Weinland on Musicfest NW | Buzz Blog

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weinland on Musicfest NW

Posted By on September 6, 2010, 9:22 PM

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Part two of City Weekly's Musicfest NW preview.---

Portland is weird and they like it that way. The city's immaculate beer, thriving artistic community and musical diversity warrants attention, which is what Musicfest NW is all about.

The four-day (plus a little) festival takes over Portland's musical venues in a way, not too unlike, South by Southwest's little brother. City Weekly interviewed a couple of local bands—Portland Cello Project and Weinland—to share the lowdown on "The City of Bridges," give an insider's perspective to the festival and, of course, talk about themselves. It's not too late for Salt Lakers to head up, but if you can't make it, City Weekly will be there, providing daily updates of the debauchery and damn good tunes.

Weinland

What late-night snack is a must on the streets of Portland? And, What's up with the bacon fad going on there?
Everyone is going to say Voodoo Donuts... I think they even have donuts with bacon on them! (but that's all I know about the bacon fad)... but I'm going to say Triscuit Nachos at The Liberty Glass (LG). The LG is a low key awesome place to grab a post show drink and they serve an amazing invention, the Triscuit Nacho, until closing!

As a musician, what's your favorite Portland venue to play? Why?
This is a tough one.. obviously we've played most of the rooms in Portland (as we are a local group). For overall listening experience I love the playing the Aladdin Theater! If you want to see a rock show that sounds amazing, The Doug Fir.. If you want to feel your roots and and have a great show with an entire neighborhood experience, Mississippi Studios.

Why is Portland a breeding ground for folk-rock and its uniquely labeled derivatives?
As a member of a Celebration/Devastation Folk Rock band its hard for me to say... maybe because Portland has big highs and big lows.. our summers are amazing and beautiful and full of outdoor life... our winters can be a real rainy drag. That and the fact that Portland has this deep unwritten commitment to being real. There's not a lot of showy behavior here.. mostly people pride themselves in doing things the way they like without trying to much to put on a show. Folk lends itself pretty willingly to that aesthetic.

What makes a perfect ballad? Talk about some songwriters you admire?
Oh, I don't know.. I guess it should be first person and sung as though it was directed at another. The melodies might be more drawn out and strung together versus quick and syncopated. The lyrics would then of course also be more spare and more poignant. Isn't a ballad usually a love song? Specifically.. something that Chris Isaak or Kansas would sing? I don't really know how to talk about admiring ballad writers ... aren't they supposed to be a guilty pleasure? I feel like Jeff Tweedy and Wilco come up with some pretty rad modern day ballads. Jeff does an amazing job of telling an everyday story in a way that really makes you feel like you're part of it.

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On July 24-25, Weinland paired up with Laura Gibson and seven ballet dancers for "Uprising." Do tell...
Ya, it was awesome. We were contacted by some dancers from The Oregon Ballet who were enjoying WEINLAND. They pitched the idea of collaborating and doing a live music and dance piece. We of course loved the idea! Shortly after Laura came on board as well, and of course we love and admire Laura, so we knew it would be amazing. Hard to explain what happened after that ... the main choreographer, Candace Bouchard, listened through our catalogues of music and conceptualized a relationship between the songs and the dancers. Then WEINLAND Laura Gibson, all on one stage with 7 ballet dancers, performed a 90-minute Dance-Folk Rock opus! It was pretty rad.

Talk about how various artistic disciplines coalesce in Portland? Have you seen it elsewhere?
I don't really know where it comes from, maybe more of that "just do what you like" attitude I mentioned before. We've collaborated with lots of other musicians.. but we've also collaborated with dancers, orchestras, filmmakers, costume designers, painters, theater folks, sexy dancers, etc.. why? Cause it sounds fun.. How? I have no idea.. actually I didn't really realize it until you just pointed it out. You know why I think we do that in Portland because people come see it.

If you can provide an audience for your artistic community, and I know for a fact and by experience that Salt Lake City has thriving arts community, amazing things will happen. I think that's really it.. someone has an idea to do a whacky collaboration and then 600 people show up to see it.. which is so fulfilling that the experience perpetuates itself. You guys [SLC] have some rad theaters and venues and I bet if you told your dancers you'd come see them if they danced to The Devil Whale or Band of Annuals, I bet they'd do it!

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Weinland booked recording time for 2009's Breaks in the Sun without writing anything first. What was the process like in the studio?
It was probably a lot like you'd imagine.. it was scary, exciting, daunting, and thrilling. We actually had maybe one song written before we went in.. then we wrote and recorded the other 10 or so tracks over the course of 18 days (or somewhere near there). We spent days and nights in the studio just working and working to try and do something cool. We wanted that experience.. we wanted to write a record like we had to. Like we envisioned some of our idols doing in the 70s. "Hey guys I got us a few days at the studio to record some tracks, lets go!" that sort of vibe.

The process was ever changing and would be very hard to sum up in short, but we spent our late nights jamming and imbibing. We spent our mornings recording my guitar parts that I had come up with the night before, then the band would start to write and record their parts. Meanwhile, I would go in another room and write lyrics, then I would lay the lyrics when I had them and the process would start over again. Some songs came quickly ("Sunken Eyes" was written the first night) and others were arduous (we mixed and re-recorded the vocals on "Autumn Blood" three times).


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