The first question I asked Jesuit’s Nate Newton when I interviewed him in 1998 was about his stint playing bass for Converge for a tour. Fifteen years later, that’s turned out to be a little more of a regular thing: I suspect that more people recognize Newton’s name as the bassist of Converge than they do from anywhere else. It’s worth remembering Jesuit as well, though — they were a brutally loud band, quietly pushing at the limits of what might be considered hardcore.
And, if memory is any indication, they were also a terrifically nice bunch of guys. I saw them in New Jersey a whole lot in the late 90s, and never saw a bad show in the bunch. More recently, I was able to see a reunited Jesuit take to the stage at Santos Party House, and show that they hadn’t lost any of the vitality that first impressed me. Magic Bullet Records released Jesuit’s discography in 2011. More recently, Newton’s other band Doomriders released a terrific album titled Grand Blood in late 2013.
This interview was conducted in spring 1998, and appeared in Eventide‘s fourth issue.
I did a lot of interviews for Eventide, but only one was conducted through an exchange of letters. That was with Jason Molina, whose early work as Songs:Ohia had already caught my ear, and whose albums made after this — particularly the utterly stunning Didn’t It Rain — have rarely left my stereo. I’d been struck by Impala, Songs:Ohia’s second album — though describing exactly why I find these albums so powerful is hard to do. The best advice I can give is to listen and let the songs sink in; Molina’s songwriting has a powerfully atmospheric effect, and at its best — which it often was — it was hypnotic.
At the time that this interview was conducted, Molina was on the verge of releasing Axxess & Ace, Songs:Ohia’s third album. Molina would go on to release numerous fantastic albums through numerous projects — including Songs:Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. — before his death in early 2013.
This interview was conducted through the mail, and appeared in issue 5.
Few records have held up as well for me as Strand, the second album from The Spinanes. I first saw said band in their days as a two-piece — Rebecca Gates and Scott Plouf — sharing a bill at the Westbeth Theater Center with Elliott Smith and Versus. Two years later came Arches and Aisles, which found Gates working with a new group of collaborators, many of whom were associated with Chicago’s post-rock scene. I believe a feature version of this appeared in NYU’s newspaper — which may explain the haphazard transitions between certain questions.
Thirteen years later, I would interview Gates again; she continues to make and play vital, essential music, and her album The Float was one of my favorites of 2012. Also, it should be noted that Gates can play an absolutely stunning Lungfish cover.
This interview was conducted person in spring 1998, and appeared in issue 4.