Due to some scheduling snafus, I was able to keep coming back to Throw Vision‘s music again and again before we finally met in-person this past weekend. And to my surprise, it only became harder to pin down one label for their music, because my reactions kept multiplying. At once it’s dark stuff and, as they themselves admit, a little moody, but also bright, airy, and ambient. That’s because Throw Vision is the average of four people with very different musical tastes and abilities. And the result isn’t any one thing, but rather a complex arrangement of things.
A new 7″ sees the Brooklyn-based band ascending the slope of its creative powers as a foursome (they started out as just three). But Were it Will also proves the band members are intent on continuing to balance their majorly different tastes to create something that hovers comfortably between jazz, rock, and ambient meditations. Check out their newest tracks below (which by the way, are pressed on a limited edition clear piece of vinyl with some impressive art work inserted to boot) as well as our Q+A with the band.
Taja: She [Tiff] lives in Prospect Heights and we [Alex and Dan and I] live in Crown Heights.
Tiff: Taja and I knew each other in high school — actually, we went to high school in Brooklyn — and we’ve known each other ten years now. And Alex and Dan knew each other in college. Dan and Taja and I met through a friend back in 2012 – we started as a trio and after our first album we enlisted this one [Alex.]
Dan: What’s this? But I do feel like there’s a band answer to this, too. It was just part of the evolution of playing in New York, continuing to do it, playing with different people. We joined the indie music scene in a way. And then that becomes a cultural thing of its own. It feels weird to answer the question, “are we a professional band,” because we are a professional band but it’s also contextual within the scene. That doesn’t really answer the question but…
Taja: I think the best advice I’ve ever gotten is that people start taking you seriously when you start taking yourself seriously. And yeah, there’s that sort of a period of “Yeah, I’m really doing this,” or “I don’t know what I’m doing,” but really it’s all about how people perceive what you’re doing. I feel like it depends on the day in a way, how we view ourselves and how we view our craft.
Taja: [Laughs] Well, Alex used to be a scientist.
Tiff: I work full time, I work within the community and education at Carnegie Hall. So it’s still within music, but I do a lot of projects within the community as well. I work on this thing called the Lullaby Project, where artists work with expectant mothers in various places like homeless shelters and jails. So I’ll go into these contexts and we’ll help them write lullabys for their babies.
Alex: I did the biology lab thing for a couple years and I didn’t like that. And at one point I was playing in bands before I left [the lab]. I was floating around doing office work, and now I’m here at Replay Music Studios too. Which is really great, because we get to hang out and play music. I knew other stuff wasn’t going to be as interesting, but I didn’t know that until after college because I did science in college.
Taja: I’m more complicated. I do art stuff. I produce some stuff for Creative Time. And now I’m helping with the Jazz Festival. They’re hoping to have be an annual thing that celebrates jazz in Central Brooklyn. It’s sort of a lesser-known history of jazz, but one that’s still alive in Bed-Stuy. And my grandpa owned a jazz club in Bed-Stuy so it’s kind of a cool, full circle thing for me.
I also help run this space, Nola Darling, that’s a yoga studio during the day, then at night there are shows and programming and workshops. So I help out with that programming.
Dan: And, as Tiff and Alex mentioned, I also work here at Replay Studios a fair amount. I teach a lot of music here. So that kind of thing, and then I play in various projects. I feel like in terms of becoming a professional musician, I’m trying to move closer and closer to begin payed more for writing and performing.
With Throw Vision, there are a lot of different musical influences going on. When you say indie rock, or indie pop, it doesn’t sound a lot like most of what I’m hearing from those genres these days. Do you come from disparate backgrounds in terms of your influences, and in what ways do you meet?
Taja: I grew up playing classical piano, and that has a huge impact on a lot of the things I do and how I think about music, for the most part. I don’t really improvise a lot, I plan things out. And the harmony I’m interested in is related to jazz.
Alex: I never played in a rock band until I got to New York City. I played with other people but I never played in a real band. So I got here and everyone was like, “Well, do you wanna play in a band?” and I was like, “OK.” I did classical percussion and jazz and I didn’t listen to a lot of music that they [the band] listened to, at all. Like I had never heard of Interpol, for example.
Tiff: I guess I was interested in, I dunno, the cultural side of music. I took a lot of ethnomusicology classes and I was interested in music from various parts of the world, and really inspired by that. I’ve tried to bring some of that to the table.
Dan: I was obsessed with blues guitar playing when I was younger. Then I got into jazz a little bit, but it was always very improvisational. Like improvisation was my inspiration for most of it, and groove, and R&B, and soul.
We should talk about the newer 7 inch album, Were It Will – what was the impetus behind that?
Taja: You’re making it as pretty as possible, the “impetus.” [Laughs] We got really lucky.
Tiff: There are songs that we’d started playing live and those songs kind of evolved as we played them live and we were met with opportunities to record.
Dan: We applied for the Converse [Rubber Tracks] thing that they do, the recording studio, and we won a Deli Magazine thing. And maybe we did spend some money on it. We released part of it ourselves along with our producer and friend Andrew Lappin who we worked with.
Tiff: We worked directly with a friend of ours, Justin Sloan, on the design. We had a bit of a concept, like some ideas about it. And we met with him and picked out, for example, what colors we liked more than others. We gave him a lot of creative control, but he definitely went through the process with us.
Dan: But it was very DIY.
There’s been a lot of tilling of the dirt recently in the Brooklyn music scene, and a lot more that’s going to happen on the horizon, but what are the newer venues and developments you guys are excited about?
Taja: We befriended this guy who has a space he’s opening in Bed-Stuy called C’mon Everybody. Eric is just really awesome and really special, super supportive. He actually cares about booking shows. I feel like those things are kind of rare.
Dan: And then the Nola Darling situation I think has been a pretty cool collective that’s developed and that we’ve found ourselves a part of.
Taja: The cool thing about Nola is that it’s a collection of people who work at lots of DIY spaces. It just feels like a real community there. I’ve always felt kind of weird about those scenes sometimes, but that venue’s a really nice space because everyone sort of worked together to build something.
Dan: For what it’s worth, I think that we’ve found ourselves sometimes struggling with audiences in Brooklyn and New York, as just not showing that much enthusiasm. If you compare it to when we’ve gone Upstate and played college shows, and those are the interesting differences between the scene that you were mentioning and a younger, not as jaded audience. I dunno. We can’t quite figure it out. But it’s been interesting. When we went up to Vassar College to play, it’s just such a different feeling. It makes us feel like we are in a bubble in New York and there are many different ways to react to what we play.
Catch Throw Vision at one of their upcoming shows in Brooklyn: Thursday June 4, 8 pm at Palisades; Monday, June 8, 7:30 pm at Knitting Factory; and Saturday, June 13, 7:30 pm at new venue in Bed-Stuy, C‘mon Everybody.