Thursday, 25th May 2017. 9:49:45pm ET
Interviews Alternative, Indie Rock Interview- Hour of the Shipwreck (with Richie Kohan)


Hour of the Shipwreck, are from the Los Angeles, CA area and their new album “The Hour is Upon Us” is now available. From the sample of songs I’ve already listened to, the album is surly to be a lovely and magical experience---one that I’m looking forward to reviewing. So for now, enjoy a trip of your own, and discover many wondrous things about Hour of the Shipwreck from the interview I had with Richie. Thank you SO much Richie---it’s such a fabulous interview, and I can’t wait to have more opportunities with you and your band mates. Best to you all! (:

Grave Concerns: Hey Richie, it's so wonderful to have you here at the grave. And please no worries about being the one to answer the questions...you're super-cool to be representing the band! (:

Grave Concerns: When did you first discover that music was what you wanted to pursue? And while you were waiting for that to happen, what other jobs did you have?

I started playing guitar when I was eight and my interest in it has only grown since then. It was probably in middle school or early high school that I new I music would be my life pursuit. I teach guitar and music theory/ear training as my “day job”, which I really enjoy doing and feel very lucky to be able to do. Before I could sustain myself just teaching I worked at a couple coffee houses, I was an usher at a couple concert halls, I worked in a clothing warehouse counting and organizing overpriced t-shirts (that one definitely takes the cake), and a few other odd jobs. The rest of the band earns their living as hired musicians. Aaron tours with the Zappa Plays Zappa Band, Barbara tours with Jenny Lewis and does a lot of local recording session work, Marcel does occasional touring and a lot of local hired work, “casuals” as they are called, and he teaches as well.

Grave Concerns: As team collaborators, what have been the most difficult compromises to been made, regarding lyrics and music? How do you move forward, when something you’d really wanted to be considered, is not mutually felt?

We almost never run into creative differences when developing the music. The collaborative effort is made much easier by the fact that I compose all of the music and lyrics. We arrange the songs together and we will make subtle changes to the compositions as we work them out as a band. Often before we meet as a whole band I will meet individually with each member and we will do some preliminary arranging and orchestrating, and often Marcel and I will go through the pieces and refine them, usually simplifying the form and some of the harmonies, as I have a tendency to lean toward the overly complex. We are all very open to each member’s musical ideas and we all have a great amount of respect for each other as musicians (and as people) so it makes it very easy to trust each other when arranging, which is invaluable. If someone doesn’t like an idea I have, I trust her/his opinion enough to let that idea go. If I am married to an idea they don’t like, they will trust my opinion enough to roll with it. We will try it for a while and a few months later it will be obvious if it works or not. If it doesn’t we’ll change it.

Grave Concerns: I’ve been reading your MySpace blogs, and three jumped right up at me. I was wondering if it were you Richie, who wrote them, or another member of the band, because I wanted to say how deeply beautiful and engaging they were to read. They are: “Wisdom”, “Save The World-The movie “Big”, and “Heart’s Door.” Very touching, very open, and vulnerable. It’s a gift to write, and to write with such passion and honesty---even if it’s of a difficult nature, it is how we try and heal our wounds.

Thank you for your comments about the blogs. I write all of the blogs on the Shipwreck page. Sometimes I just need a release and writing is the only thing that does it. It’s only once in a while that I feel inspired to write one and when I do the words just flow out. It’s when that core inside of you is tapped that the honesty can be found.
Grave Concerns: You’re VERY welcome Richie. Beautifully put too.

Grave Concerns: I LOVE the artwork on your MySpace photo page---“The Queen’s Forest”…lovely. Who did that?

I do all of the Hour of the Shipwreck artwork (except for Noelle’s paintings). The drawings on the page are part of a series I started a while ago that are hopefully going to become a picture book to accompany one of our unreleased songs. Marcel is currently working on a music/picture book for the debut album of his solo project, Tales of Banyon. His music and drawings are gorgeous, dark and otherworldly.
Grave Concerns: I wish you ALL well with those artistic endeavors---that’s so fantastic…so cool! Please keep us posted on them.

Grave Concerns: And to continue with the pic section---I also find VERY intriguing the photo of the piano lit up by candles. Where was that taken? Just the artwork, in general, is so complex and pretty.  And Noelle Whitfield’s painting is haunting---visually, lots to “see”.

