Reid Genauer Appeals To The Fans

Written by Greg Lake
March 6th 2007

On February 15th, Assembly of Dust and Honkytonk Homeslice hit the road for the Alone & Together tour where each band plays their own set and then the groups collaborate for a third set. KyndMusic got the chance to speak with Assembly of Dust founder Reid Genauer about the tour, AODs new album Recollection and how hes still influenced by Strangefolk.
KyndMusic: Let's start with your upcoming tour, Alone & Together, that starts on February 15th with Honkytonk Homeslice. Where did the idea for a collaborative tour come from, what musical direction can folks expect, how does touring together affect where Assembly of Dust would ordinarily play shows and what do you see as a result of this run of shows?

Reid Genauer: The collaboration idea is something that weve done before with Martin Sexton. We played and then backed him up. It works with Honkytonk Homeslice because we come from somewhat similar musical backgrounds. They are more old-timey and were the artistic cousin. In terms of our preparation, for our set were going to be doing our own thing and then for the collaboration, I think were going to meet in the musical middle. The tour didnt affect where we wanted to go, it fit right in. It's hard to say where the musical crossover will lead us to when it's all said and done,but I can tell you that we've all made new friends along the way.

KM: Theres a new Assembly of Dust record coming out on March 6th titled Recollection. Can you talk about the recording process for this album?

RG: Recollection was recorded in three studios in Southern Maine and New Hampshire and thats because of two reasons. One is that three of the five members live in New Hampshire and two is that its much more cost effective than recording in say Manhattan. Basically, we tracked the album first and we're building it from the bottom up. First, we did a recording of all the tracks that gives you the feeling of the record, helps you find the groove and really helps you understand the intent. Really all this process does is to give you the drum tracks and maybe some of the bass tracks and then the rest are done with overdubs. We worked on the album with Josh Crier who is a long time friend. He grew up with Daryl, the guitar player. He's also a great musician in his own right and was contracted in the beginning as the engineer only, but as the process went on it became obvious that we needed to give him credit as co-producer. There were really two main things that he did in the recording process. First, was that he was the audio lens by which it's seen. This includes the tonal sound and the permeations that are pieced together. Second, was help in deciding on parts that are not inherent in the initial writing of a song. This is psychological, creative and as a consultant to the band. It's almost like at times being in an asylum. Im thrilled with the record. Sonically, it's what I hoped for and I'm just really proud of the songs. We were trying to accomplish recording an album that introduced us to a larger audience and I feel like this is what we've done. Live, we're very rock oriented, but this album opens us up to a broader audience. It speaks as a finished album and not as an improvisational experiment, but sounds crafted with an intentional sound. Radio is going play songs not ten minute experimental exploits. Radio is a an interesting word these days, but there are a lot of stations on the AAA such as KFOG, WXRT, MFUZ in New York City that represent the diversity that was around at the radio's start. It's still available on these stations as an authentic source of discovering authentic music and this is true on satellite and XM radio as well. There are so many ways that we are trying to bring our music to people. For live music, there is, that is our music as roots in a rock format and then there is this radio exposure and we actually charted at #34 on the AAA charts with Telling Sue. This is a big accomplishment for us because were up there with Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Cat Empire and Keller Williams.

KM: The Assembly of Dust website has a whole section on lyrics to your songs. Can you tell me about the value that you place on song lyrics and what song in particular of yours has especially deep meaning for you?

RG: Different band have different emphasis. Bob Dylan, for instance, is somewhat lacking musically, but lyrically hes over the top. Phish, on the other hand, had unusual lyrics that had a general lack of emotion and were really more about modern art, while clearly their musicianship was from a virtuoso approach. We try and find both and use experimental lyrics. In pop music and roots music there are a lot of stories and lore with fables. Some of my favorites in this regards are Robert Hunter, Paul Simon, Neil Young and Willie Nelson, who also his lyrics are sometimes plain still has storyteller approach. Its like reading a novel or watching a movie that has this thematic meaning to the songs in an alternate world. A better example would be Strawberry Fields, that has these mythological lyrics and we're trying to somewhat emulate that archetype. There are some bands that people list to that they enjoy and listen to when they want to party, but there are also those songs that become soundtracks to your life where the song reaches you on a deeper level and expresses a common theme. There is an uncertainty to these songs that taps into an unknown and mythological world. In our lyrics, Samuel Aging is a true story about a writer who has some uncertainty in whether or not he is succeeding. The song is about him being up all night, mildly deluded. Run, walk or stagger. This song puts the listener in the midst of a surreal piece of a fable.

KM: Switching gears, on February 2 in Washington D.C., you played an XM Satellite Radio performance to 30 people. What was this experience like?

RG: There were three things that were unique about this experience. First, was that it was a very intimate show in the daytime. We were encouraged to talk about the songs. Just the size and the intent of the performance was different. We told tales about the songs creations and their meanings. Second, was that this gave us the chance to present the songs off the upcoming album in a more naked and intimate setting than how they are on the record. We also played a few covers, Up On Cripple Creek and Champagne Supernova, that gave listeners insight into the band. Third, was that unlike most of our performances where everyone who is attending are the only audience, this was broadcast to a very large potential audience which made it unique.

KM: KyndMusic being an online magazine, I'd like to know what your take is on the online community, specifically related to Assembly of Dust.

RG: The online community is the heartbeat of what we do. It is the most powerful and most immediate source of information. We try to provide the tools, the ease of use and the musical content. Sometimes I find myself interested in a humorous post of interesting thread, but as with anything thats online, I take a lot of what is said with a grain of salt. The Internet provides a way to express oneself in a sometimes socially inappropriate manner and thus sometimes must not be taken too literally in terms of how chat rooms and message boards go. Im definitely excited by the possibility and potential of it all.

KM: Lets look to the past now, to Strangefolk. How did Strangefolk and the lessons learned and/or just the whole musical process affect the direction in Assembly of Dust?

RG: The greatest lessons learned in Strangefolk were from the top level. This is creatively in forging songs as a band. In the beginning you fell like youve got to get it exactly right the first time or there are resulting disagreements or changes to the song. What Ive learned is to let songs evolve naturally. It is somewhat Darwinian in notion that songs with parts that dont work will just work themselves over time or change as a self-aesthetic. Strangefolk also serves in other ways in terms of who our musical family and friends are.

KM: Well, to finish up, I saw there is a contest on the Assembly of Dust website to win free tickets to every headlining show for a year. This seems like a very interesting contest to me and really just seems like almost a somewhat odd prize. Can you tell me where this idea came from?

RG: Honestly, we're going to have to chalk this up to me being a self-indulgent rock star that has no idea what the contest is. This is obviously something that was dreamed up by the management. From what youre saying, though, it does sound like something that might be very appealing to some of our fans.