Here's a shot of Mass. Street looking a little different than after Saturday's Final Four victory:
Chip: "The only thing to mourn about this season is that the popularity of the #kuboobs hashtag and photos will probably fizzle out within the next week or so."
Readers, are you in need of a new band that doesn't sound like every other band in Larryville and contains (we're pretty sure) not a single member of the Rooftop Vigilantes, Mouthbreathers, Up the Academy, or Dry Bonnet. Then check out Tangent Arc, who will be opening for Unicycle Loves You at the Replay on Thursday. Enjoy our interview with the band, which touches on atmospheric phenomena, Tom Waits' hands, and the nature of time. And please visit their official website here for all the links you'll need to become a Tangent Arc expert prior to Thursday night.
Chip: The band’s name sounds scientific, which makes me nervous. I’m afraid that you might play “math-rock,” which I never understand. What’s the origin of the name?
Tangent Arc: Fear not. There's nothing "mathy" about anything we do. We're not really interested in cerebral music making. A friend of ours used to say that there are no good band names, just good bands that make the name good. That sounds right. Radiohead, Bad Brains, Fucked Up, Cloud Nothings...those are pretty horrible band names. The name is scientific in nature, but so is just about everything else, including the smartphone in your pocket, so you'll be okay. Basically various kinds of tangent arcs occur during a specific kind of atmospheric phenomenon which is created as sunlight is refracted or bent through pure ice crystals in the air. Imagine a hoop that a sundog might jump through and you're in the neighborhood. The Google images for tangent arcs are pretty beautiful.
Richard: How would you describe “the Tangent Arc sound,” and can you describe it using pompous Pitchfork-y style music writing and making sure to employ the word “angular?”
TA: Ha ha. Actually on our Facebook page in our "about" area it says "Bittersweet angular indie rock from Middle America." So, apparently we've already tripped the pompous booby trap. It's hard to say exactly what our sound is, not because of some lofty goal of transcending genres, we would love to fit into a genre, we just draw from such different backgrounds musically that things can get a little convoluted. So far we have most often gotten comparisons to The Police, Archers of Loaf, and Sunny Day Real Estate...which we are fine with.
Richard: We’re big fans of the creepy image on your website and Bandcamp of disembodied hands playing telephone lines like a guitar (see the image below) Where did this idea come from and who did the artwork?
TA: Oh thanks. Well, it was an afterthought really. It's funny how often that happens. It's always the stuff you work the hardest on that people forget about and the things you throw together in five minutes that people love. Wade had created that image in college for a piece in a digital media class and when we were building our website it just sort of resurfaced. It felt "right" visually for what we were doing so we used it. The hands belong to Tom Waits. The wires were shot through the trees behind Cottins Hardware on Mass. A car had just smashed completely through the telephone pole and the top of the pole was just left hanging there suspended by the wires. Although you can't see it in the photo, the pole is not attached to the ground.
Chip: I tend to like bands that are simple and direct, and I find myself a little baffled by some of your poetic lyrics. For instance, in “Sweet Beast,” what do you mean by “the hungriest mouth always the sweet beast?” I don’t know whether I should get a boner or whether I should be frightened.
TA: That song is about time and fate and inevitability. While we were writing our first batch of songs the phrase "sweet beast" would crop up every now and then when we would write a part we really liked. Sort of synonymous with "holy shit." Like, "sweet beast that drum fill was sick!" At some point the phrase got unpacked a little and the beast came to mean time and the sweetness was the perceived gentle nature of it's touch on your life. It's this colossal unstoppable force that is moving in slow motion on it's tip-toes. You bring the beast to a dinner party where you laugh and drink together with friends, but by the end of the evening you realize that although you've had a wonderful conversation, you're the only one left at the table he hasn't eaten yet.
Chip: What can we expect from your Replay show on Thursday with Unicycle Loves You, and do you know if that band rides actual unicycles on stage?
TA: We don't know anything about that band. Are they good? Hopefully it's a good time. We haven't gotten to practice or play much lately because of spring break and some sicknesses and...life. So, if you go to the show you can expect either a train wreck or maybe some happy accidents. There will probably be some heavy drinking as well so the possibility for some sort of accident is pretty high. We have an awesome new bass player though, so that will be fun.
[Note: according to our buddies at I Heart Local Music, Unicycle Loves You is damn fun and might wear costumes. Read about them here .]
Richard: What’s on the horizon for Tangent Arc in 2012 in terms of shows and/or new music.
TA: We're sort of turning a page right now stylistically and philosophically. We're getting more clear about what we do well and not so well, and our new material reflects that. Without getting too specific let's just say we are simplifying and becoming more balanced. We have a lot of weapons in our arsenal that we have overused and some that we have never used at all, so we need to remedy that. We have a few songs recorded for the new record and we would like to add three more and call it an E.P. More than anything we would just like to become a band that people recognize. We are now and have always been an extremely unconnected band. We are a group of outsiders. We aren't a part of the inner circle of Lawrence or Kansas City musicians and artists and socialites. We're hoping that music fans in the area begin to believe in us and decide that even though we're not "scene" we're still worth supporting.