Feature Friday- Time Columns

Posted: April 15, 2011 by Is This Revolutionary? in Interview
Tags: , , , ,

Wow, it’s been a while. Almost forgot what it was like to put up an interview. This time, Joe sat down with Kenny Eaton, one half of the incredible 2-piece post-rock band Time Columns, as they prepare for their upcoming release. Featured in this interview are exclusive recording session photos, graciously given to us by Time Columns, for a first-time look at their studio sessions for our readers.

Joe: Tell us about the origins of Time Columns.
Kenny: The band got started back in 2009 as a means of performing some solo looping material I came up with after my previous band had broken up. I was studying music at Peabody at the time and had grown extremely frustrated with how difficult it was to organize practices, schedule shows and take care of all the administrative aspects of being in a band that wasn’t into that side of things as much as I was. Long story short, I got fed up with being the guy working harder than everybody else in the band, so I went off on my own path to make music independently. I discovered the creative possibilities of looping through the band Battles and immediately got my first Echoplex. This let me loop musical phrases and build atmospheres that made it appear like I was more than one guy noodling on guitar. I drew influences from composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass that would use tape loops and repetition as a compositional tool. After doing my own thing for a while, I wanted to start a band and actually make music with real humans again. That’s when I added a drummer and started writing new material. Time Columns was the product of all this gobbly-gook. Jordan joined the band after the first drummer left to produce hip-hop full time.

J: Your Sunriseinthesea debut EP was a huge success, drawing in fans internationally. Now with such a solid, cult fanbase (myself included), what are your plans for this year?
K: Our fans are great, they really inspire us to keep going and working hard on our music. It’s a personal relationship and we feel responsible in some ways to our fans to inspire them as much as they inspire us. Both Jordan and I are very proud of the songs on Sunriseinthesea, but we really wanted to write new material that reflects how we have grown as musicians since that release.

This year is a busy one for us. We are currently in the studio recording our next album which is due out in July. The album will be released with a special music video that we’re also very excited about. Also, we’ve been building a campaign of visual artists who will be releasing art simultaneously with individual songs from our album, so this release will take a multimedia approach spanning across visual and audio mediums. Our album art is being done by Benjamin Fenstermaker, an amazing artist from Philadelphia. He’s also designing a custom poster for the album release, as well as a limited pressing of a hand-printed poster he designed. Ben is epically talented. We’ve added a lot of new people into the process of creation on this album, so we’re very excited to see what people think once it’s all done.

J:Tell us a little bit about the new album you’re working on?
K: The new album is being recorded in the Lehigh Valley – a beautiful mountain area in Pennsylvania – with Emmy Award Winning producer and sound engineer Harry Snodgrass and his production team. The album will have seven tracks. We just recently finished our first tracking session and we can already tell an enormous difference in quality compared to the last record, both songwriting- and production-wise. Our producer is a mad man – he did the sound for Aliens 3, Napoleon Dynamite and a bunch of other major films. Harry is enormously talented and very open to experimentation, just like we are. He came up with the idea of building a tunnel to extend Jordan’s bass drum using the shells of five other bass drums and putting mics at different stages to get an insanely fat kick sound. No joke, the low frequencies shook the foundation of the building. It was kind of scary! Something like 19 mics were used on his drums alone. In combination with Harry’s expertise with sound effects and film, this philosophy of experimentation and attention to detail is really going to make this coming album something special.

Our overall concept with the album is to move from the water-themed aesthetic of Sunriseinthesea into a more earth-themed aesthetic with this upcoming album. Stylistically, the songs are definitely in a similar vein as our previous material, but much more mature in my opinion. Whereas the last album focused on complexity first and songwriting second, we kind of flipped that hierarchy on this record. The songs are much more cohesive and mature, but at the same time we’ve added way more technicality and musical elements to it. Synthesizer and keyboard has a larger role this time since I’ve grown more comfortable on the instrument and since Jordan has joined the band. Jordan plays synth and guitar on a couple songs, which really fills out the space even more.

