Interview: The Stationary Set
Tue, 09 Jul 2013 11:12:29
Everybody knows Brooklyn as a hotbed of innovative and inventive indie music. That's just a fact. However, there's one band that sticks out from the proverbial pack. The Stationary Set are rising out of the borrow rapidly as one of the most exciting young talents on the scene. Merging swooping and soaring melodies with electronic flourishes and warm instrumentation, the quintet make entrancing and enthralling rock. You'll be immediately hooked after one listen. Meet your new favorite band.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, The Stationary Set talk their current tour, their forthcoming EP, movies, and so much more.
Are you approaching the EP with a certain vision in mind or are ideas born once you get to the studio?
Josh: Things are born pretty organically within our rehearsal space in Brooklyn. We each bring different things to the table. I think this album in particular is going to be exciting not only because we have been a band long enough that we really understand each other and each other's moves, but we all keep our fingers on the pulse of what's happening in music around Brooklyn, America, and the world. We've been influenced by all of that. We're really excited about what's going to happen. I'd say expect more electronics and harmonies.
Gabe: We're just getting better at we do.
Is it important for you to paint pictures and tell stories with the songs?
Gabe: Yeah, I think that definitely comes through because of Andrew's lyrics. The guy is pretty amazing. I like his writing a lot. Even when he's given me his other writing like short stories and poems, he's a great writer, and he's good at painting vivid pictures in your brain-space [Laughs].
Josh: Because we're all influenced by genres and styles of music, it does create a sonic landscape that's also visual. There are many layers.
What tends to influence you outside of music?
Andrew: For me, it's a lot of prose. I like many of the poets of our time. The living poets right now who are most prominent have a style of writing that's very lyrical but very visual as well. To me, that would be a main influence.
Josh: We tend to listen to a lot of comedy together in the van and in our headphones separately. Comedy records and podcasts are something we all enjoy. That finds its way into our songs tonally. There's a little bit of sarcasm to go along with that earnest.
Andrew, what writers do you come back to?
Andrew: I'd say people like Billy Collins, Philip Schultz, and Charles Simic. Those are some of my favorites.
How do songs generally begin for you guys?
Gabe: Sometimes, Andrew will bring in something he's written. Maybe he'll have worked it out on an acoustic guitar so it will already have a little bit of structure as far as the chord progressions and that. As a band, we'll take it and flesh it out. We'll possibly take things away. We put it through our process. Other times, it's the opposite. We'll be in our space jamming and come to a musical idea first. Then, Andrew will write lyrics for it either on the spot, or he'll take it home and sit with it for a minute.
Josh: I've been doing quite a bit of producing for myself and other artists. A couple of the songs are synth-based ideas or electronic drum-based ideas I'd come up with before and brought to the band. They're more danceable and electronic-influenced.
Logan: In New York, there have been a lot of drummers pushing the envelope as far as incorporating electronics into their setup. I pull all of these different and cool ideas and get inspired by these guys. My drumming three years ago was completely different than it is today.
What have been some highlights of the current tour?
Gabe: Right now, we're in Michigan. There's a music festival we're going to be playing multiple shows at over the next few days. We met the promoter last night. He also owns an America's Cup racing sailboat, which he invited us out on to today. That was pretty great!
Josh: This tour in general has been a return home to the Midwest. Three of the members of the band—well, four if you count Kentucky as the Midwest, close enough—it's been sort of a homecoming. We've been able to share the stage with people we've collaborated with or have been friends with over the years. We saw a lot of old faces. It's been great.
What's in store for your Highline Ballroom show?
Gabe: Whether we mean to or not, we tend to write music that sounds better in big venues. We do well in places where we can spread out. That lends itself to our music pretty well. We feel like we can take advantage of the space. It's the largest space since we've played places like Bowery Ballroom.
If you were to compare Haunt On to a movie or a combination of movies what would you compare it to?
Gabe: It's somewhere between Beetlejuice and Mulholland Drive.
Josh: Can I throw Sunshine in there?
Andrew: I'd also say Wall-E.
Gabe: I say Mulholland Drive because it's kind of confusing, Beetlejuice because it's visually entertaining—if you see us live, it's pretty fun to watch. Listening to the record, it's a visual record.
Josh: I said Sunshine also because it's visually stunning. We were incorporating more electronics than we had before. It's an exponential rise. That movie takes place in the future. While we were making the album, we were actually talking a lot about science. We were having a lot of scientific discussions.
Andrew: I'd say WALL-E because one of the goals when we started the album was to get better at communicating aside from basic language— like words. Well, the lead character in WALL-E doesn't ever speak and does a pretty good job of communicating.
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