Aan - August 2012

Aan Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: June 3, 2012
Posting Date: August 27, 2012
Artist Hometown: Portland, OR
Links: WeAreAan.com, Facebook, Bandcamp
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Heart Is The Ocean
Haunted, Million Ways
Wake Me With A Kiss
ONE: What is it like to be a band in a city full of musicians like Portland, Oregon? Is it crowded or competitive?
Reese Lawhon: It is crowded with bands. There’s a lot of venues, though. Yeah, I guess it’s kind of competitive. Getting shows places, you know, if you’re just starting out, especially…
Bud Wilson: It is competitive. It’s the game. You have to play the name game. You have to know the bookers in town and you have to pay your dues. That’s one thing that’s actually really cool about Portland, despite the fact that there’s too…what, six hundred bands within a thirty-mile radius of the city.
Reese: It feels like six thousand.
Bud: There’s so many bands. There’s a venue for every band, but there’s only four or five venues that are worth a shit, so, you really have to pay your dues and move up, and…it’s cool that there’s a bunch of bands, though. It might be cutthroat, but like…it’s not mean.
MB: Is there a sense of community?
Bud: Definitely. And there’s really cool people and great bands. Big variety.
Jon Lewis: Everyone is really supportive, too.
Reese: We all play in each other’s bands and stuff.
Bud: Yeah. I mean, there was a point a couple years ago where I was in four bands—
Jon: I was in three at one point.
Bud: So, like any good music community, everybody’s jumping around.
Jon: We usually play three or four different venues, as of late.
Bud: Yeah, but we’re doing our push…trying to grow…outside of the city. It’s a decision that needs to be made with a lot of bands, and they choose to keep it local, because they have regular…gigs. They can’t tour, so…
MB: Is that a trend with Portland bands? Are they not branching out enough?
Bud: Definitely not. It’s so insulated. There’s…I bet you there’s not more than twenty bands that actively tour in Portland. Maybe—
Jon: There’s probably more.
Bud: It may be more than that, but, in our…microcosm of bands, there’s not that many.
TWO: Can you tell us about Infinite Front, the label that you’re on? What makes it a cooperative label, and how is that different from an average label?
Bud: Sure. Infinite Front was founded by my friend Ryne Warner and my other good, good friend Eric
Crespo, who are both in Ghost to Falco, respectively. I play drums in that band, and their ethos is absolutely DIY to the core, and that’s the whole nature of Infinite Front. It’s definitely not…there’s no PR campaigns or anything like that, but everybody…we might not all think exactly the same way. Ryne’s very active in the…he’s an activist, ostensibly, in many, many, different ways, and that transcends through the music of Ghost to Falco, and he plays in a band called Ohioan, too.
MB: I like that band a lot.
Bud: Yeah, I play drums sometimes in that band, too.
MB: He plays in Castanets?
Bud: Yes.
Bud: That’s the idea of Infinite Front, though. It’s just…we’re all doing tons of different things and putting out stuff on…you know, one-off labels, basically, and it was like, ‘Well, we can still do that, but why don’t we collaborate, or at least, you know, have an imprint that we share?’ And that was…it’s not necessarily where Infinite Front ends, but it’s the one root with everybody. We might be spread all over the place, but no matter what, when we put our work out in the public, we share that.
THREE: What motivates you to make music?
Bud: Just…artistic expression. It’s something that’s inside of me. I want to make tunes. I’ve always got melodies in my head. It seems natural to put those things forth. Sometimes it’s a little convoluted in playing the game of ‘Who do we play with? Where do we play?’ We really just want to write music, but unfortunately that’s all part of it. But, the actual art form itself is what motivates me, personally.
Jon: I was born into it, I guess. My mom’s side of the family is very musical. My uncle played violin in a symphony for like fifteen years, my mom’s been playing classical piano since she was a kid, and then she got me started with piano, and then I moved on to guitar, and then my friend’s band needed a drummer, so I quit guitar and started playing drums. So, I’ve been doing that for four years…
Bud: It’s a lot easier to party, too.
Andrew Klabzuba: I enjoy the culture of it, you know? Like, I’ve never been down to SXSW, and that just sounds like the Mecca of indie music culture, so I’m excited to see that.
Bud: And travel as well. Just an opportunity, a reason to go somewhere, without necessarily spending money…
Jon: Sometimes you travel for free. Pretty great.
– Interview by Michael Briggs. Transcription by Dale Jones