by Eric Baylies
Noise: Who are the members of Spectramotiv and what do they play?
Lady Bedouin: Spectramotiv is a Boston based trio with Lady Bedouin on vocals, Andrew Abrahamson on guitar, drum machine and synth, and Jon Littlefield, a.k.a Tall Jon on bass.
Noise: How did Spectramotiv start, did you kind of know each other or did you meet through ads?
LB: Ads? That’s funny! What do you mean? Like Craig’s List or something?
Noise: Sure, why not?
LB: No, we got to know each other through Eric Boomhower of Dyr Faser who introduced me to his former bandmates of The Big Disappointments and Royal Wedding. Tall Jon suggested we jam with Andrew at his studio in the Berwick building, Dudley, and the rest was history.
Noise: Where did the name come from?
Andrew Abrahamson: It comes from the 1964 psych-science classic On the Motivation of Spectres which maps the harmonics of periodic electromagnetic brain waves to frequency and intensity of haunting or persistent memories. I base all my beats on the word counts of the prime numbered pages.
Noise: How are the songs written, do they start as jams or are they written out before?
LB: Based on my experience with my bandmates, it has always been jams; stuck in dungeon jamming for a year or so. Our first self-titled album was basically our live jams recorded and somewhat refined. We listen to our recorded tracks that are sometimes long, like over 20 mins long, then I pick the free-styled notes that stand out. If there’s a beat, or not, I begin with different melodies singing whatever comes to mind and mess around with vocal effects.Sometimes we speed or slow the tempo. If Andrew doesn’t record our jams in his studio, I’d personally forget what we come with.The fellas pick their riffs based on the rhythm we like.
Jon Littlefield: On bass I’ll generally follow what the rhythm track requires, assuming that the songs begins there, always with an ear toward what Andy’s doing on guitar so as to support it or provide a counterpoint to it. But just as much I like to tinker around until I stumble on something. Oftentimes at home I work on ideas for bass parts, but the most fruitful experimentation for me comes when I get to arrive to the studio first, riff on ad idea, and then have that idea playing a on loop when my bandmates arrive. That’s how the song “Boogie Man” evolved, for instance.
Noise: Do you all write?
Jon: Oh sure. It’s been proven that we can all write, but it feels more magical and symbiotic when we improvise our way into composing something that each of us really like.
Noise: Do have any videos or any in the works?
LB: I froze my keister filming our “Rules” video during the winter with a film student who agreed to do it. Had him shoot at my neighborhood bar too. The kid moved to California and we never got the footage. I ain’t chasing after him, and besides this frequently happens in any DIY scene.
Noise: Do you go to a studio or record yourselves?
Andrew: Our first record was pretty much live and we recorded out at The Den in North Reading. Very chill place and Doug Batchelder is a pleasure to work with. The new one, BØØM T0WER, was much more organic process – writing and recording in tandem. Studio money adds up fast when you’re working that way so we made it down in my space in the Berwick building.
Noise: Any recordings coming up?
LB: We actually distributed promo-codes during our record release gig at Great Scotts on July 5th. BØØM T0WER is our latest, check it out!
Noise: Do you have any official releases out, or plan to soon?
Jon: BØØM T0WER.
Noise: Any touring plans in the near future?
LB: I’m open to touring as long as it’s arranged and planned well. In real life we have our careers to keep in mind.
Jon: Well, I’m not currently career-ing, as it were. All I know is that if we ever get on the road together I’m packing Our Band Could Be Your Life, and I’m gonna re-read it between stops, maybe aloud, depending upon how quickly that gets on my bandmates nerves, ha ha ha. Seriously though, it’s the most inspiring book about life on the road in the former American underground, and there’s plenty of wisdom and about as many laughs within it.
Noise: Anything else unique or awesome about the band you want to share?
LB: I love my bandmates and creating with them. They are open to experimentation and their vibes are chill. It’s hard to find teammates that your so comfortable with to be in altered-state or just let that crazy alter-ego come out. I find it healing too, not just theatrical. For example, with our first track “Boogie Man” I was triggering my issues being from the occupied and colonized Middle East. Then, my bandmates came up with these heavy riffs that I think sound unique.
Andrew: The music for “Boogie Man” specifically went through at least three completely different versions before becoming the heavy version it is now. That one’s got these shortened seven measure repetitions in the bassline which Jon played naturally on one take. I dug that version reprogrammed the electronics to follow. The only point being all the writing is a very organic and collaborative process. It’s very important to all of us to keep thing open. And fun. Our best tracks have come when we’ve been having the best time together.
Noise: Is the album title about Eric Boomhower (of the band Dyr Fazer, who Spectramotiv has played with)?
LB: Eric Bøømhower – that fucker? Probably not.
Noise: What are some of your best and worst show experiences?
LB: Worst experience is when you have a booker from New York that doesn’t know jackshit about the bands he books – he’d have a heavy metal band play right before you in downtown Boston and people in Boston don’t like heavy metal so that band emptied the venue before we went on at McGann’s. Best experience for me was our Halloween gig, Bonechill Masquerade. It was one of our first shows and a bog night. Everyone was drunk, and we were in masks. It got trippy and weird. I think that night we realized that we wanna jam the way we do at the studio at Berwick in front of an audience.
Noise: Have you been in other bands around Boston or elsewhere?
LB: I was an underground blues singer in the Middle East (the actual Middle East not the night club), and jammed with musicians in Montreal and Brooklyn. My bandmates were former members of The Big Disappointments and Royal Wedding.
Noise: What are some of the big influences on the band?
LB: Tall Jon shares a lot of tracks with Andy and I. He’s like a walking music encyclopedia. In recognition of his efforts, gonna go with his taste on this one, here are some of our fave sounds: Bad Brains, Mulatu Astatke, Public Image Ltd., William Onyeabor, The Avengers, Killer Mike, The Frogs, Public Enemy, Iggy Pop & Zig-Zags, A Tribe Called Quest, Funkadelic, Boss, D.R.A.M., The Oh Sees, Queens of the Stone Age, Erykah Badu, The Coup and Six Finger Satellite.
Noise: Any big plans for next year or so?
LB: This is a broad question, all I know is the Spectramotiv vibe is all about living the moment.
Noise: Thanks so much. Check out Spectramotiv around New England, Noise readers!