Interview with K. Gautier

 

K. Gautier has a huge sound for a solo project. How many instruments do you play and how long have you been playing them?

 

When I sit down to write, I really want to make music that can be a moving experience, and I’m challenged in a way to reach the fringes of that threshold. Just how powerful can music get? It sounds a little strange, but being able to see music has made listening a really moving experience for me over the years, and I want others to experience it too. I would say that I’m primarily a composer, arranging all my songs with Ableton Live before substituting the tracks for real instruments in the studio. I dabble in guitar, bass, and drums, but I would not say that I’m really that great. I think my main instrument is composing by ear and arranging on my DAW.

 

Who are your biggest musical influences?

 

When I started to really get into music around 11 or 12 years old, I got into the hardcore music scene in Jackson that was pretty big at the time. I think the heavier the music was the better, and I couldn’t get enough. It was pretty impactful looking back on everything I’d write, and the influences definitely show through even now. Later down the line, I found myself drawn to music with orchestral, ambient, and cinematic influences, which definitely play a huge role in my overall sound. Some of my biggest influences currently are Sigur Rós, Olafur Arnalds, M83, This Will Destroy You, Hammock, Future Of Forestry, Tycho, Sleeping At Last, and a lot of Erased Tapes Records music.

 

What are some of your all-time favorite songs?

 

That is a really hard question to answer, but if I had to pick some of my favorites, I would say these will scratch the surface: Outro – M83, Black Dunes (Live) – This Will Destroy You, Varúð – Sigur Rós, Teil I-IV – Kjartan Sveinsson, I Can Almost See You – Hammock, A Bridge – Michael Price, Aphasia – Pinegrove, Over the Pond – The Album Leaf

 

Do you like to read? If so, what are some of your favorite books?

 

I wish I could say that I liked to read. Honestly, I have really tried to get into reading. Almost every time I end up falling asleep or getting distracted. I think there are a lot of things you can get out of reading that you can’t get anywhere else, and I really appreciate that. I enjoy reading the Bible for my spiritual nourishment, and I have enjoyed several books over the years, but I would say that I don’t classify myself as an avid reader, which I find to be quite sad.

 

I noticed that you follow two of my favorite bands on Twitter, My Epic and Young Oceans. What do you think makes those bands so special?

 

My Epic and Young Oceans are seriously two of my favorite Christian bands of all time. They are incredibly creative, sincere in their worship lyrically, and making great music. I jam the “I Must Find You” record on vinyl at my house all of the time, and it never gets old. I think Christian bands that have an original sound are really cool, and I really respect them for that. I would honestly love to meet either of the two bands and just talk about worship, and creativity in the Church. My Epic blew me away with their “Viscera” EP, and I jam that record all the time too. They sing truth unashamedly and that’s a really honorable thing. I would say overall, the thing that makes them so special to me is their creativity, their boldness, and their hearts to sharing Christ. It’s really cool.

 

What are your thoughts on popular worship and Christian music?

 

I love Christian music in general, and I love that the Church has been given such a large sector in the entertainment industry to share the truth of Jesus Christ with the world. I was given the opportunity to write the first two records with the Christian worship band Seeker & Servant, and I really got learn a lot about the Christian music industry and what the day-to-day operations are like. It was eye opening in some aspects, like the differences between independent projects, major label projects, and large church worship projects. I would say that I have come to really appreciate a lot of the vulnerability, lyricism, and creativity coming out of Christian bands today more than ever before. Personally, I’m attracted to honest, and Biblical lyrics the most. The Christian life is raw and messy, and we in the Church all have Jesus and the Word of God in common. So that is the kind of music that is the most inspiring to me, whether it be worship or another form of Christian music.

I really want to make music that can be a moving experience, and I’m challenged in a way to reach the fringes of that threshold. – K. Gautier

The Prevailing has a lot of beautiful, lush, layered tunes, many of which are instrumental, is this the direction you intend to keep taking your music?

 

I think that most of the tones and sounds that came out of The Prevailing are pretty true to the sounds that I hear in my head. I feel like I really laid it all out there in the open with that record, and so I feel like I need to be conscious of what I’m writing from now on, not accidentally recreating the same thing over again. I don’t want to make the same sounds in one sense because I want to really cover a lot of ground sonically. I daydream sometimes of writing two or three more records that are all completely different, a stripped-down string quartet instrumental record, and dark and heavy rock and roll record, etc. I think that a lot of those lush and layered sounds will probably make it into everything I do, but hopefully won’t be the main focus. I intend for the next record to definitely be a good bit different from The Prevailing.

