Short and Sweet: WMSE Talks to Ages and Ages

 

Ages and Ages‘ latest, Divisionary is full of vim and vinegar, but isn’t exactly about fisticuffs (and with the band’s group singalong, handclapping, boot-stomping vibe, it would be hard to imagine anything getting too rough and tumble, anyhow). The newest music from the west coast group, has got its sights moreso set on weeding out destructive behaviors in everyday life and living more proactively, in general. The band voiced these feelings of breaking off and starting out on a consciously new journey, both literally and figuratively just as they released the album in time for a big tour that began with SXSW. Early this week, Ages and Ages are making their way into the Midwest, and while on the road, band leader Tim Perry took time to tell WMSE all about reinventing, not only a working group, but a working mindset as well.

When you all first got together, was it a surprise that you all sang so well together, or was that planned/prior knowledge?

Well, thank you! We created this group with singing in mind, so it was pretty important that everyone had a strong voice, but beyond that we didn’t have a whole lot of prerequisites. We were (and are) more interested in having a group of nice people who get along and are willing to work hard. Together. I think this is the difference between a “band” and a group of ringers. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and this bonds us and makes us a stronger band.

Does the west coast truly feel like home to you (would you consider living anywhere else)?

Most of us grew up on the west coast, so it feels pretty homey to us! I grew up all over the northwest, mostly Seattle, so I’m used to the grey and the rain. I think this part of the country is beautiful, but I could see myself moving somewhere else if there were a good reason. For now, we all are doing fine with the trees and the ocean and the mountains…and of course, the fine city of Portland!

Your new album is a bit heftier in subject matter – why so?

The first album was loosely about a group of people isolating themselves from the rest of society. And in a way it was a sort of metaphor for being in a band. There was a sort of exuberance and “newness” – the sort that might exist for a group of people who have broken off from the rest of society to start something new.

Divisionary carries this theme further…after things get a little more real, more complicated. The challenge that we’re trying to address is how to live amidst our culture of greed and destructiveness without losing ourselves along the way and without giving up…or in. This album – and our general world view – is ultimately very positive. But it’s a hard-fought optimism that comes from observing these struggles and from attempting to work through them.

What is the cover (apple and key-hole) symbolic of to you?

Well. The apple is a pretty ubiquitous image, I think — simple and relatable. I relate it to life, sustenance, etc.; something positive. The keyhole, on the other hand, is mysterious, dark. One has to get up close and look if they want to see what’s behind it. The pile of keys? Well, every lock has a key (just as every person has a path). But which one of these keys fit? You have to sift through the pile. You have to work at it.

Do you have musical peers you feel connected to?

We have many good friends in Music World :)

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