18 March 2015

Boy King Islands Interview with Brazilian Shoegazers

Check out my interview as Boy King Islands with the super cool, Brazilian Shoegazers The Blog That Celebrates Itself:

O duo Boy King Islands se auto define como pós shoegazer, ponto.

Definições a parte, White Mirror que esta em pré venda e tem lançamento oficial para o próximo dia 24 agora de março, demonstra que os caras pegam forte nas referências mais barulhentas e menos experimentais, como por exemplo o Swervedriver.

Muito do álbum remete aos trabalhos ao Swervedriver ao meu ver, com exceção da fúria do primeiro álbum, o Boy King Islands tem sim um lado tendencioso para a barulheira, mas consegue equilibrar as coisas com o trabalho de vocalização e uso de outros timbres e instrumentos.

Um belo álbum do Boy King Islands, que vive rodando por aqui já faz um tempo.

Q: When did Boy King Islands start, tell us about the history...

Back in high school, I belonged to an organization called Sound Exposure. Run by a then-employee of Elektra Records named Nan Warshaw (who went on to start Bloodshot Records in Chicago), it helped high school bands like mine organize shows and network with other kindred spirits and nerds in the high school who had basement- and garage bands; one of them was Jason Hunt (my partner in Boy King Islands).

The music we played together back then was constantly changing but, years later - when I was living with him and some friends in our hometown above this Chinese restaurant - I was asked to cover a My Bloody Valentine song for a 7" series. I wrote an original tune instead and enlisted Jason to play classical guitar on it. Boy King Islands grew from that one song ("The Girl with The Stained Glass Eyes", released as Caural on a limited 7" by Frank Wobbly & Sons) to the beginnings of an album.

When I went back to NY at the end of the year, we continued to collaborate on music. Honestly, it was a side project for him and me both, and we didn't release our first album for nearly ten years!

Q: Who are your influences?

Jason and I have very different influences, but I think where they overlap is in early nineties shoegaze stuff like Ride and My Bloody Valentine, and in classic hip-hop like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest - basically the stuff we were rocking out to on our headphones in high school when we first met. He is a classical guitarist and I have been doing experimental electronic music for years, so of course our collaboration has been shaped by quite a lot of different sounds, sights and experiences.

Q: Make a list of 5 albums of all time…

I hate this question, because it can change depending on the day; however, the albums that consistently make the list for me are, in no particular order:

1. Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
2. Herbie Hancock - Headhunters
3. Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
4. Joni Mitchell - Court & Spark
5. Aphex Twin - Richard D. James Album

Q: How do you feel playing live?

Since it's just Jason and me - and I play everything except for the guitar and keyboard parts he plays - we have never put together a live show as it would be too difficult to recreate the music live. But I'll tell you, I used to love performing, and hope to again someday...

Q: How do you describe Boy King Islands sounds?

Um, post-shoegaze? I don't know. Even though we were never really a "shoegaze" or "dream pop" band per se, certainly a lot of those bands were an influence on the music. I think as time went on, we kept some of the same aesthetics as far as chord progressions and harmonies go, but varied their delivery to include more diverse instrumentation. There's a quote I love even though no one seems to know whom to attribute it to: "writing about music is like dancing about architecture". I agree with that whole-heartedly, so I'd rather people listen to our music to get a feel of it versus listen to me trying to describe it.

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs?

Historically, it happened in one of two ways: either I started with chord changes and lyrics, or I riffed on some of Jason's changes and wrote lyrics to form a song. From there, we'd record what we could at home - usually separately - and complimented each other's ideas to a click track until I recorded final drums in a studio. At that point, we'd decide to redo stuff or add additional overdubs (with two of us, there were a LOT of overdubs!). Final vocals were almost always recorded last.

Q: Which new bands do you recommend?

Hiatus Kaiyote are hands down one of my new favorite bands. Other than them, lately I have been listening to Merchandise, Popstrangers, Mac Demarco, Diiv, Huerco S, and Tame Impala.

Q: Which bands would you love to make a cover version of?

For some reason, I have always wanted to cover an old My Dad Is Dead song called "Boundaries". People totally sleep on that guy and I absolutely love his music from the mid-eighties. Maybe a Chameleons or Cleaners from Venus song would be fun to do, but I probably couldn't cover either without singing in a terrible and fake English accent.

Q: What´s the plan for the future....

My girlfriend and I moved to California shortly after the upcoming Boy King Islands album was finished and, with Jason still in Chicago and his daughter approaching three years old, our collaboration has ground to a painful halt. However, I have a handful of new songs already written and will likely start recording in a couple months, though I have a feeling the music will continue to go in a new direction... I bought a couple vintage drum machines and a Rickenbacker bass, so maybe I'll start doing solo new wave shit. Who knows.

Q: Any parting words?

Thank you!