- By Ryan Stiles
- Published on February 23, 2011
HM: You mentioned earlier about the tours you were on with Daedalus and Nosaj Thing these past few years. Can you talk about some of your favorite cities in the USA for live music?
JL: Portland is always fun. Seattle is cool. New York. Denver, actually. I’ve always enjoyed the shows we’ve played there and the scene there is a little bit different than the stuff we’re doing.
I think all those town that have been fun, they have their own thing and yet they are aware of the fact that there is different music going on. A lot of the LA stuff runs a broad spectrum and they are into that. They are into the experimental nature of this scene is.
HM: How does it feel to be a part of the amazing beat movement coming out of LA nowadays?
JL: It’s awesome to even be correlated with that. Because our sound doesn’t fall right in with that stuff. And those guys are friends of ours and guys whose stuff we really love. It’s awesome to just watch that develop in its own right.
HM: With the return of Phish it almost seems to have revitalized the jam scene. What are your thoughts on the state of the jam band scene as it exists today?
JL: I think I certainly would go more under the heading of “recovering dead head” than Amir would. My teenage years were definitely filled with a lot of that stuff. I saw a lot of Phish shows in the 90s and loved the stuff that was going on there and really identified with at least parts of that scene.
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These days it sort of feels to me like I dont know exactly what’s happening. I think there has been some valiant effort to mix the electronic world and that jam concept and a lot of the time it falls a little bit short for me. But I love and respect the attempt of what’s happening. And I like the direction it’s moving in, but I haven’t been personally affected by anything like that like I was by The Dead and Phish back in those days.
I don’t know if I came across Phish today if I would give a shit. [Laughs.] But at the time it spoke to me like nothing else really did.
HM: Do you think Phish should’ve stayed retired or have you been enjoying what they have been doing lately?
JL: No! Absolutely not. They can do whatever the fuck they want you know. I saw some shows this past year and had an amazing time one of the nights and thought it was really, really good.
[FIND which festivals Phish is hitting this summer with our 2011 Festival Guide.]
I know a lot of people are disappointed a little bit or whatever with how things are going. But those guys have had a fucking crazy long hard road. When you look back at people who followed The Dead for as long as they did – there were some rough years and the scene kind of rode it out with them. You want to hope that they are doing it for the right reasons. That they still love doing it.
But it still feels – on a good night with a good set – you’re like “Oh, these guys are fucking amazing and they’ve been doing it forever.” I certainly don’t think they should stop or anything if they don’t want to, but I don’t anticipate a great Phish album coming out in the future.
JL: I always find it interesting that there are people that hear us, that somehow make a connection to some of that earlier jam band stuff. I mean, I love hearing Amir play guitar and I love Amir live, ripping on stuff that we’ve worked on forever. I think it’s interesting that you see those elements in there.
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It’s certainly something I carry around in the back of my brain no matter what kind of music I make just because of what an effect it had on me. But it’s not necessarily something that we set out to do.
The one thing I’ll say about the stuff back then is that it did feel experimental. As much as 90s Phish was hippie jam band shit, there was something experimental about what they were trying to do with pushing everything together and doing something new with it.
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I wish I felt more connected to that scene at this point than I do. But there is something certainly happening within that realm. Like that Burning Man kind of fused with beat music fused with instrumental music. Where it’s like, “Okay, something is going to come of this that will ultimately make more sense than everything that is happening right now.“
I think it will have more universal resonance rather. I hope that something bigger comes of it. [Laughs.] Sure there are plenty of people who would argue that that is happening now. But I just haven’t personally heard that yet.
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