Friday, July 16, 2010
Talk To Animals, one of my favorite electro projects by Texas-native Aimee, was sweet enough to grant us an interview just in time for the recent release of her stellar EP, 'Always.' Read below to find out where the wild name spawned from (or didn't, rather), what it's like playing in her current city of Baltimore, and how exactly one might "label" the music.
Hey, Aimee! First things first: How did you decide upon the name Talk To Animals for your music project? Does it have a special meaning to you?
I honestly can't really recall how I thought up the name, but I think I've convinced myself that I read it somewhere. At the time, I wasn't exactly thinking of the name having any meaning. I still don't really think that it means much of anything, but I think that it has evolved to fit in with the sort of aesthetic of the project.
You live in Baltimore, if I'm correct. What is the music scene like in your city right now? Is it nurturing to your project?
Yeah, I live in Baltimore currently but I grew up in Dallas. I really love certain aspects of the music scene in Baltimore, particularly basement/house shows. There's a couple of old buildings around where I live in the city that were renovated into massive studio apartments which are perfect for shows. In fact, my favorite show I've ever played was on Halloween last year in one of the apartments - 300 drunk, costumed kids crammed into a living room. It was great.
Are you still involved with your other project 1-800-Zombie?
Well, I guess it's hard to be involved in a project that doesn't exist anymore, ha ha. We never officially broke up, but we haven't released or worked on anything for probably around three years now, and it doesn't look like we will again at this point. I guess I see it like, 1-800-ZOMBIE was fun - it was what it was - and if we ever tried to do it again, we'd ruin it.
When and how did you get your start making music and singing as Talk To Animals?
I officially started Talk to Animals in 2006 as a side-project while I was still doing 1-800-ZOMBIE. But I had been writing and experimenting for ages before anything "official..."
Read the rest of our interview after the jump, below!
For those unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your sound to virgin ears?
That's a rough one, actually. I tend to tip-toe around describing myself as anything that would pigeonhole me into a certain genre. When people hear "8-bit" they think either Crystal Castles or Super Mario Bros., and honestly I don't know which is worse. I wish someone would make me look like an asshole and just dub me a new genre, ha ha. Anyways, I guess I would loosely describe myself as "lo-fi punk-inspired baroque pop via 8-bit technology with the aesthetic of surf goth." Does that cover all of bases?
Yes, it does! Where does the inspiration for your songs - both lyrically and musically - come from?
I guess when I think of my earlier musical influences, I definitely would name Bark Bark Bark and most of Retard Disco, Saddle Creek (pre-2005), Happysucky, and all of the South Texas 8-bit kids from around 2005, and tons of other people whom I can't really recall at the moment. I definitely listen to completely different stuff now, though. But, most of what I write about are relationships or events that have happened to me personally, sort of diluted to the essentials and articulated through metaphor. I don't ever want anything to be too clear, I guess, so most of the stuff I write is usually really vague.
Have you considered creating any music videos yet or going on tour?
I've considered both, and I tried to do a UK tour this summer but plans fell through. Hopefully within the following year I'll be able to head out with some good friends and hit up some lovely places. As far as a music video, it's not really a top priority for me right now. If the opportunity presents itself in a time-efficient and cost-efficient manner, I'm all for it!
You recently released your 'Always EP,' featuring five brand new songs. What was that process like for you and how long did it take?
I uploaded 'Wolves' to my MySpace in 2008. I realized it was something totally different than what I had written before, and after completing it, I sort of created this entire world in my head that these songs existed in. 'Always' as a whole took me about two years to complete, mostly because I didn't push myself to finish anything- especially lyrically. I guess because it wouldn't feel authentic to me. I finished the five songs last summer, actually. It took me almost another year to arrive at a decision about the artwork. At first I was going to use a photo, then I was going to use various illustrations... but they all felt really cluttered. I think that the hand lettering and the sword sort of sum up 'Always' in the most simplistic way I could have achieved. Also, I just really needed to suck it up and decide or else I would never release the damn thing.
Which on the record is your favorite song or most meaningful (if you had to pick)?
Each track on the EP is really personal, and each situation is equally meaningful. I guess I would have to say either 'Wolves' or 'The Tower,' because they are both still extremely relevant in my life right now. Musically, though, I might have to say that Rouge/Rogue is my favorite, because I really love the trumpet solo my friend Jonn recorded for me.
I've noticed a little bit of a transition from your signature light-hearted, 8-bit sound to a little bit of an edgier, electro-punk sound, though obviously still peppered with 8-bit influence. Did you decide to venture into new sound territories for your new songs or was this transition just something that came naturally?
I guess you could say that it was a little bit of both. I sort of came into this project never wanting to make songs that sound the same and always trying to top myself. 'Wolves' definitely changed the way I thought about and wrote my music, and every song on the album was written to be completely different but at the same time, complement each other. But I've never sat down and thought, "okay this stuff I'm making is light-hearted, lets make it a little edgier," it just sort of evolved.
Electro is such a strange genre, and is in such a strange position right now: Currently, electronic synths and dance beats are exploding onto mainstream radio and changing pop music forever, and yet, electro tends to be considered very underground and alternative still, especially here in the U.S. Where does your music stand among all of this and what are your thoughts on this current phenomenon?
Pop music is really fascinating to me. I think it's really interesting and bizarre how so much current American pop music sounds so, so European (but not necessarily as good). I honestly don't think that anything I've written so far, even my brand new top-secret music, would ever be played on pop radio in the States. But I that it might go over well in the U.K., considering a lot of what is on the radio over there.
Are you considering creating a full length album anytime soon?
I would love to write like, three albums right now. I have at least one of them written in my head, ha ha. I guess I would just either need a lot of help or a little funding. I don't own all of the instruments I would like to use, or have the time to record everything, or blah blah blah. I don't know. I don't think that a full length will come soon, but it will definitely happen someday.
What can fans expect from Talk To Animals in the future as far as music and shows go?
In the next few weeks, I'm going to release some more new songs that are totally different from anything prior to/on 'Always,' and hopefully I'll finally get some t-shirts printed and physical copies of the EP completed. As far as shows, I'll probably just be sticking to Baltimore and New York for a while. It's hard for me to go anywhere else (except like, D.C. or Philly or something) because I don't have a car/know how to drive and I'm generally pretty broke.
Well, hopefully that will change soon, Aimee! Thanks so much for talking to Electrocutie. Be sure to check out Talk To Animals on MySpace here and pick up/download the new 'Always' EP as well right here. It's a great album and I highly recommend it!