 

What is your favorite track on The Prevailing and what is it that you like about it?

 

I think my favorite track on The Prevailing would have to be Blanket Son. It’s just the most fun to jam to, sing to, and worship to. The lyrics are from some poetry I wrote in worship to God and have a lot of depth to them. It’s my favorite song dynamically, and I also think it is one of the most positive sounding songs on the record. If anyone was going to listen to a song from the record, I would recommend that one.

You recently released a great new single called “Bound”. Is there a new album in the works? If so, when do you hope to release it?

 

Yes, I just released “Bound” in late April, and I’m really excited about it. It was a spur of the moment thing where I decided to sit down one Saturday and make something. I had some down time in my side project’s record (The Mountainous), so I decided to write a single for K. Gautier. I definitely branched out a good bit on this one, using more synths and tom work on drums. I hope it is a blessing to the listeners, and that they are able to worship God with it just like I am. All that being said, I do have a new album in the works right now, but it’s with my side project called The Mountainous. We are kind of an experimental, instrumental, post-rock project with influences from Explosions in the Sky and Balmorhea. So stay tuned for that, and all glory to God!

 

 

Check out more from K. Gautier here

Owel Interview From 2013

In January of 2013 I ordered a CD by the band Owel based on a couple of songs I had heard on the internet. Upon receiving the album, I listened to it 3 or 4 times in a row. Needless to say, I really enjoyed and connected with their tunes. Later on in the year I ordered the album on vinyl and received one of the coolest looking records in my collection (props to intheclouds Records, check the link at the bottom of the page).
I find it difficult to describe Owel’s music other than using the word “beautiful”. Somewhere between the late 90’s emo sound of American Football and Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World and the experimental sounds of Sigur Rós and Radiohead, this five-piece band from the New York/New Jersey area has found a wonderfully-unique sound.
Owel were kind enough to take a time out during the holidays and answer some questions for me about their band and their own personal music tastes and collections:

Who is answering these questions and what instrument(s) do you play in Owel?
Jay Sakong: singer and guitarist. Jane Park: violin, keyboard, vocals Seamus: guitar, keyboard, vocals Ryan: drums
Is it blowing your mind to see your band mentioned on these huge tastemaker sites like Pitchfork and Stereogum?

Jane: I used to check Stereogum every day in college, and it was one of my main sources for exploring new bands, so having Owel mentioned there was pretty surreal. Likewise, being mentioned on Pitchfork was really big for us. Moreover, it led to many new listeners, which is always exciting.

Do you have any thoughts on the so-called “emo-revival” that Owel has been linked with lately?

Jay: That phrase “emo” has taken on so many different meanings throughout the years that at first I really didn’t know what to think. I think of bands that I loved (and still do love) and bands that I despised. I always thought “emo” was just a term for music that evoked emotion, but then again what good song doesn’t evoke some emotion? Regardless of what it means to anyone else, I’m just grateful that ears are turning towards us.

What artists do you consider to be Owel’s biggest influences?

Seamus: The beauty of making music with these guys is we all come from different backgrounds allowing us to share ideas and basically learn a lot from each others’ tastes. With me personally, my earliest influence was Brian Wilson’s work with the Beach Boys. The mix of amazing songwriting and ridiculous harmonies got me interested in music right from the age of 8. Since then, anyone from Jesse Lacey from Brand New to Dallas Green, there really are too many to name.

What is your favorite album of all-time? (If you can’t just name one, I’d also love to hear a shortlist of albums that would be candidates.)

Jane: a few of my favorite albums ever would include Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production of Eggs, Belle & Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress, Beach House – Teen Dream What are some of your very favorite songs of all-time? Jane: Etta James’ version of Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Radiohead – High And Dry, The White Stripes – We’re Going To Be Friends Seamus: Radiohead-Fake Plastic Trees, Death Cab for Cutie- TinyVessels, Coldplay-Fix you, The Wonder Years-I Just Want To Sellout My Funeral, Our Last Night-Dreamcatcher, Elvis-Only Fools Rush in, Brand New-At the Bottom, As Tall as Lions-Duermete, Sigur Ros-Hoppipolla, Dallas Green-What Makes a Man

What format do you buy music on the most (CD’s, vinyl, Digital, Cassette)?

