Julian Lynch recently caught my attention with his two contributions to the Underwater Peoples Summertime Showcase compilation, which were highlights amongst an album chalk full of excellent DIY/bedroom pop. His contributions were drawn from “Born 2 Run”, one of his three self-released CD-Rs that he recorded in Madison, Wisconsin in the fall of 2008. Lynch now has a brilliant new LP “Orange You Glad” out on Olde English Spelling Bee filled with his hazy drone and pop constructions. Just returning from a busy summer of touring, Julian took the time to answer a series of questions about both his music and academic pursuits.
I was working in mailorder for Folkways...nothing too exciting at the core of the job, but some of the daily interactions I had with people on the phone were really incredible. For example, sometimes older people would call up to place orders, and we'd end up chatting and it would turn out that they were old friends with some person who released music on Folkways many years ago, and they would be really knowledgeable about folk music or tell me great stories about FW musicians. Folkways was also great because I could listen to anything in the catalog while I was at work, or I could borrow stuff and listen at home. Basically for an entire year all I listened to was Folkways catalog recordings!
Folkways definitely had an impact on my decision to study ethnomusicology. My ultimate goal (after getting a PhD) is to teach at a college or university somewhere. That's my dream job.
Well, like any person I'm influenced by things I hear and identify with on some strictly musical/aesthetic level. And I think sometimes if there is some element in your music that is perceived as being influenced by something non-Western, there's a tendency for listeners or other people to amplify that influence above all others when they write or talk about that music. So, without a doubt, studying contemporary Indian music or playing in a gamelan ensemble has been influential in the way I'm making music, but there are so many other influences that might be seen as more familiar or less "exotic" that get overlooked. Which is not what you are doing at all, since you prefaced your question with the fact that pop music is central to my sound. That is for sure. So I guess what I am saying is that the work I do (research/school-wise) is certainly part of who I am, and those influences are definitely reflected in the music in some way, along with the rest of my own personal history and musical inculcation.
I actually haven't lived in NJ full-time for many years now, except for summer vacations from college and stuff. But when I was in high school, I played in bands with all of those Real Estate guys, and off and on in college when I was around. We all played in a band called Lese Majesty together, me and Real Estate. This past summer I played guitar in Alex Bleeker & the Freaks, with Bleeker, Mondanile, and
Martin. I did a few shows with Ducktails and Predator Vision on bass, too. I also started a project with Evan Brody of Family Portrait called Pillow Talk, in addition to playing clarinet on a Family Portrait track. I feel a very special musical connection to that Jersey crew, and I try to play with those guys any chance I get!
When I recorded those cdrs, I actually didn't know any Madison musicians yet. I'd just moved here, so they were all recorded alone in my apartment. These days, I know some more people who I'm starting to jam with: my friend Ivan toured with me, and I'll be playing drums in a band called Bone Patrol with my friends Aaron and Luke. But, generally speaking the stuff that I release as Julian Lynch is recorded alone.
I'm extremely honored by what David Keenan wrote about my record, and
I think that article was really thoughtful and interesting. What's cool about his use of that terminology is that it attempts to describe more process than aesthetic quality. Ultimately, it’s a difficult call to make from my perspective, whether the term encapsulates what I do, but I definitely like the way Keenan thinks about music and greatly appreciate his interpretation.
The Orange You Glad LP actually collected songs from two projects that were going to be the fourth and fifth parts of the self-released cdr series. The approach, in terms of recording technique and stuff like that, was very similar to those previous recordings. Coincidentally, just last night I listened to a bunch of material from those sessions that got cut from the OYG record...and I had forgot that many of those songs you hear were originally part of huge epics that eventually got whittled away.
I see recording and performing live as very different experiences (for both me and for listeners), and so I don't generally play songs from the record live or anything like that. Usually, I play solo clarinet improvisations with some sort of accompaniment from whoever might be around.
Oh wow...I'm scared to leave any show out because I had a great time in a lot of places, but a few of my favorite spots where I played this summer were in Fort Collins CO, Lubbock TX, Ames IA, and Boston MA.
Well, academically this summer was devoted to the Swamibapa Pipe Band in Secaucus NJ. And since I was in NJ, I got to listen to and play alongside lots of people like Ducktails, Big Troubles, Fluffy Lumbers, Family Portrait, Real Estate, Alex Bleeker, Liam the Younger, Andrew Cedermark, and many many others. I also got to check out Peaking Lights and Dead Luke (both from Madison) at their NYC shows. And I met and did a few shows with Behavior, who I really like.
I think it is very likely that there will be a few split eps coming out sometime soon; I'll keep you posted about all of them!
-- David Perron (16 September, 2009)