York County Prison The Season 12 'American Idol' performance finale was intense…
- Posted on Mar 11th 2010 7:33PM by Steven Horowitz
Ari Picker leads Lost in the Trees, a classical pop collective that creates beautiful music that uses cellos, bells, and violins in addition to the more conventional guitar and drums. The North Carolina band recently signed with the Los Angeles Anti-Records label, which should give their music a greater exposure. Ari gave Spinner some clues to what is in his SXSW survival kit [e.g. "rope, candle stick, revolver, dagger, lead pipe"] and explained the connection between coffee and classical music.
Describe the Lost in the Trees' sound in your own words.
I'd say it is equal parts classical style composition and song writing. While working our new record, 'All Alone in an Empty House,' I was listening to a lot of Vivaldi and Chopin, amongst many other composers. You can certainly hear the influence on the two instrumental pieces that appear on the record. I was also listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell's album 'Blue.' Thus my intensely personal songs mingling with string quartets.
What made you decide to be a musician?
I can't remember making a conscious decision about it. Song writing was certainly a defense mechanism against an uncomfortable childhood, so I suppose it was necessary to do it. Although, I'm still asking myself that question what made me decide to make a career out of it.
What are your musical influences?
Creative music would be my broad answer. Most people talk about a musical moment that changed their life forever, and for me that was certainly drinking tons of coffee and going to my History of Western Music class in college. I'd be stunned after each lecture. Classical and coffee go very well together. As far as individuals -- Beethoven, Radiohead, Vivaldi, Neutral Milk Hotel, Saint-Saens, and OutKast to name a few.
How did you come up with your band's name?
I'm a sucker for programmatic music [story telling], and I thought the name Lost in the Trees had an element of story telling in it somewhere.
What's your biggest vice?
Beer! I can't help it. I'm really into home brewing so I'm always drinking something, although I do try to keep it to the evenings.
What's in your festival survival kit?
Rope, candle stick, revolver, dagger, lead pipe, and spanner.
Who was your first celeb crush?
I can think of a few. One would have to be Winona Ryder from 'Edward Scissorhands,' and also Glenda the Good Witch from 'The Wizard of Oz.'
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
'Satan is Real' by the Louvin Brothers -- I love it and it makes me feel really, really guilty.
What musicians have influenced the most?
One of my professors at college studied with Shostakovich as a young man. In class he would play all of Bach's fugues flawlessly on the piano. Then he'd say, "I have to run off to a film festival in the mountains of Europe to improvise fugues over silent films." Bad ass!
Beatles or Stones?
Ten years ago I would have said the Beach Boys! I was addicted to 'Smiley Smile' and the 'Smile' sessions. The Brian Wilson "pocket orchestra" sound was a huge influence on me, but so was 'Eleanor Rigby' by the Beatles. I love the Stones too, especially the 'Flowers' compilation. But don't forget about the Zombies. They had such a good singer, and their fusion of jazz and pop was seamless!
What's your favorite movie?
'The 'Burbs' with Tom Hanks, hands down. I've watched it so many times. The soundtrack scares the shit out of me with all it's scary furnace samples and spooky organs. Most underrated movie ever, although I see it playing on TV all the time.
Have you ever really been lost?
I used to have extreme bouts of insomnia, and I was prescribed Ambien. I'm past all that now. But I remember one time at a party we were playing truth or dare and I was dared to take Ambien and run as deep into the woods as I could, then try to find my way back. I never did it, but I bet I'd get fairly lost.
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