Aesthetic Death Artist- Pando Interview up
1. 1st why the name Pando and how does it of to what you create?
a: we’ve been asked this in the past and I think it’s probably because it’s not a name like “dismal dick destroyer” or something. pando is the name of a colony of aspen trees out in Utah that are all connected by the same root system. The particular organism/forest resonated with us in terms of our friendship. We especially wanted something that wasn’t inherently “metal” sounding.
2. I hear spaghetti Westerns, Americana, Sonic youth , Sebadoh and black metal? How did these ideas come about?
a: everything we do is just our personalities coming out in audio format. we try to keep things as organic as possible, so none of our stuff is so much “written” as it is just natural progression from back and forth ideas. a lot of our process is sitting down over a couple drinks and discussing art and philosophy, which tends to enlighten some kind of concept. we usually jam and record up to hour long jam sessions and pick the best sounding “music” parts and see what we can do to puzzle-piece in some of the ideas we discussed. if it works, it works. if it doesn’t, we don’t use it. recently, I finished an entire album myself without Matt and we sat down and chewed on it for over a month and decided to scrap the whole thing. we may be using parts of it for whatever comes next. musicians take making the music too seriously. when music is a conversation between individuals and not just one person dictating an idea, it’s the easiest part of making an album. it might not be the most polished thing in the world, but it’s going to feel more natural than the thousandth, processed guitar chug you hear. musicianship doesn’t mean anything if you can’t make an interesting track. at that point, you are just emulating. pando doesn’t make “technical” music by any means, so where the “western” stuff is coming out that you are hearing is just the natural responses that occur during a jam because no one is going to just rip out a sweep pick in the middle of a jam. that’s like trying to talk to someone that just can’t sit and listen to your end of a discussion, so they keep interrupting, and you can tell a lot about a person based on how they jam in a band-type environment. the guy that can’t put the sticks down for a minute to feel some ambience or the guitarist that has to be overly show-boaty to take control. not everything needs to be 300 beats per minute. this is why i feel like the concept or message is more important than the “music” portion of it. obviously, because it’s put into a medium for entertainment, it’s going to be received as music, so there needs to be some attention to aesthetic, but that’s, at least for me, probably the least important part. i care more about giving the listener an experience to take away from the albums. it’s kinda a weird place to be in when you are making something that doesn’t work on it’s own in an art gallery, but is difficult to place into a category in a record store.
3. I just got the CD issue of your debut from Aesthetic death how does it differ from the 2018 album?
a: when we recorded our first album, we didn’t have access to anything really. no real DAW other than audacity with a shit computer and no access to any microphones other than a dynamic mic. the entire album was recorded using a tascam portastudio with one microphone and cellphones. neither one of us had money to spend on studio time and creating a “rock-band” type album was not a real interest to either of us. i was actually way more into making a physical thing than matt was at the time and I slowly stopped giving so much of a shit about “riffs” and stuff the more we hung out. so gradually, we just started recording our jams because it was all improvisation and didn’t feel forced. we were having fun and being productive at the same time. most of the field recordings we use are just stuff we’ve recorded with our cellphones while we are enjoying each other’s company.
4. Aesthetic death and Pando how did partnership begin and what are you looking for?
a: we were just looking to release our material on a physical format and stu at AD showed interest. releasing our albums on a physical format was something we always were interested in because the visual art is as important to us as the audio. having something to sit down with, read through and hold while you listen to an album makes the experience a little more intimate. being a bit of an audio nerd, I would love to eventually put out something on vinyl. in my opinion. though, I feel the main draw of audio is that it can be enjoyed anywhere and can often enhance your experience of your surroundings. that’s something that tends to be something that only works for audio, really.
5. Visuals and Themes how to they tie in with what Pando does?
a: the visuals are equally as important as the audio, sometimes more than, in that they enhance the audio or even have a hand in the creation of the audio itself. several of matt’s sculptures have influenced my audio compositions and vice versa. from the conceptual art pieces, to the philosophical discussion of art, that’s what really connected matt and I to begin with. our mutual respect for art and art philosophy and our practice of those things through our friendship is literally what pando is. I mean, to keep us from falling into the realm of pretentious art snobs, we gotta have a few laughs about male genitalia and cock-shaped things because, let’s face it, the art world is a bastardization of this consumerist society the same way everything else is with culture. but I think that’s why we present pando in the way we do. it's a kind of understanding of these concepts. it’s not exactly hidden in our material about how we feel in regards to societal norms and how those “norms” are projected into culture. art breeds culture. and so, naturally, the art world is a reflection of where we are socially.
6. Does Pando want to play live and if you have what is or would the experience be like.
a: we’ve talked about playing live several times and have been nagged numerous times to do it. we both have children and jobs that make it difficult to do any kind of show and matt and I don’t see each other as often as we used to anyway with his role as a new father. the other issue is how we would approach it because pando certainly isn’t the type of project that would work the same as any other band that just jumps up on stage and plays “songs.” we come with a visual art background and we would definitely want something more than just going up there and playing random stuff, not to mention that we don’t make “rocking out” kinda music. There’s nothing to head-bang or mosh to with our shit and that’s the majority of the metal scene out here, which is what we would get dumped into the mix with if we did any local shows. if we played in an art gallery, I doubt it would resonate the same, so it’s really a matter of what environment we would want to perform in, which would then govern what type of audience we would be performing for. if I had to say what a “live” pando would be like, whenever it gets to that, I’d imagine it would be more interactive with the audience. I don’t see it being so much as a concert as I do an experience. I recently saw Sunn O))) live for the first time and that’s the closest thing I can think of to compare what I visualize it looking like in my head, but in the middle of an NPR podcast or something. we honestly have no idea, which is the only reason we haven’t yet.
