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Unedited Ric Taylor Interview with Randell Neudorf

It is always interesting to see what a journalist prints after an lengthy interview. Here is the unedited late night questions that Ric Taylor sent 2x the Mono’s Randell Neudorf, which he frantically (and possibly incoherintly) answered at 4 in the morning on February 11th, 2013. This became the Article Published in View Mag on February 14th, 2013.

Ric: 1. Looks like we last spoke in August of 2010 for Art Rock and Science Fiction. Been a while so what’s happened in the interim?

Randell: We took a bit of a break when Regan Neudorf and his wife had a baby boy at the end of 2010. A baby sized 2x the Mono custom t-shirt was printed up by this very proud uncle and after Regan and his family had some time to settle into this new stage of life we started playing some shows in Hamilton, Toronto, Alliston and Ottawa to promote Art Rock and Science Fiction. People really resonated with our Robot songs and the album was nominated for a Hamilton Music Award.

 

In early 2012 we started writing some new songs. We recorded them at Grant Avenue Studios in the summer and got them finished just before Adrian Mcfarlane and his wife’s little boy was born. Another custom baby 2x the Mono shirt was printed up  and we finished up the shows we had already committed to and then took another small break.

 

Throughout these breaks I started exhibiting more of my art work and was part of last year’s Maker Markets at the James Street Art Crawls.  I set up 2x the Mono shirts and CD’s beside my paintings and prints and had a lot of interest in our music at my art shows so we were able to keep our music in people’s minds.

 

And that bring us up to now.

 

Ric: 2. Looks like the band membership remains constant – you’ve been in Hamilton what, 7 years now and you and the band are mainstays on the scene? Or how might you say it?

Randell: It is good to hear you say that we are “mainstays.” We work really hard to be consistent. All of us guys in 2x the Mono are married, have kids, have careers, mortgages, volunteer in the community, so we are busy people…

2x the Mono Article in the View – Feb 14th, 2013

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Hamilton Music Notes

by Ric Taylor – February 14 – 20, 2013
2x The Mono’s Community VS Technology
Back in August of 2010 2x the Mono was releasing their third defining release Art Rock and Science Fiction. You knew what you were getting from the CD title. But in the last two plus years, the trio featuring Randell Neudorf (multi-instrumentalist, vocals), Regan Neudorf (bass, synth) and Adrian McFarlane (percussion) are now all family patriarchs and their new album might reflect a headier side to Star Wars and robots. With more politically charged lyrics on the very nature of existence, 2x The Mono’s new CDEP, Community VS Technology, is released this weekend with a special live showcase.

 

“All of us are now married, have kids, have careers, mortgages, volunteer in the community, so we are busy people but through all that we try to keep writing, performing and recording,” offers Randell Neudorf. “It might be at a slower pace than other younger bands, but we are in this for the long haul.”

 

“People really resonated with our robot songs but these new songs have come out of community, that is what a band is at its essence,” he adds. “We wrote the music collectively, and I even wrote many of the lyrics as an expression for all three of us and not just from my own experiences. Facebook, texting, twitter and all the other digital stuff are great communication tools but they are not community. Community is about being present. A concert is a great example of that. I have been at big concerts that people have paid a lot of money to be at and the whole time you see people all around with their heads down and their thumbs are furiously typing. They aren’t being present. They aren’t allowing themselves to be part of the community around them that has gathered at a specific time and place to experience something communally. Be where you are. Be present.”
A small collection of songs came about revolving around community and technology and with a growing philosophical bent, Neudorf and company realized they wanted to better present their music sonically.

 

“2x the Mono is essentially pop music that steals from experimental sensibilities — music that is both complicated and beautiful at the same time,” notes Neudorf. “Previously I had recorded all our songs the do–it –yourself way but we realized that these new songs were outside what I was able to capture with any kind of authenticity. This EP took eight months to write and only eight hours to record. You need to understand that each song has at least 10 over dubs on it, layering instrument after instrument on top of the bed tracks. Getting that amount of recording and over dubbing done in one day is very rare, but because 2x the Mono uses so many loops live, we are over dubbing all the time. Layering all the instruments in real time live every time we play is what we do. That was what we wanted to recreate in the studio, and Grant Avenue and [producer] Amy King made that possible. Amy King is very good at her craft.”

