We’re delighted to bring Conveyor‘s experimental art-rock to AMBY today. The quirky New York foursome is comprised of T.J. Masters (vocals, guitar), Alan Busch (vocals, guitar), Evan Garfield (backing vocals, drums), and Michael Pedron (backing vocals, bass). With a new record currently in the works and their latest single Mammal Food constantly booming out our headphones, we caught up with Conveyor to discuss their use of harmonies, Alton Brown, and the influence of 1996 and self-defeating mental exercises.
AMBY: Hello Conveyor, cheers for speaking with AMBY. What’s the band been up to lately?
Conveyor: We are: wrapping up the mixing of an original movie soundtrack; recording different songs for a cassette release; recording different different songs for an LP release; recording different different different secret songs that only I get to hear; rehearsing; posing as a religious organization to cops, would-be thieves, and girls.
AMBY: How would you describe each member of Conveyor in one word?
Conveyor: Michael = Earth, me = Fire, Alan = Wind, Doug = Water, Evan = Heart.
AMBY: What inspired your new single Mammal Food?
Conveyor: Consumption; Self-Defeating Mental Exercises; Drugs; 1996; Heartbreak; Contempt; Fatigue
AMBY: You’re currently working on a brand-new LP. What can fans expect to hear from the album? And is there a working title yet?
Conveyor: More, better songs. There is no working title.
AMBY: The use of harmonies in your work is stunning. How did these become such a quintessential part of your sound?
Conveyor: Here’s the thing: you have to do it without thinking, and then to proceed successfully you have to think about it once you’ve done it. Here are the thoughts: experimenting with vocal harmony is contingent on a basic intuition of musical interval plus a historical understanding of human music plus the innate desire to better one’s self and one’s abilities through practice plus something-or-other that is undefinable but that contributes positive force to the frustrating impulse to be different than other people and, additionally, selflessness. References (grouped by rapid-fire mental association): Ligeti, Glass, Spector, The Beach Boys (namely, the Wilsons + Mike Love, viz., Brian), barbershop, American folk music (see: Alan Lomax Archive, Sacred Harp singing, shape notes), gospel, the history of African people as a cultural vector including but not limited to: Africans (mainly sub-Saharan), African-Americans, African-Cubans, Handel, Beethoven, Bill Monroe, the Carter Family, the Jacksons, the Miracles, the Temptations, the Beatles, the point is that it doesn’t stop, not with any of these or with us or with any other contemporary vocalists. “Harmony” is all of it at once and is the natural state of beings. Our use of “coordinated vocal harmony” (to define it), what I think is the focus of this question, comes from I guess the unconscious desire to return to a natural definition of harmony within the context of a self-centric Western conception of how music should be performed and internalized (that is to say trying to subvert the Western concept of individualism, which has no place in music (or anywhere??) by functioning as egalitarians). It sounds pretty.
AMBY: How do you feel your sound has evolved since the release of your debut self-titled LP?
Conveyor: It is better than it was before.
AMBY: Since the band has moved to Brooklyn, do you feel the city has an influence on your music?
Conveyor: The answer to this question is not nearly as interesting as the concept of environment-as-influence, or, in other words, being alive.
AMBY: What would a movie based on the band be called?
Conveyor: Continual Existence in the Face of Debilitating Change.
AMBY: Who would your dream jam session be with?
Conveyor: Currently Alton Brown.
AMBY: What has you most excited for 2014?
Conveyor: New Year’s Eve, the anticipation of 2015.
AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about Conveyor that nobody knows yet?
Conveyor: We borrow each other’s etrycine.
Thank you Conveyor, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout