Honestly, I'm pretty sire there's a new wall in my apartment. Or maybe there isn't, perhaps it's just a second layer of some sort, attached to whatever the actual walls were made of in the first place. It's hard to tell, really. Safe to say though that its creepy, haunting-like. Keeps me up all night. Whenever this new second-level wall caves in and opens up invisibly, the room's filled with sounds one can't really locate - it's like they're everywhere. All-encompassing. A massive network of beauty. Jittering in the dark. But who knows, perhaps it's no more than a hazy mirage, an intricate mind game. Me goin' crazy. Or there really is this sound, though - as of now - no neighbors showed up to complain or rock some kind of party. Which, in turn, might be indebted to the fact that this sound I'm refering to aint about a party at all. It's more like connecting the dots, the KNOTS, of a texture that carries multiple names - Tortoise, Fourtet, Mice Parade, Album Leaf - a fleeting, non-intellectualized surge of rhodesy home-cooking, spiced up with a hint of Electronica. Actually, what's most weird about my new (non-)wall is, that it sometimes even seems to have pictures attached to it. Only for a short instance. Photos of two brothers, mostly, with name tags on them, saying Michael and Jared Bell. Looks damn hot on those pictures. Cactus-style hot. All of which didn't ring no bell for me, at least until one night I took them off and kept them in my drawers, to make sure they wouldn't disappear again. On one of them there's this line, which might even refer directly to my wall issue, saying "Love Your Abuser," and on the flipside of this other picture was some miniature printing, hieroglyphics almost. I took out my reading-glasses only to find this (still, I had to fill in the vowels, they were missing for some reason):

Q: How did you start out making music together in the first place?
We have been making music together in some form since we were little kids, ages 7 and 10. It all started with our parents or school providing instruments to mess with at an early age, and then discovering music we liked at the time, and basically trying to emulate it with the equipment we had: Originally, a toy guitar and broken toy drumset led to a Casio and a cheap drumset, which in turn led to a rhodes based, washy, ambient electronic Post-Rock duo.

Q: Did you have other bands or projects before Lymbyc System, or along the way?
Yes, originally Jared and I only messed around at home, in our mother's living room in Scottsdale, AZ. At the same time, we both were in different local groups that played shows around Phoenix and around the state of Arizona. In high school, we both had srabge kinds of dumbed down Math, epic Jazz influenced Rock bands with vocalists. These bands eentually fell apart when different people went away to college in different areas or moved away from town after graduating high school. A couple years later I drummed in a local proto-Punk jangle Rock-band called Crooked Man, which played a fair number of big local gigs. Through this band, I met many local promoters and eventually booked Lymbyc System's first show, at a shiesty chinese food restaurant in Tempe.

Q: How was Tempe, Arizona, like to grow up when it comes to the music scene?
Tempe was originally a hub for a sort of jangle Rock Pop style in the 90's...headed up by Gin Blossoms and a few other bands. This scene slowly degraded, eventually fading away by the very late 90s. Around 2000, a small but powerful force began to gentrify an old, former strip in Phoenix that had turned into a haven for bums and crackheads. The great thing about this "scene" is that it is much more "artistic" music and less about Pop stuff that is geared for the mainstream.

Q: Still you're currently living in Austin, TX, right? How does that work for you as a band?
Yes, I live in Austin. And it works well. Before tours, Jared flys out here so we can rehearse and go over some things to get ready to tour. Also, Austin is a good central place to start from when touring the USA, much more so than Tempe.

Q: Since you're three years apart - did you grow up with the same musical influences?

Yeah, we always listened to much of the same music. At first it was stuff I was turned onto by older friends and friends' older siblings, then in turn Jered learned about it from me.

Q: Besides Tortoise and Fourtet - who were those earlier influences?
We both were very much into John Coltrane at some point, especially his "Love Supreme" and Crescent Records. Also we were heavily inspired early on by the Beatles. At some point we dug on some Medeski, Martin and Wood. Later it was Mice Parade, Sigur Ros, Mum...a lot of Icelandic stuff, American Analog Set.

Q: Still, what do you say if I go: "All right stop, collaborate and listen, Ice is back with my brand new invention..."?
Well, our first group was a kiddie rap group, Jared, me and our neighbor Nick. I played a toy guitar and rapped, Jared played a broken toy bass drum and telephone books layed out of a table, and our neighbor friend hit play on the beats for the tiny casio keyboard! The band was hilariously titled "Rappin + Rhyming". Still we never wore those Hammer pants.

