There is a certain DIY spirit that the Northwest exudes. Here, a band can write material, book their own shows, record and release their own albums. It’s this spirit that Portland’s Mark Twain Indians embody.
There is a certain DIY spirit that the Northwest exudes. Here, a band can write material, book their own shows, record and release their own albums.
It’s this spirit that Portland’s Mark Twain Indians embody.
In April 2006, the four-member band joined together, pieced from previous bands they had been associated with. Comprised of Ted Easton singing and playing guitar, Nic Moen on drums, Dylan Hall on guitar and keyboard, and John Elkins playing bass, the four share a common vision of their music yet each brings something diverse to mix things up.
With their own in-house recording equipment, and Moen’s degree in audio production from the Art Institute of Seattle, the band is set to further expand their music onto Portland.
This week the Vanguard was able to chat with the group about who they are, and where they are going.
Richard Oxley: So where did the name come from?Ted Easton: Well, you know, it was my elementary school, in Missouri. It was called Mark Twain and their mascot was the Indians…. I was trying to think of a good band name and it kind of came up. I wish there was more of a story than that.
RO: So what is the sound of Mark Twain Indians? Are you guys aiming for anything?TE: I think it takes like three years before you completely mature as a band … it was more of a quirky sound at first … but recently, we’re kind of more or less going for a smoother, darker, you know, pop rock.
Dylan Hall: We all have not real different influences, but they do vary. But the newer sound that we have is almost like Band of Horses meets Siamese Dream, Smashing Pumpkins, you know, with a little Pink Floyd thrown in.
We really want something that is a dwelling, emotional, dark, hopeful sound. The stuff you hear on our Web site, it’s almost quirky, almost indie pop, except for two, which are the only two songs we have kept in our set, which are a little darker and little more real.
RO: So have you guys gone through a kind of transformation recently?DH: We did.
TE: I think we were kind of geeky, nerdy sounding before. I am not good at describing this kind of shit, you know.
DH: Ultimately, what we are trying to do is create music that moves people. There are a lot of quirky indie-pop bands in town and that works for them, and we tried it and we decided to work off of our strengths.
We have a lot background in rock and a lot of background in good indie music. Really heavily influenced by Elliott Smith, the Shins, the kind of stuff that’s real emotional. We wanted to bring a darker, more up-to-date version of that to the table. And just keep it real, and focus on trying to sound a certain way, but just take what every single person is good at and make the best possible music we can.
RO: So what are some other bands in town that you guys like to listen to?Nic Moen: Well there’s 31 Knots.
NM: If we were on a bill with those bands, I think it would go over pretty well.
TE: Stuart Valentine is fucking awesome.
RO: What about the new EP you’re working on now?NM: Four or five songs.
TE: And maybe we end up doing a record, ’cause we kind of had some ideas tonight. And the stuff we have on our MySpace page, we recorded ourselves too.
RO: Last question: If there was going to be a sandwich made in honor of the Mark Twain Indians.DH: I don’t know what it would be called, but I can tell you the ingredients.
TE: No meat.
DH: Yeah, no meat. It would have a lot of reverb, a lot delay.
TE: Cucumbers have a lot of reverb actually.
Mark Twain Indiansw/ Subterranean Howl and The CapsAsh Street SaloonDec. 12, 9:30$5 21+