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Interview With The Bends By Chris 13/3/08
I discovered The Bends online doing stuff for my label and liked what I heard from this band from Canada, they are doing some cool and original and knew a interview and review was on the cards. So Read on and check out there music and expect big things.They are my new favorite band
Heather Konkin – Keyboards and Vocals
Eugene Burton – Bass
Brian Holt – Vocals and Guitar
Andrew Gillott – Drums
Heather interview is conducted by the band, she wasn’t available, so they did it in her place.
1. How did you get into music?
EB: I’ve always loved singing, but I’ve never been terribly good at it, so when I was 16, my dad bought me a guitar in the hopes I might stop singing and make more harmonious music.
BH: A lot of my family is musical so I’ve been around music my entire life. I guess i started playing guitar when i was 13 because my dad did it and i thought it was cool.
HK: My parents forced me to start playing piano at the age of 4. I worked hard and eventually they let me practice without chains or the threat of being sent to my room without dessert. I overcame this initial fascistic music education to become a freeform techno enthusiast.
2. Who were your idols growing up?
EB: Growing up, I looked up to Bill Nye the Science Guy. I didn’t really have any musical idols until I started playing music myself. I was never aware of the whole music scene until I started my journey as a musical naif.
BH: I can’t say that i’ve ever really had any idols. I knew what i didn’t want to be like, so i sorta avoided that. I always wanted to be a good songer writer, and good at a lot of instruments rather than a guitar hero or something to that extent.
HK: I really liked the movie Titanic. The music in that film inspires me to this day. My other influences were my mom, my dad, and Slavic pagan gods such as Morana.
3. Who were your influences?
EB: Musically, I have been influenced by Mark Knopfler, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Wes Montgomery, The Damned, and Frank Zappa. I also draw a lot of more general inspiration from Douglas Adams.
BH: My influences have changed a lot from when i started. I was really into hard rock and metal at that age and learned a lot of system of a down and metallica, but now I like a lot of music and I’m influenced by all of it. That doesn’t mean I make music that sounds like the band, but I listen to so much I sorta absorb what I like.
HK: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers
4. Are you happy with the responses from the ep?
EB: Of course: listeners are honest if they like it or not, and that makes me happy – and leads to self-improvement!
BH: yeah we sold our first batch and gotta good response from it.
HK: No. We aren’t famous yet! I can’t wait to drop out of school and lower my risk for aneurysms.
5. How did the recording process for it go?
EB: Smoothly. Brian put in an admirable about of time and effort into the recording. You might say it is a reflection of his dedication to music! We were really just along for the ride mostly.
BH: It went well. I finished up recording school last fall then bought some equipment and microphones so we could record. Andrew and I recorded the drum tracks with a guitar scratch track to follow and then one by one everyone came in for their parts and we pieced it together. I did the mixing over a few months and had some audio engineer friends come and take a listen to the mix and offer their criticism and once it was good I had it mastered by a local guy.
HK: Good. I couldn’t stop laughing sometimes because of stupid Eugene looking at me when I was singing. I did enjoy making cat noises though..
6. Has the Internet helped with your music?
EB: Definitely. We promote our band on myspace and facebook.
BH: For sure, how we wouldn’t be in this interview without the Internet.
HK: Yeah, totally, I think.
7. Do you think tools like MySpace are useful?
HK: Yeah, I can tell my friends to look at my ‘page’ and they always say “omigawd leik awesum.”
8. What inspired the band style of music?
EB: Well, Brian had a vision of what he wanted, and we all just brought our influences to the table. I have an affinity for older rock, blues, jazz, etc, but it all gets mixed in cooking pot that is our music.
BH: I was trying to decide where this style of music came from, because there aren’t a lot of bands that I’m aware of that sound like us. Well, in the last year or so there are more UK bands that fit into the same style like arctic monkeys, libertines, fratellis.. but I didn’t know those bands when I wrote most of the songs. I think a lot of them came from older bands like the doors and beatles and i say that cause when i was little my dad used to play those kind of songs with a jam band and I sorta grew up on it. The songs I’ve made with the Bends were the first songs I had written, so it seems to make sense that my first songs would be influenced by the first songs I remember hearing.
HK: Brian being a dictator of music. I wanted to play coldplay instrumentals and radiohead-techno-freeform- fusion-jazz.
9. How do you go about writing a song?
EB: I always start with a drum beat or a guitar melody/chord progression. I find it easiest to record music first, then think of how I can convey the ideas in words.
