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Kevelle Wilson 0:15
Hello everyone, you are listening to WKNC 88.1 Raleigh. We are student run organization over here at NC State. I am Kevelle Wilson and this is off the record.Hello, everyone. Thank you for coming to another episode of Off The Record. Today we have a very special guest with us. The band Bombadil, thank you so much for your time do you mind individually introducing yourselves.

Bombadil 0:39
Of course. My name is James. I'm in bomba dill. I like to sing and play drums and synthesizer. Hello, my name is Daniel. I'm also in bomba Hill. I like to eat garlic, and I play the piano in babatel. Nice, nice. I'm just gonna go on and get right into it.

Kevelle Wilson 1:01
So I checked out the music videos for the new album. First thing I did, I always love kind of seeing what people choose for the visuals that kind of match the music.The one that stood out to me was one for brown pennies, where it basically kind of like a day in the life.Which is kind of interesting, because like, a lot of people, when they kind of go into making a music video, they kind of like, oh, it's gonna be like, we're trying to do this or I'm trying to do this. Like it's not really about them. It's kind of more of like whatever persona they're trying to portray. So like what was the inspiration behind making visuals that kind of blurred a separation between kind of art and the artist?

Bombadil 1:43
That is a great question.The let's see, how did that video come about? The guitar player we were working with at the time had the idea. Their names MK Rhoden bow. And I think we were into because we had tried videos, like you're saying that were more dramatic in the past. And we found it kind of unpleasant.To come up with the idea to execute the idea. And it was nice, just to be ourselves and show what our life looks like. I think creativity for both of us is a daily part of our life. So representing that in the video felt good to me, you know.

Kevelle Wilson 2:31
Another music video that also like was the one for Orange planets where it's like a live music video. I've never heard of that concept before. Which made it an interesting watch just by itself. And this kind of like the creativity with the visuals with this album kind of just like doing things more just like like less planted out and more just kind of like, as the music kind of takes you.How do you all kind of balance like that way of making visuals.But still making it interesting for the viewer to watch.

Bombadil 3:08
I think maybe James and I both don't like visuals at all, or at least I don't it's not something I find creative for myself. And maybe just during the pandemic we were I got very used to just being at my house. And so the easiest place to film all these footage from was just in our studios.I don't I don't know where the idea is just to film it naturally as is seemedthe most easy to accomplish and we had high high fidelity recording gear. So okay, it was easy to record. Words most of this album recorded that was it at home studio. We wrote it Daniel lives in outside of Grenoble, France, and I live in Durham, North Carolina. So we wrote it in our respective studios passing files back and forth on the internet. And then Daniel came to the US and we recorded most of the tracks in my studio in Durham. And then I went to France to finish the record and Daniel studio in France. So all all in our home studios, but the the bulk of the sessions were at mine just because we were collaborating with people who live in the US and it was easier for them to get to North Carolina and then to France. Okay, that makes sense.

Kevelle Wilson 4:28
Kind of speaking about travel seems like you guys kind of love a lot of Western Europe and you're around there very often.One thing I want to highlight is kind of like the food journey seems like y'all go on

Bombadil 4:44
Yeah, speaking our language.The ABA restaurant slash does it kind of like sticks out in your mind.Like yeah, that was that was amazing experience. Oh man. So many so many. Yeah, we We love going to whateveris local and seeing what, what they have to offer. For this most recent tour we were in Germany and Austriafor during Christmas and so there's lots of Christmas markets. So one of the best things is just walking to the Christmas Christmas market andthere's lots of stands that sell weird German Christmas food, andwe just ate all of that that we possibly could.With mustard sauce and strange broiled meats and pepper nickel rolls. Yeah, and beer.And gingerbread cookies. That's right. Lots of gingerbread cookies. No. Would you go so far to say Germany has the best cuisine in Europe? Oh, no, I think every country has their strong suit. I wouldn't give any country that the easy way and like that. Okay. But I do really like German food. I feel like France always gets the nod from Americans for having the highlight of European cuisine. And I feel like each country has its own really unique food. That's really fun to eat. Including we've had a wonderful meal eating English food. Okay, on the temps.You know, the English often get knocked for their food, but we thought it was great.Oh, there's good good people. Good food everywhere.

