checked out Kilby Court last night after hearing one of Will
Sartain's projects The Future Of The Ghost was taking off on a two
month tour, and I had to grab an interview with them before they took
off for parts unknown.
Along to send them off was solo artist Kathryn Cowles, Denver folk rock band Bad Werather California, and just a pure rock band Tolchock Trio. Apparently Band Of Annuals was also supposed to be there... but they weren't. I took some photos and interviewed them all after they played.
Gavin: What did you think of the crowd tonight?
Kathryn: Oh it's a great crowd! I love playing at Kilby because people are always here to listen to new music which is always great for a musician.
Gavin: Tell us a little about yourself.
Kathryn: I don't have much of a career at the moment, I just play occasionally at shows like this. I don't have a CD or anything, I'm pretty unprofessional. Both of my parents are pianists so they got me into playing music, but I wanted to play guitar and be different from everyone else in my family.
Gavin: Cool. What artists influenced you?
Kathryn: I really like Elliot Smith. I've loved Elliot Smith since the days of the self-titled CD. I used to drive around town when I was in high school listening to that and there were four songs at the end I would listen to over and over again.
Gavin: What's your opinion of the local music scene?
I think it's great. I haven't had a lot of exposure to music scenes
in other places, but there are some shining lights in our scene and
people who I think are so fantastic and could easily be national with
no problem at all. There are tons of bands like that and that's
really exciting. I wish there were more women in the scene, but one
can't always get what one wishes for. There are a number of women who
have great voices and are beautiful musicians here who I wish would
play more. But it's a great scene, everyone seems really friendly and
there are a lot of people who you can tell just love music and all
they want to do is make it better for the world. It's nice to be
around people like that.
Gavin: Nice. What's your opinion of the current trends in music?
Kathryn: I don't know. I tend to listen mostly to indie music and weird stuff that nobody knows about. I often don't know about the people I ought to know about. So I would say I'm not the best person to talk about it. But a lot of people are boring on the national scene, they don't pay any attention to lyrics or try anything experimental, or try to play with things and write something new. I think it's important to stop writing the same song over and over again which is why I tend to like independent music because people don't pay attention to that financial pressure to write the same pop song everybody's heard a million times with the same rhymes and the same structure.
Gavin: With that said, what do you think of the industry and the state it's in right now?
Kathryn: I think it's having a difficult time because people are writing bad songs that no one wants to listen to, but I think also there's so much pressure being put on musicians. It used to be that musicians had to be developed. You had Neil Young playing with Crosby, Stills & Nash one moment and then he comes out with his solo album and he's able to develop as an artist. Put out albums and conceive of albums as an album instead of hit songs. But now there's pressure to write hit songs all the time and I think the music suffers from it and that's a fault of the industry. I feel very little sympathy for companies that are saying “nobody's buying our CD's anymore” and say it's the fault of music sharing. But I think often times it's the fault of the music that's bad and nobody cares or is willing to pay for it. I think they need to shape up a bit before they can get so down on their audience. I buy every CD I own and that's because I want to support local music and local businesses, but I'm not going to buy crap music.
Gavin: While we're on the subject, what's your opinion of file sharing?
Kathryn: I'm not sure. At the moment I'm working on a PHD in Poetry at the U, and the printed book has a similar feeling. I'd rather have the actual printed word copy of the book. I'd rather have the actual CD than just a file, I'd like to have the art and have it in my hands. So for me that doesn't work at all. But my dad is a crazy file sharer kind of guy and is really interested in free music and he gives me CD's all the time. But as for me even speaking as a musician, I tend to like to buy things and support local musicians. Don't care about the record companies but I like to support musicians, even if they only get ten cents. I also like to go to concerts because that's how they support themselves too. They used to not see a lot of that money.
Gavin: Hey every download is a new bowl a ramen.
Kathryn: Yes is it.
Gavin: You said you don't have a CD, are you planning on working on one?
Kathryn: I need to, a lot of people have been trying to get me to do one and I really should, I don't know why I haven't. I'm just kind of a perfectionist, I've made a few unprofessional records of myself and they make me really unhappy. So I need to do it right and do it well when I do. I think I will by the end of the summer.
