L: When I was quite young, my family moved into a new house where the previous owner had left an upright piano. I started taking piano lessons then and continued doing so all through high school. In college, I moved to California and decided to re-invent myself...part of that re-invention was taking up guitar, bass, and drums. These days, sadly my piano chops are quite rusty. My earliest musical memories are mostly shaped by my piano lessons...lots of Bach preludes and such..though my parents had a great collection of 60s albums from their youth back then as well. K: I've always been into music in some capacity. My father is enthusiastic about it, and it rubs off on me, I think. I remember listening to music at the dinner table and him falling asleep with his headphones on. I've done that from time to time. But I first got into playing when I received a piano for my 6th birthday, and I was trained in classical and jazz until I was 18. I'm really not all that great at reading music, as a lot of what I learned was by ear and I mimicked my teachers. I learned to play clarinet while in junior high and did for a long time, playing in every type of band you can imagine- marching, symphony, orchestra, show choir...everything. Music took up a lot of my time. I started writing songs when I was too young to even know what I was writing about, and played solo open mic nights for several years-- until I formed a band at 17. I learned to play bass, and started a pop band with one of my best friends. We kept at it until she got too busy with med school. I worked at an instrument shop in high school too, and there I picked up my first guitar and four track and did that for a while, but I think at this point, I've gone back full circle and enjoy playing keyboard as my main instrument. I feel most comfortable there. S. Who writes the songs in the band? How do you decide on the "feel" and "mood" for each song? How long does it take to complete the recording of a song? Do you ever disagree over the production/ sound of a song? K: A simple answer would be that I write the songs, and Lisle helps arrange them. But I would say that it's truly a collaborative process. The songs either start with the keyboards or drums first, and the feel is really based on what's going on in my life at the time. Some songs will take a couple of hours, others might take a month. It all depends on how happy we are with the track. It sounds cliche, but you just know when a song comes out as you intended. L: While I don't think we've ever had a deadlock disagreement, with both of us being multi-instrumentalists, there's a lot of back and forth with ideas. We both have our own tendencies that are always a give-and-take: I tend toward sounds that resolve, whereas Kristine prefers dissonant and unexpected chord structures. S. Which artists inspired you to seriously start making music? What bands do you like at the moment? Do you think of yourselves as indiepop? What are your thoughts regarding the current indiepop scene? Is it a different scene in America to the UK and Europe? K: Tiny Fireflies as a concept was a brainchild of Knut from Eardrums, really. It was just two musicians getting together. And that's what we did. L: Once we decided to continue working together and making the collaboration a full-on band, I think the sonic inspiration came from from late-period Joy Division and the first few New Order LPs. I love the sound of those old warbly string synthesizers and early drum machines. We both agreed that there's no point in writing songs if they doesn't mean anything, so we wanted to create a kind of synth-focused pop that wasn't sterile and detached, but that had feeling. A lot of those old machines have a lot of feeling that I think modern ones lack..there's a fragility to them. It's a similar place that the songs are coming from, so it's a natural fit, rather than something arbitrary. In terms of scenes, I guess to me, it's possible to disambiguate indiepop as a scene vs. indiepop as a sound..the "scene" is like minded people coming together over a wide variety of shared interests...including a wide variety of music. When we're with people at pop events around the world, we feel like we're around kindred spirits, and so whether or not we fit with a particular definition of indiepop sound (of which I'm sure there are many varying opinions as to what that entails), we feel very thankful to be part of that scene. In fact, I'm thankful to have people be interested in our music at all...let alone such nice people! S. Are you ambitious? What are your future plans for the group? New recordings? Records? Does the group take up a lot of your time? Do you have day jobs? L: We just moved and finishing putting together a dedicated studio space for making music, so I'd say the immediate goal is to use that to put together a full-length album. We both have day jobs that take up a lot of time though, so it's sporadic. Staying up until 2:00am working on a new song means being very sleepy at work the next day, so we have to pace ourselves. K: I've been very lucky to be able to pursue music in some capacity. Being able to share my music with others has given me so many opportunities to see new places and meet people, and I would love to tour again. If I could do this full time, I would. It's my dream job. S. Finally, what is Chicago like for music? What do you like to do away from the world of music? Any hobbies? What are your favourite books and films? K: Chicago has been good to us musically. We play our favorite venues, and have shared stages with some of our favorite touring bands. There's a lot of bands in this city though, and there is some difficulty in standing out from the crowd, but we never had goals of being some huge Chicago band. Roque (of Cloudberry Records) came to visit me one summer, and upon his visit said in his Cloudberry blog that he was surprised that the music we made came from where we lived. So, I wouldn't say Chicago really shapes us. I think we're just a band that happens to reside in Chicago. Away from music, I'm really into collecting mid century modern and Danish furniture and kitchenware. I like Godard-- which is probably obvious with the Change cover. I also have an unhealthy obsession with dresses. It's a well known fact that I rarely ever wear pants. If I do, it's probably because I am not feeling well. I also like to listen to the same record over and over again for weeks. Right now, I can't stop listening to "Speaking In Tongues" by Talking Heads. I probably won't stop listening to that until I learn all of the bass lines. L: Outside of musicland, I'm not sure I have much time left for other hobbies..though I have been known to waste a lot of time with Nintendo games. Maybe that's why I don't know where my time goes. My favourite authors are Haruki Murakami, Hermann Hesse and Richard Brautigan. My favourite film-makers are Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola and Hayao Miyazaki. I studied art in college, so I should also probably plug Swiss graphic design and Yoshitomo Nara. Thank you Kristine and Lisle for taking the time to answer my questions. Interesting and great fun! Tiny Fireflies have kindly let me post my favourite song by them. "We Made A Pact" is an absolute masterpiece in dreamy pop perfection. Tiny Fireflies - We Made A Pact *** In other news, I just had to post this song by Monster Movie after being alerted to it by Gary Dufflecoat. It is absolutely brilliant! Monster Movie - Vanishing Act
Saturday, 6 October 2012
Nobody knows me, it's how I wanna be
Tiny Fireflies are one of my favourite bands at the moment. I love the dreamy ambience of the songs and sound.