Friday, June 18, 2010

Interview with The Analog Affair: Music created worlds apart

Early 2008 was the year when Evan Baker and Cody Moser first formed The Analog Affair in a small town in Wyoming. The bands concept was originally conceived during a friendly game of “beer pong”. From there came the music, but not without overcoming a few road blocks.
After only three months of creating music together, Evan moved to China and what seemed to be the end of The Analog Affair, they didn’t let the distance discourage them. While Cody was still in the U.S. thousands of miles apart from Evan in China, they still collaborated on their art and produced great music.

In some of The Analog Affair's recent works, Evan and Cody has collaborated with hip hop artist, Dr. Mario aka Mario Miller for the songs, “Inside Out”, “Ripple Smith”, and “Musical Life”. The duo also collaborated with indie rock sensation, John Nolan formally of Straylight Run. John asked his fans to send him music to write lyrics to, and John chose a song written by Cody Moser. The song was titled, “This is How”.

Forty tracks and four EP’s later, Evan and Cody have produced some of most creative and most beautiful library of ambient styles of music that ties electronica, dark gothic, eletro-pop, contemporary, trance, elegant indie rock as with some instrumentals and songs charged with emotional lyrics.

As a whole, The Analog Affair’s music style definitely stands alone, but if I had to compare this artist to another, they would be a fair comparison to Cloud Cult meets Death Cab for Cutie.

Two tracks that absolutely stand out are the songs, “Ceiling Lights” and “"The Leaves Change but you Don't". “Ceiling Lights” stood out for its quirky fun and light appeal. “The Leave Change but you Don’t” is a song that is just simply beautiful. The music composition complimented the heart felt lyrics and the background vocals gave this song a certain haunting charm.

While some of their tracks are purely experimental, some songs feel redundant with repetitive dark overtones which is similar from one song to the next, but this cannot be said for ALL their music. The Analog Affair's does produce some rather excellent music that deserves to be heard.

Listen to a special 4-track preview with a bonus track with guest appearance by Evan Baker of The Analog Affair's EP's entitled, Electronic Pop and Be Easy only on The Great Unknowns Presents or download the episode by click this link

Q&A with Evan and Cody:
To be honest it doesn’t really mean much. We were originally called “the Passenger Seat” but found that another band had the same name so we decided it was time for a change. Also, Moser and I felt that changing names would give us a clean slate stylistically. Whether that’s true or not today is anyone’s guess.
So, how did you and Cody Moser meet?
Cody and I met in college through my best friend’s wife (just married…dios mio) Katie. She actually did the backing vocals on one of our more popular songs “The Leaves Change but You Don’t”. We all started drinking and partying together and then one night I found out that Moser was into making music on Apple Garageband (I had just recently started experimenting with it) and we drunkenly decided (which apparently is the best way to decide anything btw) that we should try to collaborate on a couple tracks… [”that was 5 years ago… when’s he going home?” Shaun of the Dead anyone?] We started working together as “The Passenger Seat”. That was about 2 and half years ago.
Both of you parted ways and on opposite ends of the earth, but you still collaborate and create music. How did that work out?
In the beginning, Moser and I spent about 3 months making music together in Laramie, WY (my hometown and where we both went to school). Then that summer Moser graduated and moved to Tennessee to work on his PhD and I left for 2 months to North Africa and then on to China for a little over a year. I have since returned to the states and now live in D.C. in my friend’s den while I intern on Capitol Hill. Throughout our time making music together, Moser and I haven’t found the distance to be a problem. Wherever we went we made sure we’d have access to the internet for at least a little while so that we could transfer Garageband files over Skype and have the occasional band-meeting. We realize that there are a few drawbacks to living some distance from each other: like not being able to meet up for live shows (…yet) but we’ve become pretty accustomed to the way we’ve got it now. Having to meet on Skype and correspond via the text really helps us to avoid getting on one another's nerves if we disagree about a certain idea or direction for a song.
Has music in China influenced you at all or are you still pretty connected to music in the United States?
I think being in China definitely had an impact on the way I penned some of the lyrics- they have great parks over there where people of all ages hang out so I loved going there to 'people watch' and think. The population over there is ridiculous, 1.4 billion people so there's never a shortage of human inspiration whether it be positive or negative. The best way to describe it is like being hit with a wave of humanity everywhere you turn. China's socioeconomic development has expanded the score of the social spectrum- 30 years ago there was basically only the political elite and the common people without a middle class or access to the wealth but now there is a large range of people from the poor, up through the emerging middle class to the extremely wealthy. So to sum up, I guess the social aspects of China rather than the musical served as inspiration for me.

