Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wed... er, Thursday Duologue: Henry Beguiristain

me: henri!
Henry: Hey!
Sorry it took me so long. AT&T clearly does not have the nation's largest 3G network.
me: how's le texas? (that's francais for texas;)
no sorries
Henry: Texas.. so far, it's incredibly sunny. A little chilly.
We also spotted a "Jesus Christ is Lord Travel Center".
me: did you go in?
Henry: The heavenly burger was tempting, but we drove past it.
me: oh my. so i assume you're hanging out in Our Father's Internet Cafe?
Henry: Haha.. no, I'm in the car. Borrowing James' internet USB dongle.
me: 2 points to technology!
shall we get ramblin' then?
Henry: Sure!
me: great. who are you?
Henry: Hello, my name is: Henry. I sing, play, and write for Aloud.
me: pleasure.
who are you when you walk into a lonesome texas gas station where no one knows you?

Henry: A customer looking for postcards and the cheapest bag of chips!
I felt kinda weird doing that yesterday, actually. I've been rocking my cowboy boots and hat for a few months.
I didn't know if I'd be seen as That Dumb Tourist.
me: i'm sure you fit right in.
did you wear your palin t-shirt, too?
Henry: I hope you're referencing Michael Palin. But no, nobody cared.
me: righto.
traveling invariably inspires me to write. are you having that experience at all or are you most soaking it up and focusing on the performances?
Henry: Mostly soaking it up and focusing on the shows. I know what you mean, though. I thought I'd be writing up a storm, but there's so much to take care of. I've been taking a lot of boring pictures, though.
It's my first time out west, so I'm just taking it all in.
Aaaand there's another near accident haha
me: oh dear. you're not driving, are you?
Henry: Ha, no. I'm morally and legally barred from driving. Just really windy out here. Rocking the van every now and then.
me: whew. so let's see... you guys've been on the road how long now?
Henry: A little over a month.. close to five weeks, I think.
me: what has surprised you the most so far?
Henry: The biggest thing, honestly, is how well the Aloudmobile is taking this beating.
Wyoming also surprised me. There's not much going on there, but it's incredibly pretty country.
If we had the equipment we might've just camped out for the night there.
me: wyoming is gorgeous. did you go through yellowstone at all?
Henry: Didn't get down, but we drove past it.
I remember thinking that this is what Mars probably looks like on the surface.
me: yes!
Henry: But yeah, it was one of those necessary moments that makes you feel completely insignificant.
me: why do you say necessary?
Henry: I think we all need reminders that we're just specks of dust in the grand scheme of things.
Makes me less prone to argue about stupid sh*t, anyway.
me: and what about the important sh*t? does that glimpse (of...nothing?) make you more or less invested in the important stuff?
Henry: Yeah. That's really what it is. The cosmos existed before you and will go on without you, so might as well make the best go of your life.
Not to sound like a Hallmark card or anything haha...
me: i'm quite sure hallmark would be the last to point out the teenyness of our blip on the cosmic screen. :) who'd buy that card? besides me.
Henry: Ha!
I'd probably buy that card.
me: hm.
Henry: "You are meaningless. Happy Birthday, mom!"
me: bah ha ha!
there just may be a market for this kind of thing. i hope hallmark is paying attention.
actually, we should just start the line of cards ourselves. we'll talk when you get back.
Henry: Indeed, indeed haha..
me: important stuff. go.
Henry: Important things..
My family, friends, art, books
food and shelter are probably in there somewhere
me: sure, sure...
now when you say books, do you mean... books?
what's your feeling about the kindle/nook/ibook phenomenon?
Henry: I prefer book books, but I'm cool with any medium someone wants to use.
I was actually reading this interview with Neil Gaiman a few weeks back talking about this, and he brought up an interesting point.
A lot of older folks are actually buying things like Kindles because they can adjust the font size so they can read it.
me: that is definitely a plus
i love how many different segues there are into my doctor who question.
Henry: haha..
me: mr. gaiman happens to be writing an episode for the upcoming season. (and has written for past seasons.)
so you know. the question is, all of time and space in the universe + an experienced guide. where would you go first (if you would go at all)?
