Please introduce yourselves to our readers. When did Airiel form? Who’s in the band, etc?
Jeremy – Hi, I’m Jeremy Wrenn. Airiel formed back in 1997 with myself and Shawn Delaney, in Bloomington, IN. The band lineup is now Cory Osborne on bass/vocals, Adam Thompson on guitar, John Rungger on drums and myself still on guitar and vocals.
Cory – I’m Cory Osborne. I play bass. I’ve been doing the ‘shoegazer’ thing in Chicago and Milwaukee for the last 9 years. Jeremy and I met through a mutual friend. I heard “Liquid Paper” and was totally impressed. I thought that I was aware of most of the bliss-rockers in Chicago (it’s not that huge of a scene). I hadn’t heard anything about airiel until that night. I was a little like “who the hell is this guy???” and when I found out he was looking for a bass player, well…. We hooked up and it clicked. We were both pretty excited. We agreed that for the sake of live dynamics we would need to get a ‘real’ drummer. I’d played with John before, so it was an easy choice. He fit right in. I also come from a multi-guitar background. We thought we’d try bringing in another guitarist and we tried Adam out (he was eager to get involved). It really solidified our sound. I can’t imagine playing without both guitars now.
The Winks and Kisses cd’s are great! Where did this concept come from and when is the next disc coming out? Also, do you see yourselves releasing a full length or remixes of previous songs?
Jeremy – Thank you! EP series idea pretty much came from Dan Solstrom at Clairecords. We had originally planned on doing a full length release. After he and his wife/label partner Heather came down on their anniversary weekend to see airiel play in San Francisco in 2001, they decided to go the EP route, as it would mean more exposure and it sort of kept with the spirit of the early 90’s shoegazer bands, with which we’re so heavily influenced. It gives us the opportunity to do some fun artwork, as the covers of all four EP’s link up to form a larger picture. They will all be released in box set format when the fourth one is released. Frosted and Dizzy are already out of course, with Melted showing up around the end of January. We’re planning on recording Crackled in early January, with an April release date. We definitely plan on doing a full length release. We’re just starting to play with new material and we still have some of the already finished airiel songs to learn. We do have a few people that are going to take a crack at remixes as well. I just have to get my act together and get the files to them.
Cory – The cool thing so far, for me at least, about W & K will be the final EP “Crackled”. This will be the first airiel EP recorded with our current format. Don’t get me wrong, I love the first three EP’s but I think that Adam, John and myself really complete Jeremy’s ideas. I think that you’ll find all the things you like about the first three EP’s (less the electronic drums), but there’s going to be some new intensity and energy as well. If there’s a full length coming, it probably won’t be for a little while. We’re focusing on playing out to support W & K for the immediate future. Remixes? A definite possibility.
Your music is really infectious. It reminds me of a mix between shoegazer and the incredible pop sensibilities of Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys). Who do you see as influences on your music?
Jeremy – I’ve been vocally compared to him before and the rest of the boys thought that was funny. As for my influences, I think my heart stopped the first time I heard the Kitchens of Distinction’s “Drive That Fast”. I had never heard guitars sound that amazing. And then around that time, I started listening to the Cocteau Twins, Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Ride and all those great British bands. Anything that Robin Guthrie touched was pure gold. I was really heavily into the Madchester scene. The Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and Charlatans UK were a major influence on my drum programming. I just loved how bouncy and upbeat everything was.
John – Pet Shop Boys? I thought Jeremy sounded more like the guy from Erasure… Umm, as far as influences go, I personally like the old standbys (Ride, Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel, etc.) and newer more indie-pop stuff (Death Cab For Cutie, Quasi)…… and Erasure.
Cory – Of course I’ve been influenced by the early 90’s shoegazers and newer bands of the same ilk: godspeed, mogwai, BRMC, Sigur Ros… I’m also into heavier rock, metal, noise rock, etc. I don’t know how much of that will make it’s way into the band. Heheheh.
What is your philosophy behind your music? How do you go about writing a song?
Jeremy – Music first, then a vocal line and the lyrics come dead last. I don’t consider myself a good lyricist or a poet. I have a hard time trying to find the right things to say but at least when I’m writing a song, I can take the time to get it right…or close to right. There have been times where I’ve played a song live before the lyrics were even finished and I would do this sort of half English and Elizabeth Frazier-nonsense syllable thing. I spent a lot of time back in my college days with a guitar and drum machines, playing chords for 20 minutes or more. Then I would take those things apart and make them separate songs.
Cory – I think Jeremy’s philosophy is something along the lines of ‘write pretty songs with sad names, and hopefully girls will like us’ hahahaha. My philosophy has always been to stay true to yourself, play what you feel, don’t talk shit, let the music speak for itself. As for the writing process, that’s a closely guarded secret! Really though, I think songs just happen, for me at least. Some of the worst situations I’ve been in in band-wise were when people were like “we need to write this kind of song” or “we’ve gotta pound out 2 songs next week”. I think as a musician, sometimes you’re better off revising and tightening up the songs you have rather than force creativity.