Kevelle Wilson 6:20
Okay, speaking of Germany, y'all have a German fan club?Well, because I took some Deutsch classes while I was here at statewhat does the fan club do? Can you Can you fill us on for the non-German speakers

Bombadil 6:36
mostly give us places to stay in Germany? buy lots of beer. There's always so much beer just you should club helps us also find shows over there and just find other fans that like the music and that fan club has also helped us translate a couple of our songs into Germanthat's true. One of our goals we didn't actually get to was to sing some our songs in German while we were in Germany.It was so hard though.Yeah.

Kevelle Wilson 7:06
So what is the kind of the band dynamic? Since like, it seems a lot of people are in a lot of different places? How do you all kind of make time to like, sit down and focus in on an album when y'all are in our mode?

Bombadil 7:22
We schedule it I would say yeah, at this point in our lives, we just need to block off windows of time to do things shows usually help us schedule time together we have a performance coming up we'll build some time around that and then you know, modern technology just being able to call each other every day anduse file sharing applications to pass recordings back and forthI'm kind of curious on why you decided to make the move to France did you have like a specific reason not very specific reason my life partner is French she wanted to move back to the coast her parents were the good croissants are soyou know French Yes yes. Oh no far from being fluent but yes.

Kevelle Wilson 8:16
Okay, that's good. That's good. Hello everyone. This is just a quick song interlude so y'all can listen to blue and darker blueabout to talk about in this next question give some more context great song Hope y'all enjoy

Bombadil 8:53
Could a folk singer′s manipulation
Could a folk singer′s manipulation
Get past those gloomy cerulean eyes
Sh I hope so, I hope so, I hope so
Could the soft hills of the Tar Heel State
Be wrapped by that line in the sky

Oh I hope so, I hope so, I hope so Bluer than blue sky
Feels like an upside down ocean
I would look at the starfish
Stuck in slow, slow motion
Could the achievements
Of besting the boys be simply busy work?

Oh I hope so, I hope so, I hope so

Bluer than blue sky

Feels like an upside down ocean

I would look at the starfish
in slow, slow motion
Sand in my eyes

I'm bluer than blue

So blue they invented a new color so you
Could understand the shape I′m in
Could understand the shape I′m in
I'm bluer than blue
Bluer than that lonely whale in Washington
Who sings his lonely song
I'm bluer than blue
I′m so blue they wrote a song about me
I′m so blue they wrote a song about me
And they called it blue

Kevelle Wilson 12:12
thank you so much for listening to that song that was blue and darker blue by Bombadil, they'll hear the rest of the interview with them enjoy.Getting back into the album, I wanted to talk about Blue and darker blue. Which I found interesting because y'all are kind of known for your singer songwriter foci type songs, which just went mostly is but I kind of have like some hints of synth in the background as well. A lot of other songs in the album doI always kind of find that interesting because I feel like it's hard to kind of blend those two sounds together. But how they all kind of make it work in a way that makes sense.

Bombadil 12:54
Something that we've done on any number of projects now is say we're we're gonna really limit ourselves to this palette of instruments for this record.So for our new record it that was drum machine, acoustic guitar, and a Casio keyboard and a flute.That was I've in of course, you can always break the rules. There's a few times we broke the rules, but for the most part that was it. And then just figuring out how to process those sounds to create new unique sounds with outboard equipment or audio plugins. So it's funny, I feel like the the sense sound great on that record to me. But it was, you know, a $20 toy keyboardwhich I'm happy about.

Kevelle Wilson 13:47
Um, how does that process kind of look for like choosing a sound palette for an album is it mostly just like, Okay, I feel like this kind of makes sense for this or more just like we never got around to using these instruments when we kind of wanted to kind of use these more and in this way. I think it can be both like just echo what you're saying.

Bombadil 14:06
Often I'll hear other someone else's music and like oh man, I'd really love to use that instrument or we've been saying for years now we didn't use 12 string guitar or record orsomeone will give us an instrument Yeah, someone gave me that Casio someone just gave us a 12 string so we really want to use that on the next recordum

Kevelle Wilson 14:29
it's kind of interesting because of since y'all have been at this for over a decade at this pointhow was you think your like your music knowledge has grown a ton over those 10 years like you don't think you can make you would make the same music you would if you could go back in time with all the knowledge you had.