Henry: Off the top of my head, probably late 1979 or early 1980. I have this weird thing about how decades bleed into one another.
me: (btw i feel like i've just outed myself as more geek than girl, since by all rights that neil gaiman thing should have segued to tori amos.)
Henry: (HA!)
me: that's interesting... tell me more.
what's compelling about the transition?
Henry: I always view the 80s as the first step into the modern era, and the 70s as the last decade of "the past". I guess I'd just like to see that transition.
Of course, that's because I was born in the 80s. I'm sure everyone thinks their birth year or whatever is the modern era.
me: what city would you go to in 1979/80?
Henry: I haven't given it that much thought. Miami might top the list, if only to go see what my parents were up to. They got married in '80, so it might be fun to observe whatever drama was going on leading up to it.
The wedding, I mean.
My mom just posted a ton of old photos on Facebook last month. Soooo much polyester.
me: awesome.
speaking of marriage and stuff
when i interviewed jen, she talked a bit about your meeting as teenagers. would you care to tell your side of the story and/or take us further into the early years of your music making?
(that's not a euphemism, by the way.)
(it's not that kind of blog.)
Henry: Haha.. I'm saving that for Dear Boogie.
Yeah, we've been writing together for a long time. I've actually got a ton of cassettes I need to digitize when I get back home.
But yeah, we started off chatting on AIM a hell of a lot (remember them days?) about music and writing.
me: (do i ever.)
Henry: It really took us much longer than it should have to figure out we should make a go of writing together.
me: why do you think that was?
Henry: 'Cause we're both bullheaded, really haha.
me: :)
Henry: We both wrote on our own, so it was more like comparing notes than anything else. And waiting for the other one to say something first.
me: what was the process like when you did first start writing together?
(this may or may not be a general issue i have personal interest in.)
Henry: We used to get together on Fridays at her house in Coral Gables, and we appropriated her dad's office to use as our studio. Mainly, we would show each other the songs we wrote, then recorded them.
After a while, someone would suggest a line here, or a riff there, or whatever, and eventually we noticed that writing together was way easier.
And a lot more fun.
But again, arriving at that point took longer than it should have haha..
I think our first "album" had like one de la Osa/Beguiristain song out of 10.
me: and now? are they all collaborations?
Henry: Yeah. Pretty much, since December of 1998 it's all been the two of us writing.
Writing together, I should say.
me: right. so, i generally try to stick to personal questions only :)... but would you be willing to talk a bit about how you guys came to the sound in Exile? do you consider it a departure?
and if you'd like to answer that from a personal perspective, by all means...
Henry: That's okay, because I generally try and avoid personal questions! :)
Compared to the other albums, yeah, it's a departure. But at the same time, we've always wanted to do an album like this and always had it in us to do it.
Part of it was just writing a ton of songs after the other two left the band, and recording a song here and there was just something to do.
And since we didn't have to worry about someone's bass part, or someone's drum part, it made it all easier to go nuts in the studio with different sounds and tempos.
There was a lot of letting stuff just happen this time around.
I don't know if I answered your question haha..
me: letting stuff happen as opposed to...?
Henry: (hang on one sec)
me: (i knew you were driving.)
Henry: (just munching on some tater tots. HENRY HUNGRY)
Anyway... ordinarily, we'd rehearse a set of songs for a month, work out parts, and go into the studio with the plan.
With Exile, we did none of that and kind of made it up as we went along from song to song.
me: that sounds incredibly liberating.
Henry: It was great.
It was going to be a three song EP at first, then five, then a 7 song thing..
And I finally got to play bass on a record. Been wanting to do that for some time now.
me: fun fun
you know... i'd never say there's a right way to create or anything.
because it varies from person to person and from project to project.
but i think a lot about the pros and cons of going in with a plan versus going in with a seed.
it's interesting because when i do any kind of visual art, it's always with a seed. and it just grows with no planning.
probably because i don't in any way consider myself a visual artist.
so, there's no pressure.
but that kind of activity is distinctly different from, say... trying to write a song about X with X sound and X parts etc. etc.
or writing a story when i know the whole plot.
