MTT and Ghostland discuss capes, sexual dancing, James Brown, Daft Punk and more while at Lollapalooza.
Interview with Ghostland Observatory
Thomas Turner, Aaron Behrens, Monty “Moe” Wiradilaga
Friday, August 3, 2007
Lollapalooza – Chicago, Illinois
Moe: We’re sitting backstage with Thomas and Aaron from Ghostland Observatory. How you doing guys? That was one of the best sets I’ve seen in a long time.
Thomas: Thanks a lot.
Moe: You guys started off with three people right?
Thomas: I think Ghostland, like the first official Ghostland show, we used two people. We were in other bands before but…
Moe: How did you guys get together, what was your meeting?
Aaron: We just met in the bands previously that we did. He answered an ad in the paper and we hit it off. The other guys went and took a break for a while and me and him just kept going at it and we found what me and him love to do together, you know?
Moe: Absolutely. You guys are from Austin correct?
Thomas: Yes, yeah.
Moe: And they’re saying that it the “live music capital of the world.” Is Austin really that strong of a live music scene?
Thomas: When we tour other cities, you can kind of tell like, in Austin, you can go out almost every night and see any kind of genre of music you want to, at almost a hundred different clubs. And most cities don’t have that you know. If want to see blues you can see blues, you wanna see rock, indie rock, punk rock, electronic, DJ shit, whatever, you know, you can go see it in Austin almost any night of the week.
Moe: You guys definitely have an interesting combination of styles. First of all, what’s with the cape? I gotta know what the cape is man! (Laughs)
Thomas: My wife made it for me, so I wear it you know, I sport it.
Moe: I was lookin’ for what stage you guys were playing on, I saw the cape and said, ‘Oh there they are.’
Moe: What did you guys grow up on, what were you really listening to? ‘Cause it sounds like you go from little bit from the dance genre, but then you go from rock, then you have a little rap, just a combination of so many different styles. Aaron, what’s your take on this?
Aaron: I grew up listening to, you know, my dad had a lot of like seventies, sixties-seventies rock, like Jimmy Hendrix, Zeppelin. Grew up listening to them… And then I got into eighties, and my mom had like Huey Lewis and The News, Prince, you know, all that good stuff. And then, you know, in the nineties I got into gangster rap…
Moe: There you go. (Laughs) NWA!?
Aaron: Snoop Dogg, NWA, Onyx…
Moe: Eazy-E! Yeah, there you go!
Aaron: Eazy-E, yeah all of them.
Moe: What happened to Onyx anyway? (Laughs)
Aaron: I don’t know dude. I think Sticky Fingers got into acting for a while, so I don’t know… But then I, you know, then I moved to Austin, and Thomas introduced me to electronic music, so yeah.
Moe: Yeah, it’s just the blend, the blend happened right there.
Aaron: Yeah… The beautiful blend man, you know, so..
Moe: Did you listen to a lot of James Brown?
Aaron: Oh, a lot, yeah, I love James Brown… I love James Brown… Yeah.
Moe: I know you know everyone says it… They draw your dancing style to James Brown…
Aaron: Oh, that’s a huge compliment, I love J.B…
Moe: It is. Those are big shoes to fill, but, tell you what… You never stop, you never stop! (Laughs)
Aaron: Oh man, I’m tryin’, I’m tryin’. (Laughs)
Moe: I could tell through the set, people were getting into it more and more. You guys know everything was just starting to build up, and I don’t know if you noticed the crowd, but the hands started going up and by the end everyone was just rockin out. Ahh. It was great.
Aaron: Yeah! That’s good!
Moe: You guys basically just leave it out, all on stage, just balls out…
Aaron: Yeah, we really try. I mean, like I said, me and Thomas, “The Wizard” over here, dude. You know, he just throws down all this, it’s just, everything crazy on top. And it’s just, like we’ve said before it’s like, he just allows for me to get crazy on top of that, but he’s just pushing me man. With all those sounds…
Moe: Just feeding off each other.
Aaron: Yeah! It’s just real feeding back and forth. It’s just not talking, it’s feeling between both of us, you know.
Moe: What do you feel about the musicians that are doing that little shortcut with laptops and all that in their music?
Thomas: Yeah, I guess people do whatever they’re comfortable with. Maybe, you know, they started out with a laptop, and using virtual synths and things like that, and that’s just how they do it. I mean, I don’t hate on them for doing that. I just prefer having a synthesizer and, like, really getting inside of a synthesizer, and learning it inside and out. It’s the harder way to do it. You know, that’s just what I feel comfortable doing, and I like it. I enjoy it a lot.
