Home > Interviews

Interview: The Oranges Band (w/ Roman Kuebler) [Part 2]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: The Oranges Band – Art Star from The Oranges Band Are Invisible (2008)

If you haven’t read part one, check it out. And celebrate The Oranges Band tonight at Comet Ping Pong or the Ottobar on Satuday.

Here’s part 2 of my interview with The Oranges Band’s lead singer, Roman Kuebler. A couple things of note: for our DC readers, the band will be bringing its anniversary celebration to Comet Ping Pong tonight. On the sadder side of things, City Paper recently reported that drummer Dave Voyles, who had been with the band since the start, has left for personal reasons. Lee Ashlin is taking his place behind the kit on tour.

This portion focuses more on the band’s three long players, the anniversary show (which I accidentally slipped up and called a reunion show, not my finest moment) and what lies ahead for the band.

AS: How do you look back on All Around, your first LP?

Read the rest…

Interview: The Oranges Band (w/ Roman Kuebler) [Part 1]

Photo credits: Natasha Tylea (1-3), Greg Szeto (4-5)

The Oranges Band were the first group that got me to start poking around the music scene here in Charm City. The World and Everything In It still ranks among my favorite albums from a Baltimore band; to this day, I can throw it on and get taken in by songs like “Drug City” and “Open Air.”

Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I checked the Ottobar calendar some weeks back and saw the guys were doing a 10 Year Anniversary show on April 24. To mark the occasion, I sat down for an expansive, career-spanning interview in the band room at the Ottobar with lead singer Roman Kuebler. We covered everything from the life of a band on the road, to each of the three albums the band has released, to Roman’s thoughts on the current Baltimore scene, and lots in between.

For me, it was both a history lesson (sometimes that is painfully clear) and a chance to really pick the brain of one of the founders of a band that opened my eyes and ears to wonderful music around me.

Aural States: So your first show was here 1o years ago. Describe that experience. How did that go?

Read the rest…

Video: Jason Urick – “Fussing & Fighting”

Jason Urick – “Fussing & Fighting”
Directed by Mark Brown
Password (if still locked): fussing

Thanks to the kind folks at Thrill Jockey (especially Paco Barba), we’re happy to premiere the video for the title track of Jason Urick’s new EP, “Fussing & Fighting.” Jason took a few moments to enlighten us on the EP: Read the rest…

Sign On!: Human Conduct Records, Part 3: Interview (w/ Rick Weaver)

To cap off this series of posts on Human Conduct Records, I exchanged a week-long email relay with all-around Human Conduct man, Rick Weaver. Our conversation exposed what my previous pieces attempted to avoid–the theoretical foundations of Human Conduct’s disposition. Coincidentally, it is my impression that we also received a remarkably profound character profile for Rick Weaver (whose works were covered extensively in Part 2).

Read the rest…

Interview: James Husband & of Montreal (w/ Jamey Huggins)

In between rehearsals for James Husband and of Montreal, we caught up with Jamey Huggins before both bands began a short eastern tour. Huggins, who has played drums, bass and keyboards (that I know of) for of Montreal since 1998, has just released his solo effort, A Parallax I. We spoke about being in two bands at once, being influenced by Guided by Voices and what the future may hold for of Montreal.

Read the rest…

Interview: The Swimmers (w/ Steve Yutzy-Burkey)

Swimmers group shot

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  1. MP3: The Swimmers – Shelter
  2. MP3: The Swimmers – A Hundred Hearts

How does a band follow up a debut that received much love with NPR, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Magnet, and many others hailing the smart guitar-driven indie-rock sound they had created, when that same band found themselves disillusioned with the writing and recording process they had to endure to make that debut?

If you are Philadelphia’s The Swimmers, and you are following 2008′s Fighting Trees, you build a home studio, take control of the entire recording process, and rediscover who you are as musicians.  You release an explosive blast of modern new-wave-pop, that hearkens back to the best parts of New Order’s deep synth driven groove, yet at the same time borrows the deep noise explorations of Radiohead’s catalog, combining them with a sharp songwriting sense.

People Are Soft is a career defining point for the band.  Despite the success of Fighting Trees, the band has almost completely remade themselves by creating an album that, while a radical change from what came before, also exceeds the expectations that surrounded their stellar debut.

Singer/ guitarist and principle songwriter Steve Yutzy-Burkey recently took some time to talk with Aural States:

Read the rest…

Interview: Office of Future Plans & the Jawbox Reunion (w/ J Robbins)


Photo credit: Greg Szeto

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Report Suspicious Activity – The Night of 1000 Lies from Report Suspicious Activity (2005)

Office of Future Plans plays Oct 27th at the Sidebar with The Bomb, and a Halloween show on Oct 30th at Rock and Roll Hotel with Caverns and Imperial China.

On an anonymous street, nestled tightly amidst random warehouse facades in the neighborhood known as Better Waverly (funnily enough, south of Waverly proper), sits the Magpie Cage. From the outside, it appears to be no more than a steel-gated, two-car-width garage. But when you walk through the doors, it’s like entering a different world. A veritable oasis for anyone music-oriented, lined with warm wood tones, and contrasts of deep red while absolutely bursting with vintage and high-tech recording gear that strikes any artist like Pavlov’s Bell. Unlike many studios, this one is remarkably free of clutter, and blessed streamlined interior design (perhaps a bit of insight into the mind of its proprietor).

This is the studio of one J Robbins, one of the bonafide icons of local music, earning his stripes as final bassist in DC hardcore band Government Issue, vocalist and guitarist in post-hardcore follow-up Jawbox, and more recently with duties in Report Suspicious Activity, Channels, and Burning Airlines. He also happens to be one of the most earnest, hard-working, and genuine people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting.

