"Some nights, it feels like it has the intensity of a punk rock show. Some nights it has the groove of more of a cold, danceable, organic, early '80s vibe. We're always going to have shimmering flutes happening at some point," Adam Rasmussen, the synth player for Secretly Canadian band Gardens and Villa says on the phone. Which vibe their show will take tonight at Radio Radio still remains to be seen. But you can count on the flutes.
Here's a few selections from my interview with Rasmussen earlier this month.
NUVO: You named your last album Dunes after recording in Michigan. How did you get there from California?
Adam Rasmussen: We were in the market for a producer for the record, looking around. We were contacted by Tim Goldsworthy, formerly of DFA, and he said he had never seen us live and didn't own our record, but he had found this one performance online for Wild Honey Pie session in Brooklyn. We played "Orange Blossoms" live for that session, but it had more of a soul, Curtis Mayfield vibe. He said he watched it hundreds of times, he and his wife, and was just like, "This is amazing!" Based on that one video, he thought, "I've got to get ahold of these boys." So he got ahold of us, told us to find a studio, and it was kind of loose and up in the air. We thought maybe New York or L.A., but all the studios we found were way too expensive for our budget. So he ended up picking Michigan, at this studio he had recorded at before called the Key Club.
It was just one of the coolest studios we had ever been in. It felt like it was a time capsule to the '70s. All the gear had a story, some creepy story about Sly Stone who had gorillas guarding his palace before the FBI came in and stole back all his cocaine, or whatever. Every pice of gear has some outlandish story attached to it. To be honest, it was so cold, we didn't go outside except for the Dunes, maybe three or four times. It couldn't be more difficult than California that time of year.
NUVO: Tell me about Televisor, your new EP.
Rasmussen: Televisor is selected works between two different sessions. One being a session that we did with Richard Swift in February of 2012 that was intended to be an EP that would follow our first full-length LP. In hindsight, we were like, why didn't we put this out? It ended up being on the shelf for a little bit. We thought, "Shoot, we're hitting the road again, so let's put out some fresh material for people." Luckily we had these five amazing songs from the Swift session. So we picked a couple of those. The other two are outtakes from the late night, 3 a.m., tape-still-rolling, producer's gone to bed trickery.
NUVO: What would you like to highlight about Dunes?
Rasmussen: Going back to the studio being like a time capsule, there was a vast VHS collection, so between tracking we ended up getting pretty heavily into a couple genres of film. One being a sci-fi, like Blade Runner, stuff like that. The other being samurai movies. So I think there's quite a bit of influence, the tangible analog fantasy of the '80s, and concept about future civilizations and different dimensions. Maybe there's some underlying content there that might not be apparent. We ended up sampling some swords being drawn, noises from samurai movies in there. You can find those in some of the jams if you listen hard enough. Deep in there, there's some schwinggg! [mimics sound of sword being pulled out of sheath]