Interview with: Lee Gillespie (American Analog Set)
East Aldgate Arts Cafe (2002)
I'd probably have to put this down as the most enjoyable interview I've done, Lee was such a nice guy to sit and chat to. This is an heavily edited version that was used in Issue 2 of VR. I think we carried on talking for about half an hour after the tape stopped, maybe longer. Great night.
So, how's Britain?
This show has probably been the best show overall. Britain is a hard country, a hard, hard country. I find it difficult that so many bands are here because it seems really, really difficult to get gigs and to play and to find a niche for yourself but we've thoroughly enjoyed London this last time. Aside from Glasgow, and it being so exciting and strange to be so far north, this has definitely been the best English show. It's hard for me to get my head around the whole music climate over here, its so different from the way it is in the U.S. but we've had a good time. This show has definitely been a revitilisation for us because we've been on tour now for three months, throughout the states and in Europe. We have five shows left and this was the kind of thing we needed, a crowd to come in and reallt get into it because when crowds aren't into it, your head just keeps dropping lower and lower and it's hard gor you to get into it. But tonight was aces.
Is it usually this low-key when you play?
Yeah its usually kinda small clubs like this, but that's how we like it. We don't wanna have to mic. everything and be really fucking loud. When we get somebody at the soundboard trying to make us a really rock band, it's not really our thing. We just keep it low-key and try to put it all across live.
So how come you've only just made it over here?
Well, we never really had proper distribution over here. Tigerstyle, our label in New York, have been the first people who were ever really interested in trying to get us a distro deal or a licensing deal over here and they really managed to get some people listening to our records. So having a good deal in the U.S. has made all the difference.
So, in Austin, what kind of bands are there around, like are popular in America but over here aren't that well known?
Well, of course '...And you will know us by the trail of dead' are from Austin and they're big here but I don't think they really have the hype in the U.S. Explosions in the Sky are a band from Austin that are getting big.
Do you tour with the local bands, do you get lumped into any scene?
Basically we get to pick, you know. We've been around long enough, and there's nobody that sounds that close to us in Austin so instead of getting into a scene, we just end up playing with our friends, like 'Explosions In The Sky'. They're extremely, extremely loud, like punishingly loud. There was a band called Paul Newman. They're a great band and we used to play with them all the time and they're nothing like us. So more than a scene in Austin, we're interested in friendships and just playing with good bands.
Do you have any plans to come over next year for any festivals?
I mean, we're always willing but nobody really asks us. Especially something like All Tomorrow's Parties. It's Shellac this year.
Do you know Shellac?
No I don't.
Are they aware of you?
I can't say for certain, probably not, but we know Low, and we know a few other bands who've done records with them. So very indirectly know them, you know, six degrees of seperation but I've never met any of those guys ever. I like Shellac a lot, the first record I bought when it came out. I just loved it because I just loved Big Black. And even though I've no idea what it would sound like, it would be a great experience to do a record with Steve Albini.
So how did it all start for you all then?
Ken just taught us the songs in the summer of '95 and we wrote and demoed 20 to 25 songs in a summer and we sent shorter versions of songs to loads of different labels and Emperor Jones was one of the ones that got back to us. It worked well for us for a long time, we were close by, they had good production, that kinda thing. But we just got to a place where we wanted to broaden our horizons a little bit.