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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Islands Interview

I wrote this for IHEARTCOMIX, enjoy!

So I'm a few weeks late on my Coachella post, but I think that most are a few weeks slower now after that weekend. Since the dawn of my existence the phrase "April showers bring May flowers" has played a crucial role in my understanding of the Spring weather. This has developed further as I have grown older and learned the fascinating world of American pop culture [see Fat Joe's "I Make It Rain"]. However, on April 26 around 10pm I, along with thousands of others, learned first hand what an April shower was - and it came in the form of "Purple Rain."

Once a year, more than 50,000 people from all over the world make their way to the desert of Indio, CA for the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. Many live Coachella to Coachella, others are music festival fiends and there are those who are experiencing this for the first time. In the festival's ninth year, Coachella boasted a strong lineup of world-reknowned artists Prince, Roger Waters and Kraftwerk as well as indie favorites such as Animal Collective, Les Savy Fav and The Cool Kids. Taking a more electronic approach this year, it was not too large of a surprise to see Justice closing this years festival as the holy grail duo known as Daft Punk previously had just two years ago.

Known for its sweltering heat, everyone stands common ground at Coachella - they all want water. From fans to bands this stands true, which is where I met to a water stand.

Islands' Arm's Way is their second LP, due out in May. At the Coachella Music and Arts festival I was lucky enough to sit down with Aaron, the group's drummer, and discuss what's up with the guys.

Hey Aaron, so tell me a bit about the new album.

Well it's titled Arm's Way and will be released on Anti- May 20. We took a different approach with this album in that the music is focused on the band members - there are not any special appearances. Arm's was conceived in Montreal, we wrote the songs in a room with old NOFX and Insane Clown Posse posters on the wall. As a band we put the music together and then singer Nick Thorburn wrote the lyrics.

Speaking of Nick, I'll bring up the Unicorns briefly. I notice that Islands is usually marketed [on blogs and other websites] as the ex-Unicorns. Personally, I don't see that being appropriate. With the release of Arm's Way do you think that will disappear?

When both Nick and Jaime were part of Islands it made more sense to be dubbed ex-Unicorns. With Jamie not in the band it's still going to happen but what are you going to do about it? With Arm's Way I think that the title will fade.

I was lucky enough to catch your free show with Yo Majesty [who didn't show up] at the R Bar in NYC last October during CMJ week. I remember that you played a lot of new tunes there, how long has this album been complete?

That show was actually the first after the band took a four month break. Following that we recorded the album just in time for it to be released before summer.

Now this is your first Coachella, how do you feel it differs from other music festivals?

It's much hotter, but the atmosphere here is such a communal one.

When you're on tour, what's a typical day for Islands?

If Islands is in Salt Lake City, Utah we'll keep to ourselves until soundcheck. Then we'll play a show and go to Denny's afterwards. SLC is a strange place to be, mormons everywhere.

Yeah, I've never been but I can definitely imagine. Islands is made up of very credentialed individuals. Since Prince is playing Coachella I was wondering if your bassist would be joining him.

Patrice hasn't played with Prince in a very long time, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them talk backstage tonight. As far as him playing with Prince, I don't see that happening but it's a great coincidence for them both to be here.

I'm a bit of a video game fanatic, so as a little fun fact, tell me about Alex and Sebastian.

They are 1993 and 1994 World Super NES Fest champions - specializing in Mario Paint, Starfox and Kirby's Dream World.

Are Islands really forever? With the new release can fans expect a new catch phrase? Would a Fall Out Boy's "this ain't a scene, it's an arm's way" be appropriate?

No, Islands are certainly forever.

And just out of curiosity, what is Islands' Coachella drug of choice?

Go to one of the oriental grills and ask for the Heu Ming*, they'll know what's up.

Islands on MySpace
*I can't promise that is the correct spelling

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