10th May2013

Generationals: The Heza Interview

by Todd

Generationals2

The trick is to continually evolve as a band. While New Orleans based band Generationals earned comparisons to 80′s alternative bands like OMD and New Order, their new album Heza moves them in another direction. The album has a more organic, less processed feel to it than their previous work. TDOA writer Alexandria talked to the band about the evolution of their music.

Alexandria: I read an interview where you described the recording process as a snapshot of where you were at that time. If Heza is where you were in the spring of 2012, do you have a sense of what direction you’re heading now, musically?

G: Good question. There’s often a tendency to say we’re headed in a more electronic direction. Which might be slightly true. But really we’ve had electronic elements on our records since the beginning of the band. It may be the case that we are getting better at utilizing more synths or electronic sounds now. But both organic and more electronic elements have always coexisted in our stuff. Since we aren’t in writing mode at the moment, it’s more just full-on touring, I’m not sure yet where our sound will go next. Won’t really know until we sit down to write new stuff.

Alexandria: What has the experience of recording and touring over the years changed your writing and recording process?

G: Touring has definitely influenced us I think. When we write, we generally write whatever we want and don’t worry about what it will take to perform it live. Because of course we just write and record as the two of us; the full band doesn’t come in until we get ready to tour. On our first record I remember it seemed trickier to translate the songs from the record to making them sound good live. Lately though with newer songs I find that they find their way to the live setting more easily. I think that might be in part because when we write that we do remember somewhere in the back of our minds that, “Hey, there will come a time when this needs to be played on a stage by humans.” But I think its also because we’ve just learned a lot and are just generally better players and technicians.

Alexandria: Was it Heza a “fun” album to record?

G: The recording process was a little different this time. It was a little broken up. We wrote most of it New Orleans, but recorded it in Austin, DC and New Orleans. Yeah it was a lot of fun to make. Writing and recording is always a lot of fun to me. It’s work that mostly doesn’t feel like work.

Alexandria: Many of your songs have been featured on national television. How does it feel to hear your own music on commercials and television shows?

G: Surreal/strange.

Alexandria: You’ve toured with a lot of great bands. Has any one band given you advice or have you learned something by watching them, that has helped you as your career has progressed.

G: I’ve learned important stuff from all of them. We’ve been really lucky to get to tour with some great people. Can’t think of any specific profound words of wisdom. Wes from Ra Ra Riot gave me some pointers on how to warm up my voice before a show. That was actually hugely helpful.

Alexandria: Tell me about the New Orleans music scene.

G: New Orleans, and everyone knows this, is a city that just has music everywhere. I literally hear music playing outside my window all day every day. It’s jazz bands, gyspy jazz players with like banjos and stuff, street bands that play old timey stuff, tons of brass bands, artier jazz kids who play more difficult stuff, crust punks, and then in clubs you have really seasoned dudes who play tons of great standards and stuff. This is all to say nothing of the bounce scene which is obviously huge or the more DJ and electronic guys that you’ll find, or the funk bands or jam bands or metal bands. For a city its size I think there is kind of a lot of stuff. and for the bands that do what we try to do, of which there are a couple, we represent just like a little blip on the whole scene in a way.

Alexandria: Where do you draw musical inspiration from?

G: A long time ago, I read someone say that you are influenced by literally everything you’ve ever heard. I kind of believe that like I feel like you don’t really choose what you’re influenced by, you just write and what comes out is the result of not just what you’ve been listening to lately or what you consciously want to make it sound like, but also everything you’ve ever listened to and digested. Like all of your experiences are sort of folded into it. A melody I write might be me trying to copy an artist I really like or it might be some mutated half memory of something I heard when I was like 5 or something. Who knows.

Alexandria: You are just beginning a US tour. What cities are you most looking forward to playing?

G: Literally almost everyone one. Not trying to be diplomatic. I’m more excited about these dates than I’ve ever been. We’ve done a few tours now so a lot of these cities and venues I know more now. It’s great to get to go back to some of the same places but have the shows be bigger now. Really looking forward to it.

Alexandria: What are you currently listening to?

G: Brass Bed, Ri¢hie, Floating Action, Dent May, Mac Demarco, Arrested Development

Alexandria: You recently released a video for “Put A Light On.” Describe the music video process.

G: For this video we worked with an Los Angeles-based director named Vice Cooler. He and his DP Dalton Blanco came to New Orleans and we just kind of hung out and thought up ideas of what to shoot. I think it worked well because it was a balance of planned and unplanned scenes. Some stuff we had planned to go shoot but plenty of it is just kind of random stuff around the city that we just shot in the moment.

Alexandria: What can we expect in 2013?

G: Now that the record is out, TOURING TOURING TOURING. And some more music videos and maybe a remix or two.

For more information about the band, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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