you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

31 August 2012

Interview: Anything After.


When The Sun Hits
Interviews
Anything After



How and when was the band formed?

Anything After was formed in the Los Angeles area back in 2004 by twin brothers Brian and Bradley Dale. Wanting to be a four piece pop punk band the brothers decided to recruit two childhood friends to play bass and guitar.

The name "Anything After" came about when singer/guitarist Brian Dale decided to ignore class lectures in high school and focus more on what lied ahead after class had ended. In the fall of 2005 entering senior year in high school, we recorded our first album known as "So Many Words". Only about two hundred copies of our CD were made. Promoting our CD throughout high school, as well as playing with local bands around our hometown we decided to play Chain Reaction in Anaheim. Deciding to ditch our first prom to play this show was a great success. As time went on we played pay to play shows such as the Whiskey a Go Go. As things were going good for us, having been asked to play the House of Blues in Anaheim the fourth member of the band, the bass player, decided to leave. So we weren't able to play that show and we were very upset with him, at least give us one more show we told him.



Now as a three piece we had to change our style of music that fit us a lot better than the old high school ways. We wanted now to be a part of the Alternative/Shoegaze scene. Our guitar player was now our new bass player and we started to record and promote "There's Something Warm". We played Hollywood clubs such as Wolfpak and Club Violaine, cool Shoegaze and Goth clubs that locals would come to. We also played a Jesus and Mary Chain tribute night. That night we did a cover of "Just Like Honey".

Having one of our closest friends pass away at the age of nineteen we started to slow down with music and mourn the loss of our friend. We wanted to write another album to let our feelings come out and that album was "Another Way of Saying". The third album was finished and now our bass again wanted a change in their life so he left the band. Yet for the rest of Anything After the music must go on.



Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc)?

We are currently promoting our fourth album "True Avenue" as a two piece. As well as working on new material with cranked up volumes more fuzz and feedback. No date has been set yet as to when we will release it, but if you keep an eye out on our Facebook page you will get all the info as to when we are finish with it.

Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?

We do consider our music to be part of the alternative/shoegaze, indie/goth and noise pop scene. The one genre we would classify our self with would be shoegaze. Shoegaze because we have a lot of the noise pop sounds as well as the mellow dreamy sounds to create a new kind of blend. In general sense there hasn't been a good rock scene since the nineties. Everything is now pop and hip hop which is cool but annoying.

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?

We think that the modern shoegaze/dream pop/ psychedelia artist are merely borrowing from the old timers in there genre, yet adding their own unique twist on the music to help fit into the scene that is happening today. Some of the modern artist that we enjoy now would be The Raveonettes, Wild Nothing, Best Coast, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and The Bilinda Butchers. We don't really have a favorite modern band. We try to learn from everyone to see what is going on now.

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?

Some guitars/ pedals/ amps that we prefer are Gibson, Gretsch, Shin ei fuzz pedal, jazz bass, electronic bass, drum machines come in handy also for a unique sound. Different microphone techniques help too. As a band we try not to stick to "This is our pedal board no more pedals". We'll switch it up with different pedals all the time. We will use two at a time or five at a time constantly switching it around.

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?

What we used for "There's Something Warm" was a Tascam home studio. For "Another way of Saying" and "True Avenue" we used a Korg D3200 32-track home studio. We think hey whatever you have or can afford use that. You don't need to go buy the most expensive stuff or spend a lot of money in the studio just go buy any-track home studio and start recording all your ideas and share them with the world.



How do you feel about the state of the music industry today? There is no doubt a massive change underway; how do you see it and do you feel it’s positive at all?

The music industry has changed dramatically and drastically. Before you would have to play your heart out at shows, sell your CD out of your car, but now everything went digital. It is all about the internet now and some musicians would question if playing shows are necessary anymore. Playing shows are fun and a good way for people to still interact by seeing you live, but if you don't have the option to play shows that's why the internet can help those people still spread their music around. The internet has a positive side and a negative side. Positive would be you can share your music with the whole world without going over there. Negative Side is everyone loves free stuff. So they download music illegally and it is hard to make money unless you make some really good songs or have someone put money into your band and promote the shit out of you.