 

With their latest recording in hand, 2x The Mono offer a release party at the Urban Arts Initiative, a youth arts space on James Street North, which encapsulates the bands artistic motif and their communal goals.

 

“There are all kinds of visual arts and music workshops offered there that are free for youth who find themselves downtown,” notes Neudorf on the Urban Arts Initiative venue. “They then show case that work in their very beautiful gallery space during Art Crawls. For us, video projection has been part of our live show for a while now, and being in a gallery allows us to project on multiple walls to create an immersive experience. We want people to feel like they are a part of the show and not just watching it. The videos and projections are going to do that. Some will be retro images that augment the stories in the songs; others will be video feed back loops that actually interact with people’s movements. Being in that Urban Arts space is that we want people to know about this great community space that is doing exciting things. The other part is that the space is a beautiful gallery, and this show is part video installation and part rock and roll, so we wanted to be in a gallery that was big enough to hold a concert.

 

“I live in the lower city, and I see so many people fly into the downtown and out again for work,” adds Neudorf underscoring his community message. “I really believe in living where you work. If people lived where they worked instead of commuting, we wouldn’t have to fight against a downtown casino. The reality is that most people in power commute, that is why grass roots community is so important. Neighbourhood associations, faith communities, artists, activists and everyday people who live on vibrant lower city streets who are present — who are in their neighbourhoods for the long haul are the people who will make real change.”2x the Mono plays this Saturday, February 16 at the Urban Arts Initiative (128 James St N) with Thoughts On Air. Doors open at 7:30pm and $10 gets you in.

 

 

Article Originally Posted at: http://viewmag.com/14653-Hamilton+Music+Notes.htm

Randell Neudorf interview on CFMU 93.3

If you missed my conversation with Jamie Tennant on CFMU 93.3 check out the videos below. We talked lots about Community VS Technology, song writing, and I performed a stripped down version of “We Are The Robots”

 

Community VS Technology – Press Release

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2x the Mono Presents:
Community VS Technology – A Video Installation Concert
Featuring performances by “Thoughts on Air” and “2x the Mono”
Saturday, February 16th, 2013
at the Urban Arts Initiative
128 James Street North, Hamilton 
(beside the Halk & Sparrow)

Doors open at 7:30pm (bands will start promptly at 8pm)
$10 Cover at the door – 
This is an all ages event (kids 12 and under are free).
Download your copy of the” Community VS Technology ep” for free at www.2xthemono.com

About the Community VS Technology Video Installation Concert:

Video projections have always been a huge part of 2x the Mono’s live shows. To celebrate the release of their new EP, 2x the Mono will be taking this experience to a whole new level with multiple videos projections and cameras set up in the Urban Arts Initiative gallery space to create an immersive concert going experience. Some of the projectors will be showing videos that depict the lyrical stories, while others will be creating visual feedback loops, projecting oscillating images of the band and crowd onto the walls. This is not just a concert, and it is definitely not just an art exhibit.  The Community VS Technology Video Installation Concert is a “Community Happening.”

About the Community VS Technology ep:

2x the Mono has recently released their 5th album entitled Community VS Technology, recorder at Hamilton’s own Grant Avenue Studios. This album merges Indie Rock sounds with Quirky Electronic loops featuring the very tiny but powerful Kaossilator (a keyboard without keys that fits in the palm of your hand!).  2x the Mono relied heavily on this little groove box’s “Technology” to kick start their sonic explorations, but the lyrics and song writing process was well rooted in a “Community” approach.

“Every song on this project was written by the band. No one came to song writing sessions with finished ideas, we all intentionally brought lyrics and loops that had lots of room to grow.” – Randell Neudorf

On the song Community VS Technology, Randell Neudorf brought in nothing but a short spoken word poem scribbled down on a piece of paper. The band got hold of the idea and completely ignored any kind of chorus and verse structure. They decided to flesh out the music line by line, trying to accentuate each word and line of the poem that calls for people to put down their cell phones and really experience a moment lived in community. This process took 4 hours and after the band put all their ideas together they sadly realized their new master piece only clocked in at about 1 minute and 30 seconds.

