I finally met Jimmy Way, Chris Duartes drummer
for the last year now, when the band came back to Colorado for some gigs
in December of '98. Jimmys brought electronic effects into the live
shows and has helped set up Chris and John with musician-friendly computers.
His goal is to have the band thinking in a remixing style and to be able
to record anything, anywhere, anytime. The brains behind this idea is a
piece of equipment, more like a portable studio, called a Kurzweil. Its
fully-loaded with a ton of remixing software and Jimmy is ready to take
it out for a spin!
Music in general has influenced me. I have to give everyone Ive
ever listened to credit - and half the time I didnt even know who
they were. Ive always been more attracted to songs and songwriting.
I havent really been into drummers, except perhaps Billy Cobham. He
came to my school, in Houston, and did a clinic. I also like Neil Peart
of Rush. He kind of brought jazz into rock and roll, sort of refined jazz
stuff down into heavy rock and roll. Loud, articulate playing. Real loud
rock drama. I met some good jazz drummers and was fortunate to be exposed
to a lot of roots music. I listened to a lot of rock and techno. Thats
what I played in different bands. I tried to collect as much music as possible,
but I had to seek out the harder-to-find stuff I was interested in. I like
theme albums. John and I were talking the other night about
stuff with big themes. Stuff like Pink Floyd. Beatles, too. Not so much
for themes but how the songs all go together. Like Rubber Soul.
That album made a big impression on me.
I like some of the new music out there. Its real exciting
because its drums! The Chemical Brothers, the way they process drum
and bass music. A lot is the beat and the way they manipulate sounds. Crystal
Method, Fat Boy Slim just produced a new Beastie Boys single with cool drums.
The Beastie Boys are my age and I think theyve really captured the
sound of the youth of today. Its a different way of thinking about
music. They didnt learn instruments first, they started with the left-brain
way of constructing music. Then they went back and learned some instruments,
half-assed but it worked! Their beats are so phat! Theyll take a drum
beat and just compress the shit out of it - Thonk! - Pank!
- nail it to the floor! Do stuff to audio that most engineers steer away
from. I like that aspect of it. And also the perspective a DJ brings, too.
When youre playing, youre busy doing everything. When you listen
to it, its a different objectivity.
Lets see...Tungsten Coil from Detroit, some stuff when they
were in Austin. I played several years with Doug Kershaw. His music is a
lot like Chris. It would change, go off on tangents and stuff. He was liable
to do anything without telling you. Hed give you two pick-up notes,
maybe one sometimes! Youd be holding a drink and he would start! The
drink would go flying! I wanted to try out some electronics in Doug Kershaw
but the Kurzweil wouldve been destroyed! We flew everywhere and the
airlines wouldve lost it or broken it for sure.
A Kurzweil. Its about two years old. Its a beast!
Its considered the serious piece of gear as far as sound design and
stuff. Its got $16,000 worth of the most bad-ass software in it. Its
got pitch shifting, acid, beat construction. I cant wait to see what
everyone does with it! I want to incorporate it with rehearsing, try this,
try that. Ive been working at it, ten minutes here, ten minutes there.
Setting levels, distance from amps programmed in, mikes and stuff. Weve
got most of it done, its just gettin ready. With electronics,
theres so many ways to do things. Its a constructive form of
escapism. I enjoy the spirit of recording, so why not use it? It has a lot
to do with grabbing the moment and having stuff set up, everyones
levels set up automatically, so you can go, Hey! Lets do this!
1-2-3-ready! We can make sound designs and trigger them live. Like
NASA or something! Its better than any video game or the internet.
Its a whole panel of stuff with knobs to twist! Theres effects
processors in there that look just like foot pedals. Fuzz box, big muff
pedal on it, looks just like it. You could set up interfaces to where you
have the foot pedal trigger it. I want to have organic mixes that people
mess with and dream on. A lot of copies that go in different directions.
See what happens when awesome guitar and bass playing fit into that kind
of thing. It hasnt been done yet. I enjoy the spontaneity of it and
want to preserve that. Every day I try to do something towards that goal,
taping some stuff, chiseling at it. Ive always liked spontaneity and
Chris and Johns attitudes are amazing! Its an honor to play
with Chris and John. Ive been experimenting a lot of different ways
with the live stuff. Thrill Is Gone has some effects. Ive
been doing some stuff on Walls, a swirly effect. I can even
sample stuff as Im playing and then play it back. With drum pads theres
a one-second lag time before it discerns what you just played. Theres
still things about it I dont understand. The other day we were doing
some things with bottles at the house. That was a whole wide world of wild
weirdness in itself!
When you joined the group, did you have
charts or tapes to listen to - or did they just throw you to the wolves?
They gave me some tapes. I didnt have any of Chriss
music lying around! Id seen him play a few times and heard some singles.
We havent had a formal rehearsal, where we just jam. Weve talked
stuff out on the road. I dont know until two seconds before the song
what hes gonna play! Im learnin his hand signals,
but I dont have the key signatures down yet. He has other ones, too,
kind of like a third base coach!
Its in the works. Its been hard finding time, but
soon. Id like us to try a variety of things. Make different versions
of the new songs weve been doing. The Metaphor Song is
one I really want to mess with. I can hear a lot of things in it I want
Oh man! I know two computer experts, one works for the CIA and
the other one builds computer systems. They say run for the hills!!! The
government already has these contingency plans. They say a lot of things
will mess up, and not just on the 1st, problems with power that will affect
other things, looting and stuff. The Kurzweil doesnt have the date
in it, so it doesnt know and it doesnt care. Its got a
Pong machine in it! They probably put it in there because it took up like
10k or something!