Welcome back with a new record! The album has now been officially released; how are the first reactions and impressions?
It seems like a pretty positive reaction so far, which is great. It did well on the Billboard Jazz charts in America, which is always surprising and kind of fun. We’re just excited people are hearing this record now.
Becoming more able to look at your own record from a distance after the recording process, how do you feel it has turned out? Could you have predicted the outcome after the debut and the touring?
The record turned out just like we hoped. We recorded with Kris Hilbert to try to capture our live energy as best as we could, but also we all really get off on being in the studio and having fun playing with tones and layering parts, so it was a mix of both worlds. The songs are just a natural progression after touring together for a few years and just understanding our music and what we’re trying to do better.
I assume all three of you contribute to the writing process; did you have certain habits and tasks while working on 'Digital Dream Sequence'?
It’s different for each person. I do a lot of the arranging, so Walter will send me sax licks he has, or Matt some drum grooves he has and I’ll get a basis for a song going, sometimes in full and then we’ll get together and work it out. Sometimes songs take a different turn than you planned, always for the better though.
There aren't too many bands like you. Do you feel you might stand in a certain tradition, and are there bands/projects out there that you feel particularly connected to that are active right now?
Well, King Crimson is active again and that’s extremely exciting, they’re one of our biggest influences. The longevity Robert Fripp has had is incredible and is something I’m definitely striving to have.
Your debut was extremely well-received (and deservedly so), but it appeared to be not enough for, say, an extended European tour... could it happen this time around with the new release?
We’ve been ready to go over at any time, we’re just waiting to get an offer and then we’ll make it happen. It is nice to have ninety minutes or so of material to choose from now as opposed to just half that much.
'Digital Dream Sequence' is every bit as melodic, groovy, tight and crazy as 'Separate Realities', but somehow it seems more otherworldly. I can't exactly lay my finger on it; could you give it a try?
Well we blended a lot of new sounds on the sax and flute with new structural ideas; we never want to repeat ourselves so it’s all about doing as much with the composition either in a structural sense or in a sonic sense. There were a lot of sections that leant themselves to more of a trippy spaced out feel, and we definitely jumped all over that.
As musicians, this demanding music must keep you razor-sharp; no room for slouching. Does it give you a boost in your development, technically and creatively?
That’s just the kind of musicians we are, and generally the kind that I tend to surround myself with in all my groups. If someone is not forward thinking, well…that’s boring and I don’t want to be a part of it. We all feed off of each other’s energy in this group, that helps push us as well.
On your live performances: are there parts that would be hard to perform live? And do you sometimes play to a backing track, and if so, in what way?
No, no backing tracks ever. We use looping pedals and create all sounds that you hear. Our drummer plays with midi pads for his xylophone and other percussive sounds. The group is an exercise in how much music and sound three people can create together.
These were my questions for this round; thank you for taking the time to answer them. The parting words are all yours!
I appreciate the interview, hopefully we’ll be over there soon!