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?

Well at the moment we are using Tune core so Anything After is a D.I.Y. band. Not being on a label has allowed us the freedom to be creative and take our time when it comes to putting out new material. Being on a label has some benefits such as having money to push out new releases, promote in magazines and get reviews. Yet, the negative side of being on a label is having to pay them back for spreading the word of your band.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

When it comes to the format of listening to music we don't have a preference. Music is music. If a song is good we will listen to it. Yet, vinyl does have a warmer feel.

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?

The Jesus and Mary Chain has always had an impact on our music. In "There's Something Warm" we used a lot of distortion trying to follow the footsteps of Psychocandy. Also The Cure and Joy Division/ New Order played a part in some of our slow mellow songs. When it comes down to it our favorite band is The Jeus and Mary Chain. We always love their attitude and the way they like to drift off into different sounds. Psychocandy and Darklands don't sound the same and you can hear them trying new things and that is what we love about the band. You never hear them repeating the same sound over and over.

Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc)?

I, Bradley, have been addicted to playing pinball. It's been something besides music to do and it's fun. Watching scary movies has always been a favorite of ours. Watching movies like Evil Dead, Dead Alive, and of course My Bloody Valentine has always felt like a nostalgia of Halloween for us. listening to new music has been pretty exciting, helping us get some new ideas to better our sound as well.


If you had to choose one track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?

That track would have to be "Having You". We Found a right balance between our influences, a lot of our own emotions and implied them together. We think it gives off a nice blend of "There's Something Warm", "Another Way of Saying" and "True Avenue" all together.

Can you tell us a little about the band’s song writing process?

Well right now Brian and I will switch off with different instruments and try to play whatever we feel that day. I'll play the rhythm to the song and he will do the riffs and vice versa. We like to share ideas and get different sounds to all our songs so they don't sound the same. When it comes to writing lyrics we both share that responsibility to bring out two different emotions.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

Well we live by You are what you think you are. If you think you're a loser then you are one. We also believe in you have to have confidence in everything you do. If you are confident, than others will feed off on that energy. Also this quote we like is if you don't take risk you, you risk more. Everything in life you have to take a risk to move a little further. Have no thought inside your head but live out the emotions.



Stream the Todd Rundgren Remix of Tame Impala's "Elephant".

http://media.musicfeeds.com.au/files/0f6acc1c7df1c69d90f049067431d8bd.png

Stream the Todd Rundgren remix
of Tame Impala's recent single, "Elephant"

CLICK HERE

30 August 2012

YouTube Score: Slowdive. Just for a Day (Full Album).


Live Video: Slowdive. Silver Screen (1992).


News: Hush Delirium feat. Mark Gardener of Ride - Copenhagen Show.

Heading to the Pumpehuset in Copenhagen on Saturday, November 17th for a one off show is art/music collaboration Hush Delirium featuring Ride frontman Mark Gardener.

Formed this year by artist Simon Welford and Mark Gardener, and having since enlisted such stellar musicians such as ex-Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim, Dean Garcia of Curve/SPC ECO and Adam Franklin of Swervedriver, plus a cast of multi-talented musicians, Hush Delirium is the art/music project that is causing a real stir, both in the UK and the US.

The concept is simple. The musicians involved in the project each create a piece of instrumental music that is then supplied to Simon Welford. He then uses that piece of music as inspiration to create artwork that he feels is representative of the piece supplied. Once completed, the art & music is then shown together in either gallery style exhibitions or one off events, giving people the complete "HUSH DELIRIUM" experience.

