Monday, March 16, 2009

Infinity Window: An Interview with Taylor Richardson and Daniel Lopatin

Infinity Window is a bit of a game-changer. Not that there's anything drastic about them, but listening to their atmospheric lull is bound to effect you. Try putting on "Artificial Midnight" on a late, dark Saturday afternoon with your friends, like I did, and see the change. If your friends are anything like mine, they'll sink into the couch and won't budge an inch. But that doesn't mean they aren't traveling.

What are we hearing? An implosion? An explosion? Infinity Window's music is a calm combination of light and dark sounds. Eerily uplifting church-like synthesizers cross with distortion like traveling sounds that just happen to crash into each other and continue on in a caravan. Their music sprouts a seemingly limitless geography, like looking out at a flat horizon, unsure how many miles away the end of your vision is taking you. It's music that travels in the best sense, without a destination or even a map.

Maybe it's better to be lost in the sound, but I couldn't help wanting to ask Infinity Window a few questions. Luckily, as one might expect from a band like them, the answers hardly give us a better handle on what we're hearing.

Alex Geoffrey Frank: Can you tell me a bit about the equipment you use, and why you've picked the equipment that you have?

Taylor Richardson: Right now it's beginning to vary a lot. It started with two synths, and now we're getting more into welcoming a variety of instrumentation into the mix. I've been playing guitar a lot more in the band recently, at least while we record. I don't know how long that will last though. Personally, I like to switch things up to keep it interesting. As long as we are getting the sounds we want, I think we're both into experimenting with our set up.

Daniel Lopatin: My live rig is pretty straightforward -- I jam a Roland Juno-60 and a bunch of pedals. But I'm starting to think about adding a vocal element, and another polysynth that can rip "concrete" style. Right now I'm mostly looking to counteract the melodic element.... so we'll see. But yeah: I'm a synth dude.

How does that translate with your live show? What's the re-creation process like?

TR: I think performing live has been crucial for us lately. A lot of breakthroughs have been coming out of it. We've been experimenting with our sound during sets, and it kinda gives us a better perspective of what stays and goes. More often than not, the reactions have been really positive, though I think the best compliment we've gotten recently was when a friend of ours came up to us after a show and said "Wow, you guys have really changed." He seemed kind of disappointed, and I don't want to disappoint anyone, but it feels good to stay outside of the expectations people have set for you, especially when you're stoked on what your doing.

DL: Typically crowds react to our playing by lighting up. Me, personally, I can't stand playing our style of show in bar-type settings, and its something I'd like to get away from entirely, if possible. On our last tour we played a house show in Boston for the first time since we left the city, and it was the ultimate homecoming party -- the crowd was on top of us and totally slow moshing to drone. Same thing happened in Kentucky at the Fact House. The smaller the room, the better.

I can't imagine the darker moods on "Artificial Midnight" being played live in a bar. And so much of the album is about switching moods, from dark, foreboding sounds, to something way more optimistic and light. Can you talk about what the recording process is like for you guys? What do you have planned out before you record, and what just happens?

DL: Those sessions were extraordinarily bleak. I was going through some pretty heavy stuff, and the record became an obsession and refuge for me. We worked incredibly slow, and the sessions reached a point where we were both so mental that we couldn't be near each other during overdubs -- so we'd take turns leaving the space. In retrospect I think we were just growing -- learning patience, and learning how to push ourselves.

TR: Yeah, That was a pretty fucked time. It was difficult to find time to record. I had already moved to New York, so I had to take a bus for four hours when we wanted to jam. It was stressful to complete, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. We went into it wanting to make a cloudier, denser version of early kraut aesthetics. As far as the changing mood on Artificial Midnight, it could have been the vernal equinox.

DL: That's true about putting krautrock in a fog -- it's like taking the vibe of prog and divorcing it from all the bullshit wankery and cliche. "Sheets of Face" is a little different -- I think of it as a study in Xenakis-style tone shifting and layering. I listened to the record a couple weeks ago and it felt like a gradual descent into some obfuscated, dehumanized zone... except instead of starting in reality, you're already in the murk.

Lastly, who are some of your influences?

DL: Musically: J.S. Bach, David Borden and Mother Mallard, Popul Vuh, The Grateful Dead, Jon Hassell, my dad's fusion tapes, Steve Tibbetts, DJ Premier. Currently, I'm getting a lot of inspiration from Prurient and a bunch of Jeff Witscher-related projects as well.

TR: My friends are really inspirational to me. I feel incredibly fortunate to know a lot of really creative people. It's always cool to get feedback from people you respect who aren't gonna tell you what you want to hear all the time. Musically, Dan and I are kinda in different zones as far as our influences go, though the impact of loner psych does intersect for us.I've always been into to outsider psych stuff, Italian prog and 80's noise. With all that being said my favorite bands have always been Sparks and Amon Duul II. I don't really see that changing anytime soon.

Interview by Alex Geoffrey Frank, March 2009
Photo: Infinity Window

Cool Tunes:

Infinity Window, Artificial Midnight, Arbor, 2009.

Continuing Education:

Infinity Window MySpace Page

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