Friday, May 05, 2006

Mini-Interview: Foreign Born

Too often when a friend asks you what a group sounds like, you end up using other bands to describe them. "They’re a bit of Wolf Parade and The Pixies mixed together." "They’re like Public Image Ltd meets Explosions in the Sky." "You remember GWAR? They’re like that, but with less blood and phalluses..."

But try doing that with local indie rock act Foreign Born and you’ll come up short, because their mix of haunting vocals, plaintive guitar, full bass, and heavy beat sound fairly unique among bands both past and present.

So, we asked Foreign Born’s bass player Ariel Rechtshaid about the origins of the band’s distinct sound, how they formed, and what’s next for them. We had questions, he had answers.

You just got back in the US. How did the UK tour go? Was this your first time abroad with the band?

The tour was great. This was our first legitimate time abroad. We had been flown out once for a couple of club nights but nothing like this.

We had two tours back-to-back, the first opening for We Are Scientists and the second supporting Giant Drag. At first we weren't sure if we were making much of an impact because the W.A.S. shows were so huge (average of 2,500) and everyone was clearly there to see them, but luckily we returned to a lot of the same cities with Giant Drag and were greated by many repeat customers. The Giant Drag shows were much more intimate and it was great to meet all the kids that were really loving our music. The tours proved very effective and great fun.

So you guys finished up some recordings recently with the intention of creating a full album, right? How’s that progressing? When can we expect that out?

The final stage of finessing was cut off by these recent tours but now that we're back it should be completed and mixed in the next couple of weeks. As for a release date, it's hard to say at this point. We're hoping for late summer/early fall.

Is that going to have any material from your EPs or all new songs?

Mostly new songs although a couple songs from our EPs may surface.

How long have you guys been together as a group? What brought you together?

We've been together for about two years now. Lewis (guitar) and Matt (vocals) met in University of San Francisco and started writing songs together. Lewis, who had been a good friend of mine since high school, asked me if I would record some of these songs. When I heard the material, I was floored and quickly invited myself and friend Garrett (drums) into the band. They moved down to LA to join Garrett and I after graduation and we've been playing together ever since.

It’s pretty tough to figure out your influences because you don’t really sound similar to any other bands. Who would you say they are, either directly or indirectly?

It's a very large pool of influences we draw from. On any given day you can catch us listening to the likes of Chameleons, Echo and the Bunnymen, Townes Van Zandt, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Konono, Willie Nelson, The Fall, Harry Nilsson, Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush, and The Happy Mondays. The list goes on and on.

When's your next show here in Los Angeles? Any residencies planned?

Nothing planned right now. Our focus is to complete the record. We might pop up in some club night trying out some of the new material. Who knows? (Check our web-site and myspace page for updates.)

And last question: Who are some of your favorite bands in LA right now?

The Blood Arm, Cass Mccombs, In Waves. There are probably some others but I can't think right now.

That's it. Thanks for your time, Ariel.


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