November 2, 2009
LOCAL SPOTLIGHT NYC
Kalpana has been playing and releasing their music, which they like to refer to as their “boring stories of glory days,” in the city sporadically since 2004. With members split between cities, this four-piece collective has just recently released their second full length Teeth on the Wheel three years after the release of their last EP, This Dead Horse. Their debut LP, Hors de Combat was released in 2004. JM.com’s Gordon Sharp connected with guitarist/singer/designer Aaron Powers to talk about Kalpana’s new record and their development over time.
JM.com: Kalpana’s been playing in NYC for over 5 years. Tell our readers a little a little about the time before Kalpana. I know some of you are from upstate and now spread also to Philly, how did it all come together?
Aaron: The first Kalpana material came from a handful of experimental rock songs that Andrew, Blair and Michael put together for a school project back in 2002. The following winter there was this idea to bring me in, develop the sound further and start up an actual band. We spent a few months rehearsing in a basement outside of Rochester, NY, getting to know each other musically and rehearsing songs that probably made the neighbors wonder if robots were murdering each other next door. Following our first record in 2004, we all moved into an apartment together in Astoria and began life as a New York band where we have made some friends and played a bunch of shows, as you know. We live separately now, with Michael in grad school in Philly and the rest of us in NYC.
JM.com: Redder Records released 2006’s This Dead Horse. You’re now releasing your new album Teeth on the Wheel as a free download through your own label No Funeral. How do you reason with the fact that by making your record free to the public in an attempt to open it up to a wider audience you at the same time contribute to making digital music a worthless commodity?
Aaron: I don’t think we’ve ever viewed our music as a commodity, which is why we didn’t hesitate in making Teeth on the Wheel available on a donation basis (for the time being, anyway). We produced and mixed the album ourselves for very little money. So we consider it a gift to the folks who stood by us for the last few years, with the hope that some new fans might chip in and help recoup our modest costs. There are also plans for a physical version with interesting packaging because we realize the importance of being able to hold something tangible in your hands. And right, the new record was released on Kalpana’s own imprint, No Funeral. Redder hasn’t been as active lately because of key members taking on graduate studies at home and abroad. But there are some interesting things going on behind the scenes that they are excited about.
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