Drekka & Rivulets
Two of Bluesanct's flagship artists are about to embark on another tour of the old world. Rivulets (Nathan Amundson) recently released a new EP on Acuarela and Drekka (Michael Anderson) recently put the finishing touches on the proper follow-up to 2002's brilliant "Take Care to Fall." What better way to celebrate than by trekking through Europe to see old friends and play new music? The tour will take them through Scandinavia, the UK, and other parts of Western Europe. As with their last tour, this is not a show to be missed. This interview was conducted via email with both by Brad Rose in late September.
MA: I didn't really decide it. Nathan asked me if I'd like to accompany him on another trip, and I said 'Yes, of course." He had asked Jessica Bailiff to come again, as well, but she is really busy recording right now, so we'll have to go without our sister.
NA: Any time is the right time for another European tour! Actually the timing depends a lot more on clubs and booking agents and all that stuff than our wishes; this is just time frame it worked out in. This tour has been in the works since early summer, so it's been a lot of hard work over the months by several generous people.
MA: Well, I really enjoyed a show we did in Aalborg, Denmark. It was the Glacial Dreaming tour, with Nathan and Jess. It just had a really mellow and pleasant vibe. I think I played one of my best shows ever that night.
I also really enjoy playing in Iceland, where the water is pure and the women are beautiful. I hope to move there at some point.
I think the worst thing to happen was when I was with the Poor Minstrels of Song tour and Filip Ring (a hell of a guy!) got mugged in Amsterdam and lost a lot of his money. That was really a shame.
NA: Driving across the bridge from Sweden to Denmark listening to Origami Arktika sticks out as a favorite impression. The bridge is this super minimal design, towering grey pillars holding up the driveway, little-to-no railings, real Lord of the Rings stuff. It was the first time I'd been overseas and was one of those moments where it just like hits you: "you are in a totally different country." And Origami Arktika was the perfect soundtrack for that.
Not so favorite parts... I did a solo rivulets tour alone by train. Walking around with guitar and gear in the rain at night in looking for the club, that got a little wearisome at times. But overall, I love to travel, and touring is just traveling with a fun job to do every night, so it's been wonderful.
MA: This goes with one of the fondest memories, but on the Poor Minstrels of Song tour in 2002, we played in Halle, in old East Germany. We played in a cramped little place that was an ice cream parlour by day, and makeshift club at night. The Drekka set was really fun, and at the end of the show it turned into an impromptu dance party that lasted many hours and many liters of beer. Thank you Matthais, if you're reading this!
I guess that was not impressive, in many ways, but the warmth and vibe that the kids on East Germany gave us was very impressive!
I was really impressed by the nice theater Nathan, Jess and I played at in Stockholm, on the Glacial Dreaming tour. The Twisterella people were SUPER nice to us!
NA: I'm really fond of this club in Hamburg called the Astra-Stube. It is a tiny hole-in-the-corner bar, smoky as hell, packed with locals. And I'm pretty claustrophobic, so it should feel like hell too, but for some reason there's just this intense energy there and instead of being oppressive you can just feed off it and it always makes for a memorable show. The people who run it are saints too. So yeah, that's one of the most impressive places to me. Just this little time-bomb of creative energy.
MA: I think, in general, people consider music to be art overseas. In the US, unfortunately, there is a lot of perception that the music is just a background thing to your night out drinking. There are exceptions, of course. But, in the States music is relegated more often to crap bars and such, whereas overseas you will play more places meant specifically for hearing music. People tend to really listen and think and talk to you about your music, which is fun.
NA: Well, many of the clichés are true. In Europe people tend to listen better and seem more interested in the music than making the scene. The age-span of the audiences seem to run a bit wider too. It's not uncommon to see "older" people out listening to new music there, whereas in the States music seems a lot more youth-based, and people kind of lose interest as they leave college or whatever.
But, audiences can be nice in the States too. Especially in smaller towns and non-bar / non-rock-club type environments.
MA: 2005 should be a crazy year for releases. I have the second full-length finished, entitled 'Extractioning'. It's just waiting for me to come back from tour so I can pay to have them made. Then, I have a soundtrack CD coming out for Digitalis Industries. It is a collaboration with Drekka and Kitchen Typists; a soundtrack to a film which will be made by Italian filmmaker Francesco Paladino, with whom I've already worked with in the past few months.
Nathan and I are working on an EP which will be out next year, as well. Plus a live cassette release on Morc Tapes.
I should be a fun year.
NA: There's a new rivulets EP called "you've got your own" just out on Acuarela. Other than that Michael and I are working on a collaboration, which we were planning to have out as a tour-only EP, but unfortunately won't be done in time. Hopefully we'll have it ready for release some time in 2005.
MA: I am planning a return trip to Nepal near 2010, which will include myself and Mark Trecka (of Static Films) and maybe a few more. We will be performing songs based on traditional Nepali, Newari and Sherpa songs, and I hope to perform with impromptu bands made of local musicians. Anyone who wishes to give me grant money to help expediate this trip should do so!
NA: Oh, man... Japan. Australia. I'd like to do a more extensive tour of Scandinavia some time. Really any place that would have me, I'm game.
MA: Wim, as well as his lovely girlfriend Annelies, are amazing people and have been huge helps and grat friends since I met them first on the Poor Minstrels of Song tour. I have worked with Morc on a single and upcoming cassette, and my label, Bluesanct, will issue a CD by Annelies next year.
So, I hope you friendship goes on for a long time to come!
We will be playing on November 12th in Antwerp, which is Wim's birthday. It's going to be fun to spend his birthday with him. And I get to see WIO play, which I am also looking forward to.
NA: Pretty fricking cool. If you get a chance, check out that Karina ESP / Circle Bros. split on his label, Morc. It's the bees knees.
-- Brad Rose (18 June, 2005)