Saturday, November 14, 2009
LA Record.com recently conducting an interview with Lower Heaven. Check it out below. The site is also offering a FREE download of the band's new track "Before You Turn to Dust"!! (right click, save as)
[LARecord.com] Lower Heaven took a break from shooting a music video in a muddy forest to talk to L.A. RECORD about shitgaze, being in a band with your girlfriend/boyfriend, and how they’d handle the moral dilemma of selling your music to a TV commercial. They will play tomorrow’s Party Weirdo fest in Long Beach. This interview by Zoe Bower.
Tell me about the video you were shooting today.
Christina Park (bass): It was directed by Simon Chan who is directing the Dead Meadow movie Three Kings. We met him through Jason Simon and started hanging out and heard rumors that he was working on this movie with Dead Meadow. We saw the trailer—which we thought was amazing—and definitely wanted to work with him.
Marcos Chloka (autoharp, guitar, vocals): Basically they used a lens for our video that makes certain areas of the screen blurry as you move the camera. We had some costumes… I don’t want to ruin it! There’s going to be some surprises.
Christina Park: We spent all day shooting at a park in Pasadena. We got some really great footage—pretty psychedelic.
Why do you think Los Angeles has become home to so many great psychedelic bands lately?
Marcos Chloka: I don’t know why. It’s not just L.A., but definitely LA is home to a lot of the bands—like Dead Meadow and Spindrift.
Christina Park: I feel like psychedelic music is everywhere. Some of the shows we’ve played out of town—like Psych Fest in Austin this year—has brought our attention to so many great bands out there. The term psychedelic is used pretty broadly—we’ve been told that we fall more into the ‘shoegaze’ realm. I also feel like every band calls themselves shoegaze, and I think there are few bands that have perfected that time of music—that lush, full sound and that vocal technique. It’s used a lot and only done well by a few. I was on Wikipedia the other day and we discovered this new genre called ‘shitgaze.’ It’s not even an insulting term. It’s that lush shoegaze sound but really really lo-fi and gritty and raw. Which is really popular right now. It’s actually a breath of fresh air. I think sometimes with technology, sometimes music can be overproduced and sometimes you listen to an album like that that is so gritty and raw and technically lo-fi … It reminds me of growing up. Like some punk rock 45s that you would buy and put on your record player and it was really gritty and fresh. We have plans to record an album next year, and the question is—should we spend all this time and money making it perfect? Or do we want it just to be gritty and raw and see if people like that instead?
Marcos Chloka: I don’t know if we are going into a studio. I think we are doing it in our own practice space with microphones and ProTools, and a computer. We have to see what it will come out with.
You two are a couple, and Marcos is the primary songwriter. How does being a couple in a band affect the songwriting process?
Christina Park: I have no songwriting talent at all. But I am really good at telling him if I think something sucks! I’m very vocal about that! I play bass with Marcos. I remember this is something I always wanted to do since I first heard his demos, but we had to date for about two years before he finally came around and offered to let me play in his band.
There have been some really well-documented destructive relationships in a band—Fleetwood Mac, for instance. And there’s been some really healthy ones like Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore in Sonic Youth.
Christina Park: Or Blonde Redhead. Sometimes it works. Just make sure you have all the kinks in your relationship worked out before you start to work together.
Almost everyone in the band—with the exception of your drummer, who is an artist—works in the entertainment industry. How do you feel about doing music for films or commercials?
Marcos Chloka: It can be a milestone for a lot of musicians to have their music be used in TV or film—even commercials.
Christina Park: We’ve been sending our stuff out to music supervisors. We feel like our music is cinematic and we’d love to get it in a TV show or movie. I think a lot of it has to do with luck and a lot of it has to do with becoming a well-known band to where people recognize your music and want to use it.
I think also there is a new trend where bands that were previously unknown were broken to the public by placement in a commercial
Marcos Chloka: Yeah! We first started seeing it in car commercials. But you have to be careful.
Christina Park: We have friends in bands who have been asked to use a song in a Hummer commercials, and they have to decide if that’s something they want to do considering how unpopular they are and how bad they are for the environment. It’s on a case-by-case basis.
Steve from Pink Mountaintops was approached to do a diamond commercial and turned it down because his band felt strongly about the injustices associated with the diamond mines. What would you turn down if you were approached?
Christina and Marcos (in unison): Nothing. Nothing! No—just kidding!
Good business answer. What kind of wares would you like to hawk?
Christina Park: That’s really commendable for Steve and his band, but when it all comes down to it, it’s a personal choice. We are all musicians. Maybe you want to be a role model and stay true to your morals—more congratulations to you! But I don’t know if everyone has the social responsibility to say ‘this is wrong, this is right.’ I think it’s cool that bands get to that point where they are being asked to have their music in commercials. Going back to us working in the entertainment industry, I think it’s really interesting because I definitely see that working where I do. And not to sound idealist—like everything revolves around the music scene that we are in—but those people are imitating what we are doing. Living on the east side, playing music to people that we know—everything is trying to mimic this, because it is so cool and it is so original. People are filming in Silverlake all the time, and you see different bars that you go to in movies. And then it becomes popular culture. It’s pretty interesting.
I know that you are doing everything independently. Do you have any advice for local bands that are trying to go the DIY route?
Marcos Chloka: What we are going through with recording can be a little challenging, but definitely if they don’t have the budget, recording on your own is always fun. Obviously if they can, record in the studio with an engineer or a producer. Otherwise, its good advice to record on their own. It’s fun and it’s definitely cheaper than paying some jackass to do the same job that they could do on their own.
Christina Park: My advice would be ‘stick together.’ A lot of bands that are doing well now started off playing house parties together. Rather than being competitive, stick together. Play shows together. Try to make stuff happen. In the long run it just helps everybody.
Posted by Dan Goldin at 12:24 AM