by Nicole Juliette Hetlyn (Ft. Photos by Katie Thompson)
We caught up with Jesse Gillenwalters moments before the Basic Printer album release show to talk all things music. Check out the interview, featuring photos from guest photographer, Katie Thompson. And to answer Jesse’s question, Kid A is my favorite Radiohead album.
Your sounds incorporates so many different sounds and styles (synthesizers, video games, etc). How did you go about combining all of these different things?
It started when I took an interest in gear and instrumentation, like we were talking about with Radiohead. I watched some live Radiohead interviews and they would use a seemingly unrelated pile of instruments, and I was really intrigued by that. I felt like I needed to obtain some of their kind of gear, and slowly it turned into all of this. I make-do with what I have, so the music was formed by the tools I have.
With having such a unique sound, what is your typical songwriting process like?
On average, it will start with one instrument doing one small idea, like a piece of percussion or a bass line or a melodic idea that comes into my head. Usually I just stack around that and elongate it, and it becomes this Frankenstein version of this original seed. But, lately I’ve been writing more conventionally, on guitar first and then production.
Your self-titled EP comes out on February 17th, what can we expect from that?
It’s six songs and it’s the most untethered version of my music. It’s very indulgent. For what I’m known to do, it’s like the caricatures of those tendencies, packed into a 20 minute CD.
You’re heading out in March on an East Coast tour, can you tell us more about it?
It’s our first tour and my first formal band that I put together for this project. It’s a powerhouse of people who all helped to make the record. We’re going home, where a lot of my support for this project is. It’s been fun to put this together and it’s cool how many people you meet putting something like this together, before you’re even there. So many avenues open up. It’s a matter of making that choice to go and do it.
You have a cool band name, but where does it come from?
The name is my biggest regret! (laughs)
I feel that someone hears such an off name, and they can’t identify it with a genre. It’s intriguing, it makes you want to look up some songs and find out the story! Then when you listen, it makes sense that it’s different.
I’m glad to hear that it potentially represents..nothing (laughs).The name, I honestly don’t remember. I remember hashing out really basic - pun intended - ideas with one of my friends in high school. I just don’t know why we landed on it. I like that it represents a mechanical tendency, but it’s also not so digital or devoid of control. It’s like a humanistic element to a less sophisticated piece of machinery.
Would you ever consider writing music for video games?
Yes, absolutely! I think I can do both. I could still tour and do something like this. That’s definitely one of my dreams; to score a game at some point. A few of my songs just got into the soundtrack for an Oculus Rift game. It’s a virtual reality headset, and it’s a game for that headset called Astro Carts; it’s a space racing game. It just came out, and three of my songs are featured on the soundtrack.
If you could collaborate with someone, who would it be?
David Longstreth from the Dirty Projectors. Definitely my favorite band, even if I tell myself they aren’t. They make up 60% of what I have listened to since 2012.
What is the overall message you would want people to know when they listen to your music?
You can say and do anything that you feel you need to do.
Be sure to pick up the “Basic Printer” EP on 02/17 (available on all digital platforms).
BONUS - If you live in Nashville, come pick up a copy at Grimey’s!
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