AotW-Q&A-ROFLMAO-BBQ :: Megastick Fanfare
May 4th 2011
We sat down with Adam "Zwi" Zwi and Danny "Danny" Keig of Megastick Fanfare to get the dirt on the creation of their long-awaited debut, Grit Aglow. The record is about nineteen kinds of weird and wonderful, and right this very minute, it's also FBi's Album of the Week.
Flog: How did you become Megastick Fanfare?
Zwi: We all went to school together, at least for a period of time, and ever since we’ve been playing music together. Originally we played a lot of covers of bands we liked, and started writing our own material more or less when we left school. After we wrote a couple of songs in early 2008 we decided to enter the Sydney Uni band comp, and then we had to write some more songs to fill up the set!
Danny: One of the defining moments in that early stage was when Adam stole my guitar delay pedal and ran his voice through it. We were so young and impressionable.
Who's who and who does what?
Zwi: There are instrument swaps all over the album. Drums and synths are split more or less equally between Sam and I. Danny played most of the guitar, sang, and created all sorts of squeaks and swirls that are completely alien to me with tape loops and various effects. Shaun played bass and a fair amount of percussion (we probably all have a bit of percussion on there somewhere). Adam also played guitar, and his vocal parts vary between melodic leads and more textural soundscapes through vocal sampling. When we play live it’s the same deal, just a bit sparser (we only have so many arms each…). There are instrument swaps, pre-recorded samples and live vocal and tape loops all over the show.
Danny: We write the songs all together, it’s a very collaborative process. Sometimes a song comes out of a jam; other times we start with an idea that one person has brought to the table, and everybody adds their parts to it. But the process is always changing, evolving (hopefully) into something more mature. I think we are beginning to listen to each other more when we write, pulling it back a bit so our parts talk to each other more and become the best of friends.
What were your main reference points or influences (sonic or otherwise) while putting the album together?
Danny: I think a big influence at the time was the Sydney music scene. Lots of great bands were starting out and it was so exciting to be making an album. We had kyü recording their debut around the corner from us and dropping in to hear what we had done.
Zwi: And we were very inspired by local experimental bands like Ghoul and Seekae. Apart from them, at the time we were listening to some of the stuff coming out of Brooklyn: Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, etc. Though I’d say that stuff is far less of an influence for us these days.
Danny: We had a fairly clear vision of what we were working towards – a punchy pop album that was mouldy and burnt on the other side.
Where did you record the album? How long did it take, start to finish? What snacks, brews, tunes and substances sustained you?
Zwi: It was recorded in a piecemeal kind of way. We recorded a large chunk of the album at my house when my family was away for two weeks. We went through a lot of tea and bought a lot of kebabs from Joe’s Pizzeria up the road – that dude knew us by name and