Common Anomaly recently shared their views on the current state of rock music, bad music that they each enjoy and their decision to move to Denver. Hear them play a live set tonight on the Local Loco program by tuning in at 7 pm MST to 90.5 fm or by streaming at kcsufm.com.
1. So for those who aren’t familiar, could you give a quick summary of Common Anomaly and how the band came to be?
We started out as a three-piece, playing acoustic shows with Nick on acoustic guitar and piano, Paul on guitar and violin and Adam on a djembe. We had been channeling Modest Mouse, Spoon and other singer/songwriter-type bands, but wanted to grow from playing the mellow acoustic sets. Paul and Adam were in a punk band in high school and Nick and Sean had heavy influences in punk and metal, so we plugged in and adapted to a heavier sound. We wanted to “rock out,” so to say. Given that we were really into bands like Death from Above 1979 and the Faint when we started-out, dance-punk had turned to be our direction. Over time, post-rock became a huge part of our sound because bands like Explosions, Mogwai, and M83 have always influenced our progressive writing and have allowed for us to feel free in playing longer songs and especially playing instrumentals. We all write the songs. There is no main writer. We just have fun and usually “jam-out” for long periods, driving our neighbors crazy, whilst we have fun.
2. Your last album, “Iridium,” is still getting a lot of play on KCSU and I saw some pictures of you guys back in the studio. Is Common Anomaly working on another album?
We are hoping to release an EP by the summer actually! We just recorded a new song called “Locusts” at Backbone Studios in Loveland with Jason Larson, (of Arliss Nancy and the Piggies), and are planning on doing a sort-of, “song-a-month” type of recording process, leaving us individual songs to release as we work on it’s entirety. Jason has been just a delight to work with as well. He has a great ear for music all around and has pushed some new ideas our way that ware helping to shape our 4 year old band.
3. SXSW is coming up and I know you guys are playing the SpokesBUZZ showcase. Are you planning a tour before/after SXSW or have any other shows in Austin during the festival?
We currently have only the Spokesbuzz stage booked haha but we are hard at work trying to book a tour through the mountains and through Oklahoma and whatnot so that we can make a tour out of SXSW. We are working on getting house shows and looking to play absolutely anywhere someone would have us.
4. Have you ever played SXSW before?
Nope. We are super-duper excited to though.
5. Many Fort Collins groups end up moving to Denver or other large cities in order to reach a larger audience. As a band, has Common Anomaly ever discussed moving to a larger market? And if not, what’s made you stay in Fort Collins?
We’re planning on moving to Denver this August, in fact. For the first couple years we were together, we couldn’t get Denver shows, nor did we have a band vehicle to get down there. After playing Fort Collins pretty much exclusively for about two years, we finally started getting some Denver shows. We’ve met a lot of really awesome people in Denver – bands, bookers, agents – that have been helping us out. About a year and half ago we hooked up with the Vinefield, a booking agency in Denver that’s been able to get us on some national level bills like Royal Bangs, Bear Hands and Appleseed Cast. Lately, it seems like we’re playing down there more often than not, and the commute is starting to be a hassle. Moving at this point just feels like the right thing to do. We have all been in FOCO for quite some time, so all in all, we’re just looking for a new scene that’s not far from home.
6. Common Anomaly is a rock band in the truest sense. There are two guitars, bass, drums and the music is loud and danceable. It seems that the classic rock-band set up is becoming rarer and rarer as more musicians turn toward making electronic music. Do you think this trend will continue or that rock bands will always have a dominant spot in popular music?
We all hate the idea of someone standing on stage and pressing play and hopefully THAT is just a phase. Not to say that electronic music is bad, we’re all fans, but the performance is just lacking. There’s definitely something special about creating something organic that just can’t be replicated. Instruments too! A lot of electronic music is done live, with keyboards and such, but without the “live performance,” the music will sound just like it does on the album. Electronic music is a huge influence to our sound, but we like to channel it into more traditional methods. We’re like a cyborg, uh, yep, a mutant cyborg,….we use samples and a lot of synth, but our songs almost always begin on a guitar or piano.
When thinking about the Stones or Zeppelin, …You don’t see a lot of the “tried and true” set -up in rock music as common anymore: “THE” skinny lead singer in the front, pointing and eye-f***ing the crowd while a triangle of guitar, bass and drums “back-up” the singer. Although we may perhaps consider Mars Volta as the kings of this “set-up,” the other kind, like in most every hair-metal band, is spent. AND good riddance! This “formula” for a band perhaps became so regurgitated to the end of the 90’s with “angry-white male metal,” that the “electronic explosion” and the rebirth of dance music, was rather QUITE necessary while at the same time a natural cause and effect. BUT, where do we go from here??
7. Lastly, what’s one band that a member of Common Anomaly loves and another member absolutely hates (if there is one)?
Adam and Paul love CAKE and Das Racist, Sean can’t stand either.
Nick loves Incubus and girl pop like Amy Winehouse, Lykke Li – Paul and Adam, not so much.
Sean is a die-hard Mariah Carrey fan, … no idea here,… perhaps not even on his side.
Paul has a love of playing jazz. We all love jazz, but while Paul plays scales, we play Words with Friends.
Sean loves Tom Petty and Ryan Adams, … a lot. Nick does a great impression of Petty that pisses Sean off.
Nick says AA Bondy sounds like Ryan Adams if Ryan Adams didn’t suck.
Nick and Sean worship Bjork. Paul and Adam scratch their heads, return to listen to something awful like M. Ward Paul and Adam doesn’t get Radiohead like Nick thinks he does.
Adam said Creedence Clearwater Revival was “generic.” I know right? Who doesn’t love CCR?
Sean will play Tera Melos while he cleans the house, vacuuming and whatnot. This one’s just hilarious.
Nic Turiciano is a senior journalism major at Colorado State University. Follow him on Twitter Follow @Nic_Turishawno