Tartufi Chats About How Their Writing Process is Like Potato Latkes, Among Other Things.

Posted by Miss Ess, June 20, 2008 12:22pm | Post a Comment
Tartufi is one of the greatest local bands around here in the Bay Area. Co-members Lynne and Brian spoke with me recently about the progress on their new album, their guilty pleasures, and the musical collective they have created. If you are in the Bay Area, you can catch them next at a free show at Cafe Du Nord on Monday, June 23!

Miss Ess: How did you form together and come up with your sound?

Lynne: Like Voltron, just like Voltron. It was a natural progression from the direction we were headed in musically, spiritually...and Transformerally.

Brian: I saw Lynne play years ago, was blown away by her style and was determined to be in a band with her. Our musical tastes are very close and our vision is so in line it's frightening. Tartufi presented us both with the opportunity to write and play exactly what we wanted without the interference of extra band mates and the burden of unnecessary, inflated egos.

ME: Sounds ideal. How does song writing work within the band?

Lynne: We both bring things to the table and sculpt them into something we are both happy with. Like potato latkes.

Brian: We often give ourselves technical or musical challenges and problem solve our way to writing something we are both excited about. There's a lot of "what if we tried this...?" in our practices. Then we spend the next several hours rearranging our gear, experimenting, studying electricity, and making pained expressions as we try to wrestle our ideas into something tangible.

What do you think of the SF music scene at the moment?

Lynne: There's an incredible amount of amazing bands producing amazing music in the Bay Area right now. I feel privileged to be a part of something so consistently productive and inspiring.

Brian: We've played all over the country and there are great, hard working bands everywhere, but the number of great bands in the Bay Area is staggering.
Tell me about your collective, Thread Productions.  What is the idea behind it and what do you hope to bring about by joining together?

Lynne: Thread has been our own vehicle for a while -- we have released most of our albums through it -- and we decided that working as a collective with other bands we love and respect could only be beneficial to the group as a whole. It is a production tool, a promotional platform, and a way that we can all share information with each other, with touring bands, and with bands we meet on the road. We have compiled a large data-base of everything from record labels to industry contacts to media resources and reviewers to tour contacts and booking information, and we share these with others as a way of contributing to the music community and deconstructing the "do it by yourself, for yourself" stigma attached to "the scene."

What is your favorite local band besides yourselves?

Lynne: I freakin love Low Red Land. They just plain rule. I also freakin' love Silian Rail. They also reign supreme over this crazy noodle pot.

Brian: I second Ms. Angel's comments; she is a wise, wise woman saying what she just said. Not only are they our favorite bands, and Thread mates, but they also inspire us to keep pushing what we are doing. We know they will always be at our shows and sometimes write parts into our set that reference their playing. It's fun to find them in the audience at those moments to see if they got it.

How did you first start working with your producer Tim Green?  What does he add to your equation in the studio?

Lynne:  We were introduced to Tim by Seth and Juliana from The Quails. Seth and Tim grew up in D.C. together and The Quails had just recorded at Louder [Green's studio]. We scheduled our first session with him in 2003 and haven't looked back since. Tim adds giant ears that can hear when a person sneezes in San Leandro, a killer and mane-eating shoulder rub that will leave you happy...but bald, and the patience of a saint when it comes to recording Tartufi, who sometimes need 1,254 tracks per part, per song. Killer.

How is your new album coming along?  Any secrets you can divulge?

Lynne: Swimmingly. We are about to go in next week to finish up overdubs and then mix 'er down. Secrets? Well, I heard that Paul's sister Mary stole the pie and then fell in the river! Then her shoe came off and Mikey took it and put it up in the castle by the unicorn they just discovered in Italy!!!!! Don't tell!

Brian: We are so excited for this album. It's only halfway done at this point and already feels like a major step forward for Tartufi. Here's a secret: After recording for 10 days straight we were completely exhausted but still had 4 more songs to track. We thought about taking a few days off but then realized a better solution-- day laborers. It won't say so in the album credits, but tracks 11-15 were played by Javier Ramirez, Flaco Garza, Humberto Pena, and Encarnacion Herrera-Soto. Thanks guys. You did a great job.

What are some of your favorite cities you've played on tour and why?

Lynne:  Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks.

Brian: We have a blast in North Carolina and Texas, as we have a decent fan base there and people really seem to get what we are doing. Our favorites stops are those that surprise us-- Yakima, Norfolk, South Bend (thanks Sean), Portsmouth-- small towns full of kids who are really into good music.

Tell us a bit about the bands you will be playing with, The Dont's and Finn Riggins, at your upcomingfree Cafe Du Nord show.

Brian: The Dont's are another really good SF band. They write catchy, cool songs, put on a fun, high energy show, and are super nice guys. Finn Riggins are our friends from Hailey, Idaho.They are great musicians and awesome to see live. I would describe them as sort of a prog-dipped Arcade Fire

What have you been listening to lately?

Lynne: D Numbers...Beach House...Grayceon....Russian Circles...Bowerbirds...Des Ark...Witch...Giraffes? Giraffes!..French Miami...Shearwater.

Brian: A whole lot of Pandora. Do they have to play Elliott Smith on every station, all the time?

Name an album you are obsessed with that you think more people should know about.

Lynne: Stevie Nicks - Crystal Visions.

Brian: Menomena - Friend and Foe.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

Lynne:  Stevie Nicks - Crystal Visions

Brian: Seal...I  have no guilt or shame over this. Bring it on.

Lynne, I am so right there with you! Brian, that is, indeed, quite the guilty pleasure. What has been your peak musical experience thusfar?

Lynne: The past two and 1/2 years have been pretty amazing.

Brian: We have just put our packs on and started climbing. Ask us again in 10 years or so.

What's coming up next for you guys over the summer?

Lynne:  We are playing a bunch around California this summer and are also promoting a bunch of shows through Tartufi Presents and Thread Productions. We look forward to finishing the album, Nests of Waves and Wire, and heading back out on the road this fall to promote it. And England....hold steady! We are a'commin for yeh! 

Brian: We also will be offering another series of rock classes for kids ages 4-7-- SATURDAY MORNING ROCK OUT! ( -- and explore how to develop the classes into an actual school. We plan as well to begin writing a more stripped down, largely acoustic Tartufi album, hopefully to record before we go back on tour in the fall.

Thanks so much for your time, you guys.

Upcoming Tartufi Shows:
6/20 @ Luna's Cafe in Sacramento w/ Neal Morgan and Alas, Alak, Alaska!
6/23 @ Cafe Du Nord in SF w/ The Donts and Finn Riggins   Free Show!!!
7/24 @ Chief Crazy Horse in Nevada City w/ Them Hills
7/25 @ The Starry Plough in Berkeley w/ Cloud Archive and The New Centuries
8/21 @ Tokoyo Garden in Fresno w/ Rademacher
8/24 @ Treat St bet. 17th and 18th, SF!  TARTUFI & WhizBang Presents The 1st Treat St. Fair!!!!
9/24 @ El Rio in SF performing the scores to several silent films for the 12th annual Madcat Film Festival
10/11 @ El Rio U.S. TOUR SEND OFF SHOW

Tartufi Presents shows:
6/21 @ El Rio in SF - French Miami, Master Slash Slave & Vows
7/19 @ El Rio in SF DAY SHOW - The Plagiarists, Maus Haus & Andy Tisdall [CD Release]
7/19 @ El Rio in SF NIGHT SHOW - Cloud Archive, Form & Fate, MANUOK, Silian Rail
9/17 @ El Rio in SF - Dot Punto

Thread Productions Shows:
7/4 @ El Rio in SF - The 3rd Annual EL RIO BIG TIME FREEDOM PARTY!!! 2-8PM - Two Sheds, Low Red Land, Caves, Paper Airplanes, Pope of Yes, I Was Totally Destroying It & Time and Place!!

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Interview (341), Thread Productions (1), Tartufi (1)