Thursday, March 24, 2011

It was hard to summarize everything R.Loren does into one neat sentence for this banner up here. R. is the driving force behind three of the most unorthodox, innovative and downright amazing bands I've heard in the last decade, Pyramids, Sailors With Wax Wings and White Moth, he recently founded a record label, the catalogue of which already reads like a wet dream for any adventurous music fan, called Handmade Birds Records, he's one of the greatest music recommenders I know (and books, and movies, just go and follow his tumblr for proof). So I just went with genius, which seems perfectly appropriate. You'd think that a guy like this would be an unavailable, pretentious snob, right? No way someone who creates art as deep and as diffuse as this can't be a gentle, down-to-earth, funny and awesome dude. Well, he is. To the point of enduring my 10 rounds, so you can see how far he's willing to go to be nice. During which he admits he's Rich and all. Seriously. Read on for a very, very special interview.

1. So, we’ll never know your first name?
[told ya.]

2. I guess you weren’t busy enough with three bands (that we know of), so now you have a record label. The initial roster of Handmade Birds is, as I mentioned up there, a wet dream for anyone with half a good music taste. Why did you decide to throw yourself into this venture?
I turned 33 last year, and soon after got word that we are expecting a second child. Some might think taking on a label in this situation would be overly daunting and not conducive to my growing family. I think it is quite the opposite: the recording process has become almost emotionally destructive at this point. Music is in my blood, so not creating it is out of the question, but slowing down that output is a must. A label allows me a way to channel my obsessive musical energy in a way that is still special in terms of emotion, but nothing that will wear on my sanity. We can pack orders as a family, and be a part of something larger than ourselves. It is romantic actually.

3. What’s your universe of artists to consider for the label? Is there any established criteria? Or do they just have to be awesome?
Awesome yes, innovative definitely. The big aim here is to establish a balance that presents people with both light and dark music that spans geography, aesthetic, and philosophy. There are most definitely strains of texture that run through many of the artists’ works, no matter how disparate they are in any other degree.

4. One of the finest recommendations of bands I didn’t know that I’ve gotten in the last few months was your tip of Celestiial. Do you see yourself as a good recommender of music?
I have never consciously thought of myself in terms of any labels like a good anything. With that said, I try to be self aware, and one thing I think I am good at is recognizing sincerity in music, fresh ideas, and knowing which artists fit well together, regardless of their respective genres.

5. There hasn’t been a new Pyramids release in quite a while. R., there are junkies out here needing the stuff. What’s up?
We have completed a nearly three year long collaboration with Wraiths, which is going to be available this year on limited vinyl from an awesome label who will remain nameless for now. I hope an official announcement will come soon. Our split 7” + CD with Horseback is in its final stages, and Hydra Head will be releasing that this year, though it is taking us a lot longer to complete than we had originally planned. I think we were supposed to submit it to the label in October of last year, and here we are in March. It will be well worth the wait. Faith Coloccia is adding her layer right now.
[a Pyramids/Horseback split. Drool floods my desk.]

6. As for the other two bands, SWWW and White Moth, first of all, how did you manage to get that army of cool people to participate? I’m wondering how you approach Marissa Nadler and Aaron Stainthorpe for the context of the same project, for example.
Many of the collaborators are friends, some acquaintances, and others I just plain wrote as a fan. 99% of those I reached out to were up for it. When it came to someone like Aaron, I wrote him on a whim, not at all expecting a response. He is a kind soul and a kindred spirit, was open immediately to contributing, despite it being one of the busiest years for the MDB stuff- their anniversary and all.

7. I remember you weren’t all too hopeful about the reception to White Moth. It is, in technical terms, a fucking weird record, so I understand you. Did the reception it get surpass your expectations?
Immediately upon its release, I was still sceptical. The WM record definitely took far longer to catch on in comparison with SWWW. As the months have passed, however, WM has gained significant traction, and words from many have been more along the lines of appreciating it as one of those gems that fly under the radar. More and more seem to be discovering it organically as time progresses, and that is exactly what I had hoped would happen.

8. What sort of blackmail do we have to use to get you to play live shows, with any of your bands?
Pyramids is definitely the most likely candidate of any of them, though I cannot say if and when it would ever happen. I suspect we would do something here in Denton if we ever did anything live. SWWW and WM would simply be inaccurate without all of the participating members represented on stage, which would be insanely complicated and expensive to orchestrate. Each of those musicians were hand picked for specific sonic qualities and talents, and if even one was missing, the project would not be properly represented.

9. I assume there are freaks out there who don’t enjoy your music. It’s not exactly elevator easy-listening, after all. Have you ever gotten a totally oddball review like this one for Aidan, for example?
Ha! People either slam us or embrace us. I haven’t seen (yet) anything out of the ordinary or insulting.

10. Final list-question – the five bands you think are most responsible for shaping your musical personality, as a performer.
Miles Davis
Blut Aus Nord

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