Tonight at Vox Populi, the band Literature returns to Vox Populi (the place where their stunning video "Tie-Dye" was shot) along with UK group Golden Grrrls, Sea Lions, and locals Royal Shoals! We heard from both Kevin and Nathaniel (the band's new drummer) about their new music and the group's upcoming plans for an LP.
Visit the event page on Facebook here:
We also have a last-minute pair of tickets to give away for the show: write to carly @ girlabouttown . com
Girl About Town: Tell us about your band: who plays what, and where does everyone live now?
Kevin: Nathaniel and I both play guitar. He usually sings more and I usually play guitar more. Chris and Seth play drums and bass respectively.
You have a new drummer - what is their greatest attribute as a person and how do they add to the Literature sound?
Nathaniel: Chris has a profound sense of immediacy and POP, both of which are important attributes to have by Literature-standards. He also injects some youthful vigor and a robust charm to the sound.
You have been quite busy: new drummer, new video, independent label 7" release! Tell us about how you created the "Tie Dye" video and who helped on it/how the idea for it came about....
Kevin: I had a very specific idea floating around my mind. I didn't seek to make an exact reproduction of that idea, though, as I feel like that level of focus and precision can often hinder productivity. Basically, I'd recently re-watched Altman's 3 Women and took note of a scene where he is obviously just filming Shelley Duvall through an Oil & Water Liquid Motion Toy, the likes of which people would have on their office desks in the 70's. For whatever reason, on this viewing it carried some profundity with it and my mind began cataloging similar images, such as Hipgnosis' cover art for Pink Floyd's Meddle (a wonderfully obtuse image of an ear doused in dye and water that I've loved since high school). So, I get the idea to project a video of us performing onto a wall as I drop dyes into a watertank situated between the camera and the projection.
When we go to film the "live performance", our friend Sayre Vandelinder (who, amongst numerous other projects, backs up Gary Wilson and Austin's Slugbug) happens to be in town. His personality is such that a camera should always be on him, so he ends up playing air-guitar behind a pair of loud sunglasses. What changes everything, however, is the decision to ask Lehigh Valley artist Claire Kimock and my friend Colin (who used to play in Bird Names) to come in and handle the camera. They do such an amazing job that I second-guess the original concept of overlaying dyes onto the video.
Ultimately, Colin and I go into the Vox Populi Gallery to shoot the watertank/wall projection shots, so what you're seeing 30% of the time is a wall in an art gallery.
Has the band been working on a lot of new material? How were the two tracks for your new 7" chosen and where was it recorded/how?
Nathaniel: Before we moved from Austin we wanted to close up shop with our old drummer and "Tie Dye" was one of the newer tracks we'd had a chance to hone on our tour last spring so it was the obvious choice. "Apples" is a song that goes back way back to the beginning of the band; the first LITERATURE song ever. It originally appeared on a limited CDR pressing of four songs that we brought with us on our first tour. Then we kinda tucked it away, pulling it out as an encore at shows when necessary. Last summer just seemed like the right time to commit it to wax. We recorded the 7 inch at Estuary Recording Studios in Austin where we'd also recorded our debut LP, Arab Spring. Our good friend Michael Landon runs the studio. He engineered and recorded the record. Oh yeah, he also played bass on "Apples".
Kevin: As for newer stuff: when we first moved here, we did so without a drummer (or jobs, for that matter). Nathaniel and I wrote a good deal of exploratory songs, a few of which might make it onto the next album. Ultimately, we gleaned what we could from those experiments and now the new material is coming much more quickly, as well as sounding fresher and fresher. I'd say we will have about 10-15 new songs by the Summer.
How did the collaboration with Square Of Opposition records come about for the 7"?
Nathaniel: I have been friends with Chris Reject since I was a wee-lad and he helped release ARAB SPRING (along with Austin Town Hall Records) so naturally he was interested in our new material.
What was the best show you played last year up until now and why did it rule?
Nathaniel: Aw Jeez, this is hard even though we have not played that many since we moved ..... I would say last month's show at Muchmore's in Brooklyn with our pals Ski Lodge was our favorite so far. It was really great to hang and play with those dudes and the crowd was awesome. I can't not mention the show at Haverford College, though. The vibe there was amazing. It was a huge dance party and the people who set up the show were totally rad. Thanks to Juliette and Carl !
Tell us about your backgrounds in music; what made you each want to become a part of this band?
Kevin: I'd played in a number of bands before: The Octopus Project, Single Frame (Volcom Records), Mothfight, as well as writing for Pitchfork Media and Dusted Magazine. At one point I was really stressed out and in-between bands. Nathaniel and I struck up a friendship, one that I feel is really valuable. The music is, really, just the fruit of that bond. As such, it's the most rewarding thing I've done.
Nathaniel: I played in a number of bands none of any note. The year before we started this band I spent my time holed up in an apartment in Williamsburg practicing guitar and listening to the C-86 comp on repeat. Then Kevin convinced me to leave my sordid life and come back to Austin which everyday I am thankful for.
Everyone has an opinion on Record Store Day (coming up on April 20th): what are your thoughts--pro vs. against?
Nathaniel: I spent a good 10 years working in record stores from 15 to 25 starting at Play it again in Bethlehem, Waterloo Records in Austin, and Kim's video in Manhattan so my ideas are a little biased so no matter the negatives that can be attributed to it the stores profit and it is a much need boost to keep them open threw out the year.
Kevin: Ist Rad.
Name a song that you wish you had wrote and why.
Kevin: EMF - "Unbelievable", because it somehow manages to sneak a very pronounced sample of Andrew Dice Clay dropping an unedited F-bomb into thousands of car/detergent/food commercials every year.
What are you most excited about when it comes to playing this year's NYC Popfest?
Nathaniel: Just to be recognized by our peers as a good pop band worthy enough to play the fest is the most exciting part for me. Being on the same flyer as the MONOCHROME SET and CLOSE LOBSTERS is a close second, though.