The Chain Letter Interviews: FYF Fest Pt.II

Blake Gillespie

Crystal Antlers

All Photos by Matt Draper (except Waxahatchee)

The bond in Los Angeles grew stronger with the help of Syd Butler of Les Savy Fav’s six-year old daughter. In Part 1 of the FYF Edition, Butler utilized his daughter’s interview format of “Six Questions by a Six Year Old” to pay forward to our next participant Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee. Lyla Butler is destined to be a star journalist someday, as Katie enjoyed one of her questions so much she passed it along to Crystal Antlers.

We had a casual session with the full posse of Crystal Antlers, cracking Budweisers, and maintaining a jovial spirit. Later in the evening we finished off Day 1 of the festival in the Seagate trailer – producers of computer storage central to the creative process – with Filip of Poolside, drinking tequila and talking about miracles. If you’re keeping score, that’s three varieties of spirits in the course of 8 hours, which probably explains why we wound up talking about ICP and miracles.

Waxahatchee

Katie invited us into her trailer for some much needed AC time and a glass of Tullamore Dew. I accepted the Irish Whiskey not remembering I’d have to get in character, a six year old, to do justice to the questions. Katie had no problem imagining a person much smaller than myself was delivering the questions as some of them drew “awws”. It was truly a shame Lyla Butler could not be there to ask about Katie’s favorite planet and species.

This is going to be an exception to the format. Imagine I am not me, drinking Tulamore Dew, imagine I’m a six-year old asking these questions. Where did you come up with the name of your band?

It is a creek in Alabama that I grew up going to. I wrote a lot of my first songs there, so I named it after that.

Who were you idols for the instrument that you play?

So like my guitar? or songwriting? I have so many.

Narrow it down to three

I can probably narrow it down to one actually. Mama Cass Elliot. She’s probably my number one. She was just amazing and such a good singer. I just love her. She died too early and tragic, but she probably could have been the biggest star in the world. What is your favorite color?

Ohhh. It changes a lot. I think red right now.

Do you have a favorite species?

Dogs. I know that’s boring, but that’s the animal I come into contact with the most. I have the best relationship with them.

Do you have a favorite planet?

It was always Saturn growing up. But, I don’t know. I think Venus is pretty cool too. It’s pretty close.

What’s your favorite food on the road?

Ugh. Nothing

Right?

It depends. It’s regional. If I’m in New York, it’s bagels. If I’m in California, it’s burritos. In Chicago it’s pizza or they have really good burritos too. So, it depends on where you are.

If your creative space was a place that you go to, what would you put in your creative space?

I would keep a thesaurus, a guitar, a piano, a [guitar] capo, coffee, and it would have to be sound proof. I’d need something to record on.

What three questions are you sending to the next person?

What’s the most annoying thing about playing a festival?
What band are you most looking forward to seeing here?
I kind of want to steal one of [the six-year old’s] questions, but I shouldn’t…

Who is your personal music icon? I feel like that’s a really good question. I wasn’t prepared to answer that one.

Crystal Antlers

Crystal Antlers quickly became my favorite band to kick back with and drink a beer. They appreciate bands like any good-natured fan out there; can’t name drop, but they’ve got hunches as to what’s good. Even when drummer Kevin Stuart accidentally sprays our powow from cracking open a fresh can, he’s casual about it, assuring us he’s not trying to inspire a stereotypical ‘backstage’ moment.

Crystal Antlers’ new record Nothing Is Real is out October 15 on Innovative Leisure.

Who is your personal music icon?

Jonny: I play bass and I sing. So, Charles Mingus, bass. Oh, I also play saxophone, so Ornette Coleman and Roky Erickson

Kevin: I play the drums and I don’t even know the guy’s name right now…

Andrew: [sarcastically]Lars Ulrich.

Jonny: Oh, and Neal Peart.

Kevin: Ha. ha. The record that made me start thinking about drumming differently was when I found the album Marquee Moon from Television. I heard the drums on that record and it really made me think I could broaden my horizons and do a lot of cool stuff, but still have a lot of style. So, whoever that guy was.

Andrew: I can only think of one person. That would be Philo Cramer from Fear.

