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A Q&A with Two Gallants' Tyson Vogel

Punk-Americana duo brings folk forms back to the community

The first time I saw Two Gallants perform was at a San Francisco house party in 2006. There were maybe 100 people dancing in the yard, getting day-drunk on a tub full of PBR cans as Adam Stephens' gorgeous electric guitar finger-picking and Tyson Vogel's dynamic drumming carried in the wind. Two Gallants' brand of abrasive, but pretty folk-punk has always galvanized enthusiasm, whether at an impromptu show in the park, or at a sold-out club in Berlin. The duo went on hiatus in 2008, after six years of touring steadily. Stephens released a solo album, We Live on Cliffs (Saddle Creek), and Vogel formed the string metal band Devotionals. They reconvened three years later and moved from Saddle Creek to Dave Matthews' label ATO Records to release The Bloom and the Blight. Before making their way to Atlanta, Vogel took a few minutes to talk about getting Two Gallants together again.

How are things going? Last time I saw you, you were playing with Devotionals.

Things are OK. I'm in San Francisco in the middle of a break from this whole touring process. It's been positive and strong, but you have to pay attention to your health.

Tell me more about the new music you are working on?

I think there's been sort of an expansion. Maybe I'll play guitar and he'll play piano or we'll do just like an a cappella thing. Or, we'll turn around and write this super bluesy, heavy song. I feel that a lot of this newer stuff incorporates still that younger, aggressive kind of nature, but it's soothed by more of a mature opportunity to express a broader musical language, if that makes any sense.

Was Two Gallants planning on getting back together all along?

We were going to take one year off and put out solo records and try to understand our voices as musicians and individuals, then start playing together again. But it took three years instead of one. Adam got into his car accident and wasn't able to even hold a guitar for four-five months, and I was in a very destructive long-term relationship. In the end, the music came together when we both needed it.

How is Adam doing? What were his injuries?

Well, his car flipped three times with his band, and he was in the back seat, so he got smushed against the ceiling with his arm above his head. It severely dislocated his arm — his shoulder — and being in the middle of nowhere, it took them two hours to either get there or get him to the hospital. But as far I have seen and been around for the past two years, he's doing well.

When playing the songs that you wrote before you further developed, do you bring something new to them?

Yeah. Absolutely. Perhaps that's why we were always touring so much, because we were just never comfortable with the static nature of the songs. That's why I think we returned to those tunes, because we really want to get to know the song. And by getting to know them you let them live in real life.

We just got back from this European tour, and we have a lot of new songs already that we are kind of ready to record. And we were playing like six new songs in a set of 12 songs or 14 songs, and we would constantly get these critiques, especially in Germany, just like, "You're playing too many new songs. I want to hear the old stuff."

To think that people won't be able to receive that sincerity because they're so stuck on wanting to hear the same thing makes me nervous, you know?

Older folk songs were passed around a lot, and kind of belonged to the community. It's harder now for music to live in the world because there's so much ownership over it?

The idea of ownership of art is very bizarre, especially in the American context, because everything here has to be owned. Having anything public is a fight. Perhaps folk music had that window, and country and blues had that window. Blues existed for entertainment and for people to get together and to experience each other and find elation and sadness. We've always incorporated more traditional forms because music is folk in the first place.

That's something I always experienced at your shows, that feeling of community, and not just because it was at someone's house.

Those house parties and all those places we went, that's why I believe in them so much, because I think that it represented a similar mindset. So the house party did help. I think the environment helped. But it wasn't that solely.

Does the rarity of that feeling of connection with the people around you contribute to smaller attendance at shows?

It probably does. That's why we try to play house parties as much as we can. But to not want to go to a venue where a band you like is playing is a little sad. To say that people aren't going to shows as much because of this feeling is representative of a much deeper issue in our cultural mindset. I hope that the kids these days are picking flowers for their crushes instead of sending them text messages, but I kind of doubt it, you know?



