Interview with Reid Genauer from Assembly of Dust
Written by Scott Preston
July 15, 2009
“I feel like my brain is vibrating all day long,” says Reid Genauer, the singer/songwriter behind Assembly of Dust, discussing the band’s new album. “It’s hard to sleep, I’m so excited. I feel like Lex Luthor, or that Mike Myers character, Dr. Evil. I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs, dreaming up this demonic scheme, getting ready to release this germ on to the world.”
While “demonic schemes” may not come to mind when you think of Assembly of Dust, Genauer’s post-Strangefolk crew since 2002, his band’s latest album does have the feeling of something remarkable being unleashed. The record, recorded over two years, showcases Genauer’s maturation as a songwriter, as evidenced both by the material and the all-star collaborations that dot all 13 tracks. It’s rare to hear something so massive in scope and ambition, and yet so intricate in the tiny details.
In the end, AOD’s new “germ,” as their singer puts it, isn’t some diabolical plot for world dominance. It’s simply the creative culmination of nearly two decades playing music and being one of the music world’s most respected (if slightly under-the-radar) musicians and songwriters. “I’m excited by this record because my friends and heroes are on it,” he says. “Being embraced by my peers...that’s a really rewarding experience. It’s a milestone in my life, like graduating high school, college, or getting laid for the first time. It’s a momentous event for me.”
Cincy Groove: I see that you have a tour coming up with the Emmitt - Nershi Band. Have you played with either of them before?
Reid Genauer: We have gone out with Honky Tonk Homeslice (Billy Nershi's side project) for about 10 shows a few years ago. Also played with Leftover Salmon at High Sierra Music Festival. The bonus track that's coming out on the new album has both Drew and Billy playing on the track.
Cincy Groove: The new Assembly of Dust album has an incredible list of guest musicians. How did the ideas for the new album develop?
Reid Genauer: We really wanted to bust out of the AOD box and do something different. One way is to mix up the instrumentation from song to song. We got to record in the studio with Richie Havens on the track that he is on, which was really cool. Some of the musicians sent there tracks in, but we did get to record in studio with some of them.
Cincy Groove: I see that you are offering 7 tracks off of your album as a free download for a limited amount of time. How did you decide that was going to be the way you were going to promote the album?
Reid Genauer: There's an artistic answer then there's a more logistical one. As an artist I think the end goal is to get as many people as you can listening to your art. Given the nature of the industry, its a great way to get your music out. It's also kind of a fun thing for the fans to get to download a free track once a week for 7 weeks. Hopefully doing it this way will spread the word about the music even more.
Cincy Groove: How do you feel how the internet has affected the music industry?
Reid Genauer: I think the internet poses a real challenge for established artists and for corporate America. For the independent artist it's a wonderful thing. It gives us many more ways with which to get our music out to as many fans as possible. I'm really excited about all the opportunities that the internet has presented to an artist like myself.
Cincy Groove: How did Assembly of Dust end up getting together?
Reid Genauer: After Strangefolk I started booking some solo dates and at first I had planned on just performing by myself. During that time I had gone and sat in with Percy Hill, John Leccese the bass player, said that if I ever need a bass player that he would be interested in playing with me. At the same time I had a one off gig and I asked Adam Terrell to come and play. So I was thinking I have a bass player and guitar player now I just need a drummer. I wound up asking Andy Herrick, who we all knew. That's pretty much how the band was born. We played 8-10 shows and I said to them, "Let's make an album".
Cincy Groove: Are there any upcoming shows you are excited about>
Reid Genauer: All Good festival was a great gig and I'm really looking forward to Gathering of the Vibes, which I have played for the past 10 years.
Cincy Groove: Are you going to have a cd release show?
Reid Genauer: I don't know if we are going to have one. Gathering of the Vibes will be a great show because we play the festival just after the cd gets released.
Cincy Groove: What was the first song you learned to play on the guitar?
Reid Genauer: Let It Be by The Beatles.