This interview was supposed to be published forever ago. I think the only reason why it hasn’t been yet is because I myself am not totally happy with it. It’s not long enough, but I could not come up with a good, relevant question to save my life when I was questioning Todd, the man behind The Twilight Garden. Perhaps in the near future I will do another interview with Todd.
Either way, this thing is pretty much unedited. There’s a couple things done to make it look pretty, as usual, but other than that, here it is in the raw. Enjoy, and please read the review of The Twilight Garden’s album A World We Pretend, then help support this amazing artist by ordering the album through Projekt here.
How did you come up with the name The Twilight Garden? Does it have any special significance?
When I was working on the name, I wrote out a huge list of words that I liked either the sound of, or the images that the words brought to mind. I tried rearranging the words and picking out the ones that worked best. In the end, most of the names I came up with were already taken by other bands, so I had to keep working at it. I don’t really like the process of naming bands to begin with because I have a tough time placing a label on myself that supposedly encompasses everything I am into a single phrase. Really clever names sometimes annoy me because they say too much in themselves – and that seems limiting in a way – like everything you do is now defined and has to fit within certain parameters. I prefer names/symbols that the music can be easily attached/associated with. I want the music and the songs/lyrics to empower to the name/symbol, rather than depending on the a clever cliche, etc. In that case, the name just needed to be sort of intentionally vague but with the right feel, so that it would be able to take it’s meaning from the music I make and not be overly pre-defined.
Anyway… so I narrowed it down to a few names – “The Twilight Garden” being one of them. I had a few hesitations because of a similarity to a song title of a track that was released by “The Cure” on the single for the song “High” back in the early 1990s called “This Twilight Garden”. Also, the name was similar to the electronic project “The Tear Garden” (Skinny Puppy, Legendary Pink Dots members). In the end, I got over my hesitation pretty easily… why? I LOVE “The Cure” and “This Twilight Garden” is an amazing song… so beautiful… and I LOVE “The Tear Garden” – so many amazing songs – amazing lyrics and incredible beats and electronics. So why fear a similarity in that case? Both of those groups are a huge influence on me, and I gladly tip my hat to them and their inspiration.
So considering all of that, “The Twilight Garden” is a name I can tolerate. It is vague enough that I my own songs and music can define it, and it makes me think of beautiful things… the twilight sky, and flourishing gardens. It’s a good name, simple, and good in it’s simplicity. Maybe not amazing, but it works I guess. That was a seriously long explanation, but hey, you asked.
You talked about not liking naming bands. How many other bands have you named in the past?
How many? I think The Twilight Garden is probably the 5th band I have worked with that I’ve been a part of naming… “The Trucelent”, “Spiderhead”, “Removed”, “The Farthest Shore”, and now “The Twilight Garden”. There may be a couple others in there somewhere, but those are the ones that I remember right now. I did not like the naming process in any of them… I don’t despise the names themselves, just the process of coming up with a name. It’s tedious… annoying and frustrating. I’m sick of bouncing in and out of various bands and having to keep coming up with names. At this point, I’ll probably just stick with The Twilight Garden. I will probably just let this project grow and morph and take me wherever it wants to take me from this point forward… and I’ll never have to name a band again! :-)
What’s one piece of your recording gear that you couldn’t live without? How about live gear?
The only piece of recording gear I have that I truly could not live without is my multi track recording setup. I record in Cubase currently, as it does everything I require of it, and it’s very stable. Live, I think maybe my Boss guitar pedals are the most important thing. This question is tough though because for me there is no magic bullet. It’s always a “combination” of things that eventually culminate in the final product, so it’s difficult to name a single thing. The primary guitar sound for the album is my Gretsch Black Phoenix. The most predominant synth is probably my Arp Solina.
You’ve worked with Velvet Acid Christ in the past, and I was wondering how you came to know Bryan Erickson, and even to work with him?
I met Bryan through a mutual friend who was working at Guitar Center (Chris Kutz). Apparently Chris told Bryan about me, and I knew a bit about Bryan. One day, both of us showed up at Guitar Center at the same time by accident and we got talking… and we realized that we both loved the group “The Cure” a lot. Bryan was working on doing a cover of the song “The Figurehead”. Chris told him I could be helpful with it so somehow we all ended up over at Chris’s studio working on it. Bryan and I started talking a lot more there and started hanging out afterward. We ended up working on the cover of the figurehead – which we later scrapped and did a completely new version. The new version appears on the single for the track “wound” from “Lust for Blood”. After that, we gradually became friends and started hanging out and making music together – and out of all of that came the LP “Lust for Blood” – and later a bunch of remixes, some Toxic Coma stuff, and then the LP “The Art of Breaking Apart”. We were close for probably four years… but we haven’t spoken for quite a while now… stupid personal issues.
