Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Chat with Adam Bentley of The Rest

OAN: Adam, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions about the slew of projects you have going on. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and your music over the past weeks and months. I know you’re busy so let’s get to it.

First off, I had a bit of a laugh at your description of the process that went into creating the new work, and I think it deems reha
shing your experience creating “Everyone all at Once” if you would be so kind. There’s woods, lakes, food, alcohol, and a lot of noise involved, if I’m not mistaken.

Adam: Sure, I think I can give a good breakdown of each. I’m not much of an outdoorsman I think I should mention that. So, going up to Anna’s cottage was unlike any cottage I’ve really been to. Most people in Canada that have cottages, well, basically just have another home, except this home has some trees, and a boat. Those were the cottages I was accustom to growing up. At Anna’s you are truly surrounded by the outdoors. Trees never stop; your eyes just aren’t powerful enough to see the end. Or I guess if we were taller, like 20 feet in height you might know where the forest ended, but again that would be a strain on your new enlarged eyes. One lake flows into the next, her cottage is very close to a provincial park (Algonquin) and the similar regularity of lakes can be found around her family’s property. Jordan (multi instrumentalist) is a cook in his day-to-day life, so he really treated us to some fine meals. I sometimes felt bad about him cooking when he was suppose to be getting away from that, but I think he found it much more frustrating watching us try to make something edible. Also, his dishes were so good you didn’t want him to take a break. With alcohol we again find ourselves very lucky because Matty (Bass) makes beer for a living. Each trip we were accompanied with a kegs worth of delicious beer, an IPA one time, a smoked stout another, plus a variety of other great delicious brews. Noise obviously followed from the alcohol, so I don’t really need to go into that, but also when we were experimenting with ideas we’d sometimes make music closer to noise than what we’re known for.

On our second trip up three of us had been working on an idea that required some very specific instrumentation, and about a half an hour in a neighbour showed up. Side note: when I say neighbour, I mean someone who lived a couple of miles away. Anyways, this neighbou
r knew that Anna is quite an accomplished cello player, and was very interested in hearing a song from us. Now we weren’t really prepared to show him anything but the idea we had been working on. What took place must have been of the most confusing circumstances this gentleman had ever seen. We were truly awful, as everyone forgot what they were suppose to play, but we continued to play at a blistering volume until probably 10 minutes went by and we gave up. Now for us this was a worthwhile experiment, but for Tom the Mayor (which we had begun calling him for no reason) this didn’t really jive. His musical experience was playing “big band” music, and since he knew we were a big band I think he had similar expectations. He left quite dumbfounded, but we had a great time.

Were you prepared for the response you’ve gotten from critics, bloggers and the fans (new and old) about the new album? Most everyone that listened or reviewed already has it as a contender for album of the year.

Adam: It really has been overwhelming. I had hoped that this time around we would be able to connect with more people, and I thought we had made a much stronger record, but at the same time it has been almost universal praise so far, which definitely has taken me aback. What was most striking is that the record didn’t even have a release date yet when most people began to pick up on it, so I think we’re very appreciative of everyone that has given the record a chance, and let it grow with them.

If you’d like, talk about the people that went along with you on the journey to create “Everyone All At Once."

Adam: Well there are seven members in The Rest, and we’ve all played together in at least one group prior to the formation over six year ago. I think we all learned how to play music with each other, or if not play, I think expand our idea of what a song could be. I couldn’t imagine taking this journey with anyone else, and I do feel quite; umm blessed I guess is the word, as not many bands stay together for six years, and even fewer when you consider that some of us went to elementary school together. I think we also strove to be a great band, a band that had our own voice/sound, and I think for that reason there’s been more failure than success, and that failure can put a great deal of stress on everyone, but somehow we’ve been able to support each other and get to a place that we’re extremely proud of.

The new album seems like a almost a third iteration of you. There’s a quite a departure, as far as the composition, instrumentation, and lyrics from the debut (Atlantis, Oh Our Saviour) and your other project Allegories (album, “Surreal Auteur”.) Other than your environment, what did you do differently this time?

