Tue 3rd April 2007
After falling in love with 'A Raining Sun of Light and Love, For You and You and You', the recent Tee Pee Records album by Titan, Marek contacted guitarist Joshua Anzano for a chat.
I have the Paradigms EP and the latest Tee Pee album and both are fantastically rewarding trippy journeys with great packaging. Are you happy with the releases?
"Thanks, man. If our music is taking you places you say they are then that makes our existence as a band a rewarding one. Packaging to us is just as important as the music. It helps bring you into the world the artist is trying to create, and as an artist it is only natural to want to give back what you've taken."
They both seem like cool labels.
"Definitely. We feel we fit pretty well on both labels and both of them presenting themselves was great for the output we were working on. We had these sort of dark very German style jams we were working out for one show we were playing and maybe to use for a CDR or some shit. Then Paradigms contacted us and following the aesthetic of the label we went with that material and it worked out really well. Paradigms has also been seriously killing it lately with their releases and packaging. I
haven't heard one lame release yet. When I went to CA I was hanging out at aQuarius records in San Fransisco and one of the employees was talking about how Paradigms was one of his favorite labels, and that shop gets shit from a lot of labels.
Teepee has been nothing but completely supportive with us. We're constantly calling them up and bothering them about stupid shit from tips about gear to putting in a good word to get on a show we want to play and they've always been great about it. We were being super annoying about going all out on packaging and we all worked it out so that we could get what we wanted done with minimum hassle on everybody's end. Plus they've been absolutely been destroying it with releases lately from Earthless, The Assemblehead in Sunburst Sound, Entrance, Witch, Teeth of the Hydra. All bands that have been blowing us away lately."
Tell us a little about Titan's formation and where you're all from?
"I'm originally from Northern California and moved to NYC around 7 years ago. Dan also from the same area via Boston moved out here a few years after I did although we didn't meet until we both lived in NYC. Kris and Dave both are from Westchester. Just north of the Bronx and both went to college together. I had started a band around four years ago with the intention of playing psychedelic prog rock. It was just me and a drummer. We wanted a synth player because how could you have a band like that without one. I saw an ad Kris posted online looking to start a punk or screamy kind of hardcore band playing synth but (he said he ) was also classically trained. The drummer and I both came from a punk/hardcore background so it made sense to keep with that. I told kris I used to really be into that stuff but am trying to do this prog thing. I mentioned Acid Mothers Temples, Boredoms and Neu! and luckily he was into all of those plus Yes and seemed open to check out what we had been doing. A short while after playing with a bunch of mediocre bass players we found Dan who jammed with us the second day he moved to NYC and ended up being the only person we met that could play the living shit out of their instrument. A year or so later that version of the band split up but we still wanted to do something musically similar but maybe a little bit heavier and more driving. So we asked Dave (who was Kris' roommate at the time) to join us on drums and that was that."
Who records your stuff and how do you do prepare it and lay it down?
"Paradigms' 'Untitled' and 'Pilzmarmalede' were both recorded by our buddy Jeff Yellin in our friend Kristy Greenes basement. He used a mobile 16 track and we layed it all out together at his place. Before we recorded 'A Raining Sun...' was recorded by Steve Revitte and we had sort of verbally discussed how it was all going to flow together along with production techniques. Most of the production techniques happened in the studio and some of the ones we had verbalized didn't happen. Hopefully our next studio effort we will have more time for comfortable spontaneity and more fucked up ideas."
Is there an ongoing concept behind the band or the releases at all?
"Sort of I guess. There isn't really one for the Tee Pee release other than there being really long instrumentals and I recently noticed there are drug references in almost all of the songs. The Paradigms release has this weird sun cycle theme going on though. The song titles are in German but translated they're like "morning sun/midnight sun", "recharge" (except we translated the word poorly), "the sun begins to set". Then our release 'Pilzmarmelade' is titled exactly what that recording is, but chose to put it in German because the music is so German sounding and plus we're nerds. So if you know German or can translate it, then you will know exactly what was going on during the recording session."
I noticed some Sleep references with Titan. Can you talk a little about Sleep and how their influence is felt in Titan, if at all?
"Sleep is a very important band to some of us. However I'm not entirely sure the influence is very drastic or direct. If anything we are just as influenced by who Sleep was influenced by. There could be some little things like our website address (www.titanaut.com). Some think our name came from 'Sonic Titan' but it was actually my buddy Ryan out in CA who suggested it. But we all love Sleep and 'Jerusalem' / 'Dopesmoker' is some of the most next level shit you'll ever hear. That record is still making serious fucking waves in the heads of heavy music lovers.
I'm also from the same town as Sleep. San Jose, CA. So they were always like local metal heroes. In Junior High and high school I never would have thought they would be the cult band they are now. They were just kind of the resident San Jose metal band. I remember when I was a freshman in high school my friends brother introduced us to Kyuss and I remember thinking "huh...they kind of remind me of Tool and Sleep". Then in the mid to late 90's I used to stop by the '76 gas station in Cupertino to get gas because "the dude from Sleep" worked there."
You seem to have a fetish for old school pedals and amps. Any tips for someone trying to get a fat guitar sound like yours?