That photo is of a pump organ and it was taken in my old bedroom. Sadly I had to sell that organ when I moved into a smaller place, but alas, now I have a smaller pump organ I use to compose. Noelle is currently finishing up a series of paintings inspired by “The Hour is Upon Us”. She will be showing it at our CD release show. You can get a sneak peak at www.noellewhitfield.com.
Grave concerns: Oh, I’m sorry---that must have been difficult to let go of. Glad though, to know you do have another. Thanks for the website---I checked them out, enchanting. (:

Grave Concerns: On Saturday, May 17th, 2008 at 8:30 PM at The Loft Downtown in Los Angeles CA, you had your album premier---congratulations! That’s is such fabulous news---you must be riding the waves on that one.

We are riding the album release waves indeed. We’re all quite excited about it. It’s a lot of work putting it all together but it’s more than worth it.

Grave Concerns: You’ve played numerous shows---which have been the most memorable? Which ones are you currently looking forward to?

Playing at the Troubadour with Faun Fables and Stolen Babies was definitely one of the most memorable, along with opening for Grizzly Bear at Spaceland. The most fun shows though are usually at makeshift venues where we can get the vibe right (i.e. where it doesn’t feel like a rock club), like our last show with Two Foot Yard, which was at a restaurant we converted to be a venue for the evening. It’s called Medusa Lounge and it used to be a German Beer house. It was built in the sixties and the designer was a set decorator. When they finished a movie he would bring the leftover set pieces to the restaurant to add to the décor. There were wrought iron gates from Spartacus and chandeliers from Gone With the Wind, among other beautiful relics. It was the perfect vibe for a Shipwreck show (aside from being aboard a Shipwreck…) We’re hoping to play with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum in July but that is still pending. If it works out that will certainly be at the top of our list of most anticipated shows.

Grave Concerns: Your band name is so AWESOME---how did you come up with it?

It took us a long time to come up with a band name. We rejected every idea we came up with. Marcel though of Shipwreck and all liked that but we wanted something a bit more cinematic, or theme park-esque. And so Hour of the Shipwreck was born…
Grave Concerns: It’s really VERY unique…I’m impressed by it.

Grave Concerns: When it comes to writing new material, which do you feel comes first in the creative process---the lyrics or the music, or doesn’t it matter?

When composing, usually the music comes first. Sometimes, and it’s wonderful when this happens, the music and lyrics come together. That’s when they truly fit together. The chorus to “My Fantasy” happened that way. I almost never write words first. If the lyrics are already there I feel very inhibited. I need more compositional freedom than that allows.

Grave Concerns: Have you had any bites in regard to writing music and themes for the entertainment industry?

Marcel and I recently scored a short animated film by his brother Regis Camargo called “Her Lion’s Jump”. We haven’t had any other bites aside from that but hopefully we will find more opportunities in the future.
Grave Concerns: Excellent!---hope you will too. (:

Grave Concerns: Where will your next shows be held? Will you come to Boston, MA?

We will come to Boston eventually but at the moment we don’t have a national tour booked. We’ll definitely keep you posted.
Grave Concerns: Thank you.

Grave Concerns: You’ve been asked to create a new word defining your style of music. What is that word?

Just one word? We’ve been using Cinematic Rock, Fantasy Folk, and Action/Adventure Music lately. But we certainly don’t fit in the genres that currently exist.
    
Grave Concerns: How do you differentiate a real good song, from a classic? In other words, what really makes a song stand out and last? And with your music, which song or songs do you feel have met that challenge, have come close to it, or are you currently just enjoying the creative bliss?

When writing I think it is vitally important to fully realize an idea before you set it in stone. Usually my first idea is not my best idea. I may hear a melody that works, that sounds pretty, etc. but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the correct one. And I do mean “correct”. I think composing is really just discovering something that is already there. If you make a note of your first melody, then put it aside and continue writing more melodies in place of it, often you will find another melody you like better, or one rooted in the same place but more developed, stronger, more memorable. Sometimes it’s difficult to know when to stop coming up with ideas and choose the right one, but often it becomes clear as you continue working with it. In terms of feeling that I’ve written something that stands out, I suppose you mean writing something I am satisfied with. The beauty of composing is you are the one making it so you have the ultimate power to make it what you want. If I am unsatisfied with a piece that just means it’s not finished.

Grave Concerns: What do think makes your music stand out among other artists in your field?

Very few of our pieces fallow a standard verse chorus etc. form. The only song on “The Hour is Upon Us” that does is “My Fantasy”. Most of our forms are longer, have more sections, and are more through composed than the forms of most rock bands. The chord progressions we use are often outside of the realm of rock chord progressions, often moving through numerous keys within each song and using progressions more likely found in late Romantic or 20th century classical music. Our instrumentation is a bit out of the ordinary. My main instrument is acoustic 12-string guitar, the main keyboard is an air organ, which has an accordion/pipe organ sounds, and on the album we have a choir, strings, and horns.

