Could you please describe for our readers how Absinthe Blind formed and introduce the rest of the band members to us?
We formed in 1996 after my brother Seth and his high school friend Tristan and I decided to write some songs after a few separate failed high school rock efforts. We were very young 15, 16, and 19.
Adam Fein: Vox/guitar
Seth Fein: Drums
Erin Fein: Vox/keys
Tristan Wraight: guitar/keys
Brett Sanderson: bass/programming
Former major Members:
Mike Zolfo: our bass player from near the beginning to Sept 02 – he departed for music school and we were experiencing “creative differences”.
Yichel Chan: former guitarist from 1999-2001 – still a good friend of ours and recently produced a video for “walls covered in hope”
Where did the name Absinthe Blind come from and why did you choose to use it?
Edgar Degas’ Le’Absinthe’ painting. It spoke to me when I was 20, not as much now, but the history of the misuse of absinthe is fascinating.
Absinthe Blind formed in 1996. Can you tell us how the band has progressed in its sound and style since then?
More experience writing together, the better the songs have become – we write as a group. Someone will bring a line and we’ll build it up together…you will always see “music by: absinthe blind” in our liner notes. “Rings” is definitely our finest accomplishment – we finally feel like we put all the pieces in the right places – much of that is due to Matt Talbott and Keith Cleversley. Since Brett has joined, the creative fire has doubled, we have 4-5 new songs penned post “rings”
You have beautiful and picturesque guitar sounds and drones in your music that seem to be a blend of guitar effects and keyboard. Would you please share some of the band’s equipment set up for the readers who are gear heads?
Fender everything: 3 strats and a tele – a precision bass. I use a line 6 pod for my effects through a roland jc-120 — The Korg elecribe is what I use for some of our programming. Tristan uses 2 delay pedals and a custom tremelo attached to a speed pedal designed by our friend Marty in Turnerjoy (great band) as well as big muff distortion and a compression pedal – plays though a marshall head and cab. Brett programs the majority of our works with a Korg Triton and using Reason on his home studio — his bass runs through a carvin head and mesa boogie cab, Erin plays her keys on a Korg Trinity. Seth uses Tama Rockstar drums and shakes an orange.
I would say that Rings is looking to be one of my favorite albums of all time. Could you please give us some details about the recording process? When and how did the writing process take place? How did you get involved with Matt Talbott and Keith Cleversley?
Writing from Summer 01 to Sept 02. Matt was a hero of ours creating two of the best albums of all time Hum’s You’d Prefer an Astronaut and Downward is Heavenward – he was vox/guitar – he’s in a band called Centaur now and had opened his own studio (Great Western RR) – we jumped at the chance to work with him and it was a success – he is a great person and really captured our sound. Keith knew Matt because he tracked and mixed You’d Prefer. He is a wizard and his studio is a fun palace and is also a great guy, but in a different way than Matt. Keith has worked with Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, Spiritualized, and his experience shines throughout RINGS. We will continue to work with this team in the future.
What bands are you currently listening to and who, in your opinion, has been really influential in your writing?
Influential: Tears For Fears, Slowdive, INXS, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, New Order, Stone Roses, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Bjork, Lassie Foundation, John Coltrane.
Listening to Now: Ova Looven, Guitar, Wayne Everett, Postal Service, Jurassic 5, Coco B’s, Massive Attack, Sparta, Everybody Uh-oh, Outkast, Flaming Lips
I know that Rings just recently came out but are there any plans for a next album yet? Perhaps some more live EP’s or a new full length?
We have written new material and will begin demo-ing it at our home studio (Brett’s Second Story Studios) this summer. Not sure when a full release would be finished – Fall 04 – depends on funding – we’re broke!
Could you please tell us about your solo-project Cortisol? What inspired you to do something outside the band and will you be playing Cortisol material live?
Cortisol is a chance for me to work more closely with my instruments and to do some of the more electronic-based music I want to create. The lyrics are mostly about how hot my wife is, seriously – she is the support behind the music. I couldn’t do it w/o her – also gives me a chance to write a little bit more about my faith in Jesus which I do not fully incorporate into AB (Tristan and Brett are not religious) We all have a great deal of respect for each others beliefs – however different they may be.
I know that Absinthe Blind tours a lot. Do you have any favorite touring experiences?
Meeting new people and music listeners who really LOVE music as much as we do. There are some great music cities out there: El Paso, TX – LA – Albuquerque – Phoenix, Memphis, our own Champaign-Urbana. So many good places, lots of great people – also hanging out with our tour manager and good friend Ben Clore is a highlight. He’s the best. Also getting to perform with a number of great bands…playing with Wayne in LA last week was definitely a highlight…also opening for swervedriver in 1999…wow great band – nice guys…
Are you reading anything right now? Are there any authors that inspire your writing?
My lyrics are usually based on what I see and feel around me. I’m a big fan of reader/listener interpretation. I’ve had different people tell me that a certain song means this or that to them and how much it helped them through something. You can’t beat that!
Do you have any other comments you would like to share with us?
Keep up the good work at Somewhere Cold and Thanks for listening!!!