Jane: I’m a product of the times. In middle school, cassettes. In high school, CD’s. In college, mp3’s. Now, digital and vinyl.

How many albums would you estimate are in your collection?

Ryan: A lot. I have so many albums spread out in cassettes,vinyls , cd’s etc…Even when i was young i appreciated different styles of music to expand my drumming knowledge. I feel as a musician you need to have a collection of music to keep yourself inspired and eager to learn new ideas.

Are there any plans for Owel in 2014 as far as touring or new music goes?

Jay: We are always playing out. It’s a huge part of what makes this so fun. The other part is being in the studio, and to be honest, I can’t wait to record our next record. Jane: As much as we love playing in NY and NJ, we’re excited to be venturing to different states for shows more and more. We’re looking forward to more out-of-state tours in 2014.

 

Thank you so much to Owel for allowing me to interview them.

Owel’s Website

 

Interview With Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying) 2008

Here’s an interview I did with Tim Lambesis in 2008. I was looking back at this the other day and found it interesting considering how the last few years have been for him. Lambesis was released from jail in December of 2016.

 

1. You have your hand in everything from being the vocalist of one of metal/hardcore’s biggest bands, producing the new War of Ages album, managing Destroy The Runner, and doing your side project, Austrian Death Machine, do you have any other talents you haven’t shared with us yet?

There are definitely days that are crazier than others where I wonder what I’m doing, but for the most part I’ve learned to balance things pretty well. I’m a pretty calm guy most of the time, so my attitude is to just do the best I can and that’s all I can really do. With the release of Austrian Death Machine coming up I am no longer managing Destroy the Runner. They’ve actually done their past tour on their own and have decided that they won’t be touring as full time after the summer, so it just seemed to make sense to split. We all still live in the same neighborhood and hang out recording stupid fun stuff in my studio though. I’d say that the recording side of my life is maybe one of the talents I haven’t shared fully and will hopefully be doing more records when I get time off between tours.

2. Please tell me about Austrian Death Machine, How did this project come about, how will it sound, and what is it about Arnold Schwarzenegger that inspired you to do this project in his honor?

Well, I finally got a full song up online for people to hear after teasing them with the preview for a while. The sound is much more trash oriented than As I Lay Dying and is an awesome outlet for the goofier side of me. The lyrics are 100% based on Arnold Schwarzenegger one liners in his movies, so part of the fun is that everyone already know the lyrics to the big sing alongs. The idea came up when talking with friends and impersonating those great one-liners. Then I started thinking how amazingly fun it would be to have a bands where that was every chorus.

3. Will you be playing any shows as Austrian Death Machine or is this an album only project?

At first it was supposed to be an album only project, but then friends of mine kept telling me they would join the band if we played some shows. There won’t be any crazy touring plans, but I want to put together enough shows to do the “Preda-TOUR.”

4. Did you play all of the instruments on the Austrian Death Machine album?

Yeah, I played all of the original studio version of everything except for the guitar solos, but then as time went on I had friends come in to help me get things a little tighter and sounding the way I want. I’m a perfectionist and the truth is that I haven’t been playing guitar enough regularly to play as tight as I wanted to on a lot of the fast parts.

5. With As I Lay Dying having a new album out and touring plus your other projects, where did you find the time to record the Austrian Death Machine album?

Every time I was home between tour I would record a little more. The whole recording process was about a month when you put it all together, but it was spread out over about three months.

6. When As I Lay Dying began did you have any idea that it would become such an important band in the metal and hardcore scene?

Definitely not, but I also didn’t think that metal would become an important genre again either. I just wanted to help write the best music I could for the genre which I thought was very underground at the time. In the big scheme of things metal is still very underground when you compare it to radio junk or hip hop, but it’s still crazy to think that some bands in our genre have gold records even though they scream and stuff.

7. What musical artists would you say have unfluenced you the most, personally?

I love the energy from punk and hardcore being so fast paced all of the time, but I like to combine that energy with stuff influences that are rhythmically intense like Living Sacrifice was. I’m really stoked they’re back together. The melody side of our music can be influenced a little by At the Gates to name one.

8. What will the schedule be like for As I Lay Dying this summer and for the rest of 2008? 

We’re finishing up Van’s Warped Tour and then going to Europe for a bunch of festivals over there. Hopefully we can start writing a little after that, but that doesn’t mean our touring plans will stop. They’ll just slow down a little.