Kevin: Oh yeah, also the drummer from Fear. That guys a fucking machine. Whoever that guy is.

J.P.: I also can’t think of any names right now, but as far as organ bands: Zombies is one. Not Colin Bluntstone, but the other guy. I’ve never really been an organ player, so I’d never thought about this.

Jonny: What about Ikey Owens? He was his predecessor in the band.

Kevin: That’s where he’s taking his cues from.

What band are you most looking forward to seeing here?

Jonny: We want to see, uh, Tim. [Points over to Tim Presley of White Fence who’s hanging out but not performing.]

Yeah? Tim’s doing an impromptu set?

Jonny: Roky Erickson. He was like the only band we saw. But, I did see Chuck Dukowski in the food area. We were both eating peach cobbler.

J.P.: I really wanted to see Charles Bradley. It was incredible. He had the moves. He was getting down. The whole band was killing it.

[Kevin cracks open a Budweiser that sprays everyone.]

Jonny: Whoa, easy bud!

It is officially a backstage party.

Kevin: I don’t even want to drink this. I just did that for fun. I really wanted to see Kurt Vile actually. His drummer, or at least the guy who played on his last couple records, has an amazing sense of style and turning such a simple singer-songwriter type of sound into something that’s really a nice sounding piece of music. Of course, Flag too.

What’s the most annoying thing about playing a festival?

Jonny: Trying to do interviews with bands playing all around you.

Kevin: At least we’re not doing an acoustic performance right now.

Jonny: That’s what they make you usually do. They’ll ask us to do an acoustic performance in this setting. We did one for [omitted] like this

Kevin: And a helicopter was hovering over head.

Jonny: We literally couldn’t hear anything we were playing and they probably put it up on the radio.

Andrew: Getting home. All the 30 seconds conversations.

Kevin: There comes a point where I stop being sociable, but I keep running into people.

Jonny: Well, it’s like we saw Cole from Black Lips and I would love to sit down and drink with him and talk all night. Instead we were like having this awkward pause where we both know we need to be somewhere else in a few minutes. So it was like hey – pause – I’m going to go get a drink.

If your creative space was a place that you go to, what would you put in your creative space?

Jonny: A picture of Bill Cosby, autographed. An illustration, like a street drawing of Guns N’ Roses. A photograph of Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.

Kevin: Yeah, reppin’ hard.

Jonny: And part of an Econo-Line van ripped in half so it just reads “Econo”. And that’s exactly what our creative space is. That’s the studio.

That works. What three questions do you want to send to the next band?

Jonny: Tell us how a hard drive works.
How many times have you been asked in an interview ‘what is your spirit animal’ and what is your stock answer?
Describe your sound.

Filip of Poolside

The sun had set by the time I met up with Filip Nikolic of Poolside. It was a lot of laughs, a few shots of tequila and fireball, and somewhat indiscernable tape to playback the next morning as I prepped for the second day of interviews. We talked miracles, we talked about smaltz with class, and it even got a little environmental, as we addressed the guilt of personal trailers.

Tell us how a hard drive work

It’s a miracle. It’s like magnets spinning. Insane Clown Posse explained it, I think. It’s just a miracle.

How many times have you been asked in an interview ‘what is your spirit animal’ and what is your stock answer?

I don’t know.

Have you not been asked that question?

I think. I don’t remember stuff like that.

[Filip’s friend chimes in, “he looks like a spirit animal. That’s his problem”.]

I’ve definitely been asked.

What would you say?

It’s a labradoodle.

Describe your sound.

Smaltz with more class.

If your creative space was a place that you go to, what would you put in your creative space?

My creative space is my studio, so I have a computer and some instruments. Oh, and Mezcal.

Alright, and three questions to the next band, if you will be so kind?

What’s your favorite Wu-Tang album?
Can we have a shot of tequila?

[Editor’s note: the request for tequila led to a brief break to pour and after minor discussion was deemed not one of the three questions to be sent on to No Age.]

How do you feel about the carbon footprint on this trailer right now?
What’s your best drummer joke?

Read on for Pt. III of the FYF Edition of the Chain Letter Interviews. We finish strong with No Age, Washed Out, and Chelsea Wolfe.

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