On Florida duo Viernes' MySpace, there is a photo of Brian Eno and Robert Fripp's album No Pussyfooting in larger size than there is an image of their new Sinister Devices. That should tell you something about their direction, heavily active ambiance. Check the premiere of their track "Honest Parade" below and our Q+A with the group after the jump.
Download: Viernes, "Honest Parade"
As a duo playing music with a lot of layered sounds, how does the live show work?
Sean Moore: It had existed for a while with only the two of us handling primary instruments (guitar/keyboards) and triggering the rest via laptop. Now, with the addition of a live drummer (Tyson Bodiford), we're able to do away with most of the pre-recorded rhythms and engage in musical multitasking. We have been peeling off the nonessential layers and producing only what we feel is integral to each piece of music. The idea is to eventually abandon any computer backing tracks entirely.
Alberto Hernandez: We are also starting to incorporate loop pedals to keep the layers we don't want to peel off. We are still a very new band, so as time progresses, we are figuring more things out.
The video for "Liquid Tunnel" is bananas! Who came up with the concept? How on Earth did you get the octopus?
AH: That video was a total happy accident in the beginning. Charles Bergquist is a friend of mine living in San Diego. He is a director, designer, and photographer who works for this company called FCTN. Charles has been our own Stanley Donwood, if you will. He designed our album art, he's created all original content for visuals/projections for our live shows in the past. Anyways, Charles heard that interlude track awhile back and flipped, he was really into it. He asked me to send the song to him because he had some footage he thought would fit the vibe. Within less than an hour of sending him the track, he sent me a 30-second clip of what he was thinking it would look like and then I flipped out. We love Discovery Channel HD, you know, shows like Planet Earth and all that. I told Charles when he started working on it that the vibe we were going for was "Planet Earth meets David Lynch" and I think he nailed it.
It may actually be a squid, not an octopus, we aren't sure. Whatever they are, Charles filmed the little guys one day when the tide was really low in Carlsbad, CA. I believe it was the lowest tide of the year, and the creatures were suddenly washed up and out of their element in these tide pools. The images he captured were both beautiful and dark, which fit the music pretty well.
SM: The song originated from an ambient synth template I had created years earlier. We stumbled across the track during the Sinister Devices sessions, added some treatments, and sealed the deal in one afternoon.
AH: Yeah, I remember thinking how it would fit nicely as the second interlude on the album, the other being "Enhanced Pendulum Channel". The song itself was also somewhat of a happy accident. The wordless vocal harmonies were recorded on one mic in the middle of the room, first take, nothing written out beforehand, eyes closed. We just moved together vocally by ear.
Is there a big ambient scene in Florida? How do you guys fit in down there?
SM: Not to my knowledge. There seems to be a growing trend to soak every living thing in reverb and delay. Does that count? We seem to slip between the cracks as far as "fitting in" is concerned. It might have mattered 20 years ago, but with the consistent advancement of communicative technology, our music can reach audiences without us even setting foot on their soil.
AH: There are some ambient bands in Florida, but it's not a big scene. We have some friends we feel fit our vibe for playing shows and stuff. There is a lot of good new music coming out of here, but we are definitely not part of a scene or movement. I actually feel like there is a larger demand for us in other places, which is nice, because we want to travel the world if we can.
What are the plans for the summer?
AH: We are playing several shows to support the release here in Florida, and then at the end of June we are flying up to New York City to play some shows in Brooklyn and Manhattan. We're also playing the Northside Festival up there, which we are looking forward to. One of our favorite bands, Liars, is also playing. Then we'll come back to Florida and finish up an EP we are almost done with, and probably continue recording material for our next LP.
SM: A little R&R (recording & rehearsing).
I read in Reax Magazine that Alberto thinks everyone should wear rollerskates at all times. I had a dream the night before I sent these questions that I chose rollerskates as my main form of transportation, having not seen the interview yet. What do you guys think that means?
AH: (Laughs) When we did that interview last year, I was in this phase where I was always trying to get my friends to go to a rollerskating rink, because I hadn't been in years. We finally went and it was so much fun. It really brought me back, the refs dancing, doing that crossover move. I hadn't rollerskated in years, like 15 years ago when I was in elementary school or something. Remember "couple skating" with girlfriends? My hands used to get so sweaty.
SM: I don't know what your dream means, but that is really cool. I do believe in things happening sometimes that are part of something greater, which we can't see or understand. Call it the good lord's work or kismet or Carl Sagan.