At the Pumpehuset, Hush Delirium plan to do a one off special event where not only not only will artwork and music be available, but Mark Gardener will perform an exclusive acoustic set of songs, old and new. With the 20 year anniversary of seminal Ride album Going Blank Again in 2012, this will be a fantastic opportunity to hear these songs again alongside other Ride classics and songs from Mark's solo album. Support on the night will be by local band Scarlet Chives.

Hush Delirium is one of the coolest projects around, so with the added bonus of seeing co-collaborator Mark Gardener playing live on the night, this is not to be missed.

Further information on the project can be found by searching for "Hush Delirium" on Facebook & Twitter.

Hush Delirium


29 August 2012

Tonight! When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. 10pm EST/9pm CST.


Come join me this evening for When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. When The Sun Hits is one full hour of distilled shoegazey goodness, so black out the windows, grab your headphones, and go down the rabbit hole tonight on Strangeways Radio.

Don't forget to log in to the Strangeways chatroom during the show to hang out with me and many other awesome people while we talk about the music that is airing in real time and god knows what else...

Tune in live every Wednesday, 10pm-11pm (EST), for When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. Join us in the Strangeways chat room for additional entertainment!

Sneak Peek: Stream the BRAND NEW 2 Hearts & Chemicals track, Straight into the Night, from the upcoming debut LP True Soul.

True Soul cover art



WTSH absolutely ADORES 2 Hearts & Chemicals, and we can barely contain our excitement about the upcoming release of the band's debut LP, True Soul, to drop September 4th, 2012. Visit 2H&C's Bandcamp page to get your pre-order on, and stream the first single, "Straight Into the Night", right here!

WTSH also has an interview with 2 Hearts & Chemicals coming up in the very near future, as well as some other surprises, so stay tuned!



28 August 2012

Bandcamp Track of the Day: sansyou. When We Become Ghosts.


sansyou
"When We Become Ghosts"
Bandcamp.



when we become ghosts cover art

27 August 2012

Bandcamp Track of the Day: Avoxblue. The Confessional (7" Mix).


Avoxblue
The Confessional (7" Mix)
Bandcamp.



THE CONFESSIONAL (7" MIX) cover art

26 August 2012

Video Premiere: Behind The Scenes with The Raveonettes.

Taken from Paste Magazine:

The Raveonettes will be releasing their seventh full-length album, Observator, on Sept. 11 via Vice Records. The record was made in Los Angeles’ Sunset Sound Studios with the help of producer Richard Gottehrer (Dum Dum Girls, Blondie).

The band has already given a glimpse of what to expect from the new release with the video for the album’s first single, “She Owns the Streets.” As we have come to expect from the Danish duo, it’s heavy on the reverb and features airy vocal interplay between band members Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo.

Now, the band has provided an in-depth look behind the scenes of Observator in a revealing video that chronicles their recording process. We bring you the premiere below.


News: Tame Impala US Tour Dates.


Upcoming TAME IMPALA Tour Dates

November 7th - Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
November 8th - Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA
November 9th - Royale Night Club, Boston, MA
November 10th - Webster Hall, New York, NY
November 13th - Metro, Chicago, IL
November 15th - The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
November 17th - The Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

New Video: Van She. Idea of Happiness (SebastiAn Remix).



Call for Band Submissions: Three.Hundred.Thousand Compilation.

When The Sun Hits is now closing in on 300,000 blog views! Our minds are blown. We just had our 2nd birthday in the last week of July, as well, so we're pretty excited.

If you were around for the first 100,000 views, and then 200,000 views, then you know that at each of those milestones we released some pretty sweet shoegaze/dream pop compilations (The First 100,0000 and 200,000 Gazes Volume 1 and Volume 2, respectively). These comps consisted of donated tracks we received by calling for band submissions from the gazers and dreamers out there. We released the comps via Bandcamp, as free downloads, and both of them ended up having a much larger circulation than we could have ever anticipated (which is fucking rad, because all of the bands deserved that exposure). Which brings me to my point -

We are now taking submissions for our third compilation, Three.Hundred.Thousand.
The following is what you need to know:

