Friday, July 21, 2006

8 Questions with Castanets

A touring show that I'm looking forward to quite a bit (and one that hasn't really received much local coverage) is Castanets at Rubber Gloves on Sunday. I caught a captivating and rather intense Castanets performance at SXSW a couple of years ago, and I've been looking forward to seeing Ray Raposa play again ever since. In between travels by plane and two busses yesterday, Ray was kind enough to answer some quick questions for us. He has also commented on his enjoyment of the We Shot J.R. Comment Section Beard Wars. I wonder which side he's on?

So are you currently touring in support of your last record, or is there new material being released soon?

It's a kind of tour for First Light's Freeze. Follow up tour. Extra innings. We've got a super limited split 7" with Wooden Wand on our table this time. Split 10" with Dirty Projectors is set for fall release. Tracking the new record in Sep/Dec. Playing some of those song on this trip, as well as some from Matthew Phosphorescent Houck and I's new band.

I've read that you like to do a lot of improv when you play live. What is the motivation behind that? Boredom? Challenging yourself? Do you feel that the recorded material should stand on its own, and that you should attempt change things up in a live setting in order to create something of a new piece of music?

Trying to keep it fresh enough that we all don't quit tours halfway through. Trying not to cover ourselves. I think that records are very much their own final piece. Shows are where the songs get to breathe. Driven out to the country with the top down.

A lot of your music is obviously quite dark and minimal in sound. It seems that you feel quiet atmospherics and space can be a very effective element in a song, and you seem to utilize both quite well in your songwriting. Why do you suppose that space and low level noise can have such an impact on listeners? Or does it?

The sounds and instruments used for a song or album are the ones that I feel suit the song or album best. I have no concept of their impact on others.

I read somewhere that you were working on a piece of fiction writing. Could you tell us a bit about the work, and if its been or will be released?

Lost in the great unpaid storage space seizure of '06.

Do you find any similarities between writing songs and writing stories?

On occasion. They stem I think from similar impeti. Very different in execution.

I've also read that you are involved in an experimental avant jazz project. Could you tell us a bit about that, and other kinds of music that you make, or are interested in making?

Little things here and there. The jazz thing might've been a record that came out on Eclipse a few years back called Womb. A lot of the Cathedral players are on that. I've doing a lot less improvisation lately. Thinking about hip-hop a lot. Dub. Red from Peter and the Wolf and I are both looking deep into those Ethiopiques records as wells. Matthew Houck (Phosphorescent) and I have a band in mind with the song titles all in place. First track's called "Blow Me Down Easy". Four part harmony.

Your songs seem to have a very intense emotional element in them. Do you think that listeners can truly discover much about you as a person through listening to your songs? Do you even want them to?

They won't and they won't by design.

Finally, ever been to Texas or the Dallas/Denton area? Any good stories to share?

Been there plenty. It's always awesome. I lived in Mckinney for a few months when I was seventeen. Making almost daily drives with the girl to pick up wine in a county that wasn't dry. Shows at Hailey's and in Dallas proper have always been great. I can't count the number of good people in these parts. Truly.



Blogger jamo said...

this guy was at our show last night and I got to talk to him, AWESOME!

10:13 AM  
Blogger fuzzbuzz said...

I've never heard this band but that was a nice insightful interview, very well thought out and answered and made me want to check them out. Good job!

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Adub said...

i wish you would interview ME.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you're totally not a self-important fucko at all.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Justin said...

Ray is one of the nicest guys ever.
His live shows are always a surprise, I've seen him once in Austin once in Dallas and once in Denton and they've been different every time. Can't wait to see what he comes up with this time around.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Sam Machkovech said...

Ray's awesome at Guitar Hero. Ask him.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where the fuck is the "it list"

bobby ewing dreams had it up two hours ago. We are all sheep and need to know what to do tonight.

Baaa baaa

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bobby ewing dreams is the new weshotjr

4:05 PM  
Blogger quephone said...

I hope many of you will be at Mwanza's concert series this weekend at the Double-wide. For those Dentonites who want to stay closer to home, check out Colour Music opening for Starlight Mints tonight at Haileys. I'll be running sound at the Cavern for Red Monroe, Saxon Shore, Dennison Witmer, and Stellamaris. Judge for yourself!

4:07 PM  
Anonymous iDi*MC said...

if you are a complete and total iDi*ot come see me and Nevada and Mike (3/5 of iDi*amin) make some straight up ambient madness tonight as The Zanzibar Snails at Counter Culture vintage at Mockingbird Station at 8:30 or 9. Nevada's artwork will be on exhibit there from 7 to 10. Afterparty at Trinity Hall. Hear ye hear ye.

Also, I'll take the opp to pimp Andrew Michael's new New Century Art blog at
... and only partially because he decided to pimp iDi*amin there as his first order of business. Andrew is always cooking up some very thought provoking writing, art, music, or multimedia jumbalaya so best to keep tabs if you care about the really interesting stuff going down between the lines around here.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we shot jr is old news now. They are the new dallas observer.

4:34 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

as the new observer, I'd like to kindly ask for the old observer's budget.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous said...

Seeing them here at a pretty small club tonight with Black Heart Procession. Can't wait! Enjoyed the interview, btw.


5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there sure are a lot of people bitching about weshotjr...considering they probably check it as often myspace.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How ironical.

5:54 PM  
Blogger brooks said...

for realz! So many people complain about it but they seem to read it more often than I do... and I am a fan. If you don't agree or don't like the oppinions being expressed then don't read it, you can always start your own blog (that I won't read).

1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who asks longer questions, stonedranger or Bob Sturm?

2:25 PM  
Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad you got to talk to him the other night, jamo, cause he decided to completely skip the Tucson show. The club's booker didn't even know about it midway through the show. I had to tell her. And to top it off, two of the members of Black Heart Procession didn't show up either! They had to play as a three-piece. Though they pulled it off, the lead singer hid his anger pretty well.

He finally said, "Some of our band members decided it wasn't important to come tonight," and we all gave a hearty "Fuck OFF," to the missing musicians.

You can insert your "Tucson sucks," "I don't blame 'em," jokes here, but does anyone know what happened?



8:05 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

no clue... maybe the shiny around the edges gang knows

8:57 PM  
Blogger tex winters said...

There was never a tucson date posted on the Castanets page.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous rr said...

Castanets weren't supposed to be on this bill at all. The venue was operating on old or non-existent info from the booking agency. Sorry to any in Tucson who were/are bummed out.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous stonedranger said...


11:11 AM  
Anonymous defensive listening said...


11:12 AM  
Anonymous eltocadiscos said...


11:12 AM  
Anonymous Houston said...


6:45 PM  

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