13 Questions with the Experimental Delta Blues Junkyard Band Califone

Califone / Photo by Tristan Loeper

1. What three words would you use to describe your own music?

Smooth as silk…….

2. What would you say has been the most interesting change in music over the last 50 years?

The use of volume, guitar feedback and noise in music; watching what was considered a flaw in sound or a mistake evolve into a trick in everybody's bag and part of popular radio music is pretty interesting. Right up there with hearing music before LSD was widely used and after.

3. How have your feelings about music changed since you were a child?

No. It can still be magic sometimes. Still makes me dizzy on occasion.

4. Do you think anyone has ever reacted to your music in the same way you react to it?

I don't know.

5. How do you approach live music differently from recorded music?

No overdubs. Usually in the studio we construct things piece by piece on the foundation of a skeletal live performance/basic track. Live, we play the songs and let the foundation shift. It tends to end up different every time depending on the air in the room and the audience and how much we feel like stretching things out.

6. What has been one the most important non-musical influences for you as an artist?

Films - mostly Fellini, Alejandro Jodorovsky, Charlie Chaplin, Terrence Malick, Werner Herzog... There's a lot more, but these pictures always spark me into some kind of creative action.

7. Where do you draw the line between music and non-music?

I try not to. Living in noisy cities most of my life has helped keep me open on that one.

8. If people used music as currency, what would a large pizza cost?

Three and a half Weird Al mp3s per pizza.

9. What is your most productive time of day for writing music?

Usually between 11pm and 4am. Things flow a little better for me when everyone is asleep.

10. Please rank these four musical adjectives in terms of the importance you place on them:

a) provocative b) majestic c) memorable d) relatable

1-relatable 2-memorable 3-majestic 4-provocative

11. What percentage of your musical ideas would you say end up coming to fruition?

About 20%. Sometimes a little chunk of melody or a sound will hang around in the back of my head for years before it is completed. It's a funny process.

12. What is the ideal circumstance for someone to hear your music?

We've played a few shows in people's homes. Both in Bologna, Italy--one in an apartment in the city and one in a house in the hills... It was a great experience for us and the audience. I'd love to do more of those. I hear it's good driving music and good afternoon-clean the house/paint a picture music.

13. Would you say that your most recent music represents more of a new direction for you, or a continued development of the same general aesthetic?

The songwriting and melodic approaches on Roots & Crowns feels like a new direction for us. The way we're using sound, noise and collage on this one feels like we're digging deeper into the roots of where we started.

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