Went to the Apple store yesterday. Boy, is that place dangerous! So much cool stuff. I always want to get one of each… They were still out of the new iPod shuffles. Turns out they have a waiting list! Sheesh. Anyway, I picked up the new iLife suite. Hopefully I will have a better time of upgrading it this time around. I’m excited about the new iPhoto books and the fact that I can now import my digital camera’s movie files into the program. Yay! I wish iWorks had been a part of this software suite, instead of it being bundled with Keynote. Seems like a weird decision on Apple’s part, but I suppose they will sell a heck of a lot more Keynotes this way! iWorks looks pretty cool, hopefully it’s worth the cash. I’m totally over AppleWorks and I don’t like the idea of using Word. Macentric, I know!
January 29, 2005, Stratosphere Fanzine, Jen “Sidewaysgaze”
JEN: Do you consider Lovespirals to be a continuation of Love Spirals Downwards or is it a totally separate creation?
RYAN: It’s a new band for sure. But on the other hand, I’m just doing my thing: making music. I never sat down and decided to make music in a way that wasn’t natural for me. I’m just doing what I’ve always done; making music that moves me, something that challenges me to grow musically, and something I’d want to listen to when it’s all done. With each album, I think I’ve been sucessful in being genre-less. That’s something I’ve pretty much always wanted to do; not be confined by the restrictions of making music that a certain kind of genre or following expects. I’m a free musical soul and I’ve always aimed at following my musical bliss. So older fans that got that from my music should still be just as pleased, if not more so, with Lovespirals. But if you liked my older music because you were a fan of the record label and their narrow genre and style, then you probably never really got what my music was about and won’t necessarily be into Lovespirals.
ANJI: This is a complicated question. You can look at it in different ways. Sam Rosenthal said that Lovespirals are to Love Spirals Downwards what Jefferson Starship are to Jefferson Airplane, or Pink Floyd are to The Pink Floyd Sound. In each case, a band member left and the name was shortened. Is it still the same band? Then again, Love Spirals Downwards were never really a band, but a recording project headed up by Ryan. Of course, we don’t perform his old songs live, which fans would probably expect if they thought of us as being the “continuation of Love Spirals Downwards.”
JEN: Anji, have you been in any other bands before/during Lovespirals?
ANJI: Yes, I was in several local bands before joining Ryan as Lovespirals, and I have continued to collaborate with other musicians up to this day. Most recently, I did two tracks with Bitstream Dream, for the album, Connected, late last year. A song I did with Plastic Chair was released on a mix CD for EMI Switzerland earlier last year. I also began work on a collaboration with Harald, of Chandeen, for a special Kalinkaland project. Ryan and I both contributed to a song with Beauty’s Confusion that should be done soon.
JEN: How did you decide to become a singer and song-writer?
ANJI: I’ve been into writing songs since I was a kid. It’s just something I’ve always done. I enjoy writing lyrics and I love singing, even when I don’t have a musician to collaborate with. I’ve got tons of songs written that are just waiting for music to be put to them.
JEN: Ryan, your creative process is to perform all/most of the musical duties and then have a female singer perform vocal duties. Have you always always produced music in this way?
RYAN: Yeah, it’s pretty much the way I’ve always done it. Again, it’s not an essential strategy that I try to use. It’s just what seems to happen most naturally for me. With Anji, I’ll give her a song that is half complete and record her vocals. Then, I’ll go back and record more stuff and vibe off of what she’s done. It gives it a more real feel, playing off of each other that way.
ANJI: The way we write songs is usually like this; Ryan will be playing guitar or keyboard, coming up with ideas. I’ll hear a melody that catches my ear, either reminding me of something I’ve written already, or that inspires me to write something new, and I’ll start singing along. We’ll jam together — with him improvising musically and me vocally. If we’ve got something interesting, we’ll capture it as a demo recording.
JEN: Ryan, maybe you could shed a little light on what happens in the studio?
RYAN: I record everything with software and hardware, called ProTools, which runs on a G4 Macintosh. I’ll start off with a few parts, like a drum and guitar, and slowly build a song up from that. Intially, I’m trying to get the mood of the song down, making sure that I like how it feels. If it passes that test, then I’ll work more on the structure of the song, stuff like how many times a section repeats. Once that’s figured out, then I’ll keep trying different instruments and sounds. I’ll grab different guitars and see which ones sound best for the song. It often takes a while, but it slowly builds up like this over several days to several weeks.
ANJI: In a few cases, we’ve worked on a song over several years, really perfecting it. Several songs on our upcoming album were actually begun during the time we recorded Windblown Kiss.
Jen: It’s already 2005 – what do you have in store for this year, musically and otherwise?
ANJI: Our second full-length album will be released this year, though we don’t have the exact date yet. We also plan to work on a new live set with additional musicians. We’ve been talking to Rodney Rodriguez, who played with LSD on their Flux album and tour, as well as Tom Coyne, from The Last Dance. It should be cool to have a live rhythm section.
