Wednesday, March 01, 2006

7 1/2 Questions with: The Undoing of David Wright

Here is the text from an email interview we did with the Undoing of David Wright:

We noted a while back that we heard the influence of New York No Wave bands such as Suicide, DNA, and James Chance and the Contortions in your music, in addition to Gary Numan and Thomas Dolby. What would you say are some of your main influences? Are we way off?

The bands you’ve mentioned are definitely within one of the many primary spheres of musical influence for us. Along similar veins, we’re also big fans of Liquid Liquid, The Birthday Party, Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, etc. No Wave bands are definitely not the end all of inspiration for us, however. We’re also heavily influenced by Post-Punk bands such as Gang of Four, Wire, XTC; Industrial pioneers such as Throbbing Gristle, Klinik, Einstuerzende Neubauten, Deutsche Amerikanische Freundschaft, Coil, Psychic TV, SPK, Skinny Puppy, TKK; Electronic music such as Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra; New Wave such as Ultravox, Oingo Boingo, Adam & The Ants; Prog such as Yes, King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer; Rock and Glam such as David Bowie, Stooges, T-Rex, NY Dolls; 20th Century composers such as John Cage, Philip Glass, Harry Partch; Kraut Rock like Faust, Silver Apples, Can, Neu!; and the expected gothic influences of Rozz-era Christian Death, Bauhaus, Cramps, 45 Grave, etc. We always hate this question because we’re pretentious fucks and the answers never make any sense.

It seems like in many of your songs, and really the band's presentation in general, there is a strong sense of story telling or a literary element. What are some of your favorite books, and are you reading anything interesting now?

(Lars)Absolutely. The use of our music as a narrative format is a primary goal of the band. Storytelling isn’t alone the property of Experimental Indie Neo-Folk bullshit. The previous album, and even more so, our upcoming album, both rely heavily on literary allusions. The first album leaned towards Biblical and Homeric references, in an attempt to reconstruct the tone of a classic romanticist 19th century ghost story. The new album is birthed out of 19th century adventure and science fiction: H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, and more specifically, the tone in which classical Hollywood films of the 1930’s chose to reconstruct these stories. Besides the ones I’ve mentioned, a few of my other favorite authors are Lewis Carroll, Neil Gaiman, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Most recently I’ve begun reading a collection of Icelandic folk tales.

(Shane)I tend read exclusively dystopian/utopian science fiction. My favorite book is a collection of short stories by Arthur C. Clarke called, The Nine Billion Names of God. One of our newest songs has a strong “underground lower class, doing all the work for ground-living upper class” theme. It’s much like Metropolis, but a little goofier.

(Lars)And more colorful.

How did you first meet the Strange Boys, and what about their band compelled you to begin playing so many shows with them, despite the fact that the two bands seem to come from completely different places musically?

(Lars)I was invited to go see The Strange Boys almost two years ago I think, by Mike Melendi (of The Skin Trade), and I enjoyed the show very much. We love those boys, they are close friends now, but while we’ve seen each other dozens of times I don’t actually think we’ve shared more than 4-5 bills with them. Despite the fact that we do come from two completely different places musically, I think we stand as comrades in our relationship to the local scene. We are the two “younger” bands in the Dallas/Denton scene that, in addition to the support of our peers age-wise, seem to also have a heartfelt appreciation from the “older & wiser” audience. Also, we’re both three pieces involving narcissistic, clean-shaven young lads with great hair who love playing music real fuckin’ loud.

(Shane)I went out to see them at the Doublewide when they opened up The Falkon’s farewell show. I was completely blown away by Ryan’s stage presence, attitude, and killer songwriting. He introduced himself to me while The Falkon was playing, and we immediately hit it off. Strange Boys invited to us play at one of their residency nights at Doublewide, and we received a positive response from everyone down there. We’ve become a team.

Without knowing too much about music, it seems that your songs use strange scales, as well as interesting and often changing rhythms that you don't usually see in rock music, specifically with local bands. What kind of musical background do you guys have, how long have you been playing your instruments, and do you have any formal training, etc?

(Lars)We all more or less learned by listening and fucking around. I had the obligatory three months of piano lessons when I was eight years old. Aaron and Shane have been playing their instruments for about a decade each and I have been doing my thing for about 3 years now. My background in computer programming definitely helped me conceptualize the technical aspects and principles behind sampling and sequencing, so when I started – I knew how to write the beats, but had no clue what I was actually doing. That blind experimental stage still has a great influence on my style, both in terms of song structure and sequencing. I think each of us has developed our own unique way of playing (or in my case programming) our respective instruments. It took us a while to really “get” each other musically at first, but now we have a very specific vibe that relies wholly on each of us in equal measure. We energize the most eccentric elements of each other’s styles.

(Shane)I’ve been playing music for about 9 years. I’ve never had any formal guitar lessons, but I was in percussion in middle school. I pretty much learned guitar from tablature magazines and listening to punk rock albums over and over. Rhythm is the most important part of the song writing process to me, and I work together with Lars to make each song interesting rhythmically. I don’t like any one particular beat to be playing too long in a song; I guess that has a lot to do with my musical A.D.D., but I like to catch the listener off guard most of the time, do something that they wouldn’t necessarily expect.

What are some of the problems that you see with the Dallas- Fort Worth-Denton music scene?

(Lars)As far as Dallas goes, there is no decent all ages or 18 & Up venue, so a lot of Dallas kids can only come see us when we play in Denton. As far our band is concerned, both cities only seem to be drawing more and more, so we really have no right to complain about anything. Then again, I suppose I could count the bands I like in the DFW area on the fingers of one hand. Maybe two hands.


(Lars)The Eighth Continent, however, will change all of this forever. Give us one year.

Are there any below the radar local bands that you guys are into these days that most people have yet to hear?

(Lars)Zom Zoms and Cry Blood Apache, from Austin. Eat Avery’s Bones from Dallas.

(Shane)Cry Blood Apache is one of the best new bands, period, I’ve heard in a while—not just locally.

Are you guys recording right now, and if not do you have any plans to do so in the near future?

(Lars)No, and yes. Our plans involve recording with John Congleton during the Summer. This album will be much more ambitious than our last, including a series of well produced radio melodramas dispersed between and throughout the songs. Our sampling/sequencing potential has evolved significantly in comparison with our previous album thanks to new hardware, so expect more diverse sounding samples and more complex, multi-layered percussion.

Some people say that the movie Clifford with Martin Short is one of the most annoying films to come out in the past twenty years. However, it appears that quite a strong argument can be made that Black Sheep is much more annoying. If you could avoid watching these films, would you?




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interview, i love them even more.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applaud the undoing for who they are. They have every right to be pompous dicks but they really are some of the nicest guys i've ever briefly spoken to (at least, who are in a great band). and look at all the extra work Larz (clearly the rest too) is puting into things like new venues... his desires clearly go beyond fame and money.
he is a true artist and i can only hope that people recognise his geneous (no, i can't spell) before his time is expired (the often shitty part of being a "true artist")

...they are one of the few reasons that i believe music in this area could mean something to more than just people in this area.

if the undoing quit today i would still mention them 15 years later as one of my all-time favorite bands... i can't wait to see what the future holds for these guys as well as the community they seem to care so much about (so, thanks undoing, if you read this).

11:48 AM  

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