SMC Spotlight No.1 | Ages and Ages Exclusive Interview ‘How It Feels’ single is good vibes for 2018!
by Candice Anne Marshall
Let me begin by saying that it has been a long time since I have had the chance to put an entry into the SMC Spotlight. Literally, Ages and Ages. I sat and pondered this…true, it has been a whirlwind last several months since launching my new podcast ‘The Candice Anne Marshall Show‘ on Spreaker, but what was the real reason for my abstinence from the writing world? There have been some pretty impressive interviews with celebrities that have come as a result of this move too. But it bothered me that I hadn’t had the same enthusiasm as I did since my last interview which was with Greta Van Fleet in December 2017. Then it hit me – I realized that the reason why this ‘writers block’ had occurred was because there hadn’t been a newer band or subject on the scene that had impressed me enough to feel inspired to keep the posts coming. I had officially reached writers ‘burn out’. Side note: this isn’t to say that the newer bands on the SMC Scene aren’t ‘good enough’, they are, I just needed to feel inspired again…
Enter: Ages and Ages.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the band has been on continuous request by my loyal fan following on both Starlight Music Chronicles and Candice Anne Marshall Official since first introducing them on UK radio late last year. I had been sent a press release from the bands’ awesome management team (which, by the way, major kudos for the quick responses to all my emails Dave!) and upon listening to them then, I was an instant fan. Since starting my own podcast in February 2018, I have been getting continuous requests by my loyal listeners to ‘play that awesome band’ again. I have done just that, launching Ages and Ages onto The Candice Anne Marshall Show officially with their song ‘How It Feels’ on March 13th, 2018. I plan on continuing to follow the bands’ journey as they gear up to release a new album in the near future (currently in the works).
So let me get into just why I feel Ages and Ages are the band to earn a spot on this prestigious SMC Spotlight platform as the first entry for 2018. Quite simply, their sound is just what the doctor ordered: it is both universal and extraordinarily unique. Quite the oxymoron right? I invite you to listen to the bands’ earlier work with their album ‘Alright You Restless‘ (released in 2011) then go straight to their new single ‘How It Feels‘ (released October 2017) and you will audibly hear that there are no boundaries with their sound. One couldn’t even say that they have evolved because their older work is just as substantial (excellent) as their new work (albeit different).
Recently, I caught up with band members Tim Perry and Rob Oberdofer for a glimpse into the timeline of Ages and Ages. Below is our exclusive interview and while you are at it, give their new single a listen. My recommendation:
SMC (Starlight Music Chronicles) Spotlight Exclusive Interview | Ages and Ages
with Candice Anne Marshall
SMC – Hello Ages and Ages! Welcome to the SMC (Starlight Music Chronicles) Spotlight! We are happy to have you as our face of March 2018! Our Editor, Candice Anne Marshall has played you on her radio show on Limehead Radio in the UK and will be spinning you on her new podcast ‘The Candice Anne Marshall Show’ on March 20th, her special birthday podcast! Before we get into the deep questions, can you give our readers a background on how and when you came to be the band?
Rob – Thanks for spinning our music, much appreciated! Short version of our history: we started playing together in 2009 in Portland, Oregon, USA. Since then, we’ve put out three records and played more shows than Coldplay. We have never played a show with Coldplay, and it’s entirely possible they don’t know who we are. I thought “Yellow” was a solid single.
SMC – I see that you released your earlier albums ‘Alright You Restless’ & ‘Divisionary’ to today with several more releases under your belts, what has the response been to your music within the music industry?
Tim – The music industry is a big, churning, bedpan with a lot of different turds in it. Too many turds to count. Some of these turds like us. And some do not. We’re just lucky to have a bedpan.
SMC – There is definitely a distinctive ‘shift’ in expression from your first album to the latest single ‘How It Feels’. How have you evolved sonically as a band? What was the turning point?
Tim – Yes. Well, we started off extremely organic. Nothing but physical instruments that you could hold in your hands and sounds that came from human bodies. Our first record was bone dry. No reverb or anything. We all just basically stood around one mic and sang. And yeah, that was a fun challenge and everything. But it wasn’t long before we wanted to branch out. We’ve been having a lot of fun lately with songs like “How it Feels,” because we get to make our own sounds; we get to chase tones and turn knobs until we get the feeling we’re after; something we truly own.
SMC – With so many of you in one band, is there ever an issue with cohesiveness? How does a band with six individuals create such magnificent works of art with so many possible personality differences?
Tim – Hey, thanks for the compliment. The songwriting is mostly done by a couple of us and the others help to actualize the ideas. We generally try and embrace our personality differences because the differences are what keeps things interesting…and embracing them is what keeps us from stabbing each other.
SMC – Do you have any full-length albums launching anytime soon?
Tim – Working on one right now, as a matter of fact!
SMC – Who has been most supportive of your music since incepting Ages and Ages? Are there any people/industry peers/radio hosts you would like to give a ‘shout out’ to?
Tim – We’ve had so much support along the way! First, all of the people who have come out to see us at shows around the world. Our manager Dave Grazinski is amazing and hilarious. Various radio stations, like KEXP and WFUV have been tremendously supportive.
SMC – I have seen some seriously amazing talent come from Portland! Can you tell us what the music scene is like there? Is there support for indie musicians?
