When you say Christmas in July in Cleveland, most folks automatically think of Great Lakes Brewing Company mid-summer re-releases. Not this guy. Santa has brought me way more than I deserve this month, with visits by Jason Lytle and Yeasayer. And on Wednesday, it gets even better, with a visit by Brooklyn's Akron/Family to the Rock Hall (which, incidentally, is, uh, FREE!).
I've been digging the naturalistic jam and groove of this band for a while now, and my review of Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free some weeks back ought to make clear that this is one band I just plain love.
Given this, you'll understand why I'm super geeked that Seth Olinsky, Akron/Family's guitarist and vocalist (though relegating any of the fellas in the band to such simple descriptors is pretty inaccurate as they all do a bunch of different instrumental work) took the time to answer one of my questionnaires. Thus, following in the footsteps of previous such conversations with indie rockers like Ponytail, Crocodiles, and Andrew Kenny, I am pleased to offer up this exchange with Akron/Family.
1) What are your influences on "Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free"? In particular, I'm interested in sources of inspiration other than other bands/musicians? I mean, is there a certain type of art or artist, idea, spirit, etc.
Musically I would say aour big influence/focus was on rhythm. From African and world influences to Sly and the family stone, miles davis and black flag.
I think the emotional undertone and the process of creating the record definitely had a lot to do with the fact that the band was a four piece for such a long time, and before we started this record, Ryan decided to leave the band. We really tried to approach everything in a new way and enjoy
2) What is your favorite song to play off the new album?
Recently I feel like we have started to really be able to play the song Gravelly Mountains of the Moon. It is kind of complex song to perform well, but when we do, it is quite fun.
3) If you were asked by a younger musician about to embark on his/her first tour, what advice would you give him/her?
Take the scenic routes when you can.
4) Any pre- or post-show rituals you have found yourselves following over the years?
Coffee and tea. Miles and Dana like guarana.
5) You are going to be playing at the Rock Hall, a temple to rock music and musicians over the past few decades. Any favorite artists/songs out there you'd love to cover, but just haven't done it yet?
I went to the Rock and Roll hall of fame when I was a kid and remember being blown away almost to tears by this little video they showed of Paul Simon playing a concert in South Africa. I think it was a song called Cool, Cool River off of Rhythm of the Saints. For a long time I always wanted to cover that song.
6) Last but not least, any memorable Cleveland experiences?
Not yet, but hopefully this experience will be!
Be sure to check out Akron/Family at the Rock Hall on Wednesday, July 22, for FREE. The show starts around 7, with opening duties going to Columbus's The Black Swans.
(Credit for the awesome poster design goes to John G.)