I’m not even going to try and explain the artistic philosophies behind Birds of Avalon’s latest, “Uncanny Valley.” If you want to know all about the robot theory that inspired the album’s title, go here or, better yet, here. Or, perhaps most appropriately, put some headphones on (not ear buds, dammit, actual headphones), close your eyes, crank it up and absorb. Then get ready to watch BOA take everyone in the Pour House to Uncanny Valley during this Saturday’s CD-release party. Bass player Dave Mueller answered five questions about the new CD and the band’s on-the-road dining habits for New Raleigh.
1. What’s the best way to get to Uncanny Valley, and what does it have to do with robots?
Take the Preternatural Parkway around Unsettling Bay and then head west over the Eerie Mountains. And the place is just crawling with robots.
2. Many of the songs on the new CD are under three minutes long, which is weird because they all have a real spacey quality that makes me think they’d keep going for another seven or eight minutes. Why not make them longer?
It’s funny you say that because several of the songs on this album were developed during long improv sessions. In fact, part of the inspiration for the title of “Side Two” came out of a joke about a guitar freakout that takes up an entire album side. But we’re not a jam band. I think part of the reason the songs are shorter is because we were experimenting with ways to get that sort of spacey, expansive quality into the confines of a 3 minute pop song.
3. What was the advantage of recording the album yourself, and having guitarist Cheetie Kumar engineer it?
Cheetie has always had a hand in engineering and mixing our recordings and I think this was a good opportunity for her to go even deeper into that role. We built the studio in the basement at her and Paul’s house out of whatever equipment we could cobble together and I actually think that helped us to focus and create a coherent feel for the album. The whole thing was an experiment and whatever limitations we had from not working in a traditional studio weren’t so much hindrances as the parameters of that experiment.
4. What artists were you listening to when recording the CD?
It’s actually rare that any of us are listening to the same thing as we have fairly varied tastes. Paul and Cheetie have a huge vinyl collection in their basement and we were all digging through it during these sessions. I do remember playing Lee Scratch Perry and the Upsetters’ Return of the Super Ape.
5. I read an interview with The Cherry Valence that said Cheetie often cooked for the band on the road. Does she cook for BOA, and if so, what’s her best dish?
We all help out with the cooking though none of us can compete with Cheetie for quality. Spinach Quesadillas made on a George Foreman Grill in the hotel room is both a staple and a favorite.
Read more about local bands at Mann’s World.
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