|Aberdeen City in the Emerald City
by Adam Toth
Aberdeen City is a Boston band that is quickly making itself known. Rising from local status to national popularity, they have already found themselves on the likes of MTV.com and beyond. Sure, there’s a scary thought that comes with the acronym “MTV,” but Aberdeen City is anything but one of those bands. They have stuck true to their original sound, and put on an exciting live show. Currently, this band has escaped the clutches of the Boston local scene to tour the country with Electric Six and (a new favorite) The Blue Van. Aberdeen City shows much promise in their mature sound, and mature attitude towards taking on the music scene. It was a pleasure to sit down with them before their recent Seattle show, this band has a lot going for them.
Adam Toth: To start, please tell me how you started as a band.
Ryan Heller (guitar): Three of us grew up outside of Chicago and sort of knew each other loosely, but we all started playing music in Boston. We met at school and Chris was a couple of years younger than the rest of us. We started just casually picking up music and writing songs. Stuck around Boston for a few years while Chris was finishing school. After that, it sort of made more room for us to tour and we wrote a record that we could go tour behind. Yeah, short answer is we met in school in Boston.
AT: When did you form as a band?
Ryan: 2001, so it’s been five years.
AT: Out of curiosity, where are you guys from in Chicago?
Ryan: The northern suburbs, just north of the city.
AT: Do you have any major influences?
All: Not really.
Chris McLaughlin (guitar/vocals): The Electric Six.
Brad Parker (vocals/bass): It’s different across the board, y’know? Part of the way we’ve achieved our sound is through the differences in our tastes. It’s pretty different – wildly different.
Chris: I like that, we didn’t ‘develop a sound,’ we 'achieved it.'
AT: Speaking of them, how’s it been touring with Electric Six so far?
Brad: It’s been a nightmare.
Brad: Different opinions there.
Chris: They’re, y’know, a bunch – They keep us on our toes, to say it politely.
Brad: How do you say it impolitely?
Chris: Impolitely, they’re a bunch of bastards. But we love them very much. It’s been great. Yeah, it’s been great.
At this point, all are interrupted by confusion as to where the microphone on my tape recorder was, and went off on a minor tangent.
AT: I’m pretty sure the mic is in there. (pointing at one of the two grills)
Chris: It’s like, in that? Okay. Well I see the grill, I just thought that might be a playback.
AT: That’s what I’ve been talking into, and it’s always worked.
Chris: I think that is the mic, [Brad] might be right on with the red light. Lead us to the – Lead us to –
AT: It’s got pretty good pick-up so –
Chris: Yeah, yeah, we’ll rotate it and it’ll get like every fifth wooorrrdd.
Ryan: You’ll get the Doppler effect.
Chris: It’ll be my personal Leslie. Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah.
AT: You won’t mind if I put this microphone analysis on paper, right?
Chris: No, not at all.
Brad: We’re really scientists, masquerading as musicians. We’re just trying to figure the world out. Starts with something like that –
Chris: And it never ends.
Brad: We’re befuddled by the most simple objects. Scientists of sound. We’re mathematically laying it down.
AT: That reminds me, while reading your bio online, and I don’t know if this is too touchy of a subject, but I remember reading how you’re all personal failures. Is that a joke that I’d be gullible to believe?
Ryan: No, it’s a joke, but I mean you can say –
Brad: Like everything in life, it’s exactly half true. All of that. So that’s right, it’s a joke, but it’s also not. A joke found in reality, just like our lives.
AT: Do you have any favorite up and coming local Boston bands?
Brad: Yes, absolutely.
All: Night Rally, but they just broke up. The Faux, but they broke up a year ago. Township, Appletown Gun Shop, Faces on Film, Taxpayer, Frank Smith, The Bon Savants.
Chris: Oh, big up and comer, The Pixies.
Ryan: Yeah, watch out for those kids.
Chris: You may not have heard of them, but Aerosmith.
Rob McCaffrey (drums): Bang Camero might actually bang out of Boston
All: Dresden Dolls.
Brad: It’s a kind of community that you end up playing a lot of shows, not all of these bands we’ve played with but you run into same circles, playing the same places, you can’t help but become wonderfully intimate with these bands from the same city.
Rob: He’s speaking sexually.
AT: What’ve been some of your favorite cities to play in thus far, besides Boston? And I’ll leave Seattle out too to keep you safe.
Brad: We’ve actually played Neumo’s before. It’s pretty awesome. I mean, Portland. Actually, I have to say, I love the west coast, Vancouver last night. Y’know, LA, San Francisco. LA was a surprise, because our last experience in LA was bullshit. (laughs) It was bad.
AT: Better turnout this time around?
Brad: It wasn’t even the turnout, we were playing for a lot of people.
Chris: It was the [Viper] Room.
AT: For you or everybody else?
Chris: I think for everybody involved, the [Viper] Room was a very snobby LA club.
Ryan: You fill a room with evil people and it’s not gonna end up good. But everybody that we know that ends up living there for awhile ends up loving it. So I think we’re just not used to it. But we had a great experience this time, it was wonderful.
Brad: I like Tucson. Tucson is awesome. It’s a little small, but it was wonderful.
Rob: I’ve gotta put my vote in for New York.
Brad: You should ask us what towns we don’t like, ‘cause there’s, uh –
AT: Would you like to share that?
Rob: I can safely say St. Petersburg without offending any people.
Brad: Our judgment on a city is very hard. We might walk around the club a little, but we’re not there for a day. We might get there in the afternoon or night. Our perspective on a city is so skewed. It’s based on who shows up for a rock show on a given night, in a given year. It’s unfair.”
Chris: Our judgment on a city is hard and steely eyed.
Rob: I think St. Petersburg sucks, and I say that with conviction.
AT: Is there any bigger band out there right now that you guys would like to play with?
Brad: It’d be fun to tour with the Pixies.
Chris: Yeah, probably a lot of alcohol involved there.
Brad: Probably not, they’re old enough that we’d take care of that. I think it’d be a lot of fun to tour with Bloc Party.
AT: Alright, so one last question, do you all have any plans for after your tour?
Brad: We’re gonna, y’know, take a couple weeks off and then begin doing more shows. Stuff kinda hasn’t come together yet, but that’s kind of how we do it. We take a little time off for some writing at home.
AT: So any plans for a new CD?
Brad: Well, yeah, eventually. We’re in the process of starting to compile material. At some point, I think we’ll take some real time off and really get down to it, but for now we’re just kinda doing that when we’re not touring.
For more info: www.aberdeenmusic.com, www.myspace.com/aberdeencity.
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original site launched April 1, 2004, .com relaunched October 1, 2004
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