It will be ONE volume, consisting of 30 tracks, end of story. No multi-volume madness this time (although we aren’t TOTALLY divorced from the idea…). However, since we get a load more submissions than will end up on the comp (last time we got about 250 entries), we want to give credit and exposure where it is due, SO –

When The Sun Hits has teamed up with Rav of WZBC Flyweight radio program to help us spread the Awesome via the radio airwaves. Rav and Amber will both feature compilation submissions on their respective radio shows throughout the Fall of 2012. Not only that, but WTSH blog will be featuring a weekly piece that focuses on superior compilation submissions. The idea is to get everyone maximum exposure.

Basically, if you submit a track for this compilation, there is a good chance you will:

a) get aired on the radio
b) be featured on the blog
– and then of course, you could end up on the compilation, too! Read on to find out how to submit a track for consideration.

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS
OCTOBER 1st, 2012.

NO EXCEPTIONS.

The compilation will be released via Bandcamp in December 2012.

- If you are in a shoegaze and/or dream pop oriented band (even if you consider yourself on the fringe), then you can submit. You do not need to be on a label. You do not need to have an album out. If you are gazing and recording it, you can submit. Even if it's a solo effort. Even if this is your FIRST effort. You have a chance at this!

- Submit your track to editorwhenthesunhits@yahoo.com. You MUST put "300,000 Compilation Submission" in the title of the email, or be forever lost in the insanity that is our email.

- You can submit ONE track, in mp3 format only. Don't flood our email with multiple submissions or .wav files, please! Personally, I love .wav files, but they are huge and cumbersome in an email.

- Don't waste our time submitting a track with poor sound quality. Seriously. If you are recording music, you know the difference between good and bad audio quality. Use these skills. And there IS a difference between lo-fi and just plain bad quality. GOOD QUALITY AUDIO ONLY PLEASE.

- In the body of the email, you need to put 3 things: a) your/your band's name. b) The track title. c) links to anything promotional (bandcamp, a fb page, WHATEVER), if you have it.

Have any questions? Email editorwhenthesunhits@yahoo.com with a subject of "ATTN AMBER: compilation questions" and I will answer them. Don't message myself, Danny, Rob, WTSH, or any other WTSH staff via FB about this.

Pretty easy, right?! We are so stoked to hear what you guys have! Amber and Rav will update you more soon on the chance to get your band aired on the radio, so stay tuned.

The Three.Hundred.Thousand compilation will be even more widely circulated than the first two, so get onboard! Feel free to share this note with anyone you know. Ready, set, GO!!

Bandcamp Track of the Day: Blouse. Nights & Days.


Blouse
"Nights & Days"
Bandcamp.



Nights & Days cover art

24 August 2012

Bandcamp Track of the Day: Shortwave Broadcaster. Eternal Wave.


Artist: Shortwave Broadcaster
Track: Eternal Wave
Bandcamp



Eternal Wave cover art

23 August 2012

Set List for WTSH on Strangeways Radio. Originally Aired August 22, 2012.

band name/track title
Between the Cities are Stars. All That Mad Trouble.
Lilys. Tone Bender.
Weekend. Coma Summer.
Bailter Space. Robot World.
Ceremony. Love is Fiction.
Swervedriver. Duel.
Screen Vinyl Image. Roaming Spirit Freedom.
Chapterhouse. Autosleeper.
The Telescopes. The Perfect Needle.
Bowery Electric. Without Stopping.
Dead Mellotron. I Hate the Way Things Are.
Alcian Blue. Frozen Sleep.

Bandcamp Track of the Day: Fountains. No Sleep.


Artist: Fountains
Track: No Sleep
Bandcamp



No Sleep cover art

21 August 2012

Video: Sea Dweller. She's in Ecstasy.

Bandcamp Track of the Day: Blue Sky Black Death. Carl Sagan.


