SC: Yeah‚ you don't know what to listen to almost. That's good to hear that our music came across like that. We tried to bring to the table everything we loved‚ from the jazz world‚ and just other music that normally people probably wouldn't listen to. We put into a context where you introduce the listener to the idea‚ and hopefully they would eventually become comfortable listening to it. So when you do listen you know how to listen or you know what to listen for. It's not just lyrics or a riff‚ but maybe its layers of riffs‚ or even if it is one riff let's not just play it - let's do something with it; lets add a voice to it‚ lets change it up or rhythmically change it on this one‚ to mess with your perception almost. That's a modern composer's tool - like Igor Stravinsky. His "Rite of Spring" is one of greatest pieces of music ever written. It was actually in Fantasia‚ that Disney movie‚ but to fit it in the movie the orchestra played it like fucking twice as fast as it should be - it sounds awful. But anyway‚ it's a fantastic piece of music. In that piece Stravinsky studied his heart rate from when he was comfortable to when he was excited or scared and he would count them to beats per minute. He would use them for tempo modulations in his music to directly affect people's nervous systems. He would map anxiety attacks in beats per minute and use those as tempo maps for his music and parts in which he wanted to get people worked up and stuff. When he first performed the "Rite of Spring‚" in like 1913 it caused a riot and they couldn't even finish the piece of music. People were in an uproar and some musical theorists think that it may be people not understanding the music - just like you were saying‚ but having such a big impact that people got upset or violent or disorderly. But some people were probably excited and jumping up and down‚ but the collectiveness of it came across in a riotous manner. It didn't get played again in a public setting for another ten‚ or fifteen years (laughs).
MM: Wow‚ that's really fascinating.
SC: Yeah‚ it's really powerful music and when you listen to it‚ it makes sense. Stravinsky was an absolute genius. It's fascinating (laughs)‚ something of that nature or that concept of making music you wouldn't come across in the jamband world for the most part - or thinking of music in that way. In Schleigho we would do that with using poly-rhythms and using familiar types of riffs and layering them in way that pulls your perception open (laughs). It fucks with your perception... in a good way though.
MM: Yeah‚ I love that - having your perception messed with while listening…
SC: Right‚ that's what a good movie does. It opens your mind up to different things‚ like even new concepts like the Matrix thing or something like that - people just eat that shit up (laughs). You're being forced to understand a concept that you might be uncomfortable even thinking about. It starts to become enticing and interesting‚ and the more familiar you become with it‚ the more you begin to understand it and it becomes commonplace.
MM: Something just popped into my head about seeing you play one time that goes along with all of this; Erik's drums became the lead instrument while you‚ Jesse‚ and Paco were doing this really intricate comping‚ rhythmic thing. I was taking it all in and basically the typical structures of the music reversed itself. The drums came up front and began to play the melody almost. That was a definite twist of musical perception and I was amazed and just thought it was brilliant (laughs).
SC: Something like that sometimes just happens without people ever knowing it. Jesse (Gibbon) plays the organ in real percussive manner that it allows us to get into some really interesting rhythmic things. Erik's drums are so tonal and they ring with such a pinch that he can lead the way and it turns it around. That makes it exciting for us and turns the creative shift around. His ideas become the crest to the improvisation and we're all reactionary behind him. That's great group improvisational stuff and that's what we love the most‚ more so than doing tunes. I wish we had more guts to fully improvise a set. We used to do that year's ago and it was so much fun just getting up there and going with it.
MM: Let me throw this at you: I think Schleigho has always been about challenging the listeners. I think that the audience that comes to see you play wants to think about what you're doing and figure it out. From my perspective when I see you play‚ I'm paying attention and trying to figure out what you're doing and then eventually I drift off (laughs). Instead of figuring it all out‚ I just take it all in and enjoy it‚ and see where it will take me. I think a lot of people do that when they see you play. The other side of it is when you're playing music that is this challenging‚ "well; do you think that hurts you?" For instance‚ I would sometimes say "Schleigho‚ they're too good for they're own good." (laughs)
SC: Yeah‚ people have said that. But to me‚ the classic thing is that we only hear the mistakes. So we might hear things as being bad or sloppy or derivative and everything else (laughs). We get people who come up to us after a show and say‚ "so that was in 13/8 and then it went into 7/8‚ and then..." And I'm like whoa‚ whoa‚ whoa - you're way too into it. (laughter) Our manager‚ this is back when he was in the band Grinch‚ saw us fuck up on stage one time and he was like‚ "oh‚ so you are human." (laughs) That's how you perceived us? What are you out of your mind? (laughs) We're just accomplished musicians who are just trying to make it interesting for ourselves. We all came into this as players‚ and if it's not with Schleigho we're all going to be doing it somewhere else. We all do side projects‚ and record with different musicians‚ and that's just the nature of being a musician. The other thing is we are always learning from each other‚ like Jesse will show me a scale that he used in a side project‚ or maybe a thing I figured out off a Keith Jarrett know - stuff like that. When people ask me what should they expect when I'm doing interviews or trying to get gigs‚ I tell them they are going to have to listen more. I don't mean it like that‚ but there are going to have to pay attention more if they want to listen to it. It's not going to be just back drop college frat party music; it's like seeing a documentary instead of an Adam Sandler movie or something (laughter). And I think our fans are those people‚ like you said‚ they're people who want to figure it out and have there head messed with‚ or people that want to count out what we're playing and stuff like that. A lot of those people are musicians themselves...

MM: Yeah‚ that's another thing I've always thought about Schleigho - it's a musician's kind of band.
SC: Yeah. I've always took that as a compliment‚ but it's always been perceived as a curse. Like‚ "oh man‚ we're just musician's music‚" and we're never going to make it beyond that and we want to appeal to anybody. And even for us that's been hard‚ because we all really like complicated music‚ but that's just who we are. If we wanted to be a popular band‚ we wouldn't be playing the music we're playing. We do this because it's what we love‚ and it's also what we love to listen to. Would you want to play music that you wouldn't want to listen to? You should play the music that you'd want to listen to. That always weirds me out to hear someone say they hate listening to themselves. That's the great thing about Schleigho‚ we're not a rock band or a jazz band‚ and I hate hearing that we're a fusion band; it's just our music that we love playing and love listening too. Now that we've been involved in these other projects‚ we can all bring something fresh to the table and evolve with the idea that we continuously want to play music that we want to listen to.
Originally published on‚ July 2003
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