They like wombats. Or so says Z.V. House, singer/guitarist for Boise indie folk outfit A Seasonal Disguise. The quirky sextet performs Friday, April 30, as part of Built to Spill's benefit for Haiti at the Egyptian Theatre.
A Seasonal Disguise's debut album was released in February 2009 and combines jangly pop with an eclectic mix of clarinet, accordion and tambourine. A new album is on its way later this year.
Boise Weekly spoke with the raw-voiced and Neil Young-fancying House, who chatted about “troubadoring” and the musical influences of our neighbor to the north.
Tell me about how A Seasonal Disguise came to be.
ASD started as a vehicle for some songs I was writing a few years ago. For a couple years it was mostly just myself and Julia Green singing. Then, a little over a year ago, we got together the core of our current band and started working on some new songs and commenced recording on them back in January. We should be finishing up soon and releasing the new record sometime this summer.
What are your inspirations?
We seem to have a lot of Canadian influence going on. Big Destroyer, Sunset Rubdown, Arcade Fire, New Pornographers, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young fans are in the band. I don't really know. Most of us have some sort of a rooting in early rock 'n roll with a taste for the off kilter in more modern music. Wilco, Radiohead and The Flaming Lips come to mind for the latter and The Kinks, Cream and the Buffalo Springfield are some of my faves from the former. I know at least half the band are pretty into classical music. I know Julia and I have folky blood running deep in us. Our drummer [Aaron] is also in an old-timey country band. So ... yes, kind of all over the map? We have neurotic influences that cannot keep a commitment but like to stay friends with their exes. That may not be the best metaphor ... We're also pretty big Built To Spill fans ... so getting to play a show with them is pretty damn cool for us.
Lyrical inspiration is completely random. Some of our songs started as meditations on one line from a book, comic, movie or even another song. We like references and inside jokes.
Describe your music in two words.
Melodic chaos? Chamber garagerock? Not quite sure about that one.
How has your label, Coming in Second, helped your band?
Coming In Second is the label moniker of one Jeremy Jensen. He pushed me like hell to put out the first ASD album and make sure I gave it the time and promotion it deserved. Our next album will likely be released through different channels, but we're not sure what yet. There are so many options and variables beyond our control that until we've explored them all more, we don't know what our best move is.
How did you get involved in the Haiti benefit?
Doug [Martsch of Built to Spill] gave me a call one day and asked if we would like to be involved in a Haiti benefit with them and I said, "You bet!" or something to that effect. We bounced a couple ideas back and forth and came up with the idea of us doing both a "troubadour" set and a regular band set.
What is that?
Short story: We'll be playing completely unplugged, acoustic, songs in different parts of the theater amongst the audience.
Long story: We started out doing a song or two of our set like this with no real plan or label. We found it was a really fun way to break up the set and engage the audience. We played a benefit show at the Visual Arts Collective a couple months ago and decided to do our whole set that way. Doug saw us and came up with calling it a "troubadour" set and it seemed fitting, so we went with it.
Why is it important for the community to attend?
Well, for one, the event benefits a terribly worthy cause. Partners in Health are doing fine work down there and deserve any help they can get. Second and perhaps more selfishly...it’s going to be one helluva show!
What does the future hold for the band?
I have no idea. Finish this record, start working on new songs? Looking to buy a van this summer to start playing more shows out of town. Try to get some regional buzz going. If we could be financially sustainable in 10 years I'd be pretty happy but it’s impossible to predict or control what will happen. All we can do is keep making music and keep doing everything we can to expand our audience.
On your MySpace page, it says under the about section, "They also like wombats." That seems random. Can you explain that?
Well ... it is kind of random. That is in fact just about all there is to it. That and we like wombats.
Learn more about Seasonal Disguise by visiting their Website at aseasonaldisguise.blogspot.com or myspace.com/aseasonaldisguise.