Bombadil 14:48
I think I would still make the same music. But I have so we have so many records. I still want to make infinite records that I've wanted needed to make. Yeah,The past ones I needed to make at some point, so I wouldn't take them away. And of course, as you get older, we have new experiences, new things you want to try. SoI feel like that's the fun thing about music too, is you can just keep learning new things about, like, I do feel like I know so much more than when we started in 2007. But I still feel like a total beginner at it, that there's so much left to learn and know,in different approaches, you know, we, we just were playing a show with that, where thewas a radio show, and there was a house band and the pedal steel players going off to play for Cirque du Solei which is just like a completely different relationship to music than I've ever experienced, you know, six shows a week, the same body of material at extremely pro level playing for circus people. What is an acrobat?

Kevelle Wilson 16:05
What is kind of been over your music career? What's kind of been like the biggest impact point or just like the kind of like how the music has changed your life in the biggest way?

Bombadil 16:20
That's a funny question. I feel like while we're doing it at all, it just feels natural. So it's hard to point at one point to be like, things really got bigger here are our Wow, it really fell off there. You know, like, it just kind of feels like since we have consistently done itfor over 15 years now. Actually. It just feels kind of like what I do. And there have been some we meet more and more people I guess. But it's it's it's never been like this huge exponential jump in the number of people that come to the show or the number of people that send us emails, which is like, really the only thing we barometer we have, right?We need more people to send you emails. It seems like we're printing more Yeah.Yeah, that's a good question. You are What do you think? I mean, there's so many moments I guess I could pinpoint but I kind of like James's answer. Just it's been a step by step. And there's highs and there's lows.All the time. Yeah. Okay.

Kevelle Wilson 17:31
Y'all kind of talked about your live shows a bit. Kind of have you switched it up? Depending on where y'all at?You've been asked about this before in the live interview a few years ago. You said like, basically they asked you like why like do all this extra stuff for live performance? Have all these instruments do an acapella do this do that? And I'm not sure they didn't say who said this, but it said sometimes it is difficult. Sometimes we fail. It's almost always terrifying. We feel it's important to take risk, and we hope it will lead to knowledge.

Bombadil 18:05

Kevelle Wilson 18:10
What do you think you've learned through kind of live performing so much now.

Bombadil 18:19
I feel like in some ways, we've had a breakthrough, which we just started working with a new performer. So dancer from the UNC School of the Arts, graduate and as a choreographer slash dancer. And we realized what works for the live show where music is not something you can always control. It's more spiritual. I don't know how to get into that in a deep way in this 510 minute conversation. But sometimes it just kind of works. And you don't really know why. And odd times does no work. You know why? No? Why either. And you beat your head against the wall for a long time. And yeah, don't come up with any solution. It's another cool thing about music.Mysterious. For sure. Yeah. Our performance, I think. Yeah, I are just thinking back over my adult life of the performances that really struck me. I think if a variety of types, I think if you had described them to me before I saw them, I'm not sure I would have been like, that's a good idea. You know, I want I once saw a boyfriend and girlfriend duo who there were performance artists and they tied string to his beard into her hair. And then they walked as far apart from each other as they could until they were pulling their hair like in what looked like a really painful way. And that made a bridge of string that they then walked over the audience while they were like grunting in pain. And I even saying this out loud. It sounds awful, but it was so it was like deeply moving to see in person you know, and I would have never predicted that.Yeah, y'all kind of house them. I liked

Kevelle Wilson 20:00
Call them rituals, but not in like a weird demonic way. But just like in a in a fun way, where like for concerts like some concerts I've been toI went recently to see Otoboke beaver which is likea J punk groupbut at the end of their shows they bring out like a huge inflatable and like crowd surf on it.Other shows I've seen like people the story instruments, or like the the crowd will know like exactly what to say like it won't be part of the song it would just like be part of like, if you know what your friend you know, you have like kind of like a favorite ritual that you're saying is kind of performed.

Bombadil 20:42
We've gone through so many of these rituals over the years. But I think at the moment, we don't have any but some of my favorites. We said this song called Caterpillar tree. And we would carry always a massive pillow caterpillar and we throw into the audience that point in the crowd.James any others you can think at this point, we have so many records, right? We can, we can often play someone's favorite song. So in in recent years, something I've enjoyed doing that we definitely won't do on this tour, because we're working with a choreographer and the show is very set, which is unusual for us. But in the last couple of years, if someone yelled out a song from an old record that we had no idea how to play, we just tried to play it, see how it goes. And sometimes it would be perfect. Oftentimes, it'd be pretty bad, but like, the audience is on your side with it. Right? Yeah. Because they know someone wants to hear it. So it's like a nice moment of connection, I think.

