Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Just got back from tour and found myself without a job to really rely on for the time being. So while I float at home seeking out medical studies or temp work, and not really able to "go out" due to the unemployment, I have the days and nights available. I have a couple drawing projects on my plate; one is a CD cover for a UK band called The Red Word - the other is some KD vinyl preorder merch for the Hydra Head store. (Please don't ask about it).

Aside from trying to conceptualize some drawings, I've been able to take some time to focus on writing - I mean in several-hours-long sessions instead of the usual one-hour a night after work type of thing. This kind of forced introversion is what I've been missing since I moved to NYC; I had it in 2007 when I was living in CT, hence the massive amount of work that went into Blue Lambency Downward, and here it is again - Preceding every album of mine, there has been such a period, and I'm coming to realize that it's perhaps a necessary step to any new, serious writing, since all of that music is so personally deep.

As probably all the readers of this blog know, the next recording I have planned is the maudlin of the Well project in February. So with my mind in that place, a lot of new writing in a rock-based genre can't help but hearken the mood of motW. I actually noticed recently that all the time the boundary I had been trying to define between what was motW and what is Kayo Dot may have been exaggerated. I had always thought that KD's writing was more deliberate - and it is, in a way. But at the same time, there are these periods of forced introversion like I mentioned above, which are bottomless and out-of-time, which when called back to memory are even hazy and dreamy... and which always result in a record. All of my writing has come out of this state - it's just the post-state that gives the music an identity - the level of involvement in shaping the concept.

So as an anxious music listener, I want to record these new tunes as soon as possible and am tempted to have them become a part of the motW record. To be faithful to the project though, it's really against the rules to bring new songs in from scratch, so I'm not going to do it. I don't think I'd want to leave these new songs alone anyway; basically, what has always been defined as a motW tune to me is music that has come in as an idea and then has been pretty much left as-is, without much shaping or censorship by the conscious mind. And because of this, that music is imbued with the melodic, harmonic, and structural identity of all of my influences... a chord progression or lick manifests itself because it makes sense to the memory, and it appeals easier to many listeners because it makes sense to their memory.


paleo-indian said...


Anonymous said...

one of the unfortunate side-effects of having a fan-funded project is the limitation in artistic freedom -- by necessity you really have to cater to the fans.

as someone who donated to this project, i did so more to help provide you with the money to indulge in a project that interests you than to temporarily pigeonhole your compositional aesthetic into the idiom of motW's music (which isn't that clearly defined to begin with, i guess). given the nature of motW/Kayo Dot's music, i think most of the people who donated to this project would understand the importance of artistic freedom in producing quality music, so try not to feel too limited in the scope of this project (within reason, obviously).

just my two cents~

Grant said...

I'll keep an eye on the cover art for The Red Work band, and I'm definitely looking forward to the vinyl release of BLD in the future.

It's interesting that you mention intense writing sessions; I am not the artist that you are, but I studied writing in college, and during those four years I'd use weekends for the same kind of creative writing sessions. It was an excellent tool for accumulating ideas for which I could slyly embed into my academic work or use for personal exploration. Now that I have graduated and haven't been able to find work in my field, those sessions have oddly disappeared as I have a new routine, one that focuses more on music and film. In a way, it's just as fulfilling as I'd like to pursue both of those mediums in the future, but I want to obsessively write again, as I view it to be more personally beneficial as I'm been doing for such a large part of my life. Perhaps this is just a dry spell, and I'll continue with my writing again soon.
Anyway, I'm really glad you shared this sort of thought process with the readers, because I'm curious to know how you conceptualize. It's difficult to ask someone how they brainstorm... you honestly revealed your M.O. in this entry.

The forthcoming maudlin recordings are especially exciting for all of us who contributed. At this point in time I don't even relate maudlin of the Well's material to Kayo Dot. I'm just focusing in the present and the future. There are some people who desire another Bath or Leaving Your Body Map, but I'm interested in the unknown. Your personal and musical progression is most important to me, and I hope it is to many of your fans.
Well, with that said, this regrouping is a step into the past in a strange way, and I'm sure that fans of maudlin of the Well will be pleased to read that you don't plan to further develop the songs (without shaping or censorship as you wrote). Your definition of a "motW tune" is most interesting; it makes me want to consecutively listen to all of those albums again for comparison ...but then I'd be relating Kayo Dot to motW! haha

Also I'm sorry that the Grolliblur show isn't happening tonight. When Yuko first posted about it, I thought it was kind of another take on the Auxiliary Unit that you've been experimenting with this year. (I don't know if that's correct, though). I hope the show is rescheduled. I'd be happy to drive to Brooklyn for it.

Take care, Toby. And thanks again for conversing with me for so long at that Baltimore show in mid-October. That was a great experience all around.

Dave said...

Hi Toby,

An interesting read.

Im pretty tired, perhaps another look in the morning would reveal the answer, but anyway...my question is....does this mean these new compositions will be recorded as Kayo Dot? It wasnt really clear in your blog (to me at least)

Also on a side note, is there going to be anymore Tartar Lamb recordings, I really enjoyed that record.

...any luck finding a UK booking agent, I look forward to seeing you guys live one day.