2015 Artist Survey: Quilt | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2015 Artist Survey: Quilt

Anna Fox Rochinski and Shane Butler on Disastrous Dates, Star Wars, Tour Riders, Childhood Memories, and the End of the World

Jan 29, 2016 Web Exclusive Photography by Daniel Dorsa Bookmark and Share

For Under the Radar’s 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2015 print and digital issues for answers from Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, Julien Baker, Blanck Mass, CHVRCHES, Dan Deacon, The Dears, Dutch Uncles, EL VY, Everything Everything, Father John Misty, Field Music, The Flaming Lips, How to Dress Well, Sondre Lerche, Low, Luna, Mew, NZCA Lines, Cullen Omori, Natalie Prass, Small Black, Surfer Blood, Tamaryn, Telekinesis, Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio, The Walkmen, Youth Lagoon, and others.

Here are some answers from Anna Fox Rochinski and Shane Butler of Quilt. The Boston-based four-piece are releasing their new album, Plaza, on February 26 via Mexican Summer.

Top Albums of 2015

Anna Fox Rochinski: On Your Own Love Again by Jessica Pratt is my favorite album of the year.

Shane Butler: Some songs I remember liking this yearno order.

Earl Sweatshirt: “Grief”
Ultimate Painting: “Kodiak”
Deradoorian: “Grow”
Justin Bieber: “What Do You Mean?”
Joanna Newsom: “Sapokaninan”
Ryley Walker: “Primrose Green”
John Andrews & The Yawns: “Pennsylvania”
Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood, and The Rajasthan Express: “Roked”
Ought: “Beautiful Blue Sky”
Widowspeak: “Stoned”

What was the highlight of 2015, for either you personally or for the band? What was the low point?

Shane: We went to The Price Is Right and they played our song “Penobska Oakwalk” to the studio audience while Drew Carey acted as if his microphone was a bong and took big bong rips. It was surreal to say the least. One of those “lifetime achievement” things.

Anna: I think Shane nailed it with this one.

What are your hopes and plans for 2016?

Anna: Work on new stuff!

Shane: To start working on new music as soon as possible. The motors are still on high.

With the launch of TIDAL and Apple Music in 2015, there are more streaming music options, but the same issues of adequate artist compensation persist. What are your current thoughts on streaming and which service would you most like to have your music on?

Shane: I really like that anyone anywhere can access our music at any time (or at least anywhere there is Internet). I also wish there was a way that could be figured out to adequately compensate artists. I personally think it is going to have to be a fan-based movement for that. The companies seem to be too fucked at this point to ever totally get that in shape. I am a big proponent of “voluntary pay” situations and donation-based events. I feel like if people listen to a song and it really hits that spot for them it would just be in their best interest to even just throw a quarter or 50 cents towards the artist. Because that is like 5,000 times the amount than an artist gets for a Spotify play. Or if you want to listen over and over againfigure out something that works for you. We are so fortunate to live in a time when artists and fans have direct communication and access to each other; we should use it in all ways, including financial ways.

Anna: I don’t pay a ton of attention to streaming culture; I don’t have memberships with any of the services or even really know how they work. I do read about the financial/political issues once in a while, and I find it interesting. Sometimes it does bum me out to think about how much I “could have made” if our Spotify plays gave us X amount instead of a fraction of a penny, but I don’t really have the energy at this point to try and fight a force so large. Like, if someone finds our music for free somewhere, who otherwise couldn’t afford to buy an album and the songs help them out or make their day better, who am I to take that away from them? It just is what it is. Just gotta keep hawking T-shirts on tourhaha.

What are your thoughts on Friday being the new global release day for albums? Is it helping or hurting album sales?

Shane: Well, Friday the 13th falls on a Friday, multiple times a year. Just something to think about.

Anna: I don’t know, but I always thought it was nice that Tuesday was given a chance to be special during the week, because nothing else is associated with Tuesdays. After the weekend, Monday’s the beginning, Wednesday is the halfway mark, Thursday is basically the weekend, and Friday means you made it through in one piece. Tuesday needs a new reason to feel like it has purpose!

Mainstream pop music is increasingly embraced by indie rock musicians and listeners, as well as serious music critics. At this point, do you draw any distinctions between Top 40 pop and indie rock/pop? Are you comfortable with this shift?

Anna: Of course I’m comfortable with that shift. I love “mainstream pop music.” And yes, of course there are distinctions in terms of content and production quality and who it is being marketed to, and what kinds of media outlets propagate it. But it’s annoying when people are snobby and closed minded, no matter which side it’s coming from. I love Television’s Marquee Moon just as much as I love Ariana Grande’s My Everything. Good music is good music.