Kevelle Wilson 21:45
What is the usual process, kind of behind making a setlist? And like if you're touring for a specific album and kind of focus on that maybe play some of the hits?

Bombadil 21:54
And what's kind of like your move or like, kind of final three, the four songs, you can still fit in that. I think we still don't know how to do that. Yeah, we don't have we fortunately, for the last two years, our guitar player wrote all the set lists. We just gave them all the songs and they picked out randomly which ones they liked the best so and thought flowed together the best. Yeah. Which was really nice. Yeah, I really love not thinking about it. And I say for this tour, we will be doing the same set every night so that we will have to think about it.

Kevelle Wilson 22:26
Speaking of sets, you've performed all over the world. At this point, do y'all have a favorite venue or like concert experience?

Bombadil 22:36
I really love on this tour. We're playing I think for the fifth time in our friend's basement.Every one of those times has been so fun. They've built their basement into a rock club that I think just us play at. And it's a family that there's a lot of people in Nashville, a lot of people in Knoxville. And they all kind of gather and have a family reunion around our concert. And there's lots of food one of the family members makes varieties of gourmet popcorn. And it just like an amazing party that is centered around our concert. And yeah, it's kind of hard to be right or yeah, it's just a nice, intimate feeling with good popcorn.So we're going there next week, and I'm excited. Hey, nice, nice.

Kevelle Wilson 23:29
So I did some Instagram stalking and it seems like someone has a green thumb on the band. Oh yeah. someone had some advice for people who wanted to get into gardening, but find it daunting, any advice

Bombadil 23:50
I think look at your plants every day.And start with easy start with something you know, I read this recently and I like this if I start with something you like to eat, don't plant things like radishes if you don't like radishes, even though they're easy to grow.And maybe start manageable. Yeah, start very small. Okay, just one tomato plantor whatever you like. Yeah, that's good advice. You kind of give a list of what you're currently growing right now. I can't I can't I haven't started my summer garden but right now in the garden.There's celery, fava beans, snow peas, leeks,garlic, onions, strawberries.arugula.Um, they I'm just going through the beds. Don't forget the trees now. He's got a tree. I got a lot of fruit trees. They got kiwi and apple. I have someMandarin tree climbing's a great place to almond tree. Jerry. Yeah, I've been trying to I've been trying to grow everything.

Kevelle Wilson 24:58
Yeah, the Garden of Eden basically

Bombadil 25:00
I have not yet but maybe in 10 years, yeah, it is very wonderful.

Kevelle Wilson 25:07
I kind of found it interesting. Your interview with wn WNCW 88.9 you time to talk about the process of making the album fencing and use an algorithm by a friend kind of determined, like, which songs were popular and why. Like kind of dividing up into like, who's singing the tempo, the lyrical content, etc, etc.Which I kind of found funny because like, like a year ago, we were on like, the precipice of like aI music and like algorithms like being able to make a whole song. And I feel like you're kind of ahead of the curve on that one.But do you y'all think that AI or using AI in any way to kind of help with your music making is valid? Or?

Bombadil 25:57
Oh, totally, yeah. I don't know. I'm not really nervous about AI for whatever reason, I think it you still have to have taste. And it doesn't, it's now no shortcut for time. You can't just be like, if if you could tell the AI to like write the number one smash hit, like everyone would write. And yet so then I don't know if there's still going to beI was hearingthis guy Robert Hankey, who, who's electronic musician talk about it. And he's saying that?Yeah, AI is not gonna be able to invent the new, whatever. Yeah, they are just like Detroit techno was such a weird idea.And then, you know, took over music basically, for a while. Or hip hop is such a weird idea. I mean, any of it is, you know, and I just the all AI can know is that things that we've done in the past, so it can combine different elements. But I think there's still going to need to be some humanguiding. And that's just like any other tool you would use to make something creative to me. I mean, maybe it's more like a creative assistant who might give you some cool ideas or so I'm not sure I'm all that curious to use it. But I'm not opposed to it, either.Yeah, I'm curious. I'd love to know how I feel like I'm really bad at AI. But I like James's analogies, like a tool. Like I think AI is made like a guitar. It's awesome. But you don't want to play the guitar. Yeah. This is gonna sound bad. Yeah.Yeah. So it's maybe more like autotune like kind of how people kind of push back on it. And like, Oh, you don't need to know this thing. Anybody can sing with this. It really is just a tool in your toolbox if you want to use it. Exactly. But no one thought to sing like T pain until t painted. I mean, it was really striking when that came out, you know?All right. I don't know if he was the first but he you know, the most notable

