A couple of weeks ago I was watching a certain reality TV show about art and artists (not going to say what show it was, but Congratulations, Kymia, I was rooting for you from the beginning!) and looking at the winning artist’s exhibit I thought (aloud as usual): “This is the work of a true artist. This person cannot do anything else but this, this is why it’s so crazy and so good.” This goes for music, too. You can tell right away who does it for money, who does it as a hobby and who cannot live without doing it. And while we may like music created by the first two types of musicians, it’s only the third ones who manage to blow our minds. Today trippin’ the rift talks to Adam Straney and Justin Neff – two parts of your new favorite band THE NEW LAW.
tipkin – What is it with Seattle and electronic music? I feel like every notable US-based electronica act is from Seattle. Do you feel like there’s a lot of competition around or is there a sense of community?
THE NEW LAW – Seattle is an amazing city for electronic music. There is a huge variety of styles and cultures that are playing and listening to the music. Plus, there isn’t much competition here because there are plenty of venues and shows going on most days of the week that cover various genres. Every producer or band here has a different style of music too, so it’s not so much of a battle with each other, but a celebration of each individual’s sound and style. Most producers we know aren’t trying to emulate the hottest trend or style, but are more trying to find themselves in their own music, and by doing that, create their own style. It’s more rewarding, and it’s fascinating to watch all these artists pave their own path.
t. – You sure do have a very unique and distinguishable style. Was there a “this is it” moment, when you realized that you’re onto something new?
TNL – That’s an interesting question. We are still exploring and venturing to find our style. There definitely was a “this is it” moment, but it’s hard to pinpoint. I think it reveals itself more and more through time. We feel with each new tune, we’ve learned something to add on to the next one. We never started this to actually be an official band. Honestly, we got together to get drunk and jam in the garage when we were both in college.
Our first song we ever did was a theme to the movie The Exorcist, and we thought, “Shit, this is pretty epic.” It was basically us jamming out on an old Akai synth and some funk breaks, but it had a sinister and raw feel to it that we rarely heard in other beats. Justin played Sax in a funk band at the time as well, so we decided to try that out, and that’s where “Deconstructed Funk” came in. When we finished that, we realized we were onto something. So we just started making songs that combined both the elements of synths from the Exorcist song, and the jazz elements of Deconstructed, and make it as tripped out as possible.
However, we can’t ignore the fact that we LOVE movie soundtracks and the cinematic feeling we try to reflect in our music. That was definitely always an intention from the start, and it will continue to be as we keep learning and exploring in the studio. Our listeners probably can tell which movies we love.
t. – Congratulations on the new album, it’s fantastic. Were there any particular sources of inspiration for The Fifty Year Storm?
TNL – Thanks so much. It’s seriously a blessing to be able to release our music. We never thought we’d be doing this, and here we are on our 3rd album. It’s amazing. The main inspiration was to make more music really. We both have day jobs to pay the bills, and our own lives. However, we both are musicians, and have that itch to make music. The longer we go without making music, the crazier we get. We both do this as a sort of escape from the daily routines that everyone gets in their lives. That’s the main reason we make music: to escape to a different world. This last album just happens to be the continuing of that escape, which has developed itself into an actual story. It’s become its own being in a way, and we’re excited to see it grow.
t. – I feel like there’s one continuing story going through all three of your albums. If there’s any truth to that, what do we learn from the new chapter, and does the story end with The Fifty Year Storm?
TNL – You definitely got that right. The first album was more of a bundle of tunes we made. However, once we heard the album and songs all combined, we realized it sounds sort of like a soundtrack for a movie. Then, when the art came in from Seth (Grym), who by the way is one of the most talented designers around, we knew we were on to something. High Noon was then deliberately following the story of the unnamed hero. The basis was the ultimate battle. The ones you see movies build up to: The struggling, outnumbered hero who is up against all odds, and his fight to survive.