BH: All the Bends songs were written on an acoustic guitar first, so I started with the guitar chord progression. The songs I write now and based mostly on vocal melody with instrumentation filling in the gap.
HK: I just approach it like a house of cards. You have to lay the foundation of a chord progression or else the singing and the stage show just falls down.. tumble tumble.. swoosh… like cards.
10. How did the band form?
EB: Brian and Heather went to school together. Brian met Andrew at a coffee shop. I’ve known Andrew for several years from acting in theater productions together. We just all got together one day for a jam: “I know this person who knows this person”.
BH: I phoned Heather the fall after we had graduated and had asked her if she wanted to try working on a song together. At the time I didn’t know how to play piano and she was the best pianist I knew. She said sure and a few jams turned into a few songs and then turned into a band. I booked a show for us that summer and called Andrew to fill in for drums and he called up Eugene. Our practices went really well and we got really tight quick so we decided to stay together.
HK: I don’t really know. Anthropologists will mull over this for decades. Biologists might posit a new theory of abandogenesis to explain the seemingly spontaneous self-creation of band from nothing.
11. What your favorite venue to play at?
EB: Small venues like bars, coffee shops, where I can feel closer to the audience.
BH: I would love to play a huge stadium haha.. haven’t had the chance yet. I like playing in halls where there’s no other distractions and all the attention is at the stage. I always end up performing a lot better when I know people are paying attention.
HK: We played at the Media Club twice, that was cool. I generally just like playing music anywhere – it’s such a welcome change from the slave labour I “enjoy” at school.
12. Who would you most like to record a song with and play with?
BH: Tom Waits! or Trent Reznor.
HK: Tom Waits. [Heather actually hates Tom Waits]
13. What is on your stereo at the moment?
EB: Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
BH: This moment it’s Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero. But in about 10 minutes it will be something else.
HK: Always Radiohead.
14. What are some of your favorite musical artists/bands?
EB: See influences. Also, Hendrix, Pat Metheny, Cat Stevens, and Van Halen.
BH: Tom Waits is my favourite musician. My other favorites are Arcade Fire, Beatles, Bloc Party, Gorillaz, Iron and Wine, José Gonzales, Massive Attack, Modest Mouse, Nine Inch Nails, Portishead, She Wants Revenge, Sonic Youth, Strokes, Velvet Underground, White Stripes, Feist, Radiohead.. umm.. I better stop now.
HK: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay
15. What has been the highlight so far?
EB: Making the record was the best part for me – it’s nice to have an artifact that attests to all the work you’ve put in!
BH: Yeah I think the recording was the highlight for me as well.
HK: This interview of course!
16. Have you had much response from labels?
EB: Not really. 🙁
BH: Nah, I think we need to build a bigger buzz around us first.
HK: Well.. my dad’s friend said we sounded terrible..
17. What has been the major highlight so far?
18. What is next for the band?
EB: We have a show on Friday [March 14:2008]. More practices after that!
BH: Practicing. We’re all really busy with our own schedules so it’s hard to find a lot of time for that. Eugene and I are also working on other musical endeavors as well. I’ve written a lot of songs so I’m performing those now as Sound and Silence and I’m getting some interest around here which is very nice. I play a lot of different instruments now so I think that also adds to the buzz. I don’t know anybody else who can play the sitar so when I pull that out at a show there’s an ‘ooh ahh’ from the audience. It’s like a sit-com haha. I’m recording these songs at the moment in order to release the Sound and Silence debut cd, and that should be ready late spring/early summer. I did a radio interview the other week and posted it at http://www.myspace.com/skyystudios so you can listen to what a sitar sounds like if you’re interested. Eugene’s page is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Yevgeny-Bertin/8830852204
HK: Thursday practice.
19. What is the music scene like where you live?
EB: Awful. Christian music, metal, and pop punk.
BH: Yeah.. that pretty much sums it up.
HK: Really bad. We are the best band in the lower mainland by far, except a couple others who I don’t want to name… because we’re jealous of them.. stupid bands.
20. How have people responded to your music?
EB: They don’t throw it into bonfires yet, so that’s cool.
BH: People seem to like it. I think it would be better received in England.
HK: Generally? With anger.
21. What one thing you don’t like about the music industry?
EB: Pop music.
BH: An 8 second sample of “Tainted Love” looped over and over with the flavour of the month singing somebody else’s lyrics.
HK: That we aren’t famous yet!