Interview: Friction Farm [Part III]

 “That right there makes the whole album worth it.”

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“Is that a train behind the photographer?” Friction Farm guitarist Aidan Quinn and bassist Christine Stay in the cover shot for the album Every Mile Is A Memory

[Typist’s Notes: This is the third and final segment of an interview conducted with acoustic duo Friction Farm, and it’s being published not a moment too soon. The interview, conducted Feb. 2014, centered on the album I Read Your Book, but as of July 1st, this will no longer be the group’s latest, since its newest release, So Many Stars,  will be coming out then.  

If you need to catch up on the previous segments, here are links to Part I and Part II ]

I. Library Gigs

Friction Farm Winter Park II
Christine and Aidan performing for the Central Florida Folk Society at the Winter Park library, April 30th, 2017

“I think it’s nice to take music into a different place than it normally is”

Type Writer: I know you’re about to play the Boca library, and didn’t you play a library up in Orlando as well?

Friction Farm Guitarist Aidan Quinn: Orlando, yep.

TW: Are there going to be any more book-oriented gigs after this?

Friction Farm Bassist Christine Stay: We played our local library in Spartanburg; it was a nice gig. And we’re doing one in Lake City [, Florida]. I felt like [playing in libraries] was a good fit, obviously, because people who like books are in there. I just think it’s nice to take music into a different place than it normally is.

II. Reading

Christine & Aidan at the Library
Christine and Aidan in the back cover photo for I Read Your Book

“It’s not just about occupying your time while you don’t have any tv to watch.”

Aidan:  I think [playing gigs in libraries] reinforces the idea of the… CD because what it’s about is, reading isn’t just about reading. It’s not just about information. It’s not just about occupying your time while you don’t have any tv to watch. It takes you places. And each of us will be inspired differently, or be influenced… differently by what we read. Particularly when it comes to stories, or things that are folk-related.

When you think about it, music is the same thing. The way you hear a song, the way I hear a song, it makes us think two different things. Sometimes two different strange stories.

Christine: I feel like that’s more true of a book than a movie or tv show because you have to create the imagery in your head, so that works a different electric channel in your brain.

Aidan: We know that music makes people feel different ways. You know, the same song, somebody’s gonna get up and dance,  and somebody else is gonna start crying. It’s different [ways to] interpret that story.

We [were playing] in a public library, and this young girl, maybe 12, 15, came up to me and said, “I’m gonna read that book; what is it called,  the one about ‘Normal’ ?” So I explain it to her, and she goes, “I’m gonna check it out right now.” I said, “I’m sure they have it here.” So she’s like, “I need to read that; I need to know what that’s about.” So hopefully we’ll inspire folks to read.

Christine: And that right there [makes the] whole album worth it.

III. The Laundry Cycle

Friction Farm & Washing Machine
Longtime Farmhands might decipher the hidden pun in this photo

“I never knew that till anybody pointed it out.”

TW: I just remembered one more question I had, to do with “I’ve Got A Secret.” That song’s supposedly about the Higgs-Boson particle, and physics and all that stuff, but there’s a good deal of laundry-related content in that song…

Christine and Aidan: [laughing heartily]

TW: … and it makes me think of “The Ballad of The Lone Sock.”

Christine: Oh, man…

TW: Is it safe to say that we know what you’re doing when you do housework? [laughs]

Christine: This is so funny, ’cause a friend of ours from North Carolina said, “Oh, I was so glad to find the laundry reference in the new CD too.” I didn’t know what she meant, but all four of our CDs mention laundry in one of our songs. And I had no idea that was true.

Aidan: So now every once in a while, we’ll do The Laundry Cycle, which is the four songs [of ours] which reference laundry.

Christine: “Washing Machine”, “The Lone Sock”, “A Good Apartment” and “I’ve Got A Secret.” They all mention laundry, or something to do with laundry.  I never knew that, till anybody pointed it out.

TW: I’m getting rusty with my Friction Farm knowledge: I forgot that you had a song called “Washing Machine.” I think I thought that, but then I thought, “No, that can’t be right” because Kate Bush has a song called “Washing Machine” as well.

Aidan: A-ha!

TW:  She went years without recording anything, then the first album she put out after fourteen years had a song called “Washing Machine.” It’s like, “What have you been doing, Kate?” [laughs]

Christine: [upbeat] I like laundry; it’s a good [time] to think.

TW: [laughs] So any future laundry songs?

Aidan: … Now that the pressure’s on?

Christine: Not intentionally, but I have a feeling they will just crop up, because I didn’t know they had already happened.

TW: How about a laundry concept album, now that you’ve done books? “How To Wash Your Clothes” ?

Aidan: [laughs]

Christine: [laughs] Well, I feel like we need a sponsorship.

