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Feature: Q&A with John Flannelly on Weird Vibes 3, Saturday March 21
Posted March 18, 2015 by Taylor Peters

You might know my man John Flannelly from warping keyboard sounds into alternate dimensions already. Lately he's been slangin' live shows under the Weird Vibes heading at Vibes in Broad Ripple. This Saturday, March 21, is the third show in the series, and with 12 acts on the bill, it's by far the one with the biggest scope. To get a better grip on what all will go down, I sat down with him at Peppy's in Fountain Square (which, I've decided, is my interview spot of choice for experimental musicians, cf. my interview with Rob Funkhouser from a while back). You can get the Facebook-based details on the show right here, and be sure to check out the playlist below containing an assortment of artists from the archive who will be on the bill. 

 

 

Taylor Peters: To start off, could you just tell me how you got started doing these Weird Vibes shows? I know this is the third one in a series. 

 

John Flannelly: Well both Sonny Blood and Rachel--Miss Mess--work at Vibes and Sonny talked to me about starting a monthly experimental music series late last year, and I thought it was a great idea. I moved to Indy last fall and kind of wanted to do like a slow entry into booking, so I thought it would be a good way to pace things. It’s like, “Oh, I’ll just put all my energy into one thing per month.” 

 

TP: Were you doing a whole lot of booking in Bloomington before you moved up here? 

 

JF: I’ve been booking shows since like 2009. I started with some benefit shows for the Indiana Forest Alliance, then yeah, I booked at Rachael’s for a while, then I kind of just booked wherever. And then I lived at The Cream last year too down in Bloomington, where we had a lot of shows.

 

TP: Do you have any sort of unifying mission statement for the way you’re approaching booking or organizing these Weird Vibes shows? 

 

JF: No, not really. The three we’ve done so far, well the first one was like Rob Zombie themed. It was his 50th birthday. It’s kind of like, I don’t know sometimes you can like put a theme into it and work from that. The second one was Drekka, since he was finishing up his tour. And he’s from Bloomington, and I mean I still think that was loosely themed but maybe only in the way that I would get, since it was a lot of people with Bloomington connections who happen to be here now. And then this one, after the February one, Sonny talked to me about trying to do one during the day, and to me that meant “Oh, it can be really long!” 

 

TP: Yeah I wanted to ask about that--so the length is just a product of starting earlier in the day? 


JF: Pretty much. And then there were so many people I wanted to ask to play, so I thought it would be cool to just pile it all on top. And then also I thought people would just kind of be getting excited because the weather’s starting to get nice again and all that. 

 

TP: I know a lot of people don’t really love to book shows, but it seems like it’s something you do really enjoy doing, especially when you’re willing to give yourself the challenge of putting on 12 bands like this. 

 

JF: Yeah, totally. I don’t like promoting it so much, but I really like putting together bills, going through that little low pressure puzzle of what works with what and who is available and not. I was really excited to book this one. It probably sounds intimidating to book 12 bands, but it mostly came together in the course of a week. Besides Grxzz and Grass SM6, they were later additions, so I guess like 10 of the 12 came together over the course of the week. 

 

TP: It’s interesting to me, I feel like there’s been way more experimental shows popping up around the city lately, which is really cool to watch happen. 

 

JF: Yeah, I think so too, but it’s like, Indy is interesting just because there’s a lot of energy and activity here in general. And the experimental scene is just a small pocket of that, and someplace like Listen Hear for example is just totally dedicated to experimental music and art. Listen Hear is actually going to sponsor the show, just because John McCormick from Listen Hear is going to end up being there all day, same with Joe Fawcett from Kismet who is also sponsoring since he’ll be there pretty much all day too helping out.

 

TP: What’s the setup going to be like inside Vibes with all these bands? 

 

JF: We’re going to have two stages, one sort of up front, and one in the back where the instruments all are in there, the “instrument zone.” I also got word that Exploding Head Scene  (a.k.a., Sonny Blood) is most likely going to take that back room where the refrigerator is and turn that into… he’s going to do something special with that.

 

TP: Was there a unifying theme for the day for you?  

 

JF: I like the flow of the day a lot and I think there are a couple things that emerge when you put them all together. I think there’s a lot of familiar faces in different projects than you might recognize them from, and I think that to me goes hand in hand with spring, new things emerging and all that.Ii know it’s the live debut of HNRYFRD and Colts vs. Pacers. And then it’s like, people know Jake [Gardner] from Raw Mccartney and he’s doing the Missing Hearts stuff, or Sharlene from Thee Tsunamis doing Grass SM6. I guess there is kind of, I wanted it to be weird and experimental, but also fun. I think sometimes shows end up being like hazy themes that only I understand and then I kind of forget afterwards. 

 

TP: So, looking ahead for future Weird Vibes shows, do you have any specific plans? 

 

JF: Yeah, we have three bands and a theme booked for the April one. It’s gonna be on monday April 20th. Shame Thugs are going to decorate Vibes however they want. Normanoak is playing, and Periodic Table Tennis, and maybe more to be announced.

 

TP: As far as your own music, what are you working on now? 

 

JF: I’ve spent a lot of time lately working on this Colts vs. Pacers stuff. Me and Joe have been meeting up more or less once a week and getting breakfast and then playing music. I’ve spent a lot of time developing that. I’m also gearing up to maybe even tomorrow start recording my next solo material, which is something I’m going to take some time with, because last year I made a bunch of albums all in a row. Last year was kind of unique for me because I played so many live shows. I felt like I was way more prolific and doing creative stuff all the time, and then the first album came together. Well I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. The first one came together as like a series of, basically it’s kind of like, it’s not that dissimilar to booking a show where you just kind of go off the vibe that you're thinking about and working toward, and then editing into stuff, and then it becomes a thing.

 

 

TP: What’s your process for putting together records like that? 

 

JF: It depends. Yeah, it’s usually like just recording a bunch of stuff and then effecting it and editing and mixing it and jumbling it together. Of those four last year, Chillin’ on Earth took the longest to put together, and the Fall Mix took, as far as the editing process, the Fall Mix took like a weekend. But the recordings you know varied as far as time goes. Ojos, I recorded that whole thing in one take in an evening. It was like, that was stuff I gave to Rob Funkhouser because he was going to remix it for a split we have coming out later this year, and he was like, “You should just put this as is on MFT,” and so I did. 

 

TP: I saw you play with John McCormick of Sky Thing on First Friday a few weeks ago, tell me about how you got hooked up playing with him.

 

JF: We played a show, me John McCormick and Duncan Kissinger, we played a show in Bloomington at, a place underneath the Back Door called the Fluorescent Gallery. It was a dream themed art exhibit with local artists. We were basically given a little cubicle in there to do whatever we wanted, so we decorated it and got a case of Hamms and played for an hour and a half. I brought my sleeping bag. It was great.

 

TP: Was the sleeping bag just for sleeping, or did you integrate it into the performance? 

 

JF: [Laughs] Yeah, I was lounging really hard, kind of by the end of it, I was doing really slow oscillations to the rhythm of my slowing down heart beat. So we played together at that, and then John basically asked us to join Sky Thing to make it more like a band i guess. So yeah, I’ve  played a few shows as part of Sky Thing lately. John was asked to do a release on Orphanology, which is one of Michael Anderson’s labels, and that one’s going to be like kind of a combination of some of those live sets we’ve been doing, and we’re going to start working on that very soon to start putting that together. 

 

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