Friday, October 26, 2007

Mini-Interview: Nightfur

It’s hard not to fall for Nightfur’s recently-released debut She Lives, what with its winsomely melancholic heart, smarty pants lyrics, and fuzzy 60s psyche pop sound...

It’s one of those rare albums where you have a difficult -- but pleasant -- time picking your favorite track from its numerous charmers.

Like the sad but danceable Break of Day or Judy, where lead Jason Brown reminisces sweetly, “It’s been so long since you went away, but I can still feel us out on the dance floor…”

We checked in with Jason earlier this week -- over AIM during our respective lunch breaks -- in order to learn more about where the band’s been and where they’re headed next.

nightfur: Ok.
nightfur: I'm here.
RFSL: Great. Where do you work, Jason?
nightfur: I'm the researcher on a really amazing Universal film based on a popular children’s book series.
nightfur: but I'm switching films Monday for a new gig with the Zemeckis gang.
nightfur: Things are crazy busy these days.
RFSL: Ahhh.
RFSL: Is that how you ended up out here?
nightfur: film
nightfur: Yeah.
nightfur: For the past few years mostly working on these performance capture films like Beowulf and Monster House. Although I worked as a producer at MTV Networks when I first started.
nightfur: Fun for a day job.
RFSL: What's your main goal? Film or music?
nightfur: I'd say I follow both paths simultaneously...
nightfur: bouncing one off of the other.
nightfur: I actually am directing my first feature length indie in 2007.
nightfur: 2008.
nightfur: I mean!
RFSL: Excellent. What's it called?
nightfur: I named the band after that project actually.
nightfur: Nightfur.
RFSL: So, I guess you're doing all the music for it?
nightfur: Some of our tunes explain some of the back story, etc.
RFSL: What's the story? What's the name from?
nightfur: I will write tunes for it. Score, too.
nightfur: However we are working to assemble a soundtrack right now with some larger artists.
nightfur: Nightfur is the name of a rather important element in the story.
nightfur: It is a surreal romance film
nightfur: Creighton Barrett in Band Of Horses will play one of the lead roles (tour schedule permitting).
RFSL: So you wrote the script for the film first and then came up with the band?
nightfur: Well, about a year ago I was kicking around some new song ideas and also was writing this screenplay with Jeter Rhodes. So you could say they kind of fed off of each other... Yes, Nightfur was the movie before it was the band name.
RFSL: So, how did the band come together?
nightfur: I had played with Matt Groller (drums) in a prior band [and] we soon found a positive creative connection. We branched out on our own, forming the group. We continually collaborate on other art projects too.
nightfur: He's this amazing painter that's done pieces for Rolling Stone and Playboy, just to name some... So you can imagine the kind of creative mind Matt is.
nightfur: Skot Gillies (bass) is a childhood friend of Matt's, so the two share some deep history. I think that is an important element of our band. You just can't beat jamming with a drummer and bass player who go way back. They can read each other's minds.
RFSL: So, you've been playing out since February?
nightfur: Yes.
RFSL: Who did you record the album with? What was the process like?
nightfur: I used pro tools and a Tascam 4-track…
nightfur: An assortment of mics…
nightfur: Did some interesting stuff to the drums with wooden panels…
RFSL: So it was pretty low-tech.
nightfur: Yes, but I feel that actually helped support the sound style we were aiming for. I love classic rock and oldies and thought "Damn, we have better gear than what The Beatles used for Rubber Soul". So I actually would have been happier with even lower tech gear.
nightfur: If you nerd out too much while recording, I feel it's easy to lose touch with the emotion that comes out while playing. You end up memorizing the moves too much.
RFSL: You prefer it to be more organic.
nightfur: Yes, organic for sure.
nightfur: After all, one doesn't calculate the sound of their laughter or the timing of their tears, do they?
RFSL: I've been describing you guys as having a 60s psyche rock sound. Would you say that's appropriate?
nightfur: Sure, I'd describe it how you see it.
nightfur: Or hear it I should say…
nightfur: I'm not sure how psyche we really are, but people have said that before.
RFSL: What is it about that period in music that clicks for you?
nightfur: I tend to enjoy music with a touch of innocence, that seems to be sheltering a much deeper mysterious source.
nightfur: I feel that a lot of the music of the 50's and 60's sounded just like that…
nightfur: Maybe it was from oppression? Or social awakening?
nightfur: I'm a big fan of harmonies.
nightfur: Vocal or guitar.
nightfur: Sometimes I don't want to lean so vintage-heavy, but its hard to get away from when its' all you listen to.
RFSL: Who are some of your favorite artists from that time?
nightfur: Wow. Well, my favorite artists list isn't that different from what you’d expect.
nightfur: The Beatles, The Who, Simon & Garfunkel, The Kinks, Cream…
nightfur: I'm also a big Tom Petty fan, Zappa, early Genesis…
nightfur: but there are some great bands coming up these days…
nightfur: Many that are showcased through RFSL.
RFSL: Which bands?
nightfur: I listen to a lot of Lucy Langlas. I've had the opportunity to collaborate with her recently and it’s just been an amazing experience. We plan to release some music very soon. The Stevenson Ranch Davidians and The Karabal Nightlife are some other groups we play with frequently who share many of the same influences. Jesse Davis actually played bass with us recently at a Bordello gig. He’s amazingly talented.
RFSL: Oh, meant to ask you earlier... What's the name of the band from?
nightfur: The band is named after a feature length film I will direct in 2008.
RFSL: Oh, I mean, what does it mean?
nightfur: oh
nightfur: Well, let's see.
nightfur: I suppose I should ask "what does it mean to you?"
RFSL: People seem to take it as being vaguely sexual in nature.
nightfur: I see that for sure.
nightfur: However that wasn't entirely intended, but one of the draws of those two words combined.
RFSL: What's next for you guys?
nightfur: I've have many new songs written and I plan to make a slight change of style for our next release. It may be more acoustic-oriented, a bit less "in your face." However, there will be lots of interesting sounds for people to check out for sure. I’m planning for a lot more female voices.
nightfur: Change is good, right?
RFSL: Definitely.
RFSL: Cool. Well, thanks for your time, Jason.
nightfur: Thanks. My pleasure.

- Circles MP3


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