Jordan’s presence on the new album is really apparent on this new album, at least to my ears so far. He’s a jack of all trades – he’s the best drummer I know, he plays guitar, piano and a slew of other instruments, and on top all that, he’s got a unique and memorable voice. One of the new songs called “Luma” has vocals throughout the piece, which straight up would not have been possible on our last release since I suck at singing. Now before everyone freaks out about vocals on our new album, realize that we were very careful not to “mess up” our formula as a band which has worked well for us in the past. Jordan’s vocals fit into songs in a tasteful way and we still focus primarily on instrumentality and technicality in the song. Imagine “Luma” as a combination of Animal Collective vocals meets Battles rhythms followed up by instrumental buildups in the vein of Explosions in the Sky and the technicality of the Fall of Troy. It’s different, but it’s good. It won’t suck! I promise! [Editor’s note: if it sucks, we’re dropping our endorsement. Those Time Columns bobble-heads are going straight back to the manufacturer.]

J: I understand you guys run a music festival called FredRock. What is FredRock?
K: Yes, sir, we run monthly underground music festivals called FredRock in our hometown Frederick, MD. I started throwing festivals about a year and half ago as a way of mobilizing our music scene into a venue that didn’t require presale tickets or have age restrictions. I wanted to create a space for art and music to be made freely without all the pressures that tear on artists out in the real world. We have about twenty bands play all day from noon to midnight and we give a portion of the door proceeds to an HIV/AIDs organization in Uganda called TASAAGA that my girlfriend works for. Lots of great bands have played there, mostly local and regional, but also some bigger touring bands from New York, Tennessee, Massachussetts, etc. We’ll be releasing our album at the FredRock Festival in July.

J: Are you guys planning a tour this summer?
Yes. We’ll be touring a bunch throughout the summer. Currently we have some dates set up in New York City, Boston and Providence with our buddies in Zvoov, Mother Night and A Troop of Echoes in June and July. We’re also planning on touring with our good friends Until Sunrise, who is another excellent post rock band from our area. We’ll be revealing our tour dates in the next month or two after the first stages of recording are completed. We’ll be focusing on the Northeast, Midwest and down south through the East Coast. [Editor’s note: Shameless self-promotion on Joe’s part. That’s my boy.]

J: You guys have such a unique sound. Who or what do you credit as influences?
K: It’s always weird to answer questions like this just because writing music is such an enigmatic thing that you can’t put a finger on. I can’t really explain it, it just sort of happens. I think most musicians who write original music are the same way.

That said, I think Jordan and I have been influenced most importantly by composers like Steve Reich and Igor Stravinsky. We both grew up playing in rock bands, but we also both had deep relationships with classical music. I studied composition at Peabody Conservatory before focusing on my studies at Johns Hopkins, but during that time I started to get comfortable manipulating larger bodies of instruments and phrasing as a composer. During that time I was listening to a lot of progressive bands like Battles, Maps and Atlases, Coheed and Cambria and King Crimson as well as post rock bands like Toe, Explosions in the Sky and 65daysofstatic, so I think that combination of modern classical and progressive/post rock influences played a big part in how we came to be as a band. Toe has come to be one of our biggest influences in the last couple months. That band is amazing, we want to go to Japan and tour with them.

J: What’s your favorite Time Columns song to listen to and/or play live?
K: One of the new songs off our upcoming album called “Lights at Rendlesham” is my favorite to play live. We’ve literally only played it once to a live crowd just because we’re waiting to premiere most of our new material at the album release, but it’s a real blast to play. It’s much more technical than our old songs, even more than “Hundred Flowers”, and it has a really emotional post rock buildup at the end.

From our old album, my favorite song to play live is probably “Fall”. The ending is one of my favorite moments during our live sets. It’s hard to pick though, I really enjoy performing all of our material live.

J.
Studio Updates: http://timecolumns.tumblr.com/
Free Album Downloads: http://timecolumns.bandcamp.com/
Merchandise: http://timecolumns.bigcartel.com/
Daily Musings: http://www.facebook.com/timecolumns
Tour Dates: http://www.myspace.com/timecolumns
Last.FM: http://www.last.fm/music/time+columns
Live Video: http://www.youtube.com/user/timecolumns

Comments
  1. […] our review for their first EP: HERE and our interview with them: HERE (with the late Joe […]

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