More By This Writer

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Teague and Dr. Conspiracy also make up the Difference Machine. Since coming together in June 2011, the Difference Machine has shared stages with Del the Funky Homosapien, Kool Keith, and Ghostface Killah. Difference Machine songs include bits of 1960s psychedelic rock records that have been sampled and blended with drum cuts from '70s funk, and chopped vocals from '80s/'90s hip-hop. DT raps through a Korg Kaoss Pad, while Conspiracy uses a midi controller to play out live beats. DJs such as Grizzly and JDKNS, live drummer Radley Fricker, and guest musicians armed with samplers and drum machines have also joined the group on stage.

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"This band started as a joke and it became more fun through its free form," Teusink says. "Nothing is contrived. We make up everything on the spot while recording. There is no preconceived notion of this is what we sound like; it is whatever comes out. Pure feeling. Through it becoming a live thing it has grown further than just electronic music, and more of an insane sonic experiment." "
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"There are a lot of psychedelic scenes throughout the country," label co-founder Brannon Boyle says. "Austin has a Psych Fest that brings together psych rock bands from all over the world, and it's great. Los Angeles has a beat scene. What we want to do is cultivate an all-encompassing scene that includes everyone from experimental beat-makers to rock bands."

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"The best psychedelic music is not formulaic," says Dustin Teague, aka DT of Atlanta hip-hop duo Clan Destined.

Teague and Dr. Conspiracy also make up the Difference Machine. Since coming together in June 2011, the Difference Machine has shared stages with Del the Funky Homosapien, Kool Keith, and Ghostface Killah. Difference Machine songs include bits of 1960s psychedelic rock records that have been sampled and blended with drum cuts from '70s funk, and chopped vocals from '80s/'90s hip-hop. DT raps through a Korg Kaoss Pad, while Conspiracy uses a midi controller to play out live beats. DJs such as Grizzly and JDKNS, live drummer Radley Fricker, and guest musicians armed with samplers and drum machines have also joined the group on stage.

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"This band started as a joke and it became more fun through its free form," Teusink says. "Nothing is contrived. We make up everything on the spot while recording. There is no preconceived notion of this is what we sound like; it is whatever comes out. Pure feeling. Through it becoming a live thing it has grown further than just electronic music, and more of an insane sonic experiment."              13074153 8461473                          Psych Army unites Atlanta's outer limits "
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Article

Thursday June 20, 2013 04:00 am EDT
New label debuts with Difference Machine, deadCAT LPs | more...
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  string(3402) "Bethany Cosentino is the sunny, melancholy voice that drives Best Coast's hazy surf-pop strum and dang. The Los Angeles-based duo, featuring guitarist Bobb Bruno, is on the road playing songs from its second album, The Only Place (Mexican Summer). Before setting out for the road, Cosentino took a few minutes to talk about her favorite style icons — from Linda Ronstadt circa 1971, to Cher Horowitz from the movie Clueless — returning to the group's lo-fi roots, and collaborating with her cat Snacks, who is really a total diva.

So you were just out on the road with Green Day?

Yeah. We just did a three-week tour with them. It was cool. I mean, it was definitely a departure from anything that we're used to because playing these huge arenas with like 18,000 capacity is definitely not our style at all.

Have you had voice training? How do you keep your voice from wearing out?

When I was younger I took opera lessons. If my voice is strained, it's typically from being drunk and yelling, not even from singing. But I have a lot of tricks. I also write my songs in a good speed. I'm not over-singing.

Who are some of your favorite fashion icons?

Well my favorite is definitely Stevie Nicks. I love her witchy, hippie thing she has going on. My Urban Outfitters line was very inspired by that. My other favorite, which is a fictional character, is Cher from Clueless. I literally go shopping thinking, "Oh, would Cher wear this?" And then another person that I really admire is Linda Ronstadt from the '70s. I recently was watching an Eagles documentary that she was featured in a lot, and on a whim, I drove to my hairstylist's house and got my bangs cut like hers. I think my fashion influences are really '90s and '70s. I try to combine those as well as I can.

With a couple of your new tracks, "Fear of My Identity" and that cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying," it seems like you were returning to lo-fi production.

When we went back into the studio after the second record, we decided that we wanted to do a little bit of the lo-fi sound, but do it right — like do it the way we probably should have done it in the first place. We want to keep our sound clean-ish but dirty-ish, if that makes any sense.

Is there a producer you're working with now?

