Hi and welcome
to AV Deck, Im joined by Warn, Lovetta and Fred from 4ad band His name
is Alive. His Name Is Alive have been going for over 10 years now - what are
the running themes within the band - what keeps you interested?
Warn - the running themes?
W - there are no running themes, thats the theme, it keeps changing
so what keeps His Name is Alive still going?
Fred - inconsistency
W - yeah, just random nature, basically. We have a contract with 4ad for three more records
Yeah, but you put out a lot of records on your own label though
W - what it is is we have a studio at home, so we end up doing a lot of crap
Youve worked with a lot of singers in the past, how did you meet up with Lovetta?
Lovetta - I was doing some singing with a gospel group and then I went to sing on Stars on ESP and thats how it started
How did you start singing in a gospel group? Have you always sang?
L - Ive always sang intelligent things of that nature, it was always something to do to be involved with music
And from then on been a permanent member of His Name is Alive?
L - sort of, not quite
W - it was a gradual sort of understanding of each other
Some of the tracks on Someday my Blues will cover the earth are built around Lovettas vocals - what are the lyrics actually based on?
W - what are they based on?
W - I dont know
What inspired them?
W - you know, the records a kind of a downer - its called Someday My Blues Will Cover the Earth which is a threat mixed with a downer. you put the needle down and the first thing you hear is theres no-one there who will take care of you, theres nobody there for you, you might as well give up, theres nothing special any more. I think that just sorta... I think a lot of people feel that way. Its like a general feeling I think?
F- during the making of this album, I was going through a really really rough time. Considering it took three and a half years to be made, yknow
Three and a
F - yeah, its living hell, nightmare of life, basically. theres a lot of sad times to be had
W - I think theres lots of things everyone can identify with at one point or another, yknow if youre in a good mood, this record will help you come back down and if youre in a bad mood, then maybe itll help you through that
Did the music come with the lyrics then? did you go in that direction
W - its all kind of mixed up together, its not like totally separate process.
cause the production on this album is very minimalist, and still very effective, do you think with it being so sparse youre bringing out the words more?
W - Theres a fine line between minimal, sparse and lazy... so I see it as a very low-energy record and what I put into the music in terms was very little. i wanted to say as little as possible. I was at the point I wanted to stop. I wanted to make a record and at the same time retire from making records, so this was the best I could do. It was the least I could do and still say this is a song, theres no chords or theres just a bit of a humming noise or buzzing in the background, and it was like thats a track, you know what I mean? I felt that wanted to make music that it would be hard to listen to, it would be ultra boring and indistinguishable. And I think that really allows a person to work on the singing what I wanted people to think about was the frame. youre not looking at what is in the frame, which is Lovetta singing.
Last year you made an album, When the Stars Refuse to Shine which was recorded at the same time as this album and the two sound quite different
W - I have to say that I got the name wrong. It was supposed to be When Every Star Refused to Shine and then a friend of mine, Davin, did the artwork and he said whats the name of the album? and I couldnt remember, so I said when the stars refuse to shine but its supposed to be called When Every Star refused to Shine. Basically its pieces from this record that we didnt use, from the same sessions. When you put out a record of out takes and alternate versions, a year and a half before your record came out rather than waiting 10 years for the boxset, for the reissue, the bonus tracks, I thought this was new and exciting. release the out takes first. i thought that would be kind of funny. we end up doing a lot of music because weve got the studio, so its cool that someone who really likes His Name is Alive could hear that stuff .. its not like a big deal
So this takes us onto Time Stereo - can you tell us a bit more about how it came about?
F - it started as a tape label in 1994
W - we dont remember
F - and basically it was tapes, you know, tapes with no catalogue numbers, no sequence
W - a lot of tapes had no titles either
F - yeah, no titles, some tapes had no music on them
W - there were at least two blank tapes! And one tape actually had no tape inside!! empty ... that was a good one!
F - and then with the advent of recordable compact discs, yknow. Tapes are still the mainstay
w - our slogan at Time Stereo is still Time Stereo, your tapes Time Stereo has really grown. Its run by Davin who I live with - hes more on the art side - hes more into hand crafted objects such as a whale table or a gorilla table... I eat off my whale table every dy. its a small table. Say you went to Taco Bell and you want to watch tv and eat, you can sit there and its a perfect height... that's Time Stereo!