Kevelle Wilson 28:01
I kind of wanted to talk about the album cover for in the color. A weird trend that I kind ofrealized was I feel like your newer albums have like more abstract covers, especially thethe Bombadil issue albums. Yeah.How do you kind of find artwork that kind of represents the music you're making?

Bombadil 28:29
Look around. Yeah, this for in color, and actually the still bomb Badil issues. The same graphic designer worked on them.Sowe wanted to abstract and colorful because in color, we had tried to make a song for every color.And, and Steve, the graphic designer ended up having his daughter who is seven make a painting?Or was seven when she made the painting I believe. Yeah, it's just her taking her finger and rubbing it and paint across the page.Yeah, but no visuals are hard. I don't feel like I'm a visual artist. So we usually have someone else that we trust you that we like, do it for us. And it's a little different every time based on kind of who we have in mind. Or if we've seen an image we like or for a while.The guitar player in our bandwas a graphic designer. So he did a lot of work for us on the visuals as well.

Kevelle Wilson 29:39
Nice. Speaking of making a song for every color, when I felt like one color was kind of missing from the album. What's that? Pink.A lot of the songs kind of focus on a lot of metaphors and references to things of that color. You had the likeNot to put you on the spot. Like if you had to make a song about pink maybe some metaphors or some references you would think would be good.

Bombadil 30:09
Or some pink ago and a lot of directions I feel like we discussed pink weed I kind of put in the category of pastels likeagewhat else are those intermediary colors like turquoise or maybe kind of feel like it fell into this purple is a gray zone I guess gray is on there which I felt likesome colors had to be cutIguess it rose could be pink salmon can be pink slime. It can be a color. It'd be a love song. Yeah, it'd be like my son went through a big period where he liked to wear pink. That's like a good starting point for a song okay. I like wearing pink actually labeled will be an intuitive to all those in between colors.

Kevelle Wilson 31:13
so this is the very start of kind of your East Coast tour.I'm assuming this is the last leg of the tour. Am I correct on that?

Bombadil 31:26
I guess it is for in color. We played everywhere with this record except the south into the west coast to the Midwest. We've done the northeast, we've not done the South. I didn't want to show North Carolina we haven't done South County, Georgia, Tennessee really at all? So um, yes, wait, especially like on the last leg of a of a tour. Do have like

Kevelle Wilson 31:48
a fit. I feel like a lot of artist can kind of get worn out and kind of bored of their music, especially when you're, you're touring it so much. You'll have a way to kind of combat that or you're not really feel that

Bombadil 32:02
there are definitely songs we're bored of playing. It's been helpful to work with a new collaborator where we just chose an entirely new setlist. I feel likeand rearranged a lot of songs. Our songs are kind of living to us. So we can totally adjust the feel or the approach. Andthat helps with that. We also are trying at this point in our lives, not to just do all of that touring all in a row, we break it up and do it in smaller chunks, which I think helps a lot too. We did a long stretch in Europe last fall. And that was worrisome. But this is that I think a pretty short stretch and is like exuberant and exciting, if that makes sense. But yeah, I think there was some songs that we've been playing just for last three years every show and we're not playing those the store, which I'm excited about. It's nice to like, put them away for a while or forever.Yeah.

Kevelle Wilson 33:06
That was all the questions I had for you. Is there anything else y'all wanted to talk about that I didn't touch on?

Bombadil 33:14
Oh, no. There's a show at the pinhook in Durham on Saturday night. The 22nd To be exact 27th 27th That's what I'm at my father's birthday. Happy birthday. And my father will be there.

Kevelle Wilson 33:28
Yeah, you also catch them at the pinhookawesome venue. Great band, go see them during the weekend. You have nothing else better to do I know that.Thank you listeners. And thank you all so much for your time and coming over here.

Bombadil 33:45
Of course welcome

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