We have a thing here at Sloucher.org (besides blowing our own trumpets) about dreamy music (the term is included in 95% of all reviews – fact). We love it and it’s a genre that makes our hearts flutter and our minds wander into vast arc hues. So when we heard Landing were coming back to the breach with a spiffy new album, we emailed them a bunch of questions. In advance, thanks to the band, specially Aaron who took the time off his busy schedule to answer our tripe.
Hi! Thanks for taking our questions. We love the band and have been fans since that time ‘have you gone to vast arc hues?’ made the windows in my dad’s car resonate.
1) Where have you been? We’ve missed you!
We’ve been in limbo for a while, but not because of anything bad. I guess the break started after we finished recording Brocade in 2005. Pete Baumann (who played synth) moved to Long Island, leaving only Daron, Adrienne and myself to keep Landing going. Around the same time, Adrienne and I decided to start trying to conceive. Two long years later we had our daughter, Elise. To make a long story short, trying to create music while taking care of a little kid is challenging! We started a few songs here and there, but it was only in the last year or so that we had the time to focus on making a record. I’m glad to say that we’re back!
2) You’ve mentioned on Facebook that your new album is done and dusted. Any info you want to drop our way? Title, how many songs, will there be vocals, etc.
At this point, we have song titles but we’re not sure what the album will be titled. Right now, we’re leaning toward calling it Landing. It feels like a rebirth of sorts after 13 years of being a band, so a self titled album seems appropriate.
There are 9 songs, all of which have vocals. Adrienne sings amazingly well on this record! Honestly, we’ve never been so proud of an album. It’s hard to describe exactly, but this feels like the music I’ve always wanted us to make. I’ve been revisiting the music I loved in my youth (part of growing older, I guess), so there’s a post-punk/shoegaze/goth/new wave tinge to it.
3) There’s talk of not one, but two releases for this year. What are they?
We’ve got a full length album coming out sometime this year and we are also releasing a 12” ep on These Are Not Records which should come out this summer. The ep will feature our newest material, including an 18 minute mega tryyyp. We’re about halfway done with it right now.
4) Is there a “masterplan” to the way you create songs? They always feel very expansive in nature, like the vastness of landscapes and starry nights.
The creative process is strange. Not to get too mystical about it, but I feel like in order to create music to the best of my ability I need to be in a trance-like state. The sounds start to form themselves and I just serve as a conduit. Sometimes it’s hard to translate how a song is meant to be/sound, but when I feel really connected it’ll just sort of appear.
When I started Landing, my mission statement was to create the best possible sleep music. Through the years, we’ve added elements of folk and pop but the main sound has always been rooted in the vastness of drone. We’ll always be tryypers, no matter what new elements we decide to incorporate into our music.
5) Everytime I think of Landing, I think “dreamy” and “drone”. How do you picture yourselves?
I’d say “dreamy” and “drone” are totally appropriate. Our new stuff is verging on rock. We deliberately steered clear of using rhythm as a focus in the past, but we’re definitely getting more rhythmic and complex recently. As much as I love who we were ten years ago when we created Oceanless, I’d like to keep progressing while still retaining our core identity. I’d like to push the boundaries of what it means to be a dreamy, droney band. I hope our new material moves us forward… I think it does!
6) Geeky question: which pedals do you enjoy using?
The pedals I can’t live without include a plain old Boss DD-5 with a tempo pedal attached, a Fender Fuzz/Wah/Volume pedal, Moogerfooger Ring Modulator, and Boss Loop Station(s). Lately, I’ve been using Ableton Live to record, so I’ve been taking advantage of their built in effects too. I even rediscovered my love of chorus, which I’d stopped using fifteen years ago for some reason.
7) Even geekier question: ebow, sustain or feedback?
Ebow for me! Adrienne won’t let me play loud enough to get stuff feeding back.
8) There’s a story making the round in the office about ‘Have you gone to vast arc hues?’ being played live and clearing a tent full of punk rockers. Is this true? Is that why there’s chatter and the sound of plates clinking?
That’s totally true! For some reason, we were invited to play at an all day punk rock (or as close to punk rock as Provo, Utah got- which was not very punk) festival. We were all geared up for our very first tour and decided to really let loose on the Provo punks. After about five minutes, we had the place virtually to ourselves. Luckily, our friend Peter Baumann (who later joined the band for Brocade) recorded our set. Originally we wanted to include the applause on the album because it was so incredibly pitiful. I always thought it’d be neat to end Oceanless with the sound of one person clapping.
9) Any plans for a tour?
I don’t think we’ll be untertaking any long tours, but I could see us doing some short trips and shows in the northeast. It really just depends on whether there’s any interest out there! We LOVE to play live, but have been out of it for so long that we’ve lost touch with the people that used to set up our shows. I’m hoping that the release of our new music will generate some interest so we can start playing out again. I really miss it!
10) You music sounds very atmospheric, have you ever considered scoring a film live or have you had any offers to score one?
We haven’t had any offers, but I’ve been sent some DVDs from film students who have included our music in their films. We have been featured in a surfing video too! I think we’d do a pretty good job if we had the chance. I’m absolutely into the idea of doing something like that!
11) Let’s assume you are headlining a gig and you are allowed to choose two opening acts of any genre. Who would they be and why?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. If you’re talking about bands that are still playing live shows, I’d choose Harmonia and My Bloody Valentine. Harmonia because their music is still so incredibly modern, even after thirty-plus years. I can’t get enough their brand of motorik synth rock. My Bloody Valentine because I just want to experience them live again! Adrienne and I saw them a few years back and they were AMAZING. I’d love to meet Kevin Shields and pick his brain… even though I’d be too shy to talk to him.
If you’re talking about a fantasy realm where I could ask any band, past or present, to play with us it’d be Cocteau Twins and The Smiths. We all grew up on that music. Also, I never got the chance to see either of those bands play and would give a kidney to do so.
I’d never actually ask these bands to OPEN for us though! How would we ever follow those guys! Ha ha.
12) It’s a fact that vinyl has made a comeback and it seems tape is piggybacking on the popularity of vinyl. Which one would you prefer, tape or vinyl? Or good ol’ CD?
I’m really happy to see the resurgence of vinyl. I think it’s great to have the vinyl record as a keepsake and also have the digital for ease of use. I can’t live without my ipod, but I also love putting on an old Kate Bush record while we eat dinner. I’m not sad to see CDs go the way of the 8-track. The packaging was too tiny and they skipped all the time.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López
Sloucher.org would like to send its eternal thanks to Aaron Snow for this interview. Best of luck in 2012!