Æ: Aglet Eaters

Interactions in Installments: The Microdance Part 2

Posted in Discover by R on June 10, 2013

that's so shoegaze

Having had quite enough of promo-babble, we move on to the SERIOUS BIT – the one with all the opinions and profundity. Sadly, at this point I cannot think of anything to be opinionated and profound about beyond a long drawn out variation of: ‘so… Bandcamp, huh?’

Until we got signed, we tried to play off people’s kind hearts and offered our stuff for ‘pay what you want’ – about 10% would pay above the going rate of a dollar a song, or whatever it is and 90% would pay nothing. I guess we also knew that we were offering a slightly compromised version of what we are capable of (due to time/money restraints while recording) and perhaps felt bad demanding a set price; but giving away music with no other revenue stream from your art isn’t sustainable. What really gets me is at the start of this ‘collapse’ when people used to complain that £15 was extortionate for a CD. I was in a bar one evening and my friend who happened to be buying a round of drinks while talking to me said something to the effect of ‘I would buy the new Deftones album but it’s £15 in HMV, that’s ridiculous!’. Anyway, it turns out the round of drinks he was buying cost something like £22, we left the bar an hour later and that album Saturday Night Wrist is still regularly bringing me great pleasure, healing great pain and helping me finish runs with a sprint seven years later! The political argument behind that is something else; but if it’s straight up quantifying the worth of great music, no £15 is not too much for an hour of wonderful art which is available to you in perpetuity. Another valid point: if you don’t like it, don’t buy it!

A lovely thought, just the place to toss out an optimistic chestnut like: ‘it’s great that you’re making music, but how long do you think you can keep it up?’

Musically, I genuinely believe that this band has the capability for longevity. And if that is the case, whether the money is coming from record sales, licensing or slightly inflated concert tickets doesn’t really matter – the industry has to recalibrate, that’s obvious. I like to think that we make music with a bit of substance and that lends itself to loyalty. I am fiercely loyal to those bands I grew up listening to; the guys who provided me with a soundtrack to my life and shaped my musical appreciation. Those bands worked on a number of levels – the singles drew me in and the deep cuts kept me there. I think we have that too: if something like ‘We Are Made of Evil Things’ draws people in to listen to ‘Fucking Fucker’, then hopefully the latter will become their favourite in time. What else is encouraging is that a band like The Joy Formidable is now enjoying transatlantic success. I’d liken us to them in the sense that they do big, emotive music with enough barbs to catch the ears of the radio indie kids but more under the surface to keep the deep lovers involved; we’re not quite at their level when it comes to production yet – The Big Roar was HUGE – but I think the LP is a critical move for us and I have a feeling we’ll play it well.

This seems as good a moment as any to get a bit meta. Where does the music come from? Why do some people create music while listening keeps the others content? What’s the difference between the two kinds?

I’m not sure there’s that much of a difference, that’s to say I definitely loved music just as much before I began to make it. The difference is that it felt unobtainable; I equated everything to ‘that magical sound’ now, after years in a studio, it’s more like ‘if I dissect this enough, I can work out that he’s running that guitar through 3 phasers, some tape delay, reversing it and only tracking the feedback!’ – I wouldn’t say it’s lost its magic, it’s just magic science that I understand now, rather than something preternatural. I’m almost certainly the least naturally musical person you’ve ever interviewed – so this has been very difficult for me, and it’s hard to explain to someone who loves music as much as I do why I HAD to do this, but those days of practicing guitar for 8 hours were not much fun!

I think that after years of recording, I’m just finding my vocal range and getting comfortable with it. I’m really looking forward to bringing back those super complex 9 minute songs I wrote when I was 20 but didn’t quite have the chops to execute. This band right now is a monster, absolutely the first time I’ve thought to myself – ‘here’s a real opportunity to get those sounds/feelings in my head out there and do them justice’.

I’m the kind of guy that likes to be up there with my idols; I hate the thought of admiring something and not aspiring to it. There’s a lyric in our song ‘Goodbye Lily Laser’: “I punch the sky, I’m ready made, No need to dream, I’m that awesome kid” – Lily Laser is the female personification of that part of me (how clichéd!) that was so complacent with what it was blessed with naturally that it kind of let me become crap and lazy. I woke up one day and realised that the world will overtake you if you let that slip in. So, that song is kind of a message to the part of me that wants to make a life out of music. I’d still rather have been a professional footballer though!

Background noise or sacred vibrations: any hard and fast rules when it comes to listening?

If you’re making toast when Siamese Dream is on, we’re over.

OK – so what should people be doing when listening to Yo Yo @26?

Somehow improving their lives. If I’m really out of shape (which is most of the time these days!) and I know it’s time to sort it out, I’ll put Pantera, Slowdive, Kate Bush, M83 or Deftones on my headphones and go running. I’ll hold my hands up to the sky, you know like I’m some boxing protagonist in a Hollywood film and and feel Godlike – almost immediately after feeling like I can’t even get out of bed; that’s the power of music. Music is an elixir in so many ways, it can heal the mind and the body and I hope ours can do that to at least one person.

Besides that, if it’s hot girls – making out!

Bonus Picture

BONUS QUESTION 1
What is a Yo Yo @ 26?

Yo Yo is a person who lived in Shoreditch, east London at the same point that I did and I met her when she was 26. I think the less said about her, the better. Although, she did provide me with a cool song title. I hope it goes on to become someone’s password!

BONUS QUESTION 2
There is no question
(give your own answer)

We rehearse next to a Brazilian waxing parlour on Brick Lane. We often get girls ringing the buzzer on our rehearsal room and have to politely tell them that they probably want to go next door, unless they can play synth – in which case they’re welcome; before or after their ‘treatment’ – preferably after! We try to politely allude to exactly what establishment they’re looking for without grinning too broadly. It’s a dangerous situation for four men who are going to be in close proximity to each other for four hours trying to make serious art. It’s a surprise we haven’t started to cover Barry White while our minds run with thoughts of what’s going on (or coming off!) next door. There may or may not be a five minute spoken word description of this running through one of our more elegiac recordings!

You’ll find ‘Yo Yo @ 26’, its B-side, ‘Devour’ and much, much more over on TMD’s Bandcamp. If you play synth and want to be a part of The Microdance, there’s nothing stopping you – leave them a note on Facebook, or just get in touch here and we’ll put you through.

Meanwhile, here’s ‘Devour’:

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