theHi Michael. How are you today ?
TGK: Doing pretty well, all things considered.
The world has changed quite a bit these past months with the Covid-19. You live in Michigan, how are things there and how do you feel about the situation ?
TGK: Things have been bad here, but I think they are steadily improving. It's been tough, we have a few nurses in the family and they have certainly been through a lot. My wife and I have been fortunate in that we have been able to work from home and be with the family. I don't mind being stuck at home too much, I'm perfectly happy with it actually!
Congratulations on the new album! It’s a beautiful piece of art. You have been working on it for the last couple of years or so right ? Can you tell us more about this album and how it came to life?
TGK: Thank you! I'm typically working on at least a couple projects at any given time and starting new pieces when inspiration strikes or more realistically as time allows. So I basically just went back and forth between pieces and let them develop over time- adding and taking away. I guess the original intent was to make an “ambient guitar” album, though nothing I do ever ends up where it started. It’s always a combination of things that I suppose coalesces into “my sound”. It’s been done for a while and was originally meant for release in 2019, but I couldn’t be happier with it being on PITP as I’m a big fan of the label!
The title “Residence on Earth” is quite powerful and based on Pablo Neruda’s book of poetry. What can you tell us about this book and how it came to be your choice for the album title ?
TGK: I happened to revisit it while making the album. A lot of the poems evoke some otherworldly imagery which captured my imagination, and also a sense of longing and sometimes melancholy, which felt as though it fit the feel of the music. In fact, nearly all of the track titles are either titles of poems or phrases taken from them. I also unexpectedly lost my aunt while completing the album, provoking further thought around our time spent in this life and what we do with it. She was one of the kindest souls I've ever known and the album is dedicated to her memory.
The album artwork is gorgeous as well. It definitely fits the mood and color of the album. Where and when was that photo taken ?
TGK: It was taken out a plane window on a family trip to San Diego, over the Rocky Mountains I believe. It’s actually somewhat reminiscent of the cover image of the edition of the Neruda book I have, though that’s black and white.
I love the textures and swells on this album along with subtle guitar notes and arpeggios like in the track ‘Of What Endures’ or ‘Shoreless’. What was your process when recording this album ? What are your main instruments on this record ?
TGK: Thanks! I often start off with a simple looping chord progression or riff - maybe a drone - and build from there. I also record to a click track or 4/4, sometimes a beat, even if it will end up being an ambient track to ensure things are synched up when I add overdubs or rhythmic elements. The sounds on this one are mainly guitar-based, though of course there are bits of synth, some samples, etc. In terms of instruments, I leaned on the J Mascis Jazzmaster pretty heavily as usual, along with a Tele that has since been replaced, my old ‘94 Strat and the Gretsch Pro Jet on one track I believe. The Neunaber Immerse and Walrus Audio Slo reverbs are heard on most of the tracks and I record everything direct through the Neunaber Neuron- I swear this isn’t a paid endorsement, they just make awesome products that are intuitive and easy to dial in great sounds with.
I know it’s a tough question, but do you have a favorite track on the album?
TGK: Hmm, I think it would have to be Fantasma. There are usually one or two pieces on a given album where everything just comes together and the sound is what I originally heard in my head. That was definitely the case with that one.
What are your main sources of inspiration while working on music? Do you have any artists that keep you motivated and still have an influence on how you approach music ?
TGK: Yes, I’m constantly seeking out and discovering music, both new and old, almost obsessively! In terms of influences, there are so many, but I’ll throw out a few: Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Cocteau Twins, BOC, Brian Eno, Tortoise, everything on the 12k label, Hammock… I could go on forever really...
Your album is dreamy, peaceful and really calming. I feel like people need these soothing sounds more than ever right now. Did you notice more interest in ambient music lately?
TGK: A little bit, it seems like support has ramped up a bit as of late with people seeking solace in these trying times. I know I have discovered a lot of great music and also forged some new connections with other artists online myself.
Speaking of calming sounds your track on the Healing Sounds II compilation is beautiful. Anything specific you can tell us about that track and being part of this compilation ?
TGK: Only that it came together very quickly as I wanted to record something new for the compilation, which doesn't happen very often. Most of it was done in one night with some additional mixing the next day. It’s rare for me to work that quickly. It means a lot to be part of compilations like this among such talented artists that I admire, especially for a good cause. Kudos to Zach and Isaac for making this and the last one happen, they're great guys with big hearts. Love working with them!
Is it possible to see you live ? Are you planning on supporting the release with a few shows and/or a tour when we can put social distancing behind us ?
TGK: That would be nice, but I don’t necessarily do a lot of live shows (only one as TGK so far), but it might be something that I’ll do more of in the future. You never know.
Thanks for talking with us today. Congratulations again on the wonderful album. Any last word for people out there ?
TGK: No problem. Just to be kind to each other and support music and the arts!
Residence on Earth
by The Green Kingdom
Limited Edition Cassette // Digital
“The album gestated over a couple years or so, in which time a lot can happen. As one gets older, it's natural to think about the time you've spent on this planet and what you will leave behind. This was only punctuated by the unexpected loss of my aunt. At some point while crafting these pieces, I also pulled Pablo Neruda's book of poetry Residence on Earth off the shelf. The surreal imagery and emotions these works evoke felt connected to the music on many levels, and informed the course of the album until its completion. This album is dedicated to the memory of Mary V. Mannino.”
Written and produced by Michael Cottone
Mastered by Andrew J Klimek
Design, photography & assemblage by Michael Cottone
© Past Inside the Present
This is PITP-C004 | MMXX
Cobalt blue shell cassette tape with white imprinting, housed in a clear / solid blue norelco box and shrink wrapped. Loaded with FerroMaster C456™ super ferric, ultra-high performance type-1 music grade analog tape. Limited to 50 units.