Posts Tagged ‘ low level owl ’

Crisci Interview

I have a quick interview with Chris regarding the tour, the band, Low Level Owl, and the future of Appleseed Cast.  We plan on filming a more extensive sit down  in June for the movie.  I am attempting to get some footage up on the site for the coming week.  Here we go:

What has been the response from the fans on this tour?

The response has been great.  The turn out has been good, and I feel like the kids have been really getting into it.  I think I’ve kind of learned to be more in tune with them as well.  There are times during the set that some crowds are a little hesitant to applaud, because we just keep going.  All of the songs just kind of segue into each other, so there’s very few times during the set that seem appropriate to interrupt.  But the response at the intermission and the end of the set, as well as some of the more obvious breaks, the response is always strong.

What has surprised you, if anything, about the music?

I think what surprises me the most is that we have been able to pull of the records as close as we have without resorting to playing to tracks and samples.  Aaron and I do a lot of looping on the fly, and Lucas does have a backward cymbal hit that he uses on a song… but we don’t have the mac up on stage with the drummer wearing cans.

During rehearsal, was there a moment where it all came together for the band or did you guys get your legs playing it live?

Our practices were pretty few, when it came to the whole band playing together.  We had many half-band practices, where I would work with John, or Nate or Aaron, or Lucas, or some combination thereof.  But I think we only had 6 or less practices where we all got together and we heard how it was going to sound as one.  I remember thinking, after the first one, we might just pull this off.  It was a very daunting idea up to that point, but I could see that we had learned (or re-learned) a lot in just a little time.  I still have to consult my cheat sheet when we play live to see what capo position I need to have.

Going back and playing this record, years after its release, what do you think of it as a whole?

It’s always weird to revisit something you’ve done years ago.   The good becomes better and the bad becomes worse.  Overall I really like what we did.  I like the fact that it was such an organic process in the studio.

Once you guys got back into the record, were there songs that you liked more than you may have in the past?  Perhaps a song that sounds better live?

Most of these songs we never played live.  We played them in the studio once, to record them.  Low Level Owl,  for the most part was a record that we recorded at the same time we wrote it.  So it’s been interesting adapting the songs live.  I don’t know if any of the songs are better live, or better recorded.  To me it’s always been a different animal.  The live experience is more communal, more about a specific time and much more loud.   The album is always more about trying convey the artistic vision to a medium, and working within the limitations of the medium to try to do justice to the song.

Was there an overall theme or feeling you focused on while recording the Low Level Owl records?

Lyrically, I was writing about  greed, and cynicism.  Musically, I think we were just kind of going with the flow.  We had a handful of songs and a grand idea going into the studio.  By the time it was done, I feel like we had fulfilled the general idea of what we were trying to do.

Why is the record titled “Low Level Owl?”

I liked the way it sounded, and it fit the bill for the image of a predator.  I wanted an image that would convey the idea of the powerful and the powerless.  An owl in on the kill.  You can draw a lot of analogies from it.

What were the recording sessions like when you guys recorded it?

We went in to the studio with like six songs or something like that.  And we had a fair amount of time to record, I remember, at least for us.  We had recorded the previous record in about a week.  I think we had twice that to just get the drums bass and guitars done.  Once we tracked the drums and bass, I think that took a lot longer than we expected it to… like 4 or 5 days or something… then we pulled out about eight guitar amplifiers and started experimenting with sounds for different parts.  We would record all of the like parts on one track, and then the next… like all the verses on one song, I’d play a Les Paul through aFender Twin, and then the choruses I’d play a Tele through some boutique amp, or whatever, we would just find the combination of guitar, amp and effects that sounded right for each part.  After we did all of that then we started experimenting with organ, and keys and started coming up with loops and background sounds etc…   That was the first sessions.  Then we took what we had home and wrote some more.  Wrote lyrics, recorded some more experimental stuff at home.  A few weeks later we brought all of that back to the studio and recorded the vocals, and mixed everything.  It’s become the pattern for how I like to record.  Go in, get the basic stuff down.  Bring it home and work on it for a couple weeks, aqnd go back in to the studio to finish.

You have been playing a cover song to close your shows.  What is the song and why have you guys chosen it?

