Need To Know: Lynx and Janover

7.20.2010

By Nick Stergiopoulos

Why do you think Boulder and San Francisco are such
hotbeds for this style of music that borrows from various cultures and is both
live music and synth based?

I think it really started with New York and the West Coast
being hotbeds of electronic music. Through that process, Boulder jam bands
began to expand on their music by including bluegrass and other styles and also
included electronic music. Now everybody’s on board.

Do you like the term “jam?”
That’s not really what we are doing but that’s where some of
the roots of what we do come from.

It’s one of those genre titles that's diluted.
Yeah, it’s because there is so much variety. It’s like
saying that you are playing rock. Joni Mitchell is rock and Metallica is rock.
It is a super vague term. Electronic or jam, at this point, is a very broad
category. There is so much diversity in the universe right now and the world of
music is no exception. There are so many sub-genres. I think anytime you say
something like that you are generalizing.

Where do you think Lynx and Janover fits into the musical landscape?
I think you can technically call us electro-acoustic in the
sense that we are playing acoustic instruments but we have a computer onstage.
We are mixing ancient technology with modern technology. It is a blending of
the worlds. We named our record Between Worlds partly because of that fact
that we are at heart originally acoustic musicians playing in a somewhat
traditional style having to do with songwriting and folk and acoustic music,
but we are also lovers of electronic music as producers and DJs. That is the music
we listen to and the social festival scene we are a part of. Sometimes we are
the only artists on the festival lineup that are pulling out instruments that
you have to tune. We are the only people playing acoustic instruments at an
all-electronic music festival like Shambhala Festival in British Columbia,
which is one of the bigger electronic music festivals in North America. Not
many people are playing instruments with strings at that event.

Do you think that festivals have made your audiences more
varied?

We love playing festivals because we get to be part of
greater community of musicians and meet people and plant seeds for
collaborations down the line. You get to also play for people that may or may
not know who you are because they are at this festival. We are doing 25
festivals this year.

That’s amazing! I interviewed Beats Antique, who I know are good friends of yours and now a musical collaborator, and both your groups
are a testament to the power of touring.

Those guys are our close friends and we have already
collaborated with them on one track and we are about to put out another track
we did together and we are talking about doing more tracks. Part of the reason
we want to collaborate with them is because we have a similar take on the music
making process. We don’t rule out anything. We are into big dub-step bass and
the electronic sounds of drums and also live instruments. David Satori plays
violin and Tommy “Sidecar” Cappel plays a drumkit and Lynx plays guitar and
sings, which is one of the oldest form of human expression. Not a lot of DJs
have live vocals. We are pretty much the exception. It’s a good time to bring
this into the world. It’s a good time to bring a tradition and mix it with
modern technology, which in some cases have only been around for a few months.
We are constantly getting new gear and software and staying super current with
modern new technologies.

What is your process or writing and recording a track?
It depends. There are different orders. Sometimes Lynx
writes the lyrics in a traditional, songwriting format. It’s putting the song
in the context of electronic music, rather than recording guitar and vocals.
Sometimes the track comes first and then the beats and the melodies and the
words get written after the fact and sometimes the other way around. It’s not
set. Lynx writes most of the lyrics and the songs.

How has the response been to your most recent album?
It’s been great. We released our last EP Between Worlds
last July and we will have another album out this July. We don’t have a name
for it yet. We are going in to mix sound pretty soon.

Do you record in house or in the studio?
We record in various places. We have a studio at our house
and we occasionally go to other people’s studios. We are doing mixing and
mastering in a really nice professional studio. In some cases a track can get
worked on in the computer using Abelton Live software and you don’t actually
have to be in a quote-and-quote studio. You can be in an airplane even! Tracks
get made wherever we are. We are on the road for at least half the time -- as you
can see from our schedule. We are about to do every weekend until October.

Do you have a favorite venue?
I love the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. I’ve
played onstage at Red Rocks in Colorado. That is probably my number one favorite
venue. Bali Spirit Festival was really great in Bali.

When you play oversees do you get a different reaction
because you are so world music influenced?