9. How do you feel about the current “christian” hardcore and metal scene? Is there anything about it that you think needs to change?

Just because a bunch of dudes grow up in a Christian home doesn’t mean that need to call themselves a Christian band or Christians in a band, or whatever the trend is. Either Jesus matters enough to all five members that He influences all of their lives (including music), or that band should just admit their faith is cultural and doesn’t affect their lives. I guess what I really wish I could change has to do with all of what we call Christianity in modern times. There are so many people that call themselves Christians that it really means nothing. It should be hard to make the Christian claim because it means that you actually believe what Jesus said and want to be held accountable to it. That’s pretty gnarly to think about because Jesus said more about people giving up their riches than He said about being born again. It’s comfortable to say we’re born again because that idea is so vague in our society, but how many of us can really say we’ve sold all we have to give to the poor or that we turn the other cheek to our enemies. Those ideas still challenge me as a US citizen where even the poorest of us are rich compared to most of the globe. I’ve done very little in my lifetime to bring justice to the poor and oppressed the Jesus loved so much, and I feel challenged to start meaning what I say when I call myself a Christian. Of course I would never be ashamed to associate myself with Jesus, but I am ashamed to associate myself with the Christian majority in the US because it seems they care less for following Christ’s teachings than they do for following the so-called culturally Christian empires of our time.

10. Would you call As I Lay Dying a “christian band” or would you say you are “christians in a band”?

We are a Christian band because my beliefs influence everything that I do.

11. What has God been teaching you lately?

“Whatever you’ve done unto the least of these, you’ve done unto Me.”

12. Is there anything you would like to say that we haven’t covered?

I tend to come across very serious when you get me on the right subject, but I also want people to see the other side of me just trashing around and having fun. Hopefully Austrian Death Machine will help get that across while it also gives me a chance to play a lot of the instruments I had to give up when I started singing in As I Lay Dying.

Interview with J.S. Davey

I first came into contact with the work of Joseph Seth Davey through the band Attalus. I always keep an eye on what Facedown Records is doing, so when I saw that they signed Attalus, I checked them out and loved what I heard. Sometime not long after that, I found out that their vocalist wrote children’s books. I had a little girl who loved being read to, so I figured I’d buy the only book he was selling at the time, On Top of a Hill There’s a Billy, and my daughter loved it! So, from then on I would buy the next three books he wrote, and she adored them as well. I’m pretty sure I’ve read The Fox Hole to Cadence all the way through more than any other book…and she has a lot of books. The other three J.S. Davey books aren’t far behind, though. So, I decided I wanted to find out about the motives and passions that drive this man and his wonderful books.

1. What got you started writing children’s books and where does your passion for that stem from?

I started writing a fantasy novel during my freshman year of college, inspired greatly by Lewis’ Narnia series. In my original conception, the novel was going to be only one of five books in a series, but I never got around to that. When I finished the first book, I realized that my understanding of geography, history, and the world in general wasn’t strong enough for me to be able to create a large enough world of my own. The story I had written, though full of rich allegory and cherished characters, was too small in scope. Too limited by my lack of imagination and knowledge.

That realization led me to the beautiful Welsh hillsides, where I worked on an M.A. in Ancient History and Classical Studies. The serenity of that pastoral environment opened my imagination even more, and, of course, the private research and reading helped expand my mental horizons.

Coming home, I decided I still wasn’t ready to begin new work on the fantasy series. Instead, God called me to start a band, wherein I served for 7 wonderful years. Song-writing was as much a passion as book writing, and, looking back at those years, it’s clear that I needed to focus all of my mental energies on writing music and collaborating with my fellow brothers through song.

Three years ago, however, a new desire was born: a desire for picture-books. At one time in my life, I would have considered picture-books a much lower-shelf, far less impressive medium of literature. But God changed my mind and is still doing so. See, my first real “passion” was drawing. As a young child, I sketched pictures all the time. I also put the pictures to little stories – most of which were inspired by Dr. Seuss’ bizarre worlds and The Hardy Boys’ mysteries. Essentially, I was writing “picture stories” as far back as I can remember. It just took me 25 years to come back around to them.

