By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
No Egos, No Drugs
Days Between Stations' instro art rock grows organically
Sepand Samzadeh and Oscar Fuentes of art-rock/post-prog instrumental combo Days Between Stations aren't afraid to take their time, baby.
How does a two-man instrumental art-rock band form?
Sepand Samzadeh: We got together in 2003. I put an ad on Music Connection[www.musicconnection.com]. Oscar answered, and we've been doing music ever since.
What was the ad like?
Samzadeh: The only thing I remember mentioning is that I wanted to try some experimental ideas. I mentioned some influences: Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Marillion and Porcupine Tree. And I said no egos and no drugs. Not too many people answered that. Oscar was one of two people who answered. We just hit it off.
Oscar Fuentes: I saw the ad Sepand placed. I used to play in the Women. It had fallen apart in a really ugly way.
Samzadeh: I never told Oscar that he was one of two people to contact me.
Since you play instrumental art rock, I'd guess your ambitions might be a bit different from the average rock band.
Fuentes: I don't want to put words in Sepand's mouth, but I'm disgusted with the state of mainstream rock. I don't have anything against vocals. We're doing something for ourselves.
Samzadeh: When Oscar and I got together, it was more therapeutic. We weren't thinking of releasing a physical CD. We were just thinking about doing the best we could to push each other artistically. As a result, we were shut off from the rest of the world. We got to be creative and play in our own sandbox without any pressure. You create this baby, and you try to figure out what personality it has, and that's what we're going through now.
How do you describe your music?
Samzadeh: That's a tough question. I'm a big fan of classical and modern composers as well as Pink Floyd, Wolf Eyes and Sonic Youth. This is a journey of finding our personality. I use "art rock." Other people say prog rock. It allows the room and freedom for us to not be labeled. It's hard to describe to my friends because they listen to the three-minute pop songs. I say, "It kind of sounds like movie music."
Fuentes: People seem to have that problem with instrumental music in general. "Oh, it's instrumental, so it's like background music." It's not intended to be background music. For convenience sake, I sometimes say "post-prog."
I saw a description of your full-length as a concept album. Is that correct?
Samzadeh: Yeah. It is a concept album.
What's the concept?
Fuentes: Give me the hard ones, huh? [laughs] It's a loose concept, but it's got to do with some events that we were both going through at the time. It's influenced by a death in the family, sickness in general, love lost, and it formed around that. It's pretty heavy, I guess.
Samzadeh: It sounded more like a soundtrack to a certain segment of my life. It was very memory-evoking. So we thought we would go with that concept. Hopefully it can jolt some memories out of a listener and play their life through the blinds on their eyes. That's the loose concept for me.
Did any songs come after the concept, or did the concept idea come about after the songs were written?
Fuentes: The concept grew alongside the songs organically.
Samzadeh: The song "Laudanum" took four years by itself.
What took four years—writing it or recording it?
Fuentes: It wasn't four years with us in the studio five or six days a week. A lot of times, we would take long breaks. I like to think we took four years of Wednesdays and the occasional Saturday. Sometimes, we'd need to go away and let it incubate.
Samzadeh: And see what we like and don't like. "Laudanum" was first a 14-minute screeching saxophone with a lot of delay and guitar feedback. Then it went into a keyboard-jazz thing, and now what you hear four years later. It was a slow evolution.
You mentioned film scores. Are you a rock band that's been influenced by film scores? Do you want to make music for films?
Fuentes: It's definitely an area we're interested in going into. I'm actually studying film scoring at UCLA right now.
Samzadeh: We'd definitely like to work with the Lynches, the Buñuels and the Hitchcocks.