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02 November 2014

WTSH Interviews Rescue Mission.

When The Sun Hits Interviews 
Rescue Mission

Austin-based Rescue Mission was formed in 2005 by Chad Pearman and Jason Fenimore. The band spent the following two years completing their self-titled debut LP, which they released in 2007. With a sound that is equal parts post-punk and shoegaze, Rescue Mission immediately resonated with listeners and embarked on a US tour to promote the new album with Bird (Mark Burgess, Chameleons). In 2009, a solidified lineup emerged for Rescue Mission, consisting of Chad Pearman, Jason Fenimore, Brandon O'Leary, and Gabriel Barrientes. 2011 saw Rescue Mission complete their second album, Impossible Objects. A fifth member, Greta Garretson, recently joined the group on keyboards and the band continues to perform live, most recently with the legendary Swans and ChameleonsVox.   

In 2013 WTSH proudly featured Rescue Mission on 300,000: A Compilation,Vol. 2

How and when was the band formed?

Jason: 2005, in a record store.  Chad and I got to talking.
Chad: Yeah, I worked there and Jason came in to buy records often.  I had expressed my frustrations going through countless bass player auditions.  Finally Jason asked me, “Are you going to ask me to join, or not?”  I just figured he had his hands full with other projects.  There were no more auditions after that point.  I had worked with each original member in a different project at one point or another.

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

Jason: We recently gained a new member, Greta Garretson on keyboards.  We tried it as a four piece, but we realized this band needs someone on keys.  So, she is most welcomed.  Currently we're working on material for the third album.  These songs are featured in our live sets.

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?

Jason:  We don't associate with any particular scene.  Our music is written by members that share many of the same touchstones of music.  One of those markers is shoegaze, but it is not the sole element of what we do.  We are the sum of our parts.  Genres provide an easier point of reference in the exchange.  However, we also enjoy listening to pop, rock, jazz, classical, soundtracks, etc.  Music gets the brain going, and maybe even the heart and soul in some people.  Now that's psychedelic.

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

RM:  A Place To Bury Strangers, Mary Onettes, Wild Nothing, Radio Department.  We're glad that vibe persists.

You’ve toured with The Chameleons in the past. What was that like? Any great stories from the road to share?

RM:  Yes.  To be clear, our first Chameleons experience was with Mark Burgess' side project, “Bird,” which included Yves Altana and Achim Faerber.  They did most of their Invincible material with a few Chameleons songs.  We provided the support slot each night.  We closed our sets with A View From A Hill with Mr. Burgess guesting almost every night.

We got lucky a second time when we were invited to open for ChameleonsVox and Black Swan Lane.  Both bands utilized the skills of John Lever on drums.  Needless to say, there was some electricity in the air those nights.

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

RM:  Reverb, chorus, delay, overdrive, hollow bodies and reverb.  We use a mix of digital and analog gear.  And let's be clear, we are not purists.  No matter what gear you have, if you can't write and play a decent tune, it will be apparent.

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

RM:  We blend professional studio with home recordings.  After the recordings were done for the last album, Impossible Objects, we sent them off to Yves Altana to mix and co-produce.  Having toured with him, we knew he understood our sound.  Having a different set of ears was advantageous.

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

Jason:  There's still a music industry?  I believe the change is already here and still moving.  There are a few positives remaining.  DIY is old hat though.  People have been doing it since the beginning.  Again, it comes down to the songs.  The songs are shared by the performer and the listener.  The only reason to step outside with one's music is the hope that there is a listener, an appreciator.  It's the hope of a communication.  What happens from there is business.  The artist will inevitably find themselves in an exchange where the other party truly values their work, or does not.

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

Jason: Each format has its place and time.  However, mp3 is the inferior format for sonic quality.
Chad:  I was a record jockey for years so I will always have a loyalty to vinyl.  I have really enjoyed taking part in the whole 180 gram vinyl reissues.  Not every remaster is good obviously, but LP records that are pressed today are noticeably superior to those of yesteryear.

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

Chad:  Collectively, we really like a lot of stuff, so it’s hard to pin it down for us.  The earliest concepts for our sound embodied a range of influences from British post-punk bands like The Cure, 90’s guitar bands like Catherine Wheel, but the songs have always seemed to come together without referencing influences.  One thing I have come to learn in this band is that if you observe five different people talking about our sound, they will always mention different influences they think we pull from, and I am humbled by that.

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

Chad:  Jason, Brandon and myself are all principle writers for the group.  The three of us work on our demos individually and bring it to the rest of the band.  We collaborate to a point, but every song is more or less started by one of the three of us.  I tend to select the demos that I can see becoming future album tracks.
Jason:  Regarding the new songs, I was adamant about the music being something we hadn't done before.  Obviously, we still sound like Rescue Mission, but we wanted the songs and performances to grow and hopefully move somewhere else.

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

Chad:  I have always enjoyed the Albert Camus quote; “There is no sun without shadow, and it is essential to know the night.”
Jason:  That's a good one.  I hadn't heard it before.  Currently, I'm enjoying a Robert Fripp quote; "As a younger man, if I did not hear no, I assumed yes.  As an older man, if I do not hear yes, I assume no."

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