I don’t know. We were psyched to see that our music
translated really well with the Japanese. They loved it and danced away just
like any other audience here would -- the same with Bali. If anything, we were in
a context of mostly world music at the Spirit Festival and all-of-the-sudden we
pulled out this West Coast electronic sound mixed with songwriting. Even in the
West Coast festival circuit it is considered cool and different, but when we
are in the context of Bali Spirit with all those different sounds from around
the world, we really stood out and most people had a really positive reaction.
We made a lot of contacts and we are planning on doing an extended Asia tour
and maybe Australia next year.

Where did you guys first get introduced to world music?
We have been interested in all different kinds of music
since we were kids and I don’t think we necessarily play world music. We have
been influenced by many different sounds from around the world.

What would you ultimately like to gain from introducing
this new form of music to a wider variety of people?

A lot of it boils down to the idea that we are running out
of time to change our ways of doing business on the planet. By that I mean the
social organisms of the human race are acting in a way, as we can see, that
isn’t very sustainable for the planet.

And Lynx, can you talk to me about being queer in the
electronic music genre? Is it necessary to be open on stage?

Lynx: I think it’s fairly obvious by looking at me. It’s a very
alternative scene anyways. I feel totally comfortable with being out. That’s
definitely taken some time in my life in general, but I do feel like within the
music world that I am part of that it’s totally acceptable. It’s not
particularly saturated with queer folks but there are some. It’s interesting
because in this particular scene -- the West Coast electronic scene -- I haven’t
actually played a lot of queer fests but I would love to! I’ve been getting
calls to play Pride events and those sorts of things, which I would love to
play more of in the future.

Do you think that because you are queer there is more of
a necessity to have a political message within your music?

I think overall there is a necessity to be saying something.
I don’t know if it would be different if I wasn’t queer but I definitely think
that it’s important to speak out being so. A lot of lyrical content is more
based on the general state of the world and asking about where we are at and
what can we do, more than preaching. I use metaphors to bring things to the
surface for people in a way that is accessible.

Because there is such a small minority of queer
electronic artists, are you received differently depending on where you are in
the world?

I’ve never really run into any problems with it. We were
just in Japan and Indonesia playing shows and we played a show in Canada and we
are about to go to Portugal and I think it’s pretty much the same across the
board. I don’t know if that would be different if my band mate wasn’t a
straight older male. I don’t know if it would be different if I was just out
there doing it myself, but I definitely have struggled with attitudes less from
people coming to the shows and more of those running venues. They think because
I am a girl in particular that I don’t really know what I am talking about when
it comes to sounds and setups and all the technical aspects.

Interesting. When did you come out of the closet?
I was 19 -- so, about 6 years ago.

If you could have any hope for anything within the queer
community -- musical or otherwise -- what would it be?

I just hope for more and more integration within the world
and acceptance within the world. I think it’s due time for not only tolerance
but acceptance across the world. Otherwise, we are kind of done for.

Were there any queer artists that inspired you to come
out of the closet?

The obvious one is Ani Difranco. She is definitely one of my
main artists.

Have you ever met her? I have met her a couple times. It was amazing. I actually played Rothbury Festival last
summer and I sat in and beat boxed with Matisyahu, who is a Hassidic Jew who is
a reggae star. That was really interesting because I sat in with him right
before Ani played on that same stage and first I heard after I sat in with him
from people in his crew that they were amazed he let a woman on stage with him.
Second, Ani’s drummer came and talked to me for about a half an hour and it was
really cool to talk to someone else about being a queer girl in the music world.

Are there any artists you would love to collaborate with
other than Ani Difranco?

When I think of things that I want to be like or create
something like, it is people like Bjork and Imogen Heap and Ani -- people who are
self-produced pretty much and really have a voice and a force in the world and who
are women but aren’t doing the full-on diva thing.

For upcoming summer tour dates visit: http://www.lynxandjanover.com/

-- COURTNEY NICHOLS

Previously > Need to Know: The Golden Filter

Tags: Popnography
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