Bad Weather California (Adam Baumiester, Chris Adolf, Joe Sampson, Xandy Whitesel)
Gavin: You're from Denver, what did you think of the Salt Lake crowd?
Chris: We couldn't ask for better here, honestly. Kilby court has been one of the best DIY all ages punk rock venues in the country for at least the past eight years. It really is the best place in the country.
Adam: I agree. It's the second time we've been here and the crowd here was wonderful. One of the best shows on tour for sure. Beats a lot of the places in L.A., I like this place better.
Gavin: Tell us a little about how your band came together.
Adam: Most of us all do stuff in Denver. I work at a record store and have a band in Devner, I've known Chris for years and Joe as well. We just all operate CD stores and do stuff together in other bands for years. Xandy is also a friend of ours, he used to do sound in one of the bars we'd play. Chris has had tons of people in the band before us as sort of a revolving cast, but we're trying to make it more stable as a band and do more rock band style. Even doing some of my songs and Joe's songs.
Gavin: What's your opinion of the current trends out in music?
Adam: It's always been bad, right?
Chris: It's always been rehashed. Some of the hip-hop stuff I think is cool. Timberland and Justin Timberlake, that's stuff is pretty cool. For the most part I think the best music is in places like Kilby Court.
Gavin: Cool. What's your opinion on the state of the music industry right now?
Chris: A lot of people have written about that and said a lot and have a lot of opinions on it and I honestly don't know enough about it to make an opinion. It seems like it's changing very much.
Adam: I work at a record store for years and know what's going on. The whole record industry is on a downward spiral for major stores and labels. I think music on the other hand is on the way up because kids have more access to it through the internet. The store I work in is independent, the kind that carries vinyl and stuff like that. In the past year I've sold ten times more records than the previous years. So I think the music industry is on the decline, while good music stores who carry vinyl and support the local scenes and pay attention are on the upswing. We made more this year than last year. There's very few record stores across the country that can do that. Places like Tower Records closed down last year.
Gavin: You talked a little on file sharing, what's your opinion on that?
Chris: It's not really a matter of supporting it or not, it's just out there, If you make music and it's going to exist on the digital format, it's going to be there for people to take. And I'm very flattered that people would spend the two seconds it would takes to download my album, I'm very flattered by that. It's nice that people come to our shows and buy the records.
Adam: But that's what happens. People could just go to a live show and buy a CD.
Chris: One of our friends just put out a record on a credit card format. You buy the card and go online and download the full album. It's a tangible format that's also digital. I'm not offended when people download my record, you just have to find other ways to make ends meet. You can't rely on CD's anymore.
Adam: You can't download band T-shirts. Belt buckles, scarves, toothpaste.
Gavin: So you're aiming to be the KISS of indie music?
Adam: We should be!
Gavin: You currently have a CD out. Are you riding the success of this right now, or are you working on new material?
Chris: The new one is basically written and new songs do pop up so we'll add to it as we go. We're working on it. This one has done okay, we've had a few reviews on it which was very flattering, but it's done okay.
Gavin: Any bands you recommend?
Chris: Milton Melvin Croissant III, he's a guy in Denver making my favorite music. And the a band named Pee Pee. Other than that we've been listening to the classics. Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Paul Simon, things like that.
The Future Of The Ghost (Scott Fetzer, Ryan Fedor, Will Sartain, Tommy Nguyen, Cathy Foy)
Gavin: What did you think of the crowd tonight?
Will: It was awesome, this was probably one of our best shows.
Gavin: Tell us a little about how you came together.
Will: We've been a band for just over a year, it started with just me and Cathy, then we got Tommy, and we just picked up Scott. We just wanna have a band that changes the world. That's all.
Cathy: We're going on tour in a few days for two months. We're all really excited. We're traveling in a Villager with turtles on the back.
Gavin: What artists influenced you?
Cathy: Built To Spill.
Scott: I'm hearing some Pixies.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the local scene?
Will: It's good. It's better than most.
