JULY 13, 2010 | CIRCUS | COLUMBUS, OH
PHOTOS BY ED LUNA
The summer sun had already scorched Columbus and the night was just as unforgiving. I found myself constantly wiping my brow and regretting my choice to don jeans as I approached the venue at around 9pm. ”I’ll be the guy with the purple hat,” stated the email from Bear Hand’s Ted Feldman. I spotted him outside along with bandmates Dylan Rau, Val Loper, and TJ Orscher. They looked exhausted, having barely made into town for the show due to major van trouble. Photographer Ed Luna suggested that we grab some calzones just down the street. Their eyes brightened at the mention of food, and we wandered down the half block to D P Dough.
I sipped on my icy cola as the boys and I chatted and waited on the food. I kept staring at Val’s arms which were covered in some of the most beautiful tattoos I’ve seen. We didn’t have much time before they had to get on stage when we settled in the back patio of Circus.
KP: Well, first of all, I’d like to know about the whole van disaster today.
Dylan: Well, I was asleep in the back. Ted and TJ were going through a drive-thru at a fast food restaurant and I demanded that we stop at the mart to buy some snacks because I was kind of more in a gummy bear mood. So then, once we stopped the car, then we went inside and try to be some candy and then this kind of hick-ish dude like, “Hey, your radiator’s leaking, I’m worried about you guys, how far are you driving?” And we looked at it and it seemed problematic.
Val: It was spewing — like somebody peeing.
Val: Yeah, it was just like blrggggghh! We’re like, “Ohh, that’s just not okay!”
Dylan: So, we went to a truck repair place and spent $112 on a part and got it fixed.
Val: But it took us like 3.5 hours.
KP: I was worried you weren’t going to be able to make it tonight.
Val: So were we.
KP: So how long have you guys been on this tour?
Dylan: About 10 days, this is the last show. We’re ready.
KP: You guys are from New York? Were you all born and raised in New York?
Dylan: No, Ted was born and raised in New York. The rest of us were born and raised in Connecticut. We lived in New York for probably about five years or so.
KP: So what made you move to New York?
Dylan: Times Square.
Ted: Lights, pretty lights.
Val: We had a lot of friends who live there.
Dylan: We heard a lot of songs, saw a lot of movies about it, so we thought it was cool.
KP: So how did you guys meet?
Ted: Dylan and I went to college together at Wesleyan in Connecticut. And I knew them separately.
Dylan: I knew them from playing in bands back in the day.
KP:So you guys are all original members, right?
Dylan: There’s never been another member.
KP: There is a lot of time between your Golden EP and the 7-inch that you just released —
Dylan: I know.
KP: What happened in between that time?
Dylan: Touring. We toured a lot. We went to England a bunch and I don’t know. Made a lot of new friends.
KP: Would you say your creative process changed between that EP and this 7-inch?
Val: Creatively, maybe not, but I would say sound-wise, most definitely.
KP: Where do you get your inspiration? What do you listen to or what are you inspired by? Who or what?
Dylan: I don’t know. I guess my love life inspires some of the songs. Current events, news stories, that kind of thing. Things you just see when you’re walking around. And other people’s lives. Little mini-tragedies from people that you know, you know? The things that you talk about with your friends. I don’t know. That kind of stuff, I guess. I don’t try to grow vegetables in an infertile patch.
KP: So what is your creative process like?
Ted: Usually he comes in with some…
Dylan: Some bullshit.
Ted: Some crock of shit and then I take that little crock of shit and clean it up into a little diamond and these guys cut it up and we sell it at the store for way overpriced.
Dylan [bites into calzone]: I have a little MIDI thing that I record music on at home with my computer…
Val: I feel like all you’re going to hear in silence is chewing.
KP: Well, it’s all going to be transcribed, so it’ll just be whoever I send it out to…
Val: Chewchewchew, chompchomp.
KP: What are the next steps for you guys? Are you recording a full-length right now?
Val: We’re almost finished today. Mastered, done. Artwork we’re finishing texton it this week and it’s going to be out in October.
Dylan: It’s on Cantora Records. And it’s called Burning Bush Supper Club. Those are the facts.
KP: Are the two songs from the 7 inch going to be on that?
KP: Good. When I was listening to the EP vs. the 7-inch, I really liked the change you guys had in the sound.
Val: Well, the full-length sounds drastically, drastically different.
KP: Really? How would you describe it?
Ted: It’s more in the vein of the EP.
Val: The new songs have a lot more drum machines, keyboards, just more experimentation with sounds. A lot less of a straight-ahead rock sound. More diversified.
KP: I know people like to label bands lately, like label people’s sounds. Like, chillwave’s a big one —
Val: We are not chillwave. [laughter]
KP: Chillwave’s a big one. Lo-fi, all that shit. If you had to label your sound in a compound word, how would you do so?
Ted: Calzone-fi I don’t know.
Val: Uh, yeah…
KP: What’s it like touring in a band together?
Ted: A lot of repetition.
Dylan: Making the same joke over and over again.
Val: Sleeping. Smoking pot and sleeping.
Ted: Trying to find a good rest spot.
Dylan: Counting how many cute girls are at each show.
Ted: We have fun, though.
Dylan: We check in to make sure we’re having fun. If we’re not, we alter our course.
Ted: If the show’s not working out, we just go somewhere else. We usually do that about once a day. [laughter]
KP: Have you had any crazy stories from this tour?
Val: We were on tour with our buddies from Scotland called We Were Promised Jetpacks. Just getting into lots of shit with them every night. Getting really drunk. I got wrapped in bubble wrap at my friend’s house in Chicago a couple days ago. She’s moving back to New York and we’re like, “Well, we don’t want to let all this bubble wrap go to waste. We might as well wrap each other in it.”
Dylan: We got to see Smashing Pumpkins too.
TJ: Our friend who is tour managing the Jetpacks, Esteban. Awesome guy, by the way. He’s friends with the new guitar player and totally hooked us up. It was surreal.
KP: Where’d you see them at?
Ted: Forecastle Festival in Louisville.
KP: Yeah, they were just in town a couple days ago.
Dylan: They’re doing everything. They’re playing everywhere.
Ted: They’re touring like a rock band tours.