Band name: Pedestrian Deposit
Place of origin: Started in the winter of 2000; originally a solo project based in Tulare, CA. Relocated to Altadena, CA in 2008 and revived as a duo.
Personnel: Shannon Kennedy and Jonathan Borges.
Upcoming shows: Tonight, October 25, at Pehrspace. Also Echo Curio (hopefully) November 7. More always to be announced.
About their signature style: “All of our music is fully composed, aside from a few shows with equipment failures where we intuitively worked around the problems, we never improvise.”
Tell us a little bit about your musical history and background with Pedestrian Deposit.
Jon: I’ve been making noise/experimental music since the age of nine, playing shows since fourteen, and I’ve had my own tape label the entire time. I’m pretty much consumed and motivated by sound—I have to do it, have to find out who else is doing it, and collect it.
Shannon: I played in a band in the ’90s, I guess you’d call it noise. It sounded like an awful cacophonous rabble, though it was actually highly organized. That was back home in New England. But when we all went our separate ways, I focused more on my set and costume design work and other types of performance. It took almost a decade for me to start playing again seriously, but at no point did I ever lose interest in weird music, or stop going to shows. I’m obsessed with psychological perception and creating environments, physical and emotional. So for me, noise and experimental music is extremely psychological, narrative, atmospheric, visual. Like a vivid dream. Hopefully our music conjures up some sort of imagery in the listener.
In the past, you have been called a “noise band”—would you agree? What does noise mean to you?
Jon: I’m not sure I agree entirely, but I feel that we don’t fit comfortably in any genre. It’s possible the older, solo recordings could be classified as noise—though, ultimately, I think we exist between the genres of harsh noise, experimental, and electro-acoustic music. Noise to me is visceral, roaring, dynamic, powerful, multi-textured, emotional sound.
Shannon: It all depends on your definition of noise. What we do is most definitely music, but using sounds that are not commonly thought of as musical. It’s definitely organized, but not in the same way that popular music is organized. We make music using whatever sounds we like and seem appropriate. If that means using screeching feedback, a manipulated tape loop, or a shard of metal, that’s what is used. If that means using a recognizable instrument in a traditional or non traditional way, that’s what is used.
Sometimes your music seems scripted, other times there seems to be some improvisation. Can you break down how much of your music is composed?
Shannon: Definitely highly composed, though in the live context I sometimes improvise my half of mostly composed sections of pieces. We always have a clear skeleton, but for me, sometimes the fleshing out happens during the show. Constant communication is vital. We have a separate language we use when playing to communicate our intentions and feelings without speaking.
Can you talk about your recording process? How close are your finished projects to original ideas you record? Is there a lot of editing?
Jon: We have no set method to our process; sometimes we sit down and play, picking out things we like to expand on further. Sometimes, one of us will bring in an initial idea that we work together on. More recently, the live performances have been early versions of pieces that we eventually record. Inevitably, certain things change once we start recording, but the finished pieces are often close to the original ideas. I always do a lot of editing, and meticulously multi-track everything. I can get pretty obsessive in the studio.
Shannon: Sometimes one of us will have a strong initial idea, the other will expand on it, and pass it back and forth like that, adding and subtracting. Other times we play together from beginning to end. Each piece is different. We’re both extreme perfectionists so it can take a long time for us to finish a piece and be satisfied with it. But then, sometimes it comes together fast. Each piece is different.
Though your tracks can be harsh, there is a lot of beauty and dynamic range. Is there a balance you like to keep?
Jon: There definitely is a balance. We are both influenced by such a wide variety of sounds and sources that it only seems natural to try and weave them together in our work rather than to just focus on one sound aspect or influence. I definitely enjoy contrasting harsher, more “unpleasant” sounds with more melodic and/or unexpected musical elements, and I think this sets us apart from others.
Shannon: Playing with the dynamic between beauty and harshness is sort of an obsession, as is finding the balance between other extremes—fullness and minimal, abstract and organized. How the elements of a piece are balanced definitely creates different psychological responses, which is what interests me. Also, each individual piece usually has some kind of arc to it, beginning in one place and traveling so there’s a sense of motion and change.
Earlier this year you were involved with the International Noise Conference 2010. How was the experience? Any particular favorites?
Jon: Aside from the camera crews getting a little too close—which seemed pointless since the L.A. Times never did anything with the coverage—the show was enjoyable. I had played the 2006 I.N.C. in Miami, which was great fun but, like most festivals, overwhelming at times. Favorites were easily Wrong Hole and Sissisters. Both have been ruling in L.A. and Long Beach for a while now. I always enjoy seeing them play.
And don’t miss them tonight:
Sean Carnage presents…
The return of L.A.’s prodigal son
with return of prodigal daughter
and noise superstars
Slaves (from Portland)
Plus very special guests
Miss Josie Bunnie
and your pal
DJ Marijuana Weed
Starts 9:30pm / $5 / all-ages
Pehrspace—325 Glendale Blvd., in Historic Filipinotown