my sad captains interview
time for our (so far, monthly) interview. this time, we went to london (not phisically but myspacecally) to talk with my sad captains. in case you don't know them already, their 5 people making pretty songs, with two singles released (one on fortuna pop! and other on white heat) and a (beautiful) full lenght released last year on stolen recordings. their music is full of melodic crafting and goes very, very well with cold days and grey skies, specially when you feel like being "somewhere else". and if you are a melancholic, it'll probably be your new favorite band.
who answers the questions is ed.
01. first things first... the first time i heard the name 'my sad captains' i felt extremely intrigued by the name and had to check the sound a band with that name played. what's the origins of the name and the band.
i (ed - singing and guitar) had been playing in a band for a few years with nick (guitar/samples) since moving to london for university. that broke up so i thought - hey i'll just record a load of songs myself and call it 'my sad captains'. once i'd done that, i thought they sounded good but would sound better with other people involved and that would be more fun. so i got in touch with my favourite musical allies (nick, jack and my brother jim) and we became a band. the name was taken from a poem by thom gunn, for no other reason than the book was sitting on a shelf unattended when i was looking for a name, and it seemed to capture some element of the music that i heard in my head.
02. do you guys get to live of music or have 'real jobs'?
unfortunately we have 'real jobs'. soon, maybe we'll be able to scratch together a living out of the music thing though...
03. how do you create your music?
mostly i come up with a basic song, make a little demo and then everyone piles in and deconstructs it and then we build back up into something else.
04. going to more specific questions, let's talk about the album. 'here & elsewhere' is a very melancholic album (it goes very well with a rainy saturday afternoon). tell us how was the recording process, how long it took to make it and what do you wanted it to be/say/do...
we take quite a long time to do things. the songs were written over a period of four years or so, whilst we were getting our act together and seeing if the noise we were making was something that anyone might like to listen to. we recorded the album with paul jones, who runs what wasn't then but is now our record label - stolen recordings. we recorded it in a very hot warehouse in north london over about a month, and then faffed about for about six months finishing it and mixing it. i think we were trying to make simple, pretty songs more abstract by adding noises and harmonies. we wanted it to be very much a record, rather than a collection of songs, that you would sit down with - over a rainy saturday afternoon! - and it could take you on a little journey.
05. your videos are also pretty nice. they have this unpretentious feeling that i really liked. i'm not sure if all the videos i've found are official but anyway... 'good to go' is so beautiful and probably my favourite (though i really like 'bad decisions' too). how do you feel about making them? is it something you get involved with? and how produced are the? i mean, is it something like 'take a camera and let's see what happens'?
we've never had anything like a budget, so its a case of having some kind of stupid idea that might look pretty, and then calling in favours from talented friends. nick is an artist and is pretty good with coming up with visual ideas, which we then attempt to execute in a very haphazard way. the actual filming is normally a logistically torturous process and invariably involves getting very cold, wet and miserable. this probably helps the mood though. despite of all of this, its something we like to do and think its an important part of communicating what we are like.
06. name some heroes and/or inspirations... movies? cartoons? historycal figures? abstract paintings? anything?
at the moment: wim wenders, richard long, stephin merritt, hal hartley, my friend richard's house in san francisco, the watkins copicat tape delay
07. any song you'd like to cover?
'deep sea diving suit' by the magnetic fields. or 'the workplace' by jim o'rourke. or 'do it again' by the beach boys
08. if you could give a place and hour to hear your songs, what would they be?
walking in a london park, early in the morning, when it's cold and clear.
09. finally, recommend something you've been listening lately...
'chant master' by lawrence arabia
10. what's next for my sad captains?
releasing the album on vinyl soon. and we are recording some demos of new songs, so hopefully the world will get to hear a new album soon.
11. anything else you feel like saying?
thanks for spreading the word...