MAY 15, 2012 | BRILLOBOX | PITTSBURGH, PA
PHOTOS BY MIHARU KATO
Here We Go Magic has provided the perfect soundtrack to accompany many of my most favorite adventures since their debut in 2009. Their music has weaved itself into the fabric of my life so thickly, that hundreds of memories come flooding back to me each time I hear the first few exotic notes of “Fangela.” I can’t tell you how elated I was to get the interview confirmation the day I planned to drive to Pittsburgh to see them in concert.
Three long hours after driving through epic stretches construction through the hills of West Virginia and Eastern Pennsylvania, Miharu and I climbed out of my car and walked towards one of my favorite venues, Brillobox. We bubbled with excitement as we sipped our beers. Guitarist, Michael Bloch led us to the top floor of the venue. To our delight, we found ourselves in an apartment/art studio. Paint splattered canvases, giant toadstool statues, brushes, wire, and papier-mâché were scattered about the perimeter of the room. It was a super chill, and yet, surreal environment. How appropriate, I thought with a smile.
Peter Hale: You guys are from Columbus right?
KP: Yep, we both drove up from Columbus today.
Peter: Did you grow up there?
Miharu: No, I grew up in Cincinatti.
KP: And I grew up in a small town about 40 minutes east of Cleveland.
Peter: What part of Columbus do you live in?
Miharu: Close to campus.
KP: I live close to downtown.
Peter: Ah, cool! My dad grew up in Upper Arlington, that’s why I asked.
KP: Oh, awesome! We saw you guys when you played the Wexner Center last year.
Peter: It was our first show on our way out to LA.
Michael Bloch: Was I there?!
Peter: Yeah, that four show tour…?
KP: That’s all it was?
Michael: It was just a way to get out to LA to record. We had to bring all of our gear along with us, so we played a couple shows as we drove across the country.
KP: Ahhh, well next time you plan on swinging through Columbus, let us know and we’ll get you in touch with some different venues.
Jen Turner: (laughs) Pete just wrote, ‘What do I do for a living? I smoke lots of weed and say hilarious things on the internet. Got any more stupid questions?’
Peter: He’s my favorite person on Facebook. Always irreverent and always funny. That’s his perfect forum. He’s my friend from NYC but he lives in Austin. I never see him because he’s in a band an tours a lot. He’s a great friend, but he can be a lot to handle in person. But, on Facebook he puts up one update a day and they are ALWAYS really funny. I want to compile them all.
KP: You should!
Peter: They all get saved, and they’re all on your profile forever. I should compile them. But, I guess the context of some of them could be confused… but yeah. Really funny.
KP: I saw a TED talk the other day that pretty much said, because our lives are now archived on the internet… You know that whole hologram thing going on with TuPac and everyone? Well, they could actually create a hologram of you, with your voice, attitude, sentence structure, etc. that could interact with people after you die. The program would be based on what you’ve said online.
Michael: I wonder what my hologram would say…
Miharu: That means HWGM could have reunion tour in 2100.
Peter: Yeah, yeah! All of our artificially intelligent holograms going back to… play? They’d be perfect.
Michael: They’d be better than us.
Michael: You’d think that… dating services would getting a lot better. I mean… are they?
Peter: You’d think they’d have break-up services by now.
KP: That’s what they should do.
Michael: Do you tweet sometimes?
KP: I do. I have tweeted at you guys a couple times.
Michael: Yeah, yeah, yeah! Thaaaat’s how we knew your name.
KP: I actually had a question prepared about one of our twitter interactions. About a year or so ago, you and Bear in Heaven were talking about quitting smoking at the same time. Then I decided to quit smoking a couple months later, so I thought to myself, Maybe I should check in with those guys and see how they’re doing.
Michael [to Peter]: This was last summer when we were upstate and I tweeted that all the men in HWGM had quit smoking.
Peter: Oh yeah.
KP: You guys responded with one of the best tweets ever. Something like, “Since quitting, Luke’s jump shot has improved by 5 feet,” or something ridiculous.
Michael: That was when we were getting ready to go to London. And we were playing a lot of basketball.
KP: Did you succeed in quitting? Everybody?
Michael: Yeah. For a while. I think we’re all on-again-off-again. Luke’s probably the most constant smoker.
Peter: I try not to, but there are certain scenarious where I find it unavoidable. But I think I actually quit.
Michael: Well… Luke’s downstairs smoking right now. So… I guess that says that.
Michael: And, I smoked the other day when we were hanging out with that duck.
Peter: Yeah. That duck. Smoking with the duck.
KP: Wait. You smoked with a duck?
Michael: We hung out with a pet duck the other day. In Charlottesville, West Virginia. That wears duck diapers and is really friendly.