I got the chance to gab with J in the studio before a day of mixing locals …soihadto…, who counts the infamous Duff from Ace of Cakes among its members. Our conversation veered all over: from the forging fires of his new project Office of Future Plans, to the driving forces behind the bizarre Jawbox reunion set on Jimmy Fallon, and tons more in Robbins’ very busy life.

Read the rest…

Interview: Charm City Art Space – 7 Years and the 1000th Show (w/ Mike Riley)


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Sick Sick Birds – Your Machine from Heavy Manners 12″ (2009)

On a particularly idyllic and cool fall evening this week, I sat on the steps of Charm City Art Space with founding member Mike Riley (the Spark, Pulling Teeth, Toxic Pop & Firestarter Records) to reminisce and reflect on the past, present and future of the iconic, long-running DIY venue.

They celebrate a mind-boggling 1000 shows this Friday with a secret, 5-band line-up.  It should not be missed.

Doors at 7PM. All ages and donations appreciated, as always.

Aural States: To start, can you flesh out the circumstances leading up to the genesis of CCAS?  What factors contributed to you and the other founders’ desire to start up the space?

Mike Riley: Well since I moved to Baltimore in ’94, I went to UMBC.  I grew up in central New Jersey and there were shows left and right, bands I wanted to go see all the time.  When I came down here I didn’t have a car.  This was obviously not pre-internet, but pre the explosion of the internet.  My AOL search for Baltimore hardcore was this band called Compression, who are far from a hardcore band.

There were hardcore bands in Baltimore, just bands weren’t on the internet yet.  So I was lost as to where the shows were happening in the area, I couldn’t find any info on the Loft, or anything in the area.  So I decided I’d bring the bands in myself.  I started doing shows at UMBC in ’97.  Did them there for a while.  Then a friend told me about a space near University of Maryland, which was at the time the Supreme Imperial.  I got involved with them, they let us rent out the space.  Eventually when they got evicted we took it over.  That became the Chop Shop.  At that time, I met my friend Mike Wolf who had just moved to the area from Pittsburgh.  Well, not just, he had been here a little while.  He was involved in a space in Sowebo called Black Aggies, which was also the Laff n Spit.  So we just became friends, kept in touch over the years.

Fast forward to 2002, and neither of us have regular show spaces to work with.  DIY spaces.  I was doing a lot of shows at the old Ottobar and the Sidebar.  But we just wanted a non-bar venue where music was the focus.  Mike and I met up at a show at the Bloodshed, a warehouse space on Preston.  They had just moved in there, it was a cool, great space but I guess since people were living there, they didn’t want to do more than one show a month.  Mike and I were talking that night and we decided we really needed to get a space together, that’s smaller and can help out smaller touring bands.  So Mike found this place for rent in the City Paper Classifieds.  We came and checked it out, and downstairs it was all walled off into little, separate rooms.  Upstairs was a wig shop that had just closed down.

We thought, this’ll work.  It was cheap.  We tore down all the walls and that was our basement space.  To come up with first month’s rent we got in touch with everyone in the Baltimore and DC area that we knew who might be interested in a space like this: “We’re trying to raise money for security deposit, rent.  Help us out.”

We got over $1000 in donations, anywhere from $20 to $150.  And it’s never had to come out of pocket since. Read the rest…

Interview / Audio: Height With Friends’ Baltimore Highlands Remix Album, an Aural States Exclusive Release (w/ Dan Keech)

HWF Remix CD 1

Download the entire album: MP3 or FLAC

Stream and download individual tracks:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  1. Baltimore HighlandsDrew Swinburne
  2. Mike StoneGavin Riley
  3. Jackson WhitesMrs. Paintbrush
  4. The WorldPT Burnem
  5. Escape TuneLesser Gonzalez
  6. Baltimore HighlandsTobacco of Black Moth Super Rainbow
  7. The WoodsKing Rhythm
  8. Code Of LoveSan Serac
  9. Twelve StringsJones
  10. Standing Up AsleepAuthentic
  11. Woods RepriseDrew Swinburne
  12. Travel RapC.Y.O. (http://www.lowdworld.blogspot.com/)
  13. Cold And Shaken – AK of AK Slaughter

Don’t miss the official album release party at the Windup Space on Fri Oct 16th featuring Lizz King, AK Slaughter, and Lesser Gonzalez!

Aural States: What motivated you to do a full remix of the Baltimore Highlands album?  You were releasing remixes sporadically for download on the Wham City label site.  What made you want to undertake this project too?

Read the rest…

Interview: Medeski Martin & Wood – Unconscious Musicians (w/ John Medeski, Billy Martin, Chris Wood)


Aural States sat down with Medeski Martin & Wood while they were in town for the 2009 Traffic Jam Festival to discuss their new three-record series, Radiolarians.

AS: I’m curious about the new approach to writing and recording music that you used for Radiolarians. This year, rather than recording a studio album and then touring in support of the album, you wrote the tunes on the road the previous year and then recorded and released a new live album every 4 months.

Chris Wood: I mean, we never ever really did it like that, really. I mean, you know, we loosely did it like that, but we never had, sort of, like the latest tunes that were hits. I guess we trained our audience early on by just playing whatever we want, when we want. *laughs* They sort of get what they get. But I think for this process, part of the incentive to set it up this way where we write new music, tour, record, three times is that it is a way for us to write a whole bunch of new music together.  And we didn’t have the constraints of a tradional record deal since we were doing it ourselves. We put out a lot more material, and we’ve always wanted to do that becuase it’s so long in a traditional record deal between each record.  It’s like a year and a half sometimes, and by the time the record comes out you’re already sick of the music.

Read the rest…

Older Posts >