Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Band Interview: Viernes

Viernes is an up-and-coming band from Florida that creates soundscapes to get lost in. The band is a duo comprised of Alberto Hernandez and Sean Moore, 25 and 26 years old, respectively. After stumbling upon their music, we here at fork/knife had to learn more about the band. Viernes was gracious enough to sit down and answer some of our questions.

fork/knife: You guys are called Viernes. How'd the name come about?

Viernes: We just needed a name and it was simple. It came from the fact that every Friday afternoon we both got out of our 8 to 5 day jobs a little early and that was really the only day of the week we were able to set aside the time to record. Our connection was immediate. We started recording on our very first session playing together on a Friday last February. A little less than year ago. As most people know, Viernes is Friday in Spanish, and it just felt right.

f/k: What's the Florida music scene like? What's the best part?

V: It's all over the place, and that's really the best part. There is something for everyone. For the longest time, there has been a stigma associated with Florida music. We had some awful bands come out of here years ago, that didn't help. But there are some great new bands starting up all the time. Especially in Winter Park, near us, the local college radio station WPRK gets really involved in local music and were one of the first stations to play our songs. Having a local indie station that actually plays good music, that follows and supports local music, makes it feel a bit more like a community.

f/k: Your band has a haze and washiness that many believe creates your distinct sound. How did you guys come upon this aesthetic? Has your music always sounded like this?

V: We sort of stumbled into it. The process is very organic. The sounds we strive to create are a result of mutual, aural communication. It's not premeditated. We just listen and react, and when one of us has an idea, the other finishes it and makes it a complete thought. Sort of like tag team wrestling?

f/k: What is a Viernes show like?

V:We want to make it as live as possible. Obviously since we are a duo, we have some sounds to sequence and play to. We both rotate between some instruments. We try to focus on our vocal harmonies, which we think translates pretty well at our live shows. Songs like Glacial Change of Pace, for example, we play a stripped down version live with just piano and guitar, no sequencing, and it really bring our voices front and center.
But the general consensus has been that it sounds like you are in the middle of a dream. Some great multimedia artists who are also friends of ours, plan to incorporate some sort of interesting visual elements in the future, and we're all for making it an complete sensory experience.

f/k: On your MySpace, you announced that you'll be opening for Deerhunter in March. What does it feel like to get asked to play a show by a band that released what many thought was one of the best albums of 2008?

V: Well we both thought it was one of the best records last year too, so it's definitely an honor! We love what they do. We also enjoy all of Bradford's Atlas Sound work. He makes some great Micromixes that he posts every now and then on his blog too. Turned us onto a great Bobak, Jons, Malone song, "On a Meadow Lea" that Alberto became somewhat obsessed with for a bit.

f/k: The internet is starting to play a huge role in the way that people access and discover music. What are your thoughts on the way such technology is changing the music industry? Do you think it's a good or bad change? What kind of effects has it had on Viernes?

V: For us it's been a good thing in terms of getting people to hear our music. Myspace especially, for an unsigned band, is a useful tool. Without us having a label or distribution yet, people all over the world have still been able to listen to our music. That in and of itself is a good change. Hopefully we'll be able to get it out all over so the people in these random countries can get it, cause they're asking us for it. As for the bad aspect, well, everyone and their mother who has internet and Garageband has "started a band," which isn't always a good thing.

But we both enjoy technology, and to have electronic elements in your music like we do, it's best to be somewhat of a techie, which we both admittedly are.

f/k: You're in the process of working on your first release, Sinister Devices. Does it have a specific musical direction? Do you have a release date in mind?

V: We came up with the name for the record after recording the first song. It just kinda fit with the somewhat dark and electronic vibe we stumbled into on "Glass Windows." And it sort of created a theme for which to record. We keep the songs simple in terms of structure. We both have worked on much more complicated compositions in previous projects, but with this record we took a more minimalistic approach. But at the same time, some of the underbelly and some of the rhythms in our songs are complex. But you described it well earlier when you said it has a haze and washiness to it.

We hope to release Sinister Devices digitally in the coming months, we are almost done, we've tracked about 12 or 13 songs, but we want to lay a few more down, just to have options and make sure each song really stands up on its own. Then just a bit more mixing and mastering.

f/k: What does the future hold for Viernes? What's the ideal scenario?

V: The ideal situation is to be able to do this full time for a living, but we would be happy just being able to release records that people respect and love, tour the world a bit, do festivals with bands we respect and love, and be able to take our lovers along with us.

But in the near future we have several things. We did a video for our song "Sinister Love" with a very talented friend of ours named Chase Heavener,
(www.fctn.tv) that should be done soon. As we said, Sinister Devices should be out by summer, then we'll do some shows, and right after, we are planning to record an EP with Brian Foote (Atlas Sound/Nudge/Valet/Lotus Plaza/Kranky) out in Los Angeles. We are all excited about doing something from the ground up, and he has some amazing synths he wants to use, like the Prophet 5.

f/k: Is there a band you're listening to that you wish more people knew about?

V: How about several?

We both think Women (from the Jagjaguwar label) are pretty great, they're relatively new. We listened to that record a lot last year. - Listen to Women on MySpace

That Grouper record Dragging a Dead Dear Up a Hill is lovely. - Listen to Grouper on MySpace

Our friend Lane in Portland does some great stuff under the name The Ocean Floor. It's sorta like if Van Dyke Parks and Joanna Newsom had a baby who plays guitar. He's a sweetheart and a real talent. - Listen to The Ocean Floor on MySpace

William Basinski's The Disintegration Loops is one of the most beautiful pieces of sound that doesn't seem to get old. Its hours of the same loop but it's constantly changing as the tapes were literally disintegrating as he transferred them. By the end of loop 1.1, it's quite haunting, especially considering he transfered all that music as 9/11 happened. - What?? Learn more here.

We both also can't help but dance to that jam "Walking on a Dream" by Empire of the Sun. Whether they are serious or not, that song is too good! - A fork/knife favorite! Listen here.

f/k: Lastly, you're stuck on a deserted island with a fork, a knife, a monkey, and a big blue tarp. What do you do?

V: Make a teepee/hut with the tarp, or better yet, a slip and slide, become best friends with the monkey, train the monkey to help us gather food, eat some Caribbean/Jerk style cuisine?
We'd like to thank Viernes for taking the time to answer our questions, and we eagerly await their release Sinister Devices. Here's a sample of their music, a song called "Glass Windows." The band had this to say about the song:

Viernes - Glass Windows
Viernes on MySpace

Glass Windows is the very first song we recorded, and it was done in just a few sessions, pretty effortlessly. Most of the tracks were done on the first take. The song started with sequencing that irregular beat and the low synth line over it. We just built it up from there. But initially we liked the idea of having a beat that didn't really repeat its pattern. As the song developed, we wanted to have the electronic beat transform into a big, real drum track. But in order to track real drums for the second half of the song, after the vocal percussion, we had to watch the computer screen and hit the tom on each peak of the electronic drum track to dub over it. We probably could have notated the pattern, but Sean found it to be an entertaining session, almost like playing Rock Band. And he nailed those with 100% accuracy on the first take.

But as soon as we finished this song, we knew we had to continue recording music together each Friday thereafter. That was the beginning of Viernes, this song, was the beginning.

Viernes is playing the "Harvest of Hope Fest" This March! Viernes will be playing on the second of three days, Saturday, March 7th. The festival has an awesome lineup, we strongly encourage anybody in the area to go hear some great music!


Viernes on MySpace


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