Shapes and Sizes, a band on the Asthmatic Kitty label, is an exciting and slightly whimsical band that's been catching a fair amount of attention, but not nearly enough considering just how relevent their music is in today's polarized music scene. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking, "But Joe! There are a bazillion different new genres recently!" Well, friends, in that you have a point. But what of bands that don't fit into genres...not even their own?
Here you have a band that can really react to its own leadings and ideas. Whatever extra work they have to put in to batton down the hatches on their sound really pays off.
I jumped for the opportunity, recently, to commune with Nathan from the Shapes, to discuss their upcoming album, as well as some deeper issues regarding their music...or something like that.
Could you give us some preview , in your own words, of your upcoming 10-track album coming out July 11th?
The records actually pretty old for us now... we recorded it in late 2004 and early 2005, so it's been finished for well over a year now. When we're touring, we mostly play newer songs. That being said, we're really happy with this album, and we're really happy that it's getting out there.
In what principal way is your band do differently from other bands?
I guess one way that our band's different than other bands is that there's three people writing songs for the band. I think that it makes the band's sound a little harder to pin down than some. I guess the challenges for the band might be different. When some bands are trying hard to make the songs sound varied from each other, we're often trying to make the songs sound more cohesive.
What are your very favorite things about music?
What a question... I can't speak for the band on this, and I can't really answer that in any complete way... but, some of my favorite moments listening to music is when a song explores (and introduces me to) a feeling or emotion that I've never experienced before.
What are your favorite bands? What bands are doing things that excite you right now?
Deerhoof!, Fiery Furnaces, Danielson, there's a band from Austin called the Weird Weeds that we love!... the self titled Akron Family cd is great... there's way too many, but that's a few.
How do other people describe your music?
Reviewers are generally pretty quick (often too quick) to compare bands to other bands. We've just started to have our cd reviewed, but we've already been compared a lot... usually to other Canadian bands. One reviewer compared us to Broken Social Scene. I don't have anything against them, but I don't think we sound like them.
How has the response to your music been so far?
We just came off a two month tour through the states. It was too long, but it was good. We played a lot of sets for just a few people, but there were always people who were really into it, which was really encouraging. We're really excited about the next tour (probably August)... the record will be out, and we have no idea what to expect.
How do you get inspiration to write a song, and what does the song writing/recording process look like for your band?
I always find it funny thinking about "inspiration" in the context of writing songs, it makes it sound so easy. I usually just sit down to write, it's usually way harder and more frustrating than you want it to be, a couple times it's been easy... I write a lot on the computer, basically using it as an 8 track. I generally bring in a song with all the parts done, and the band will just learn the parts. I'm trying to bring the songs in less completed lately, though, so that the band can work with it. Caila and Rory write with just a guitar or keyboard and they bring songs in less complete.
Do you guys spend time together as a band when you're not writing or recording?
Yeah we do. We're all pretty good friends.
Well, there you have it. Be sure to check out the band's self-titled, upcoming album on Asthmatic Kitty July 11th. In the mean, be sure and grab these tracks, which give you a great sense of this band's fun and focused musical demeanor. By the way, the song "Wilderness" has a great line in it; "Kisses are our friends, my friend. And I know a lot about them." How cool is that?
Download>> Shapes and Sizes - Wilderness.mp3
Download>> Shapes and Sizes - Island's Gone Bad.mp3
Shapes and Sizes on Myspace: HERE!