Once we covered that part of the story, we wanted the story to continue. However, we couldn’t do the same theme, it was already covered. So this next chapter covers the main character leaving the scene after the battle at High Noon, and meeting some other characters who help take him to sea to another world. He learns the way of the sea through the journey, but on the red horizon ahead, there’s something brewing. Something dark and sinister, and he’s unwillingly heading straight into the storm of it. We love a good story, so why not add one to the music we make? We had another artist and friend (Scott Rickey of sweatshopmade.com) do the artwork for this album to help change the vibe a bit, and we think it came out fantastic. It really portrays the sound of our album through a visual presentation.
t. – I’m sure you gained a whole lot of fans since the release of The New Law back in 2006. Do you feel a lot of anticipation around the new release? What should your fans expect?
TNL – We have, and we love our fans. The great thing about our music is it doesn’t exactly fit into any specific genre. And because of that, we have fans of all ages and from all types of cultures around the world, especially Eastern Europe and Russia. Also, we do this all on our own. We release the music ourselves, no label, no manager, nobody but us. So, the fans contact us directly. It’s a ton of work, but it’s worth it. We’ve definitely been hearing from our fans that are anticipating the album.
This album is slightly different than the rest, but it continues the story. It’s definitely our style of evolving beats and soundscapes, yet it’s a bit more deep and flowing, kind of like the waves of the sea. We want to keep making our style of music, but we have to change it up each time in the studio a bit to keep us learning and interested. Also, we change equipment all the time. It helps us evolve, but it also changes the sound and style of the music that comes from it. Adam’s already sold and bought a bunch of new gear the last couple months to continue the next chapter.
t. – Even though I wouldn’t call your music “trip-hop”, there are definitely common elements, and you don’t seem to shy away from this tag. What’s your take on trip-hop and its current state?
TNL – To be honest, we don’t really consider ourselves “trip-hop”. It’s just the closest tag we could label our music when we uploaded online. It’s definitely trippy, and it has some hop (haha). Trip-hop will always be the ’90s for us. It’s where it came from, and had the major players of the scene blow up. It was new and fresh, and fit the sound of those times. It’s like classic rock. You can play classic rock style today, but it will never be Cream, Led Zeppelin, etc… I hate when people say a certain genre is “dead”. It’s not dead, it’s just not new anymore, and because of that, it’s not fresh to listeners looking for the next thing to blow their minds.
With that said, trip-hop helped pave the way to the sounds of now. There are more people making beats than ever before. There are tons of producers and bands making instrumental beats that combine trip-hop, hip-hop, dubstep, dnb, etc… We have so much technology at our hands at a fraction of the price that it cost back when trip-hop was starting out, so we have so many more talented people making music that wouldn’t be able to if the price of equipment was the same as 15 years ago. It’s great. And the kids making the music now are coming up with new sounds and styles that are blowing our minds. Sure there’s a lot of crap to sift through, but there are way more gems to be found if you search hard enough. It’s definitely rewarding.
t. – I’d love to see you play live. Is it a possibility?
TNL – Yes. Where do you live? We’re wanting to tour, and we have added a new drummer to our live set, so our live show has gotten really fun. We’ve played a lot of shows around our region, but we want to play everywhere else now. Not having a record label and a manager doing the “non-music” tasks makes it a little harder for us to organize a tour. However, if you’re reading this, get in touch with us. We want to tour. We want to do the rest of North America, and Europe/Asia as well due to our large fanbase there. Our fans are spread out across the world, and we want to see all of them.
And we want to see you. In Chicago (where I live), Russia (where half of my readers live) and anywhere you’ll go, I’m sure you’ll meet a warm supportive crowd.
Let’s make THE NEW LAW show in your town happen sooner – go to www.thenewlaw.com and support Adam and Justin with your downloads (you can get the first two albums for free there – just enter “0” for price). And don’t forget to spread the word – everyone appreciates a good music recommendation.