1. What was behind the thoughts of the lyrics to this song? Any life experiences or back stories?
The lyrics were inspired by an article we read on dcist.com about an abandoned iron mine in Spec, VA (article here). We used the idea of an iron working town as the foundation of a fictional story of a miner trying to win the heart of a girl while the mine is on the verge of depletion. It is apparent through the song that the man is in some state of delusion or denial, but he insists on trying to marry the girl – Analien – under the guise that he will be able to work through the troubled times and provide a life for the couple. The song gives an obvious dark – sad sound and theme in the lyrics – but we tried to give it an uplifting undertone to underscore the man’s separation from the reality the mine, and town, does not have a future. The song can also be interpreted as a simple love proclamation, but the deeper you dig, you see it plays on the sad history of these towns built around the success and failure of a mine.
2. How did you come up with the harmonies that seem to come and go in the song? Why place them where they are and not throughout the whole song?
The harmonies are mainly built around the melody and were placed in order to make the song more dynamic. There are certain areas of the song where we decided to not have a harmony (i.e. the opening and the beginning of the bridge) to give the impression it is the man giving his proposition by himself.
3. Artists often feel they are giving vibes from musicians they appreciate. Did you guys feel like you were channeling anyone when writing and playing this song?
We definitely had a few inspirations in terms of artists. Admittedly – we were listening to a lot of Sufjan Stevens (Carrie and Lowell) and Iron and Wine (Our Endless Numbered Days) and I think that shows in the feel of the song. We were able to give it our own flavor with the topic, timbre of our vocals and harmonies, and instrumentation.
Check out Josh and Kenny at their…
In this edition of What’s on the L.O.W.?! I reconnected with an amazing musician and graphic designer Scott Siskind.
Scott not only founded the group but also makes fantastic music with them. They have performed all over the nation and also have a few tours under their belts.We’ve been fans for years now and have continued to keep up with their work since we had performed with them as The Offset years ago.
This time around Scott and I discussed their music, their love of performing, their favorite tracks from their latest record “The Big White Whale” and how life, friends, and loved ones have affected their music. The Moose cover and font scheme for the group was done by Erin Ellis and the Big Blue Whale, The Treehouse and the Blue Tunnel were all done by Michael Miller. Check into their work, maybe you’ll get some work done by them soon for your next album!
Scott: The band started with Jason Cohen and I back in 2007. We began no differently than a lot of bands in that we would just go down to the basement and jam for hours. I had a few song ideas I was trying to put a full band together for, and once we formed a full lineup, we all began writing together.
An2S: How do you decide on the cities to visit when you go on tour? Which has been your favorite to play so far?
Scott: Well, when we first started traveling and playing, we would mostly just go to where ever we wanted to visit that was close enough to get to in a few days off of work. In time, we started building small followings and sort of built a little circuit for ourselves. Mostly these days, we honestly just try to keep coming back to the places we know people and can have the best time at shows with friends we don’t get to see often.
An2S: What’s your favorite song to perform from your latest album “The Big White Whale”? and Which is your favorite to listen to?
Scott: I think if you ask most members of the band, you will get the answer of “Highs and Lows” as our favorite song to perform live. As far as my favorite song to listen to, I think it’s probably a tie between Sleeping Cliffs, and Taste of Your Own Tongue.
An2S: Where do you guys draw inspiration to write and perform the music you do?
Scott: I could list about a thousand bands and musicians here as influences. But honestly, for me at this point, the inspiration comes from life I would say more than anything. After doing this thing for the past 8 years and getting to experience the things I’ve gotten to with these guys(both good and bad), I find myself very grateful to just have this artistic expression in my life, and it’s really opened me up to putting my best effort into creating good, honest music.
An2S: What can we expect next from Vinny Vegas?
Scott: We’re really focused on writing at the moment, and are working on a new record.
Check out Scott’s stuff with Vinny Vegas at http://vinnyvegasmusic.com/ and be sure to pick up their latest, The Big White Whale.
Recently I had the pleasure of doing an interview with a friend and fellow musician, Phil Spiess. We met when Burd and I played a show back when lots of things were different. Empire was open and was not Empire but Jaxx, Two Canadians was not Two Canadians but Union Street, and A Note Two Self was not that but The Offset. We ended up playing music with them quite a bit through the years and formed a pretty solid friendship with all of the musicians. You can check out Phil’s recent works with another member of Union Street, Joe, up above.
Their music really reminds me of old school gritty but meaningful good old fashioned rock n’ roll. With hints of The Doors and Bob Dylan the Two Canadians have found an equation that mixes grungy sounding guitars with profound and beautiful lyrics.
Philip Spiess has worked as a live sound and recording engineer since 2005, beginning with the Marine Corps Band, Air Force Band, Navy Band, and as the head sound engineer for Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Philip has worked and understudied with Jim Bienemann and Mike Atherton at Common Ground on the Hill since his arrival in 2006, mixing sound on various festival stages since 2009. He has done sound mixing and engineering for Taylor Swift, Carbon Leaf, State Radio, Red Jump Suit Apparatus, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Sierra Hull, Tony Trischka, and Walt Michael and Company. Currently he is a fire fighter in Woodbridge, Virginia, and is recording his first solo album.
An2S: How long have you an Joe been playing together and when can we expect more music from the two of you?