Artist: Blue Sky Black Death
Track: Carl Sagan
Bandcamp



Third Party Instrumentals cover art

17 August 2012

Interview: Scott Heim, Creator of "The First Time I Heard" Series, Author of Mysterious Skin, In Awe, and We Disappear.

Author of Mysterious Skin, In Awe, We Disappear,
and Creator of "The First Time I Heard" Series
Interview by: Amber Crain

Scott Heim is a Boston-based author widely known for his novels Mysterious Skin, In Awe, and We Disappear. Anyone familiar with Heim's work knows that he is also an avid music fan and self-professed music nerd, with a special place in his heart for shoegaze and dream pop music in particular. If you've seen Gregg Araki's critically acclaimed film adaption of Mysterious Skin, then the outstanding soundtrack, heavily featuring shoegaze music, surely stood out to you; it brilliantly captures in audio format the distinctive mood of Heim's writing. If anyone could ever be called a shoegaze writer, it would be Scott Heim. To my mind, shoegaze is so much more than just a genre label. It is a word that describes a distinctive atmosphere, whether musically created or otherwise. Heim's writing occupies that same dreamy, atmospheric space that shoegaze music does, and that is a very special thing, indeed.

More recently, Heim has been working on a series of music-related e-books that collect brief, conversational first-person accounts by musicians and writers about the first time they heard a specific iconic band, appropriately named "The First Time I Heard" series. The first five books focus on (1) David Bowie (2) Cocteau Twins (3) The Smiths (4) Kate Bush and (5) Joy Division/New Order, with future books loosely planned to be based on The Pixies, Roxy Music, Public Enemy, Abba and more. "The First Time I Heard" project, aside from being a truly unique and quite a modern experience (an effort of this size would be incredibly difficult to do, pre-internet), is also an example of how a Kickstarter project, which is a truly modern day phenomenon, can genuinely work for an artist. While it's not the only successful Kickstarter project by any means, "The First Time I Heard" series was made possible in many ways by the funding provided by donations given to the project, and that is truly inspiring.


I am also extremely excited to announce that on the night of Wednesday, September 19th, 2012, Scott Heim will be taking over the reigns of my radio show on Strangeways Radio (also called When The Sun Hits) to dj a full hour of his favorite shoegaze and dream pop music, as well as sharing his thoughts about the tracks, why he chose them, and discussing "The First Time I Heard" series in between songs. This will air at 9pm CST/10pm EST on Strangeways Radio - I will make a more formal announcement about this in the near future, but be sure to tune in to this special edition of When The Sun Hits - it is not to be missed! I want to personally thank Scott for being so incredible during the interview process and for guest djing When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio; it means so much to me. Plus, it's freakin' awesome.

And so, without further ado, When The Sun Hits presents the following very special interview with none other than Scott Heim. Gazers, look up from your shoes for a short while - you've got something important to read.

Scott, how and when did you first discover the impact that music has on you? I think all music lovers can probably pinpoint the exact moment music became more than just background sound; I know I can. Do you recall your first truly formative musical moment?

When my sister and I were young—probably as young as 6 and 3—we began discovering our
mother’s extensive and eclectic record collection. She had a lot of 45s and LPs, (and then later collected 8-track tapes). Her collection had R&B, disco, classic rock, folk rock, the deepest of Grand Ole Opry country, soundtracks, just about everything. And I remember the passion I’d see on my mother’s face, the absolute change in her whole demeanor, when she’d play some of those records. My sister and I started playing them a lot, too, just to see which ones would make us feel that moved or enraptured. One early one that I can remember clearly was “This Guy’s In Love With You” by Herb Alpert—it seemed so loungey, so nonchalant, and yet the words were detailing this beautiful, sublime, possibly devastating relationship, laying a deepest emotion on the line. I’ll never forget hearing Alpert’s voice when he sang “My hands… are shaking” to rhyme with “my heart keeps breaking”—on paper, this might sound pedestrian, but on record it’s a devastating moment.