(which is really boring.)
Henry: Haha.. I've been trying to get a novel written for the last ten years, and it's been going nowhere because I've been writing and re-writing without thinking about the plot.
So, in some instances, I think having a plan is preferable.
me: so there's that :)
Henry: Haha..
but yeah, after the year we had, we needed to have fun with recording again and just fly by the seat of our pants.
me: well in my highly expert opinion, the result is superb.
Henry: Thank you. :)
And let me also take a sec to say how awesome my Boston peeps are. Seriously.
me: yeah, what do you miss most about Boston by now?
Henry: My friends, mostly. I would've also like to have been there for the fall, but what can ya do.
There are a lot of awesome places out in the country, but the longer we're out, we're all realizing Boston's home.
me: i love that about traveling.
are you standing on tables in all your shows around the country?
Henry: Not all of 'em, but it does come in handy when you want to break in a new crowd.
Actually, that's another thing I'm loving about touring this time around.. we're pretty much coming up with new set lists every night.
me: i saw the pics - i know you guys worked a lot on your set leading up to the tour. did you go into it with a certain set or were you free with it from the get go?
Henry: We didn't want to plan too much this time around.
I think we started off with a version of the CD release set, and it's just morphed from there. It's fun.
me: excellent. i'm extremely envious but equally happy for you guys. mind if i ask a few of my usual questions before i let you focus on the road?
Henry: Sure, go for it!
me: thanks!
Henry: Wait, am I supposed to take some kind of test too?
me: oh - way back when i was making everyone take the myers-briggs personality test. i don't think i made jen do it... but you're certainly welcome to! maybe it would give us insight into why you don't like to answer personal questions....
Henry: Mostly 'cause I'm a jerk. :)
me: here's a quick and dirty version:
rrrrright, that's absolutely the first thing i think when i think of you. jerk.
Henry: Haha.. I'm quietly, carefully planning a large prank on everyone.
me: everyone?
Henry: I've said too much.
Okay, I guess I'm INTP.*
(check, testing, hello? this says I've logged out. Is GChat lying?)
me: copy that.
that's really interesting.
mark's an INTP too. and he loves you.
Henry: I guess that leaves one logical conclusion: Mark is awesome.
me: i'm so proud.
what do you know for certain?
Henry: I'm alive right this second.
me: what do you believe?
Henry: I believe in nothing, Lebowski. We cut off your johnson.
But seriously, I believe there's no inherent meaning to anything, so it's up to you to shape your world.
me: i hate nihilists! say what you will about the tenets of national socialism. at least it's an ethos!
Henry: HA!
We've been quoting that movie almost non-stop.
Mainly to yell at the GPS.
me: so good.
"Turn left."
me: !
a good friend of mine got GPS as a gift from his parents b/c he was always getting lost. rather than using it to avoid getting lost, he set the destination to disney world.
and always knew whether he was on the way to disney world or not.
me: what don't you know that you wish you did?
Henry: I wish I knew how to fix cars. My dad was a mechanic for a long time, so I feel extra dumb in that department.
me: of all the people in your life, who has taught you the most?
Henry: All in, probably my parents and grandparents. Except for that part about fixing cars.
(I feel I should note, we just passed Garth Brooks Blvd.)
me: low places indeed.
so what's one thing you've learned from them?
Henry: My mom's a real creative type, and I really got my love of music from her. My dad.. I can't really say specifically, but whenever I find myself trying to figure a situation out, I reflexively wonder how he'd handle it.
me: totally.
okay i should PROBABLY let us wind down with the final 2 questions...
Henry: That's probably for the best. I need to pee soon.
Pee breaks are a commodity these days
me: so you get to make up the last two questions yourself. one is a question for you to answer that i haven't gotten around to asking you. and the other is to ask me.
Henry: Okie dokie..
Q: Henry, I don't throw words like "visionary" and "genius" around, but you are both those things. What makes you so goddamn awesome?