“That moment was very disheartening; Adrian and Regan looked at me like OK where is the next verse? I said “That’s it, it’s a poem, it doesn’t have any more words.”  Regan said, “Well, go write some.” And that is what I did.  I was forced to go back inside my poem and dig deeper. I would take a line or image that was really strong and flesh it out more. I would take a line like “When my flesh turns to dirt and my heart is exposed” and follow it up with“and bones open up, and my marrow erodes.”  Now I can’t even imagine that line without the follow up, it is so natural, but it was writing as a community of musicians and really paying attention to what the song demanded of us that drew that kind of imagery out of us. – Randell Neudorf

After the song was finished it beefed up to a whopping 4 minutes and it was immediately well received live.

“Every time we play Community VS Technology live, I ask the room to turn off their phones, and take just 5 minutes to experience a community moment together in real time. People really respond to that, we even had one guy come up and lay his phone down on our gear like an offering to let us know that he was completely unplugging. If they don’t listen when I ask nice at least I get to yell the same message at the crowd in the lyrics – Don’t let your technology get in the way of deep community! You got to look me in the eyes if you want to hear me speaking! So put down your portable hand held devices and give me five minutes free of your vices!”  -Randell Neudorf

The other 2 songs on the album have a local community emphasis as well. “Industrial C” is all about how when Randell first moved his young family to a nice working class street in lower Hamilton. As he got to know people in Hamilton he kept hearing people talk about their neighbourhoods, cool sounding places like, Corktown, North End, and Beasley, so he looked up his street on a map and was quite surprised (and dismayed) that the city had labeled his neighbourhood “Industrial C.”

“I still live in the same house but the city has now extended the boundaries of the Stipley neighbourhood over to my street, but that image of Industrial C stuck with me. You can see the steam from the factories from my bedroom window, and my kids and I love exploring little parks and bike paths riddled all through industrial areas. It is great fun, and I tried to capture that sense of renewal and repurposing in the song.”  – Randell Neudorf

The last song on the EP is called “Young Love” and the line “It’s like I wasn’t honest” is sung over and over again in a way where you know there is a story there.

“All three members of 2x the Mono are married with kids. Each family is in a different stage of life (babies, toddlers, and grade school), so we spend a lot of time talking about kids and wives while we are setting up for band practice or on the road. These conversations often go to how to balance (or not balance) family, work, and music. Being the one married the longest in the group I started thinking about how much my wife and I have both changed since we said “I do” 14 years ago. Really the person we each married no longer exists. We have changed so much in that short time, and looking back we didn’t think that would happen to us. Because I let my wife think that she was marrying a fully formed man “It’s like I wasn’t honest.” That line was the beginning for the whole thought process that went into writing the lyrics to “Young Love.” We are all constantly changing as people (opinions, tastes, style, beliefs) and the person who first said “I do” no longer exists. This is why so many people call it quits. They wake up one day and think “you aren’t the person I married, you weren’t honest with me.” In my song I sing “you can choose to leave or you can choose to believe that are loves was always meant to grow.” I think this doesn’t just apply to marriage, but to all meaningful relationships, whether it be a specific friend, family member, or a faith community. This goes against the modern trend of being self centred and mobile but at some point a person to commit to something bigger then themselves. You need to let some roots grow if you have any hope of being part of a healthy community.” – Randell Neudorf

The album may be called “Community VS technology” but “Healthy Community” is what this album and band is really all about (even if they use a lot of “Technology” to get their message out).

Download Lo-Fi Christmas Album for Free

To celebrate the holidays 2x the Mono would like to give you an early Christmas present.
We are giving away our “Lo-Fi Christmas” album on Noise Trade.
You can download it here: http://www.noisetrade.com/2xthemono

The album features 9 original Christmas Songs. No tired old covers here, just 2x the Mono singing about their favourite Holiday.
Lo-Fi Christmas makes a great stocking. if you are on a budget, download the album for free and then burn the disc for that special someone. You could even make your own cover for the album, just like the old days when you made mix tapes for all your friends.
We would also really appreciate it if you could pass this link on to all your friends to spread the word about this great give away.