Theres been a lot of records put out on Time Stereo, not only His name is Alive, theres also a lot of the bands who have at some time played with His Name Is Alive,
W - Ian Masters who used to be in a 4ad band called Pale Saints, hes put out a couple of things on Time Stereo and he has a label Friendly Science Enregisterments and weve done a couple of things with him too. Its all pretty friendly.
ive been told you did some travelling around India...
W - That's one of the reasons this record took so long, I refer to it as a spiritual journey. I know it sounds funny, but it was. I went to India and Nepal for a couple of months and it was really great. when I got home I kind of felt like I should make a record, its been a while, so we kind of finished it up after that... how did it influence our record... I guess it got it finished I don't think it specifically influenced the songs in any way.. I would hate to hear songs with a sitar ot tabla on it. theyre the last two things I wanna hear
so we wont be expecting those on the next album then!
W - nope!
so what's inspiring you at the moment, musically ...
W - Lovetta?
L - travesties of life.. it was good, like Fred said, it was a kinda weird time and its been weird all the way up until now, to be honest.. its just coincidence and its constantly holding true, just the whole mood, on the record.
So you say it feels weird up till now - is it weird now, doing what felt weird then?
L - it just kinda feels scary, how it all turned out because up until now theres been Someday My Blues Will Cover the Earth moments, and its been happening, to me specifically
F - on a regular basis
L - and now that the records out hopefully...
W - we can get it out of our systems, hopefully. Its like the record was a jinx that we brought upon ourselves
In what way?
W - I thought I was describing what basically was a bad mood at the time, but basically I was attracting them. I was really digging deeper. i think now were just starting to come out of it...
so what are we going to look forward to from His Name is Alive next? Any more box sets?
W - were working on a fancy box set with 4ad but its a big secret.
not any more! youve just told everyone whos listening to AV Deck
W - thats all Im gonna say, but its gonna be really good! I think its gonna be the best! Its about one third finished in term of the extra tracks and extensive liner notes
so if I keep
asking you vague questions I might find out more about what it is?
W - yes!
What else is coming up apart from the box set, any solo albums?
W - theres a solo album I did thats a little bit funny.. Ive made two solo albums in the last couple of years. One is called I Want You to live 100 years which is sorta like kinda old timey but a bit on the folk side, singer songwritery a bit, theres a second one just called Warn Defever and thats more singer-songwriter and theres a third one and I just wanna forget about all that and play music and I had some friends come over who are really good musicians and we just played for like, a day and I kinda directed them a little bit yknow, say this ones called Flowers and they would go from there and they kinda know what keys I like and what notes I like. so it was a kinda collaboration.. its funny to call it a solo album as I didnt write any of it and I didnt play on any of the songs... its the opposite of a solo album but its good and I think it should come out sometime soon... but the real big plan were working on is in August. Were moving to New York and were gonna do a residency at the Knitting Factory which is a kind of fancy place in New York City and were gonna have theme nights - one night is Detroit night, one night is in the woods night
so are all of you moving?
W - yeah
so how are they themed? Whats an In The Woods night?
W - theres New York night and quiet night too - weve got full control of the Knitting Factory so weve got to bring in other bands who will fit that kind of theme, in terms of decorating, sets and the music that we play, youll walk in and youll know youre in the woods
F - or Detroit
W - yeah and then some guy will steal your wallet! or kick your ass or whatever (laughs)
and then His Name is Alive-wise - you were saying earlier about possibly a single
W - what! who said that?
W - when? (laughs) Theres a song called Write my Name in the Groove on our album and weve had a couple of different remixes done of other songs and theyre all going really good, but I think that one turned out the best. And Lovetta took it and said she wanted to remix it.. (to Lovetta) is that fair? re sing it... fix it up? (Lovetta nods) so I handed her this record and she produced the remix that someone else had done and I think that would probably be our new single
excellent! well thanks for popping by, and good luck with the next few months!
W, L & F - thank you!
footnote - due to the quietness of this recording, it will never be played on AV Deck, although there's two songs recorded exclusively..