Thursday, January 29, 2009

7 Questions with Jimmy Tamborello

The proliferation Jimmy Tamborello is well documented. From his work as Dntel, James Figurine, Figurine and the cross-over success of Postal Service, Jimmy's talent and work ethic have propelled him to the forefront of the independent music scene. With Dntel being signed to Subpop, his James Figurine releases on Plug Research, his regular radio program on Dublab and countless other creative projects, Jimmy Tamborello continues the process of refining his forward-looking art and pushing himself forward.

Architects and Heroes had the opportunity to catch up with Jimmy, and here's the result.

1. How did you get started producing music? Who were some of your influences?

When I was in 7th or 8th grade my dad bought some home studio equipment (he played sax and flute as a hobby and was interested in recording his own songs). After school, my friends and I started using the equipment and making songs and creating bands just for fun. I was just becoming a big fan of music and it was exciting to realize I had the tools to make my own. I think my parents bought me my first sampler a few years later and my interest kept growing from there. Early on my biggest influences were 80s techno pop like new order and the pet shop boys and then a little later it was a lot of industrial music, especially skinny puppy.

2. You've recorded under a number of pseudonyms and in a number of collaborative projects. Has this be a conscious decision? Do you like having a number of different outlets to try different things musically?

From the start with my friends in high school it was part of the game to come up with band names and characters, so that probably influenced my tendency to keep coming up with new projects and new names all the time. But also I’m interested in making a lot of different kinds of music and I’d feel bad if someone who enjoyed Figurine’s techno pop bought the new Figurine album and it was all noise…

Oh and also I end up working with different configurations of friends so that also leads to different band names even though most of them could barely be considered bands.

(*A side note from A+H, I've got the Antihouse record that came out on Visible Records, and still listen to it. Honestly, I've only recently realized it was you who produced it.)

That’s crazy! I feel like that’s the first time I’ve heard of anybody actually having that besides me and david and our families. -J

3. What projects do you currently have in the works?

I’ve been doing a bunch of cover songs under the James Figurine moniker and posting one a month on my website for people to download for free. It’s been a good way to keep busy and mess around with different production ideas without having to worry about the hard part (writing songs and lyrics especially). The January post will be the last cover post and I think I’m going to clean up the 10 tracks I’ve collected and turn it into a low-key release.

I’ve also been slowly working on a dntel related project but it’s too early to go into details. And still coming up with Postal Service ideas, hopefully this year Ben and I will get some time to work on some songs.

3. How about your Dublab show? How do you program for that?

The dublab radio show ( is really fun. My show’s called Dying Songs and it’s a really random selection of music I’ve discovered in the week or two before I record a show, plus some old favorites thrown in. on Tuesdays dublab streams live but usually it’s a prerecorded stream of a bunch of different djs’ shows. You can also access archives of the djs’ older shows. I usually record maybe 1 or 2 hour-long shows per month.

5. Are there any artists you'd like to work with?

There are tons of artists that I love but I’m trying to get away from working with a lot of different singers. I really don’t do well with strangers so I’d love to become even more self-contained. I wish I was more comfortable with my voice and my lyrics, I’m trying to work on that, but in the meantime I’m trying to do projects with fewer people involved. Like the new dntel related project will probably just be one singer who’s a friend singing all the vocal tracks instead of having a different vocalist on each track.

6. Are you currently playing out any live/dj shows?

Just barely. I always end up djing at bars and shows, usually because Dublab is involved in a lot of stuff going on around LA. But I never know usually until a week or two before an event. And I’m hoping in 2009 I can come up with some sort of live show, really just to have an excuse to do some traveling. It’s been a while since I’ve played a show that I was really proud of, so I have to figure out some new way to present my music live.

7. What's your top 5 right now?

Animal Collective – merriweather post pavilion

Moondog – H’art Songs

Psychic Ills – Mirror Eye

Barbara Morgenstern – BM

Nite Jewel – My CD

Sten – The Essence

More information:

Jimmy Tamborello Selects - Dying Songs for XLR8R

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pitchfork Gets on My Level

It's looks like Pitchfork FINALLY gave some digital ink to Zomby, and reviewed "Where Were U in 92?," while we here at Architects and Heroes pinned this as one of top 10 of 2008. This doesn't happen that often, so when it does, I gloat about it a bit.

Thanks for catching up to me Pitchfork!

Zomby record review in Pitchfork

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton found dead at 60

(From AP News) ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Punk guitarist Ron Asheton of The Stooges has been found dead in his Ann Arbor home. He was 60.

