Sunday, May 4, 2008

Two and a Half Questions with Todd Chappell

Describe your composition process.
How I compose my songs varies pretty often. If I had to put it into steps, I would say the first step would be that I come up with something simple, whether it's a piano part or a chord progression, and I take it from there. After that, I just do what sounds good, and/or what I want the atmosphere of the song to be. A lot of times I think a song is done, and I'll go and listen to it again and realize I need more there, so that's sort of step two in the process. There's a lot of layering with my music, and I try to manipulate the sounds I use as much as possible. I'll go back days later after recording the song and add reverb and delay and mix things differently, and even reverse sounds and change keys just to explore all of my possibilities. I've had songs that have changed completely from the original just by adding an extra layer of a reversed pad, etc - (An example of this would be "For Once").

Besides music, what is the role of minimalism in your daily life?
I think minimalism plays a part in my daily life without me even knowing it sometimes. I've always been drawn to the "less is more" aspect. I'll be looking at photographs, and I'll see one of a huge landscape with tons of trees and mountains and think "that's pretty cool", and then I'll see a picture of two wires out of focus and a white background and think "now that's awesome". It's just a natural thing that I've always admired - how you can show so much with presenting so little.

Where does ambient meet shoegaze?
I think ambient and shoegaze can mean completely different things to different people. To me, shoegaze is represented by bands like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, and ambient is represented by bands like Stars of the Lid and Hammock. I guess the point where both genres meet would have to be the reverb aspect of it. Both genres use a ton of reverb to change the ways the guitars, vocals, and drums sound, but I think it's the way that they're presented that separate them. To me, shoegaze is more raw sounding and ambient is more refined. |


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