US - California - Full Moon 115 - 02/13/06
The director's cut - a short conversation with...
Explosive and infectious
Okay, it's tacky to steal lines from a record company press sheet, but in this case, for once they got it right: "Undoubtedly they rock - hungry unrestrained guitars and loud driven drumbeats - but it is a sound as brooding, atmospheric and self-contained, as it is explosive and
infectious". That's how Beggars Banquet describes the self-titled debut album from San Francisco's Film School. The band - already famous for the glorious racket they produce at their live shows - have been compared to just about everbody from My Bloody Valentine to Bowery Electric, Mercury Rev and Joy Division, but despite their varied influences, a 'Film School sound' is starting to emerge. We talked to the band's mastermind Krayg Burton.
Luna Kafé: What's it like to be in Film School at the start of the year 2006?
Krayg Burton: "So far so good. Finally releasing our self-titled album, been a long time coming. It's also unseasonably warm in San Francisco right now, so I have no complaints."
Luna Kafé: I guess you've spend pretty much the last quarter of 2005 touring in Europe, including a huge number of shows in Germany of all places...
Krayg Burton: "Germany was amazing. Definitely want to come back as soon as possible. I don't know what it is, but for some reason German's seem to get our music. Or at least they act like it! Every club we played we got a very strong reaction, especially in Hamburg and Berlin. People in Germany just seem to pay attention more to music in general than in many other countries. We also went to a pretty cool Christmas fair in Koln and drank lots of that Gluewein I think it was called."
Luna Kafé: The description of your myspace.com site says "beep beep beep boop bleeop eeeeeeee szzzzzzzz". Is that your way of saying that you don't want to get labeled or think that the band doesn't have a defined image yet?
Krayg Burton: "Yep, pretty much. Kinda like The Police singing "A goo goo goo, a ga ga ga is all I have to say to you"."
Luna Kafé: In some ways you seem to have a "anything goes" attitude, because there are so many different influnces, from various countries and eras, woven into your songs. Would you agree? And if so, do you intend to continue that way or can we expect a leaner or different sound from you in the future?
Krayg Burton: "We write the music we do because we're 5 guys with pretty different influences. I think that's what keeps me interested in the music and writing with this band. I can't see a reason to change now. When I listen to our music I don't think of a bunch of different elements, but rather one sound. I think it's natural for people to try to figure out different influences and sounds in order to categorize and make sense of a band, but I'm hoping the more people listen to the album the more they will just hear 'Film School'."
Luna Kafé: How is playing live a lot influencing the sound? Some songs are quite epic and probably not quite so easy to recreate live?
Krayg Burton: "We love to play live. I think our music is best expressed live, as opposed to recorded. Partially because you can get really saturate a room with tones and sounds when you're playing live. Also because we like the direct connection with our fans. I feel like people really get us live."
Luna Kafé: Are there songs that you're playing live that you wish you had recorded with the "live sound" rather than with the "studio sound"?
Krayg Burton: "Not really, but I would like to put out a live album at some point. I always like to hear the rawness of a band's live set recorded."
Luna Kafé: Is there anything in particular that inspires changes in the music in general?
Krayg Burton: "I find that my lyrics shift due to the people and circumstances in my life. I usually don't write a song about one particular person or situation, but rather a collection of experiences that center around a theme. Does that make sense?"
Luna Kafé: I find it difficult to figure out if you are more interested in songs or just atmospheres? Is there a definite answer to that?
Krayg Burton: "Nope, that's a great question. I don't know the answer to that either. I think most of our songs begin in the rehearsal studio with the band bouncing ideas off one another. Usually when I find a melody and some lyrics that "jam" becomes a song. But the atmospheric experience is usually pretty important
to every song we write. Then again, we're also very into melodies so I have no idea."
Luna Kafé: Was there a special event in your life, a piece of music you heard that made you decide to become a musician? What was it?
Krayg Burton: "I never really thought about being a musician as a kid. I think when I heard Nirvana's 'Unplugged' I thought, hey, I could do that. Then I actually tried and realized how difficult it is to do something truly good. The best artists always make it look so easy."
Luna Kafé: Could you name five albums that everybody should own?
Krayg Burton: "Flying Saucer Attack's Distance, Seefeel's Polyfusia, My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, The National's Alligator,
Depeche Mode's Construction Time Again."
Luna Kafé: Since there has to be at least one question that's related to the band's name (sorry!): What would be the film/movie that would fit perfectly with the music of Film School?
Krayg Burton: "I'd love Sofia Coppola to ask us for some songs for her next movie! Can you help us?"
Copyright © 2006 Carsten Wohlfeld