We’ve been playing “The Speeding Train” by the Van Pelt.  I love the words to it.  “I answer to beauty, not weakness but reason…”  I love what it’s about. When LLO came out we did a tour in Europe, and one of the songs that was on heavy rotation in our van while we were over there was the Speeding Train. We’ve never done a cover song before, and thought that this one would be fun and appropriate.

Since going out on this tour and playing these songs, do you think the next record you guys will do will be affected by this experience?

Definitely.  We’ve learned so much just in the logistics of trying to adapt these songs, it has sparked tons of ideas.   There are so many options available to us musically that we didn’t know were there until we started doing things like putting drums out in front of the stage for anyone to pound on, and using a harpsichord, and percussion, and committing to having keys etc…  it’s been  kind of eye opening, and now, we’re really excited about incorporating this new pallet into what we do next.

What are you guys listening to in the van?

Lots of sports and news radio.  Once in a while we’ll turn on some music, but 90% of the time it’s some sort of talk.  I think we hear so much music on a daily basis, all of us like the idea of a break from it.

After the tour, are there any plans to record?  What’s next?

When we get back we’re working on new material and hopefully getting into the studio to record this summer.  We’ve got about half an album’s worth of material at this point, and ideas are really coming quick and easy.  Which I feel is when you write your best stuff.


And we’re back….

Upcoming this week as we rev up for the second half of the Low Level Owl Tour:

-Interview with Crisci

-Interview with Ryan from Graveface records

-Interview with Aaron Pillar

These are being done separate from the film and focus mostly on the tour.  Also, we will continue to bring daily updates regarding the tour including reviews, photos, and video.  As always, 7446 welcomes any contributions from fans of the band.  Let us know if there is anything we can do to make your stay more enjoyable…

Second half dates are as follows:

Apr 8 2010 Hi Tone w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety Memphis, Tennessee

Apr 9 2010 Masquerade w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety Atlanta, Georgia

Apr 10 2010 Backbooth w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety Orlando, Florida

Apr 12 2010 Local 506 w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Apr 13 2010 DC9 w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety DC, Washington DC

Apr 14 2010 First Unitarian Church w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Apr 15 2010 The Space w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety New Haven, Connecticut

Apr 16 2010 Middle East w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety Boston, Massachusetts

Apr 17 2010 Grammercy Theatre w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety New york, New York

Apr 18 2010 Divan Orange w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety Montreal, Quebec

Apr 19 2010 Lee’s Palace w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety Toronto, Ontario

Apr 20 2010 Grog Shop w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety Cleveland, Ohio

Apr 21 2010 Otto’s Nightclub w/ The Appleseed Cast playing Low Level Owl 1 & 2 in their entirety Dekalb, Illinois

3/15/10 – Waiting Room – Omaha, Nebraska

The band returns after a day off to play the Waiting Room in Omaha, Nebraska.  I talked to Aaron Pillar today for a few minutes, he said the tour has been difficult of late.  The shows have been great, but he said the driving was starting to take a toll on the guys.  Over the last week they were driving over night after their shows in order to get to the next town so the guys were sleeping at all kinds of different hours.  I told him to promptly quit his bitchin’ and start working on his golf game…no excuses.

7446 footage

Okay, so here is a short clip of some footage from Echoplex.  First, the audio will be replaced by a direct feed from the board, but I wanted to get some of this out there for everyone to look at.  Second, this was shot by Damon Jones of Fathead Filmco and 7446 thanks him for his support and participation.  We would also like to thank Dax Shepard, Sam Gonzalez (who painted this masterpiece some years ago), and the guys in the band for supporting our efforts in creating this film.  Again, this is just a short little piece with more to come (but not too much more).

Peregrine Tour Live Tracks

This great website has some interesting bootleg stuff.  I especially like the set from April 8th, 2006 in Chicago.  This would have been on the Peregrine tour.  The recording is probably from the board and has the vocals turned up which is good.  The set list is loaded with tracks from that record but there are a couple of other live tracks as well:

“Forever Longing the Golden Sunsets” from Mare Vitalis.  The best part about this recording is the guy screaming “Play Forever Longing the Golden Sunsets!!!!” to which his buddy a couple of mili-seconds later punctuates with “DO IT!”  Soon after, Aaron Pillar thanks the crowd for coming out and to the aforementioned guy he says “We’re gonna do that.” Fucking clutch.

