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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.

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Preview: Traffic Jam @ Sonar (2009.09.05-07)

Jammin' in the Streets

Jammin' in the Streets

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01. MP3: Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk w/ Skerik – I Cannot Make It (Sly Stone), Live @ Tipitina’s in New Orleans (2009.05.30) via Internet Archive

02. MP3: Medeski, Martin & Wood – Flat Tires from Radiolarians II (2009)

This Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Sonar will be hosting a brand new late summer festival called Traffic Jam. That’s right, Herby Nuggz, it’s like I’m speaking directly to you through my computer.

For a brand new festival held at a single venue in the heart of a major metropolitan area, the lineup is stellar. Moreover, the setting should seem positively intimate compared to other ultra-mega summer festivals. There will be an outdoor stage — the weather report looks clear so bring sunblock rather than umbrellas — as well as two indoor stages.

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