Soundboard: Allah-Las’ perfect mixture of California sounds
Allah-Las are from LA and they are extremely good despite the fact they don’t have a fiddle player or deliver that melancholy banjo vibe that is such a hit these days. They use a guitar and drums and some echo-y stuff that makes it feel like your brain is throbbing in an arousing sort of way. I don’t know anything about how they do what they do musically, but that’s not for me to understand. What I do know is that if you are open to sounds that might emanate from surf zombies joyriding a stolen ’82 Cutlass in a post-apocalyptic utopia then you’ll probably dig them. The band consists of Matthew Correia (percussion), Spencer Dunham (bass), Miles Michaud (vocals, guitar) and Pedrum Siadatian (lead guitar). As for who answered these questions, we can’t say whether it was a group huddle or if one in particular is the funny guy. It was done via email because they were apparently too busy touring in Europe to get up at five in the morning and oblige us with a phone call — fucking divas!
Originally featured in Snowboard Magazine 11.3: The Primitive Issue
I read that you guys met and started the band while working at Amoeba in Hollywood. Why is that place so rad and how does a music store like that speak to you in a way that browsing digital files can’t?
Yep, back in 2008 we started the band while three of us were working there. It was cool for us because we had access to a lot of music, so it was kinda like working in a library. Browsing through a record store is very different than searching online because you have to search around and in doing so sometimes you come across something that you hadn’t seen before.
Amidst a lot of modern twirly hipster hillbilly music that doesn’t really go anywhere other than evoke reviewers to say that it’s some kind of “Laurel Canyon dreamscape” bullshit, you guys have managed to build something that’s fun to listen to without sounding like everyone else. Where does your sound come from?
We stay away from the twirly hillbilly stuff and go for more of a Grand Canyon sound.
How do musicians make a living these days? It’s not through record sales right?
If your musical endeavors aren’t a clever way to launder drug money, you have to tour a lot and cross your fingers that Grand Theft Auto 5 wants to use your music.
It seems the heyday of musicians making a ton of money is gone. What can you say about following your passion versus playing it safe and setting up something more “secure”?
You should always follow your passions and be positive about the future. When we were working at Amoeba we never thought that the band would take off and allow us to travel all over and pay our rent. Playing it safe has its advantages, but if you’re not doing something you’re passionate about you have to be able to detach and disassociate yourself from your work or it will be corrosive to your soul.
What is the best thing about traveling so much? Or the worst?
Going on tour for a month or more is like entering into a marriage; for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, ’til death do us part.
California is undoubtedly the homeland of surf and skate culture and music has always been a big part of that lifestyle. Do any of you skate or snowboard? And are there any parallels you can draw between these lifestyles (music vs. skate/snow/surf)?
Some of us surf and Matt (drummer) can do some triple double flips on a RipStick. I think there might be some cultural parallels, but I wouldn’t say that surfing or skating really influences the way our music sounds. Mike D and Eddie Vedder surf, but obviously their music differs quite a bit. A couple of us have been snowboarding before, and we’re currently accepting invitations to ski lodges in the Alps.
You guys are like one note away from being in a class of music that makes me nauseous, but somehow that one note transcends all of this totally forgettable crap out there and sets up a mood we all can appreciate. What is that note and can you show the other bands how to play it?
Easy, we have “Note Finger.”
One of my favorite bands is The Kinks, and I know that musicians know how untouchable they are, but when I mention them to people they have no idea. Who are some other undeniably great yet underrated bands we should know about?
As a general statement, anyone who doesn’t know who The Kinks are isn’t worth talking to. Other underrated artists and lost gems can be found on our weekly music blog ReverberationRadio.com. It’s curated by the four of us and six of our friends, and each week we post a free half hour mixed selection of the tastiest music known to man.
It is commonly known that the only thing more aggravating than watching Shaun White snowboard in tight pants is watching him play Guitar God in those same trousers with his band. That said, what is the worst kind of music you can humanly listen to?
The worst music you can listen to is Fat Pat when you’re on speed.