Interview: Aaron Gerber (A Weather)

A Weather

A Weather photo by Chris Mulliken

Here is another artist feature I am very excited to post. A Weather are a band based in Portland who play lovely dreamy folk pop with whispery hushed vocals, beautiful lyrics and intricate arrangements. The band are signed to Team Love records and put out their first full length Cove last year.

I first came across them over a year and a half ago now when I saw they were putting out a 7″ on Team Love. I listened to the songs and bought The Feather Test 7″. I love ordering from Team Love and Saddle Creek because they always include stickers and handwritten thank-you notes (aww). You can still get The Feather Test and Cove from the Team Love store. Spiders, Snakes is my favourite song from Cove and one of my favourite songs from last year.

Aaron and Sarah’s vocals work so well together. Small Potatoes is another of my favourites from the record. The upbeat catchy guitar contrasts with the sad, thought provoking lyrics. The record is great and I recommend it. You can visit the A Weather website, Last Fm and Myspace to hear songs and  find out more. Frontman Aaron Gerber took the time to answer ten questions, if you head to the Bio section of the website you can find out some interesting facts about him and the other band members- Sarah Winchester, Aaron Krenkel and Lou Thomas. Here are the 10 questions:

A Weather photo by Chris Mulliken.

Name/role in band: Aaron Gerber (singing, guitar, piano)

What was your first musical instrument and where did you get it?

Aside from things like toy xylophones that play melodies as you drag them around, my first “real” musical endeavor was playing percussion in the school band in fifth grade (11 years old).  At my school you got a kit which consisted of a drum pad and a glockenspiel.  They made you start learning the glockenspiel first to learn annoying things like reading music, though of course everyone was more interested in banging away on the drum pad.

Do you download music or buy hard copies? Or both?

It is with some regret that I must say: neither.  The only new records that I own are all stuff that friends or bands we’ve toured with have given me and to be honest over the past few years I have rarely sat down with a record and listened whole-heartedly.  It is my New Year’s Resolution to listen to one full album from start to finish each week.  I started last week with this record “Heart to Elk” by Point Juncture WA, who are friends of ours and it was really rewarding.  It reminded me what it used to be like when I was 12 and 13 and would fall hard for the CDs I owned and listened to.  I still prefer hard copies to downloaded stuff.  I have an ipod which I never use because I think it is a much nicer experience to listen to music as an event and not an accompaniment to a daily activity like jogging or driving.  It is nice to try to make the listening experience a special ritualized thing.  I’m going to hopefully work on pursuing that this year.

Favourite music venue to play and why?

That’s a difficult question.  There are some excellent local Portland venues that we usually have good shows at: The Doug Fir, Holocene, Mississippi Studios.  As to out of town places there is this fantastic slightly-run down looking club in Denver Colorado called The Hi Dive.  They have some of the sweetest people working there, and the greatest Vietnamese food at this attached restaurant.  Even when the audience is scant we still feel loved when we play there.

Last book read:

Currently reading “The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating” by Fergus Henderson, the best Christmas present I received this year.  The poetry of his recipes and the sense of authenticity with which he approaches food and cooking are inspiring (though I can’t say I particularly enjoyed making and eating his recipe for tripe and onions).

Last movie watched:

A few nights ago I watched The Strangers because a few people had recommended it.  I sort of hated it and how they tried to make it all “hip and cool” by playing trendy indie rock at the beginning.  Tonight I’ll be watching Pineapple Express which I’m looking forward to.

5 hopes for 2009:

I’m not going to get all politic or philosophical and approach the question from a personal perceptive.

One already came true to an extent that I wouldn’t have thought and that was a wish for snow in Portland this winter.  We’ve gotten a ridiculous amount so far which is a totally anomaly and basically threw everything into a panic and shut down the city.

Like I said, I hope to rediscover for myself the pleasure of listening to music.

I hope to make a good second album (we start recording in March.)

I hope that A Weather makes it to the East Coast of the US to do some touring.

If I get to a point of financial security, I’d like to get a bull-dog.

Best moment on tour?

Lots of good ones, the one that I remember most clearly at the moment is swimming in the Clark Fork River in Downtown Missoula Montana in the middle of a super hot and super exhausting drive in Mid July.  We all stripped down to our underwear and splashed around and it was a joyful moment for a lot of fatigued travellers.

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Being that this is a London based blog, I don’t mean to sound obsequious when I say London.  That last time I was in England I was five years old, not really old enough to appreciate where I was.  Since then I’ve developed a strong interest in British culture and tradition (see my current reading material) and would love the chance to spend some more time there.  A Weather has also received lots of positive feedback and comments from fans urging us to come play some shows there.  I can only hope that it will happen sooner than later.

Favourite band/singer/album you discovered recently?

I’m going to mention Point Juncture’s “Heart to Elk” again, though it isn’t necessarily all that recent of a discovery.  There are lots of other great Portland bands and more cropping up everyday it seems.  Some bands and artists I’d recommend checking out are: Weinland, Laura Gibson, Musee Mecanique and Norfolk and Western.

If you could get any two musicians to collaborate with each other, who would they be and why?

Will Oldham and Beyonce.  I love Will Oldham’s songs and his voice and I secretly love Beyonce’s new song “Single Ladies.”  I feel like Will Oldham is slowly edging his way into the Hip Hop/ R&B world, the evidence being his cover of that R. Kelly song (where he even pronounces “ask as “ax” totally faithful to the original) and the video he made with Zach Galifianakis for that Kanye West song.  I think a Beyonce/ Will Oldham duet would be the logical progression and perhaps culmination of both of their careers.

Thanks to Aaron for answering the questions. Hopefully we’ll see the band over here sometime soon. And hopefully that Will Oldham/Beyonce duet will materialize!

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