Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Interview > Hear Hums

Hear Hums is a psychedelic multimedia project, started by former West Palm Beach resident Mitchell Myers, who was soon joined by Kenzie Cooke and Marcos Gasc. Regularly playing around Florida, their live shows feature propulsive drumming and hypnotic electronics that shift seamlessly between frightening noise and lilting melodies.

Interview conducted by Ameen Mettawa.

MP3: Hear Hums - Whirlwind [from Notions Shift at Tryptamine Bay]
MP3: Hear Hums - Change [from Psyche Cycles]

Why are Hear Hums and Totally Nebular moving to Gainseville?
Kenzie Cooke: There’s a better, more close-knit music community. More people may be interested in our type of music than in West Palm. It’s a college town.
Mitchell Myers: I see it as kind of a fresh start. We’re getting a house together to work on the next album. It’s just the next step, a new change. It’s closer to out of state, so we’ll be able to play shows outside of Florida easier.

Tell me about the projections that are played behind you while you guys perform.
Kenzie: The projections are made mostly be me and Marcos. We’ve had some help from other people like CD, who used to play with The Dewars. They’re visual interpretations of the music, to kind of create more of a world. When we perform, the different kinds of art make the experience more exciting.
Mitchell: As far as other people helping, that was back in the day, over a year ago. All of the ones we use now are edited and filmed by Kenzie. I made some but they mysteriously got lost. We definitely want to be as involved with every process of Hear Hums as possible, whether it’s the actual songs, the visuals, the album artwork, even the business side, like booking and talking to labels and the outside world.

Do you think you will include the projections on future Hear Hums albums?
Kenzie: We talked about it, in the past. We were going to do a live EP that never happened but we wanted to have a DVD that came with it. That would be a cool idea, though it’s a little more expensive to do that. We thought about it.
Mitchell: If we materialize the idea more and really figure out what we’re doing. What we had together that we were going to release made sense when it was projected live, but by itself, on a DVD, it wasn’t quite a music video but it wasn’t just visual art. So we need to figure out just what we want to do, but I think it’s something we want to do in the future.
Kenzie: But it’s also part of the live experience. The album and the live performances are definitely different feels. We usually play the songs differently than they are recorded. I think projections to go with the album might be a little bit awkward unless we thought of a way around that.

Has the popularity of fellow West Palm band Surfer Blood brought any attention to Hear Hums?
Mitchell: As far as I know, it hasn’t, just because no one has been like “hey, I found you from Surfer Blood.” I feel like when people do notice us, because we’re from West Palm, they automatically resort to being like “oh hey, Surfer Blood, do you know those guys?” So as far as I know, I don’t think anyone has found us from Surfer Blood.

Tell me about the improvised set you played in February 2009 that brought Kenzie and Marcos into the band.
Mitchell: This lady I knew, Talia, who was my ex-girlfriend’s godmother, knew I did music and she wanted someone to make ambient music for this art show she was doing. I said I would do it, but I didn’t really know what I was going to do, particularly by myself. So I just invited Marcos and Kenzie. At that point, they had never really done anything musically. They did drums that night and I had my guitar through a delay pedal. It was really exciting. From there I asked them if they wanted to help me perform the songs that I had been working on which ended up being Notions Shift At Tryptamine Bay, the first album.
Kenzie: Before that night I had never played drums or music or anything at all, so it was really exciting. Everybody was like “what’s your band name?” And we were like “oh, we’re a band?” It was fun.

Could you explain the title Notions Shift At Tryptamine Bay?
Mitchell: The album was supposed to be a lot more conceptual than it ended up being. To me, it’s more of a collection of songs than anything cohesive. The title is about chemicals altering your consciousness, not per se drugs, but even dimethyltryptamine, which is produced in your brain every night when you go to sleep. It’s about how what is going on chemically within your body shapes your perception or consciousness, your window at the time.

The song Monday Or Any Day was featured on a mix made by The FMLY blog called This Is How We Trip. Do you guys endorse tripping to the Hear Hums?
Mitchell: Hahaha, I don’t really want to promote drugs or anything. It’s not really about being on drugs. I wouldn’t call myself a drug user. It’s whatever, if people want to do that kind of stuff to our music, I understand why they would, but I don’t think you necessarily need to in order to ‘get it.’

Tell me about Endless Bummer.
Kenzie: Endless Bummer was the sequel to Total Bummer. It’s this big festival in Gainseville put on by this guy JT, who is in Rabbit Punch and the late Oh Fortuna. It’s a really awesome festival. They got together a lot of the relevant Florida bands and a lot of bands from out of state like Vacation Dad and Truman Peyote. It’s fun interacting with all the other musicians, making connections, trading merch.
Mitchell: Everyone is really cool there, at the two that have happened. We’ve met a lot of cool people, and have been turned on to a lot of awesome music from that. Hopefully it really is endless. I hope JT puts on more of these.

Who are some of your favorite West Palm bands?
Mitchell: I definitely have to say The Dewars.
Kenzie: Yeah, I was gonna say The Dewars.
Mitchell: They’re kind of like a folk band. The Jameses, who are kind of… I don’t know how to describe them.
Kenzie: Totally Nebular is not really from West Palm, but they’re from this area, South Florida, we love them.
Mitchell: Sumsun is a project of Judson Rogers. He’s really good, and coming out with an album soon. We’re excited about that.

Anything else you guys would like to add?
Mitchell: Just that the album is almost complete, Psyche Cycles, which we were originally thinking about self releasing, but now we’re looking more towards a label or something. We’re making the album artwork for it right now, and it’s pretty much in its final stages. It’s going to be thirteen songs long.
Kenzie: A lot of the songs that we play live now are off of Psyche Cycles. We don’t really play any more Tryptamine Bay songs.
Mitchell: We’re excited, because I feel like people think we’re a certain way because of the songs that are online now, but Psyche Cycles is going to be a better representation of who we are right now.
Check Hear Hums out on Myspace and Bandcamp.

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