Friday, February 08, 2008

Mini-Interview: Letting Up Despite Great Faults

It’s been said before and probably much better, but one of the best things about the current east LA music scene is how varied it is. There’s not just one generic local brand that all the bands here subscribe to and emulate, and on any given night you can hear a host of groups who are distinctly different.

Take indie pop act Letting Up Despite Great Faults, who CNET said “deliver ambient bedroom pop for electronic dreamers” and whom we spoke with over Instant Message recently...

LUDGF (7:30:06 PM): Hey, Joe. It's Mike.
RFSL (7:31:06 PM): Hey, Mike!
RFSL (7:31:09 PM): How's it going?
LUDGF (7:31:43 PM): Good, How are you?
RFSL (7:32:12 PM): It's really nice to not be moving, travelling, or on deadline.
LUDGF (7:32:30 PM): Ooo ouch.
LUDGF (7:32:46 PM): Where are you moving to?
RFSL (7:32:51 PM): Had all three either concurrently or in a row recently.
RFSL (7:33:07 PM): I moved from one side of the Silver Lake reservoir to the other.
LUDGF (7:33:09 PM): Damn.
RFSL (7:33:11 PM): Near Red Lion now.
LUDGF (7:33:15 PM): No way.
LUDGF (7:33:16 PM): Me, too.
RFSL (7:33:30 PM): Ha!
RFSL (7:33:52 PM): We're neighbors.
LUDGF (7:33:53 PM): Awesome.
LUDGF (7:34:00 PM): Sweet!
RFSL (7:34:37 PM): So, how long have you been making music? How did you start?
LUDGF (7:35:09 PM): I'm always been writing, i guess since high school…
LUDGF (7:35:41 PM): but i never really got serious about it until around a few years ago.
LUDGF (7:37:03 PM): I was going to graduate school at the time and I just began writing so much that my schoolwork was suffering. I would be up at 4am and not be prepared for the 5-person seminar discussion the next day.
RFSL (7:37:07 PM): Is that when you started up Letting Up Despite Great Faults?
LUDGF (7:37:25 PM): yeah
LUDGF (7:37:44 PM): I decided to drop out of school and spend all that energy into Letting Up.
LUDGF (7:38:43 PM): it was actually a really easy decision to quit school
RFSL (7:38:58 PM): Was it just you at the start?
LUDGF (7:39:07 PM): Yeah, I wrote a handful of songs and recorded them on my own.
LUDGF (7:40:57 PM): I sent a couple songs to Mark at Music for Robots and he seemed to enjoy them and then other things started happening and I decided to take it a little more seriously.
LUDGF (7:41:40 PM): I still feel like the songs are just songs I write at home. I think it's easy to think of musicians as more romantic than it is.
RFSL (7:41:57 PM): When did you add more members and start playing out?
LUDGF (7:42:23 PM): Not too long after.
LUDGF (7:42:38 PM): I met Patrick through a cellist who used to play with me
LUDGF (7:42:59 PM): I met Kent (bass) through craigslist
LUDGF (7:43:45 PM): I've actually played with probably more than fifteen different people on stage under Letting Up - but I feel a strong connection w/ Patrick (guitar) and Kent
LUDGF (7:44:32 PM): They were definitely an integral part in our only release (Movement).
RFSL (7:45:11 PM): 15 people!
LUDGF (7:45:14 PM): Yeah, my favorite was probably playing w/a vibraphonist.
RFSL (7:46:32 PM): Are you a stern taskmaster?
LUDGF (7:46:55 PM): I don't know... I think there were probably times I was too overdramatic or unnecessarily frustrated by things
LUDGF (7:47:10 PM): Somehow I can't let bad sound go.
LUDGF (7:47:26 PM): but, in the end, it's really not big deal.
LUDGF (7:47:29 PM): *no
RFSL (7:47:31 PM): Heh. Do you have a core in your current line-up?
LUDGF (7:47:52 PM): It's definitely Patrick, Kent, and myself.
LUDGF (7:48:12 PM): We have our friend Colin helping us out with keys and that's been really fun.
LUDGF (7:48:35 PM): I probably don't emphasize live-stuff too much
LUDGF (7:48:44 PM): my head is really buried in my computer
RFSL (7:48:50 PM): Cool. How did the EP come together?
LUDGF (7:48:57 PM): Really simply actually.
LUDGF (7:49:09 PM): Just seven songs that I wrote.
LUDGF (7:50:31 PM): I guess Letting Up is a little different than most of the bands you post in that we're not really a rock band... a lot of production is done by me and that's really how our sound is defined
LUDGF (7:50:52 PM): We don't have songs ready and then go into a studio and record.
LUDGF (7:51:16 PM): The songs are getting recorded as they're written, to some extent.
RFSL (7:51:45 PM): Ahh.
RFSL (7:51:53 PM): Were any of the songs off the EP the ones you sent to Music For Robots when you started?
LUDGF (7:52:29 PM): Yeah, they've featured If You're Here Today and I Hear Drowning But I'm Tied.
LUDGF (7:53:08 PM): Drowning also made it onto NPR and Ben Gibbard's top 10 list.
RFSL (7:53:16 PM): That's fantastic.
LUDGF (7:53:23 PM): That was really nice.
