Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Fluffy Lumbers

It's wierd, think I e-mailed Sam Franklin from Fluffy Lumbers around last December asking about an interview. Though that never came about initially, we re-arranged things to fit in for February with Sweet and Sound magazine. I'd pretty much forgot about it until last night when an e-mail popped up in my inbox with all these lovely answers in them, pretty much been to listening to Todd Rundgren since.

-You always have a rifle to hand in your press shots, are you into all that kinda stuff or is it just a look you're going for?

That's actually a BB gun. I wouldn't say I'm "into" that kindof stuff per se, it just turned out that this set of photos are the only I have of myself which were taken with the intent of representing this music. Do they represent it well? Eh. The label (Weird Hug Records) that put out the first 7" was asking me for a cover photo so I decided to base it loosely on the backyard photos of Lee Harvey Oswald taken by his sister. I was living in Massachusetts at the time and couldn't get my hands on any gun, BB or otherwise, so my friend Travis and I drove to a Wal-Mart in Salem that was authorized to sell guns of all kinds. I bought the cheapest BB gun I could find and Travis bought a machete. On the way home we passed a huge carnival that I told myself I would attend the next weekend I had some free time. Unfortunately, it disassembled and moved on within the next few days so I never got to do that. Anyway, a week or so later I put on a collared shirt and my friend Katie took a bunch of photos where I was standing on the neighbor's roof with the gun and a newspaper. If I could do it all again, I wouldn't be on the cover and the photos of me that circulated would be a bit more straightforward but what can you do! One of the upcoming 7" covers features a drunk cameraphone picture of my friend Luka so you can tell that I take my image very seriously.

-Your music really has a happy and carefree feel to it - what songs do you listen to yourself when you're in a similarly energetic mood?

What's strange is that most people seem to be under the impression that these are happy songs written during happy times, which is never the case. All of the songs have almost exclusively been written during/about uncomfortable, nervous, confused or just plain unhappy emotional situations. The lyrics are usually buried or obscured in some way though so I guess it is my fault that everyone thinks they're happy and carefree. In truth, I am a bundle of nerves. As far as pop songs I've been listening to recently while feeling good, here's a few I'd recommend...

-"She's Just My Style" by Gary Lewis & The Playboys
-"Under The Light" by R. Stevie Moore
-"That's How Much I Love You" by The Manhattans
-"Two Steps" by Home Blitz
-"Move" by The Plugz
-"I Am Free" by The Kinks as well as the cover by Hospitals
-"Break The Ice" by The Scruffs
-"No More Tigers" by Martin Phillipps
-"Wild Weekend" by The German Measles
-"I'm In A Different World" by Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin

-You list Todd Rundgren as a influence; Unlike in the US he's relatively unknown in the UK, his songs and persona have always been pretty baffling to me - what do you like about him?

Todd Rundgren is relatively unknown in the UK? Wow! The UK is missing out! I should start by saying that I have only listened to his discography up to A Cappella (which is pretty unbelievable by the way). Reviews that I've read of the successive album (Nearly Human) make it sound pretty interesting but I'm just not there yet. I haven't really left my comfort zone of writing rock and roll songs yet but I hope to someday branch out to a musical palette as broad as Todd's. Whether through my Dad playing his records when I was growing up or actively listening to him on my own after getting into "Can We Still Be Friends" in middle school I've been a Todd Rundgren fan for a while now and am still consistently surprised by the versatility of his body of work. Compare, if you will, these two performances (both from the 80s, no less):

Unbelievable that one man can do such disparate styles so well! Nilsson is the same way. I've been really into his A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night record recently and had a bit of a nerd heart attack upon finding out that Frank Sinatra downer-arranger Gordon Jenkins had arranged it. One day I'd love to have dabbled in half the genres they dabbled in.

-What equipment do you use to record?

So far I've used various Tascam 4 and 8 tracks (except for the "Cruisers" song which was recorded on my computer). For the eventual full-length record I plan to use some better equipment but we'll see if I can pull that together. Instrument wise, I use any number of guitars, drums, keyboards, etc.

-Pop Punk or Indie Rock?

I guess Indie Rock? Those are two very broad genre classifications but I would say that I listen to more '80s and '90s indie rock than '80s and '90s pop-punk so I suppose I'll lean towards the latter.

-How long has the F.L project been going, how does it fit into the grand scheme of things?

I've been making recordings under the Fluffy Lumbers name since my freshman year of collegiate education but only really settled on somewhat of a consistent sound in the winter of my sophomore year (December '08/January '09) after having learned to play guitar that summer. I'm in and involved with a handful of other bands but Fluffy Lumbers is the project which is most important to me.

-Are there plans for some further 7" releases?

Following the sorting-out of some unforeseen setbacks, the Harry Dolland's 7" should be released by Group Tightener relatively shortly and Transparent Records will be releasing a Fluffy Lumbers/Big Troubles split soon after that. There may be some more 7" releases in the works but I plan to dedicate my time to recording a full-length record once this semester is over.

Photo by Aubrey Stallard