Adam: "Atlantis, Oh Our Saviour" was a record that came from a band that thought were ready to record a really good record, but soon found out we needed a lot of work. It was however extremely important in our development as a band and I think we ended up with a good record, but more significantly it taught us that we needed to stay hungry and keep growing as musicians. Allegories was originally a way for Jordan and I to explore our experimental side, but as we moved further with the project in started to slide over to more of a pop realm, and in the end it’s somewhere in between. We approach the album as something very self indulgent, but we wanted to make a record that both of us would want to hear. Surreal Auteur is a record I’m extremely proud of, and wished we had more time to give to promote it and play shows, but people still keep finding it, which is quite exciting, because it’s an album that needs to be played over and over again before it true core is revealed. There’s going to be more Allegories this year, with a song released every month starting in July, and I’m really excited to go back to it! Now, I think the biggest difference between Everyone All At Once and the other two records is the importance of song. I think we all realized that we wanted to have very strong foundations before we started to expand on them. I think this opened up melody, and supported more focused ideas that probably weren’t found on previous releases.

Tell me about your background. Did you have any formal music training? When did you know that this is what you wanted to do? What drives your passion behind the music?

Adam: I do not have any formal musical training, and aside from Anna none of us really do. I think for me it’s been a blessing because I let me ears make decisions for me, and not some ingrained theory. For other people (like Anna) that works great, but at this point it’s been helpful to be self-taught. I’ve wanted to play music ever since I was in grade seven. I, to be honest, had no real interest in music beforehand, I was more enamored with sports, but once the bug hit me I’ve been chasing it for years. I actually have trouble understanding why I have thus passion, not just for playing but listening too. I just need it. I think in most people’s lives they have trouble knowing something for sure. Making a final decision. At least I’m that way. There always seems to be some self-doubt. With music I don’t have any. I know I want to play music. I know I need to listen to music. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have self-doubt making music because I most certainly do. I just feel I have to make music.

Talk about what having your own label means to having the final product, the pros and cons of self-releasing, especially in a time of such change in the industry, and the age of the digital download.

Adam: Auteur Recordings gives us the freedom to find the scenarios that we feel comfortable in. It doesn’t put us in situation that could be harmful to us making music in the future. However, by doing everything ourselves it’s much more time constraining, and you make a great deal of mistakes along the way, since we’re learning as we go. It also doesn’t have the same exposure or financial backing that an established label can give you. I think we looking into partnering up with people to make those flaws less recognizable, and I’m really excited with the situation we’ve made for us, and hopefully we can keep growing! The more we learn the easier it’s becoming to navigate through the collapsing industry’s potholes.

What, if anything, do you want people to take away from the album? Creating music is such a personal thing, how do you translate it to your audience. Or do you?

Adam:I’m not sure if it’s up to me to decide what people take away from the album. I have my set thoughts on what things mean or why we did something, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only viewpoint. I hope that people do come away with a reaction, that the music moves them to some opinion. This music is extremely personal, and I hope that it will be given the time to percolate in peoples heads. The album has a bunch of different layers, and like my favourite albums, I hope people find it more interesting as they go along.

OAN: What gets your blood flowing outside of music? What do you do to have fun and unwind. Not that there’s been much of that lately.

Adam: It really hasn’t been much of that lately, music seems to be taking up more time than ever, but one the activities that I’ve been getting into is watching more movies. I recently found the Hamilton Library to have an amazing catalogue of new and old films, and my girlfriend and I have been taking advantage. Also, I have found myself playing sports again. I like it, but I’d much rather tour than play on a team, that’s for sure.

In His Own Words
Notes on three songs from "Everyone All At Once," by Adam:

Blossom Babies Part Two

There’s going to be some talk about this being part two when there’s no part one on the record, but I’m just not fucking around with people, there is a part one and one day hopefully it’ll be on a record. I just ran out of time to finish it for this album.

Sheep In Wolves' Clothing
This was originally intended to be part of Apples & Allergies, but it quickly formed it’s own narrative and structure. I think it’s sometimes looked over because of its brevity, but I’m quite proud of how it turned out.

Phonetically, Phonetically

The first song we started working on for this record around September of 06. It went through a bunch of formations before we settled on this one…two weeks before we went in to record.

Heavy Rotation (A Mix from Adam)

The Walkmen - On the Water
Bon Iver - Blood Bank
James Blackshaw - Running to the Ghost
Jorge Ben - Take it Easy My Brother Charles
Arthur Russell - I Couldn't Say it to Your Face
Harry Nilsson - Me And My Arrow
Animal Collective - My Girls
Hüsker Dü - Something I Learned Today
Chad VanGaalen - Rabid Bits of Time
Bat For Lashes - Daniel
Electroluminescent - Stained Glass Salt Mine
Leonard Cohen - Last Year's Man

Purchase "Everyone All at Once" from Auteur Recordings
The Rest on MySpace
Allegories on MySpace

1 comment:

  1. I read about this band here first. Thank you On Another Note for your enlightening write up on such a talented up and coming band. Cheers!