Nyteowl's Jeremiah Conlon on Craigslist collabs, R&B projects, & many EPs
Gimme Noise caught up with the assiduous musician before the release of his EP Valentine -- the first of many -- tonight at the Hexagon.
Band Members: Nyteowl, T.I.M., Raechel Brock
It seems like synth/electro pop is making a comeback in the music scene. What is your theory on this?
There are so many music "scenes" and so many styles of synth music that it's hard for me to answer this, but my scene (in no particular order) is pretty much U.K., France, Craigslist, Minneapolis, and my brain.
I feel the media in Minneapolis sometimes treat electronic music as a novelty act. In Europe, it doesn't go out of style. France and the U.K. give me love, and I can relate to them more than anyone else. When I meet people like this in Minneapolis that can truly understand this sound -- like T.I.M. who was the first member of Nyteowl when we started doing live shows -- I don't let them go! I spend most of my energy creating things with them.
At the moment, I respect a lot of Twin Cities electronic music artists -- the list is growing. It's refreshing to hear new projects on a regular basis now. Wow. But I still think artists need to keep pushing their individual sound further. My personal favorites right now are Joseph Stallion and Comanche (they remix a track on Valentine and will be DJing the March 10th record release).
I keep bugging Brock, Raechel, and T.I.M. to finish their solo stuff too because it sounds cool.
Also, in my brain, this music has always been in. I create the music I want, when I want, and how I want. It works well for me to always have the scene be in -- in my brain.
I hear a lot of '80s influence in the music -- even some "Prince"-ish sounds. Where do you draw influence from writing?
A lot of my influence comes from love and sexually charged emotion. It might be easy for someone in the music community to write this off as simplistic. This isn't superficial synth music. There are earnest songwriters influenced by emotion/relationship/sex/love, and that's mostly what they want to think and write about. Welcome to my world.
You recently collaborated with Minneapolis duo the Night; what do you look for when working with other artists?
For side projects/songs, mostly pretty girls. If that doesn't work out, I prefer female artists with unique vocals who make future music.
In Minneapolis, most of the time I collaborate with people on Craigslist, MySpace, or who I saw at Big V's. It's just how it works out! Not sure why. For example, at Big V's I saw Lookbook for the first time before releasing a remix album of theirs on my NyteTraxx label. I also saw Bollywood there and signed them to my Everling Sound Imprint for their first EP last December.
More recently, I am working on a collaboration with Patrick Alavi (roXour Germany) by singing on four of his tracks on a new album this year. He's always making new tracks -- that's one of many ways we are similar. I'm also gearing up trying to track with Simon Mills (Bent/Napolean/UK), who remixes Amour De Ville on our February 23rd EP Valentine. They both have production and ideas -- it's an honor.
Anyone that you're eager to work with?
I am eager to work with a talented Minneapolis/St. Paul African American female soul-goddess R&B singer who wants to make raw acid R&B with real emotion. I've been on Craigslist -- no luck...yet. If you are out there and reading this, please contact me -- we'll make future R&B.
February 23rd is the EP release, and then you are releasing a double vinyl album with Juno Records on March 12th. How did the relationship with Juno come about?
The relationship came about when Richard, the owner of Juno, emailed me on MySpace. I was so happy. I heard a lot of record label deals that happened during 2006-08 on MySpace -- never happened for me back then, so you can imagine my happiness in finally getting a MySpace record deal after MySpace was dead. It used to be a really cool place to meet artists.
The actual label Juno will release on is going to called Love Interest Records, and we're the first artist. Juno actually heard out track because NyteTraxx (my own label) distributor IRIS puts music out via Juno Records, among other places online. Juno Records was a cool thing because I bought their music for DJing before they contacted me. Also, they are the "world's largest online dance music store." Their ability to promote and distribute both directly on their site and in physical record stores are huge. They have international retail presence in places like Rough Trade, which is something I can't do on my own.
Why release on vinyl?
The reason this is being released on vinyl is because they have commissioned a lot of remixes and wanted to release some on a 7" and club mixes on a 12". I helped select remixers -- we looked all over the place. I was happy to have a Boy 8-bit (UK) agree to a remix. Along with Touche (Fake Blood), he was one of the first DJs to support my music, so it's an honour (British spelling) for his remix to apprear on the release. Those guys played some weird/crazy demos I made when we met on MySpace. I love the sense of adventure my international gent friends have in music.
What was behind the reason to have to separate release dates so close to one another?
They just happened to be scheduled within a few weeks from each other due to both waiting on a remix and trying to find a venue/date, but I am planning a Nyteowl release every month, at least through May. The Baby Girl EP will have an April 12th release (Varsity Theater), and it will be mixed by our friends Comanche. In May, we'll have an eight songs EP called Life -- it's almost done except for vocals. Then we will record a new EP in Raechel's house for late summer release -- I'm not sure she knows about this yet.
Are you constantly writing?
I never stop writing new music. I never stop pushing people to write new music. I think once or twice I have been told I have no life balance and am "unhealthy." I am working on so many songs/projects right now, I can barely keep track, but I always finish the tracks. Some people don't have the ability to finish songs. I think it's due to laziness or trying to make it perfect. I'm neither lazy nor perfect. I usually get sick of my own music maybe three to six months after I make it, and I need to keep creating new material. So, while it's not my goal to be the most prolific producer in Minneapolis, I do take a sick sense of pride in how much music I put out. I do feel like I could and should do more. It's a real honor to make music -- I'm not even talking about making music for a living -- I don't make music for a living...yet. It's an honor to just be able to create music, and having the support from my family, friends, and music buddies to live in this constant, if not obsessive, state of music creation that makes my life worthwhile.
What can we expect at the show on Thursday?
Nyteowl will release Valentine with The Plastic Believers, Friends By Fire, and The Rope on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at the Hexagon Bar.
21+, Free, 9 pm