Funx3 Fest Interviews: Memoryhouse

As we get closer and closer that fateful date marking the beginning of our beloved Fun Fun Fun Fest, it’s time to get down to business. Let’s begin with a few interviews spotlighting some of our favorite bands playing the festival. Today we’ll bring you our very first Fun Fest interview focusing on Sub Pop band Memoryhouse. After the jump you’ll find interview questions from composer Evan Abeele.

ATH: You started as a multimedia project.  What is the progression from “project” to “band”?  Are you a “band”?

Evan: I suppose Memoryhouse started becoming a “band” when we started performing live, which was about two years ago. The shift from recording rather modestly in our own studio to writing and performing for a full band arrangement was crucial in determining what direction our sound would take. So yes, I’d consider us a “band” at this point.

ATH: Denise’s photographic style matches the soundtrack.  Is that part of the personality of Memoryhouse?

Evan: Definitely. We want Memoryhouse to be as much a visual experience as it is an aural one. Denise’s photography helped to define the overal aesthetic of our sound, and provided a strong foundation to ground our writing in.

ATH: The boy/girl duo, lady/gentleman team, is a trending topic. Why does it work?  Why does it work for you?

Evan: It’s tough to say. We’ve since moved past the boy/girl dynamic, and started working more closely with other musicans, like our drummer, Daniel Gray, who was kept really busy coming up with the percussion arrangements on our new album. At the end of the day, I think it just boils down to “whatever works”; I’m a more measured and “traditional” songwriter, and Denise is almost purely intuitive with music, so the dynamic that created opened up a lot of creative possibilities. The boy/girl thing was never really a focal point for us.

ATH: Considering you’re a duo, what do you bring to the live setting that helps you capture the audiences heart?  I mean, does that even matter, or are you more focused on the concepts behind the music?

Evan: We always perform with other musicians, at times a five piece band, andat others a three piece band. At its core, Memoryhouse has evolved past the “duo” aspect that people tended to zero n on in the early days of our music. We always use live drums, which tends to inject a bit more energy, and immediacy in our live performance. Denise plays a ton of instruments on stage as well so it’s fun to see her juggle multiple instruments in a single song.

ATH: For me, having followed the Sub Pop label for some time, it seems they’re now growing diversely, including acts that many wouldn’t have associated with the label long ago. How did you guys decide to sign with them, as there’s no doubt you had tons of offers?

Evan: We had been sitting on quite a few offers before Sub Pop came on board, but once they reached out, iI think we both knew we had to go with them. To be on a label with that much history and reverence, is a true honor.

ATH: Clearly advanced technology has played a role in the music you guys create.  Do you think the availability of such technology makes it more difficult to stand out as a group, considering everyone is releasing their own music?  Did you have a plan to differentiate yourselves?

Evan: Having so much technology at your fingertips can have a tendency to create a barrier between the artist and their audience. I think that when we first started out, we embraced the sense of disconnect that technology allowed us to play around with. Reverbs and echoes were an aesthetic choice for us, that, as you’ve implied, has become somewhat the norm with this style of music.  We made sure to challenge ourselves once we got into an actual studio to record our debut L.P. Sound-wise, it isn’t a complete 180 degree turn for us, but there were definitely some pretty fundamental changes for us; the largest being that technology really didn’t play the same role it once did, it’s become far less pervasive in our music as we’ve sought out a more organic sound. i wanted to ensure that our new music imbued a greater sense of physicality, to counter the ethereal nature of our past work. The end result sounds more “immediate”, and visceral, which I’m  particularily proud of.

ATH: I just want to create new genres and band names. I’m a nerd;it’s what I do.  If you could create the best musical genre in the world, what would it be, and what would you name your first band in that genre?

Evan: Ah, tough question. I like pop music, and film and television, so for me, the perfect genre is a synthesis of the two. Perhaps I’ll call it Tarantino-wave. I’d be in a band with Ennio Morricone and we’d play every saturday night at the Big Kahuna Burger.

ATH: What’s the best part of the touring experience for you guys?  Any great stories from “the road” you are comfortable with sharing with our readers?  Looking forward to hitting up Austin?

Evan: Our road stories are a little mundane to be honest. Touring can be pretty repetitive. You wake up early, drive all day, load-in your equipment, sound-check, eat dinner, wait five our six hours to perform, perform, load up all of your equipment once again, drive around looking for a hotel, and then start the process all over again. Sunrise, sunset. Our best experiences are always on stage, fior 45 minutes a day, it all becomes worth it.

Many thanks again Evan for making the time to speak with us.  These guys are actually only playing an aftershow as part of the Fun Fest Nites events this year.  They are set to play at Empire Automotive on Saturday night which is free with your Fun Fest wrist band.

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