Published on March 17th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
William Cashion of Future Islands and Bruce Willen of Double Dagger are set to release Walking Field, their mesmerising first album together as Peals, so we fired them over some questions and received back the following, illuminating set of replies. First, though, check out this choice cut from the LP (great title it’s got, too)…
Congratulations on a beautiful album. Was there a concept behind Peals – in terms of the instruments you used, the sounds you made, anything like that – or did you just get together to see what happened?
William: Thanks! There was no specific concept, really, when we started. Bruce and I had been talking about starting a project for a while, and we finally got together and jammed in early 2012. We did decide early on: no bass guitar, no computers and no drums.
Bruce: Yeah, I think that everything came together fairly organically once we started playing. I think that we both had been interested in exploring more atmospheric music for a while, and once we began playing together things just started to take shape. Peals seems to really surprise, in a good way, people who are familiar with our other bands. I like that.
How and when did you record the album? Can you see yourselves doing another one together?
William: We just set up and recorded in Bruce’s living room. Everything was recorded June-July last summer, in between Future Islands tours. We’re already working on new material, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with Bruce on the next album!
Was Robin Guthrie referenced in the press release at your behest? In other words, was he an inspiration for this project? If so, it definitely comes through.
William: Yes. I’m a big fan of Robin Guthrie’s work, both solo and with Cocteau Twins. During my stressful tour/travel schedule with Future Islands, I often listen to Guthrie’s music to decompress. His music really takes you to another place… a calm, meditative place. Listen to his “Imperial” album next time you’re on a long flight.
Walkie talkies are listed as one of the instruments used in the making of the album. How so?
Bruce: On “Blue Elvis” and “Believers”, we incorporate static and feedback from a pair of walkie talkies; they create the “wave” sounds at the end of “Blue Elvis”. In “Believers”, you can actually here a snippet of a random radio signal that we just happened to pick up while recording that song. When we perform live, I amplify the walkie talkies through my guitar pick-up.
Where does the name Peals come from?
Bruce: A peal is the sound of something ringing out, like the pealing of a bell or peals of laughter. We like how it describes something simple and abstract, yet evokes these moments that we hope surface through the music.
Do you have any festival appearances lined up? Any plans to come to the UK at any point?
William: Although nothing is lined up at this point, we do hope to tour the UK in the future. We’re still trying to figure out when it will work with our schedules.
Is there any more Future Islands and/or Double Dagger activity on the horizon?
William: Future Islands are working on demos for our next album… Our old college band Art Lord & the Self-Portraits just released a retrospective double LP on Friends Records. Also, Sam and I have a side project called The Snails, and we’re getting ready to release a double 7″ in April (also on Friends Records). So there’s a lot of extracurricular things happening in the Future Islands world these days…
Bruce: Double Dagger’s final posthumous record, 333, comes out 20th April (Record Store Day), and we’re really excited about how it turned out. It consists of new tracks which were recorded following Double Dagger’s final tour. The record is coming packaged with a DVD of If We Shout Loud Enough, the Double Dagger documentary. The director, Gabriel DeLoach just showed us a rough cut of the film, and it’s really great. There are some really good interviews with a lot of people in the Baltimore music scene, and Gabe really presents the film in a way that is more than just about Double Dagger. It really captures Baltimore and the ideas of creating DIY art and music. Plus there is some insane performance footage from our final tour.
Which were your favourite albums of 2012, and/or which are you most looking forward to in 2013?
William: Last year – Dan Deacon – America / Chester Endersby Gwazda – Shroud / Beach House – Bloom / Bamboo – Jams
This year, I’m excited about the new Flaming Lips record! Not sure what else is coming out, really…
Bruce: Haven’t been listening to too much new music recently, but I really liked Colin Stetson “New History Warfare”, the Horse Lords album, Dustin Wong “Dreams Say View Create Shadow Leads.” Looking forward to the Roomrunner album and Zomes.
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your life with the entire works of just five different artists, musical or otherwise, whose would you choose?
William: The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Joan Miro, R.E.M., Mark Tobey
Bruce: Silver Jews, Jennifer Egan, Phillip Glass, Junot Diaz, Ed Ruscha.
Peals, thank you.