The Globes' Erik Walters Tells Us The Problem With Overbearing Volume In Live Settings
To this day, the mere mention of the term "Seattle Band" conjures up images of flannel and angst-fueled grunge more than it does the harmonic, beard-enrobed folk-rock that now serves as the rain-drenched city's chief musical export. But while the coffee-stained town seems to churn out top-notch folk rock and sparkling dream-pop on a regular basis these days, there really are still plenty of bands from Seattle that dutifully aim to blow their own amps off of the stage they're rocking.
Especially the ones that aren't really from Seattle after all. The Globes, a young quartet led by Erik Walters, is a Spokane-based outfit that has waged plenty of battles in the Emerald City in recent years, gaining both scars and successes in the process. And the group, whose members are barely old enough to get into one of Dallas' many "gentleman's clubs," has managed to apply the lessons quickly learned from those early club days to their efforts now as a touring band.
Their recently released full-length debut from Barsuk, Future Self, is an experimental, yet warmly welcoming collection that doesn't boast abstraction for the mere sake of creating noise. Walters' lyrics and vocals convincingly hide his youthful age, even if that wasn't his intention. As far as first, full albums go, Future Self is a mature work, carrying loads of promise for this band that has made it out of the rough and tumble Northwest alive.
The Globes are currently out on the road, and in advance of their gig with Archers of Loaf in Dallas on Sunday night, we took a few minutes to speak to Walters about the Seattle scene, loud music and, you guessed it, actual globes.
The Globes -- "Stay Wake"
Your band is from Spokane, Washington , but you've played in Seattle a great
deal. Seattle is obviously an amazing place for music, but it also has a
reputation for being pretty competitive between bands. How would you
describe the current state of the Seattle music landscape?
While we definitely have strong ties to Seattle, I'm not sure we ever quite fit into the scene that was blooming while we lived there. I can say the same thing about being a band from Spokane and living there currently. The music we make is so drastically different than what is popular and trending in both cities, and because of that we aren't deeply rooted to either scene or place. We're in limbo, so to speak. That being said, the perspective that I've gathered regarding Seattle's music community (from playing shows, meeting bands, promoters and interning at KEXP for a while) is that it's very tight-knit, selective and hard to break through. The other side of the coin, in my experience, has shown a city that is very supportive of its bands and musicians. I haven't been witness to rivalries or any sort of competitive spirit. Seattle is the music capitol of the northwest, and has been for many years --- from punk to grunge to indie bands, the scene seems to change with each decade. Currently, it's harboring a folk-rock movement. We'll see what it is in a few years.
As a collective, you're a young group, but that doesn't mean you're new
to music. Tell me about being in your young teens and beginning to
figure out who you were musically.
Since we were kids, we've all been passionate about music. In our teens, we were active in our high school music programs, ranging from playing in wind ensemble, jazz band, pep and marching band, percussion ensemble -- we did it all. And we took private lessons on top of that. Marcus and I started playing together in middle school -- we were playing in jazz band together at the time -- then Kyle signed up, and finally Sean. The four of us have been playing music together for close to 10 years, and it's been our goal since we were kids to challenge ourselves as players and as songwriters. We enjoy breaking rules and we tend to scrutinize. There are no formulas and no concepts, really. We always strive to make music that we feel is true to ourselves. I'm confident in saying that every member of The Globes has a completely unique vision about what music is, what it means and why it's important. We all like different bands, styles and approach ideas differently, but we share a passion for music that's simply a part of who we are as people.
As evidenced on the new album, you are a band that knows how to do the
"loud-quiet-loud thing" really well. You've also toured with some bands
that really know how to crank the amps up. Have you ever tried to
out-loud someone like A Place to Bury Strangers on tour before?
We tend to be pretty loud, but volume isn't everything. Don't get me wrong; I love loud bands. When I go to a concert I want to experience it. I wanted my clothes to literally shake when I saw My Bloody Valentine. But there are moments when it can be overbearing. Volume masks impurities in the music. And, let's face it, anyone can play loud, but few actually do it well. It's our goal to really stress dynamics, because dynamics are musical. Maximum volume for the entire duration of a song just isn't musical.
With all of this talk about sounds and the music, do you ever feel like your lyrics are getting a raw deal?
I feel like the lyrics set a tone to the record that music doesn't do on its own, and I think that's important to understand. There are moments where darker lyrics are juxtaposed against music that's more jovial. "Pigeon" is a good example. If folks don't get it or don't like it, that's just too bad, really.
You know, you don't really see actual globes anymore. Kids used to
practically spend hours spinning them around, inspecting far-off places.
How did that become your band's chosen name?
We had just graduated high school and were looking to change our name when we moved to Seattle and start fresh. The Globes was the first name we discovered that hadn't been taken when we searched it on Myspace.
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