Akron/Family | Interview | dave heaton

100 Musicians Answer the Same 10 Questions

July 10/06

Part Twenty-One: Seth Olinsky of Akron/Family

Akron/Family are tripping on some whole other plane of,  don't think of hippies or psychedelics or whatever. Think of a whole new thing, cause there's no band making music right now (or ever?) that sounds quite like them. Listen to their self-titled album (Young God), or the album they did with Angels of Light (Young God), or preferably both. They're virtuoso musicians trying to channel another universe in their songs, by loading them with surprises, with melodies and harmonies, with ideas, sounds from all over the place, and a general feeling that's both freewheeling/intergalactic and grounded in our humble existence. Seth Olinsky sings and plays a ton of instruments with the band (as all four of them do). For more information and songs visit their website, their MySpace page or the Young God website.

What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?

Devotional singing, expansive outside-the-window truck noises, perhaps-ego-driven writing of a hundred little ditties at home and maybe (or maybe not) playing them with friends....the sound part? No... the feeling part? No, definitely the sound.

What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?

This is very hard. Oh how I do not want to grow any older than I am now, with any bitterness or cynicism towards music, or people or anything really.  CDs and guitar center and hip scenester record shops and neon trends are funny, and I hope we can all maintain a sense of humor. We all deserve a good laugh, cry and hug. DONTGETDISCOURAGEDINDIEROCKERS!!!!!!

What are you up to right now, music-wise? (Current or upcoming recordings, tours, extravaganzas, experiments, top-secret projects, etc).

Akron/Family is on leave of duty. We just finished 13 months of tour and also just finished an album with our amazing drumming friend Hamid Drake that will be out in September. We are going to record with Angels of Light in August, and another of our own albums in the fall, and play a few shows.  We have also heard that they just spliced together the DNA of a goat and a spider.....did you know this?

What's the most unusual place you've ever played a show or made a recording?

Outer space.

...How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

There is no gravity so we floated.

In what ways does the place where you live (or places where you have lived), affect the music you create, or your taste in music?

New York....truthfully I think I am getting ready to move away from here just to find this very answer out. To seek out a little creative and mental is very dense here. Is our music dense? fence sense tense.

When was the last time you wrote a song? What can you tell us about it?

Yesterday. It is a hassidic bluegrass regaeton ditty about my roomate who is a portal. I also wrote one yesterday about monkeys turning into goats (spiders bite at night), and yesterday also one about taking off my girlfriend's boots and one about Sufjan Stevens and the day before about Krishnamurti.

As you create more music, do you find yourself getting more or less interested in seeking out and listening to new music made by other people...and why do you think that is?

Both more and less. I have tended the past few years to listen to much more older music. For me, classic, timeless....Lennon, Coltrane, Dylan, Bach, Ornette. I think this is a time in my life to expose myself to timeless themes, and concern myself less with trying to keep up with experimental and new things. They tend to not be that new anyways, and so why not just go to the sources? That said, there is lots of great new music. I'm listening now to the newest Smog album for probably the 20th time and it keeps getting better. Amazing lyrics and songs. It makes me want to make an album like it about rivers and depth but this is a more mature album than I can make right now. But then again, I don't listen to or like music. Ask someone else.

Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener? (Old or new music? Music like yours or different from yours?)

I find myself to be endlessly fascinating. Did you hear about Warren Buffett? I would like to see that R Kelley DVD about being in a closet. If I moved out of NYC I could have more closet space.

Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What's one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?


What's the saddest song you've ever heard?

Oh too hard. So many good sad songs. When I'm sad I like to listen to Arvo Part's "Spiegel Im Spiegel," Bob Dylan's "Moonshiner," a Billie Holiday record. Neil Young usually makes me feel better. What a guy. Don't you think that he would be fun to hang out with?