Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Inquisition: 021.Last Builders Of Empire

1. How did you come up with the band name? 

Dan: It was hard at first. We thought about it for weeks, and it wasn’t until Rich mentioned that he was listening to a radio interview where the guys were discussing about Builders Of Empire, like old ancient empires. He liked the name and I agreed but thought something was missing. That’s how I contributed with the “Last” part. 
Rich: “Last” worked pretty well considering that the end of the world was supposed to arrive in 2012. 

2. Do you have a standard procedure of creating a song? Do you just jam around or is there a main riff and the track is build up on it? 

Rich: Ideas can come from anywhere but usually someone plays something that’s been swirling around in their head and eventually the rest of us pick up on it and start throwing things at it until we like where it’s heading. After that, it’s fairly linear and we’ll try different things to expand on what we’ve made. 
Dan: It’s a collaborative effort. Sometimes either Jesse or I would come up with a part that we had previously written, or Rich would come up with a beat, and work out a song structure based on that. Sometimes we might have a pretty straight idea of what we want a song to sound like, but most of the time the songs evolve from a simple idea into a complete different beast, since each one of us adds our very own elements. I guess the fun part is that we all come from a different background, with different influences, and that adds to a more distinctive sound. I think that’s an element that make us different from most bands in the genre. But no jamming is allowed. 
Jesse: Dan’s allergic to jamming, jamming is off limits. Our writing process is pretty complex, we have white boards full of song structures that are unreadable to anyone but ourselves 
Dan: It’s true. Also, Jesse and I are constantly chatting everyday, and providing feedback on where we want the songs to go, and what we want/need to improve. In these constant chats is where we come up with most of our conceptual ideas. I think this is very important, since it influences the future of our songs. 

3. What are your influences and what kind of music do you hear when you are at home? 

Dan: Lately I’ve been listening a lot to The Courage Of Others by Midlake. I think the instruments in that recording can be heard beautifully, and I connect very well with the lyrics. There is a new song we are currently writing where you could probably pick some of these more careful guitar work. Other influences are: Pink Floyd, King Crimson, David Bowie, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Sigur Rós, Do Make Say Think, The Radio Dept., Deerhunter/Atlas Sound, Blonde Redhead, Grandaddy, Sparklehorse, Beirut, Midlake, Radiohead, Blur, and many more. 
Jesse: I never know where to start with this, I’m mostly influenced by non musical things. I feel like there are catalogs of musical influences in my head (some of it very weird or bad), but when I write a song it needs to mean something, or match a concept, and the influences are just reference points. I think you can really hear that on Post-War. Lately I’ve been listening to stuff like Jai Paul, Bat For Lashes, Burial, Autre Ne Veut and too much Songs: Ohia. 
Rich: Having grown up in the 70’ & 80’s my musical taste came to a screeching halt with the growing popularity of MTV and all of the awful, cheesy bands that flooded the airwaves. I generally don’t listen to much music but some favorites range from The Velvet Underground to War to The Talking Heads to Mogwai. I usually have drum beats floating around in my head that I can’t wait to bring to practice and that tends to crowd out much else. 

4. Which is the one album you can't live without? 

Dan: Tough question. I don’t think I could just pick one single album. () by Sigur Rós, The Sophtware Slump by Grandaddy, Kid A/Amnesiac by Radiohead, Animals by Pink Floyd. I guess if I had to pick just one would be a mixed CD with my favorite songs out of this albums. 
Jesse: If I had to pick one, it’d probably be Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It’s such a huge and beautiful album, there are so many unique songs. I’m always coming back to it for inspiration and I have so many memories based around that album. 
Rich: The Best Of War! 

5. What's the first record you've ever bought? 

Dan: Mellow Gold by Beck. 
Jesse: Whoomp! (There it is) by Tag Team… 
Rich: Boston on 8 track. 

6. Name a band that you would like to share the stage or tour with? 

Dan: Do Make Say Think. 
Jesse: Do Make Say Think! 
Rich: Sigur Ros 

7. Did the internet and specially the blogs helped to spread your music around the world? Name a place (country) that you were surprised to know your music has reached to? 

Jesse: We reached out to blogs right after the album went live online, and the reception has been kinetic. There are so many people listening to the album in Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe already, it’s a kind of surreal. 

8. Do you support the idea of bandcamp where fans can decide the price or services like spotify?

Jesse: It’s tricky, you can get almost any song for free online now, free music spreads faster and further, but I think it’s crucial for fans to support artists they appreciate, in any medium. I like the format of bandcamp as a space you can curate, offer streaming, downloads and sell merch. It’s clean, simple and really gives independent bands lots of opportunities. 
Rich: Yup, ditto that. 

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

Jesse: I don’t think we’ve really thought that far ahead yet, creating this album was a tremendous undertaking, but it was also a fantastic experience. We’re starting to write again, and we definitely still have more LBOE material and ideas to explore. We’ve put the brakes on performing live as a band for the most part though, our main focus is on writing and releasing music. 
Rich: Tough question but it would be nice to continue writing & recording and possibly be included in some soundtracks. 
Dan: The sountrack part is something we’ve been dreaming for a while, and so far we’ve been part of a soundtrack for a documentary. We’d definitely like to continue writing and recording new material. 

10. Is the artwork of an album important nowadays in the digital era? 

Jesse: Definitely! We put as much thought and design into the album artwork as we did the music for Post-War. With instrumental music especially, I feel the visuals and song names add another dimension. 
Dan: I think it’s always been an important part. Even on iTunes, or other digital media, would be hard to sell an album without an image, especially if you’re just starting. I guess there are some famous artists who have tried to show that that’s not an issue (The Beatles - The White Album, Metallica - The Black Album), but I don’t think they would had done it if it was their first record, and they weren’t already famous. 

11. What is your favorite album cover? 

Dan: Limited 2008 edition multi-format box set singles by Bjork, and ( ) by Sigur Ros.

Jesse: The limited edition Radiohead Amnesiac booklet, I loved that it was basically a book. Also Pearl Jam Vitalogy.

12. It seems that a lot of people are turning on vinyl again. Why do you think that is and which is your preferable media format? 

Jesse: Despite not having a vinyl collection I love the idea of it! It’s an amazing canvas for artwork and creating a physical album experience. It also forces you to listen to the music in a different way. Rich: What goes around comes around and out of sheer convenience…digital. 
Dan: It’s one of our goals to release an album on vinyl as well someday. Most of my collection is CDs, but I think vinyl can add even more to the total musical experience. 

13. What's the most vivid story or moment as a band? 

Jesse: One thing that stands out is when we realized the band was greater than the sum of it’s parts. 90% of Post-War was recorded live to analog tape with all of us, and the gear, in the same room because there’s just a vibe that happens when we’re locked into a song that can’t be recreated by tracking each part separately. Sometimes we even had separate amps running off loopers live to capture all the elements at once. It usually meant nailing an 8-10 minute song in one shot, and there were a couple of takes where we bombed it in the last 30 seconds of the song. In the end though, you hear the band, and not just the individual parts. 
Rich: There’s not much drama in this band so it’s all pretty low key…nothing more gratifying though than getting back the mastered files.

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