An Interview With Eric Gaffney (2003)
photo credit-lori spears
Le feu, le vent et le coeur qui bat, ainsi s'est defini le groupe dont Eric Gaffney est le co-fondateur, seBADoh.
Fields Of Gaffney | Old Gold Records | Run For Cover Lovers | The Slings
|Nature Walk||Brillant Concert Numbers|
Hi, Eric, here are some questions :
VA : So, you left Sebadoh in 1993, what did you do since this period, did you continue to record songs, how did you felt ?
E.G. : Yes, most of what I did in '93 was to actually 'live' Sebadoh and that therefore caused me to realize I should then 'leave' it. The following year I began to acquire new musical equipment...bought a Tascam 4-track which is always what I used anyway, some guitars and a bass, a Mu-tron Phasor II that worked. Then I set about to record ideas and songs from 1994 through '96. I didn't release anything then. It had to wait awhile.
VA : You left Northampton to be based in San Francisco, did it have any influences on your music ?
E.G. : Sure, these two places are sure different, one is a small city of 30,000, more of a small town really, pretty, and the cars stop (usually) when you are having an ice cream cone or discussion on anything in the middle of the street, whereas San Francisco is bigger, although I can find it unappealing at times. Wherever you are can influence any number of creative impulses I guess.
VA : A classic one, what are your influences, your songs seems to be simple-based but completly destructurate afterwards ?
E.G. : A ton of stuff really. A young listener. I was lucky...got to see the Boston Folk Rock scene happen as an infant (Tim Buckley) lots of Rock, Jazz, Blues, Folk Rock on the stereo at home. Got into Beatles,Stones, Dylan and later The Ramones who I went to see in 1978. The kid with a finger in each ear. Went to see Kiss,Yes, Cheap Trick...this was 25 years ago mind you. Got into drumming in the early 1980's. Still bought records back then. Also, I dj'd in the late 1980's too which meant I heard alot of really bad stuff (That's considered classic grunge era now) that I played to be nice. These days with limited resources, I check out shows here and there, tune into the radio, hear what's going on without having to be the first one on the block to get into 'The 3 Normal Beatles' or "The 3 Shits" or whatever else is new. Right now I'm listening to The Rondelles at work at a shoe store. Too much bad techno going on. I wish it would die. Lately I've been listening to lots of Chicago blues. As far as my deconstructive song ending approach? Aptly put, yet some of my songs have pretty and appropriate endings to them or maybe it's only me who thinks so.
VA : Brillant concert numbers is a collection of solo recording spanning a decade, did you need to bury a period ?
E.G. : I suppose so. In some ways I would like to 'bury that period.' I didn't get enough done musically in the 90's that I would've probably enjoyed doing. At least I released a cassette that did well. Got a ton of mail-orders, many from discouraged Sebadoh fans. The tape turned into the CD on Old Gold in Atlanta, Georgia and a single with Sub Pop.
VA : It's hard to define your conception of the music, it's quite a religious things, is it saving ?
E.G. : In other words, is what I do an all-important thing? the recording...playing out? I follow my own instincts to say the very least in the approach I have to recording, mixing, and writing for that matter. Not everything is first take, much of it is made up as it went.
VA : Brillant Concert Numbers is solo, but for Nature Walk, Field Of Gaffney became a real band, so tell me more about your encounter with Jessica Cowley (Run For Cover Lovers) and Richard Marshall (The Slings, Carlos!, ex-Alice Donut) ?
E.G. : Fields of Gaffney had started in the summer of 1998 with a different line up, and performed through '99 on the east coast only. It took quite awhile to start it over out here on the west coast. Richard and I had been at many of the same shows almost ten years before we met. We both toured in Europe at the same times and never met. He plays guitar in at least three other bands and amazed us with a knack for drumming which I asked if he could do. Jessica we met at our first SF show a year and a half back. She gave me a band aid after I'd asked if she might have one. She is a great drummer too, and plays a hofner-copy beatle bass with us.
VA : Did you have a long time recording, how did you work with Jessica and Richard ?
E.G. : I had wanted to do much more work and recording and mixing for our CD, but we ended up rushing it so we could press it up overnight and bring it through the Southwest U.S. on our tour last March. Those two are really easy to work with. We're looking forward to getting into a real studio. When I do not know.
VA : I read some where that you define yours songs as lo-budget, is it an opposition to the lo-fi circles ?, do you think the medias gave a too large sense for the term ?
E.G. : I'm fine with being associated with the 'Lo-Fi' thing, term, movement. I'd been doing tape recordings since the mid-late 1970's and early 80's.
VA : What kind of relationship do you have with your music instruments, did you get some inspiring ones ?
E.G. : We fuck all of our instruments. They just sit there and take it. Honestly, I miss some of the music stuff that I used to have. My effects are all from the 1970's mostly or are new. My drum kit is a simple 4-piece from the 60's. No name, made in Japan, supposedly a 'Star,' pre-Tama model. Not sure. Fender Twin was dated August 1968. The Beatles started using those amps around then I think. That's what's around. I have a Ukelin also. I used to have quite an odd assortment of instruments around; plastic organ, kalimba, steel drum , timbales, asi drum, harmonichord, rivet cymbals, cheap old time delay effects. All that stuff is gone. Too bad.
VA : Did you stand by recording with Tascam Porta, or did you made some raid on digital recording ?
E.G. : I still sometimes like the quality I get with the Tascam..sometimes it's the quality of cassette used, or turning up the tape speed a bit. It can be seen as limiting though. I got some in your face stuff on 'Nature Walk' with the cassette mixes. Digital I hate really for the most part, but it's useful and what we did with it is the same approach as usual to fuck it up a little, wobble it and make it sound better. We had no budget for recording. No label. No $.
VA : You made some set in USA, do you think to come in Europe ?
E.G. : We need to become popular first and then go. I'd like to do well in France. Especially for the fine wines and delicious cheeses. They are like all the different colors of the rainbow. (The French)
VA : To conclude when i listen your clash cover song Rebel Waltz, my emotional panel is really large and very powerfull. For me, it's the result of simple things as your voice (really important), the melody and the lyrics (althrough i did not understand the whole), but beyond that, there is a brutal idea of your work, an absence of concession near the mad art, how did you proceed to compose, and finally record the/your songs ?
E.G. : I'm flattered. It was between a European and U.S. Sebadoh tour I recorded that Clash song. Odd choice of a cover. I like the sped-up drum sounds at the beginning. The Ukelin is in there too. When I think of my own ideas for a song, whether recording or not I might write it down, might not. Some of what I've done and released has taken ten minutes and some stuff the music and lyrics you hear are recorded five or ten years apart. It can take forever.
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