Spurge: Like any relationship, constant communication & transparency is key. Especially when the source material is coming from one person, Barrie. So we, as collaborators, have to remember to respect her authenticity and vision and she has to keep in mind inclusion, since our collective intent is to make something that is both far reaching & interesting beyond what any one person could make.
Noah: Being in a band is like 30% musicianship and 70% communication skills. If you can’t talk to someone, you probably can’t be in a band with them. We talk a lot.
Barrie: We have totally different backgrounds and personalities, but we respect each other and we have a shared vision. Between that and lots of communication and memes, we keep the balance.
Sabine: Music chose me, it’s a bad joke I’m still waiting to laugh.
Spurge: Cheesy but everyone in this band. We all write our own music and being in a van and together for weeks on end means we start to take influence from each other’s processes, like osmosis. We’ll play what we’re individually working on, give notes, ask questions on how to do certain techniques, share plugins etc. Noah & I harmonically analyzed Al Green while he was driving as a fun car activity. We’re all big music nerds!
Noah: Like Spurge said, my peers are probably my biggest influence. Our community is amazing and inspires me everyday. Besides that I’ve been listening to a lot of Terry Riley, Marie Davidson, and Yellow Magic Orchestra lately. And doing harmonic analysis of Al Green in the van was def my favorite part of tour.
Sabine: human-sized pickles.
Spurge: Ramen broth :P - I had never been to the Pacific Northwest so I really enjoyed Portland & Seattle. Missoula, Montana had a really good Brazilian restaurant and hip vibe too.
Noah: I loved Atlanta. Also I never even want to hear the words “road snack” ever again. There were some truly unspeakable things eaten in that van.
Barrie: I don’t know how this happened but I got fully hooked on Hi-Chew.
Dominic: I’m on team Pickles. I really really love Montreal and the vistas of New England / the forests of California. My favourite colours are green and gray what are yours?
Sabine: I read somewhere that you should always dress like you are about to meet the love of your life. I try to be always ready.
Spurge: It’s very important to feel good through the clothes I choose wear. If I wear something that doesn’t feel like me, I can’t act like me. Something so physical like playing an instrument and singing requires you to be both present but confident enough to rely on muscle memory to an extent so as not to over analyze while performing. If I’m too self-conscious I’ll get in my head and mess up something that is usually second nature.
Noah: We try to always have a short meditation and set intentions before we play. It helps us to be present and to remember how cool it is that we get to play music for people. Taking a second to breathe and reflect is also useful for channeling anxious energy into excited energy, which are actually very similar feelings. I realized on this last tour that it’s important for me to separate my day-to-day self from my performance self so that I can give each one my full attention instead of a constant blur of both. Dressing up a bit really helps with this as well.
Barrie: Definitely. It’s nice to have a uniform to protect or project you, depending on what you need.
Dominic: Playing with nicely fitting trousers and no shoes is important. I still haven’t found the right ‘top half’ of a stage outfit, so I vary it a lot. Shorts are a bad move.
Barrie: It’s incredible how many of the best things you write start as accidents. I think that’s why I like writing on instruments I don’t know well -- it's 90% accidents. You stumble into things and have to just rely on your ears. With lyrics, I like writing songs that are like little vignettes, often of people and scenes around New York.
Ooo, I haven’t been watching many films recently but while I’m making music at home sometimes I put on things in the background. I like having a visual.. Jodorowsky’s Dune is awesome for that. Also recently I’ve started watching Veep cos Spurge lent me The Thick of It while on tour. Armando Ianucci’s fast paced writing is a great thing to get your brain going. I’m also super looking forward to the Deadwood movie. A lot. I like a movie called Primer. And I enjoyed Hereditary v much.
I got given a little kit when I was around nine years old and it sat in an otherwise empty garage. I would play during 90-100 degree-heat, humid summers in Florida, completely naked as a ten year old and then go chase bullfrogs and dragonflies. You could open the garage doors even if it was pouring with rain and look out onto this wild, kinda scary pond. I didn’t know what to play so I’d just do single stroke rolls and move my arms around wildly to vary the timing, and try to play like Buddy Rich. Drums felt like a very intuitive instrument then but I never took it seriously. Later, in England as a young man I got a friend’s older brother to teach me OK Computer and Evil Empire on drums, and paid him in cans of shandy and pocket money. Besides those brief periods of interest and destroying household objects innumerable I only played ‘drums’ a little bit before I joined a band when I was in my early 20s. Both my soundcheck beats are from either of those two albums, ;).
Sabine: One of the many reasons I fell in love with new york was the performance art scene. I’m currently performing on a collective called As Above so Below, where we combine hermetic rituals with sound healing and sound art performance. We connect to our deep selves and to the environment around us, sometimes it’s important to put a microphone in your vagina and let the world hear its sound. We have a couple of dates coming up, we are performing at the Anarchist Fest in June at the Judson Memorial Church, should be quite special.
Spurge: Love these personalized questions! The Lot is an online, independent, non-profit radio station. It’s been on for 3 years and showcases music in New York as well as musicians passing through. It’s a DJ -oriented station but isn’t strictly club/dance music. I just sat in on my friend Max Pearl’s cumbia/salsa set this morning. That’s the fun part about working there, it's a giant music community that exists both online & in real life. Noah & I have both met so many people we respect & work with through it, including Barrie. Some spots to dance are Black Flamingo, Mood Ring & Milagrosa.
Noah: Yeah, the Lot is such an integral part of my New York experience that I almost can’t separate the two in my mind. I go there pretty much every day and have had so many important friends and mentors come into my life because of it.
My current favorite disco situation was just started by some friends of mine in Rockaway. It’s called Far Out. They had a guy in the Catskills build this insane, one-of-a-kind soundsystem, and it just sounds awesome and is really intimate and warm and fun.
Photos by Marcus Maddox @marcus.xoxo
To learn more about Barrie you can check them out here and follow along @barrietheband
Being invited into Kiva's home and studio is a bit like entering a dream. Sunlight pours into the space, bringing to life the mosaics of color that fill the room. She offers us tea and makes us instantly feel at home. In a gentle and intentional tone she tell us about her upcoming shows, travels and the history of her studio. Originally the home of her parents in the 1960s, her mother a modern dancer and father a painter, it's clear that creativity is the heart of this home.
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