That being said, I feel that writing music while living outside the U.S. (i.e. not being around the same, culture, norms and values) did not have an adverse effect on me. The internet is an amazing tool for bridging distances so I never felt too culturally isolated. Also I made a lot of friends with some of the other foreigners studying there which ended up giving me a little bit of European inspiration as well.
Do you think your music is more creative, because you aren’t working close together?
That’s hard to say… but I definitely think it gives us more time to take an objective look about a certain aspect of a song and really brood over it. Maybe one day Moser has been listening to a lot of Mike Snow and comes to me with a bridge section to a song we’re working on and the bridge is really heavy on synths or almost restrictively melodic but he thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread…so by the time I get around to downloading and listening to the file later that day, he’s had some time to think it over and maybe decides to scrap the idea or tinker with it more (it goes both ways). Also living so far away from each other allows us to maintain our own personalities and musical perspectives more so than we would if we were always getting together to practice or go to shows…by that I mean the distance has allowed us to maintain our unique visions and ideas about music and what we create is ultimately the result of compromise. Compromise is key.
Evan, you’re the voice in your music. What musicians do you look up to?
I look up to a lot of people in a lot of different genres. I really believe that every genre has something great to offer those willing to step out of their box and listen. I really admire Dallas Green of City and Colour. He is a phenomenal songwriter with a powerfully haunting voice and sound. I also really look up to musicians like Andy Hull (Both his Manchester stuff and Right Away Great Captain. ‘Haunt while I sleep’ is one of best songs ever), Ben Gibbard, Justin Vernon, Sufjan Stevens, Jeremy Greenspan and Johnny Dark (Junior Boys), Peter Gabriel, Tom Petty, Richard Thompson, Steve Earle, Johnny Cash etc… I love songs that strip you down to your core, whether it be an exotic breathy pop number or a simple acoustic singer/songwriter lovelorn affair… I think in one way or another, those artists all manage to do that for me. I’m constantly searching for that feeling…
Are those your favorite artists?
I’d say they’re among my favorite artists. It’s hard for me to list my faves because I’m always going through phases where I’ll search for new music and end up rediscovering some of the stuff on my computer, lately it’s been Bon Iver’s For Emma Forever Ago. Every song on that album has such visceral imagery tied to it because I listened to it non-stop when I toured throughout southwest China on my language school’s spring festival holiday. I love the ability of music to evoke lost memories and emotions, I think it’s a very unique characteristic of music and so any artist that can help me do that fast becomes a favorite.
What musicians inspired you, Cody?

I've currently been listening to Miike Snow, Broken Bells, and Jonsi for the past few months. My favorite musicians include Andrew McMahon, Ben Gibbard, Dustin Kensrue, Thom Yorke, and Sufjan Stevens.

Also, my two favorite songs are Jimmy Eat World's "Hear You Me" and Something Corporates "Cavanaugh Park".
I saw that you collaborated with John Nolan. I am very familiar with his work, because I work with Doghouse Records. They are a great label. What songs did you work on with him?
Cody collaborated with him to create “This is How”, a song off of Nolan’s solo album “The Collaboration Experiment” released in 2009. Moser composed and arranged the music for the track with John adding a lead guitar here and there along with some vocals.

