What are your feelings on your being featured on KCRW and Nic Harcourt’s Morning Becomes Eclectic?
Its great that this guy (Harcourt) is playing our stuff on the other side of the country. Whenever I’ve learned about a station in Canada or the UK or really anywhere that is a serious hike from where we live and operate, its appreciated. Its assurance that we could soon enough pack up the trailer and play some shows in that area.
Because of your unique live performance style, and the fact that that there are two of you in the group, do you find it difficult to match your recorded music? How do you attempt to do so?
We’ve recorded a decent amount of material where we weren’t thinking about whether we could ever perform it. Thus, some tunes we just don’t play, cos they don’t work with two people. Upon starting to play out as a duo, we just had to sift through our recordings and see what worked and what didn’t. At first, we included the elements of pre-recorded beats and tracks so that we could play certain songs, but soon enough we understood the value of having an exclusively “live” repetoire. Lately, all the material we write is either in the drums and keys format, composed while we’re jamming, or it is tested out prior to recording to make sure we could play the song live.
What influenced you to attend the University of Miami School of Music?
I had a list of colleges that had accepted me. I closed my eyes and pointed. I’m glad my finger landed where it did. I believe Brian came here for the football team, but injured his leg so ended up not starting as reciever and chose keyboards instead.
What prompted you to form Awesome New Republic?
Brian and I have been playing music together for around three years now. What we worked on between our first band in college, to what we’re doing now has been a gradual change. Constantly remodeling. The ANR originally was a ficticious political party, with its first goal set on taking over and restructuring the music industry. What was a bit of a silly side project for recording rap and dance songs eventually became our main outlet for musical expression. Now, ANR is just the name of all the music we make, and making music is just about all that we do with our time.
With your relatively short history as a duo, how does your growing success impact your take on both the band and the music scene in general?
While we’ve only been doing the live duo thing for a short while, we’ve been making music together and playing locally with others for as long as we’ve been living in Miami, so getting a little bit of local respect is something that we’re very thankful for. The main thing is that there are a lot of really nice people that come out and see us play that we don’t know personally. No more elbowing your friends to come out so that the promoter will book you again. As to impacting our band, I don’t think we’re really all that successful at this point where one of us has to wake the other up from a stooper so we don’t miss our flight from Barbados to Osaka. The things that impacts our band the most are when we see a performer or group that is really impressive, and when we have a sloppy performance. These two things send us back into the house to get better.
What plans do you have for 2006?
We’ve started working on a proper album. ANR So Far is a CD that collects a lot of our demos, so we haven’t really sat down and made a cohesive full length up until this point. We will most likely work on this one right now, which features a lot of acoustic guitars and a more subtle, blues sound. The way that we work, it’ll probably be done in no time, but we don’t have any deadlines. After that, we’ll be working on a second full length which will be a lot of the material we play live that isn’t on record. Other than that, we’ll certainly be getting out there, playing more towns that we haven’t hit up yet.
You obviously have a wide range of influences; do you ever find yourself wanting to settle down with one style, or is your diversity something you strive for?
We don’t set out to be excessively diverse. We do however enjoy changing up the instrumentation when writing material, and we enjoy incorporating all the different kinds of music we love into our own songs. In recording these next two albums, we are making a conscious effort to keep things on the same page. One record is very psych folk, most of the way through. The other is very sleazy, back alley dance hall. We strive for keeping things interesting, primarily for ourselves.