Shane: As long as people are “genuinely” listening to these things as opposed to just trying to use modalities from each for popularity I think it’s cool. Otherwise it’s a bunch of shit. I like a lot of pop music, but I know that the reason I play in a band wasn’t because of “pop” music per se. I think it’s definitely important to broaden your listening spectrum as much as possible though. It’s cool to be comfortable and listen to the same shit every day if that’s what you like, but as an artist I think it’s always important to search for new sounds and be open to what the world is making. But I also think it’s really important not to shed away that musical modes that just come to you “naturally.” God, this can go so many directions. Also, there is the whole financial part of it you can talk about… I’m gonna stop on this one.

What are your thoughts on how the 2016 U.S. Presidential election is shaping up?

Shane: Interesting candidates. Weird world. Weird candidates. Interesting world.

Anna: It’s almost like a scene from a movie about “the future” and the absurdist state of national politics, except it’s real.

Ryan Adams covered Taylor Swift’s 1989 (and then Father John Misty covered Adams covering Swift). If you were to cover another artist’s album in its entirety, which would you pick and why?

Shane: Someone just asked us to do this. Stay tuned to see what we picked.

Have you ever been fired from a job (be it a day job or musical one)? Why were you fired?

Shane: No. I can’t remember, but I quit quite a few. Mostly for music.

Anna: Never officially fired, no. I have had to quit many jobs as well.

What’s your earliest music-related childhood memory?

Anna: Reading along with Beatles lead sheets on the living room floor, listening to their records.

Shane: My dad used to blast Neil Young’s “Powderfinger” in our car so loud that none of us could talk. It was just piercing Neil all throughout the car. We didn’t mind it, though, I think we actually all loved it. This was in the days when seat belts were so big in comparison to my body that I literally couldn’t move. So, I was trapped by the belt and the white boat, but I didn’t mind it. That song feels like an anthem of childhood to me.

What outrageous request would you most like to put in your tour rider as a joke?

Shane: Neil Young and an acoustic guitar and being able to request any song we’d like from him before we get on stage to play.

Anna: That everyone working at the venue has to be unclothed for the duration of the show and only speak to each other in conversational Esperanto.

What’s the most disastrous date you’ve ever been on?

Anna: Never had a true disaster of a date, but I got asked out in 6th grade over the phone and got so terribly freaked out with disbelief that I basically hung up on him.

Shane: One time my leg fell asleep at home while sitting on a chair and when I got up I slipped on a rug. Since my foot was numb it just completely folded underneath the weight of my body and broke. Then I went on a date. I remember walking down the street to take the train to the West Village to meet the girl I was going out with and was just in so much pain. I had no idea it was broken at the time. We met up and I just said “CAN WE GO GET A DRINK” like a crazy person because I was just in so much pain. She was really sweet about it, though, now that I think about it, besides thinking that I was acting really strange. It actually ended up being a great date surrounded by a disastrous situation. The next day I found out my foot was broken and I had just spent the whole night limping on it like a maniac with a girl I had a big crush on. “Love makes you do crazy things.”

Which Star Wars character are you most like?

Shane: Someone told me I reminded them of Yoda recently. I think they were referring to the extraneous hair, but it could’ve been something else. I’ve always really liked Nien Nunbhe’s the guy who looks like he has two cheeks and has got a decent laugh. He’s got a tight hat.

Anna: I’m not sure who I am most like, but every time I see the Rancor’s trainer cry in Return of the Jedi I empathize deeply with him. Poor dude.

Where do you see yourself in five beers?

Shane: On one of those disastrous dates.

Anna: Dude, on an empty stomach I can barely handle three.

What’s the lamest breakup excuse you’ve ever given or been given?

Anna: I actually got the “it’s not you, it’s me” line in 10th grade. I also was once slow-dancing at a dance in middle school and got so nervous and awkward and just stammered out “it’s really hot in here!” and ran away to the pizza room of shame.

Which recent anniversary for an album, film, TV show, or historical event has most made you feel old?

Anna: Jagged Little Pill‘s 20th anniversary this yearI bought that CD in 5th grade and still know every lyric by heart.

What song will most unite or amp up the tour bus or van (à la “Tiny Dancer” in Almost Famous)? Which song do you love that the rest of the band or crew refuse to let you put on?

Anna: This past tour on the West Coast we played a lot of Sugar Ray hits and that put everyone in a good mood every time without fail. I tried playing my favorite deep cut from Spiceworld recently and no one cared. Sigh.

If the world was ending in 24 hours, what would you do in those 24 hours?

Anna: I’d probably just stay where I am right now, because I am cozy in bed with a dog at my feet listening to Fleetwood Mac.

Which part of America or which specific state do you find it most challenging to tour in and why?

Anna: I dunno, it depends on so many factors. We’ve never really hit up Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, etc., but driven through many times.

In 2015, what do the words “indie rock” mean?

Anna: I think at this point it’s just a sound. You don’t even have to be “independent” to be an indie band. And that’s okay.

What was the most baffling cultural phenomenon in 2015?

Anna: Saggy-crotch fashion sweatpants that look like poopy diapers.




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