Sunday, July 5, 2015

EIC's 10Q's w/ Ssleeping Desiress

"..a late '70's Punk vibe, a marriage of Dub and Krautrock repetition and cavernous Space.."

Executing Insomnolence

Ssleeping Desiress Bio:
While the band has gone through a few lineup changes, Ssleeping Desiress has essentially remained the brainchild of San Francisco-based Gabriel Ramos, who is the sole member on this, the band's debut album. Following the great 2012 A Voice/Sister 7, this album runs along the boundaries between minimal synth, coldwave, and electro with lyrical themes of gentrification, coping with death, artistic drive and confusion, and the ephemeral nature of relationships. Ssleeping Desiress have appeared on numerous new new wave compilations since 2011, but this album takes the project to the next level, kicking off with an echoing voice over repetitive drums and outbursts of synths and guitars before slowly moving toward a more darkwave sound on the second half of the album. Ramos started making solo recordings while living in Portland, Oregon, around 2005. The DIY drive of the city and the live shows that he hosted at his house, often of friends' bands from San Francisco, led to a growing fascination and voracious consumption of music. Ramos recalls, I can really trace it to the first time Spector Protector played at my house and getting a tape afterwards from one of the two members, Eric Davis. That and being freshly exposed to groups like Suicide and Arthur Russell was very inspirational to begin recording music on my own, though it is something I had done fairly aimlessly since high school. I make an effort and try and change my process as much as I can (usually through collaboration) and vary the instrumentation.

Hello, how are you?
I'm doing well.

What are you currently listening to?
A lot of stuff right now, I am working on a mix for a blog so I have been combing through my records. But usually when I'm hanging out at home, it's a healthy dose of Roots Reggae/Dub, when I'm riding my bike to work I usually put on rap mix tapes. I really like the huge orchestral nature a lot of trap producers employ, it's a good soundtrack for riding around in the city. But on a daily, if I have new mixes of tracks I'm working on, i'll have that cued up or whatever new record I have recently bought and then probably some current record that I bludgeon myself with until I'm completely sick of. Recently it has been that Freddie Gibbs/Madlib collaboration "Pinata", though I'm not sick of that yet. It's already a classic in my opinion, and can stand many repeat listens.

What's the story behind the band name?
At the time I really started focusing on this idea, I was at a difficult crossroads with a lot of stuff in my life and thus, very stressed out. Heavy anxiety often leads to sleepless nights for me and so I started recording stuff late on headphones when I couldn't sleep and originally called it sleeping devices as a short hand for all the pedals and small piles of equipment laying around my room, but then I realized this kind of therapy was to quench the desire, need to sleep, so that was that.

Was there a specific sound you were going for when you began this project?
Yes, originally I was aiming for a textured grainy wash kind of sound employing a lot more samples. I had access to a drum set at the time. I recorded myself playing driving simple drumbeats and sampled them. Then I would just layer synth and guitar and bass over them in my room direct to tape, the vocals were heavily effected, too much delay and buried. I had no real reference point per se except I was really into the idea behind Chrome and how brittle and ephemeral they made their records, like flipping through the radio over Musique Concrete and The Stooges. Then that gave way to more of trying to craft Dance Floor Club type songs but I had zero production knowledge at the time so those turned out odd as well. Short answer though, Chrome and Chromatics, both GSL and Johnny Jewel eras. Also, Ingmar Bergman, his movies, amongst other things helped me through some almost unendurable times and in the beginning I was trying to capture the cinematic quality and longing of his black and white movies into music. You have to set lofty goals, right?*
*Indeed you do sir;]

Care to shed some info on your latest release; theme, favorite track(s), etc?
The songs are culled from two and a half years of recording. I picked the ones that seemed to make up a cohesive record and chose songs that represented the best example of the time when they were made. The unconscious idea was a love letter by way of checklist to all the art and music and people I admire, mixed with my own catharsis. I tried to layer the homages throughout. Favorite track? "Years In Repair", only because that set the tone and cohesive vibe I used in the midst of recording and mixing the songs.

Will you be touring extensively for said release?
Unfortunately right now I am in between band members and have no way of really performing on my own. I can probably figure it out but I have done that before and don't care for it. Playing with other people is so night and day in terms of experience and energy and is the way I prefer it. I do have aspirations to have a tour planned, at least west coast at first by fall and hopefully get over to Europe, because that's where the music I have released has had the most positive resonance.

Got any other projects we should know about?
Not at the moment, I have helped out other friends with music from time to time and very much enjoy it. Attempting to work on something you had no creative genesis in is liberating. I recently finished a recording program that has opened my eyes and ears in terms of production and taught me restraint and better organization, and I'm trying to share that knowledge with my peers and friends. So at the moment I've been working here and there on some friends' projects. I also have been working on a long distance idea with a friend of mine in LA. For me changing it up and getting outside perspective, working on music that is not your wheel house is great. Keeps you refreshed, but no defined other projects at the moment.

What movie would work best on mute while listening to you music?
Without trying to flatter myself I would say, one movie that has already been in the back of my mind throughout these past years is 'The Tenant' by Polanski. Also 'The Vanishing', original version of course or 'Point Blank'. I love all those mid 60's/early 70's American Noirs. I think the record would be a good compliment to any of those moody suspenseful films.

You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?
I can't answer that question. As someone who has been collecting records for half his life, the choices are too vast. My initial gut would be something Bowie, "Hunky Dory", "Man Who Sold The World", but that really just ignores so much other great music. My taste always seems to land with the Brits, not genre-specific, but no I couldn't pick one.

Are you living your dream?
Ha ha ha, that's a funny question. I think every relatively happy person is living parts of their dream, in a lifetime no one ever gets their dream, only pieces of it if they're lucky. I'm beginning to get a better handle on how I can accomplish personal goals and therefore start creating the groundwork for a desired life, but definitely not there yet.

Thanx Gabriel!

Gabriel recently released the debut [self-titled] Ssleeping Desiress LP (it's quite terrific imo) which you should definitely get right here;] Also if that isn't enough, there's this little gem..(this one is also quite terrific and FREE too;)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Cool Video Funtime #492 - Flaw

Friday, July 3, 2015

Good (FREE) music laying around the interwebs.. Pt. 2