Q: Even though there's some Tortoise moments in your sound, I'd say it still feels like you're trying to overcome that mathematical stiffness, that whole academic side attached to it - am I right?
Yeah, you are correct in the sense of what we call "keeping it raw!"; like we tried to go for more of a lo-fi, made-at-home feel to the album. Sonically it has a lot of changes throughout, that's what we were going for. Sometimes recordings of bands like Tortoise of Tristeza can sound too clean to me, more of a typical Post-Rock sound. So that' something we consciously tried to avoid.

Q: How is that like, being brothers in a band? Always easy or a hassle at times?
We get along amazingly well. I don't think Lymbyc System would work if we didn't. Most of our touring has just been Jared and I riding together, playing music together, and sleeping in the same place for months on end. When we do have others along for the ride it tends to make things just a little smoother. When we were little kids we had typical fights that young brothers would have...but that's about it.

Q: So, tell me something about the songwriting process; how do you usually work?
Usually a song will either begin with some sort of melodic or rhythmic motif one of us came up with on out own, which may lead to another idea or may be inspired by each other's synopsis. We have done everything from cut and paste editing a sing together from fragments recorded at different times, to improvising for hours to come up with ideas, to trying 20 things until we find what works.

Q: And who's responsible for what part of the sound?
Jared lays all the rhodes, clavinet, synths, organ, harmonium, melodica and acoustic and electric guitars. I play all the acoustic drums, drum programming, electronic percussion, and drum sampling. Still, both of us then conjure of additional textural ideas through the use of samplers, synths and noise.

Q: It pretty much sounds like a freestyle DIY-stunt with all kinds of weird experimentation and improvisation involved, and not so much a planned effort - true?
The recording of the album was a very experimental procedure, for sure! Actually, most of the basic structures and melodies for the songs had been written, even some performed live in some form or other. Since we did the entire record at home, it enabled us to try tons of weird shit that under more rushed circumstances we would not have had time for. For instance, there were drum parts thar I wrote and recorded to some of Jered's melodic shit and then decided it was not working, so I went back and completely reconfigured the drum vibe for the song. On the song "Pittsburgh Left" we had been playing an earlier form of that song live for about a year before we recorded LYA, and it involved a more Post-Rock w/ crazy borderline drum soling over the end part. So when we we went to record this song during the LYA session, I first tried a rockous, loud crazy drum part When I listened back I thought it just didn't was too all over the place. So I tried something different, a asimple 4 to the floor kick drum accompanied by super small clicks and clops played live on small wooden percussion.

Q: Did it look like the basement in the classic picture from "Check Your Head"? Or more like "Hymie's Basement" with more coffee mugs than actual instruments?
Well, no, it wasn't a basement, actually it was a large room of my old house in Tempe, AZ. It did have a fake wooden wall though, like some of those classic 70s basements.

Q: I read that Dylan (Mice Parade), Jimmy (Album Leaf) and some others helped out - who else, and how did these collaborations come about?
When the record was 70% completed we finally answered a question we had been asking ourselves since the beginning of the session: should we collaborate with anyone on this, or should we do it ALL ourselves. We decided on YES, we should include a few collaborators, mainly to play instruments or create sounds that we couldn't/wouldn't come up with. First off, we thought that vibraphone would be a nice addition sonically, but the only person we knew who has a vibraphone was our friend Dylan in New York. So through online transfers we sent files back and forth and the last three songs on the LYA have his contributions. Most of the melodies though, that he plays on vibes were composed by Jared. The we stayed over at Jimmy Lavalle;s house one night near the end of the recording process and decided that it might be cool for him to add something to a song. So on Idle Wires" we had Jimmy play a few ambient guitar tracks and then he also built a beat using Reasin and his Moogerfooger pedal. Also, we decided that a couple songs needed trumpet, so we called the only goof trumpet player we knew in Phoenix and had him come over one day and record a couple of Jerod's melodies.

Q: Why it is "Love Your Abuser"? Who is the abuser?
"Love Your Abuser" just essentially means love life. We kind of came up with it haphazardly, and that's what we liked about it!

Q: Does your life feel that epic, or why do you sound like a massive novel?
No, my life does not feel epic at all, but most of the music I have been influenced by I would consider to sound epic. I think that's what we were going for. What's also important is that LYA turned out dirtier, more lo-fi sounding than our previous EP "Carved by Glaciers". Also, there is more attention to each song having a unique individual character.

Q: Yet your album still manages to sound very much like a "whole" - do you have such a unified personality?
Yes, I feel that we both have pretty even personalities, but we like our music to change a lot, in terms of forms and order to captivate the listener.

Mush Records