Primitive Noyes describes their music as “electroniscape pop.” The band’s sound is redolent of those 1960s-era anti-drug films intended to scare junior high school kids away from dope. To wit: “One senses the invocation of an alternate reality, ephemeral imaginings animating the void,” a concertgoer wrote on a Reader blog after witnessing a show in June.
Their music envelopes a listener in rich and meditative instrumental excursions that include the bowing of bass guitars, digital sampling, looping, and the buzz of controlled feedback. But it’s a warm buzz. So much of pop electronica can sound frigid and nervous. A listen to Primitive Noyes may at times be an act of waiting for something to happen, but at least it’s a pleasant wait. The band has released one CD, Ideation — “as in the process of having an idea.”
Primitive Noyes started in San Diego in 2009 and performs at Whistle Stop, Soda Bar, Ruby Room, and Tin Can Ale House. They are Jordan Hammond, Glendon Romett, Shannon St. John, and Jamal Smith. Jordan Hammond answered the questions below.
What are you guys working on now?
“Not going crazy with the BS of real life, balancing this multiple-way marriage of a band, and figuring out how to respect each other. Also, a bunch of gear broke all at once, so we gotta handle that.”
What is the hardest part of being in this band?
“Persistence. It’s hard even when you know the value of persistence. To get the best work out of yourself, it seems like you have to be singularly focused. But even when you do your best work, the fact is you are only background music in a club for people to drink their Newcastles to.”
Have you guys ever played a wedding gig?
“Nope. We’ll play yours, though.”
How did this band come about?
“A few folks wanted to play music together and work on it really hard without using anything outside ourselves as the judge of quality.”
Who writes your material?
“No one. It turns out it was already written. We just need to shut up our dumb thoughts and find it.”
There was a story in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago that said that all the good band names had been taken...
“The Wall Street Journal is wrong. There are echelons of creativity yet to be explored, ones that will exist long after we are dead. I really like our band name. It slowly developed in the same manner we write. Then it solidified itself, and now we stand by it.”
Do you get pre-show jitters?
“We just promise ourselves that we’ll give it all we got every time we play I guess, try to not look back, try to not think. Maybe practice more? I don’t know. I still get them.”
What was your favorite song to write?
“The process is always so different. Our finished songs are more an attempt to express the powerfully moving creative experiences we get to have when we are focused and responding to each other, musically or not. We get to rewrite the songs every time we play them. It’s kind of empowering, and it’s kind of intimidating, but I think that means we are on the right path.”
The 12 most-essential musicians or bands of all time?
1) Boards of Canada
2) Bear in Heaven
3) Godspeed You! Black Emperor
4) Do Make Say Think
6) Miles Davis
7) Django Reinhardt
8) Sigur Rós
10) Neutral Milk Hotel
11) PJ Harvey
12) Cat Power ■