So much for the backdrop. The simple answer to your “inspiration” question is that I love collaborating with great artists. I love writing notes to Genn Lotysh and Nina Khalova, envisioning sketches, and seeing the finished product (that almost always surpasses what I initially had in mind). I am also a visual learner myself, and images – whether painted with words or with colors – have had a significant impact on my understanding of the gospel.

2. What’s the story with your new Fiction Forest Books imprint?

I created Fiction Forest Books for three reasons:

First, to give children whimsical, beautifully illustrated books that will excite their imaginations and introduce them to unforgettable characters.

Second, to give children books that teach valuable lessons about contentment, humility, and other virtues that are being lost in our self-seeking, self-promoting generation.

And third, to teach children the value of serving others. 15% of all book sales go to a non-government organization in Uganda that feeds, houses, and educates orphaned children (most of whom were born with aids). I believe that while teaching children to read is a good thing, teaching them to love others is better.

3. My daughter is constantly bringing up the lessons she’s learned from your Proverbs and Parables series. Do you plan to continue incorporating Biblical morals and lessons into your stories?

I’m so grateful to hear that, Eric! Absolutely. I’m currently working on the third book in that series, and I am also about to release my first book in brand new Fables series. Both my Proverbs and Parables and Fables series’ will implement Biblical truths, while wrapping them in humorous, whimsical stories and characters. My ultimate goal is to be able to take these books into public schools (which I have had the chance to do already) and read them to classrooms where I’m not allowed to talk about Jesus. I pray that these stories, along with the Fiction Forest mission, will plant a small seed in the minds of teachers, parents, and children.

4. What projects are you working on coming up and how can people best support you?

My first fable called The Big Cat Spat is due for publication in April and I’m really excited about it. The paintings and tone of the book reflect back on old cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry. It is a very witty fable about a lion and a tiger who meet each other for the first and fight over their differences. Though comedic in tone, the ending of the story will have kids reflecting on how much we lose when we fight over petty thing, forgetting that we are all made in the image of God.

The best way you can support is by visiting www.thefictionforest.com and ordering a book or two. That not only helps to support my family and I, but it also helps to support the work Carol is doing in Uganda. Then, if you love the stories, it would help if you shared the books with friends, teachers, and librarians. Books are a lot like seeds; they don’t fall too far from the tree unless an external source carries and spreads them.

5. Your solo hymns album, Till You’re All I See, is releasing soon and you used to sing in a great band called Attalus. Is music something you plan to continue doing or is it something you’ll just do again if the mood hits?

Music, and especially song-writing, is something I’ve felt called to for a long time. Recently, however, it has been beneficial for me to step away from the stage – both in terms of a rock band and in terms of my church’s worship team – and serve in other ways. I do believe God will use me in a worship leader capacity in the future, but this season of transition has been a welcome relief for me.

6. Who are your main influences in your writing and in your music?

As far as books, my first major influences were Dr. Seuss and C.S. Lewis. Once I walked through that wardrobe as a young child, I never quite came out. Later, I would say that George Macdonald, G.K. Chesterton, Shel Silverstein, and Bill Watterson inspired me in different ways. Theologically speaking, apart from Lewis and Macdonald, my greatest influences have been A.W. Tozer, Augustine, and Thomas Akempis.

As far as music, my first influences were D.C. Talk and The Beach Boys! Later on I would be introduced to bands like Blindside, Thrice, and Copeland. The lyricism and storytelling of Bob Dylan marked me. However, I have been most inspired by the lyricism of hymn writers such as Fanny Crosby, Isaac Watts, and many others. Some of those old hymns never grow old.

7. Who have been the most influential people in your life spiritually?

As far as living people (not authors), my parents, who raised me to love God and His scriptures. My philosophy and Greek professors in college. My college pastor. My cousin. My grandmother.

8. What is your favorite Book of the Bible?

My favorite Old Testament books is Psalms. Significant moments in my life have been marked by God speaking to me through a Psalm. My favorite New Testament book is John’s Gospel, because, in my opinion, it is where I see Jesus, the Son of God, most profoundly.

9. What is your favorite song of all time?

Without question it is the old hymn called The Love of God. I’m never unmoved when singing those unforgettable lyrics. It is Well is a close second.

10. What is your favorite book other than the Bible?

I would say The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It is difficult to imagine my life without it.

I really appreciate J.S. Davey for taking the time to answer these questions and give us a better understanding of where his passion comes from. Please support his work and buy his books here. Also, check out his new hymns album here.