Peter: Yeah, really friendly, extremely domesticated.
KP: And it was wearing a diaper??
Michael: Yeah, they put a diaper on it to catch the eggs.
Peter: No, they put a diaper on it because its a diaper. To catch the shit. But it also catches the eggs. Right? It lays one everyday and they put the eggs in the nest.
[Enter Luke Temple]
Luke: You talkin’ about my diapers?
Michael: Oh! Luke’s back.
[Miharu and I introduce ourselves.]
Luke [to Miharu]: That’s an awesome name. Where are you from?
Miharu: Well I’m actually half Japanese.
KP: And I’m 1/4.
Michael: No way.
Luke: We’re actually going to Japan for the first time this summer.
Miharu: Wow, that’s so exciting!
Peter: Have you ever been?
Miharu: When I was five or six years old. It was a long time ago so things are a bit fuzzy. But, it’s still very nostalgic for me. I’ll smell something and think, aw this reminds me of Japan.
Peter: Wow, yeah. Strongest memories are tied to scent.
KP: I’ve never been, but I have family who live over there. My cousin moved there a couple years ago and now he’s planning on moving to Singapore.
Luke: Oooh! Singapore. Wooo. You get caned if you spit your gum out there.
Luke: There was that story about the American kid they caught graffitiing a wall. They had a public caning.
KP: What?! Really? Now I hope I’m confusing my cities, maybe it’s not Singapore… uhh…
Luke: Well apparently it is perfect. Super clean, everyone is really well adjusted. But it’s extremely conservative.
Jen: Anyone want a beer?
KP: My friend Jimmy saw you guys in DC last night. He told me a very enthusiastic fan ran onstage right before your encore and had you sign his shirt. Jimmy wanted to know what you thought of it.
Luke: Well, I was down and… I was just fucking with my pedal. All of a sudden there was just this back. He came up and put his back to me and like, gave me a pen. [laughter] I didn’t know how to sign it, so I just wrote ‘Here We Go Magic.’ I mean, thats cool. Feels good. This is the first tour where we’ve played outside New York where there are people coming to shows. It feels like theres a palpable interest all of a sudden. People know the new stuff… and just stuff like that is just a novel, new development for us.
KP: The new album is amazing. I noticed theres a big difference between your self-titled album and Pigeons, and now A Different Ship. Did you record the first album by yourself?
KP: How did your creative process differ between this record and the others?
Luke: I had always done a lot of demos…
[Michael starts laughing hysterically. Suddenly a we hear a beer can snap and followed by the sound of liquid hitting the floor]
Michael: Did you just SHOTGUN that?!
Peter: Oh. That’s just our soundguy by the way.
Jen: Did you know you were going to do that? I didn’t get a picture!
Michael: You could see it in his eyes.
[Laugher and break]
Luke: So yeah. I had always done a lot of demos on my 4track. And then I would go and record them properly in the studio. But, I would always go back and listen to the demos after and I felt like there was something more immediate and palpable about them. But, I never decided to make a record that way since it was on a 4track and so lo-fi. I figured I should just make a record with it. It’s the thing I’m most comfortable doing. I spend so much time doing it. If it just sits there as demos and nobody listens to them, it’s kind of a shame. I just did it in my room at night, after work with headphones.
Working with the band is different for obvious reasons. I write the bare structure of the song, and bring it to the band. Everyone comes up with their own idiosyncrasies as to how to treat the song. It’s become more of a… kind of like, a sound. When I work with myself, I can go any direction I want. When I work with the band, it’s democracy, and that’s a good thing. It sort of streamlines stuff, and a lot of the fat gets cut off. You can’t just meander forever. You know? We all have to come to some sort of agreement with each other. And that is slowly codifying the sound of our band.
Michael: Yeah. You start to hear each other when you start to think about things. I know you (Luke) start to hear Peter when you start creating a song. We all think about each other when we think about music now. We expect us. Which is cool.
Luke: There is a pattern evolving. I do normally start with Pete because I think about the top line and the rhythm. So it’s like the two ends of the spectrum first. Then me and Mike have this polyrhythmic thing we do on guitar all the time, so I know that Mike is going to do that. Then, Jen comes in a sort of flips the whole thing. Because, the way Jen plays bass is pretty unorthodox. She doesn’t normally play just certain arbitrary root notes. She injects herself in such a way that it turns the whole thing over.
KP: Has anyone ever told you about experiences they have had while listening to your music?
Peter: One guy said that we saved him from a salvia hole.
Peter: Another said that we helped him calm down his three very high and aggressive friends.
Check out HWGM’s new album A Different Ship, by following the link below.