Grave Concerns: I love pulling off the cheese on pizza…eating that up first, then the slices of pizza itself, finishing off with the crust…LOVE the crust! How about yourselves?

I’m vegan, no cheese for me.

Grave Concerns: You have five balloons you got at the park...orange, green, purple, red, and black. Two of them slipped through your fingers…which ones?

Orange and green.

Grave Concerns: You’ve just created a jigsaw puzzle…how many pieces does it have, and what will the final picture be of?

One million. Fangorn Forest.
Grave Concerns: One million! Good gravy, that’s a lot! I’m lucky if I can help the kindergartners out with theirs!

Grave Concerns: If you were able to change one scene in a fantasy movie from the past or present, which one would it be and why?

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets have Dobby spontaneously combust before he does anything so he doesn’t have to make the movie lame.

Grave Concerns: Has a cactus ever pricked you; or have you had an infected finger or toenail?

Nope.
Grave Concerns: I’ve been pricked quite a few times…lol...have cactus plants on my windowsill. They hurt!

Grave Concerns: OK---we’re going to play a card game---poker. Deal yourself 5 cards. The one-eyed Jack is wild. Discard what is not wanted, and pick off of the deck, the card(s) needed to complete your final hand. What did you get? I’ll tell you my hand when I post your interview.

I don’t have any cards… I got a 2 of hearts, a 5 of clubs, a 6 of diamonds, a 9 of spades, and the Joker.
Grave Concerns:
I got a pair of twos (clubs and spades), Queen of hearts, 9 of hearts, and a 4 of diamonds. I won with a pair of deuces…

Grave Concerns: Do you have any food allergies?

Nope.
Grave Concerns: Me neither.

Grave Concerns: Have you heard of Dirge, the creator of the Lenore books? You seem to be perfect candidates to create your own books, comic books perhaps, or children’s books? Does that interest you at all?

Gasp! YES!!!
Grave Concerns: (: (: (:

Grave Concerns: Being a member of MySpace, how has it helped, or hindered your musical endeavors? And which countries do you feel have embraced your music the most?

MySpace has definitely made it easier to get our music to people. It’s also made it easier for everyone to get their music out so the competition is higher but I think the pros outweigh the cons.

Grave Concerns: Favorite movie quote?

“Benjamin is nobody’s friend.” “What the heck are you even talking about?” “300 lives of men I have walked this earth and now I have no time.” “My way is not very sportsman like.” I could go on and on, that’s all for now.

Grave Concerns: You found a penny on the ground; do you pick it up?

Nope.

Grave Concerns: If you could create your own Disneyland attractions, what would they be called, and what would the attractions highlight?

It will be like a Fantasyland ride but it will be set to one of our songs and it will be the physical manifestation of the song. The theme park will be called Land of the Shipwreck.

Grave Concerns: You have three doors from which to chose from: An orange door with a six lime-green colored circles; a black door with a big tongue; and, a blue iridescent colored door with a lizard lying on a hammock. Which door do you open, and what’s inside of it?

The black door. I am taken to the last scene from Steppenwolf.

Grave Concerns: You were born with eyes that weren’t human---what do they look like?

They are grey and cloudy. There are galaxies in each eye.
Grave Concerns: I like it…they would be extremely striking. You should draw yourself with those eyes and post it up on your MySpace page…it would be AWESOME!

Grave Concerns: If your were to write a short story or a novel based on one of your songs, which one would it be? And if it was to be adapted to the silver screen, who would be your leading actor and actress?

It’s in the works, but it’s based on future compositions.

Grave Concerns: How many gumballs can you chew at once?

0.

Grave Concerns: Have you ever had to perform CPR?

No.

Grave Concerns: What movie character’s name do you think is cool? And if you were to be cast in a movie, what cool name would you go by?

Gandalf. Perhaps I would go by The Lordess.
Grave Concerns: Very good then…”The Lordess” it shall be.

Grave Concerns: Are you an organ donor? How about giving blood---ever done that? Oh, and here’s a goodie---I LOVE getting my blood taken at doctor appointments! I actually look forward to it. I have my sleeve rolled up before I even sit down. Love watching the needle prick my skin, then, watching as the blood sucks up inside the needle. I should have been a Phlebotomist. (;

Haven’t donated any organs yet but I would be happy to after my demise.