Moe: Did you grow up more with the rock stuff, ’cause you’re playing drums, and you’re doing the synths, doing them together, just meshing the two. Did you grow up more in rock, or did you grow up more in the dance styles?
Thomas: Well I guess when I really started getting into music I really fell in love with electronic music, that’s where my heart is. But I played drums when I was younger… I used my knowledge of playing the drums and creating beats, but I never thought that I’d have to play drums again. It just so happened that I got the opportunity, and we just rolled with it, you know.
Moe: Does it feel natural though? I mean, if you were doing the drums, and you were doing the beats… Was the going back and forth, working with the synths and the drums… Was it natural, or how’d that work in?
Thomas: Yeah, yeah I think so. It feels good to be able to do both, you know? I like it.
Moe: Well like I said, we’re gonna see you guys at Vegoose… The rest of my crew’s coming tonight. What should they expect when they see you guys for the first time? How would you describe your set?
Thomas: You just have to be there to witness it. I would say, go in expecting nothing, and be the judge for yourself, and see how you feel when you leave. Hopefully, you’ll really, really love it. Or you’ll really hate it. There will be no in between, like ‘Ahh… It was okay.’ None of that. Its either you’re really into it or you’re not, you know.
Moe: Aaron, your dancing is obviously very, very sexual.
Moe: You don’t doubt that right?
Moe: Not whatsoever. (Laughs)
Aaron: It’s a very powerful energy!
Moe: Yeah, so what’s the craziest thing a girl has done to try to get in your pants after a set like that? (Laughs)
Aaron: Well, honestly, I haven’t really had to deal with that, because I really don’t put myself in situations to deal with it, you know. A lot of times people will try to get on stage, and you know, dance with me and stuff. But the thing is, it’s like, that’s cool, but I’m like in my own world. I mean I definitely do it for the people and I like entertaining up there, and it’s wonderful that they get inspired to get down with me and everything. A lot of it, it’s a lot of personal release. You know, it’s a lot of personal energy getting out, flowing out of me. So, I really haven’t had anything crazy, you know, or anything like that. And I think a lot of my fans know that. A lot of our fans know that. They respect it. And it’s the same thing; I don’t expect anything from them after the show.
Moe: However, you should have heard the comments from those girls that were standing next to me. Oh shit, you would’ve been like…(Looks and points) Yeah, point to em’… (Laughs)
Aaron: (Laughs) Girl, you’re dirty! Girl, you’re nasty!
Moe: Yeah exactly!! They were getting dirty nasty, that’s right. You guys are very independent…
Thomas: We don’t have a manager. We hired a publicist just for a short period of time, just to help promote the upcoming festival season, the new record that’s coming out, and just like to help the press-related things kind of go our way as opposed to just random things happening… Have a little bit more control of that. But, yeah, we’re very independent. We don’t answer to anyone. We agree on things and that’s what we do. And we just stick with that, you know. And we really don’t do many press-related issues either you know so…
Moe: Well, thanks for… thanks a lot, I appreciate that!
Thomas: Yeah! Yeah! So we stay under the radar, we basically leave the people to decide whether they like our performances or like our albums, and that’s that, you know. We just let them figure it out for themselves.
Moe: I definitely see a trend in music today. “They” want control of their catalog. I spoke to Ziggy Marley at Bonnaroo, and he went independent now. He was saying how he wants control of his things. Slightly Stoopid, who I just spoke to, also said the same thing. So, what do you guys think about the trend of music? Is it people taking the power back from the labels? Why is the trend like that?
Thomas: I don’t know. There are some bands that are very comfortable being on a label and they enjoy that lifestyle and the perks that come along with it, and having tour support, and having a marketing team and publicists and everything like that. And than there’s other people, they just really wanna do things their own way. And I think if you really want to do your own thing bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen, and I think that’s what a lot of bands are doing.
Moe: So you have a new album coming out soon?
Thomas: Yes, yes. We’re finished writing. Now we gotta get into the studio the end of August, early September and then bang it, bang it, bang it, bang it!
Moe: Yeah man. If you guys could collaborate with anybody, Aaron who would you collaborate with? Anybody, doesn’t have to be dance-related, anybody. You’re biting your finger; you’re probably like, ‘I don’t know.’
Aaron: I really don’t… I really don’t know. Because, it wouldn’t be the same, you know? The thing is, I think, Thomas and I enjoy the kinship we have with our music you know.
Moe: That’s a good thing.
