How did Charity Empressa begin?
I had some time on my hands and a four track lying around. I guess it was a bridge between mercury and the lassie foundation. I was really inspired by Chris Colbert, Nusrat Fateh ali Kahn and my friends. I played some of the jams for Andy and he said they were great and to pursue it. So I did.
Describe for us some of the recording process you used to record the self-titled debut full-length.
Most of it was done late at night. I had just had a child and in the middle of the night it would wake up and my wife and I would take care of it, but after she fell back asleep, I could not. So I began recording the s/t.
I really enjoyed the cast of characters you enlisted to help with the debut cd. The list (Wayne Everett , Jason Martin, Troy Daugherty, Matt Kelly, and others) sound like a who’s who list of indie music. How did you get in touch with these artists?
They are my friends. I am very lucky to have such talented people around me who want to help me.
What does Frank Lenz contribute to Charity Empressa?
Frank is the other half of c & e. I usually bring him my jams on four track and we decide together the last step, whether if it needs vocals or franks great Rhodes flavor’s. Regardless, he writes those melodies and then the song is done until Colbert mixes it. He has been a great inspiration for myself and this project. He loves, so it keeps me encouraged.
On your new Skin of Whippets ep (excellent, by the way), you seem to have abandoned some of the world music influences that were on the debut disc. Is this true, and what other differences do you see between the two releases?
I don’t know what you are talking about.
I guess the difference between 10 songs and 7 songs.
I saw on your site that you played live a few times with Charity Empressa. What was it like taking those drones into the live format?
We had some success’ and we had some train wrecks.
What are some of the themes of Charity Empressa, lyrical and otherwise?
I don’t know if there are any themes per se, the lyrics tend to be a bit more personal and bit more spiritual.
What will the future of charity empressa be? Are there any more cd’s on the way?
Frank and I have talked about playing again, if we both can ever find the time. We are both working on the full length right now. The full length is going to be less ambient and more pop. It will still be based in the drone and the four track but I am hoping more people will find the full length a more pleasurable listen.
You also run a great record label (Northern Records) and are involved in other music projects. Tell us about these other projects.
I’m very busy with Northern. The other projects I have been involved in has been the Lassie F, The Prayer Chain, CUSH , Charity Empressa. Right now me and Andy are working on the CUSH LP, also my friend Kevin Castillo of Retriever and the CoCo B’s and Chris Colbert have started writing songs for an ep, and doing some bass playing for Wayne Everett’s live project, and doing some producing.
What are some of the records that have influenced your playing, especially in regards to Charity Empressa?
Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, Loveliescrushing, MBV, Medicine, Chris Colbert, all the usual suspects
I know you are a fan of sports…give us your current favorite player in football, basketball, hockey and baseball.
Marshall Faulk of the Rams, Elton Brand of the Clippers, Paul Kariya of the Mighty Ducks, Darin Erstad of the Angels.
Any other comments for those who will check this interview out?
Sorry for being such a horrible interview.