Friday, January 12, 2007

Mini-Interview: Thailand

I heart Thailand and I don't care who knows it... I’ve loved the demo tracks they posted online more than a year ago, was really impressed by them when I saw them play live late last year, and basically talk them up to everyone every opportunity I get.

Somehow we've never interviewed them for the site, though. So I recently asked a few questions to this LA band whose somehow made it okay to like electronic rock again.

Hi, Staci. Hi, Marc. How’re you doing these days?

We’re good, thanks.

So, how did the two of you begin making music?

Marc: My dad was a one-man lounge act in Florida, and when he wasn’t playing revolving rooftop restaurants and old-school Italian joints, his rig resided in our living room. So I grew up with loads of analog gear – Korgs and Arps and drum machines, a set of vibes.

He taught me the circle of fifths on a Wurly and I was hooked. Stace started really young with piano lessons, recitals, competitions, the whole bit. But instead of music school, she ended up in Music City, which is where we met.

How did you begin making music together?

Staci: We were living together in Louisville but playing in separate bands at the time. When we decided to get married, as a “gift” for our wedding guests, we made a three-song CD with a rented stage mic and a digital four-track. After that, we started a new band together and played for about a year before the two of us moved out here. We kept making music as a duo until the Thailand thing.

What have you been trying to accomplish musically with the band?

Marc: We’re still figuring it out. Our basic hope is not to get lost in the swamp. Though the digital age definitely has its advantages for musicians, it also seems to have turned “being in a band” into another recreational activity. There’s so much output. We just want to be one of the ones worth listening to, record a proper album someday, play a good live show, make people feel something, whatever it may be.

You've primarily been a studio (or home studio?) band so far, correct?

Staci: Yeah, we’ve been largely holed up in our apartment since moving to L.A., but that’s starting to change. It’s good to get out again. We haven’t played in a band with live drums for a while, and it alters the whole spirit, of course. But in a very good way, we think.

You started playing live shows a year ago with a different line-up. What's changed since then?

Staci: Well, we played some shows as a quartet last fall with a couple talented friends of ours, Russell Sanzgiri and Adrianna Granville. Marc and I were actually on the verge of moving to Toronto at that time, but it fell through at the last minute, so the whole band thing sort of got reconceived.

The two of us decided to record a full-length album instead. This summer we started looking for more of a rock rhythm section and were very happy to find Daniel Goldblatt and Eddie Random, our drummer and bassist.

Your album has been more than a year in the making. What's the process been like? When's it due out?

Marc: The curse of the bedroom composer. You’re not paying for studio time, so you throw a lot of shit at the wall and see what sticks. We lost our hard drive about halfway through the year, but it was probably a good thing. There was a lot of fickleness because we were writing most of it as we recorded and constantly scrapping ideas, but we’re pretty happy with the end result.

The process itself was pretty insular. We were the bassist, the “drummer,” the recording engineer, etc., all much to the chagrin of our downstairs neighbor. Sonically it’s a step up from the demo but still very homemade. We’ve just gotten our master back and are putting the album art together, so we’ll have our CDs in January.

One of the songs you've had on your myspace page didn't make it onto the album. Why didn't it make the cut?

Marc: At the Expo. Lyrically, it just felt out of place with the rest of the stuff we were doing. Daniel and Eddie call it our Philip K. Dick song. Very sci-fi.

It’s funny, though, we continue to play it, and they’ve breathed a whole new life into it. Now it’s one of our favorites again. Maybe we’ll put it on the next album.

What's next for you? I know I'd love to see you guys do a residency at Spaceland or The Echo.

Staci: Now that the record's finished, we're just ready to concentrate on playing out and getting good at it. We'd definitely love to do a show at Spaceland or The Echo sometime.

What were your favorite albums of 2006?

Marc: The Thermals, The Body, The Blood, The Machine; Islands, Return to the Sea; The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America; Tapes ‘n Tapes, The Loon; Josef K, Entomology (anthology of a great '80s band); Billy Bragg, Volume 1 reissues!

Last question: Who are you listening to these days?

Marc: Young Marble Giants, Scritti Politti, The Futureheads’ underrated second album, King Biscuit Time, The Streets, and a good deal of Echo and the Bunnymen, especially Ocean Rain.

That's it! Thanks for your time!

Thank you, Joe!

Thailand will play next here in LA at El Cid on February 9th with Radars to the Sky.

MP3: At The Expo (You Send It link)


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