I know it’s an impossibility to perform in concerts, but if a record label pick you up, would you come back to the states and rejoin with Cody to tour?
If a label were to pick us up we would do anything to make it work. Luckily I am back in the states now looking for work in D.C. and Cody is just over in Tennessee so if a deal came to pass then we’d be able to do it. We have talked about the possibility of a tour and we’d love to make it happen!
You two seem to bounce around from different styles of music from electronica, gothic, ambient-trance, hip hop, indie rock, to soundtrack instrumentals. Do you think you’ll ever settle into one specific style or do you plan to create whatever strikes your moods regardless of what critics might say?
[Evan] We value diversity in our music. It gives us options, and the freedom to still have fun. The flexibility to bounce around different genres has given us a chance to find out what we do well and what needs work. Like I mentioned earlier, every genre has something to offer and so combining different elements of say, ambient and indie pop, gives our music a unique perspective.

Personally I keep trying to find the words and melodies that make you feel vulnerable, or exposed, because those moments and memories always tend to stick with you and so hopefully, by proxy, our music will provide the same effect. I think Cody enjoys our more upbeat fare (I’m starting to as well) though. I guess he can only take so much of me singing about space, character flaws, and heartless girls lol.

[Cody] Also, part of why we seem to span a lot of different genres is because we listen to a lot of different music. For instance, if i've been listening to more upbeat poppy music, the music i make tends to lean in that direction as opposed to me making more ambient/darker material say when i'm on a Sigur ros bender.
What is your personal favorite song and what does the song personally mean to you?
I can’t stop listening to Thrice’s “A Song For Milly Michaelson” off of The Alchemy Index Vols. III And IV Air And Earth. I’ve never been able to name just one favorite song but this is the closest thing I have to a single favorite right now. I definitely recommend people listen to it. Some might find it a little too slow but I love it… when the chorus comes in I always get goose bumps. I know this is going to sound super emo, but… I love this song because every single time I listen to it I still can imagine that pure dizzying blind sense of enamorment, so whenever I feel a little lost or off-track for whatever reason, this song makes me feel connected to something bigger.
What else is in store for The Analog Affair? Do you have more material to come?
Hopefully big things… I’m a tireless optimist and keep telling myself that as long Cody and I keep pouring our time and energy into our music that eventually it will pay off in some way. We’re trying to get as much exposure as we can and hopefully we will find someone to help us mix/master and release some of our tracks. I don’t think people realize how low-budget we really are and how much of a pain in the a** it is to mix and master this stuff in Apple Garageband (not to mention the fact that I record all of our vocals into the crappy built-in condenser mic on my laptop). If you or anyone you know is interested in working with us please don’t hesitate to shoot us an e-mail: .

All I really know though at this point is that we’re going to keep making music as long you guys keep listening. I really enjoy the feedback that we’ve gotten through and music x-ray submissions. We’ve got, I think, 4 new songs in the works that we’re trying to get out within the next week or two. We’ve been doing this for a while now and can’t seem to get tired of it, despite our anonymity.
Is there anything new that fans might be interested in?
Like I’ve said we’ve got a couple new songs coming out soon. Also, please please please check us out and and leave us feedback. We welcome any comments or ideas you guys have for us! Literally any ideas… We’re trying to figure out how to keep this thing rolling and you guys out there are the driving force, so let’s all make it happen.

I want extend a big thanks to everybody out there who has taken the time to listen to our music and has been gracious enough to encourage us…we don’t forget it, and we really appreciate it. Also, thank you Michael for taking the time to interview us and for giving us a chance to reach out to everyone out there who appreciates talented undiscovered artists. It’s so easy now days to learn to love an artist that has large production and distribution and A&R behind them so we sincerely appreciate those of you out there who support us without any of that. It means a lot.

Written and interviewed by Michael J

Find more of The Analog Affair:
The Analog Affair presented by The Great Unknowns Presents, Ep 68

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