Southeast Sounds: Interview Graham Ulicny

Georgian natives Andrew McFarland, Ryan Engleberger, Graham Ulicny and William Kennedy conduct a symphony of electronic yin yang from their last album and they are days away from releasing a, still untitled, fresh album of electro anti-folk music. A brief interview and review of the Reptar quartet music is up on Trendland. The full interview from that post may be viewed below.

AG: Since your debut with 7″ and having collaborated with some winning indie producers, Reptar has really taken off. At what point in your career thus far did it hit you that music the right path for you, or did it ever hit you?

GU: I’ve been writing songs since I was thirteen or fourteen, but it never occurred to me that making music could be a full time thing. Reptar wasn’t our first or only band, and i think it was really surprising for all of us when it took off like it did. We never really aspired towards getting signed to a label or anything. It was always about having fun.

AG: Has your progress as a group over the last couple of years changed anything about how you approach music and where you want to take it?

GU: In a way, yes. Now that we are in a position where more people are listening, I think we feel a little pressure to deliver musically, especially in a live setting. All of us have become much better musicians in the last year just from touring and practicing a lot. There is something to be said about the connection you get with someone who you are creating music with. We try and keep the live environment as creative as possible by leaving room for improvisation.

AG: Let’s be honest, you guys are wildly inventive with your style and presence, what are some of your influences on your image and authenticity in your sounds and visuals? And what are some key messages you aim to consistently project in your lyrics?

GU: As far as our visual presence, a lot of that has to do with things we absorb from our surroundings. I wish i could say that we work really hard on the visual representation of our music but we really don’t. Much of it is piecemeal. Our keyboardist has rigged up a foot switch that controls an array of lamps that turn on and off at random intervals. At our New Years Eve show in Athens we fabricated two giant pyramids that were hung over the stage, each one containing different materials that reflected light in different fashions. The lyrics are mostly personal. I like to write in a stream of consciousness style, stemming from different experiences I have had. Sometimes I will sing as different characters, or in different voices per the song.

AG: The US, East coast particularly, is saturated with indie groups and experimental talents, how do you guys stay fresh and distinct? And are you magnets to music releases in order to stay up on what is being produced out there?

GU: The east coast, particularly the southeast, has a lot of great music happening right now. We tour around the east coast often so we have the opportunity to see/play with a lot of great bands. I’d say we try and keep up with new stuff that comes out as much as possible.

AG:Can you talk a little bit about the creative process, production work, and goals behind Oblangle Fizz Y’all?

GU: We recorded Oblangle Fizz in the winter of 2010. All of the tracking took place in a studio in Atlanta called Maze which was owned by Ben Allen who also produced and mixed the EP. I think the whole thing was recorded in six or seven (really long) days. It was kind of a blur! I remember a lot of coffee and take out. As far as goals go, most of the songs on that record were songs that were written about a year prior when we first started playing together so we had a good idea of what we wanted it to sound like. We had never recorded in a professional studio so it was kind of overwhelming. All those gizmos and gadgets can make your head spin. Now we are more familiar.

AG: What are you most excited about with this last album, and what are you looking forward to with new material ahead?

GU: Well we just finished mixing our new record (which doesn’t have a name yet…) yesterday. It should be out in March. I am super excited about how it turned out. We spent about a month in the studio tracking it and cut a lot of it live. We experimented with a lot of new sounds/instruments including some newly acquired equipment. Being able to concentrate on each sound and how it works in the context of each song was important and i think we learned some things. The vibe is different. There is more of an ebb and flow in the energy. I thinks its more cohesive than the EP.

AG: Your song “Rainbounce” was used in the Jenny Packham show during New York’s fashion week, what was that like? And did anything spur from that thereafter?

GU: Well I will admit I didn’t know that but I’m flattered. Jenny if you’re out there hit us up and we will get lunch and swap mixtapes and wardrobes. I will say that any time creative people choose to use our music for creative purposes, I am supremely happy.

AG: What do fans have to look forward to next, and where can we see you live this month? (tour dates probably on your site right?)

GU: Well besides the album we have just posted the dates for a spring tour with this awesome band from Athens, GA called Quiet Hooves. They are fucking awesome. Go find their music and live by it! Tour dates should be up on the interweb!

AG: When you think about electronic music, anti-folk, pop, and urban, do you see yourselves fitting into a particular group?

GU: I’ve never been very good at the genre game. We listen to all kinds of shit so its hard to say. What we play has electronic elements for sure but i doubt we would be classified as an “electronic” band. Mostly we identify with other bands from our neck of the woods. Bands like Qurious, Quiet Hooves, CoCoRico, Merryl, Virgin Pulp, Anteater, Jane Jane Pollock, Nutritional Piece and many more keep us wanting to create more music for the good of humanity and earthly vibrations in general.

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About Angela Gleason

visual designer | writer | pianist in the basement | painter in the night | fashion critic | lush | Italian savant check me out: www.taxisandwalnuts.com