Low-Fi

If anyone is making a name for the Boise, ID scene, it’s the trio of Josh Gilmore, Todd Sloan and Kevin Alspach – otherwise known as Low-Fi. The Boise guys have had tunes on Showtime’s “The Big C” and The CW’s “One Tree Hill”, and were even named the “Sonicbids Unsigned Fuse TV On Demand Contest” winner in August 2010. And I have even more incentive to be into this Low-Fi sound; bass player Gilmore and I share the same first concert experience – The Beach Boys! Sure, we were both under the age of 10, but what a stage show!

The group was actually born out of another project – a band called Spyplane that broke up in 2005. Josh and Sloan stayed in contact after Spyplane disbanded, recruiting Alspach and thus pushing out a collection of lo-fi demos that would make up the band’s debut record, “Where You Are.”

Today, Low-Fi brings us their sophomore release, “After All This Time”. Gilmore says of the effort, “It's all over the place. We have developed a knack for letting a song become what it wants to become instead of trying to ultimately shape it into something.” Sloan continues, “If you pick up a copy of 'After All This Time’ you'll hear pop, americana, progressive rock with a little bit of psychedelic math rock sprinkled on top.” You can definitely catch the band live out west, but those over here on the east side can certainly sample “After All This Time” right now. Keep an eye out for the third record while you’re at it. Continue now for so much more in the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Low-Fi

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound ?

PEV: You split from your old Seattle based band Spyplane and moved back to your home region of Boise, Idaho. Having traveled and lived in other places in your lives, growing up what kind of music where the members of the band into? Do you remember your first concert?

Josh: "I have always been into what's around me - Growing up - Country music - when I moved to Idaho in 91' - Grunge Music, Classic Rock - College Years- Indie, Funk. My first concert was The Beach Boys @ Padre Stadium in Sand Diego. I think I was about 8 or 9."

Todd: I grew up listening to top 40 music on the radio as a kid during the 80's. I never really got into the hair metal bands though. I was always more into bands like U2, The Police and Depeche Mode. I got into rap and metal briefly. Nirvana pretty much sent me down a different path after hearing Nevermind for the first time. I've always loved the music that comes out of the Pacific NW like Built To Spill, Modest Mouse, Elliot Smith's early band Heatmiser as well as lesser known bands like Pond and Hazel. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this but i think my first big concert may have been MC Hammer..

PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene when you first started out as a band? What was your first show like together as a band?

Josh: "Breaking into any scene has always been a battle. Trying to get in where there is already a core group of individuals in any city is tough, people that are already ingrained in a scene tend to keep things close to their belt - as I get older I understand this mentality. I feel I have worked hard for all of the contacts and relationships I have made over the years - It is hard to just turn over information on these things to just anyone. Perseverance and thick skin helps in that arena. First show as a band was well rehearsed and well received."

Todd: Supporting other bands and going out to shows that you are not performing at is a great way to break into any music scene. Most of the time your peers will be your crowd so support yourself by supporting them. We have played so many shows over the years I honestly don't recall the first.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Low-Fi show?

Josh: "Over the years we have had some great constructive criticisms about our live performances. In the end if you are on stage and it doesn't look like you are having fun - well, people watching you are going to be let down. People want to be entertained and see performers let go of themselves onstage. We do our best to be energetic and captivating, with a (3) piece, each person in the band has to OWN the instrument - In our live shows our instruments have become an extension of ourselves - they are part of us and I feel this caries over to the people in the crowd watching us."

Todd: You can expect to hear solid original music performed with positive energy by seasoned musicians.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

Josh: "I always tell myself 'You never know who will be out there watching the show tonight' so I try to play every show like it is being watched by top players in the industry. We have played Jackson Hole Wyoming, Grand Targhee, Bogus Basin, Sun Valley & Park City over the years. What I really enjoy about these kinds of experiences is that we get to perform for people from all over the globe that are vacationing in these hot spots. So only traveling 6 hours from home sometimes it feels like we just toured the country due to the wide variety of people in these places."

Todd: Self, I'm prepared so try to relax.

PEV: Redefining your band name from Spyplane, tell us the story behind the name of the band now, Low-Fi.