You can read the rest of the interview in a fanzine style layout at Stratosphere Fanzine’s Yahoo! Launch Group: Just go to the “files” section and check in the “new singer & band interviews – 2005” folder.
Just thought I’d mention that I’m going live on Chillcuts Radio this Sunday to premier a brand new feature with one of my favorite bands, Sunburn in Cyprus. I will be talking with band founder, Ulli Conrad, as I preview their new album. The feature will run twice, the first time at 4pm PST and then again at 6pm, with me deejaying a chilled selection of independent and indie label electronica bands in between. I may log in a little earlier for a set beforehand, too…
Tune in to listen directly via live365 or through the “listen” link at chillcuts.com. If you’re on MySpace, please join our Chillcuts Group to comment on the station, recommend music or just chit chat!
Just found out about a place that sells FLAC (and OGG) files online. I was just talking about that concept, too. The only catch is, it costs artists $50 a year to use their service plus they take a cut of each sale. Whole albums sell for just $8.99, which is a bit cheap considering they take almost half of that. So I don’t know if that’s what we’d want to do. Probably better to set up our own online store with FLAC files. Or SHN files. Anyway, the site URL is www.mindawn.com. Trippy.
It seems like we always come back to the question of genre with our music. It’s unfortunate that promotions rely on super specific categories, but that’s just the way it is. The music world is like a giant data base in that way. Folks want to be able to put each band and release into a box so that they can stack it up with other boxes into neat little tables (data base “tables,” not dining room “tables”). I can understand the need to organize information like that, but with something like music it isn’t always so simple. Sure, some bands are totally fine making a career out of one style of music writing, song after song, album after album, but we aren’t. Since 1999, Ryan and I have shifted musical styles drastically, and since 1991, Ryan has made some pretty dramatic evolutions in his sound.
I’m thinking today about the fact that our last album, Windblown Kiss, is listed as “Jazz.” While that is a very cool genre and all, it really doesn’t successfully describe our CD. Nor does “Electronica” really represent the myriad styles of LSD’s retrospective collection, Temporal. Our upcoming album could be listed under either of those genres, and either way it would be missing the whole rock element also inherent in the songs. Not only are the songs each of different genre varieties, but many of the songs themselves are a mix of genres. So how the heck are we going to categorize this one? And how is our band itself being classified?
Now is the official launch of the band’s Cafe Press Store which is just filled to the brim with cool merchandise for both Lovespirals and Love Spirals Downwards, including t-shirts, stickers, and buttons. Everything is priced very, very low for your shopping enjoyment, so get it while it’s hot at cafepress.com/lovespirals!
Finally the storm has broken here in Southern California, to be replaced by a wonderfully warm Santa Ana wind. Mmm… Actually went to the beach yesterday and laid out, enjoying my new iPod. I hope this weather lasts long enough for us to sneak in a band photo shoot. It’s about time we got some current portraits taken. I’m also starting to seriously think about album art for the new CD cover. We’ll probably go with colorful nature shots again, but maybe a bit less abstract this time. I’m not sure that folks even realize that the Windblown Kiss artwork is photos of reflections in water or not?
Ryan and I have come to the realization that 128kbps mp3s are way too old school. Like, so 1998!
I’ve been re-encoding my digital music library into 320kbps AAC files, which sound much better — much better even that 320kbps mp3 files. For special albums, I’m using Apple Lossless, which sounds basically like an AIFF or WAV file (which is what CDs are generally made from), but is only about half the size. I mean, I have a huge hard drive, so why not enjoy my music in hi-res quality?
I love the concept of the iTunes store, and selling our music there, but what I don’t love is the sound quality. We make these gorgeous 24bit start-to-finish albums (more music geek talk, I know!), only to have it all squashed down into measly 128k mp3 files. It’s murder! We really need to figure out a way to sell our fans nice, high quality files worthy of critical listening.
It’s so sad how the music industry is completely melting down under the pressure of new technology. Kids today don’t even think they should have to buy CDs anymore! They are perfectly content with crappy mp3s files traded on the Internet.
It seems that a whole new model for music is necessary now, one that somehow combines professional quality sound with affordable prices so that we artists can get our music out to fans in a format that is not only convenient, but great sounding, doesn’t cost too much, and yet allows us to cover all the costs of creating and distributing the music.
Any bright ideas, anyone?
If you happen to be into groovy jazzy pop songs like I am, especially those with an early 1970’s vibe with lots of sweet rhodes keyboards, I’ve recently found an unlikely winner. It’s from the band Chicago and it’s their Chicago 7 album. It’s nothing like the rock pop ballad stuff that they became known for later in their career. On this album their jazz and rock backgrounds blend perfectly making for some great songs and songwriting. “Happy Man” is my favorite song along with “Wishing You Were Here,” which have both been stuck in my head for close to a week now. I strangely had the album sitting around my collection since I was a kid in 70’s but never really listened to it until just recently; it’s some weird luck that I’ve managed to keep it all this time. I kind of laugh know realizing I’ve had this great record sitting in my collection all this time and never knew how great it was.