We just recorded a five-song EP about three months ago. We recorded it in L.A. with our friend Wally Gagel, who recorded our iTunes EP. We don't have a release currently planned for the EP. We're not on a record label right now.

I noticed that your dad played drums on Best Coast's recent "Fear of My Identity" Record Store Day 7-inch. Is he a professional musician?

Yeah, my dad is a musician. He played for the band War, but he played for them when it was only like two remaining original members. He played with Bad Finger as well, when there was only like one original member in that band.

I also noticed you collaborated with Snacks the Cat on your cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying." Was that Snacks' idea or yours?

I randomly woke up one day and was like, "Wow I want to do a cover of this song." And when he came in and so perfectly meowed in the end, I was just like, "I'm just going to be stupid and say 'featuring Snacks the Cat.'" But it's really funny. It's almost like he knows that I'm making music and he has to be involved in it somehow. I think he's just a little diva, and wants to get his voice in there somehow. "
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  string(3464) "Bethany Cosentino is the sunny, melancholy voice that drives [http://www.bestcoast.us|Best Coast's] hazy surf-pop strum and dang. The Los Angeles-based duo, featuring guitarist Bobb Bruno, is on the road playing songs from its second album, ''The Only Place'' (Mexican Summer). Before setting out for the road, Cosentino took a few minutes to talk about her favorite style icons — from Linda Ronstadt circa 1971, to Cher Horowitz from the movie ''Clueless'' — returning to the group's lo-fi roots, and collaborating with her cat Snacks, who is really a total diva.

__So you were just out on the road with Green Day?__

Yeah. We just did a three-week tour with them. It was cool. I mean, it was definitely a departure from anything that we're used to because playing these huge arenas with like 18,000 capacity is definitely not our style at all.

__Have you had voice training? How do you keep your voice from wearing out?__

When I was younger I took opera lessons. If my voice is strained, it's typically from being drunk and yelling, not even from singing. But I have a lot of tricks. I also write my songs in a good speed. I'm not over-singing.

__Who are some of your favorite fashion icons?__

Well my favorite is definitely Stevie Nicks. I love her witchy, hippie thing she has going on. My Urban Outfitters line was very inspired by that. My other favorite, which is a fictional character, is Cher from ''Clueless''. I literally go shopping thinking, "Oh, would Cher wear this?" And then another person that I really admire is Linda Ronstadt from the '70s. I recently was watching an Eagles documentary that she was featured in a lot, and on a whim, I drove to my hairstylist's house and got my bangs cut like hers. I think my fashion influences are really '90s and '70s. I try to combine those as well as I can.

With a couple of your new tracks, "Fear of My Identity" and that cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying," it seems like you were returning to lo-fi production.

When we went back into the studio after the second record, we decided that we wanted to do a little bit of the lo-fi sound, but do it right — like do it the way we probably should have done it in the first place. We want to keep our sound clean-ish but dirty-ish, if that makes any sense.

__Is there a producer you're working with now?__

We just recorded a five-song EP about three months ago. We recorded it in L.A. with our friend Wally Gagel, who recorded our iTunes EP. We don't have a release currently planned for the EP. We're not on a record label right now.

__I noticed that your dad played drums on Best Coast's recent "Fear of My Identity" Record Store Day 7-inch. Is he a professional musician?__

Yeah, my dad is a musician. He played for the band War, but he played for them when it was only like two remaining original members. He played with Bad Finger as well, when there was only like one original member in that band.

__I also noticed you collaborated with Snacks the Cat on your cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying." Was that Snacks' idea or yours?__

I randomly woke up one day and was like, "Wow I want to do a cover of this song." And when he came in and so perfectly meowed in the end, I was just like, "I'm just going to be stupid and say 'featuring Snacks the Cat.'" But it's really funny. It's almost like he knows that I'm making music and he has to be involved in it somehow. I think he's just a little diva, and wants to get his voice in there somehow. "
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  string(3690) "    A Q&A with Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino   2013-05-27T08:00:00+00:00 Snacks, Clueless, and Linda Ronstadt's bangs circa '71   Jenna Humphrey  2013-05-27T08:00:00+00:00  Bethany Cosentino is the sunny, melancholy voice that drives Best Coast's hazy surf-pop strum and dang. The Los Angeles-based duo, featuring guitarist Bobb Bruno, is on the road playing songs from its second album, The Only Place (Mexican Summer). Before setting out for the road, Cosentino took a few minutes to talk about her favorite style icons — from Linda Ronstadt circa 1971, to Cher Horowitz from the movie Clueless — returning to the group's lo-fi roots, and collaborating with her cat Snacks, who is really a total diva.