Did working with Bryan influence The Twilight Garden at all?
Of course it did on some level… although no matter how much influence there is, at the end of the day, my music sounds like me, and his sounds like him. When we worked together, obviously those two energies were mixed together. When working alone like I did on this album, Bryan’s influence was minimal, but of course since we were spending a lot of time together during the process, I’m sure he had an effect on me still, and hence the music I made. I was really careful about the way I did it though. I didn’t want anyone to strongly influence the music or lyrics as I was making the record, so I didn’t show anybody the music until the entire album was almost completely finished…
I honestly would have thought you would have gone with Metropolis to release the album, but instead you went with one of my favorite labels, Projekt. How did you hook up with the Projekt label, and how has your experience been so far?
Dave at Metropolis is the one who actually turned me on to the idea of Projekt Records. We originally discussed releasing my record, but he was concerned about being able to market it. He said he liked it, but he didn’t want to sign it… maybe because he didn’t like it quite enough, or he was concerned it wouldn’t sell enough – either way, both are obviously legitimate concerns. I didn’t take personally though. I like Dave actually… he’s a good guy, and he’s good at what he does. I respect him a lot. Regardless, I liked the music I had done, and I believed in it enough that I still wanted to try to do something with it. I sent out a bunch of demo discs to various labels I thought would consider the record – Projekt being one of them obviously. After a while, I got tired of waiting and decided to just release the record myself. I placed an order to print my own CDs, and literally like 2 days later, Sam at Projekt contacted me. I mentioned that I had just ordered discs and he told me “WAIT!!! Cancel the order!!!”. hahahaha…. and so here I am at Projekt records.
My experience so far has been really good. They have been really helpful. Sam has taught me a lot about the way things work in this industry. Also, the distribution has been solid which is nice – so people can find the CD if they want to order it… and it’s available online which is great. In addition, they invited me to play the Projektfest 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in late July! I gladly accepted the opportunity and we are now rehearsing to prepare for the show… only another 9 weeks of rehearsal time and then we’re on the road. We decided to make a small tour of it, so we will be playing some shows in various cities along the way and/or along the way back. Athan Maroulis from Sam’s Project “Black Tape for a Blue Girl” is doing the booking – which he’s working on now. So overall, Projekt has been really good to me. I’m honored to be there in good company with some great acts. I’m excited to see some of them live when we play in Philadelphia! You can get more info on the Projektfest here.
With the mixing and mastering of the album, you went with an ‘old school’ method. First off, why? And second, most importantly, how? I know other studio geeks like me are going to want to know this.
Well… “how” is easy. I just asked Mike Marsh at “The Exchange” to master it like the older records.
As far as “Why”… there are other people who have explained that much better I probably can. Sorry to cut this answer short, but watch this video and you’ll have your answer:
A second example:
Between the time it took for Sam to tell you to cancel your self-order and the time A World We Pretend hit the shelves, how much time had elapsed?
I think maybe 9 months? It took a while. Sam didn’t want to release the record in the fall… but it took us a long time to get all of the artwork finalized as well. We ended up redoing all of the artwork from what I had originally planned. Also, we had to work out a lot of promotional stuff to help market the album.
What did the original visuals for A World We Pretend look like?
The originals were done by Luana Silense. I found an image at [DeviantArt] that I liked. This was the original:
Luana didn’t have a hi-res version available though, so I asked her to redo the image. She did a new version that was equally good, but a bit more feminine. I liked it a lot actually, and I almost went with it. When I started working with Projekt Records, they questioned the artwork. Sam didn’t think it fit the music very well. In the end, I agreed to find something that “both” of us were happy with to strike a compromise. We started searching through [DeviantArt] again – sending massive amounts of image links back & forth. I would pick a bunch… he would tell me his favorites – then he would pick a bunch and I would tell him my favorites. We narrowed it down to a few pieces that we both liked a lot. The cover piece we finally decided on was done by Daniel Devlicharov. …