Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 12th 2010 3:59PM by Ngozi Odita
Describe your sound in your own words.
Jon Mueller: Loud.
Chris Rosenau: Rock 'n' Roll
Thomas Wincek: Expansive
How did your band form?
CR: I started Collections of Colonies of Bees as a side project in 1998. I had been recently laid off from work, and received a severance that afforded me some time to drink some wine and write a largely acoustic-based, somewhat-atmospheric record, different than what I was doing at the time. I made 100 CDRs, hand-packaged them and gave away to friends. It was just Jon and I at that point. We barely ever played, and when we did it was always a new set, never the same twice. We did some records when we had time between then and 2004 when our "main" band at the time, Pele, disbanded. At that point, we really began focusing on Bees, working with different people, concentrating more on crafting a more reproducible live set. We also started to move away from the sound the first records had started, finding more rock-based ideas sneaking in. Since then it has been myself, Jim and Jon, with an evolving cast of other characters. The current iteration is definitely the most solid of any and, strangely enough, conceptually polar opposite of what the project started out as.
What are your musical influences?
JM: The quest for something to change how I think and feel.
CR: King Buzzo, Jimmy Page, Derek Bailey, Harry Chapin and Ronald Palmer, Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, Jim O'Rourke, Doc Boggs, Mandy Patinkin.
TW: Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Rhys Chatham, Neu!
How did you come up with your band name?
CR: I had an upstairs neighbor around 11 years ago who had a lot of hobbies. Really interesting guy. One of the hobbies he had was as an apiarist. We were talking about it one night, and he would answer all of my questions about beekeeping by referring to his "collections of colonies of bees." The phrase resonated with me. Jon and I were in a rock band called Pele at the time, and I was interested in doing a more acoustic based side project. It needed a name. I still like the name a lot.
What's your biggest vice?
JM: Watching 'Celebrity Rehab.'
CR: Good times.
TW: Brown Gas.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
JM: Natasha Beddingfield.
CR: Mandy Patinkin. Going to see him in Chicago this weekend actually. No idea what to expect, but I have been waiting to see him live since I saw him hijack the David Letterman show years ago with Tony Randall and sing 'Brother Can You Spare A Dime.' Amazing.
TW: I don't feel guilty about any pleasures, and I think Lady Gaga is fantastic performance art.
What's in your festival survival kit?
JM: My wife.
CR: Whiskey and a pillow with the word "Mother" written on it.
TW: Bulliet and clean clothes
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
CR: I once saw about 13 Japanese men with whom we were currently touring wearing nothing but cloth diapers buy every iced snack in a Tokyo convenience store and proceed to have a "free giveaway" on the street in front of the venue. Miraculous.
For the most part, your music has no vocals. Why is that?
JM: "What are words for, when no one listens anymore?"
TW: We actually have used voice in our music, and I think we all find vocals useful and interesting. However, we prefer to focus on voice as another texture and instrument rather than the main focus. Music is by nature instrumental. Lyrics are a separate entity that can be great, but they should never be confused with music.
Your music is very original it does not seem follow traditional music structure -- the sections don't repeat and the melody is constantly changing and building. What is your writing or creation process?
CR: It starts with someone writing a part or two, usually something pretty simple. We all play around with it live on multiple occasions until we have rough individual parts and a solid structure and dynamic that we are all interested in. Usually this happens pretty quickly and easily. The idea keeps getting constructed and deconstructed until, usually, the seminal riff exists in the song to some extent, but the entire idea has evolved into something completely different and better by the end of this process. Other riffs, transitions, counter melodies and polyrhythms that pop up as we are figuring everything out are added and subtracted and worked around again and again. When we record it, these individual parts get honed even further. The parts we play live are informed by this entire process.
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