Houston Calling

10 Questions for MYTWILIGHTPILOT

August 26th, 2003 · No Comments

Houston’s MYTWILIGHTPILOT recently signed with NYC’s Feel Records and just their debut EP, 555, is released today. The band is going to be touring soon in support of the CD and hopes to record a full-length album later this year.

On Friday, 8.29.03 at 6 p.m., the band will give a free in-store performance at Catcus Music and Video on Shepherd. That night, the band’s CD release show will be held at River Cafe. Strangelight, Mansion, and DJ Jeffrey Thames also perform.

I recently asked MTP’s Matt Jackson some questions abut the band, their new record deal with Feel, and their plans for the future.

10 Questions for MYTWILIGHTPILOT

HC: How did MYTWILIGHTPILOT get started?

Basically we started as a group of friends with a common love of fairly ?out there? music. We never really intended to form a band early on–at least not with each other. Many of us had been playing in other outfits for years before the idea had ever crossed our minds to get together ourselves. But suddenly a couple years back we all found ourselves with a bunch of free time on our hands–I?d just finished my degree, Matt Crow was between projects, and David Hankins was down visiting us from Chicago–so on a whim we decided we?d ?try each other out.? We ended up writing like 3 songs that very night and were shocked by how easily and quickly and thoroughly we all worked together–and we just never really stopped since then. We never ?planned? on starting MTP, it kind?ve ended up metamorphasizing on it?s own.

Through later drinking excursions and chance encounters, we ran into Jimmie Zarate and Major Miller. They were also between bands at the time, and their personalities and musical pretensions seemed to so perfectly match our own that we immediately asked them to join us. After one practice it felt like we?d known them for years–it was unnatural, but at the same time, it felt strangely familiar. We asked them to stay and we?ve been playing in this combination ever since.

We like to consider the whole affair as a long series of happy accidents. (By the way, ?drinking excursions and chance encounters? is an excellent title–I think we may have to use that now.)

HC: What do consider to be your musical influences?

Oh god, way too many to name. Our tastes are pretty diverse, so there?s not really too much that we?re NOT influenced by. We like to think of ourselves as pretty well-schooled in modern music–but if I had to guess the most significant of our musical influences…probably hard jazz, math rock, torch songs, indie pop, experimental music, Japanese noise, ?60s psychedelia.

Oh, and Crystal Gayle–we?re also strangely hung up on Crystal Gayle at the moment. She?s wonderful.

HC: You seem to be getting a lot of gigs around the Houston area. What do you think of the independent music scene in Houston?

I think Houston?s local music community has really turned around in a big way within the last few years or so, and is starting to open up & become more receptive to different sorts of music. Thanks to the new outlooks of many of the venues, and the recent efforts of outside groups such as Hands Up Houston and OMG Booking, it?s really facilitated the growth of our local underground music community, and it?s allowed modern music to flourish in Houston again–whereas a scant few years ago, lesser known bands might have died on the vine. (And frequently did. R.I.P. Ghosts & Spoons.)

This receptive atmosphere has really allowed us to mature much faster than we ever thought possible, and we?ve been given tremendous opportunities to share stages with many of our heroes in the process–Luna, Varnaline, Rye Coalition, Centro-Matic, Maserati, Kinski, and Mono among them.

I think there?s still scores more of great Houston bands out there today that don?t get enough near enough respect or notice. We?re currently great admirers of Mansion, Sjolander, Chasmatic, Swarm of Angels, Strangelight, Of Normandy, Handdriver 9 ?, Defend the Ghetto, Ume, and too many more to name. We?re flattered to have shared stages with many of them, and we?re proud to call them all our friends.

HC: You guys recently signed with Feel Records? How has the company helped you so far?

Well, they?ve allowed us to support the heavily indulgent rock & roll lifestyle to which we?ve become accustomed. We can now afford Marshall stacks, a bevy of well-coked hookers, and support for our gratuitous 1000-dollar-a-day smack habits.

Other than that, Feel has shown us an immense amount of respect and has provided us with huge opportunities as a band–especially for one as young as we are. Mainly, they?ve given us the support that we needed (from a business standpoint), so that we can concentrate our attentions and efforts on what?s *really* more important to us–the music, touring, playing shows, recording, etc. Because it?s so easy nowadays to get totally ?caught up in? the business side of having a band–which is a very necessary, vital part of maintaining yourself–but unfortunately, it?s just not quite as rewarding and it?s not nearly as much fun.

I think that knowing Feel is watching our backs at the end of the day allows us to relax and focus more on our aesthetics and the delivery of our music. They?ve entrusted us with almost total creative control over the production and packaging of our music, and have supported us the whole way. So we?re quite grateful for all their help.

(And I was kidding about the smack habits by the way.)

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry?

I honestly see it no differently than it was 5 years ago, 10 years ago, or 20 years ago. It?s still completely overfunded and suffering from near-fatal dosages of style over substance. But I don?t think such a kneejerk reaction really surprises anyone anymore. (And besides, I?m not here to talk trash anyway–I think most people are tired of that attitude by now, and frankly so am I.)

