickels, for, among other things, its ongoing narrative of a true friendship. The Feelies’ Crazy Rhythms – gotta stay fast and true. Exile on Main St.

If you could have a drink with one musician, living or dead, who would it be and what would you like to ask them?

Will: Sun Ra. Question: “So, what’s your favorite Miles Davis album?”

What do you hope people take from seeing you perform live?

Will: “Hey, that band was great. I like their songs, and they have a winning stage presence.”

What has been your favorite experience thus far in your career?

Will: Making our forthcoming third record, Warm Love and Cool Dreams Forever, which we did ourselves on four track cassette.

What exciting projects do you have coming up?

Will: We’re entering the era of non-physically manifested music by releasing a download-only EP for free. It’s called Arm Brain Heart and Liver and it comes out on September 1st on Serious Business. We have a release show Sept 3rd at Bruar Falls with Kleenex Girl Wonder. The EP is a kind of precursor for the 16-song vinyl full length that comes out in early 2010, Warm Love and Cool Dreams Forever.

May you have a particular inspired quote, statement or favorite words to live by?

Will: “Uh!” -James Brown

Please share a mix tape within a theme of your choice.

The Octagon Mixtape

Happy by The Rolling Stones

Happy Colored Marbles by Ween

Happiness is a Warm Gun by The Beatles

Hello Sunshine by Aretha Franklin

When My Baby’s Beside Me by Big Star

Happy When it Rains by Jesus & Mary Chain

Beginning to See the Light by Velvet Underground

Everybody Loves the Sunshine by Roy Ayers

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