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Monday, May 3

Windy & Carl Interview

First off, we all adore you over here at CTD, so thank you for taking the time to discuss your music a bit with me.

Anything for Patrick and Julia! They have been supporters of our shop and especially our music for a really long time, and we respect and relish them as business partners, and as friends. It truly makes a difference to be able to work with folks who are kind and good hearted, so thank you for asking us to talk about our music for the CTD blog.

Christy Romanick's photography is such a perfect pairing with your music. The fall and winter seasons are particularly harmonious with your musical ideas. Do you find inspiration at all through nature, or is that appreciation separate from the writing process?

Christy's work is spectacular! I want the whole world to see it. I often tell her that she sees differently than the rest of us, and that is how she captures the images she does. I'd love for her to have the backing to make a film, a series of short films of moving images that she sees, because she's just so brilliant. Creating the Akimatsuri disc with her was a lot of work, but well worth it. Her images of autumn, combined with the music we had, fit so well into a seasonal celebration (sounds like a beer Carl likes!) that I went searching for ways to title the songs to fit. And I went with this old form of Japanese phrasing that seemed more true to how we felt than just typical fall words. For how many words are in the English language, sometimes they just all fail to say what I want. Hence the creation of music.......but you asked about nature as an inspiration, and I say yes. In the early 90s we would go to a park by our house and sit in the grass and watch the birds and dragonflies and Carl would play an acoustic guitar and I would write words. The world was just as complex then, but in other ways than now, and since I do not usually like for people to know what I am singing, or what my words mean, it was easy to write about being outside.

Many things come together in our writing process - art, time of year, trees, weather, emotions. It gets messy sometimes, how many items can go into making a simple piece of music. But that said, nature is one of the biggies for us, inspiration wise, that is.

"The Dream House" Photograph by Christy Romanick

The effects nerd in me is itching to know.. do you guys have favorite pedals? Anything new/recently acquired that you've been experimenting with?

We do have favorite pieces of gear, but what I always tell folks is this - it does not matter what we use - it is how we play. I can pick up Carl's guitar and absolutely not be able to make the same sounds with it that he does. It is playing style in addition to gear. I know one of Carl's favorites is an original Big Muff pedal, which is mighty ornery and hard to control, but when it works right it is amazing. The tone it has is just incredible. I like my Boss DD-6, and especially the Space Echo pedal. The Space Echo pedal is close enough to the original RE-201 to work very well for live shows. It is portable and affordable, and maybe most importantly - replaceable. The old Space Echo we have has never had it's tape changed, and it has a hiss and warble and warmth we will never get out of a digital pedal version, but the pedal works well and suits what I do. I'd say right now it is my friend. And Carl has been enjoying his loop station. He's had it about a year now, I think. He is better at using his than I am with mine. I am not user friendly, even if a pedal is. I'm not real intuitive with electronics, so often times someone has to show me how stuff works for me to be able to use it well.

On your last tour through the midwest, I had the pleasure of experiencing your set in Chicago. Both at home and in the live setting, I am overwhelmed by an intimate interaction with your music. Are there any current artists, especially in the ambient/drone world, that you have that sort of experience/relationship with?

There are songs that make me want to create, songs that give me that incredible swell of emotion and just shake up my whole world. I can immediately think of tracks by the Chameleons, the Durutti Column, and Moose that make me feel that way. But that is old stuff - still wonderful and music I listen to often, but you asked about new or contemporary artists. We adore a lot of what is on Kranky - White Rainbow, Stars of the Lid, Labradford, Benoit Pioulard. Nudge and Valet. Tim Hecker and Keith Fullerton Whitman. It is a wonderful thing to be on a label with a roster of folks we enjoy so much and are comfortable with. And all these folks make music that Carl and I both enjoy a lot. It took a while for me to really listen to Benoit Pioulard, but once I did I just loved what Tom was doing. Obviously Carl and I both did - we took him out on tour last year and I'm doing music with him. He has similar hearing to me - and can be easily distracted by the sound of a train or the wind the same way I am. It does make for some difficult conversations, though, as we can both just trail off to listen to something instead of finishing a sentence.

I listened to the White Rainbow 'Prism' CD so many times Carl finally hid it from me........

Other bands - Carl and I both love Boards of Canada, especially 'In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country.' I get weeks on end where I'm obsessed with Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Works Vol 2.' Dan Bejar - Destroyer. Not really ambient, but god do we love him. Amazing lyrics, great guitar. I suppose the list could go on for a long time...

Windy & Carl - Brainwaves 2006

Do you work with any visual artists for your live performances, or do you create your own videos?

We have had lovely videos from Christy - slow moving compilations of her photos. We have also played to a collage of underwater scenes from Cousteau shows from the 70s. That old grainy underwater footage is amazing! We'd like to work with folks more for live events, but these days we don't really play out, so I'm not sure when or where the opportunity would come up again.

Windy - I have yet to hear any of the Lambs Laughter material. As a huge fan of both you and Thomas (Benoit Pioulard), I am incredibly excited about this project. Is there anything you'd like to share about this project / future plans?

Tom and I are too busy right now to figure out a time where we can get some work done. Living on opposite sides of the country does not help any. We did some recording in September last year, and might get to work together this summer some if he comes home, but our best chance might be through the mail right now. See - this is what I get for helping him get out of the house and tour more - I screwed myself right out of being able to make an album with him!

There is a track on the Brainwaves 2 comp you might like......it is the only released work we have so far. It's called Tuesday (edit).

Lambs Laughter - Brainwaves 2008

The process of coping with loss/getting through rough times has resulted in some of the most beautiful pieces of music. When there are deeply personal factors pouring into the music, is it difficult to revisit those songs once they're finished? Or is that process a healer of sorts?

Yes. I find I have to separate myself from the reasons or causes a piece was written when it is time to perform it again. And some pieces will just never be reproduced. I can't go there. We made the CD for Flea, and then I felt so guilty for having made music for the dog before I had for my own mother........I often feel that I am just a mess mentally, and that at least I hold it together pretty well, at least so the public does not see my inner turmoil. There are certainly songs from our latest record that we will not perform again - it was hard enough to let those thoughts out to start with, and they can sit right where they are for the rest of time. Some things I am okay revisiting - it has been enough time that I can listen to the music for Flea, and hear him in it, and know that he was a good dog and a really big part of our lives, but I can't listen to "I've Been Waiting to Hear Your Voice" because I still miss my mom too much, and I have regrets of never having taped her singing and playing the guitar, which she did for me for most of my life. So........some things are just too painful. I am thankful for being able to release some emotion through art, but sometimes that is all the access I can give it without being consumed again. I am very thankful at this point in time that Carl has not suffered family loss the way I have, although he really did love my mom, and losing her was awful for us both.

Windy & Carl - West Coast Tour 2009

Nice Joel - nice way to end the interview! Leaving everyone all sad and shit.......is there one more question....the future? Maybe? Oh - yep!! Redemption!!

What is next for W&C?

Gardening. It is summer. We wait all year to garden. To be outside with the bees, to be able to tie up tomato plants taller than us. We are slowly working on new music - we have a 45 coming out this year on Geographic North and hopefully a new W&C album. We've been working in a few new directions - you can still tell it is us, but it's not the same. It's time to change it up a little......we are both also working on solo things, so maybe you will see new records from us individually later this year as well. We'll see - we're kind of hibernating right now - summer hibernation. It's garden time!

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