“February” which is a classic.  The same guy from the above recording yells “Anti-Hero” which gets a half-hearted chuckle from Chris.

I hear your voice
calling me from a calendar
I hear your voice
calling me from a calendar

It’s February,
You’re two years gone,
and I am lost, I am lost
It’s February,
I can feel you’re here,
and Here I come, Here I come

“Fight Song” Another great song.  Always reminds me of the Bush Administration, but there I go giving things away again.

“Steps and Numbers” which kicks ass always.

Stand there,
Dance with,
Stand there dance with a memory.
The caption reads, “It’s all over now.”

“Song 3” which is my favorite song from “Peregrine.”  Thats probably sacrilege, given the “boners the world over” for “February” and “Sunlit Ascending.”  But, I think “Silas’ Knife” and “Song 3” are phenomenal songs, especially within the context of the record as a whole.  The lyrics to “Silas’ Knife” are:

Keep hoarding all your ghosts in fortresses;
it’s only rain.
You know when summer’s coming all the year;
it’s only rain.

Coming around,
the knife takes it’s place.
Falling and crawling under.
Brother of mine,
come out from your cave.
You can not be defeated.

I am not sure the exact meaning of the record, but I am going to post my highly developed hypothesis at a later date followed by an interview of Crisci who hopefully will offer some clues.  But, I’m quite sure that Peregrine is the daughter, accidentally killed by the son, who has come back as a ghost to offer courage and strength to her traumatized brother.  The brother must face their father, who has become a dreadful, hateful man.  Also, “the cave” as mentioned above reminds me of the Allegory of the Cave, and seems to fit as well.  After all the daughter is revealing to the son that life as he has witnessed is not reality.  She has been freed from the bondage of the cave (like the freed prisoner who was also once chained inside the cave) and has seen the truth.  She is trying to lead him out and convince him that once he is released from the bondage of the family that “you cannot be defeated.”

Video from Vancouver*

*The video is not mine, but I enjoyed it so much I figured I would post the videos here.  I am attempting to contact these guys and see if they are willing to contribute the footage for the film.  That would be great.  We shall see.  I will keep you informed.

Blind Man’s Arrow

On Reflection

Steps and Numbers

Does anyone have any information regarding these guys (The Futurists)?  Please let me know.  More posts this week and some special stuff on the way.

Reviews of Low Level Owl Live

I have been compiling some of the various reviews from around the country and thought it would be cool to share them here.  This one from the show in Tucson at Plush is my favorite so far…here.   Money quote:

Fans focused intently, almost reverently, on the shifting textures and ambitious dynamics of the band’s magnum opus. You know it’s true devotion when a Plush audience isn’t nearly as loud as the band.

Almost as much as the band, the crowd had a singular identity and culture—thoughtful, alert to nuance, many in attendance by themselves, but somehow in solidarity. I wanted to know what else was on their iPods, and what other shows they were looking forward to. It felt like I’d found my tribe.

From the show in Houston at Rudyard’s, this review from the Houston Press blog.  Money quote:

Hearing these songs performed live reminded us why we find most versions of post-rock boring to this day, as they all seem to be a pale shadow of the soaring sounds and textures of Low Level Owl. Like any classic emo record, the music alternated between brooding and hopeful, tense and optimistic, as songs like “On Reflection,” “Steps And Numbers,” and “A Place In Line” still resonated strong and true.

A blogger reviewed the Vancouver show at the Biltmore, here.  Money quote:

The show was experiential largely because the Appleseed Cast’s songs are not ones that listeners easily sing along to, though one can still relish in the artistry of the lyrics. The beauty of the group’s Biltmore set lay within its experimental guitar riffs and interesting keyboard effects, encouraging listeners to relate the tunes to the images displayed on the projection screen behind the drummer or to discover their own feelings related to the songs. The Appleseed Cast’s music has the feeling of a quilt: the listener is immersed in the different textures of the grand, symphonic pieces,  all while experiencing the very human warmth and intimacy in songs like “Bird of Paradise” or “Steps and Numbers”.

Just a taste from a few of the reviews.  I am always a little surprised by the mentions of Deep Elm and emo.  Haven’t we moved past that yet?  I mean the band has released, what three records (Two Conversations, Paregrine, and Sagarmatha), since being associated with Deep Elm.  And beyond that, isn’t the emo thing a little yesterday, not just for this band, but for eveything?