Tuesday, October 23, 2018

SHOW ALERT & INTERVIEW: Us, Today at The Trolley Stop 10/26

Alias Imaging: John Carrico, Adam Henry, Cody Gunningham

The Cincinnati-based experimental instrumental rock trio, composed of Kristin Agee on vibraphone, guitarist Joel Griggs and drummer Jeff Mellott, recently released their fourth album titled, COMPUTANT, with an album release show in Dayton back in July.  The new album heavily features synths and electronics, adding a new dimension to their already genre-defiant sound that blends together elements of avant-garde jazz, math rock and post-rock. 

The trio is set to play in Dayton again at The Trolley Stop on Friday, October 26.    
In anticipation, Atlas and the Anchor spoke with Kristin and Jeff about their influences, electronic experimentation and the differences between the Dayton and Cincinnati music scenes.
Your avant-garde sound defies genre boundaries, as does your list of influences that includes, Miles Davis, Radiohead and Tortoise.  But who are some of your least obvious influences?
 It's different from each member of the band.  We all come from different music backgrounds.  But a small list would have to include Talking Heads, Umphrey's McGee, Michael Jackson, Zammuto, Euphone, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jaga Jazzist, St. Vincent, Phillip Glass, and Isotope 217. – Kristin
The instrumental music you create is vividly evocative; with your new album, are you trying to convey any sort of message through your music; what do you hope people take away from your music? 
I think we are just trying to explore things we haven't had the opportunity to do with other bands, and really create something new.  I guess the message would be to stay open minded.  Some people don't give us a chance because we are different.  Being an instrumental band, some people won't even give you the time of day.  They assume they won't like it.  For those people I feel sorry.  Music is so much more than what is being fed to us through clear channel.  Go out there, explore, find something new, and give it a chance.  You might enjoy it.  - Kristin
The new album also features more electronic instrumentation, what inspired the new direction?
Honestly, having some money to play with after the release of our TENENEMIES album in 2015.  We spent all of the money we made touring that album on new gear, and on recording COMPUTANT.  There were a lot of things we'd talked about doing for a while that we just didn't have the money to do.  For me, it was putting pickups on my vibraphone, which makes it much easier to play live and allows me to manipulate the sound with guitar effects pedals. For Joel, it was purchasing a MOOG synthesizer.  Jeff did a lot of upgrading of his drum set and electronics for this album too, adding a Roland SPDX pad and triggers from his drum set.  All of the new gear really expanded the sounds we are able to make. - Kristin
The standout single, “Spellcaster (Dr. Spirit)”, with its frenetic rhythm and dynamic melodies sounds like a fun one to play live.  What is your favorite song to perform and why?
It's hard to pick a favorite song to perform, we like different songs for different reasons.  “Spellcaster (Dr. Spirit)” is definitely one of the more songs to play live.  For me, that one is one of more physically demanding songs we play these days.  I also really enjoy playing “No Funny Game Please”.  It starts with a slow groove that builds and builds.  I think sometimes it's hard to leave space in songs, musicians are always tempted to play too many notes, but there is openness to the beginning of this song that we created that I really love living inside when we are playing it live.  - Kristin
My personal favorite to play might be "Gravity Always Wins" from our last record.  I feel like that one has it all for me as a drummer.  Good groove sections, bombastic near solo sections and heavy rock to end it.  It's a great journey playing that every time.  Still very invigorating!! - Jeff
Coming from Cincy, you have played in Dayton a couple times now.  What are some similarities and some differences in the music scenes of each city from your viewpoint?
I think there are a lot of similarities.  We are so close; it's so easy for bands to play back and forth between these two cities that the scenes start to meld together in some places.  We've been well received every time we come to Dayton, and it seems to me like Dayton is a scene that is a bit more open to experimentation and self-expression.  That exists in Cincinnati, but I also feel like there is more pressure to stick to the mold here and follow in other bands' footsteps. - Kristin
I think there's a general openness and appreciation for live music that is well played in both scenes.  There are so many great bands in this region, and I feel like the fans and followers in the area take advantage of that and are really supportive!! - Jeff
Stream COMPUTANT here:


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