Grave Concerns: After you put your foot inside of the shoe, do you tie it, or wait until you have the other shoe on?

Usually wait till the other shoe is on.

Grave Concerns: OK; now for a fun question! You’ve just been given exclusive free range to invite family, and a few friends for six days, staying in a hotel suite where each of the six nights, a Sci-fi and/or fantasy movie “theme room” of your choosing had been authenticated. Also with you, are three musical artists (of your choice) who’ll be performing two-sets each night. What do your theme rooms look like, and who are your musical guests?

The Shire, Fangorn Forest, Rivendell, Lothlorien, Rohan, and Mordor. Bjork, Bach, and Howard Shore.

Grave Concerns: If you could have a movie director direct your next video, who would it be and why? And which song would it be?

Peter Jackson. Why? I’m not answering that one… can he direct the whole album?
Grave Concerns: Let’s find out if he will. I still want to know “why” though. (;

Grave Concerns: What are some of your hobbies?

Home decorating. Drawing. Writing. Eating granola and trail mix, sometimes separately, sometimes together.

Grave Concerns: You’re having your music featured, on an episode of “Cold Case”. What’s the episode about?

I don’t know what “Cold Case” is.
Grave Concerns: It’s a TV show on Sunday nights about solving cases, which have gone cold. Every episode features music from the date of the unsolved case. It’s a real good show---high quality, stellar acting, and awesome music! (:

Grave Concerns: If you had the chance to have any dream within your lifetime come true, what dream would that be? And this is actually a dream---you know the one that comes to you in your sleep. (:

I think the only dreams I remember are nightmares so I’ll pass on that one.

Grave Concerns: Have you ever received, or written a “Dear John” letter?

No.

Grave Concerns: Have you ever dozed off in the shower, or the tub?

Yes.
Grave Concerns: Oh boy! (:

Grave Concerns: As a musician, how does the music in movies affect you? And if you were asked to compose a song for a soundtrack, which genera would that be in? Now let me take that question even further---actually backward; if you were to go back to the past, with your current music in hand, and were asked that same question, would any of your songs stand out as a good fit? If so, which song and movie would it have been?

Music affects me dramatically (no pun intended). Music is the element of a movie that, if done well, says to the viewer, “This is what you are going to feel and there is nothing you can do about it.” Fantasy. Some works for Action/Adventure. I suppose anything but comedy. Not that there’s anything wrong with comedies. LOTR…

Grave Concerns: What time is it right now? What did you do three hrs. and two minutes ago?

10:26PM. I started writing responses to this interview.

Grave Concerns: I prefer my toilet paper to hang over, not under…how about you?

Over.

Grave Concerns: Have you had your fortune read? How about other types of readings?

No.

Grave Concerns: You’ve been asked to be immortalized in Madame Tussauds’ Wax Museum in New York; do you accept?

No. I doubt immortality would be very pleasant.

Grave Concerns: Thanks so much---we needed MORE kinds of greeting cards with a dark-fantasy flare to them. What’s the name of your greeting card company, and what are your three top selling cards?

Shipwreck Greetings & Co.
Grave Concerns: Has a good ring to it.

Grave Concerns: I’m smitten beyond words when it comes to vampires and the Victorian era---love them both so much. Do the dark creatures of the night appeal to any of you?

I like the Victorian era, never been much a fan of vampires but orks appeal to me. And all of the characters in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.
Grave Concerns: LOVE those characters in “Thriller”! Such a groundbreaking video that was…and still, it looks amazing.

Grave Concerns: Since nature is very precious to me, I tend to be drawn more toward the Earth element. Although each one has its own special attributes, together they are priceless. Which element do you see yourself more drawn toward?

Wind.

Grave Concerns: I’m a spider, and other good crawling and flying critter/creature saver to those whom happen to come into my home and at work. I’m the go-to-gal to set them free. What about yourself?

I go against my vegan principles to bring genocide upon the roaches in my bedroom. (That hasn’t happened since I lived in NY).
Grave Concerns: Well now, that’s very good to know. You won’t be so bugged when going to sleep now. (;

Grave Concerns: You’re in the supermarket---what isles do your frequent, which do you avoid?

I frequent the vegetable isle. I have many neuroses relating to grocery shopping so I have to do it the same way every time. Except late at night when spend far too long in the granola/cereal and cookie isles… hence the need for shopping neuroses.
Grave Concerns: I understand. (:

Grave Concerns: Do you remember the TV shows “Friday the 13th The Series”? I wish that one would come out on DVD! How about “Freddy’s Nightmares”? And another favorite is “Nightmare Café”…cool stuff! Of course HBO had their classic “Tales from the Crypt”. And do you remember Rona Jaffe’s “Mazes and Monsters” with Tom Hanks? Would you like to create your own TV horror/supernatural show or TV movie---but with a Victorian twist?