Aaron: To add another person in the room, or someone else in the collaboration, I don’t know if we’d function the same, I don’t know if… It breaks up the connection.
Moe: Do you think it would water it down?
Aaron: I think it would water it down. I don’t know. Certain circuits run a certain way, Thomas and I have to be alone and in silence, and if anybody’s added in there it doesn’t work the same. It doesn’t.
Moe: So when you guys are doing your writing sessions, is it just like you’re on stage? You guys just start rocking out?
Aaron: There’s a lot of silence and then a lot of sound.
Moe: A lot of rockin?
Moe: You guys definitely have a real big sound for just two guys. I thought you guys were gonna blow out the PA system, did you hear it popping at one point?
Thomas: That’s good! I like that! (Laughs)
Aaron: Yeah, that’s good! (Laughs)
Moe: Yeah! I heard it, I was like, ‘Oh shit, there goes the set.’ ‘Cause you guys did blow out a set, where was it?
Moe: That’s right!
Thomas: We blew out the entire power in the whole freaking festival.
Moe: No shit.
Thomas: Yeah… It wasn’t too fun though when it happened. We were like, ‘Oh, that’s not good.’ You can’t even talk in the microphone, nothing.
Moe: Did they get it back and going?
Thomas: Yeah, but it took a while. It was just like, at first, it’s cool, like ‘Oh, yeah they blew out the power’, but then you can’t crank it back up you know, you gotta wait. Then they get the power running again and you’ve got to start over and try to get back to where you were. But the crowd seemed to respond really well to it, so it ended up working out.
Moe: That’s cool. So you guys gonna be around for Daft Punk tonight?
Thomas: Man, we have to play another show tonight! So we gotta go sound check…
Moe: Oh, where is that by the way?
Thomas: Schubas? So we gotta go sound check right now.
Moe: Maybe I’ll show up for that one, after I figure out where the hell it is.
Thomas: If we can’t make it, we’ll try. Man, we drove all night to get here, and it’s pretty crazy, yeah.
Moe: (To Aaron) If you we’re gonna be there, you should be on stage as a dancer for Daft Punk, and suddenly you show up on stage, and people are like, ‘What the fuck is going on here!‘
Aaron: (Laughs) They would probably blow me up with their electronic stuff. And that’s the same thing, ya know… Daft… They would, yeah… I don’t know what would happen. (Laughs)
Moe: (Laughs) You just might have to show up for just like a couple minutes and then head out! Guys, thank you very, very much. Can’t wait to see you guys at Vegoose…
Thomas: Thank you!
Moe: And maybe we’ll see you guys tonight.
Thomas: Okay, sweet deal man!
Moe: All right guys, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
This is a big announcement… If you know Latin Music, you know how huge Maná is…
Univision Radio, the leading radio network serving Hispanic America, today announced that Latin Rock superstars Maná have been added as headliners of the H2O Music Festival taking place in the Cotton Bowl on June 9. Maná’s special appearance at the H20 Music Festival in Dallas marks the final U.S. performance of their record-breaking Drama y Luz tour.
Maná are the world’s leading Latin Rock band – earning four Grammy and seven Latin Grammy Awards, while selling over 40 million albums across a career spanning three decades. In an Arts section COVER story today, The New York Times heralds Maná for “Redefining the Meaning of Crossover,” declaring the group: “has a mass appeal nearly unrivaled in the Latin pop world.”
The lineup to H2O Dallas also includes Tiësto, Juanes, Snoop Dogg, Calle 13, Gym Class Heroes, Prince Royce, Weezer, Paulina Rubio, Damian
Marley, Duelo, YelaWolf, Paty Cantú, Ozomatli, Intocable, Ramon Ayala and Bobby Pulido, plus additional acts that will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tickets to the H20 Music Festival can be purchased for as low as $30 from www.H2OMusicFestival.com
“Univision Radio is proud to launch the H2O music movement with this festival in Dallas,” said Jack Hobbs, executive vice president of Sales, Univision Radio. “We are focused on providing our young audience – the Hispanic 2.0 listener – with music that reflects their bicultural, bilingual lives.”
The venue inside the Cotton Bowl will feature several rotating stages, with local and emerging artists and some of today’s top names in music. Additional festival events include a vendor village featuring festival and artist merchandise, a lifestyle area, multiple watering holes, cool down tents, gaming areas, family areas, plus food and beverage, and more.
Univision Radio DJs will also be on hand throughout the night mixing music as a transition between acts to keep the momentum going throughout the night. In addition to Univision’s support of the festival series on a national level, Univision television and radio stations in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are supporting the H2O Music Festival.