Only a couple of years after that, I discovered Abba, and then Queen, and my life was never the same. I spent my entire junior high years playing Abba’s albums and Queen’s “A Night at the Opera,” and those albums really made me the obsessive music freak I am today.


How and when did you discover shoegaze/dream pop music in particular? Can you describe the effect it had on you then? Does it still affect you the same way today?

That’s maybe a harder one to trace. I got into the Cocteau Twins around the time that “Head Over Heels” came out; I ordered the album on a whim because I was always looking for something new and I loved its outer sleeve. I actually write about that moment in the introduction to “The First Time I Heard Cocteau Twins.” The Twins got me into all things 4AD, for sure, but they also planted the seed of a love for any kind of fuzzy, sparkling, chiming guitar sound, types of music that perhaps could be categorized more as “blurry” than “clear.” I also loved The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Psychocandy” not long after that, so when a lot of UK bands began coming out that seemed to marry parts of the Cocteau Twins and the Jesus & Mary Chain, I fell in deep love. Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Curve, Chapterhouse, Pale Saints—all the bands we associate now with that early wave of shoegaze, I suppose.


Before we dig any deeper, can you first talk about what you have been working on currently, as well as what you've got forthcoming in the near future? We definitely want to hear more about the Kickstarter project. Not only is your project a great idea, but Kickstarter is still a relatively new (and possibly revolutionary) way of turning one’s projects into reality – how has your experience been with the platform? Would you recommend the experience to others?

For a long time, I’ve been fascinated with how music lovers remember the first time they actually heard the music of the bands or singers they still follow and worship. I realized that casual music listeners often don’t remember these powerful moments, but the “music geeks,”—you know, the musicians, and the rock critics, and the writers who type out their words while listening loudly to their favorite CDs—probably you and I and most people reading this now—have lovingly detailed, nostalgic memories of, say, the first time they heard Joy Division on the John Peel show, or the first time when Bowie came on Top of the Pops and simultaneously seduced and scared the hell out of everyone watching.

So I wanted to edit a book where musicians and creative writers just tell brief stories about those pivotal moments in their lives. Where they were, how they felt, and how the “first hearing” changed them. About a year ago, I started working on five books at once: “The First Time I Heard Joy Division/New Order,” “The First Time I Heard Cocteau Twins,” “The First Time I Heard David Bowie,” “The First Time I Heard The Smiths,” and “The First Time I Heard Kate Bush.” I contacted many, many artists and writers I admire, as well as some folks I only knew vaguely but wanted to know better, and I was amazed at how many great responses I got. A really large percentage of people wanted to write something for this project—and of those, a pretty large percentage came through and actually did!

You asked about Kickstarter. I was getting closer to finishing the whole project, but realizing that the costs were actually going to be quite a bit higher than I’d originally planned. The books needed professional cover designs; I needed to buy ISBNs; I needed to hire an e-book formatter; all the other little promotional costs. And I wanted to pay the contributors, even if it was something small, for their trouble. So my boyfriend suggested putting the project on Kickstarter. I made a little film (starring my friend’s gorgeous little girl Hazel, listening for the “first time” to the bands covered in the books), the project got accepted, and in a month or so it was funded. It was a great relief.


In your novels, music acts as a kind of underlying theme. In Mysterious Skin, music seems to be a way to develop your characters' relations with one another (especially in the Araki adaptation). In We Disappear, it's not as present, but you still state in the novel's appendix that listening to music is a vital part to your creative process and that you can’t write if you aren’t listening to music. Do you consciously integrate what you are listening to into your writing, or does it happen organically? If it’s a conscious effort, what are your intentions by doing this?

I will sometimes choose music as background because I want to feel a certain way when I’m writing a scene. For instance, if I’m writing, say, about something happening in the darkest of night, with a certain amount of queasy fear or loneliness, and I want to somehow make myself feel, as much as possible, these emotions so I can translate them to my words and sentences, I’ll likely listen to something like Labradford or Flying Saucer Attack or Grouper (basically, a lot of music on the Kranky label at present)… or some of the older moodier electronic records like Gas, industrial stuff like Coil, or even horror-movie soundtracks.