I was but a wee child when those were out and I wasn’t allowed to watch them. Perhaps that’s one developmental experience that led me to devote my life to Hour of the Shipwreck.

Grave Concerns: I’m thinking of a number from 0 to 3,895. What it is? I’ll tell you what mine is, when I post your interview.

3,894.
Grave Concerns:
Ummm…no. (; 1,885.

Grave Concerns: What kinds of salad dressing do you like?
Vegan ones. Lately the Thai Peanut one from Trader Joe’s and the Fallow Your Heart Miso one.
Grave Concerns: Those sound yummy.

Grave Concerns: If you drink coffee and/or tea, how do you take it?

Tea straight up. If I have honey in the house I’ll just eat it by the spoonful.
Grave Concerns: I used to take my tea with lots of sugar/honey/ milk/cream, but now it's just straight. I do like to snag a spoonful of honey every so often. Same with my coffee---just black.

Grave Concerns: You’ve been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame---whose name are you next to?

Macgyver. Wonder if he has one.
Grave Concerns: If he doesn’t, he could probably make one…(;

Grave Concerns: Would you perform on SNL if asked? If so, which two songs would you perform? Would you also like to perform in a skit?

Ya, would definitely perform on SNL, probably my Fantasy because it’s one of the shortest and is least likely to be hated by the general public. I would hate to be in a skit but I bet Barbara would love it. Go watch her vlogs at myspace.com/barbarasongs.

Grave Concerns: Besides the obvious necessities of life, what are six things that you can’t be without?

My friends, my thoughts, light dimmers, a place to exercise, Rocket Video, something to record with.
Grave Concerns: I REALLY LOVE this answer…”my thoughts”.

Grave Concerns: What is something about the human race that really gets you down…make you wonder…how could that person do that, act that way…say that?

So many, so so many. If I answer this, the interview will get very dark so I’ll save it for another interview devoted entirely to that question.
Grave Concerns: You got it my friend! (;

Grave Concerns: A fictitious record company (you can even name it too, if you like) has the tough decision of choosing only one band to sign, out of three possible ones. The bands are ALL fabulous, the decision then---is to choose the band based on their name.
1. Paddison Blue.
2. Stapledottie.
3. Questionable Logic.

The record label has decided to close its doors before signing anyone and continue reading Moby Dick over and over.

Grave Concerns: OK. After reading below, see what you can come up with. Grab a dictionary. Close your eyes---keep them closed until the end. Open the dictionary. Spin your left index finger around 16 times, counter clockwise, then, reverse, and spin 13 times, drop your finger on a word. Now write a phrase, question, poem, whatever you like with that word. BUT…you only have 10 minutes to do this. Seriously 10 minutes. Get cracking! (;

My dictionary doesn’t spin. It’s trapped inside my computer.
Grave Concerns: Ha, ha! Good one! Whatever! (;

Grave Concerns: If you had the chance to travel back to the past, where would you go, and what would you want to leave as a reminder of time spent, as well as, something to take back with you?

1985. Not sure what I would leave, but I would take some Back to the Future and Disneyland merchandise.

Grave Concerns: You’re in the process of designing your own night club…what’s it called, where is it located, and how does it look on the inside?

How did you know? It’s called Land of the Shipwreck, and it is going to look like all of the darkest parts of Disneyland, perhaps a bit of LOTR, and yes, some Shipwreck-ness.
Grave Concerns. Because I’m a very inquisitive gal. (: Sounds GREAT---let me know when it’s ready!

Grave Concerns: If you were able to put on a concert for charity, which one/s would you be supporting, and which artists would you like to headline?

So many: Education, arts education, sexuality/gender rights, the environment, fair trade, living wage, this list can go on and on…

Grave Concerns: What would you like to say to your fans right now?

Thank you.

Grave Concerns: Richie, Barbara, Marcel, Aaron, and Gabe, this has been a stellar opportunity---such a delight having an interview with you all! We here at Grave Concerns, wish you so much happiness and wonderful success in your creative endeavors. May your awesome, awesome album “The Hour is Upon Us” be all you hope it to be. Please keep in touch! Cheers!

For more information on Hour of the Shipwreck check out http://www.myspace.com/houroftheshipwreck and  
http://www.houroftheshipwreck.com/

 


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