How was your recent tour with Woods?
Good times, good times. I had one day to prepare! Wow, those guys had me workin'! We really developed things as the tour evolved but I thought the “unknown” areas where there was some chaos and tradition breaking made for some truly inspired and psychedelic music.
How did it come about?
G. Lucas Crane was moving house and had “stuff going on” and Jeremy and Jarvis Taveniere wanted that X-factor element on board. I guess I was what they were after. And I could add a little rhythm, a little counter lead, some harp, some tapes, some steel, some tubby…and basically just hang.
Have you replaced G. Lucas Crane?
No one is capable of replacing G. Lucas Crane.
What have you been creating lately with Jeremy Earl?
For a while now, Jeremy and I have been playing and jamming together. We get into it. We've guested on each other’s records and have had some deep sessions/sketches at both of our home studios, and some low-key drone and hum around the fireplace, campsite, and kitchen table. There's a certain space we get into, and from that vast archipelago of unknown came our duo project High Lodge. It fuses the environments side of what I do with Erika/The Golden Road into a hybrid moment with Jeremy’s extended jams in Woods, along with his exemplary percussion abilities. We meet in the middle near the pastoral side of the spontaneous.
Any chance High Lodge will be spinning on our turntables in the near future?
Yes, you can expect an LP from that unit in future wave. Though I’m not sure if I really want to talk about it much as it’s still embryonic.
What’s on the your immediate horizon?
Erika and I are just wrapped up a new LP for Woodsist. I finished the primary mixes a couple weeks ago. Gonna tweak a few things and go to the mastering session. We’re scheduled for a May 15 release. We plan some select US dates when the LP comes out and will be doing shows overseas in September. We’re also releasing a digital edition of the April Flower eight concert set on February 28.
What’s it called?
The new MV&EE jammer is called Space Homestead.
What’s the character and spirit of this new release?
It came outta DIY. I won't brag and say how much of a budget we had to make this record. Let’s just say it was made with the spirit of love.
Where does it fit in the MV + EE continuum? What does it foretell of the future?
There are a lot of tattoos and parallels to the earlier works. I think this record is a cool place to pan for some precious heaviness in the continuum. It’s what you see after you've smoked the stash.
As a listener, I feel a mystical dimension of your music, especially when it takes on more Eastern forms, specifically ragas. Is it spiritual for you?
Ragas and drone are the ultimate eternal sound. I dig how the raga, and music in general, is both forever and ephemeral. They’re as close as I'll get to worship. There’s an immersion with all surroundings when I perform in that idiom. Much the same with full-on improvisation. I find great spiritual parallels between ragas and improvisational music, though the moldy figs will probably have some sorta detention grade for that. Both those modes are very different in the sense of their harmony. But I find they equally bring intense spiritual awareness when played at my fullest potential. It ultimately should affect the listener with maximum depth of feeling capable within the individual's human condition.
The moldy figs?
Yeah the moldy figs, that's an old jazz term. It’s generally used these days to describe folks who are reluctant to embrace the more “avant” changes in a musical idiom, instead clinging to more traditional values, whatever they might be.
How do ragas change in your hands, being that your hands are American, and they reside in the Northeastern United States, and they’ve spent a lot of time playing electric guitars and such?
It's a global village, man. Sure, ragas are the “country and western” of India, but I bet I've listened and played as many ragas as some folks in India have eaten McDonald's.
What’s the biggest challenge playing them?
For me the most difficult thing about the raga is the consistency and accuracy of the microtones specific to each particular performance. In my case the amplification also poses challenges. There’s a volume threshold that I can not exceed because of the nature of the modified banjo I play that we call “the bantar,” and the resonance of its skin. Yet I've come to utilize the harmonics and controlled feedback for certain colors. A good listening environment and a properly balanced soundsystem/acoustically designed room help me hear the intervals properly. In life, i don't always get these benefits, and hopefully the raga at the time reflects that. Like any music, there is a technique and constant growth. The harmonious nature of the raga is up to the individual and it always feels extraordinary to me when the conditions are ideal, and yet equally rewarding when there is an imbalance.
What do you hope people hear in your music?
I have no idea what other people hear in my music, I just know that it is a part of me, a reflection. I’m grateful that there’s interest in it and also thankful that all of it ain't for everyone. I'm more into having my ashes scattered than being buried, i.e. I'm interested in making alotta different recordings than just one that thousands of people experience. In the end people who are into it equilibrate on the street and that means a lot to me. Communication. I dig the concept that many are one. There's a reason I named our home studio Maximum Arousal Farm”. We're all doing our part.
MV + EE Tour Dates
04/27 – Malboro, VT @ Marlboro College
04/28 – Belfast, ME @ Free Range Music Festival
04/29 – Portland, ME @ Strange Maine
05/12 – Jamaica Plain, MA @ The Whitehaus *
05/13 – Brooklyn, NY @ 285 Kent (record release show)
05/14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Level Room +
05/15 – Baltimore, MD @ Golden West Cafe
05/16 – Washington, DC @ DC9
05/17 – Hudson, NY @ Spotty Dog
05/18 – Montague, MA @ The Bookmill
05/19 – Biddeford, ME @ The Oak And The Ax †
06/03 – Becket, MA @ Dreamaway Lodge
07/14 – Asheville, NC @ Inner Mountain Festival @ The Grey Eagle (acoustic and electric sets) / Asheville, NC
*= w/ Herbcraft & Mmoss
&= w/ Herbcraft & Steve Gunn
+= w/ P.G. Six
†= w/ BR Garm
#= w/Dredd Foole, Willie Lane, Samara Lubelski & Herbcraft