RFSL (7:53:28 PM): So you've been working on a new EP? Or is it an album?
LUDGF (7:53:48 PM): Honestly, an album sounds incredibly daunting to us
LUDGF (7:54:19 PM): We like EPs.
LUDGF (7:54:31 PM): We really like to take our time.
RFSL (7:54:56 PM): So when is the next one due? I've heard the track you sent over to post on the site for the RFSL 2008 Mix.
RFSL (7:55:06 PM): Which I really liked.
LUDGF (7:55:26 PM): thanks!
LUDGF (7:55:41 PM): I feel like some bands rush their creativity too much. They put out a good release, and then w/in a couple years another one. I want some time to really have more stories to tell and not just revisit old ones.
LUDGF (7:56:03 PM): We’re in the talks w/an indie label to do a digital only release of a 3 or 4 song EP.
LUDGF (7:56:18 PM): We're hoping before this summer.
LUDGF (7:56:55 PM): The songs are pretty much done. They're getting their final mix from my friend Toshi.
RFSL (7:57:00 PM): That's excellent.
RFSL (7:57:13 PM): Any plans to play out? Or do another residency?
LUDGF (7:57:42 PM): We'll be playing on February 28th w/our friends This Will Destroy You (from texas) at The Silver Lake Lounge.
LUDGF (7:58:24 PM): and we're excited to play at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art - but that's in June.
RFSL (7:58:52 PM): That place is pretty nice, if I'm remembering it correctly.
LUDGF (7:59:22 PM): I've never been, actually. Orange County is psychologically very far for me.
RFSL (8:00:06 PM): The only difference between hell and the suburbs to me is a fresh coat of red paint.
LUDGF (8:00:24 PM): Haha.
LUDGF (8:00:44 PM): I really like living in Silver Lake
RFSL (8:01:13 PM): Same here. Kind of a nice mix of SF and LA.
LUDGF (8:01:22 PM): I completely agree
RFSL (8:01:36 PM): So last question for you... what are you listening to these days?
LUDGF (8:01:54 PM): I've been listening a lot to Boom Bip's last EP
LUDGF (8:02:06 PM): It's really grown on me
LUDGF (8:02:28 PM): right now I'm listening to that Michael Cera and Ellen Page cover
LUDGF (8:02:34 PM): It's so cute it's killing me.
RFSL (8:02:59 PM): Heh.
LUDGF (8:03:32 PM): I think the Chromatics album is always a good listen
LUDGF (8:03:40 PM): Glass Jewel, too
LUDGF (8:03:58 PM): Glass Candy.
RFSL (8:04:25 PM): I remember a few of those from your What To Look Out For In 2008 entry, but haven't tracked them down yet. Will have to.
LUDGF (8:04:44 PM): I highly recommend Butcher the Bar
LUDGF (8:04:57 PM): He only has 2 songs released through Morr, but they're perfect
RFSL (8:05:24 PM): Right on.
RFSL (8:05:40 PM): Do you have anything new or old you'd like to post with this interview?
LUDGF (8:06:10 PM): Do you have the song So Fast?
LUDGF (8:06:23 PM): (It's new.)
RFSL (8:06:26 PM): I think you sent that over last month.
RFSL (8:06:27 PM): Yeah.
RFSL (8:06:31 PM): Like it a lot.
LUDGF (8:06:48 PM): It'd be great if you could post that if you don't mind.
RFSL (8:07:05 PM): That would be great.
LUDGF (8:07:18 PM): I feel like a lot of people are getting tired of our old stuff.
RFSL (8:07:25 PM): Cool. Well, let me try to think of a good ending question...
RFSL (8:07:38 PM): Do you have any special message to share with young people?
LUDGF (8:07:52 PM): I mean, it's been three years of the same songs being posted on blogs.
LUDGF (8:08:01 PM): I'm getting tired of them, too.
RFSL (8:08:10 PM): (They always ask that sort of question in European tv shows interview.)
RFSL (8:08:12 PM): Ha.
LUDGF (8:08:24 PM): Wow, no pressure.
LUDGF (8:08:33 PM): Does that mean I'm old?
RFSL (8:08:58 PM): Not necessarily.
RFSL (8:09:54 PM): (For good or bad, I'm the 36 year-old who still feels more comfortable sitting at the kids table during family events.)
LUDGF (8:11:49 PM): Well, I have actually recently been feeling a little more balanced with my life and I just think that a lot of it is perception. I used to feel some hidden pressure to always be working on music, or if I didn't feel inspired, I would be frustrated that I would have to do other things at the times when I did feel inspired. I think I'm finally learning to let go those feelings and I really feel lighter for it. Things come more easily when you aren't so overdramatic about them.
LUDGF (8:14:52 PM): Life can be really, really simple when you let it.
LUDGF (8:15:04 PM): I sound old and boring...
RFSL (8:15:40 PM): Ha. I'd say it sounds wise.
RFSL (8:16:00 PM): So, cool, Mike. Thanks so much for your time.
LUDGF (8:16:25 PM): Hey, thanks for having me.

Again, Letting Up Despite Great Faults play next on Tuesday, February 28th at The Silver Lake Lounge with This Will Destroy You.

- So Fast MP3


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