|« Interview with Map.||Interview with Ann Lynn. »|
Interview with BMAS
This week's interview is with BrendoMan from BMAS. Brendo, his friend Phil, and others have been performing as BMAS for nearly ten years. Since 2005 they have been using the Nintendo DS to make their music, which I think is totally awesome! Read on to hear about this great experimental electronic group!
Brax: Is there an interesting story behind your band name?
BMAS: While some tend to believe that it stands for Barry Manilow Audio Sensation, BMAS stands for BrendoMan All-Stars. The BrendoMan name was given to me by a friend of mine and the All-Stars comes from the fact that, aside from me and Phil, our lineup at live shows has never been the same. We usually invite some of the musicians who are playing the show to join us on stage which gives each performance a unique feel.
Brax: How did you get into music and what's the story behind the DS stuff?
BMAS: The whole thing kind of happened by accident. Phil, some other friends, and I used to mess around in the studio at KBBK, which was the radio station at Biola University when we all went there. We would take turns recording songs we'd written and I would just kind of watch but then one night the guys convinced me to read some of my poetry to some of the electronic tracks we'd been messing around with. Imagine the beat poetry scene in So I Married An Axe Murderer but with electronic backing tracks instead of a jazz trio and a bizarro Henry Rollins on the mic instead of Mike Myers. That's kind of what it sounded like. I didn't think about it much after that but Phil and the guys seemed to get a kick out of it and they would play the tapes for people. A year later we ended up playing our first show together.
After college I moved away for awhile and when I came back Phil still wanted to do BMAS stuff but I thought we should try something a little different. Electroplankton had just come out on the DS and I thought that would be a cool thing to mess around with. So we started making some tracks with that and threw them up on MySpace and actually got some good feedback. We added Jam Sessions to our repertoire soon after and we also got this crazy thing called Hand Band that allows you to play the guitar, drums, and keyboard with your hands. So we decided from that point on that instead of traditional instruments we would only use toys and video games. Another huge breakthrough for us musically happened recently when Korg released the DS-10 cartridge, which is basically a full keyboard and sequencer setup but for the DS. We've been working on a bunch of new tracks using it and hopefully they'll be finished soon.
Brax: Tell me about your best and worst live show ever.
BMAS: We've only played three shows ever and I think they were all awesome in their own way. My favorite would have to be when we opened at Springfest 2000 at Biola. We got to open for some awesome bands like Norway, House of Wires, and Thee Spivies and they had a giant bouncy slide and Krispy Kreme donuts. You can't go wrong with that for your first show ever.
Brax: What are your favorite bands to see live, and why?
BMAS: That is a great question! I have so many answers. I would have to say that right now two of my favorite bands to see live are Arcade Fire (how awesome is that Where The Wild Things Are trailer?) and Cold War Kids. It's always crazy seeing CWK because Matt Maust, their bass player, played two shows with us and is responsible for the creation of the name BrendoMan. Not to mention the fact that they put on an awesome show. I know Phil would kick my butt if I didn't mention Starflyer 59 and Joy Electric. Jason and Ronnie Martin are two of the most amazing musicians out there and are always amazing to see live.
Brax: If your band could time travel, what era would you travel to, and why?
BMAS: I would have to say the late 70's and early 80's because I think it would be cool to see bands like Kraftwerk and the B-52's in their heyday and jam with them. Also it would be cool to go to a real arcade again.
Brax: Where do you see your band in 5 years?
BMAS: Hopefully still recording tracks and maybe playing a show or two.
Brax: iPod, CD, Vinyl, or other? Why?
BMAS: They all have their positives but I love vinyl for the cover art and I have so many memories attached to cassette tapes. I was a mix tape junkie even through college and I had an old car stereo so I could only play tapes so up until about 5 years ago I always had tons of tapes in my car. I recorded the first BMAS tracks on my cassette deck which was hooked up to my computer. At shows we would just mic a boombox and play the tape. I guess technology has come a long way since then.
Brax: Are there any musical influences that you'd say impacted your sound the most?
BMAS: If I had to really narrow it down I would say 1955 era Soul Junk, Joy Electric, and House of Wires are what really first inspired us and still does. Lately I have been inspired by bands like Crystal Castles and Dan Deacon especially because I can now give people a better answer when they ask who we sound like.
Brax: What is your opinion on extraterrestrial life?
BMAS: Well, you seem pretty awesome so if the rest of the aliens are like you I think there is nothing to worry about.
Brax: Any advice for others trying to “make it” in music?
BMAS: Just keep doing what you love. If you find yourself not loving music anymore, you probably need to re-evaluate what you're doing. Also, plastics.
Brax: Anything else you’d like to add?
BMAS: Thank you for interviewing us!
Tell them Brax sent you!
Thanks to BMAS for the interview.
Check back next Wednesday for another great interview!