A showcase of local artists and unique experiences will kick off the excitement, starting in early afternoon, in the plaza of the Cotton Bowl.
The second H2O Music Festival will take place in Los Angeles on August 25 at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, featuring artists like Alejandro Sanz, Paulina Rubio, Snoop Dogg, Chino y Nacho, Alex Cuba, Romeo Testa, plus additional acts to be announced in the coming weeks.
The official lifeline for up-to-date H2O Music Festival announcements and artist confirmations will be made available at:
And on Twitter via @H2OMusicFest.
After an impressive first year that boasted the likes of The Flaming Lips, Pretty Lights, Twin Shadow and Local Natives, SnowBall Music Festival will return to the legendary Vail Valley this March for another year of extreme music, winter sports and fun. New additions to the lineup include performances by Snoop Dogg, The Kooks, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Gardens & Villa, Ghostland Observatory, Pictureplane, Dada Life, Mimosa, Princeton, DallasK and many more. They will join previously announced acts like TV on the Radio, Rusko, Head and the Heart, Bassnectar, Big Boi, Deer Tick, Major Lazer, Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Cassian, Gauntlet Hair, Small Black, Los Amigos Invisibles, Dillon Francis, Big Freedia, Tribes, Plastic Plates, Trampled By Turtles, Thundercat Figure and My Goodness. Not only will festivalgoers be treated to performances by top-notch musical talent, they’ll also have the chance to hit the slopes for some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world.
About SnowBall Music Festival:
There simply is no other festival in the world like SnowBall Music Festival. Going into its sophomore year, SnowBall is quickly demanding the attention of critics and tastemakers, taking the concept of a music festival to a whole new level. Drawing attention once again for a stellar lineup of indie rock and dance music artists, SnowBall is setting the standard as one of the most exciting and unique festivals to emerge in recent years. Offering all the perks of a world-class music festival—with the distinct bonus of being set in a skier and snowboarder’s paradise—the SnowBall Music Festival proposes the ultimate marriage of music and mountains.
For three days this March, SnowBall will sprawl out across Colorado’s legendary Vail Valley, offering a diverse lineup of artists on multiple stages to pair the world’s best musicians with the world’s best snow conditions; making the SnowBall Music Festival the ultimate winter getaway for music fans.
“Regulatooooorrrrrrrrrssss! MOUNT UP!”
If you’ve got any type of musical pedigree (or are just a fan of gangsta rap), you know what song I’m referring to. I’m talkin about that track that boomed through all the ghetto blasters and lowriders all across the country…. 1994′s Regulate by Nate Dogg and Warren G.
Unfortunately, we recently saw the passing of Nathaniel “Nate Dogg” D. Hale due to a stroke. Cou
sin to Snoop Dogg, Nate was the master of the G-Funk Era smooth hook. Every track that he put his stamp on was instantly more slick.
In remembrance of Nate Dogg’s passing, Warren G, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt and Daz Dillinger took the stage during a recent South by Southwest show. Warren G said that “it means a lot, you know, because this is something that’s being done for a person that we really love. It’s deeper than music, that’s a brother to us, to me and Kurupt and Snoop and Daz … it’s really deeper than that. I mean, like, I’m not a psychic or a genie or a gypsy or anything, but I know deep down in my heart he’s around us, he’s with us … he’s with us in spirit. Everything we do, he’s a part of it.”
Hey Nate, keep em smooth while regulatin’ in heaven. RIP.
- Monty Wiradilaga
The Gorillaz are truly an enjoyable enigma, a band whose musical distinctiveness is to have no musical identity at all.
The Gorillaz are truly an enjoyable enigma, a band whose musical distinctiveness is to have no musical identity at all. And yet, unintuitively, the final product is always consistent quality. Collabo’s galore on this 3rd album: Lou Reed, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, sinfonia ViVA, Snoop, De La Soul, y mas.
Truthfully, the virtual group would benefit from larger doses of vocalist/producer Damon Albarn, instead of his fleet of guest contributors, mostly because Plastic Beach really shines when the Gorillaz are rolling solo (check out Rhinestone Eyes and On Melancholy Hill). Granted, on some tracks Albarn creates a sonic backdrop that just screams to have someone drop a verse on it.
- LISTEN: Gorillaz Track with Mos Def (spin.com)
- Exclusive: Watch Gorillaz’s Latest “Plastic Beach” Teaser (rollingstone.com)
- LISTEN: New Gorillaz Song with De La Soul (spin.com)