9:30 INTERVIEW: Gardens and Villa
Ian [9:30]: For your most recent album Dunes, you decamped from your home of Santa Barbara to the wintery tundra of Michigan. What possessed you to relocate to what is essentially the polar opposite of your natural habitat to record this record?
Gardens and Villa: We wanted to get out of our comfort zone.. We wanted to be as far as possible from distractions and routine. Isolation and freedom to get weird without having the beach in your backyard.
I recently saw your show in DC at the club DC9. What would you say is the main difference between playing a smaller club like DC9 compared to 9:30 club which is about ten times as big? Also between opening a show and headlining?
So many differences, but it really depends on the particular club and the vibe of the audience. Sometimes small clubs have the most intense and vibrant energy. When you’re right in the crowds face and they are feeling it, it’s pretty incredible. But when you are in a large room like 9:30 club and the vibe is right, it can be just as intimate. It’s just harder to get that many people on the same wavelength, especially when you’re up on a high stage and not right there with everyone. The main difference between opening and headlining is, the people are either there solely to see you, or they are waiting for you to finish so that they can see the band they love, so opening can potentially be much worse. But sometimes, you can win over the crowd and it’s exhilarating.
At said show you employed the use of two monitors with some very interesting visuals. What inspired these fantastical screens and who made them? What is the general mood you try to shoot for when it comes to the lights and imagery at your shows?
A wizard man named Bryan Berge put that together for us.. We had many pow-wows and inspirational tube watching/sharing ideas to get there. He is a good friend of ours and put together all of the initial footage. All of it was designed to reflect the images we felt the music suggested.
Secretly Canadian is currently one of my favorite music labels. How did you end up on the label?
Richard Swift. The man who produced our first record brought us into the secret underworld.
One of my favorite bands for the last ten years or so now has been Cut Copy. Dunes was produced by Tim Goldsworthy and I feel like I can sense his aesthetic. What was it like working with him and what inspired the pairing?
It was pretty amazing working with Tim. He is a great guy and a high priest of sonics. The pairing came about after he emailed us and said he fell in love with our “wild honey pie” video of us playing orange blossom. We nerded out over Ruichi Sakamoto records over email and then we made a record.
There seems to be more of an electronic feel to Dunes and it definitely makes me want to dance at times. How important is it for you to get your audience moving?
We LOVE when the audience moves! It’s not the end of the world if they aren’t—sometimes people just want to soak up the music and stand still—but It feels really good to see a crowd loosen up and move around. It’s an honor really. How often do people dance nowadays in America? When it really goes off, It makes you feel like Richard Simmons leading a wild aerobics class, which is pretty much one of the best feelings an American man can experience.
One of the most beautiful songs off Dunes is “Chrysanthemums.” Can you divulge a little bit about what this song is all about and the inspiration behind it?
Thanks! I don’t like to reveal too much about the songs. I like to leave interpretations for the listener. But roughly the song is sort of about a time in Seattle that i experienced. Rain, a broken down red automobile, and some love.
I just recently heard “Colony Glen (Mark McGuire’s Road Chief Remix)” and my thought was, “Wow this takes this song, that has been my winter jam, right into spring.” How did this remix come about, what does Road Chief imply, and was this at all the intention?
No, but that is kind of amazing! We love it dearly and listened to it for the first time during a spring day in Paris in front of the Eiffel tower.
What are you all listening to right now that you guys are all about? I know it’s a pretty basic question but I feel like non-basic answers will come from it.
Right now this moment in Boston, we are listening SIRIUSMO. In our van we have all been really in to the new ANGEL OLSEN record and the new War On Drugs.. LOTS of medieval stuff..
I feel like y’all’s sound is in a constant state evolution, and I know that Dunes is relatively fresh, but have you given any thought at all to where Gardens and Villa is going next?
We think about the future constantly, mostly in hopes that music technology will become what we need it to be. In “the future” expect that we’ll be playing walls, couches, and lamps. Lots of sweet blinking red lights and some fog horns. Think 9th Century courting “the now.”
Gardens and Villa will open at 9:30 Club on Sunday, April 20 for Tycho.