7. At times I hear alot of MZ412 in what you do are you black noise / black industrial bands at heart?
a: i would comment, but after some research, I honestly have no idea what that is and couldn’t find anything online. haha so in my best effort to answer your question, i don’t think pando really works well in any genre though. part of what works best for us is the ability to not be pigeon-holed into one category, so that way we can do whatever we want without having to live up to a particular expectation of staying within certain boundaries. i always found it a bit odd that despite the diversity of metal’s sub-genres, a lot metalheads tend to be very close-minded as to what is acceptable music. scrolling through any online forum and you will find more arguments about whether or not something is a particular genre than anything. it’s kinda bothersome that we spend so much time labeling and categorizing everything. i don’t think everything needs an index card.
8. What band or projects impress Pando currently?
a: I don’t listen to much music anymore. I find myself, more often than anything, driving in my car without any music or with some podcast playing in the background. even podcasts can get tiresome after awhile, especially with today’s politics bleeding into everything. I will occasionally put on some meditation stuff to relax, meditate, or do yoga too. it’s really nice to just go camping somewhere out in the woods or near a tall mountain and only have the ambience of nature. the world is too noisy sometimes…..that being said, if I’m exercising, I’ll put on the most bullshit, non-sensical heavy stuff. I was lifting weights to Behemoth and Corrupted the other day, doing planks in between guitar drops in El Mundo Frio.
9. If a budget for a video for any song what would you like it to look like and present to your audience?
a: we’ve actually discussed film quite a few times and recorded several minutes of footage. one of the things that have come up amongst conversation was releasing an accommodating visual collage for our next album. i don’t think we could ever do a single song as a music video though. the tracks only work as an entire album in order to fit a particular concept, so it wouldn’t seem right isolating one track. i believe Zappa talked shit about music videos being commercial advertisement for an entire album of material.
10. Is it difficult to create these avant , tormented and aurally beautiful soundtracks we hear?
a: it depends. as I previously said, the “music” parts are the easiest parts of it. but if creating a cohesive album wasn’t, at least, somewhat challenging, I don’t think I would have any interest in doing it. it certainly requires a bit of craft to create anything. but I never see it as a struggle because it’s an outlet for me. I suppose, where the complexity comes in, is where we have to make this outlet also function aesthetically.
11. How has the digital age help or hindered the way Pando presents there hymns to the world?
a: as annoying as the digital age is, pando wouldn’t be a thing without it. while, pop and mainstream commercial success has gotten worse, I feel like the underground scene has gotten better. trust me, I can’t stand just about everything that comes with this current generation of technology, but like it or not, the flow of information has been incredibly useful to those who utilize it. It’s really about trying to finding a balance with everything. escaping to the woods and living life as a hermit sounds great until you realize how lonely you are. but then being so submersed in society with all it’s constant stimuli is mentally exhausting. as long as the tool never uses the user, life’s going to continue as it has. when books first started mass production, people used to give other people hell for reading too much. it’s all how you use it.
12. 4 words describe the sound of Pando to someone listening for very 1st time?
a: Casting out inner demons
13. At the end of the day what do you want Pando to leave behind as it's legacy?
a: nothing. and then everything. if people take anything at all from it, that’s enough for me. I think it would be really great if pando was the catalyst for a good conversation, you know? I don’t mean people sitting there and talking about their favorite bands or anything, but if someone just suddenly started talking philosophy and pando popped up in the midst of conversation or an album was used to start a conversation about something far more interesting than music, I feel like that would be something really great. maybe it will inspire people to watch twin peaks or something.
14. If you could cover any song and make it your own which and why?
a: right now, if I were to cover any song, I’d probably be Robbie Basho’s “Blue Crystal Fire” because of how creepy it sounds. If I had to make a horror movie, that’d be the song I’d play as someone was getting murdered. just that crackly, old vinyl recording sound with his ominous vibrato. the track I wish I wrote though is this song by The Necks called “Blue Mountain” off the album “Unfold.” I really like jazz music and there aren’t enough musicians around here that appreciate jazz to play something in the likes of Kenny Dorham or Davis, so I tend to listen enviously to a lot of jazz records, but that particular Necks track is the perfect blend of jazz and meditation. I’ve never heard such a beautiful song and I will put it on from time to time to meditate.
15. So members of Pando have other project to show the world ?
a: I created this electronic, audio drama album for my son on bandcamp recently under “once traveled.” (https://oncetraveled.bandcamp.com) he came up with this whole story plot and I just narrated it using sounds and music. it was actually a lot of fun because I did stuff I wouldn’t normally do for pando, since I took into consideration his musical tastes and how his story progressed. there’s almost dance-type vibes and I’m not at all into that kind of coffee-house stuff normally, but it was a learning experience with recording different sounds. definitely a sci-fi inspired piece. aside from that, matt and I are both working diligently on our homes, if you count those as projects. And matt is always working on his visual art stuff, working on his own personal pieces as well as art related to pando material. he spends hours at a time just sanding giant pieces of wood and is really devoted to his craft. we both, therapeutically enjoy painting.
16. Thank you for time closing thoughts here .