Friday, August 10, 2007

Interviews:: Aaron Schroeder

We just ran a review of Aaron Schroeder's new record, Black & Gold. Despite not being a Steeler's tribute album, we did like the mix of pop and country. We had the chance to ask Aaron a few quick questions. Enjoy.

HH:: The new record, is pretty polished and diverse for an DIY release. Did you do most of the work yourself?

AS:: Oh no - I wish I could steal those liner notes for myself but really so much of the album is the band's doing. I write the structure of the song and usually sketch out the basic instrumentation using digital samples. At that point, I'll give the "demo" tracks to the group who turn the songs into something else entirely. They are all very guided by specific tones and placement of instrumentation; I'm more into the feel of the music.

HH:: Despite your young age, you seem to be incredibly focused on your music, with a great appreciation for music in general. What do you want to accomplish as a musician?

AS:: As ironic as it may seem, my goal with my music does not necessarily include moving lots of records. I simply want to write songs that I can be impressed by. I think the whole band takes a similar approach to this well. My first goal is to keep myself entertained and if I can do that, I feel like I've accomplished as much (if not more than) as many of my contemporaries. From there, it's really out of my hands how people react to the music. Of course I do hope people enjoy it - I think there's a lot in these songs for people to take a liking to. I'd love my music to remain somewhat universal in that aspect.

HH:: You seem comfortable using blogs and the NET to get your music to the (indie)masses. How much has the NET helped you create your fan base?

AS:: I suppose that internet is for me, the most important tool I have in establishing some sort of fan base. There are not a ton of show opportunities in Eastern Washington and due to school, jobs, etc. we haven't really been able to do a proper tour. I was just talking to a buddy about this actually - I am so much more productive staying at home, writing music, recording music, promoting "Black & Gold" than I would be playing small shows across the country. Of course, I'd love to be able to do a tour at some point, but for now I'm just using the resources I've got available to me.

HH:: One thing I noticed when I reviewed your record was that although you do create some more up-tempo pop lines on the opening two tracks, you seem more comfortable jumping into the dusty alt-country side of things. Which style do you prefer and is it at all frustrating to have your record summed up by one song or sound?

AS:: My first record, "Southern Heart In Western Skin" has a lot more of the alt/country instrumentation than this new one so I suppose my tastes are becoming more pop and less country. Truthfully, I don't listen to any music that's in the alt/country genre (with the exception of maybe Wilco and some Ryan Adams). I'm really much more inspired by pop music that is able to take the traditional structure and fuck with some element until the music becomes fresh and new. I suppose the attraction to the country genre comes from my interest in lyrically storytelling. Sometimes I'd rather hear a good narrative ballad than something that sounds like a page of someone's diary.

HH:: What artists inspire your music and who would you like to share a stage with?

AS:: I've really been enjoying that Challengers record by The New Pornographers - lots of exciting stuff going on there. There's a very cool band from Portland called The Shaky Hands who play great odd sounding pop songs. I'm an unashamedly huge fan of Belle & Sebastian. As far as artists who inspire me, it's usually things that are a bit older and more "time tested" - Bowie, The Zombies, Dylan, The Smiths, Roy Orbison, Nike Drake.

HH:: Now that the record is out, what's next?

AS:: Well, we've already got most of the drum tracks done for the third (as of yet untitled) record. In fact, we're doing some bass for that this weekend. It's coming out amazing so far - we're all really stoked for this one. Other than that, I'm just going to continue promoting "Black & Gold". With any luck, it will get picked up a strong record label so we can start to entertain the idea of touring.

MP3:: If You Please
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