Under The Influence // Foot Village
In an attempt to figure out how the hell Foot Village got to where they are, we decided to quiz Brian Kinsman about the influences behind the band. Some of the choices seem pretty apt, but the last one? We'll let Brian explain...
When I first obsessed over this band back in Jrn High, I decided then and there that I wanted my music to sound like Huggy Bear albums. So raw and alive, but still recorded well enough to hear everything just right. To this day, I still hold up my recordings next to the Huggy Bear collection 'Taking the Rough With The Smooch' as a standard for quality. Can't say I always live up to it, but I like to think that sometimes I do. It definitely is a subject thing. And using their rawness as a reference point often upsets producers that strive for a certain type of technical perfection, but it doesn't matter to me. Those are perfect recordings that fit perfectly for their smart attitude/lyrics.
Besides being the band that I've listened to most in my life, this is also the band that defined my understanding of composition. That created my love for sudden unexpected changes in songs and for stark contrast within arrangements. These guys were so far ahead of the curve that when I reissued all their albums from the 90s earlier this year, people told me it is the sound of the future. And that is the fucking truth. You ever see that cartoon Brave Starr? Cowboys on alien planets using technology that doesn't exist yet? That is rRope for you. So down home. So out of this universe. I am proud to be a student of theirs.
Until I toured with Captain Ahab in about 05, I approached live performance as a recital. Always so stressed out about getting every note right and so confused about why some note perfect performances still fell flat. Captain Ahab, on the other hand, always considered the audience and room first. Even when playing to just 2 people that obviously rather be somewhere else, they had great shows. Cuz what mattered most was connecting to the people there. If music got sloppy or went off the map, who cares. Seeing this changed everything for me. My song writing got simpler and based more on having general movements that could go many ways live, so I don't have to sit there counting and doing hard things on my instrument. Suddenly playing live was really fun. For me and for audiences. You wouldn't be reading this now if it wasn't for Captain Ahab. No one would give a shit about what some crappy, soulless performer has to say.
One of the two bands that directly got me into playing drums. I'd been playing lots of instruments my whole life. Violin. Guitars. Synths. Singing. But drums always felt wrong in my hands. Then I saw two bands the same year that changed my entire concept of how they can be played. The first was Rainbow Blanket. The 2nd was Sword Heaven. Sword Heaven literally was harsh noise with simple pounding drums giving it all a narrative. The drums were played more like rhythmic chants than rock beats. Spacious to the point of every drum hit being put on a pedestal. Theatrical or even poetic the way each strike was given such an importance to the feel of that moment in the song. While this is not a style that I always play in, it is the style that I typically write the basics of Foot Village songs in, and definitely the style that predominates my playing on the earlier releases.
I think most people associate the idea of mysticism in music with something that has a partiuclar aesthetic definition. The idea that music can bridge that gap between the sacred and the profane is typically reserved for describing a Grateful Dead concert. But lots of people are having huge, soul changing experiences listening to music, and these are all legitimately mystical. Justin Beiber may look so square compared to, say, Animal Collective, but those tears little girls are controllably crying are so real. The feelings and thoughts those fans are experiencing must be a real trip. In the last couple years though, the musical shaman that has really captured my imagination in Celine Dion. The queen of mom mysticism. And trust me, mom mysticism is influencing our culture far more than anything indie rockers are into. Studying her performances and the over-the-top melodrama of her songs (which is not unlike a lot of metal or, say, Sword Heaven) has definitely crept its way into the music I make now, although my love for all things fucked up insures that I won't be on VH1 any time soon. That said, any musician that wants to really connect with the audience should definitely look outside of the types of music one typically likes. You might not love Celine Dion the way I do, but there is so much going on in music. Don't write things off just cuz it's not in your taste. You aren't the center of the world, you know?