Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tony Molina Speaks on His Latest EP, "CONFRONT THE TRUTH," OVENS' 15-year Anniversary, His Love for YG & The Bee Gees Robin Gibb's Influence (The Witzard Interview)

"You could fit the contents of Tony's previous releases on Slumberland and Matador [Records] onto one side of a 90-minute cassette and still have room left over for the eight offerings on CONFRONT THE TRUTH, but would you want it any other way? When Tony sings about "trying to move on but I just don't know how," no extension of the time it takes for him to bring that feeling across is going to solve the problem at hand. You're immediately thrust into the orbit of these songs; you know how he feels, and now you can relate. Transference is complete. You've got plenty of time left over to dwell upon them.

The eight offerings on CONFRONT THE TRUTH notch a significant advancement in his style and approach. Almost completely absent from these new songs are the over-loaded guitar crunch of DISSED AND DISMISSED, or his earlier work with OVENS; it's replaced by gentle acoustic balladry, tasteful Mellotron and piano backing, the kind of musicianship that often takes a lifetime to master. The sadness of this music has precedents in Pop's past; Tony's revelatory turn into specific traditions of Pop music speak directly to the reasons why we love music in general, and what keeps our finest players driven to create. The repertoire from which he draws may be narrow, but in these songs, you hear exactly what Tony found in those influences that shaped his experience; years upon years of focus and isolation in developing his guitar skills to speak to these truths. The main difference here is that where Tony's previous works felt casual and easy to digest, here we feel the full weight of his emotional needs pressed against the gentlest and most careful music of his career..."

- Doug Mosurock,
a fan first and a friend forever

August 2016

I. Now, correct me if I’m wrong: but according to your Discogs page, you’re still an “active” member of Caged Animal, Case of Emergency, Dystrophy, Lifetime Problems, OVENS, Sharp Knife, and Yadokai. Is there any new (or as-yet-unreleased) material from any of these projects currently in-the-works?

Every single one of these bands broke up, some as early as 2002, except for OVENS, who aren't broken up, but haven't recorded since 2009. We're going to have our 15-year anniversary next February, actually. It's crazy that it has been that long! I guess in Punk or Hardcore years I am an old man. I'm going to be 32 next month.

II. Aside from 50 lone cassettes mailed out along with OVENS, your debut solo “album,” Embarrassing Times wasn’t very widely released; one album and two EP’s later, do you have any immediate plans to release another full-length?

Not at all. I never plan for releases and I have never written or recorded with the intentions of turning it into a physical product that people can buy, which is a terrifying thought to me. Once I've recorded something and I have a bunch of songs that seem like they flow well together, as a solid listen, then, it basically becomes a "release," even though sh*t gets shelved most of the time.

III. What ultimately made you decide to reel it in a few notches and record a stripped down, “light-hearted” almost Lemonheads and Dinosaur Jr.-reminiscent, Punk album than your previous works?

The new 7-inch is mostly influenced by 60's bands and song-writers like Judee Sill and is the farthest thing from Punk I've ever done. Maybe [DISSED AND DISMISSED] reminded people of Dinosaur [Jr.] or The Lemonheads, at times, but I can't see that on this set of songs. I've never been too into Punk, I also have never heard a Lemonheads album all the way through. I've always been more into Metal and Hardcore and sh*t and The Beatles, obviously haha.

IV. Now, is CONFRONT THE TRUTH EP a tried and true “solo” album, wherein you play every single instrument throughout... or did you assemble a “solo band” for the purposes of this EP? If so, who did it include?

My friend Anthony OBC played the organ and the bass track on "No One Told He" and he also did the Mellotron part on "Hung Up On The Dream." He was a huge influence on the making of this record and there's no way it would have ever happened without his creative input, influence, and contributions to the songs. ["Confront The Truth"] is actually something he came up with years ago. Blaine Patrick did the drums on "No One Told He." I played everything else myself.

V. We, here at The Witzard, are a primarily Hip-Hop-centric publication with a soft spot for Punk, Soul-Funk, and Indie Rock; with that said, what would you likely deem a few of your favorite Hip-Hop releases of the past 12-18 months?

I rarely follow current music, but my favorite current artists are Milk Music, Weyes Blood, Jessica Pratt, Meg Baird, Sharon Van Etten, Cate Le Bon, White Fence, and a bunch of current Metal and Hardcore sh*t. It's pretty embarrassing to admit, but I don't follow Rap as much as I should because it's probably the best type of music there is. I think the last thing I really liked was the newest YG [Still Brazy] album. That album is sick!

VI. What do you have planned next, Tony, following your CONFRONT THE TRUTH EP’s 10/28 release on Slumberland Records?

Nothing really changes for me. I'm always writing and recording one thing or another. I don't know or care if I release another record as long, as I'm doing music I'm happy with—even if I'm just in some cover band that plays the bars in Pacifica or some sh*t.

VII. How did CONFRONT THE TRUTH’s closing (only “electric”) track, “Banshee,” a Thin Lizzy cover plucked from their 1971 Nightlife album, come to fruition and end up on the EP?

Yo, Nightlife is from '74! I like doing covers, mainly instrumental ones, because I am not much of a vocalist. I did a rough demo of it one afternoon at my practice space at Turk+Taylor in [San Francisco] years ago to Tascam-688, which is a cassette 8-track that me and my friends use for the hell of it. I liked the way it came out and I think it worked as a closer. Nightlife is the most under-rated [Thin] Lizzy album and I think it's their best album. I finally replaced my CD with the LP, which I bought on tour in DC last summer; shout out to Joint Custody Records!

VIII. What might you cite as some of your greatest sources of influence and inspiration while writing and recording CONFRONT THE TRUTH EP’s rather quick-strike 8 tracks?

The Beatles, Judee Sill, George Harrison (solo), old Bee Gees, Robin Gibb's first LP [Robin's Reign], The Stones, Hendrix, Sagittarius' Present Tense, Carole King, Kaleidoscope's Tangerine Dream, The Zombies, Idle Race first two albums [The Birthday Party & Idle Race], The Move, Roy Wood's Boulders, The Kinks, Pink Floyd 1967-73, Pretty Things, Vashti Bunyan, the first ELO LP [The Electric Light Orchestra], Townes, Gene Clark, Dear Nora, Excruciating Terror, and Mortician.

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