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Music - Musicians - Interview | by SuccoAcido in Music - Musicians on 22/02/2014 - Comments (0)

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Rllrbll

Rllrbll is a special band, a unique mix of personality, musical taste, openmindness and creativity. In the last 20 years (almost!) they explored sound possibilities, copulating with improvisers and painters, roaming in european roads and digging the West Coast freeways. They developed their sound and above all the approach to record it, improving constantly their equipement and techniques, releasing an amazing amount of albums, Eps, vinyls and digital download. Here’s a new series of questions and answers to understand what they are about in 2014.

 
 

SA: Introduce your band to me, your colleagues, for sure yourself-- and tell a bit from where are you coming, how you formed etc, your style of music. I would love to know its influence as i believe to hear tons of jazz - freejazz. Cajon, aborigines, rootsmusic but also techno. How important is it for you to define in a certain style of music – do you define your sound in a certain style, which name would you give it?
MS: RLLRBLL formed in the end of 1994 releasing our first cd called GARLIC in 1995 . In that time we were a three piece of Mae Starr (keys and vocals), Monte Allen (bass), Gilles (drums). We are all three from Bozeman Montana. Monte and I had bands in Montana but wanted to move to Portland Oregon because of the need for more culture and more music in our lives. So we did in 1994. I had a dream that Gilles (still living in montana) saved us from drowning in a river, this encouraged us to write him a letter and ask him to move to Portland to be our drummer. He responded with a yes and has been our drummer ever since. After that we added Shane Deleon on trumpet and a few years later Amanda Mason Wiles on saxaphone. We played as a five piece for quite a few years. Eventually Shane left the band and a few years later Amanda left. Both to pursue their own bands. Always wanting to grow and embrace change as a band, we are pleased to now be a three piece again. Full circle. Over the years of recordings we have always included guest musicians on our music. The most beautiful thing that comes out of music are these friends you make through the music. Nothing is better than sharing this gift with other artists and playing music together. Our style has changed over the years and we never want to define it or be forced to be in a style of music. The description you gave is perfect.. jazz, freejazz, cajon, aborigines, roots music and techno... we all listened and love music from every genre. All our taste constantly change. Most reviews and audiences tell us they have a hard time defining our music type. That is a good thing. Whats important is that the music we play makes you feel something. Creates an energy of some kind for you. Monte: Style is not important to me. I am a fan of all music and it can all be used as an influence or inspiration. Rllrbll is the energy that the 3 of us create when we are togather. We have a pretty deep psychic connection and we dont really talk about the music very much, so our sound remains undefined. If someone asks me what Rllrbll sound like, I usually just say it is rock music.

SA: Why have you changed name from rollerball to RLLRBLL ?
MS: We had used that lettering before for awhile. No vowels. It is also a drum pattern. Right left left right bass left left. Becoming the three piece again it seemed like a nice thing to do. Change. There is a lot of rollerballs in the world... pens, skates, other bands... So now we are RLLRBLL.

SA: Please speak to about your singing that is so soft to my ears but also hard and your text? How do you collect them? Where you’re finding them? How they are coming to you: life, experiences, surroundings… And about what do you love to sing the most… or hate?
MS: I write lyrics from all my surroundings and everyday life. I write words constantly, on the bus, in the car, walking etc. I don’t believe in politics but sometimes sing about the evil that exists in the rulers of the world... the unfairness of it all. The way we as people have destroyed the earth with our selfishness. I do believe words have power so maybe I sing of these things in hope of offering some repair out into the ether. I have to sing about a subject matter that makes me feel something otherwise I feel my voice doesn’t come across as well. I do enjoy the dark side of things. I am always drawn to it. I feel this comes out in my music no matter what. We must not over value the light. Unfortunately I only speak English. I am good at remembering dirty Italian words thug .

SA: What means nature to you?
MS: This is a hard question to answer. I am in constant awe of nature. I believe in it like religion. I sing about it a lot. We can’t exist without it. To see the sky is my motivation to keep living and creating. East, West, South, North have powerful meaning.

SA: Please leave some words about reverbnation, and your current record label silber records / silbermedia.
MS: RLLRBLL has put out many records and cds on our own labels and on other people’s labels. The latest Ep of out takes called MURWA MBWA we put out on our own label called Nillacat on cassette tape. Silber records offered to put it on the site for free download also (www.silbermedia. com/rollerball). RLLRBLL also has several other releases on silber records. We have put out several releases on the wonderful Italian label Wallace records. We respect and love Mirko a lot! He has helped us in so many ways. (www. wallacerecords.com) We also have releases on the italian label HSYM? (www.haveyousaidmidi.blogspot. com) and we are on a compilation on the Lepers label (www.lepers. it). In the beginning we put out releases on Roadcone records run by the beautiful Mike Hinds. This is no longer a label but it was a great one. We also have a few releases on Cochon records in California, run by the great Manuel Guttierez (www.cochonrecords.com). So you see we have done both self releases and labels. All of the labels we have been on are run by a single person or very few people working really hard to put out good music. We love and admire these people who have been so generous and helped our music to be heard in so many ways. We have great respect for all of them. Monte and I have a label called Nillacat that has over 75 releases. The latest is a great compilation called Tandaan that has over 16 great northwest bands on it, including RLLRBLL. This is a free download. Among several other great releases on the label www. archive.org/details/nillacat. In the near future we will be releasing our latest recordings as a three piece on record. Coming soon!

