Friday, June 10, 2005

RFC Interview - Coltrane Motion

Opening for Electrelane tonight at the Empty Bottle is a new local electronic pop band who call themselves Coltrane Motion. Described as "heartbreak you can dance to" the band is led by Michael Bond who recently brought his home-brewed project to life with the help of his friends Matt Dennewitz (synths) and Pete Ziegler (beats, laptop) . Their frantic live show has been described by the press as an "exuberant seizure" and "the cool kids in programming class" performing a dance-punk intensity that far exceeds your usual laptop performance. Radio Free Chicago: So you guys are new to Chicago...what brought you here and were are you all from originally? Michael Bond: We're all Ohio expatriates from different spots over there...Matt moved here about three years ago to go to SAIC, Pete and I moved here around the same time in late 2003, after both graduating from UC/DAAP in Cincinnati. RFC: How was the band formed? MB: I've been doing home recordings since high school, and putting them out as 'Coltrane Motion' for about five years now. It's only in the last year or two that our live lineup has really come together, with me on keys, Matt on guitars, and Pete on laptop and MPC. I still write and record most of our tracks solo, but now a lot of the ideas have been bounced between us all in live shows first - a third to a fourth of our set is improvised, we have a tendency to just slap on a beat and see where it goes.. There's only so many pop songs you can play in a row. RFC: Tell us more about "Datawaslost" appears to be collective, a label and also a band? MB: It's an artist collective that acts as a label, with a lot of incestuous musical projects and a focus on DIY methods, from recording to promotion. Somewhere between Elephant 6 and Anticon, we put out a lot of noise pop, electronic, and indie folk, usually mixing up at least two of those three in some way or another. It's a close-knit group of home-recording obsessives with diverse tastes and the desire to make records for the sheer hell of it, rather than chasing some music-industry pipe dream. Obviously, we fit in just fine. RFC: I was especially intrigued by this description from the band bio..."If it (Coltrane Motion) sounds like nothing you've ever heard before, chalk it up to the group's penchant for writing their own sound software and even constructing new instruments from scratch for live usage." Without giving away any trade secrets, what kind of instruments/gadgets/software have you guys come up with so far and how did you come up with them? What inspired you to do this? MB: I'm going to toss this one off to Matt, our guitarist and resident programmer... Matt Dennewitz: As far as writing our own sound software goes, We could only get so far with software synthesizers and the sound they're geared toward.. having a simulation of a minimoog or a plug-in that sounds like an organ is great and all, but not terribly innovative, right? The logical progression from that point was to start writing some software ourselves -- that's where things got interesting. Before this point, we had toyed around with building instruments (the light-sensitive theremin that fit in my palm will always be my favorite) but it sometimes proved unstable. Using homegrown software written mostly in the car in-between shows, I came up with a live sampler and effects unit with a routable signal path. The sampler gave us an interface to our performance, to the sound we were making and allowed for real-time stretching, looping, reversal (think "Everything in its Right Place" without the expensive gear, but same interactivity), all of which could be routed through this staggering number of almost haphazardly assembled effects.. things like distortion using triangle waves or a tremolo with 2 sine wave with frequencies thousands of hertz apart, as well as the more conventional effects like delays and sound envelopes. The best thing about this software, though, is that it could be used with a hardware controller with knobs -- taking it to a tactile level really gave a lot of new options for performance, integrated with this new sound that we were really excited about.. RFC: What are your aspirations for the Coltrane Motion project? MB: Given that our particular brand of electro-dance-noise often attracts an audience that's not only lonely, attractive, but also far too drunk, we're hoping to inspire as many regrettable hook-ups among our fans as possible. We supply the kick, snare, and bass, you supply the bodies. We hope to leave a trail of awkward restroom makeout sessions across the country this summer, igniting the sexual tension that no doubt consumes the population of say, Wichita, Kansas. Other bands want to sell records? We've got a higher goal: propagation of the species. A few more generations of selective breeding, and kids will come out of the womb humming "Deceptacon", and with an asymmetrical haircut to boot. RFC: Besides the upcoming show at the Bottle and a subsequent tour, what else can we expect from Coltrane Motion in the future? MB: More touring, more bottles. Eventually, an LP grand and ass-shaking enough to inspire simultaneous weeping and grinding. I'm going to lock myself away, studying how Andre 3000 can make party-jams out of dying relationships and custody battles, then distill this power and cover it with feedback. The kids'll love it. SPEED ROUND Digital or Analog? MB: Analog Instruments, digital performances. Robots playing banjo. Favorite electronic and/or synth-pop bands: MB: Caribou, The Go! Team, Prefuse 73, Hefner.. for being an 'electronic' band, we mainly just listen to hiphop and folk. If Missy Elliot ever releases a synth-pop album, i'll be all over it. Best thing about living in Chicago so far: MB: Bike lanes & Italian beef Favorite character from the Dukes of Hazard: MB: The General. Without him, it was just a bunch of rednecks in a swamp. Once again, Coltrane Motion plays tonight (6/10) at The Empty Bottle, in support of UK popsters Electrelane. Show starts at 10pm, must be 21+ Click on the link below to check out an Mp3 sample from the band's excellent new ep, No Well OK Maybe Just A Little. "Pi is Exactly Three" (Quicktime)


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