by Holli Stephens
A catchy beat with a euphoric distorted guitar riff and synth accompaniment by Adam Rasmussen defines his favorite song “Echosassy” off of Gardens & Villa’s new album, Dunes.
“To me, it has the controlled frenzy of late night freeway blur – reds, whites, greens – they spiral steadily from the beginning to end of the track. It’s the best from Dunes for driving.”
Shortly before Dunes was released the band spent some time around Lake Michigan where they got inspired by the beautiful lakeside landscape. Rasmussen recounts, “We really felt its power because of this. It was inspiring to be leaning into a shattering wind all the while hoping the ice beneath you doesn’t give way. It’s a door to something primal – we remember feeling alive when we returned to the studio after those experiences – ready to do something bold, creatively or musically speaking.” And the outcome was a 10-track album that illustrates the serene mystery of the water.
My older sister is a recent Flute Performance graduate so I was especially intrigued when I learned it was one of Chris Lynch’s choices of instruments. Seeing it out of a classical context is something that is always very pleasing to see and how that specific artist styles it and conceptualizes ideas. “The GnV flute is a dynamic arrow. Sometimes we use it as a cymbal, or a guitarish concept. Other times, a flute. It’s quite versatile.”
Putting out a second album is a feat in itself. Fans seem to always want the same sound as the first album and a band has to work hard to innovate but still conserve certain elements that make them unique. Lynch believes their earlier “self-titled record was easier to create. Mainly because we recorded the whole thing live on an 8-track tape machine, with very few over-dubs. With Dunes we had more technology to play with and more time to experiment.”
The other issue encountered was the paranormal activities happening in the recording studio. It has a history of once being a boarding school for troubled boys. “It was strange to be woken up in the middle of the night to someone yelling in my ear or grabbing my blanket or Shane whispering to me that someone was in our room and had just yelled in his ear.”
Gardens & Villa have recently just ended a tour with Tycho who Rasmussen believes to be “true wizards of the stage. There is a stoicism to their art that feels very solid.” Now touring again, the guys have many routines to keep them feeling fresh and the sound brand new each night. Lynch’s list includes, “[Playing] a live version of joy division’s “transmission” really loud in the green room…high fives and Ian Curtis dancing.”
As for each specific show Lynch says, “You have to play for yourself and tune in to your band mates…keep yourself in your own world that is synced up and firing at the same time as the band. You all become one energy wave.”
Gardens & Villa will be at Johnny Brenda’s on 10/5 and once this tour is over, they have some more big plans in mind. They will finally get a well-deserved rest but Lynch let me know that there was another album in the works—something “extraterrestrial and extraordinary.”