TW: Maytag?

Christine: Yes: Maytag, Tide…

TW: GE?

Aidan: GE makes good appliances. [Maybe] we can get them to sponsor us for a nice apartment-sized washing machine.

TW: There ya go. I think that’s gonna be it; thanks, guys…

Christine & Aidan

 

 

 

Sunfest 2017, Day 1: The Strumbellas, Snoop Dogg, Weezer

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Frontman Simon Ward and bassist Darryl James of folk-rock group The Strumbellas [Photo by Empress K of Reggae Reflection]
The Strumbellas

This award-winning sextet got my Sunfest off to a pleasant start, with a catchy folk-rock sound reminiscent of The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons. Formed in Toronto in 2008, the Canadian character of the band showed in its opening-night show.  After performing “End of an Era” and “We Don’t Know”, guitarist-frontman Simon Ward encouraged American violinist Isabel Ritchie to sing the next number “Rhinestone”, since she was back in her home country.

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Violinist Isabel Ritchie [Photo by Empress K]
The quirky stage patter, sprinkled liberally throughout the set, seemed reminiscent of that of Canadian pop-rock juggernaut Barenaked Ladies.

 

 

 

The band has spent the last year touring in support of its third album, the April 2016 release Hope, and singles from that release were featured prominently in the Sunfest set, including the latest, 2017’s “Young and Wild.” Last song of the set was the group’s biggest hit “Spirits”, which front-man Simon turned into a joyous sing-along.

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[Photo by Empress K]

 

Snoop Dogg

Snoop with Dancer

As night fell over the West Palm waterfront, a haze of “smoke” rose over the Tire Kingdom stage, accompanied by a bone-shattering bass soundtrack. But before the legendary gangsta-rapper took to the stage, a couple of trailers were shown on the screen: one for Snoop’s new album “Neva Left”, and one for a movie bio on the late Tupac Shakur, “All Eyez On Me”,  with a soundtrack featuring collaborations with Snoop and his late fellow West Coast rapper. “Neva Left” was released May 19th and includes the single “Lavender”, which was released earlier in the year with a controversial Trump-as-clown video. The Tupac movie was released on June 16th.

When Snoop did make his entrance, his flashy accessories included a large diamond-encrusted pendant of the word “Cold” in cursive writing, Elvis-like sunglasses and a gold microphone.

Snoop Dogg II

The rapper was also accompanied by two energetic dancers and his mascot, Nasty Dogg. Snoop’s set featured some of his better-known collaborations, such as “P.I.M.P” (recorded with Fifty Cent) and “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” (with  Dr. Dre). It also included what could almost be the rapper’s theme song, “Gin and Juice.”

 

 

Snoop Dogg III

Weezer

Weezer Frontman Rivers Cuomo.jpg
Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo

Like Snoop Dogg, this alt-rock quartet is another returning Sunfest headliner, having previously played the festival in 2010. With the  band logo (best described as a flying ‘W’)  in lights behind the drum kit, the group’s performance featured songs from its 2016 release, yet another self-titled effort that has received a colour-coded nickname,  in this case The White Album,  like the legendary self-titled Beatles’ release.

Weezer Logo II
Weezer logo

“Thank God for Girls” was both the lead-off single and biggest hit from this album, but in addition to playing that, the band also played its latest single, “King of the World.” Of course, the set-list included a number of the band’s rocking classics, such as the eminently singable  “Beverly Hills”,   “Island In The Sun”, “Undone (The Sweater Song)” and  “Say It Ain’t So.”  But Weezer saved its best for last, ending a two-song encore with its biggest hit, 1995’s “Buddy Holly.”

Rivers Cuomo II

 

Music for The Longest Day

A newscaster just reminded me that today being the summer solstice, it’s also the longest day of the year. So what better way to commemorate that than by listening to an extended version of The Lotus Eaters’ “First Picture of You”? This New Wave single, with the lyric “First picture of you, first picture of summer”  was a hit in 1983 for this Liverpudlian group, and the subject of one of my earliest (and most popular) posts on this blog. But YouTube being YouTube, the video I linked to in that post got taken down, and none of the replacement clips of that video seem to be of good enough quality to not make you feel like you need an eye test. So try the link below instead, and enjoy today’s installment of the long, hot summer…

Type M [return]

Type Writer
Still Typing After All These Years

This blog has always billed itself as “the official Type M for Music blog”, but for the last 4 1/2 years, anyone who bothered to click on the link for our parent site was surely disappointed to find content hadn’t been updated since Sept. 2012. So please allow me to make up for that: over on the Type M site is a brand-new issue, just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of one of my favourite albums, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Also included are a couple of articles about Sunfest 2017, so go check it out and see what all the fuss is about…