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Gavin's Underground

Record Store Day: RuRu, Cub Country, Eagle Twin

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2009-04-21 -

The weekend brought us a lot of events, including Gallery and Fashion Stroll, that giant marathon that shut down half the city, and even the reopening of the Free Speech Zone. But music fans were not left out as locally owned shops celebrated Record Store Day.

  With events happening all over the city at different places, it did become hard to pick and choose which place to head over to. But following last year's awesome events I decided to head over to Slowtrain again this year. Chris & Anna put together a showcase that undoubtedly beat out 2008's venture, bringing in top-named locals like Tolchoch Trio, The Devil Whale and Band Of Annuals to constantly fill the day tunes in the midst of massive sale and activities. I got the chance to chat with three of the bands that day. The acoustically mellow RuRu, the indie veterans Cub Country, and the ear-splitting rock duo Eagle Twin! And of course a giant album of pictures to show off.

RuRu

http://rurulive.com/

Gavin: Hey Isaac, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

RuRu: My name is Isaac Russell. And music is communication for me.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

RuRu: My brother really got me interested in performing, but my biggest musical influences are probably Elliott Smith, later era Beatles, Modest Mouse and Radiohead.

Gavin: I read you lost your mother at an early age. How was it for you working through that tragedy?

RuRu: It was as hard for me as probably most people.. I took it really hard... I never really said much... thats why music is my communication. Every note I make is just a word building my songs which in turn is just building a sentence for me. I don't speak much, but I sing.

Gavin: What led to you taking those emotions and turning them toward music?

RuRu: Nothing really led to it... it was just in me I guess. I really am not sure why music was what I use to communicate. Many people have many different things... I guess I was just born that way.

Gavin: Was it difficult for you recording that whole album?

RuRu: YES. It was very hard work. It is a lot harder work than most people think. I stayed in the studio at least six hours every day for a solid two months probably. It was very hard and frustrating at times, but I loved to hear my own songs evolve in the studio. I think thats what kept me going.

Gavin: What was the reaction from the public when you put Elizabeth out, and how did you take it?

RuRu: The reaction initially was great.  I hope the reaction will always be great. Now I'm not saying the album went platinum or anything, but I know that my music has had some kind of effect in peoples lives. I personally still to this day think my music is mediocre. So if we ever have bad reviews which we haven't quite yet, I wont be too hurt. Ha.

Gavin: Are there any plans to tour or will you mainly be sticking to Utah for now?

RuRu: Oh no, Utah is not the place to get your music heard. We should be touring soon enough.

Gavin: How did the decision come about for you to join North Platte?

RuRu: I am great friends with the owners of the label, and I thought it would be the best choice at the time. I still do. These guys are great, and without their help I couldn't have made the album I did. I owe North Platte more than I can ever give to them.

Gavin: A little state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

RuRu: In Provo, and a lot of Salt Lake, there are some AMAZING bands. Some of my favorite bands of all time are honestly locals. I think Provo needs to be put on the map. There are always amazing artists coming out of here. I attribute that all to Corey Fox/Velour.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

RuRu: Not in my eyes. I mean participation is always needed, so I guess if everyone in the city went to every single show... that would make it better. Ha.

Gavin: Who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

RuRu: MudBison, Band Of Annuals, The Devil Whale, The Desert Noises, Joshua James, The Vibrant Sounds, Location Location, Sayde Price and many many others.

Gavin: Onto the music industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

RuRu: The industry is nothing more than that; an industry. Great music will always be made, the industry will only discover a small percent of it. The masses are asses when it comes to the media.

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

RuRu: Shit.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

RuRu: I love for people to hear the music... but it is always nice to pay the bills.

Gavin: What can we expect from you the rest of the year?

RuRu: The possibilities are endless... just keep your eyes open, and always support.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

RuRu: Corey Fox, the owner of  Velour in Provo. He is the reason anyone locally has made any music. I owe this man everything.


Cub Country (Kathryne & Jeremy Chatelain)

http://www.myspace.com/cubcountry

Gavin: Hey Jeremy, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jeremy: My name is Jeremy Chatelain. I was born in Salt Lake City in 1971. I'm a musician, a carpenter, and most recently, a father.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Jeremy: When I was really young, my cousin, Kurt Borich, took up the drums. He had this huge kit set up in a tiny bedroom in a house in suburbia. I'd visit his house on the weekends and we'd ride BMX bikes and play the drums. It was really exciting. I was obsessed with the drum-kit. His brother Mike also had a pretty large collection of vinyl. I'd scroll through his records when he was at work. I loved to look at all the record covers. I still do. I listened to a lot of classic rock on the radio while growing up. My first records were KISS "Alive II", The Cars "Candy-O" and Queen "The Game".

Gavin: How did you get involved with Handsome, and how was your time with them?