 

Young Love Lyric Video

Check out this cool little lyric video for the song “Young Love.” I love the intro with the cartoon instruments.

Young Love is all about how all three of us in 2x the Mono are married with kids (does that make us old?). Often before band practice we talk about family life, kids, balancing music and wife. Through these conversations I started thinking about how the person you marry doesn’t stay the same person. We are not static, you meet a girl, fall in love and get married to that person in that place and time and then “you have the nerve” to keep changing. We grow and evolve we become someone that is different then who stood in front of friends and family at the wedding. “Its like I wasn’t honest,” I asked my wife to marry me before I grew into the person I was to become. That is why you say “The good times and the bad.” You can choose to leave because the evolving process has pulled the relationship to a place you never intended in that naive beginning but you don’t have to call it quits. Yes, “you can choose to leave, or you can choose to believe that our love was always meant to grow.”

To my wife: I’m sorry I wasn’t honest when you married me, but I’m very thankful that you stuck with the guy I grew into.

New Harbours at Christ’s Church Cathedral

Christ’s Church Cathedral in Hamilton is an amazing example of a church using their building as a gift to the wider community. 2x the Mono got to play inside the Cathedral as part of the New Harbours Music Series that happened at Super Crawl on September 15th, 2012. While we were playing people would come into the pews and listen, others would walk by on a tour of the Cathedral. All was good, both groups of people were admiring the beauty that was around them. I think churches with old buildings can look to Christ’s Church Cathedral as an example of how to use beautiful religious architecture to partner with the arts and music community around them. What this does, is allows for people from two very different communities to start building lasting relationships with each other. The clergy in their ceremonial garb and the young hipster musician might not look like they have much in common but in reality they are both caretakers of culture, curators of beauty, and facilitators of community.

Speaking of Community, the Video above is about the neighbourhood I live in called “Industrial C.” Listen for the “fairy bells” in the soft part of the song. No on in the band was making that sound. If it was you ringing those bells, thanks, it sounded great!

Also a big thanks to Regan for toughing it out by playing. He was really sick the day before and was still completely wiped by the time we had to play.

Circuit Bent Casio SK-10 – Part 2

On Monday my friend Matt from The Commons and myself did a second round of circuit bending on my Casio SK-10. A big thanks to Peter for setting us up with a tool kit for soldering, drilling, wiring, etc…

It was great getting a third “bend” built into the keyboard. The new bend we did was a looping function. Feel free to check out my demo of the “first bends” we did:

demo song

No pictures or demos yet of the latest modification but I have had a number of people who have been asking me how we learned to circuit bend. Every thing I know about circuit bending I learned from the four videos posted below. Let me know if they helped you with your own project.

Upcoming Shows – March 2012

Just wanted to let you know of some shows that are coming up:

  • Friday, March 9th, 2012 – The Freeway in Hamilton – 2x the Mono is one of the band’s playing Matt Jelly’s Art Opening Event. Cover is $5 and doors open at 7pm.
  • Friday, March 16th, 2012 – 705 Sound Showcase in Hamilton – Cover is $10 and doors open at 9pm.
  • Monday March, 19th, 2012 – The Drake Hotel – Elvis Monday Showcase in Toronto – FREE Show, doors open at 9pm, 2x the Mono on at 10pm.

Hope to see you in March.

2x the Mono @ the 2011 Hamilton Music Awards

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On Sunday November 1st, 2011 2x the Mono attended the Hamilton Music Awards. We were nominated in 2 categories for our album Art Rock & Science Fiction. The Nominations were for “Best Indie/Alternative Rock Recording” as a band, and Randell Neudorf was nominated for “Best Special Instrumentalist” for his Omnichord and Ukulele tracks. We are very proud of this CD and felt we had as good a chance as any band to win, but  we didn’t end up coming home with a trophy (this year), but it was an honour just being nominated.

Ian Thomas (who received a lifetime achievement award) said something that really stuck with me when he gave his speech. Ian said, “It is hard to get use to being recognized for what you do. Being a musician for 40 years makes you get use to rejection.”

All that being said we a lot of fun and we did get to see some performances by some really cool bands. We were very impressed with Monster TruckJeremy FisherDawn and Marra, and Hachey the Mouthpiece.