This is where I remind you all that this happened and I was in it and the world is a good, good place.
Song A Day #891: Zen Maru the Cat Song (by Jonathan Mann)
Well, I’ve been tumbling (tumblring?) for about two months now and I’ve accrued fifty followers as of today….. some of you I know, but some I don’t. Care to introduce yourself?
Please enjoy the following while you do:
Good advice for anyone getting started in any field they feel strongly about, musical or otherwise.
Below is an interview with Nick Krill, who writes and sings half the songs in The Spinto Band (including their big hit from the previous decade, “Oh Mandy”) and does a lot for them on the technical recording side of things. He’s a soft-spoken but infinitely knowledgeable gentleman when it comes to sound, and he’s a hell of a guitar player to boot.
Without getting into too much detail about uncanny coincidences, it came to be that almost exactly one year ago from now I was a part of this:
That’s me seen playing guitar, and also (invisibly) playing electric piano along with Nick and Thomas of the Spinto Band and the inimitable Jonathan Mann. I was wary of getting in the way of these pros, or offerring too much of my own input, so I was thrilled when asked to lay down some wurly piano, and I really went at it, hamming it up a little with frilly embellishments and a long run or two towards the end. Nick said he really liked my style and compared it to a certain cuban pianist I was unfamiliar with at the time, none other than Ruben Gonzalez of the Buena Vista Social Club. He played me “Pueblo Nuevo” and we geeked out over it and some other similar piano music I mentioned for a little while — seeing him cite it as one of his favorite pieces is great to read, and it’s sort of an even greater retroactive compliment to have been compared. I since got the Buena Vista album and saw the accompanying documentary and was pretty inspired by it, particularly by Gonzalez’s deft fingers bounding across the eighty-eights, careening from genre to genre — flamenco, jazz, blues — all within a solo. He even throws in some Debussy-like whole tone scale runs here and there. The impact is striking. He goes all over the place but always lands on his feet.
This recording is a great example. He starts out with mellow accompaniment to the band’s groove, but in the last minute and a half or a so, really starts to go nuts as he hits some quick high notes with both hands around the top octave, then quickly makes his way down and even, around 3:45, goes into a jazzy interpretation of the classical theme from Albeniz’s Asturias (Leyenda).
Ruben certainly didn’t.
[Nick Krill has a great sonic oddity of a Tumblr that I follow, which consists, seemingly, of various short interesting field (and possibly studio) recordings: http://make-a-sound.tumblr.com/ ]
Do-It-Yourself… Pushing your own boundaries with The Spinto BandI have always been inspired by people who take the bull by the horns and go for the glory! Yes, you might fall on your face a few times, but feeling true empowerment comes from tackling obstacles and achieving their objectives.With no help from outside resources of a record label, The Spinto Band have created a true DIY pop masterpiece. Only taking periodic coffee and Nintendo breaks, The Spinto Band have made their greatest album yet in Shy Pursuit. In doing so, they resurrected the label they started as teenagers to trade cassettes over 15 years ago, and built their own recording studio. The Spinto Band are in a happy place, pushing their own boundaries, on their own terms. I was lucky enough to chat with Nick Krill of The Spinto Band for today’s Interview.(Patrick Tape Fleming) Hey Nick, congrats on the new record! It’s awesome. I met you guys on the Poison Control Center’s first national tour in 2004, when we shared a bill at the Springwater Supper Club in Nashville, TN. Which, at the time, was where David Berman of the Silver Jews was known to drink. David Berman was a no show that night unfortunately, and not very many of his fellow Nashvillions were there either, but I remember saying to the rest of my band, “These guys sound better then the Strokes, and they’re only sixteen!” Did you book that tour by yourself and did your parents know you were playing scary places like the Springwater Supper Club?(Nick Krill)Ha ha, boy I have some great memories of that show…mostly of how awesome Poison Control Center was! That was a weird sort of one-offshow we booked while we were spending time in Nashville at our band
mates’ uncle’s studio. I think the engineer at the studio might have
helped us hop on the bill somehow. Our parents might not have known
about that show, but early on they certainly were very supportive of
us hanging out in dive bars. Tom and Sam’s step-dad, and Jeff and
Joe’s dad have been playing music together for over 30 years in a
great Roots / Americana / Honky Tonk band called The Sin City Band,
and they used to let us open up for them at some local bars in
Delaware. There are some funny stories about us showing up for school
the morning after a show and stinking of cigarette smoke and general
bar funk…we got a few raised eyebrows from all our teachers and
basketball coaches.PTF: You shared a bill on Jools Holland’s show with Pearl Jam. That seems crazy to me. Speaking of crazy, who in the band can do the best imitation of Eddie Vedder at the end of the Jeremy video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osjinF6Swwk -Watch Oh Mandy from Jools HollandNK:I’m not sure who in the band would do the best impression. I’m gonna
go outside the band for this one and say maybe our good friend Brian
Langan…he plays in a great group called Langor, and can probably do
the best imitation of a Vedder style voice out of anyone I know. It
is sad…I gotta show respect for Eddie Vedder, but he really seemed to
usher in a flood of really crumby sounding alternative rock singers.
