Band Booking: Talking William Carlos Williams And Mutual Aid With Advaeta

Advaeta was the first band I booked for my music space when I was living in a loft off the Morgan stop on the L train. Over the past couple of years I’ve seen them play in concert halls and DIY spaces alike, and have always enjoyed their textured, riff-heavy sound and tightly-coordinated performances. With Lani Combier-Kapel on drums, Sara Fantry on multi-instrumental duty with bass, keyboards and guitar and Amanda Salane on lead guitar and vocals, the band has always shown a huge range, producing tracks that run from psychedelic soundscapes to punk and back again. I caught up with them in their studio to discuss their music, and had such a good time that I recorded over an hour of discussion and spilled beer all over the place. They forgave me anyway.

So what’s your sound? I called it psych-rock way back when.
Amanda: It’s not really that anymore. I don’t like labeling sounds.

Sara: I don’t think we can exactly label it, but I think it could fit into the overall ‘hood of psychedelic music. I would say that our music is lushy and experimental.

Lushy with the alcoholic connotation?
S: No, but then again, everyone has different connotations with words.

A: I always tell people it’s post-punk music, garage mixed with krautrock. But it’s very melodic, and it’s also three part female harmonies.

So where do the concepts in your songs come from?

Lani: I think each of us has our own writing style. For example, Sara’s lyrics are usually influenced by something she’s reading, or something that interests her scientifically.

Are you a science buff?

S: Well . . . paleoanthropology (sarcasm).

Whoa. (Laughs)

S: Yeah, I studied that in school.

L: It just seems like a lot of your lyrics are influenced by nature, whereas Amanda’s are more, well they’re both very poetic, but Amanda’s are kind of more feelings in some way?

Is there anything you’re reading that would give you that sort of image when you’re writing lyrics? Is it a poetic set of influences?

A: I wrote poetry before I wrote songs, so I always think of lyrics as a kind of poetry. I’m really into automatic writing actually. Once I write it out I get it, and then I try to sculpt it.

Well, a lot of people say it’s about the editing process.

S: In my writing, I’m very inspired by William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound and E.E. Cummings. First World War poets, generally. William Carlos Williams has always been my favorite poet, and his style of writing does influence my approach.

Tell me about the song “Four Chambers”.

S: It’s about the four chambers of a cow’s stomach as a metaphor. It’s about digesting the world through family, then through school, then through your peers, and then trying to find something useful.

What are you guys reading these days?

A: I’m reading Jim Jarmusch: Interviews. Sarah was just reading Just Kids, so now I’m reading it too.

How do you feel about your musical environment right now?

L: It’s hard for me to take a detached look at it, because I feel very involved in it. My boyfriend’s in Heaven’s Gate so between their band and our band, I’m constantly going around to different underground shows. It’s interesting, there really is a giant community here in Brooklyn that wants to help each other and grow each other. It’s something I’m very happy to be a part of – it’s really exciting. People are buying each other’s records, buying each other’s merch, supporting each other, it’s really great.

That’s the first time I’ve ever asked that question and anyone has said anything positive (laughs).

A: Well, if you want to make art, you shouldn’t expect to make money. Unless you want to compromise a lot. There’s such a slim margin of artists that actually make money nowadays. But I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. I mean, think about what’s happened in the last ten years. The economy is terrible. I think we’re going to see a lot of changes in our time about what the dollar means, what money means. What’s great about this community in Brooklyn is that people are willing to support each other. I think community is really important.

Advaeta are playing Death By Audio in Williamsburg on February 6th.

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