But what always seems to shock me however, is that even in times that the music world looks just as dour and bleak and tedious and uninteresting as it ever can, and you?re right on the verge of setting your whole record collection alight and dumping the entire damning thing down the nearest trash chute, there always manages to be just that ONE little gem of an artist–just that one single needle in the entire, completely banal haystack–who can stand out and make you say ?Okay wow. . . NOW I remember why it is I love this music so much in the first place.?

And that fact still never fails to amaze me.

I?ve had so many amazing artists over the years save me from such an utterly closed-minded & pessimistic fate–and many of those have still stuck with me to this day: Aimee Mann, Death Cab for Cutie, the Reivers, Old 97s, Plexi, the list goes on & on.

But in answer to your original question, I think my take on the music industry would probably be: ?Don?t hate the masses for the overwhelming sins of the majority; there?s ALWAYS something redeeming out there if you?re willing to look hard enough.?

That, and there?s nothing at all wrong with Christina Aguilera.

HC: Are you for or against the MP3 “revolution”? How are you using the internet as a tool to market yourself?

I?m not sure if ?revolution? is necessarily the term I?d use. But I think the universality of MP3s, and the file trading sites that proliferate them, makes them a wonderful street-level tool for bands seeking to promote themselves. I can?t begin to tell you how many more bands I?ve discovered (whose cds I?ve later BOUGHT), by simply digging around and finding the occasional mindblowing MP3 just lying around.

I think it boils down to ease of access. Kids nowadays would much rather do their record shopping from the convenience of their own home, and bands/labels having MP3s available for trading is merely the 21st Century equivalent of ?kicking the tires & taking the band out for a testdrive.? I think that generally, most kids that trade a band?s MP3s and end up reeeeaally liking the band will go out and buy their record as a result. It?s all those kids that trade a band?s MP3s as a SUBSTITUTE for buying their cds that I regard as being largely irrelevant. These are the kids that (in all honesty) probably would?ve never bought the damned cd in the first place.

Record companies need to both realize this & learn to accept it. They also need to learn to accommodate for it.

I think the entire current scandal between the RIAA and the MP3 traders is a
completely overinflated, media tarpit. And I understand their argument–to a certain degree I even agree with them, but I don?t think litigiously biting the collective hands that feed you is going to be winning you any more favors or admiration from the few fans than you have left. (See answer to question #5 above.) I think if the RIAA and it?s brethren could just learn to accommodate for this new, modern media & its possibilities, they would find a far more receptive mindset from their audience.

Besides, I don?t think Lars Ulrich?s kids are going to starve anytime soon.

HC: If you could have any band cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band?

Truthfully if Karen were still alive, I?d love to hear the Carpenters doing any one of our songs–and I mean that with absolutely no irony whatsoever. Karen Carpenter had the gravelly-smooth voice of an angel, and Richard was a master arranger and orchestrator in his own right. I?d be quite interested to hear him bury us under some overwrought piano flourishes and syrupy-thick synth pads. For some reason, I think it might do us some justice.

And for some reason, I can also see either Nick Drake or the Chemical Brothers having fun with ?This Static Chair.? But I don?t know why.

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about your music?

Honestly, we don?t really get that many criticisms about our music. There?s sometimes the occasional offhand Radiohead reference–but that just strikes me as more of an intellectually lazy analogy than anything else. I mean, other than the fact that we?re five bookish white guys playing thru a small fortune?s worth of effects pedals, there?s not really much other comparison between our two bands. Besides, we don?t let that bother us because at the end of the day, we have our own goals independent of what anyone else is doing at the moment.

And other than the fact that we usually perform at ungodly, earsplitting volume levels, we don?t get too many other complaints.

HC: What’s next for the band?

Right now we?re still fairly young as a band, so our only real intentions are to get ourselves more established and getting our names out there.

Currently, our short range plans are touring in support of our CD for Feel Records. It?s called ?555? and it?s being released nationwide on August 26th. We already have plans in the works to tour it this fall, but we still haven?t decided which coast we?d like to hit first. There?s also plans in the works for a Midwest tour in early 2004 with our good friends My Education (from Austin), which may take us as far north as Canada.

So to everyone who?s reading this right now, we?ll say ?be on the lookout soon, cuz we will be coming to your town.? And if for anyone out there who?d like information on booking the band, feel free to write us at contact@mytwilightpilot.com or the label at copafeel@feelrecords.com.
And after all that, we?re gearing up to record our full-length for Feel sometime this winter.

HC: What is in your CD player right now?

Mostly recent stuff at the moment: the new Ted Leo record, the Reivers reissues, the New Pornographers, Polyphonic Spree, Four Tet, M83, new demos from Meowcifer, Sjolander, and Mansion. There?s also a bunch of screaming children currently running (full-tilt) past the front door of my apartment, and I can?t ignore them even if I try…

Bunch of heathens, the lot of ?em.

Be sure to come out and show your support and pick up your copy of 555 at their CD release show this Friday night.

You can visit the band’s website at www.mytwilightpilot.com

Now Playing in My iPOD: The Warlocks — Phoenix Album

Tags: Music