Monday, July 27, 2009

EIC'S10Q'S w/Akron Family

"Last year was a hard year, for a very long time/This year is gonna be ours.."

Heirs Of The New Free Spirit World

Akron/Family Bio:
Akron/Family are one of those exasperatingly unknowable bands. They've concocted an image, all right — check out their MySpace page or the Young God Records one, and you will quickly be advised that they are "extremely nice, sincere and well-mannered young men from rural America who came to New York City in 2002 to make music." But other than that and the occasional unfounded rumor that they practice a made-up cultish religion called AK (pronounced "ack"), the only way to know these apparently affable twenty-something fellows — the original lineup consisting of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Seth Olinsky, from Williamsport, PA; vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Miles Seaton, from Porterville, CA; vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Dana Janssen, from Williamsport, PA; and lead vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Ryan Vanderhoof, from Union Springs, NY — is through their music, which falls squarely into the freak folk category launched, in the minds of the popular culture, anyway, single-handedly by Devendra Banhart. Through three albums made in a Brooklyn home studio and, more recently (2005), through a collaboration with Young God labelmate Angels of Light, Akron/Family have earned themselves a madcap reputation: songs that start in a Beatles-inspired place inevitably erupt into skronk before settling into country sweetness, and folk-raised spirituals dart through Led Zeppelin territory, with '60s rock and general psychedelia also major themes. In addition to the more obvious influences — the Beatles, Brian Wilson, Dylan, the Band — Radiohead, Captain Beefheart, and acts like Spiritualized also clearly have infiltrated the Family iPods, and to impressive effect. Following their 2005 self-titled debut on Young God and a split with Angels of Light (also serving as the backing road and studio band for that Michael Gira project), Akron/Family released their follow-up album, Meek Warrior, in October 2006. In 2007, lead vocalist Ryan Vanderhoof left after recording the adventurous Love Is Simple. The group remained a trio for the 2009 release Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free. The album was released by the Dead Oceans label in America and Crammed Discs in Europe.

Hello, how are you?
Doing quite well, actually thanks!

What are you currently listening to?
Well at this moment I am listening to the din of street noise and the drone of a fan in my apartment, as far as music goes though, I have personally been really excited about a lot of 60's and 70's reggae and dub. Also, my friend and our engineer Chris Koltay turned me on to the Mississippi Tapes website which is blowing my mind. amazing compilations of all kinds of beautiful music, downloadable in mixtape form! perfect! Also Megafaun, from North Carolina. great band.

Your latest album “Set ‘Em Wild..” is pretty terrific. Did you know what kind of album you were gonna write once Ryan (ex-lead singer) exited the band?
Thanks for the kind words! That's an interesting question, particularly because we actually haven't ever really seen anyone as the "lead singer" of our group. When we first started, there was maybe a little less than constant shift of vocal perspective, maybe, but we have always existed in the sort of, everyone always rather than the one guy in the front. But as for knowing what kind of record we would write, I would say we planned and planned like always and then the record took on several lives and emerged with a few, like always..

Care to go into why Ryan left the band?
Ryan wanted to have a much more home-based life, he was pretty done with touring after the first couple long runs, but in the end he stuck it out as long as he could. We all miss him and were sad, but not really shocked in the end. He is SO happy now, that you can't even fault him, and we have been so busy the last couple years that it's hard to know what it would have looked like had he chosen to stay.

Your first few releases were on Young God Records, since then you’ve started your own label and left YG, how did this come about?
Actually we haven't really officially started our own label, but that is a great idea! We are actually releasing our records with Dead Oceans in North America. Which is great. Working with YGR was a great gift for us, but it was always more or less understood that we would eventually move on from there. Michael Gira wants a very small label (it's just him) and as we grew it just made sense to go with someone who was a little more staffed, etc..

You just got back from your Japan tour, how amazing was that? What was your favorite part of that country?
The Japanese tour was amazing beyond description. Totally epic and wonderful. The people were amazing listeners and warm and friendly to the extreme. People actually went pretty crazy too! I loved the landscape and the mountains, the mist and the trees were so beautiful. as far as cities, I loved Kyoto quite a bit. Deep zen (((vibes))).

After the upcoming US tour what’s next for Akron/Family?
After this it's Europe and then Australia, then hopefully some time to play music by ourselves somewhere warm.....
You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?
Hahah this is crazy! There's A Riot Goin On - Sly And The Family Stone. Or Thriller by the late Michael Jackson.

Are you living your dream?
Depending on how you view the universe.... we are all living our dream! Haha. But yes, in many ways I am. I am very in love and play music I love with people I love very much. If I ask for more I have to ask myself if I'm just greedy! Haha.

Thanx Miles!

Akron/Family are currently in the middle of a large tour, catch them live if you can...

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