If there is one band we want to check out this week of CMJ it's Of Montreal, who is actually of Athens, Georgia (as part of the Elephant Six collective). Their songs manage to get a lot of play on our iPod, often starting a dance party in our brain on the way to work. Managing to mix in sounds from at least three previous decades, their influences are kept hidden beneath a new sound with smart lyrics and a touch of quirk.
Be sure to check out their oft Beatles-esque melodies and 60's psychedelia songs when they're in town this week (more info after the interview).
Recently Kevin Barnes took some time to answer our questions.
Let's get this out of the way, where did your band name originate?
It is a clone of another name actually. The original name was “ah mongrel”. So you see cloning is not an exact science yet.
What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
My favorite is probably when we opened up for Neutral Milk Hotel at the Bowery Ballroom. It was such a magical night cause all of our friends were there and Neutral Milk was so disastrously wonderful. My least favorite memory is being stuck in traffic for three hours on the BQE and having to pee sooooooo bad.
What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York?
My favorite thing is how sophisticated and hip people are there. Nothing goes over their heads. It has such a great tradition of pushing the envelope that really nothing shocks people. But at the same time people don’t seem jaded. That really surprised me the first couple times I went to NYC. I had imagined that everyone would be too cool for school but, I’ve discovered, most of the people I meet tend to be really nice and open minded. My least favorite thing is the constant fear that our van is going to get broken into and that all of our equipment is going to get ripped off.
Is there a difference in the New York music scene from your own local scene?
Yes I’d say so. Right now there seems to be a ton of really cool bands popping up in NY and most of them are signing record contracts and touring the world and performing on Conan and whatever. The scene in Athens,GA is pretty laid back. Most of the bands that form break up within a year or so. People here don’t seem as image conscious and don’t seem as motivated to turn their band into the next big thing. It seems like it’s more just about having fun and partying here.
Now its time for some fill-in-the-blank action
“You know you’ve made it when…” Bono wants you to meet his kids.
“It’ll be time to pack up the gear for good when…” Bono wants you to meet his kids.
“I’ll never forget the first time I…” crowd surfed in Kyoto.
“I’ll never forget the first time [insert another band member’s name here]…” Jamey got in a fight with the doorman and got kicked out of the club we were playing.
Let's have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following (if you’ve got no discernable feelings, make something up that won’t embarrass you in the morning)
Yankees = spoiled
Mets = sad
Bridge & Tunnel = eagle suffocation
Blogs = sporks
Pitchfork = out of shape
Times Square = =.00004
Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws = Logan’s run
A few quickies on the music tip
What's the most played song on your iPod (or an equivalent music playing device) in the past week?
Ladyflash by The Go!Team
Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
Ray Davies, The os Mutantes brothers, Robert Wyatt, Mayo Thompson, Gyorgy Lygetti, Keith Moon, Sly Stone, Arthur Lee and Francoise Hardy.
If you released a 7” what would you put on the cover?
A man with a strange bird head wearing a jogging outfit sitting next to unknown flora.
What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
the first was Prince’s “Sign of The Times” and the last was Four Tet’s “Everything Ecstatic”
If Josh Schwartz, creator of the OC, asked your band to perform on his tv show (as Modest Mouse, the Killers and the Walkmen recently have) would you?
And finally...What came first, the music or the misery?