Tim – This town is full of talented and creative people. And yes, it’s supportive – but it’s also pretty competitive. I think this a good thing because it lights the fire in people and makes them want to be better. I will also say that ever since Portland became a TV show, the culture has been changing a lot. There are so many people moving here and things are getting more expensive, which means it’s no longer as affordable as it used to be. Harder to make art when your practice space just got demolished to make way for another high rise. We’ll see what happens!
SMC – There are so many lovely nuances in your music and each song is so different and special. What instruments do you lean toward for song-writing?
Tim – I used to start with a guitar mostly. But lately, I’ve been sitting down with a keyboard and making all kinds of bleeps and blips until I find something that sticks.
SMC – Do you have any summer festival tours happening this year?
Rob – We’re sorting through offers and nailing down our plans soon…sorry, you’ll have to check the website!
SMC – Speaking of tours, can you tell us where you have toured, and which place or venue was your most memorable and why?
Rob – We’ve toured all over the US and Canada, and a bit in the UK and western Europe. Of course, New York and London are fun, but It’s mostly the oddball little towns that are the most memorable. There’s something extra special about small places with vibrant cultural scenes, like Brownsville Maine, Paonia Colorado, Haldern Germany.
SMC – What defines being ‘successful’ in the music industry for everyone in the band? (this can be answered by all or one)
Rob –We don’t need the validation of being a hyped FOMO band of the week or playing the Super Bowl halftime show or anything, but we do feel like we’ve got something meaningful to contribute to our cultural conversation. We just want to connect the music with the people that would dig it, which is tricky in the super-saturated media soup we’re in. If we can get paid enough to not have to sell our plasma, then that’s a bonus!
SMC -What would you say has been the defining moment where you knew your band was meant to succeed and continue in the music industry?
Tim – I’ll let you know when it happens!
SMC – Can you tell us who your ‘go-to’ team is in terms of your music videos? I love the ‘They Want More’ music video!
Tim – We’ve worked with different people. “They Want More” was done with Alicia Rose. She also did our very first video for a song called “Navy Parade” and our live video for “Divisionary.” She’s great.
SMC – What would you say is the most important message you want to give to your fans?
Rob – The songs are the message, though frequently they are more questions than statements. How about this: come to your own conclusions.
SMC – Speaking of fans, what age and location are the majority of your fans?
Tim – What’s weird and awesome is that I’ve noticed our fans are across the board as far as age goes. Lots of 20s and 30s, but we also have some more mature audience members, and for some reason, a ton of kids too. I don’t know how that happened, but that’s pretty cool.
SMC – Do any of you have individual projects you are working on outside Ages and Ages?
Rob – We’re all creative people, so yes, though the band is pretty consuming for Tim and I at the moment, as we are self-producing. Our bandmate Colin Jenkins is about to put out a solo record of RnB pop jams which is really cool. I highly recommend you check it out.
SMC – Can you tell us what’s next for the band in terms of new releases? Will there be any more new singles?
Rob – Yes, we plan to release a new single very soon. And probably another one after that. Then a record! We’re kind of moving at our own speed. Decided not to do the conventional “release a record, tour off the record, then write another record” thing this time around. We wanted to write things more in the moment and release them in that same moment.
SMC – What is the family support like? I noticed on your facebook page you listed an ‘extended family’….how have these individuals helped support the band and your music most?
Rob – Just tolerating the long recording hours and absences for touring is a huge gift from our families and loved ones. The extended family refers to the many musical friends that have shared the stage or recorded with us. Our lineup has shifted a fair amount over the years, because people move on to other projects, have babies, join a cult, whatever.
SMC – On your own home turf, what is the one thing you are most grateful for in terms of support for your music and the community?
Rob – Just people coming to the shows, knowing the music, singing along, and general merry-making. What else could a band ask for?
SMC – Where do you see the band headed career-wise in the next 6-12 months?
Tim – Have you ever seen the HBO movie about Bernie Madoff?
SMC – What has been the biggest compliment you have received for your music?
Rob – Mike Mills told me he dug my bass tone. President Obama had us on his re-election playlist which I guess is pretty cool too.
SMC – What has been your greatest challenge as a band?
Rob – Scheduling rehearsals. Seriously. You try and get six busy people in the same room twice a week.
SMC – Is there a funny story you can share with us while you were on tour? I find some of the best stories come from tour…
Rob – I once drove 100 miles the wrong way down the freeway, and we had to drive like maniacs to arrive crazy late to a sold-out show. Everyone had to pee really bad and we couldn’t stop. Wait…maybe that isn’t funny.
SMC – Okay, final question: If there was one thing you would like to achieve most as a band in the next year, what would that be?
Rob – We want to make a timeless masterpiece of a record. And get some more of those tacos from that place in Albuquerque.
SMC – Thank you Gentlemen!
‘How It Feels’ synopsis from the bands YouTube:
The day we finished recording “How it Feels”, it was raining ashes in Portland from a fire in the Columbia River Gorge just outside of town. The sun was blotted out with smoke and at night the moon was red. If you talked to anyone out here, they would have told you it felt like end times. While we were recording this song, Harvey hit Texas, and Florida was waiting for Irma. Trump had blamed “many sides” in Charlottesville and threatened “fire and fury” against North Korea. It’s hard to know what to do with all of this. And amidst what seems like an imploding world, we still have our needs. We still need love. We still need affection. We still need to feel heard. This is a song about what it’s like to have these needs in what feels like end times. Our problems may be irrelevant in the scheme of things, but this doesn’t make them feel any less real. If you’re reading this, I hope you have someone to talk to and I hope you’re able to tell them how it feels.
Ages and ages social media links (click to view)