Cathy: There's always new bands forming and there's a lot of acts wanting to play. It's a good music scene to be a part of.
Scott: A lot of my favorite stuff that I really like that's been coming from the scene, people that don't play out a lot and you'd have to know better are the ones I like.
Gavin: What' your opinion on the music industry?
Cathy: As far as being in a band I think our attitude is we have to put our own energy into it. As far as touring and putting out our own records, we financed it all ourselves, so it's just interesting to have a real opinion of it when you're not really a part of that food chain. Even though you are, I feel we still fall outside of that. Nobody's giving us money or making money off of us, and when you talk about the music industry you're talking about a business structure.
Gavin: So then what's your opinion on the current trends?
Cathy: It's really interesting. I think there's always great music being made all the time and it's just a matter of buying those records you like. I don't really keep up on what the trends are or categorical trends like what bands are “emo”. I don't even really know what that means, that seems so abstract to me. Even hip-hop. I just think there's tons of creative bands making good music all the time, and it depends if you want to be a part of that musical community and whether or not you wanna support those bands is the question.
Scott: I conquer Cathy.
Gavin: You don't have an album out, what's the situation on that?
Cathy: We are just finishing recording an EP, its a six song CD that will come out for our fall tour. That's pretty much done right now and when we get home we'll press it.
Gavin: Indie label or DYI?
Cathy: We've found a label, it's kind of on the hush-hush right now, but we have one.
Gavin: With that in mind, what's your opinion on file sharing?
Cathy: I just feel like we live in an interesting time as far as digital music and music sharing goes. For me the idea of hording your music in this day and age is nearly impossible, you can't do it. I think bands would do best with the attitude of sharing as much as they possibly can. That's the way you get your music out there to people who normally wouldn't hear it. So I don't have a problem with it at all.
Scott: I have the same mind as Cathy on that one. You can spread the word about your band on the web these days on your website or MySpace and whatnot. So you can sell your own music on your website and make it work better than some bands. I'm sure it's in every bands interest to get distribution of CD's to be sold in record stores, that's nice too.
Gavin: Any local bands you recommend?
Cathy: Band of Annuals are amazing, Tolcholk Trio is amazing, The Red Bennies are amazing, The Wolves are great.
Scott: Ether, I've always liked them, they've been around for a while. And one of my favorites here who is still around is Dale Lee, anything he does. He has a band called Thirsty Alley around.
Tolchock Trio (Ryan Fedor, Tommy Nguyen, Oliver Lewis, Dan Thomas)
Gavin: I know the crowd kinda left after Ghost, but what did you think of what was left?
Oliver: That's always my favorite because then you can tell who is serious about wanting to be there sometimes, so we kind of like it.
Ryan: Yeah, the diehards stuck around, and we always seem to play our best when the crowd hates us. We played at the X-Games and they didn't like us, and the last SLAMMY's show where we played at a blues venue and they outright hated us, that was fun.
Oliver: That whole crowd of 35 year old's who come in “hey buddy, how's your condo? It's pretty good.” I hate those people.
Ryan: Maybe three or four people paying attention, we antagonize the audience sometimes.
Gavin: Tell us a little about yourselves and how the band came together.
Oliver: Just playing around, Salt Lake has kind of a tight scene sometimes, it's kind of a small town in that way. Dan came out from Minneapolis in 2000 and it just started up, we've been together a long time.
Ryan: We used to all be roommates back in 2000 or so. Me, Dan and Oliver all lived together for about four years, moved around a bunch of places. So when we first moved in we decided we were going to start this band, and it's been going for about 6-7 years.
Oliver: At first we were trying to fuse My Bloody Valentine with Wilco, and then we realized that was stupid. So we just did whatever we wanted to do from that point forward.
Gavin: What's your opinion of the local scene here in Salt Lake?
Oliver: It's alright. There's a lot of stuff I don't like but there's some beautiful musicians out here, it's a pretty good scene and it's pretty supportive. As far as a scene goes, if we just had four other cities closer to us instead of a vast desert, we could do better. There's a lot of awesome older dudes who we learned a lot from. People like Dave Payne and Eli Morrison, Riley Fog.
