Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MidPoint SpotLight: One on One with Michael Bond of Coltrane Motion

Chicago masterminds, Coltrane Motion, are returning home to Ohio, to play Cincinnati's MidPoint Festival in a couple days. They're finishing up some recording, so they'll be bringing some new jams, along with some homemade instruments.

Composed of Michael Bond and Matt Dennewitz, these two brilliant musician's create an interesting blend of both indie rock and electronica, blending of number of sounds together on vintage gear and modern electronics, that will keep you moving and shaking, so as long as they're up there on stage.

I caught their set at last year's MidPoint, only because I heard the buzz that was going on about them (literally) on the street. They ended up being one of the best electronica acts I've ever heard.

Note: If you've ever been to Bonnaroo, and are into the latenight electronica shows the festival has had in the past, this may be the perfect show for you.

Anywho, I recently contacted lead singer, Michael Bond, because I wanted to get an interview with an out of town band, for my 2008 MidPoint Interview Series, and Coltrane Motion was the first out of town band I had heard, that I could think of.

On with my question's and Mike's answers:

Question #1
Nate Rosing: How long has Coltrane Motion been around? Who is in the band, and where did you guys form?

Michael Bond: I started making music as Coltrane Motion in 2000, recording lo-fi songs in my University of Cincinnati dorm room. I tried a few different live lineups in 2002/2003, then moved to Chicago, where Matt and I started performing as a duo in 2004. I'm originally from Amanda, OH (pop. 700) and Matt's from nearby Lancaster.

Question #2
NR: How long have you been a musician, and what, if any, are some of the bands or types of bands you have played in, in the past?

MB: I was a band geek in junior high and high school, playing drums, mostly. Matt was in post-rock and garage-punk bands in high school, and has recorded folkier solo material under the names Compiler and Blackbear. I also play keyboards for The Most Powerful Telescope in the Universe, a recording project that's about to release thier second EP, and have also produced a few records for other artists.

Question #3
NR: Who are your major influences, musical and non-musical?

MB: A bunch of stuff that we don't really sound like - Phil Spector, The Kinks, Neutral Milk Hotel, early Beck..most of teh music that Matt and I agree on is either hip-hop (Clipse, Dr. Dre) or folk (Neil Young, Will Oldham). Non-musical? David Foster Wallace, Saul Bass, Woody Allen. Kurt Godel & Alexander Calder.

Question #4
NR: How did you come up with the idea for Coltrane Motion's sound? Is it something you planned, or is it something that was born just from playing?

MB: The size of my car trunk (and what we can fit in there to tour with) has probably had the biggest influence on our sound for the last few years, from the lack of live drums to trying to get the most sound possible out of a single guitar.

Question #5
NR: What does the name Coltrane Motion mean, and where did it come from?

MB: It's a 70's blaxploitation slang, but I'm proud to say we've made the phrase fairly ungoogleable, so I'll leave it up to your imagination.

Question #6
NR: How many albums have you guys made, and what is the current status? Are you working on a new album/in the middle of a tour?

MB: We've had a handful of smaller releases in the past, but last year's Songs About Music was our first 'real' album. We're just now finishing up recording a 7" single that will be released next month on Datawaslost.

Question #7
NR: For the sake of my readers, are there any bands out there that you would say you're similar to or sound like? I, for one, haven't heard anything like Coltrane Motion before.

MB: Heh - maybe a mix between LCD Soundsystem, Yo La Tengo, and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion? I think we take a little from each of them and kind of mix it up.

Question #8
NR: Are you signed to a label or do you self release your stuff, or have you had any big showcases or shows that were a pretty big deal for you guys?

MB: We release our music through Datawaslost, which is a small indie label we also help run, so yes to both I suppose.

Question #9
NR: How good is the music scene in Chicago? How does it compare to a place like Cincinnati? Are there really any differences at all? How do you like playing in Chicago? What are some of your favorite clubs, or clubs you play at regularly in Chi-town?

MB: It's very different - not sure if its better or worse, but definitely big enough to challenge you, and to keep things interesting. I miss the close-knittedness you get from a scene the size of Cincinnati's and the great venues you have here, but there's definitely benefits to being a band in a larger city - I think it pushes you a lot harder, at the very least - you've got a lot more competition. We love to play Empty Bottle & Schuba's in Chicago, and are excited about the Bottom Lounge's new space too.

Question #10
NR: What do you guys think of Lollapalooza, and do you hope to play there one day? What does something like Lolla do for the city of Chicago?

MB: I think I'm too cheap for Lollapalooza, I can't imagine going *unless* we were playing and got in free :) The best part of Lolla for me is catching all my favorite bands play in smaller venues for the afterparties..

Question #11
NR: I saw you guys at last year's MidPoint, strictly based on word of mouth. I was walking along the street, overheard someone talking about you, and when it was time, I headed to the venue to see you guys play outdoors in a tent. What are your thoughts on MidPoint, and how will your showcase this year, differ from last year's?

MB: Well, for one, we won't be in a tent..I love MidPoint, it's always a lot of fun, and we always have people come up to us afterwards with similar stories about discovering us randomly, and that's the greatest part, for me - that there's one weekend a year where checking out new bands is the norm, not the exception. I'm looking forward to seeing what changes CityBeat is bringing - the lineup looks great this year. We're bringing some new jams and new homemade instruments this time around, it should be fun..

Question #12
NR: Do you have any funny or interesting stories from touring on the road? What is being on the road like? How do you prepare for that type of lifestyle? Is being in a band, difficult, does it take certain kind of people, or is it just something you adapt to over time?

MB: We've toured a lot in the past few years, and it's all kind of melted into a blur of car troubles and police interrogations. I love getting to experience cities like Montreal or Atlanta in therse short, concentrated doses, where you get the best (or worst) of what someplace has to offer 24 hrs..It's not something I could do every week, and I'm a little scared of people who can - like performing, touring is basically an extended stress test to see how you'll act when surrounded by strangers. Half of being in a touring band is having a reliable vehicle, and the other half is having bandmates who have already pissed you off as much as they ever will, but are still your friends.

Question #13
NR: What has been teh biggest challenge of being a musician?

MB: Figuring out what your goals actually are, beyond just fooling around w/ an instrument. Still working on that one, honestly..

My thanks to Michael Bond, for taking the time out of his busy life, to answer some questions, to get a deeper look, and understanding of the world of Coltrane Motion.

Catch Coltrane Motion's set on Thursday, September 25, at the Inner Peace Holistic Center at 10 pm. It should ge a good night at that venue, kicking off with Ill Poetic and Eagle to Squirrel, and The Turnbull AC's closing the night.

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