June 21, 2011

We Govern We Take ASCAP's Pop Quiz, Take Notes on Toilet Paper

WeGovern

NAME: We Govern We
ORIGIN: Ventura, CA
MEMBERS: 4
QUIZ VICTIM: Anna Karakalou, vocalist
CHECK 'EM OUT: http://www.wegovernwe.com/

You just released your debut album,Reznor's Orchid. What's behind the name?

About ten years ago, I was writing a book about a girl named Reznor who was in love with the son of a florist named Orchid. I was obsessed with the story and scribbled letters from one to the other and plot lines in journals, on napkins/toiletpaper,wherever for a couple of years. I never put all the pieces together to form the book and had regretted that until I held our finished album in my hands, and felt that my book had finally been completed. All the happiness and torment I was trying to get onto paper had gone sonic instead. The boys liked the name and what it meant to me, and it allowed me to have the satisfaction of a project completed by letting me name the album after my almost book:Reznor's Orchid.

Your former bands, Sigmatropic and Gwenmars, were very different entities. How did you go about forging a new sound and creating something new?

Panos [Scourtis, guitar/vocals] and I were still in the band Sigmatropic when we started writing our music. We didn't try to formulate a certain sound. Panos would play something that was in his head, and I knew the words that went with it and vice-versa. When we brought our project to the states, we played with a few different people until we found Adrian [Burke, bass/vocals] and John [Boutine, drums], two people that had the essence of what we were doing together in them, as well.

The members of We Govern We hail from different parts of the world. Has the band's cosmopolitan nature played into your music?

I assume it has. Panos grew up with very little outside influences, which is why he is able to create such original work. Other than that, I think that we have seen the similarities and differences between an array of people which we have translated into the story of a universal inner existence. We feel that we all have the same fears and thoughts, to a certain extent, wherever you are from. I'd like to think that our music could touch on a world-wide heart, if that makes sense.

How'd you hook up with Daniel Ash as your producer, and what was it like working with him onReznor's Orchid?

One of my first acquaintances when we moved to the States in October '08 was a very close friend of his. She showed him our music videos and called me to ask if we had a producer, and if not, Daniel wanted to be that person. I had no idea about their connection, but was a big fan of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets, so I said yes, hung up and screamed. It was my birthday, too :) Working with Daniel was one of the highlights of the album. It included daily trips to his hobbit-hole in Ojaishire for Pano, who co-produced the album with Daniel. Working late nights, sometimes spending eight hours on details that they would later scrap for something sweet and simple. Daniel is the master of a few very good tricks, but his ear for what sounds good and radio-friendly is what sets him apart. Also, he is a sweet and generous person that's just plain great to be around.

The album's got so many literary references, most prominently the adaptation of "Annabel Lee" and the William Blake reference in "Oh! Tiger." Is the realm of words a big inspiration for the band?

I have moved around a lot in my lifetime, which somehow led to spending a lot of time alone in strange places. I filled that time with drawing and writing. These things became integral to who I was, and I went on to get degrees in Fine Arts, English Literature and Media Arts. When Panos played me his version of "Annabel Lee," which he had written a few years before we started working together, I knew it was a match made in heaven. Someday I hope to use "throwing up in brown paper bags beneath chandeliers" fromThe Female Manby Joanna Russ as a lyric. You've gotta have goals :)

I understand you were courted by numerous record labels. How'd you decide to go it alone for the album?

When Panos and I were still in Greece, we were signed by this awesome little label called Archangel. They are a small company that does a great job of propelling their musicians to greater heights. We started writing around Christmas and they wanted to put out our album in September. In August, we realized that for various reasons, we would be moving to CA in the next couple of months and, sadly, had to break our contract with them. During this time we also met with a producer from Sony who warned us that larger labels like to buy up bands that have no money and shelf their work so as to take away any competition with any of their artists that might sound similar. I don't think we have a sound similar enough to anyone that we might be considered a threat. We are open to working with a label that would be able to help with the financial side of getting our music out there, but we aren't going to keep our sound locked away in Ventura until someone finds us here. Ideally, we'd like to concentrate full time on our music and take it on the road; we'll need some help to do that.