Jeremy: I moved to New York in 1994 and met drummer Pete Hines at a party. He explained that he was in a band called Handsome and they hated their singer. I was invited to audition a few weeks later and they took me in like a little brother. My Handsome experience was both great and terrible. It was great in that I had some really surreal rock and roll moments playing to large crowds and recording a major budget album at Bad Animals in Seattle. But, it was also terrible in that I was inexperienced and the personalities in and around that band could be intolerable at times. We used to joke that we were "fueled by hate for each other".

Gavin: You also played in Jets To Brazil! What was it like playing with that band and the experiences you had?

Jeremy: Jets To Brazil was a creative and open environment musically. It was a really healthy departure from Handsome. We had three Gemini's in one band which could be a little dangerous at times. But the Jets were a hard-working, unpretentious, real group of musical people. I think that I learned the most about being in a touring band from my time with Jets To Brazil. Plus, I love to play bass!

Gavin: How did the decision come about to start Cub Country?

Jeremy: I was simply looking for a new platform to play songs that I had started to write on my own. It began as a discussion in a living room in Brooklyn between me and my room-mates.

Gavin: The music sounds much different than other bands you've been in. Were you afraid of turning off your audience or feel they'd more likely become interested because of your prior work?

Jeremy: I wasn't afraid of turning off an audience. I really wanted to take a chance and try out another project. It feels great to start fresh again and again. However, I did know that people would be interested just because of my Jets status and I didn't mind that either.

Gavin: What was the response you got to the Castle Coldshins EP?

Jeremy: Unexpectedly cool. We recorded the CD with no budget and a friend of ours was kind enough to release it on his label and ended up doing most of the work. At that point it was nowhere near being an actual band. It was simply a project that involved a lot of different musicians trying their hand at something new and home-made. And, Jade Tree decided to do a full-length album based on that EP.

Gavin: Was the original plan to get multiple artists involved in the recordings, or was that something you fell into later when recording?

Jeremy: That was the original plan. It's always been the plan. I have a revolving door policy that still holds true today. Though I have a fairly steady live band now, the recordings always involve a lot of people.

Gavin: The first album High Uinta High, what was the recording like and how was the reaction to it when it came out?

Jeremy: I decided to get a Pro Tools rig for my apartment and test it out by making a record. I invited a bunch of musicians to come over and take part in the recording and I sent sessions all over the country for contributions. It was a really fun project that was entirely wrapped up in about 3 months in 2001. The reaction was great. We did a little touring and played quite a few shows around NYC that year. The New York Press gave me a "Best Of..." award for the record too.

Gavin: After reading about the follow-up album, why did you record Stay Poor Stay Happy in so many different locations?

Jeremy: I moved from Brooklyn to Chapel Hill, NC before I was finished tracking Stay Poor... I assembled a new band in NC and we continued tracking at Go! rehearsals and various homes. I also did some tracking with Andy Patterson in SLC and sent discs off to Chicago again. Like I said, Cub Country recordings have always been a revolving door experience. I've never had a "budget" to record a CC album, so I do what I can. And consequently, we always get some beauty out of the chaos.

Gavin: On the most recent album, what was it like working with Andy Patterson and how has the album been doing since its release?

Jeremy: The new album Stretch That Skull Cover & Smile will be out July 7, 2009. Andy Patterson tracked quite a bit of the record and also mixed it. I've worked with Andy on nearly every Cub Country recording that exists. He's a really talented engineer and a generous supporter of the project. When I had absolutely no money and no space to work, Andy offered up recording time and assistance.

Gavin: Are there any plans to tour with it, or will you be sticking around Utah more now?

Jeremy: I'm a lot less mobile than I was a few years ago. I think that we'll continue to play around Salt Lake and surrounding states for now. I'm open to touring again, but the conditions have to be right.

Gavin: A little state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Jeremy: Utah has a rapidly growing music scene. I like the fact that it's becoming more and more diverse with artists from all kinds of genres making their mark. But, Salt Lake is one of those towns in the middle of this country that is a hard tour stop for a lot of bands. We're 8-10 hours away from other mid-size cities. It can be culturally difficult here for obvious reasons, and a lot of bands skip over us because of that stigma.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Jeremy: I think the hard work that the art / music / cultural community is doing now is making it better here all the time.

Gavin: Who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Jeremy: I really love Indian Headset, Bluebird Radio, Eagle Twin and Band Of Annuals. We've got some good stuff going on musically in SLC.

Gavin: Moving to the music industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Jeremy: The larger beast seems to be suffering a lot more now as young bands are taking the entire process into their own hands. It used to be only punk bands would do this type of thing, but everyone is trying it now. It's certainly a smaller world with MySpace, Facebook, and every other internet tool right in your hands. I joke around all the time about the first tours I did where our main tools were a calling card and pay-phones! There were no laptops or cell-phones. Now I sound old. What the hell is a pay-phone?