John – I play drums. I am not a musician, so I can have no philosophy about it.
Jeremy seems to have written all the beautiful lyrics on the Winks and Kisses discs. They seem to let the listener peer into a relationship of yours. Are your songs about someone in particular? Who is your inspiration?
Jeremy – Hey, thanks. So far there’s only two, maybe three songs on the Winks & Kisses EP’s that are about actual people. I do seem to write about relationships but they’re with ideas of people and not real world ones. Saying they’re imaginary makes me sound mental. Hahaha. Writing about ideals keeps things safe in case a relationship goes bad and then I don’t want to play the song anymore. I like to keep songs open and without a definite description of what the sex is, that way it can apply to both men and women. I do seem to write a lot about relationships and such. There’s a girl I know who I consider to be my muse. She’s utterly gorgeous and we’ve only met in person once. She was flying from the west coast to where she was moving to in New England and we got to hang out for about half an hour in the airport. I seem to write songs about her, or the idea of her. I titled one of them after her, in fact. Ri, I hope you’re reading this.
What do you see as the future of Airiel? Do you plan on doing any touring?
Jeremy – We’ve talked about touring around late spring, or early summer. It all depends on time and money, though. I’m dying to tour. I’ve been making friends with lots of bands over the years, so we can play with them when we hit their town and vice versa. Bands that I’ve been dying to see live, let alone play a show with.
John – Recording, playing shows, mostly in and around Chicago… If you live in the area, please come out to one. Satisfaction guaranteed!
Cory – I think the future is very bright. We all work together very well and I’m just looking forward to writing with these guys. I’m on cloud nine, really. We are also looking forward to touring. It can be tricky when you’re in a D.I.Y. scenario, but we’ll play anywhere that’ll have us. If any of you readers, for example, are looking to swap shows they should contact us via <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com.</a>
What are you listening to now? What are some of your favorite cds? If you read books regularly, what are you reading?
Jeremy – I’ve been listening to a lot of neat stuff lately. Bent, Blue States, Beaumont, The Flir and the new Venus Hum album. I think I’m always listening to the Stone Roses. Their self titled album is the best record in history, in my opinion. I recently got a picture disc version of it while in Manchester early in November. I’ve also discovered that I have every Kitchens of Distinction song available, including their first and last 7″ singles. Those two bands are my favorites of all time. My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless”, Slowdive’s “Souvlaki”, The Pale Saints “In Ribbons”, Lush’s “Spooky”, Ride’s “Going Blank Again” and the Cocteau Twins’ “Four Calendar Cafe” are my quintessential CD’s. Without that stuff, I would not be able to function.
John – The last album I bought was Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak.” And it rules. I am currently reading Hunter S. Thompsons’ “The Great Shark Hunt.” It, too, rules. Next I have to get started on Dave Eggers “You Shall Know Our Velocity!”
Cory – I’m listening to a lot of stuff — none of it shoegazer, actually. I’ve been into Burnt By The Sun, Mars Volta, Minus The Bear, Lamb of God. All over the map, really. I haven’t read for a while, but I’ve been doing the Bukowski thing recently. Oh and Michael Moore – he’s the best.
What is your favorite song that you have written and why?
Jeremy – Wow, that’s a tough one. It might be “In Your Room”. That song is a cool love song and I was really happy with the way the version came out that I recorded for the Winks & Kisses: Melted EP. The three part harmony in the last chorus is great. That’s another song that’s written about an imaginary person. I like that concept because when the song doesn’t have a face, you can give it one when you meet someone that it can apply to.
Cory – I haven’t had a chance to do much writing so far, just rearranging some of Jeremy’s songs. My favorite would have to be “Stratosphere” or possibly “Swimming Through Us” – they have a cool dynamic and they’re fun to play.
What is sonic baby?
Jeremy – Well, this came from a conversation I had many years ago with a friend of mine. We were having a discussion about the then upcoming offspring of Sonic Youth members Thurston Moore, and Kim Gordon. The idea arose of whether or not they would be having a baby, or indeed a “sonic youth”. My comment was “well, I doubt they would want to slap a copyright infringement lawsuit on their kid, so maybe they would just settle for a “sonic baby”. A little goofy, I know, but I thought it was a neat name. It’s also my website and the name I use when I publish Airiel stuff. It’s kind of a catch-all entity.
Anything else you would like to add?
Jeremy – firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to get in touch with us. www.sonicbaby.com/airiel is still the site to go to. We’re going to record some random songs for various compilations and whatnot. We’ll be playing a lot, so come check us out!
John – Look for us in Sassy magazine in the “Cute Band Alert” column.