Actually, Brian Langan did a great parody of our song “Oh Mandy” in
the style of a nasty alternative rock and roll band… check it out and
you can get a sense of how he might handle singing the end of
“Jeremy”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6eyWX57QcQPTF: You recorded and released your brand new record all by yourself, which is totally extraordinary. After working with Bar/None and Park The Van Records, what inspired you to build your own studio and revive Spintonic Records for the release of Shy Pursuit?NK:Well setting up the studio was pretty easy… I’m really interested inrecording so it was kind of a natural thing for me to do. At the same
time when The Spinto Band started out we spent all of our time
recording on a 4-track cassette machine in the basement… and we were
all little studio rats. So the idea of kinda going back to our old
ways of hanging out and recording together was appealing. As far as
setting up our own label and releasing the album, that decision kind
of came after having a number of mixed experiences on a bunch of
different labels. At the end of the day, it felt like if we could not
find people running a label we were comfortable or confident in, it
just made as much sense to try it ourselves. So far it has been a
pretty positive experience, it is a ton of extra work, and we are
probably missing a good deal of experience that someone working at an
established label could bring to a record release… but for now it makes
sense and we are happy.PTF: My wife is a huge Spinto Band fan but has never seen you play. She is a bartender and there is never a bar mix that does not include you doing Give Me Just A Little More Time/Sweet Escape/The Boys Are Back In Town, medley from your 2nd Daytrotter session. http://www.daytrotter.com/#!/concert/the-spinto-band/20030556-3737416 What are the 3 most inspiring songs of all time, and why?NK:Oh man, that is a though question… for me I think it is alwayschanging, you know? I think there can be different songs for different
inspirational needs… or depending on your state of mind… a different
song could be inspirational. For the last few years the song “Pueblo
Nuevo” by The Buena Vista Social Club has been very inspirational to
me. It features pianist Rubén González who is down right amazing… his
style kind of sounds like his hands are made of Slinkies that are
falling down a set of stairs made of piano keys. His piano playing has
actually been probably the biggest influence on my lead-guitar playing
in years.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMExC9AaoD0 -Listen Here!
One song that has been inspirational in the last week has been Les
Paul’s version of “Brazil” from his album “The New Sound!” On this
record Les Paul was doing some early experiments with manipulating the
recording process… doing pitch shifting with tape speed changes, and
early forms of overdubbing, etc… really just pushing the boundaries of
how to record music. As we begin thinking about recording a new
Spinto Band album, a lot of Les Paul’s recordings from this era have
kind of inspired me to try and find places where I can push my own
boundaries while recording.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aope2_wtNA8 -Listen Here!
Finally, I’d say maybe any song on “ It Takes a Nation of Millions To
Hold Us Back” by Public Enemy. This is another recent inspiration that
has kind of sparked me as I begging to think about recording new
Spinto Band songs. Again it kind of comes from the production… there
are such greats bits of collage, noise and sounds on this album. The
attitude and sound and the feelings all match perfectly and create an
amazing bit of music.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKx-aDingqg -Listen Here!PTF: You guys seem like a band who are friends first, band second. What’s the best piece of advice you could give a band of friends who are just getting started?NK:Don’t stop.
A huge thanks to Nick and the rest of The Spinto Band for inspiring extraordinary performance with amazing songs, a DIY work ethic, and being killer dudes, to boot. Go buy all of their records now, and be inspired for yourself!
(ps Nick is the handsome one with the bow-tie on in the photo above)