Ryan: Back in the older rockin' days we saw some greatness, and Kilby Court used to be sort of all-ages whatever you want to do private party all the time kind of place. Anything used to go here. But it's a cool scene, kind of close knit, kind of intertwined. I think it's cool. Lot of great musicians within it. I just wish there were more musicians doing more “out there” stuff, there's a main core group and then there's people who play in five bands.
Oliver: And it's weird. Maybe it's just me being an old man, but it seems like around 1999 there was more of an experimental feel. Do you know what I'm talking about, Ryan? It just used to be more out there then.
Ryan: I guess so, but I didn't really get into the local scene here. When Red Bennies album first came out, or first time I saw Ether was the real first local show I came to see. It was amazing. But you used to see some spectacles going off, but now it's more low key. The music's still good but we kind of wish someone would come out and scare the crap out of us like they used to.
Gavin: What artists influenced you?
Oliver: The music we all get into together would be Wire, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth. Ryan, any?
Oliver: Those are sort of the touchstones for the band and then we each have musical influences that are diverse. Which is actually kinda great and it keeps us fresh and we argue.
Ryan: I'm more into Brian May from Queen, which I probably don't sound like.
Oliver: And I'm way into Freddy Mercury, but I probably don't sound like it.
Gavin: What's your opinion of current trends in music right now?
Oliver: I don't have time to listen to anything but the stuff I like. Theres so much good music I listen to that on the rest I just click Next. I don't spend a lot of time mulling it over.
Ryan: I'm kinda into more of the current R&B and hip-hop that's out right now. I think there's a lot of cutting edge producers right now. I'm not into a lot of the current mainstream rock band, but I think the current hip-hop and R&B scenes right now are fresh and some cool stuff is happening right now. I don't have money right now so I haven't bought a lot of music lately, but the things I would buy is stuff like Jay-Z.
Oliver: Plus with the way there are so many ways of distributing music, is sort of hard to put a finger on any kind of scene, there's so many going on at the same time. A lot of people I know don't go to traditional media whatsoever to read about and consume music anymore. It's all indie and DYI now. So it's tough to track anything, it's all over the place.
Gavin: So what would be your opinion on the current state of the music industry?
Oliver: Oh, gotta get off the sinking ship while you still can. Need to stay above it so you don't get sucked down in with it.
Ryan: The model appears to be changing, and I fear the people who stick to the old model and don't adapt will get left behind. Digital appears to be the new thing, and if there's money to be made they need to figure out how to do it. I don't know if they'll do royalties for digital streams or what, but it's going to be the Rick Ruben way of things where people do subscriptions for whatever music you want. That's a little scary because the musicians get paid in that kind of a system. We just had the writers strike over digital distribution and that called all types of trouble for that media, I'm sure it's going to be the same kinds of problems when it comes to the music industry.
Oliver: Some people won't go into it so easily. Have to take them kicking and screaming.
Ryan: Yeah, it's the most exciting time since they started selling records in the early days of music.
So then what is your opinion on file sharing?
Oliver: If I see someone with my music and it's pirated? I don't really care personally. And I don't really care if I have all the Rolling Stones album sand I didn't pay for them. But it gets rough when there are musicians out there trying to make a living, trying to quit that day job and they can't get paid. So on that side I see it as a problem, bot on the other side you can't stop it, you can't turn off the spigot once it's on. There's a generation of kids used to taking whatever they want whenever they want it for free, and like Ryan was saying is that once that has happened there's no going back, you just have to embrace it.
Ryan: I pretty much agree with that.
Gavin: Current album plans?
Oliver: Yeah, we have a brand new album as yet untitled that we've been working on for way too long. Sorry to any fans who we've led along But it should be out mid to late May and we'll be playing more shows in the Salt Lake City area.
Gavin: Any local artists you recommend?
Ryan: Ether Orchestra, The Wolves, Vile Blue Shades, The Red Bennies.
Oliver: The Rubes, Taught Me. And Future Of The Ghost.