The difference between The Present and other current bands who are pushing the envelop of innovative music is they take a much more organic approach; there aren’t as many electronically produced sounds or samples used. There is something reassuring about hearing a traditional instrument in the mix of sounds, even if it is making more noise than melody. Rusty and Mina, two of three members of the band, were kind enough to visit the Porch and converse on this topic, and many more.
Rusty’s response to the introduction: Everything about our band evolved very naturally. We each have a main instrument and so far that has meant almost everything we’ve done includes piano, guitar, drums and vocals. It wasn’t so much of a choice as that these were the instruments we had around us to make music with. I think the our new stuff is more electronic, but even when we’re using synthesizers and samplers we tend to take an organic approach with those. We want the music to be live.
Q: How does living in NYC effect your music?
R: I think geography has a big effect on music and not always for obvious reasons. New York’s such a pricey place to live that the challenge here is often just surviving. I feel really connected to the island itself and appreciate how there’s a lot more history here than in most other parts of the U.S. When I think about how much bigger the city is than myself it helps me relax and and feel free to make what ever I want because the island supports that.
Mina: The openness and brightness and the water-ness. All these elements help me stay close and focused on music and I think NY is a place filled with magic.
Q: On that note, how would you hope that your music effects society?
R: We hope when people listen to our music or when they come to a show, the experience makes them appreciate the moment.
M: To make the invisible visible.
Q: What bands are you currently digging?
R & M: There’s so much good music today, here’s a few currently active bands I really dig: Krallice (or any of Mick Barr’s projects), Panda Bear, Axololt, Legends, Dent May, John Maus, Guest Species in the Conference House, Olaf Arnolds, Holy Shit, I Wayne, Highlife, Dizzee Rascal, Kria Brekkan, Total Life, Von Spar, Rings, Wiley, Telepathe, Skint, Phoenix, Black Dice, GGD, Tinchy Stryder, Animal Collective, Tom the Noise Monger, White Magic, Puce Moment, Luomo, Eric Copeland, Boredoms, Rienhard Voigt, Soft Circle, Daft Punk, Elephant Man, Roll Deep, Haunted Graffiti
Q: What about some bands that influenced the sound on your record, or individually as musicians?
R: Two of our biggest influences in that way Brian Eno and Wolfgang Voigt. To me that’s the peak of music production at least when it comes to Western Europe which is huge.
M: Same above, Love, Cluster, Maurice Ravel, Shostakovich, V. Horowitz, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Nico, Nina Simone , Steve Reich, Popol Vuh, Shinto chants, & Phil Spector.
Q: How would you suggest a concert attendee prepare for a Present show?
R: They should go on long walks like we do.
M: Enjoy the present.
Q: What other things are you all involved in besides the band? And what were you doing, musically, before the Present found you?
R: I used to make music for fashion shows mostly for this brand United Bamboo and we also had a record label called UUAR.
M: I was making music in Japan.
Q To Rusty: I first heard your name, as I I’m sure most people did, through your production work on Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs album. What was the transition like going from producer to musician, or have you always been both? On that note, how has one informed the other, and what is it like to live in both of the symbiotic roles?
R: I think the word producer can mean a lot of different things depending on the situation. I started playing in bands and then kind of switched to recording alone. I got really interested in the process and equipment and by recording other people I’ve been able to explore that side more fully than if I had only been working on my own music.
Q: Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
R: Thanks for listening to our music.
M: Yes, Thank you.