Interview: Towering Trees

This Saturday, April 30th, The Banana Stand will host the jangly, dreamy sounds of Towering Trees to record live. The show will also feature The Shy Seasons, and will be super rad: please RSVP on Facebook.

To get you ready for Saturday, please check out this interview with Towering Trees' William Carpenter, who answered our questions via email for this interview.

Banana Stand: How long has the band been together in its current form? How did it come together?

William Carpenter: Towering Trees started a few years back under the name William Carpenter's Towering Trees. When I moved to Portland, I played music with a lot of folks and used “Towering Trees” as a name for whatever group of folks with which I played. We had quite a few lineup changes. It wasn't until about this time last year that our band solidified as myself, Sawyer, and Tom. After a few months of playing and writing with these guys it became clear that my name had no place in front of the band's name. We were all in the same band.

BS: How would you describe your sound? What are your key influences?

WC: The word I like to use is “jangle,” maybe because it's just fun to say. It's pop in rhythm and melody. We get a lot of influences from a lot of different places. Some of our favorite bands: The Smiths, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Strokes, a lot of fifties and sixties pop too.

BS: Tell us your thoughts about recording live. What makes you interested in recording live?

WC: We recorded our Proto EP with live takes and overdubbed the vocals later on, which I think was helpful in capturing the energy of the songs. We have never recorded, with any calculated effort, in a live concert setting though. I think that setting is where a lot of the best performances of the songs can happen. We're really excited to be working with the Banana Stand and can't wait to get it on record.

BS: What's your favorite memory of a live show? Least favorite?

WC: [Shows played] We played Backspace in January with Padraic Finbar Hagerty-Hammond and pocketknife. Both bands were totally stellar, the crowd just danced and had a great time. It is always good to see a crowd that physically expresses their pleasure with the music. Years back I got to play on the roof of the Hotel Deluxe as part of the Top Down Film Festival, that was a gorgeous night. Another outside concert at Lewis and Clark College with Old Time Relijun was just awesome. Least favorite memories are thankfully far between, but they usually involve issues with organization. I'm happy when any number of people come to our concerts, so long as they enjoy themselves.

[Shows attended] A few shows come to mind: Wolf Eyes at the Knitting Factory in '06, Why? and Mount Eerie last year at the Wonder Ballroom, Morrissey in '09 at the Roseland, Sunn O))) and Boris at the Walker in '06. All of these shows had one thing in common: the artists were engaged with the audience. The best live performances not only try to convey the emotionthat's there on the studio recording, but try to humanize it and put it in context. I won't name any specific bands for the worst shows I've been to, but they have consistently been the kind where the artist is more interested pleasing themselves (or drinking themselves silly) than putting forth the best performance possible.

BS: What are your favorite live albums?

WC: Yessongs by Yes is without question one of the best live albums ever recorded. Rank by The Smiths. And of course Live at the Fillmore East, June 1971 by The Mothers of Invention.

BS: What other projects are you all involved with?

WC: Tom is in a band called The Protons, who are playing Langano Lounge on April 29th. They're awesome. I still perform solo from time to time. Once in a while I will resurrect my drone band Brocaine, that's usually around full moons, solstices. 

BS: What are you working on lately?

WC: The band is writing songs and recording demos for what we hope will be our first album. We're playing a lot of shows around town right now and that may stop for a month or so in order to move forward with a recording.

Thanks to William Carpenter from Towering Trees for participating in our interview. Towering Trees is William, Tom and Sawyer. They'll be recording live at the Banana Stand on Saturday, April 30th with The Shy Seasons. You should totally be here: RSVP on Facebook.

Check out more of Towering Trees on BandcampFacebook and MySpace.