Q And Not U's Christopher Richards Speaks Politics
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re free--free to play new instruments, free to try anything. As a trio, there was more sonic room for everyone to operate in. I really cherish that freedom to this day.
If I hear correctly, the band is currently working on a new album. How far have you gotten with that?
As of Memorial Day weekend, we've got a dozen songs in the bag and we hope to eke out a few more before we start recording in mid-June.
As far as the sound is concerned, what direction(s) are you moving in (musically and lyrically)? Is it changing? Why or why not?
We think the new songs run a pretty healthy gamut--we have some serious street jamz, some medieval folk sounding ditties, some ragged punk romps. I hope we surprise people, and I hope we excite people. The lyrics are still being written right now, but I'm trying to be a little more direct than I've been in the past. I've always been hung-up on trying to eradicate any biographical, first-person element from my lyrics, and make it more about "we, we, we" instead of "me, me, me." I think that might change this time around. For instance, I really want to write a song about my brother. And you probably haven't met him.
Take us through a normal, song-writing session. Who does what and when? Who is the primary song-writer? Lyricist?
Not to dance around your question, but there isn't really a tried and true formula. We arrive at much of our music from just improvising together in practice, but recently we've developed a tendency towards crafting things on our own clock before presenting them to the band. Sometimes we make a more compelling case if we present our ideas to each other in a more realized state. In the end, everyone writes their own parts, but I think cultivating things in the primary stages helps establish the vibe a little more clearly. And everyone writes. John (drums) brings guitar riffs, Harris (guitar/keys) brings bass lines, I come up with ideas on a drum machine. It's all very open. This band is really a kick to play in because I think we're always finding new ways to communicate with each other. And I love that.
Anyone who listens to Q and Not U cannot deny the political awareness imbedded within the songs. Explain how your political views and ideals transition into the music?
John once came up with a crude, but rather trenchant analogy for making music in this band that goes like this: he said that writing songs is essentially like taking a shit. You put all of this stuff inside of you; let your body absorb it, and then you shit your finished product. So if you listen to Rufus Thomas all month, even if you don't cognizantly try to emulate him, something about Rufus Thomas is going to show up in your music. I think this is why the best musicians probably have the best record collections. You are what you eat!
And that goes for everything. If you're consuming a lot of news media, if you're reading a lot of fashion magazines, if you're watching tons of French new wave films, if you're obsessed with the NBA playoffs, if you're learning how to meditate, if the heat index is really freakin
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