When I was writing “In Awe,” there were several scenes of violence and fast-moving confusion and terror, and I think then I was listening to louder, more guitar-driven stuff.

And for some reason I always come back to things like “Faith” and “Pornography” by The Cure, and all of Brian Eno’s stuff of course (my favorites being “Apollo,” the albums he did with Harold Budd, the side-two music from Bowie’s “Low,” and the “Fourth World: Possible Musics” album he did with Jon Hassell.)



Thus far, your literature has been very deeply rooted in music, especially shoegaze and dream pop, but your works are fictional literature based on characters - with musical accompaniment, if you will. However, with your Kickstarter project, the music itself plays a direct and much larger role in your work than ever before. Can you talk a little about that? Is this a one-off or experiment, or is it an intentional effort to make music the centerpiece of your creative efforts?


I did indeed want to start making music—and these collections of creative nonfiction about specific musical acts—the centerpiece of things now. I feel like I might be on a hiatus from writing novels, at least for another year or so. I’m slowly starting to think seriously about the topic and characters and plot of a new novel, but I’m also still quite excited by “The First Time I Heard” series. Right now, for instance, as I answer these questions, I have already finished (and published online) the first three books—the Joy Division, the Cocteau Twins, and the Bowie—and The Smiths will be coming probably within the next week or two. The Kate Bush is not long after that. But I’m excited, because just now I’m starting to collect essays for the next round of books in the series. I’m doing ones next on Abba, Roxy Music, R.E.M., My Bloody Valentine, Kraftwerk, and The Pixies.



What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop artists, any favorites?

I still listen to it all the time, although usually I’m a lot more excited by the bands that bend the genre slightly, that add new elements or instruments or atmospheres and take “shoegaze” to something entirely different. I like music that sounds something “close” to the traditional idea of classic shoegaze but could also be called things like space rock or freak folk or whatever one of the current silly labels might be. Last year, Kranky put out albums by Belong, Implodes, and Grouper, and I thought those were all astoundingly great, flirting with the broken shards of shoegaze, softening or quieting them or exploding them in screams, all very eerie and beautiful. Jesu makes music like that, too. I’ve also recently been fond of albums—for various reasons, and for various levels of “shoegaze” qualities—by Craft Spells, Minks, School of Seven Bells, Tammar, port-royal, Veronica Falls, epic45… the list goes on and on.
Can you recall any extremely notable live shoegaze acts you’ve seen, either early on or something more recently?

The three times I saw Slowdive blew my mind out of the top of my shuddering skull. I’ll never forget those. Pale Saints and Ride were both terrific when I saw them in NYC in the early 90s. Sadly, I was never lucky enough to catch My Bloody Valentine, so I’m praying I’ll still get the chance. Recently I’ve seen some pretty great reunion shows of shoegaze bands—Chapterhouse and Swervedriver were both fantastic.

(I’ll also say here that one of the biggest—if not THE biggest—thrills for me in doing this “First Time” project is that I was able to get a lot of those early 90s shoegaze bands to write pieces for the books in the series. Adam Franklin of Swervedriver wrote about Joy Division; Ian Masters of Pale Saints, Pete Fijalkowski of Adorable, and Dean Garcia of Curve all wrote about Cocteau Twins; Simon Scott of Slowdive wrote about The Smiths; all three of the remaining Lush members—Miki, Emma, and Phil—wrote essays, too. And so on, and so on. I’m still working on trying to get someone like, say, Bilinda Butcher or Steve Queralt for future editions!)



Whether or not you play music yourself (do you, by the way?), most gazer aficionados are so into certain soundscapes and distortions that they have a favorite piece of gear anyway. Is there a guitar/fx pedal/synth/whatever that you are particularly enamored with?

