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Flotation Walls Unveils First Full-Length Recording

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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If bands could be certified organic, Flotation Walls would be the first. This living, breathing musical entity was formed by Carlos Avedaño in 1997 and has played nearly 300 live shows. Throughout the years Flotation Walls has featured dozens of musicians and has undergone several musical evolutions. On June 9 its current lineup of Carlos, Luke Brevort, Zak Moses, and Ryan Stolte-Sawa will release its first full-length recording called “NATURE.”

Alex: What does the name Flotation Walls mean?

Carlos: One night I found my little sister’s diary and read the whole thing. Most of it was about boys and The Cure, but on three pages she had written FLOTATION WALLS over and over. I didn’t know what it meant but thought it would be a good band name.

Alex: What’s the significance of your yellow outfits?

Carlos: They tie us together as a unit and show that we’re all equally important. Our live performance is as much a visual experience as it is an aural one and our outfits communicate that we’re one musical entity. Yellow is a sweet and sour color that can represent benevolence (like the sun) or danger (like poisonous snakes or flowers). Next to flesh tone, yellow is the least flattering color so we’re demonstrating our commitment to the cause.

Alex: What is your goal as a band? What message do you want your music to carry?

Ryan: To challenge conventional notions of what’s normal and acceptable — not only in the workplace or America or advertising or politics, but in music counterculture. We believe in redefining qualifications for gender, rock music, art, love, and humanity and I think that comes across in our music.

Luke: Timelessness. We create music that is universal and honest. We confront the stark narrative of the human experience: life, death, youth, mating, desperation, hope — hence, “NATURE.” When we play live we want to get into people’s faces and ears and feel bloody and muddy and feel really human for a minute.

Alex: What are some of your musical and non-musical influences?

Carlos: Jacques Brel, Mutantes, The Jackson Five, Scott Walker, Leonard Cohen, Ennio Morricone, Boards of Canada, and loads of psychedelic folk bands from the 60’s and 70’s. My non-musical influences are the original Wicker Man film, the TV show “The Prisoner,” and a general distaste for American pop culture. It may sound pretentious but I think that our generation got creatively lazy and that the year 2001 has repeated itself artistically for the past eight years.

Ryan: The Cocteau Twins, Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” album, years of piano lessons, and great food. Nick Cave for courage, protein for stamina, and my mum and dad for the rest of it.

Luke: Old Stax records, the first two Mars Volta records, and Deerhoof.

Zak: Ben Folds Five, Medeski, Martin, & Wood, and Charles Mingus.

Alex: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the Columbus music scene?

Carlos: It’s generally easy to start a band here and play at the biggest venues so everyone gets a shot. The scene feels more fragmented than it did 10 years ago. There’s not a general sense of one “must-see” band or artist which maybe is a bigger reflection of our 2.0 culture at large.

Alex: What are some of your favorite Columbus bands?

Carlos: Time and Temperature, Queen Mae and the Bells, and The Receiver.

Ryan: Same Same.

Luke: Super Desserts.

Zak: All of the above plus The Randys.

Alex: Where is your favorite place to play in Columbus?

Ryan: I like Ruby Tuesday because it has good sound, good drinks, and is close to home.

Luke: Skully’s has a great stage and the best sound in town.

Zak: I think that Rumba Café has surprisingly good sound for such a little space.

Alex: What’s your favorite song on this album?

Ryan: I have a soft spot for “Body” because it’s about routines and feeling disconnected from yourself. I went through a total overhaul in my personal life and felt acutely isolated so it really clicked for me. Luke did incredible things with drums on that song and I scored strings for it, so it’s very representative of the band.

Luke: The strings on “Frozen Lake” are gorgeous. The front half of “I’ve Seen Death and His Tremendous Pink Eyes” is my favorite section because it brings you to this huge dream cathedral falling over a cliff in slow motion at the end of the world.

Alex: What would be your dream gig?

Carlos: In an abandoned multi-floor mall with Rod McKuen, The 5th Dimension, and Yes.

Ryan: Any show where we can bring a live orchestra.

Flotation Walls will host a CD release party and be accompanied by a 10-piece orchestra on June 5 at Skully’s Music Diner with Brainbow and The Receiver. Visit flotationwalls.com and myspace.com/flotationwalls (which will post two new songs from NATURE a week until the CD release show) for more information.

Alexandra Kelley does freelance writing, marketing, and public relations and can be reached at alexandra477.com.

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