Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SXSW 2012 Interview: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

This post is going to pull double-duty. It will serve as a preview for a SXSW 2012 artist whom I want to highlight but it also will serve as a preview for an upcoming show at La Zona Rosa. Unknown Mortal Orchestra make fuzzy indie-rock for fans of all things jangly and psychedelic. They are on tour with Bloggy-favs Girls right now and that tour hits Austin on March 8th. Tickets for the show with Girls and Unknown Mortal Orchestra are still available right now but it's a hot ticket so, don't expect them to last. At SXSW you will find UMO at Lustre Pearl on Wednesday, March 14th. Don't expect the band to stick around a play lots of unofficial events because they have to be in Colorado to re-join Girls on Friday, the 16th.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Ffunny Ffrends video via YouTube

I had the chance to send some questions to UMO in anticipation of their upcoming Austin shows. You'll find that interview below the break.

  • Did you know when you entered the studio that you were going for the fuzzy, analogue sound aesthetic?
    I had that sound in my head when I started messing around.
  • What inspired that production decision?
    That's my favorite production sound.
  • What are some records that you listened to as kids?
    When I was younger my parents listened to stuff like Steely Dan, the Crusaders, Stevie Wonder. That kind of thing. My Dad was in Salsa and Jazz bands as well so there was a lot of that. My mother is a hula dancer so I heard a lot of Hawaiian music too. I think the first album I ever got was Michael Jackson's Bad.
  • The Wikipedia entry for Unknown Mortal Orchestra says you're an "American and New Zealand band," what exactly does that mean? Do you mail tracks across the hemisphere or did some band members move to Portland from NZ?
    I grew up in New Zealand but I live in Portland, Oregon now. The bass player and drummer I had last year were from Portland and my brother's been playing drums in the band this year and he lives in New Zealand. My brother and I are both dual citizens.
  • If you could marry your music to film, what genre or specific title would best suit it?
    The Dark Crystal? Just get blazed and watch The Dark Crystal with UMO over the top of it.
  • Who is the most responsible person when you're on tour?
    Nobody. That's kind of the problem with us on tour.
  • Who is the most likely to disappear at a party?
    All of us have done that! We disappear for different reasons.
  • Are there any lessons you learned while recording your first album that will inform decisions you make on your next album?
    I learned that you should make your album for yourself.
  • What are some occupations other than musicians that the group members have had?
    I was a dishwasher and an artist's assistant and an illustrator. Jake has been a recording engineer.
  • Who would you like to collaborate with, living or dead, from any genre or medium and what would you work on?
    Monty Python. I could do a soundtrack for a new movie. Or Louis CK if he makes a movie.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Bicycle video via YouTube