Todd: After Spyplane disbanded in 2005 I spent most of my time writing and recording 'lo-fi' demos that would later become our debut album 'Where You Are'. I knew I wanted to put together a simple power trio and thought the name 'low-fi' seemed like a good fit for the project. Josh and I reunited in Boise after I moved back home from Seattle in 2007. It just didn't make since to resurrect the name Spyplane with only 2 original members and I thought a fresh start deserved a new name.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Low-Fi?

Josh: "We are all self-employed individuals - I feel very blessed that we have been able to come as far as we have without any external help from a larger machine. We get to travel to places we wouldn't otherwise get to see - We do all this on weekend runs. We pride ourselves on being 'Weekend Warriors' because in the end we have to get back home and back to work so we can get our bills paid."

Todd: We are all self taught musicians.

PEV: What can fans expect from your sophomore release, “After All This Time”? Tell us more about this album.

Josh: "For me personally it's a milestone record as I share song writing credits on a large number of the tracks on this record. So I think it is a bit different stylistically, This new record though shares similarity to the old in that there is no one style of song. It's all over the place. We have developed a knack for letting a song become what it wants to become instead of trying to ultimately shape it into something. If it starts out as a pop song it will generally end up a pop song."

Todd: 'After All This Time' is really a collection of singles written over the course of the last 3 years. We never limit ourselves to one sound, instead we go in whatever direction a new song takes us. If you pick up a copy of 'After All this time you'll hear pop, Americana, progressive rock with a little bit of psychedelic math rock sprinkled on top.

PEV: What is the feeling you get after a song is complete and you can sit back and listen to it being played the way you envisioned?

Josh: "I get a feeling of Accomplishment - It feels real nice to work on something, watch it come together and become finalized, it's one of the most creative outlets I have found in life."

Todd: Pure satisfaction!

PEV: With all your traveling is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

Josh: "I personally would really like to get over to the East coast and travel - It seems like once there a band could play for ages since everything is so close. Europe has always been on the list as well."

Todd: I agree with Josh. The East coast would be wonderful with all of those cities and dense population. Living in Boise(the most remote urban area in the United States) we have to travel at least 6-8hrs to the next major city. I would love to tour Europe and Japan as well.

PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

Josh: "I love to fish - hike with my wife and dogs. We are very fortunate to live in an area where everything outdoors is right in the back yard. I enjoy Snowboarding, going out and seeing live music and trying to get as much out of life as possible. It's not easy but I try to enjoy every day the Sun rises."

Todd: Ha! I run my own business and tour, what is free time? Seriously though, I am into snowboarding and catching concerts when I can.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?

Josh: As a bassman I would love to have worked with Loius Johnson - The thump master. A Current figure would be Flea or Les Claypool - For me an artist that has developed their own sound and OWNS it with their instrument has always given me goosebumps - I would love to have a sit down with any of these fellas and try to absorb their greatness."

Todd: Wilco is my choice for present and past because they've been around for a long time and they continue to reinvent themselves with each new record. I love Jeff Tweedy's style and it would be a dream come true to work with him.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

Josh: "There is some great local and regional talent I really enjoy. From the Boise area some of my favorites include: Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles, Thomas Paul, Atomic Mamma & New Transit. There is a great band out of Salt Lake City Utah that is getting ready to release their first full length record - Desert Noises - I think they will go far in the industry if they can keep it going."

Todd: I would say to music fans keep an eye on Boise, ID!

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think each of you would be your career?

Josh: "I think the universe pulls & pushes one towards what they are meant to be - you just have to be able to pick up the signs and go with it - I have always tried to make things happen whether it's bringing in new clients in my Hardwood Flooring Business or trying to progress my music career - I don't want to be on my death bed and be wondering 'What if I had only made that phone call, or written that letter or introduced myself to anyone individual.' I have heard many a person in my life say 'It's all about who you know' which is truth - You can be the best at any one thing but if no one knows it or you don't try to make people aware of you, you'll be the best thing no one has ever heard of."

Todd: I'm not really sure but I would hope that I would be doing something creative.

PEV: So, what is next for Low-Fi?

Josh: "World Domination! As a band we are looking forward to what may come with the release of this new record. We are already in the planing stages for our next record - Currently thinking about another release in Spring 2012."

Todd: More shows in more cities and working on album number 3.

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