City police Sgt. Brad Hill says there were no signs of foul play, and the death appeared to be of natural causes.

Hill says officers discovered Asheton early Tuesday after they were called to his home around midnight by an associate who hadn't heard from him in several days.

Asheton was an original member of The Stooges, the influential protopunk band founded in Ann Arbor in 1967. Asheton's brother, Scott, was the band's drummer.

Asheton's distorted guitar was a hallmark of the Iggy Pop-led group's late-1960s and early-1970s sound. He was named the 29th greatest guitarist of all time in 2003 by Rolling Stone.

Ron Asheton, Stooges guitarist found dead, CNN

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Land of a Thousand Rappers - Vol 2: WARHOL BUCK$

From the land of conceptual hip-hop and power point presentation performance art comes the latest installment of the Slo-Ro (aka Michael Kaufmann, A&R for Asthmatic Kitty) curated Land of a Thousand Rappers. Without a full background on exactly what this project is, it could be a bit confusing, so I'll just give you the 30,000 foot view. It's an amazing abstract hip-hop project, with an amazing back story.

Dig around, you'll find more information than you ever imagined. Download the Land of a Thousand Rappers - Vol 2: WARHOL BUCK$


7 Questions with Everything, Now!

A+H: For those who don't know about Everything, Now! could you give us a little background?

EN: My name is Jon. I sing and write the songs for the most part. Everything, Now! started when I moved to Indiana in 2002, lived in a college town called Muncie, wrote a bunch of songs, and started looking for friends to help me make the music in a live setting. We've recorded five albums, frequently evolved, and toured all over the United States since then. Our newest album, Spatially Severed, is the first in a trilogy about amorphous space creatures called Partlies and Veries, whose constant power struggles are only perceivable to humans as sound waves. They sound a lot like music.

A+H: What is "Space Gospel"?

EN: It's an easy way to classify our current sound without using too many words. We've gotten to a place where we really want our music to lift people up, to affirm life and to seek a higher power, like one of America's greatest creations, gospel music. But the "space" side is meant to imply the psychedelic, the unknown and mysterious, the far out, the notion that we're not just making music, we're attempting to channel messages from deep space, far beyond our galaxy. That's where God is right? That's where ideas come from? Deep Space?

A+H: It seems like there are a few bands and labels that share a kind of common vision with you. Danielson and Sufjan Stevens are a few that come to mind. Is it fair to say there's a network of "Space Gospel" artists that are working together?

EN: If there's a network, I don't really know anything about it. We'd love to find other "Space Gospel" bands!

While I respect both in different ways, I think Danielson and Sufjan are coming from more of a Christian indie rock perspective. That's not really our thing. Currently all members of the band get down with Jesus, but we're completely open to any interpretation of what that means. When I think of musicians that are coming from a similar place as us message-wise, I think of Sun Ra, Sly and the Family Stone, post-Pet Sounds Beach Boys, maybe even Al Green, just stuff that's about love and universal harmony and totally reaching a higher level.

A+H: The art work on the Prequels and Parallels EP is interesting. Could you talk about it?

EN: Sure, it's from a series of collages that I did about the idea of being severed throughout space. I wanted the album art images for Spatially Severed to represent the beings that inhabit the songs, and I ended up with a lot of leftover pictures. I thought the Prequels and Parallels cover was a great reflection of Love, a married couple uniting two as one, being held by the hands of God in a beautiful sunset, hanging just above a compelling landscape of darkness...

A+H: What's coming up for you guys in 2009?

EN: Touring and promotion! We expected a lot of critics to sleep on the album at first, because we've never had great luck in that arena, so our plan is just to really push the music out there to get it into the hands and ears of the people. I think the press will catch up, but first and foremost, we're seeing it as our sacred duty to deliver this music to people everywhere next year!

A+H: How about live performances? Are you guys on tour?

EN: We just finished a great tour doing a few shows with Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos. We also hit the southeast and did a few gigs in the Wisconsin/Chicago area, but we're taking a break for a few weeks. We'll be back out on the road in typical relentless fashion starting in February.

A+H: What's your top 10 music list right now?

1. Marmoset "Record in Red"

2. Yo La Tengo "Summer Sun"

3. Allman Brothers Band "self titled"

4. Duke Ellington (early stuff)

5. Chuck Berry (everything)

6. STAX! (let's all start the memphis soul revival!)

7. Grateful Dead "American Beauty"

8. Cecil Taylor Quartet "Looking Ahead"

9. David Bowie "Low"

10. The Numero Group's Tragar/Note label 2-disc comp