Posted by: Necci – Jun 26, 2012
This past Sunday, the Times-Dispatch ran a story about the three-letter representation of our fair city, RVA. The moniker is catching on, as RVA bumper stickers are in high demand and some of the area blogs are using it in their names. Not only do these three little letters breed pride in our city, but they help make a mark from an international perspective. I can't help but notice that RVA Mag was one of, if not the, first organization to use the nickname. [Credit where it's due--we first heard it from the local hardcore band Inquisition back in the early 90s. -ed.] Let's get into some RVA summer music:
Photo by Jaime Barnett
This week Sounds of RVA got to shoot the shit with Alex French, guitarist for White Laces and the man behind side project Flossed in Paradise. Flossed in Paradise plays Saturday, 6/30 @ Steady Sounds (also playing: Ohbliv). This session will be the first of a series started once a month at Steady Sounds, featuring two to three musicians, both touring and local, for FREE. The rest of the dates are: 7/21, 8/18, and 9/15, with musicians/bands/DJs TBA.
What was your inspiration in starting Flossed in Paradise?
Well, inception happened in summer 2010 after I had stayed a weekend in Baltimore volunteering for Wham City's Whart Scape Festival. I got to see far too many experimental set ups that weekend to not spark ideas to break out of the typical band or solo performer set up. That was also the "summer of chillwave," so I was being inundated with the concept of Southern bros sitting in their bedrooms making new-wave inspired synth jams. The first things I wrote from this was "Evil Eye" and the more chorus-y middle portion of "Shut Eye," which I realize now are way more post-punk than I really intended.
Do you take anything you use in White Laces to this side project? (i.e., effects, pedals, etc.)
It started off that way. When I was first learning about equipment and midi, I would borrow things from [White Laces singer/guitarist] Landis [Wine] for way longer than I think he realized. I had his Micro Korg for four months at least, and I blew up his Line 6 delay pedal with a 12 volt adapter. I was also doing a lot more guitar back then in FIP, so I would basically use the same pedal board and amp set up as I do in [White Laces]. Now it seems to be the other way around; the guys are always trying to get me to use my synth for FIP in the band, but it's a pain to bike with [laughs].
Did you play music growing up?
Definitely. I started guitar lessons at 12, and was basically writing songs, going to shows, and playing in "bands" from that point on. My older sister Lindsey [of Les La Britannica] and I started playing music at the same time too, so I always had someone slightly cooler and slightly better than me to guide me along.
What's next for Flossed in Paradise?
Unadulterated sequencing? The majority of that first EP was still me layering recordings. I now am way into being able to trigger and sequence everything I need live, more like a traditional electronic artist would. Given that, I have like 3 or 4 new songs I have been playing live that I don't having any recordings of yet. I'm so put off by self recording/producing that I could definitely see myself getting a little help on the production side for the next EP.
What have you been listening to lately?
Well, in terms of trying to intentionally steer myself, I have been scoping out a lot of early nineties European house and synth-pop. Saint Etienne is a good example, a British indie-dance group that is popular for a cover of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart." I would say I am trying to move past my typical post-punk influences, maybe just one decade.
Describe your ideal Saturday afternoon/evening.
First of all, not opening the coffee shop. Secondly, brunch with friends, where we all order lots of either mimosas [or] Bloody Marys (or both). Third, since it is summer in Richmond, would be a river trip. Fourth would be to grill out until about midnight. I'd say it's pretty simple.
Where is your favorite place to write music, and under what circumstances?
Well typically I get my best ideas while spacing out at work, then I hum the melody or whatever riff into my phone's voice recorder. It's definitely not ideal for me to have something strike me while I'm hanging out with people; I end up completely not listening to anything anyone says to me.
What's next for White Laces?
Everything is basically finalized for our new record, MOVES. The vinyl [LPs] are currently being pressed, and are slated to be out mid-August. From there we see what kind of reception it gets, and see what that means for touring.
poster by Ying Jun Cheng
Check out February's Flossed In Paradise release, Hate EP:
Pastoral is a Richmond shoegaze/folk band made up of Brad Watson (guitars, vox, pictured above), Matt Sherman (drums, laptop) and Rob Richards (bass, production). The band has recently released its debut (and farewell?) self-titled EP. They call themselves "loud soft loud rock from River City," and that's about right. With each song lasting five-plus minutes, there is time for a build up and release. Watson's vocals are a bit nasal, and the sound is pretty emo, but that works for these arrangements. Watson's voice becomes a familiar boon during some shoegaze/progressive moments. Check out the EP yourself:
Pastoral plays @ The Camel 7/9 with Red States, Westhampton Citybillies (RVA rock n' roll via NoVa), and Brick & Mortar (electronica/soul). Also check them out @ The Camel 7/24 with Rainbow Danger Club, Arabia Terra, Letters as Numbers (RVA post rock), and Hail the Titans (Alabama ambient).
Musicians from Richmond and Charlottesville got together recently under the name From Here on Blue. They released an album, Let it Rain, in April. Singer/songwriter Mark Coffman returned to his hometown of Charlottesville after being in Richmond in 2009, and he collaborated with longtime friend Chris Payne of Richmond, as well as Richmonders Dom Prudente and Mark Moran. The result is a sweeping pop album with a hint of Americana. From Here on Blue's album release show will be in Charlottesville @ The Southern (7/11) with Classified Frequency (DC power pop). The band also plays @ Colonial Downs 7/20.
By Sarah Moore Lindsey (soundsofrva.tumblr.com)