So you were just out on the road with Green Day?

Yeah. We just did a three-week tour with them. It was cool. I mean, it was definitely a departure from anything that we're used to because playing these huge arenas with like 18,000 capacity is definitely not our style at all.

Have you had voice training? How do you keep your voice from wearing out?

When I was younger I took opera lessons. If my voice is strained, it's typically from being drunk and yelling, not even from singing. But I have a lot of tricks. I also write my songs in a good speed. I'm not over-singing.

Who are some of your favorite fashion icons?

Well my favorite is definitely Stevie Nicks. I love her witchy, hippie thing she has going on. My Urban Outfitters line was very inspired by that. My other favorite, which is a fictional character, is Cher from Clueless. I literally go shopping thinking, "Oh, would Cher wear this?" And then another person that I really admire is Linda Ronstadt from the '70s. I recently was watching an Eagles documentary that she was featured in a lot, and on a whim, I drove to my hairstylist's house and got my bangs cut like hers. I think my fashion influences are really '90s and '70s. I try to combine those as well as I can.

With a couple of your new tracks, "Fear of My Identity" and that cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying," it seems like you were returning to lo-fi production.

When we went back into the studio after the second record, we decided that we wanted to do a little bit of the lo-fi sound, but do it right — like do it the way we probably should have done it in the first place. We want to keep our sound clean-ish but dirty-ish, if that makes any sense.

Is there a producer you're working with now?

We just recorded a five-song EP about three months ago. We recorded it in L.A. with our friend Wally Gagel, who recorded our iTunes EP. We don't have a release currently planned for the EP. We're not on a record label right now.

I noticed that your dad played drums on Best Coast's recent "Fear of My Identity" Record Store Day 7-inch. Is he a professional musician?

Yeah, my dad is a musician. He played for the band War, but he played for them when it was only like two remaining original members. He played with Bad Finger as well, when there was only like one original member in that band.

I also noticed you collaborated with Snacks the Cat on your cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying." Was that Snacks' idea or yours?

I randomly woke up one day and was like, "Wow I want to do a cover of this song." And when he came in and so perfectly meowed in the end, I was just like, "I'm just going to be stupid and say 'featuring Snacks the Cat.'" But it's really funny. It's almost like he knows that I'm making music and he has to be involved in it somehow. I think he's just a little diva, and wants to get his voice in there somehow.              13073872 8293893                          Snacks, Clueless, and Linda Ronstadt's bangs circa '71 "
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Article

Monday May 27, 2013 04:00 am EDT
A Q&A with Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino | more...
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Thursday April 18, 2013 01:25 pm EDT
'Fast Life' is After Hours' first single - video coming soon | more...
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  string(961) "    Nonesuch   2013-04-16T08:00:00+00:00 Iron and Wine: Ghost on Ghost   Jenna Humphrey 6451976 2013-04-16T08:00:00+00:00  Some albums are growers by virtue of their strangeness. Iron and Wine's Ghost on Ghost is more off-putting, on the other hand, from lack of innovation. Sam Beam incorporates jazzy touches of saxophone and female harmonizing that simply don't sit right with his melancholic, acoustic, and balmy style. The music is agreeable but unoriginal, borrowing tropes from Leonard Cohen and Beth Orton. Even if Beam sometimes backs away from these flourishes, his lyrics are tired, talking of "bluebirds dying" in "Joy," "church mice trying too hard" in "Sundown," and being "free as a morning bird/fragile as China" in "Caught in the Briars." The album might grow on you, so long as you forget it's from the person who wrote "Naked As We Came." (2 out of 5 stars)             13073257 8022046                          Iron and Wine: Ghost on Ghost "
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Article

Tuesday April 16, 2013 04:00 am EDT
Nonesuch | more...
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Article

Monday April 1, 2013 04:00 am EDT
Mom + Pop Music | more...
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