Tell me a little about the songwriting process in The End Times Spasm Band. Does someone come up with a riff or melody and you all get together to hammer it out in rehearsal? Who handles lyrics? Where do your lyric ideas come from?
Bart Helms: The inspiration for my lyrics tend to come from what I read, which can be anything from poetry or a book on the history of mathematics.
Lyndsy Rae: It’s totally the same for me. Whether it’s a book you’re reading or an artwork your seeing – if it’s a vulnerable day, it turns itself into a song. Writing “Baudelaire,” I was lacking adjectives. They don’t surface naturally in another language. I was looking at an art book by Bacon, with a lot of exposed bones and rib cages, and I tried to visualize that.
Bart Helms: To write End Timesy material, we both benefit from setting ridiculous songwriting challenges. I think this year one of the rules is no more love songs because those made up two-thirds of our Nosferatu score.
Lyndsy Rae: We both subscribe to being a scholar. We need deadlines. We were in college too long.
He also includes a nice spiel on why the Squirrel Nut Zippers are important to him, which we’ll heartily sign.
It’s poor consolation for anyone who didn’t acquire a ticket in time, but WBOI’s Julia Meek (Folk Tales, Meet the Music) interviewed Lyndsy and me about the process of creating a film score. Listen here at NIPR’s website.
We’ve said it everywhere by now, but thank you again to everyone who came, to the Cinema Center, and to our musicians. We checked so many items off our bucket list that night and added so many more.
Lyndsy and Bart sat down with Michelle Devinney of Fort Wayne Monthly.
The album, which this year won a local music award for best non-rock release, has opened doors to opportunities around the country, and Helms recently counted that they’ve now played in 18 states so far. The break provided Helms, the primary songwriter, time to work on new songs, and the band recently returned to the studio to begin recording again. Patterson looks forward to a less frantic recording pace and where they can take the music now that they’re all fully committed.
“I think there’ll be little nuances that were not there on our last album. That process was really forced and tight, and it’s hard to be really present in a song in that situation. But when you sing a song constantly, you can feel sad if the song is sad or feel what the emotion of the song really is. You can hear it if a musician is only half there.”
When we played in Dallas in February, we met members of the North Texas Dieselpunks, including Larry, who interviewed Lyndsy and Bart through email.
This question is for your lead singer Lyndsy Rae. According to your band’s web site, you spent most of the 2010-2011 school year in southern France. Dieselpunks.org has quite a few French members. Could you share some of your experiences while there?
Lyndsy: Well, I lived in France for a year to attend the Université de la Mediterranean. Everything in Europe is so close and cheap to get to so it is foolish not to travel while your abroad. I took time and went to Spain, Ethiopia, Monte Carlo, Istanbul, Turkey and Paris.
I was living in Aix-en-Provence (30 Minutes from Marseille in the very South of France) which is right on the French Riviera. It was literally just like a storybook. The South of France is overwhelmingly different. HOW? Hardly any police (the butcher, the baker, the grocer, the people mostly look after their town) teachers will smoke in class sometimes, everyone is late (“take your time” “life is good” “Do as you need”), they are all so laid back, open minded, music everywhere (accordions!) cobble stone streets that look like allies. Cute little cafés by the bucket loads, and there is of course the beautiful French language. Fresh food that you can easily rise in the mornings and then go glean from the markets. The farmers all come into town and sell you their hand-picked goods, its heaven. The olives, honey, wine, are to die for. That place was ethically blissful.
To say the least I loved it and I miss it very much. I do hope that End Times Spasm Band ends up over there soon.
Lyndsy and Bart were interviewed by Jason Kendall for The Savannah Morning News
On making music in the ‘End Times’
Lyndsy: “Bart chose the name, and I personally loved it because I obsess over the end. I find it to be the most beautiful of all things. I am a huge fan of Nosforatu or Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” for that very reason. The Count states that us humans are allowed to find beauty and romanticize things like sunsets and such because we are not going to see millions of them forever. The “End Times” have been twisting tongues since the beginning of time, and we wanted to take our stab at it.”
Bart: “I’m not a believer, but I enjoy learning about mystery cults and secret societies. The idea of an end to history has always intrigued me. These kinds of beliefs reveal a lot about what people think it means to be human, to live within a society. I wanted a band name with a bit of mystery to it, so that’s what I reached for.”
Lyndsy and Bart offered up some of the things they discovered in 2011 (along with friends like Anthony, Morrison, Greg, and Lee).
Lyndsy Rae Patterson
Lead Singer and Snake Charmer, The End Times Spasm Band
Favorite Read of 2011: Patti Smith’s Just Kids
Favorite Film of 2011: Nosferatu (1922), White Zombie with Bela Lugois (1932) and A Clockwork Orange(1971)
Bart J. Helms
Guitarist, The End Times Spasm Band
Favorite Read of 2011: Ernest Nagel, James Newman and Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel’s Proof. The original came out in 1959, but I picked up the revised edition this year on the strength of Hofstadter’s recommendation. The book explicates one of the most important mathematical papers ever written with an enviable clarity.
Favorite Film of 2011: I finally caught Suzuki’s Pistol Opera (2001) and loved it.
Favorite TV Show of 2011: “Downton Abbey.” Simply amazing on all counts.
Lyndsy was interviewed by Kyle Melton of the Dayton City Paper.
How did the End Time Spasm Band come together? When was that?
In 2008 is when I met [bassist] Zach Wright and [guitarist] Bart Helms. We were at a party and they had their instruments out and were just playing for fun, therefore I sat down and started singing with them just for fun. As the night got later, and the party and music got louder, little underage me heard the “POLICE!” were on their way to bust up the fun. We were too loud, they said. So I tossed the stand up bass player my phone number and said, “Call me if you want to play sometime but I got to run.” Eric Stuckey, our drummer, was an addition to the band about a year into us being End Times Spasm Band. Three people were supposed to audition, he was the first and when he auditioned we knew he was the one we wanted. Zach and Bart were previously in country bands together way before End Times Spasm Band.