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Jeremy: I don't really listen to the radio (besides public radio) these days. I hear some of the popular music from the kids at Spy Hop. But, I feel it's the same course of events with every generation. Younger people get excited about a lot of things that their parents and teachers don't quite understand. I definitely did. I loved hardcore music, and that was not parent friendly at all. That's one of the reasons kids like new, young music. It defines them and belongs to them alone.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Jeremy: At one point I was worried about not making a living if file-sharing became huge. But, it's huge now, and I'm not worried about making a living playing music anymore either. In fact, I share music with friends all the time. I feel like it's more important to be heard than be paid.

Gavin: What can we expect from you the rest of the year?

Jeremy: My new record Stretch That Skull Cover & Smile will be out July 7th. Expect shows and good times. We're hoping to record an EP later in the year as well. Long live Cub Country!


Eagle Twin (Gentry Densley & Tyler Smith)

http://www.myspace.com/eagletwin

Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Gentry: We like to make stuff... then break stuff and then fix stuff.

Tyler: Then we like to drink Devastator and hang out in the hot tub.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Gentry: Growing up my parents only listened to the Beatles but when I started playing it was Black Sabbath and Black Flag and Bad Brains... I was in to any "B" bands.

Tyler: ... And the bees made honey in the lion's skull

Gentry: Ah, Judges 14:8

Gavin: How did the two of you come together and decided to form Eagle Twin?

Tyler: We both fucking love Slayer!

Gentry: We've been playing various music together for over a decade so... Eagle Twin happened down the line as the music we wanted to play took on more gravitas.

Gavin: Is it odd coming from different bands and having this project too, or is that part of the fun of playing?

Gentry: Its like any relationship, if you're not getting what you need, you start looking elsewhere. Eagle Twin, the format we have set up, allows for the ultimate freedom and expression for both of us.

Tyler: We both know pretty well by now what kind of music we like to play.

Gavin: Is it a challenge creating your own sound that doesn't sound like the other bands you're in?

Tyler: This band sounds nothing like Form Of Rocket.

Gentry: The new Eagle Twin record was almost kinda sounding like Ascend, same engineer... same board... same me. When you have played music for 20 plus years you end up with your own sound somehow.

Gavin: What drew you to get on the Red Light label?

Gentry: Nothing really, Jared is an old bro and played with Iceburn back in the mid 90's.

Tyler: We actually just signed with Southern Lord Records. The full length will be out in July.

Gavin: How was it for you recording that first EP?

Gentry: That was one we made up the day before we went in the studio. I just gave Tyler an idea for the beat and I had a structure in mind so we just went for it. Later I overdubbed the vocals and solos and mixed it myself.

Tyler: You done good!

Gentry: Thanks, I try.

Gavin: Where did the decision to come from to do a dual EP on vinyl?

Gentry: It was Jared's idea. Vinyl is the past and the future.

Tyler: Yeah, an EP on CD would be fucked. Unless it was like a funny shape or something.

Gentry: Record isn't a funny shape

Tyler: Naw, just circular.

Gavin: What was the public reaction to it when it finally came out?

Tyler: There was talk of a lynching.

Gentry: Yeah people were pissed they couldn't download it and what... you think you've experienced it if you listen to it on your fucking phone?

Gavin: Do you guys have nay plans to tour or just sticking to Utah for now?

Gentry: We get around. Cali, Seattle, Texas, Colorado.

Tyler: We are doing a small US tour with Sunn in July.

Gentry: Then touring Europe with them in September.

Gavin: A little state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Gentry: Yeah, there's both good and bad. We just do our thing, its not about any scene or what have you. Music for us is the worship of the riff.

Tyler: Yeah, gathering or congregation is a better word.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it better?

Gentry: Just be true to the riff, crank it up and let it flow through you.

Tyler: Don't be baby fucks.

Gentry: Yeah, just hit the drums like you're bringing down a mountain.

Gavin: Who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Tyler: Invaders!

Gentry: Naked Eyes was cool live.

Gavin: Moving to the music industry, tell us what your thoughts are on it in general and the current state it's in?

Tyler: The Southern Lord part of the industry kicks ass.

Gentry: Amen

Tyler: Amen Ra.

Gentry: Corky Amen RA!

Gavin: What do you think of the current trends in music that are getting radio play today?

Gentry: Not much.

Tyler: We have a tape player in the van.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing and how it affects you as a musician?

Tyler: Its changing the world, man.

Gentry: Yeah people have just got to grow some ethics, don't get a CD then let everyone and their dog download it for free from your blog.

Tyler: Blogspot dot commies!

Gavin: What can we expect from you the rest of the year?

Gentry: Already said... full length CD in July, couple US tours and European tour.

Tyler: Next year, Japan!

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