Friday, January 18, 2008

Band of the Week

The Terrordactyls

"If you want to die/Give me a call/We’ll have each other bleeding in no time at all/Our summer’s ending/Now, it’s time we fall."

The sweet sadness (or sad sweetness) of life hand wrapped and delivered straight to the deepest memories of your childhood. That is what Michael Cadiz and Tyrel Stendahl have managed to achieve on their self-titled full length debut while living across the country from each other. Amidst the extended and passionate kazoo solos, the toy piano melodies, and lo-fi guitar strums lives the conflicted story of youth. The I love you, but you broke my knee caps, the joy and sorrow, the humor and the tears, all packed into a charming 37 minutes. You can't help but fall in love with the bittersweet fun and confusion, and simply sit back and float along.

The Terrordactyls have personally put together 1,000 copies of this debut album. All of the artwork has been drawn by Tyrel Stendahl, and when you open the cd their is a wonderful pop-up of a piece of machinery. However, if you can not afford the $10, the songs are available for free download on their website. They also have two ep and tons of other goodies available for sale.

Recently, both Mike and Tyrel took some time out from making cds and taking silly pictures of themselves to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): Living across the country from each other has to make recording difficult. How was this handled?
Michael Cadiz (MC): Until recently, I have been recording things separately and then going to New York to record Ty's parts. It doesn't necessarily make things too difficult, but it doesn't make the recordings very cohesive. The next album will be different. I'm recording demos now. After that, we'll spend a some time together arranging and performing the songs before we start to record anything. We will also probably have somebody help us that actually knows what they are doing.
Tyrel Stendahl (TS): We may technically live across the country but I’m back in Seattle constantly and Michael is in New York for months at a time. I’m pretty sure we’re together
more than we are apart.

OA: The liner notes to the album state that a lot of the writing for this album was done in Chicago. What are your Chicago ties?
MC: I went to school there for a while. It was pretty unremarkable. I spent most of my time alone in practice rooms that looked like refrigerators.
TS: Yeah, Michael went to fancy guitar school there for a year before Joining me at Evergreen State in Olympia. He made the right choice.

OA: You don't hear the kazoo used too often in popular music, how did you come to
use this unique instrument in your music?
MC: I don't really remember.
TS: Kazoo is pretty awesome…and you don’t need any talent or to practice to make it sound exactly like it is supposed to sound, which is fun. They are also cheap.

OA: The appearance by Kimya Dawson on "Devices" is perfectly done. How did you
come to work with her?
MC: I think that we met her at a show she played with The Pharmacy at Second Avenue Pizza a long time ago. I missed it though. I had to fly somewhere the next day... or something. I don't really remember. I was probably mostly just being dumb. Anyway, I wrote to her a while ago and asked her if she would sing on one of our songs that needed a female part. I didn't really know her very well before that. I think that my only encounter with her was when we had a short conversation about The Mighty Ducks and how one of us had read something online
about them maybe making a fourth film... but that never happened. Anyway, she was really nice about everything. In exchange, I helped to record her singing on some songs by Tiny Masters of Today... she also recorded a pretty good rattle solo.
TS: Kimya is amazing. We think she is wonderful and were very excited when she agreed to sing on Devices. I’ve tried singing that part but it is super awkward.

OA: In the video for "Decorating Daniel" the two of you are seen making the cd packages. Were they all handmade? How many cds were made?
MC: 1,000 all by hand. Glue sticks and box cutters. Our friend Jenn helped us a bunch though.
TS: Yep all 1000 made by hand. Each one starts out as a printed sheet of 11 x 17 paper and gets cut, folded and glued. We’re very proud of them.

OA: What was the reasoning behind making the album available for free download through your website?
MC: We don't have real distribution and we weren't making any money anyway, so we decided that, at least for the time being, we would put it up there for free.
TS: The more people that listen to it the better, right? If people like it we’re happy, and maybe they’ll order one of the handmade pop-up ones?

OA: What's next for The Terrordactyls?
MC: Tour in March and April. SXSW. Another album. We're probably going to start selling paintings and crafts on our website to raise money for tour and living.
TS: We also just put out a 5 song limited edition EP of cover songs by our friends from Seattle, The Pharmacy. It’s on Don’t Stop Believin’ Records and its super fancy. It even comes with Terrordactyls Trading cards. You can pick it up on our website.

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your
favorite coffee spot?
MC: I'm not that picky about coffee. I actually like really cheap diner coffee.
TS: I love Coffee. I am also fond of cheap diner coffee and will love a place that has waitresses that are on top of refills. New York kind of sucks for this, I’m very excited about our upcoming tour.

OA: What was the last great book you have read?
MC: Right now, I'm reading 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' by James Joyce. I like it so far. I don't really like talking about books though.
TS: I’ve been reading and dissecting Lots of pop-up books for a secret project Michael and I have been working on. The best thing I’ve come across lately is Moby-Dick: a Pop-Up Book by Sam Ita.

Facelift/Sabina/Zombie Girl/I Want to Cry/Decoration Daniel/Fall/Devices/Sandcastles/Shipping/Parking Lots/Nobody Knows/Swimming/Home/Baltimore

For more information on The Terrordactyls or to get a very cool pop-up cd visit their website. You can also check out their myspace page for tour dates which begins March 7th, in Seatle, WA.

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