IDES OF GEMINI

IDES OF GEMINI is a new interesting band from California that everybody should discover. Interview answered by J. Bennett (guitar). Anders Ekdahl ©2011

When you initiated the idea of Ides Of Gemini was there an already thought out concept?
-Not really. At the time the idea was conceived, the only aspect that was pre-determined was that it would be a collaboration between Sera (vocals/bass) and I. I already had some music written at that point, but not much.We were definitely still working out the musical form that Ides Of Gemini would take, though it was understood that it would be based in the area in which our individual musical tastes overlap.

I find it fascinating how plain words can take on a whole different meaning when combined into sentences. What meaning has the combination of the words Ides of Gemini?
-I think we’d prefer not to say what the combination specifically means to us, but here are some clues: “Ides” is a term used to signify the middle of any given month in the ancient Roman calendar. Many people are aware of the “Ides of March” as the day Julius Caesar was assassinated – 15 March 44 B.C. In the Roman calendar, the date generally coincided with the full moon and was, prior to Caesar’s death, dedicated to Mars, the god of war. Gemini is the third astrological sign of the zodiac and is commonly associated with twins. One of us in Ides Of Gemini is twin, and one of us is a Gemini.

There’s this common notion that if you’re from California you have to play ‘sunny and happy’ music. Does people’s perceived notion of what you’re supposed to be act as fuel to prove them wrong?
-Not at all. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that we don’t have anything to prove. On the surface, it might seem perverse to be playing dark music in sunny California–and we certainly embrace the notion & spirit of going against the grain of popular perception–but that’s not why we play the music we play. We believe that the life of the mind can, to a certain extent, exist apart from one’s environment. Not completely, obviously–but enough that dark music can thrive in California. And to be honest, there is plenty of darkness in California. The unemployment rate here is significantly higher than the national average. We have a massive prison overcrowding problem, ongoing gang warfare, and a largely corrupt government (especially the city council in Los Angeles). In fact, the sunshine is essentially confined to the sky.

I’m not a musician but I have a hard time to explain the music I like with words. What do you say when people on the street ask you what kind of music you play and what it sounds like?
-I’ll let you know when this actually happens. But we like to leave those sort of explanations to the listener.

From what I understand there’s a common theme to the MCD lyrically. Can you tell us about this red line?
-All the songs on “The Disruption Writ” are about dismemberment, either literal or metaphorical. Mostly metaphorical. So basically everything from being cut off from society (geographically or psychically), being cut off from the physical world (by death or trance states) or literally losing a limb.

Not so long ago it was socially accepted to take photos of your dead relatives in their coffins. With so few social taboos left has death become the ultimate taboo and what is it about death that is so no, no?
-I don’t think death has become the ultimate taboo. Maybe to our government it is–for a long time, they refused to allow photographers to take pictures of the coffins of dead soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. But that’s more about policing the image of death, not death itself. In fact, our culture here in the US seems to revolve around death. We send our children off to die and kill others in foreign lands, fighting wars that enrich the already ridiculously wealthy. Our health care system denies coverage to those who need it most. We medicate our children with psychotropic drugs that lead to violence and suicide. Meanwhile, bankers and Wall Street criminals drain the public coffers, triggering widespread homelessness, starvation and more death. If death is taboo, it is so in name only. In reality, death is what most nations were built upon. In the US, it is our biggest export and the tool by which the government conducts its domestic policy.

There’s this theory that the more enlightened we get the more stupid we get. Has modern man forgotten how to think critically when everything is being served to us on a full plate?
-Absolutely. We live in the so-called “Information Age,” and yet no one is doing any thinking. That’s exactly how politicians and the white-collar criminals in the “financial services” industry are able to thrive. Electoral politics, as it exists today in the United States and many other developed nations, is a carefully choreographed shit-show designed to distract us from the real dangers that face us as a society. Of course, many of us are so occupied in the day-to-day rat race of slaving away at some shitty job with no benefits just to pay our rent/mortgages, to provide for our families, that we don’t have the time or inclination to see what’s really happening. And if we do, we’re too exhausted to do anything about it.

When playing live what kind of life does the band take on?
-Well, we didn’t have a drummer when we recorded the EP, but we have one now. Her name is Kelly Johnston, and when we play live she also sings many of the backup vocal parts that you hear on the EP. She fits in with the band perfectly–we’re very lucky to have found her. We’ve played just four shows so far, but each one seems to have been better than the last.

I get that there’s a bigger freedom to releasing records on your own but what limitations come with being totally independent?
-Well, we don’t have our EP available in record stores, which is obviously a disadvantage. And we don’t have the organizational- and PR muscle that a label could offer. On the other hand, our EP is readily available on the Internet to anyone who wants to hear or purchase it. We also don’t have a manager or a booking agent, but I’m not convinced that the lack of middle-men necessarily puts us at a disadvantage in that department.

In releasing a four track only MCD do you feel that you accomplished what you set out to do initially, or should you have made it longer?
-I think we absolutely accomplished what we set out to. As an introductory piece, we feel “The Disruption Writ” is the perfect length. If people like the four songs, theoretically the EP will leave them wanting more. If they don’t like it, it’s only 16 minutes long, which is not a lot to suffer through in an era of sprawling & bloated 80-minute albums.

Where do you go from here to build on the idea of Ides Of Gemini?
-In terms of physical releases, we have a split 12-inch coming out soon on Magic Bullet Records, with a band from Belgium called Vermapyre. There will also be a limited-edition cassette version of The Disruption Writ available soon. From there, we hope to record our debut full-length in November. Musically and conceptually, it’s about 90 percent complete. Once it’s released–hopefully in the spring of 2012–we’ll head out on tour to wherever they’ll have us.

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