SA: Be so kind and describe us the environment from which you’re coming, concluding, not only the from where you music comes and how it is inspired but also about the city & places where are you born, grew up its social and economically surrounding –and give an overview about todays situation and your idea about its development – how you find, if you want, you can / find a place in it and where.
MS: All of the members of RLLRBLL are from Montana. A beautiful desolate space. All of our youth was spent in small towns with not much culture . So every bit that was around was absorbed by us.Getting to go to see live music in Montana when we were younger was a treat, a blessing, because it was so rare. Living in Portland now is very different. There is a huge amount of music and art. Any night of the week you can go see a music performance of various kinds. Art is everywhere. I feel lucky to live in a place like this but also never want to be too spoiled by it. Take it for granted. The city has changed fast and drastically from when we moved here 18 years ago. A serge of people needing to create meeting here. It rains here for months at a time. Creating days and days of very little sun. This seems to have an affect on the music. The darkness. A lot of other musicians here feel the same way. The green surrounding us is the reward for the rain. Rich colors inspire along with wet practice spaces. There is no place like Portland, Oregon. I love this place. Economically it is getting harder and harder to live. Touring is not as easy as it used to be (gas prices, no van). We find ways to share gear and van with other bands and tour that way. We definitely feel the economy and the sad state of America. Used to be so much easier 15 years ago. The world is changing. But we are blessed to have a studio and great practice space to play and record anytime we want. Always thankful for these things. The music will always be there. Monte: We live in portland oregon, it is on the northwest coast of america. Almost everyone I know is an artist or in a band , it feels normal to live a free lifestyle here because a lot of people are doing it. There is no isolated artist vibe, I grew up in a really small town in the middle of nowhere and I had no idea how good I had it. Occasionally, bands would come to town and play original music and it was very exciting.

SA: What is your view on Europe, how do you see, feel and experience it in confrontation to usa…
MS: I love Europe and especially Italy. The culture and meaning in everyday life is much deeper there. The music of my friends there is the most pure and comes from the right place in the heart. The friends we have made in Italy are of the truest kind. Like no where else. The simple things like how important it is to sit and take time to have a meal with each other. The respect that is given at a show. A good soundcheck. A place to sleep. These things are few are far in America. Americans are in a hurry always over indulging and taking for granted. Not to say all humans don’t have some of each of these qualities but there is a magic over there... maybe from the history and the beginnings of time. America is selfish. It was stolen from beautiful people. That energy lingers here. My musical experiences in Europe have been life changing events that I am grateful for. Always making me come back to America wanting to change for the better. Monte: I have not seen all of europe only italia, which I love of course. It is a wonderful place to explore and I am always happy to be feeling and seeing it. It is hard for me to compare the two, since i really only know what it is like in to live/survive in america. I have a romantic view of Europe because I am an outsider, all of the beautiful architecture, and incredible food is way beyond the typical american shit.

SA: How important is it for you to connect the music with other expression like a video and which way do they have to communicate / interact with each other? What happens in your live shows? Are they performances also?
MS: Most of the videos we have to our music have been made by our friends. We have 2 new videos in the works that should be finished in the near future. We asked friends to make these videos giving them a choice of song and freedom to create what they wanted. This is a great thing to see in our eyes. Our live shows are usually us playing. No performance other than the music being played. I have just started to make a few videos myself but am still learning. It is a slow process... the editing. I really respect how much time it takes. Yes I also do art. Mixed media. I am an untrained artist. I want to keep it this way. This keeps the art free for me. No rules. Just like the music. No restrictions or limits. Art and music should be free and I believe everyone should and can do art. Both of these things are very healing for me. Free therapy. Like the music my art also has a darkness to it. So i suppose they are somehow coming from the same place inside. Monte: I enjoy working with people that do film, paint, dance, cook, etc. Videos are maybe the best way to find people that want to hear new music, it is fun to have images and sound both be part of the perception for the audience. Rllrbll live shows are usually just the 3 of us playing music, nothing fancy.

SA: Tell about your experiences to work with all this great italian musicians - how it came to this...

MS: The first tour we ever did in Italy in 2000 was with OVO. They are our great friends!! Jacopo Andreini was in OVO at the time and that is how our great friendship began. All of OVO has been on RLLRBLL recordings over the years. We have toured with them again several times. Bruno Dorella asked me to sing on a Ronin song (Mandrake), I got the honor of performing live with Ronin twice in Italy. After that R.U.N.I asked me to sing on their album. And then this year De Curtis asked me to sing on their new release. I met them through Bruno Vanessi and Enrico Zambon of Rosolina Mar. We played a festival with them in Sardinia and Enrico Zambon booked two of our tours in Italy. So its all intertwined through years of touring in Italy and making great magical friends. I am truly honored to be a part of all these releases!

SA: What about chaos process in improvising with others?
MS: I will try and answer your question about chaos and how it plays a part in our improvising...i hope that is what you meant! Chaos obviously cannot be defined easily. I believe chaos is how the sky and air moves. Sort of like the visual of a time delay camera as it records night to day or weather. Words and sound can be very powerful when released into the air. I believe chaos is the very core for musical creativity. So when music is improvised it is flowing naturally. Sounds to the sky. An energy released into motion for cause and then the effect. Where it comes from where it flows. This is chaos in our music.


© 2001, 2014 SuccoAcido - All Rights Reserved
Reg. Court of Palermo (Italy) n°21, 19.10.2001
All images, photographs and illustrations are copyright of respective authors.
Copyright in Italy and abroad is held by the publisher Edizioni De Dieux or by freelance contributors. Edizioni De Dieux does not necessarily share the views expressed from respective contributors.

Bibliography, links, notes:

Pen: Jacopo Andreini, Marc De Dieux & Marion Weber

Link:

http://rllrbll.bandcamp.com/
www.silbermedia.com/rollerball
www.archive.org/details/nillacat

 
 
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