Space novels that Robert Schneider read as a kid inspired Apples In Stereo’s new album, Travellers in Space and Time. Schneider, a founding member of the Elephant 6 collective, explains.
LEO: How did the touring collaboration with The Generationals come about? Did you know them, being from Ruston, La.?
Robert Schneider: Somebody gave it to me on tour, and I just liked it. Cool production, good songs that stuck in my head. I didn’t know they were from Louisiana originally. It kind of happened suddenly. You want to tour with bands you’re going to want to see every night.
LEO: With Travellers, you’ve said you wanted to make a futuristic pop record. Any nonmusical inspirations creep into the writing?
RS: I’m a big fan of space art and retro-futuristic art. I collect these books from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s with pictures of what space colonies will look like. Here’s a city with a park on the moon, there’s a classroom of kids looking at computer screens learning. As a kid, I used to read them in the school library and stuff. Modern science fiction mythology paints the future as bleak; I see the future as more hopeful. Every day (in the studio), I would refer to the sense of the colors and imagery these artists would use.
LEO: How have people responded to you, including the Elephant 6 logo, on recent releases?
RS: For a while, I rejected Elephant 6. Well, it wasn’t like we rejected it — we stopped associating ourselves with it. It was a social community as much as an artistic deal, and when the social stuff started happening again, E6 started getting more momentum again. We recorded (the Apples record) with a lot of the Elephant 6 friends, and they played on it. It felt like everybody was having fun together, like I was 15 again with a four-track and my friends singing. It’s weird: This will probably go on until all of us have passed away eventually. Interesting recordings don’t necessarily need to speak to your generation. Especially when you’re a whole bunch of loners, to get that feeling of being a team and being a club makes your music feel really good while you’re making it.
Dirt Poor Robins joins us to talk about their recently released CD, The Last Days of Leviathan. Listen at Bluegrass Catastrophe, bluecat.leoweekly.com.