The Field Auxiliary: Impossible Interview
Rob: Playing drums in a band is cool because you get to be in the driver’s seat. Tempo affects the way a listener experiences music in such a huge way. Maintaining a solid tempo throughout a song is fun, but it’s particularly enjoyable when there’s a song that feels better a little faster in some sections and cools down a bit in others. That’s what’s cool about seeing shows. A lot of the time songs aren’t exactly record tempo. That variance makes for a more fulfilling listening experience. It’s fun to have that control and responsibility.
What does music mean to you?
Dan: I feel like it means everything to me, but my left and right brains will have to compete for the explanation of why that is.
On the left: Okay, so, music reduces to rhythm + harmony + melody, which reduce to time + space + causality, which are the x, x, and z axes of all experience, right? But A) if music “means everything,” then it might as well also mean nothing. And B) what I “feel” about something and what it “means” are usually incidental; and I think that music as a thing is beyond that kind of a posteriori bullshit. So, by that rationale, it actually doesn’t mean anything, but it just is there unbounded, providing the dimensions of all of my experiences, and I’m grateful for it.
On the right: Music is pure analog expression in a way that a lexicon of digital, quantized words just isn’t. A feeling will be conveyed to me by a relationship (in time, in space, whatever) of notes that I will resonate with, but I won’t ever be able to say why in words, because they aren’t precise enough and they lop off too many of the hidden dimensions. And since we’re all sort of stuck thinking and interacting in a language like English, this means that music might just be the most real thing we’ve got. It knows more than we do about what we are. It’s beyond. It’s IT.
What is this band’s deal?
Jon: Our band consists of three singers, two guitarists, one synthist, one bassist, one drummist, and four people. At first, the Field Aux was Dan (songwriter/singer/producer/player/mastermind), then Rob and Jon became the rhythm section, then Josh became the treble section. We’ve been playing together for 43 years, cumulatively, give or take. We don’t have a genre, but we’d rather not make a big deal about it. We like to play covers and play with covers. We don’t have ulterior motives about stardom. We just like to hit our instruments.
What does playing a show feel like?
Josh: It’s always a cool feeling to play a show. It’s cathartic in the sense that you get to arrange songs into some logical order, practice then into shape, and perform them in a less controlled environment in front of people. Hopefully, people dig it enough for it to be worthwhile because that makes it worth being worthwhile to us.
About This Interview: My name is Dan Smart, singer/songwriter for a 4-piece band from Chicago called The Field Auxiliary. My friends and collaborators Rob Jensen (drums), Jon Ozaksut (bass), and Josh Kalvelage (guitar) are the other 3 pieces. In the spirit of making things harder than they need to be (an amazing freedom to be able to exercise, when you think about it), we thought it might be rad to ask one another some questions that we thought were, more or less, too difficult to answer. Then, we set about answering those questions, which turned out to be less rad—though not altogether un-rad. Either way, like I said above, some form of freedom seems to have been exercised, so we’re in good shape. Thanks for reading.
<3 The Field Auxiliary
NEW SINGLE RELEASE PARTY: Thursday, April 19 @ Empty Bottle, 9:30 PM
Listen to The Field Auxiliary’s Calamity City (Quantum Tantrum Version)
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