In college I played drums. I was in three different bands and I think I was actually quite good. I always say that at one point in my life I realized I was good at two things—playing drums and writing—but I guess I made the choice that writing was possibly had the potential to be more lucrative and less soul-destroying. I think I may have made the wrong choice, as I’m constantly feeling my soul destroyed by the self-doubt and paralyzing laziness that comes with trying to write novels. Who knows—I’ve made a lot of friends in bands I love, and I’m just hoping that one day one of them says “do you want to practice with us” or “why don’t you play guest drums on this track on our upcoming record”?

How do you feel about the state of the music industry today? There is no doubt a massive change underway; how do you see it and do you feel it’s positive at all? Would you view the Kickstarter project as part of/a result of that change?

Not sure I can provide the best answer for this, except to guess that if it’s anything like the world of publishing, and bands and musicians are losing contracts and labels and fans in the same way that perfectly good, talented, challenging novelists have recently lost book contracts and the like, then I’d imagine many musicians are also feeling deeply depressed and wishing, like many writers are wishing, they’d taken up home repair or airline piloting instead.

When it comes to record label releases versus DIY (Bandcamp, Soundcloud and the like), what is your stance, if any?

I’m getting more and more excited by DIY stuff. Anymore, with so much music downloaded from iTunes or eMusic or something like Bandcamp, I’m not even sure many people pay all that much close attention to label releases. I certainly have a small group of labels for which I’ll buy literally everything—Kranky and n5md are few of those, and often Darla and 4AD and a few other very small ones like Wayside & Woodland—but other than those, I don’t know if I really pay all that much attention to the label anymore.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

I prefer CD mostly. I buy a lot of things on mp3, though, just because I have limited space in my house. Again, though, on labels I love, I usually get the CD as well. And I’m a sucker for remastered box sets by bands I love. Of course I had to get the recent huge Kraftwerk box, the Smiths Complete, the weirdly packaged Durutti Column early albums on Factory, the Dead Can Dance Japanese audiofile remasters. Even Ride’s “Nowhere” with the hologram on the front—I had to have that!

The true mark of an obsessive music nerd (hey, that’s a compliment around here!) is the intense love of ranking things and making lists. Yes, I must ask you to do it – Name your top 10 shoegaze/dream pop acts of all time. (I know - so hard!)

Oh my god. Is that even possible? I know I’m going to leave someone out. And I just don’t know where to categorize the bands! Like, I love love love The Sundays—are they considered Dream Pop, and if so, wouldn’t they look weird in a list with MBV?



I suppose my list is pretty predictable, as it’s mostly “first wave” shoegaze. I’m not even sure what order to put it in. Or what bands… I mean, has anyone ever decided if Swervedriver is really “shoegaze”? How about “15 Essential Shoegaze or Shoegaze-Related Albums That Everyone Must Have”???

My Bloody Valentine, “Loveless”








Ride, “Nowhere”








Cocteau Twins, “Heaven or Las Vegas”






Slowdive, “Souvlaki”






Jesus & Mary Chain, “Psychocandy”






Swervedriver, “Mezcal Head”






Pale Saints, “In Ribbons”






Flying Saucer Attack, “Further”






Curve, “Doppelganger”






Bowery Electric, “Beat”






Seefeel, “Quique”






Lilys, “In the Presence of Nothing”








Lush, “Split”






Chapterhouse, “Whirlpool”






Bailter Space, “Robot World”





What are your goals for 2012?

Finish more of these “First Time” books, and think a little harder about a new novel of my own. Travel somewhere I haven’t been. Be a better friend to my close friends and the person I love. Stop getting so stressed and depressed about the state of the world and about the dangerously scary push toward backward-thinking conservative American politics.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

I never can think of a good answer for this question. It’s always changing, I suppose. When I need an answer for this, I usually read the lyrics of a musician I love to the point of worship: late-period Mark Hollis, for instance.