"Funny you should mention it because until very recently all of our gear was newish solid state shit. I actually had borrowed a Fender Dual Showman to beef up the sound for the recording. Our pedals aren't even that old. The "oldest" one I have is an Electro Harmonix Memoryman reissue. Personally I like the idea of taking advantage of new technology to achieve new sounds that weren't possible with old school shit: Digitech Wammy pedals, stereo/reverse delays, panning, etc. As far as my fat guitar sound goes. I play a custom Fender Mustang with gibson mini-humbuckers with a Frantone peachfuzz. I like to crank the volume while keeping my EQs flat to get a more pure sound from the guitar and pedal with minimum "mud". But tend to boost all EQ evenly to about 1 o'clock to bring out the characteristics of the amp. Kris and I recently upgraded to Ampeg V4 amps/cabs for our main shit, and Dan recently acquired an Ampeg SVT Classic which all sound infinitely heavier and louder than what we had before."
How many releases have you put out so far? I read somewhere there are a few albums?
"Besides the Teepee and Paradigms release we put out a few self released CDRs. The first one (which is very out of print) is called 'Terry Riley is Playing at My House' which has a bunch of prototypes of tracks that made it onto the Teepee release with a lot of sequenced synth interludes and segues ala Heldon or Tangerine Dream. People had
been asking us about that one quite a bit so I recently posted a MySpace bulletin with a yousendit link to an MP3 of the CDR. We also have 'Pilzmarmelade' that is exclusive to aQuarius records and our shows which is now very out of print. Though I think they may have a few left (in their store)."
Do you feel part of a wave of quality contemporary American psychedelic music coming out on labels like Tee Pee and Kemado? (Bands like The Sword, Danava, Saviours and Witch)
"I suppose so. Don't know if we're quality psychedelic music but lately since signing with Teepee we've been playing with a lot of Teepee and Kemado bands who are all for the most part totally killer."
Did you just play at SXSW? If so, how did that go?
"Oh boy...well SXSW itself was fucking awesome. We got to see a lot of friends and checked out a lot of bands we have a lot of respect for. pretty much every single show we played was outdoors and the weather was just killer. I've been getting laughed at for my drivers tan on my left arm. But on the way down we had a few minor problems. We had just bought a van that we took to a mechanic to have a once over with and make sure everything was cool. Fixing shit and just basically tightening it up. We packed the van full of idiots and head out on the way to Knoxville for our first show. Before we got out of NYC our van broke down. Transmission-dead. So while waiting on the side of the road somewhere in Staten Island we got a hold of our buddy Gabriel who picked us and our trailer full of gear in his cargo van and took us back to Brooklyn while AAA took our dead van elsewhere. Gabriel made our month when he told us he would drive us and the trailer down to Austin because he'd always wanted to go. So a few days later we were two shows short but still making good enough time to make it to Austin. when we got to VA Gabriel realized the head gasket blew and instead of paying a mechanic $400 and wasting another two days we decided to do it ourselves. The next ten hours we worked non-stop to replace a seal and we were off once again. We drove straight to New Orleans and played to 3 people before eating a bunch of food and driving another 8 hours to Austin. It was totally worth it.
But once we were there everything was great. we saw a ton of great music, ate Mexican food, talked to girls and drank beer pretty much non-stop. Saturday was probably our favorite night where we played two outdoor shows both next door to each other. We walked back and forth and watched awesome bands all day. Entrance, Teeth of the Hydra, Assemblehead, Earthless, Danava, Psychic Paramount, etc. We would have thought we would be sick of live music by then but it was just such a great vibe and everyone was just out to have a great time, and a great
time we had."
What kind of people come to your gigs and buy your albums right now?
"Not sure who's buying the record. But if they're anybody like the people who come to our shows it's probably people like us, Music Heads. Or the term that the rest of the world knows us as, "nerds"."
How do you make those fantastic high pitched sci-fi noises?
"That's usually Kris' department. he has a slew of pedals that he runs his synth through but I think he just fucks with the frequency and cut-off on his Roland Juno 60 to get most of that. I contribute a little bit and it's mostly pitch shifters and ring modulators I run my guitar through. I really wish that I could honestly answer this question with "magic...lot's of magic"."
What are your live shows like and are you planning on coming to the Europe at any time soon?
"We would absolutely love, love, loooove to go to Europe at some point. But let's face it. plane tickets, van and gear rentals are expensive. So until we feel we're at the level where we can do that where we'll at least break even or not go totally broke then we'll jump on it. As far as our live shows go, who knows? We're usually spending our time paying attention what we're all playing so we don't completely fall apart. I mean there is the fair amount of rocking out and getting sweaty that happens when you play live. But none of us can really tell how it's perceived. People who come to our shows seem to get pretty stoked so I'm guessing it's pretty rad."
Can we expect and videos or footage of the band at all?
"Not unless somebody at one of our shows has a camcorder or cellphone or something. We've talked about doing some video stuff in the future but we still need to figure out the gear we have before we take that step. I have a shit load of ideas I would love to try. But that won't be for a little while."
What's your take on drugs?
"Do 'em if you got 'em."
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TITAN are looking to come over to Europe in the summer.
'A Raiing Sun of Light and Love for You and You and You' is out now on Teepee.
Links (and picture sources):
This article will also appear in the excellent zine Load of Noise - www.myspace.com/loadofnoise