A: Whoa, slow down, chief. I'm just a man. A very, very awesome INTP man.
And my question for you is... what is a typical songwriting session for TBH like?
(If there is such a thing as a typical one.)
me: oh my let's see. it depends entirely on whose song it is in the beginning.
so, choose one: aaron, me, stu.
Henry: Let's say it's one of yours.
me: okay so usually how that goes is, i write lyrics and i have a melody in mind.
nine times out of ten, that melody is too folky and i don't let anyone hear it.
9/10 is just a thing people say.
in actuality i think i've only ever passed on maybe 1 or 2 of my melodies.
Henry: haha.. gotcha
me: from there, depending on whose sensibility i feel like the song calls for, i send it to one of the other guys. say, stu.
Henry: (keep typing, I'm running in to the gas station real quick.)
me: and i tell him what i'm thinking sound-wise. and one day he'll sit down for a couple of hours and transform the words into melody.
(generally i consider this part of the process total magic. for the record.)
stu's a planner, so he'll have a very good idea of at least the kind of sounds and parts the song calls for. so when it comes to rehearsal for workshopping, he'll say "i hear the drums doing X" and that's the starting point.
once any song gets to that general point, then anyone might have ideas or suggestions for any particular part, or maybe for the song's structure. sometimes that's a long process of trial and error. other times it comes together really quickly.
Henry: Nice.
me: and if anyone questions my lyrics, i put microphones in my ears and go "la la la la la"
just kidding.
not really, though.
Henry: I think that's the best part about working with other people.
me: honestly, i probably am the most stubborn of the group when it comes to what i contribute.
but anyway. i LOVE when it comes together, whatever it takes to get to that point.
when it starts to become the song.
i feel so lucky to be there for it.
Henry: Well, it's certainly working. Been listening to your EP a lot (still).
me: aww
we're in a writing period now ... catching the darker side of things.
it's nice to focus on that for awhile.
okay. thanks for letting me take up so much of your trip today!
you guys playing tonight?
Henry: No problem! :)
Nope, finally have a day off. Playing in Dallas tomorrow night.
(Just sighted: school bus full of tires towing an empty school bus.)
me: whwhwhwhat?
Henry: Yea, I don't know what to tell you either.
me: god i love road trips.
Henry: Hehehe
Alright, lady. Talk to you soon, eh?
Will see you on the various interwebs.
me: definitely. rock on.
Henry: :)
me: oh wait one more thing.
Henry: ?
me: can you say something good about U2?
Henry: Oh man, lots of good things.
They're fantastic live, for one thing, even if their last album was not good.
me: yes they are.
okay thanks. it just doesn't happen enough and i knew i could count on you.
Henry: ;)
me: au revoir
Henry: Will get all 1999 and write: TTYL!

*INTP: The Egghead

The typical INTP is a logical, abstract thinker whose intellect is ideally suited to understanding pure mathematics, linguistics, formal logic theory, and other pursuits unsuited to making a real living. The INTP can often understand even the most subtle nuances of lattice quantum chromodynamics, but cannot perform more concrete tasks such as dressing himself, operating a motor vehicle, or opening a door. An INTP may be able to tell you how to construct a nuclear reactor from a coconut and two pieces of string, but may be completely incapable of fixing a hole in a boat.
The INTP is really only suited to two careers: college professor and game show contestant. Of these career choices, only one offers the financial rewards which allows him to suport himself; for that reason, INTPs often take the other path, and become tenured academics.
RECREATION: Surprisingly, INTPs are often the hit of the party--not for their sometimes annoying habit of turning every discussion into a debate about semantics nor for their fascinating stories about Pierre de Fermat's habit of writing things in the margins of his books, but for the fact that they often show up with their pants on backwards and that if you put a Post-It note reading "Kick Me" on an INTP's back, he won't notice it no matter how many people kick him. That kind of entertainment never gets old.
COMPATIBILITY: INTPs make ideal companions to INTJs, as neither of them notices they're in a relationship.
Famous INTPs include Pierre de Fermat and almost everyone who knows what Pierre de Fermat wrote in the margins of his book.


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