Mystic Tape Deck

Story

More Than Sounds, Mystic Tape Deck is a multimedia collaborative project by two multi-instrumentalists known as "The Bards of the Morning Star." We are not a band in the typical sense of the word, and while live appearances are not completely out of the question, they are extremely rare, not very practical, and difficult for us to make happen. Making music in our home studio is our primary focus and passion, currently working on a "concept album" (using the term loosely here) about a mythical being trapped in a time loop whose consciousness continually reincarnates into other bodies. The accompanying story can be found at our primary website below, but upon release will be summarized with an illustrated booklet. We also have plans to expand the idea into graphic novels, a stage play, and even an RPG type card game. Neither of us has much money to speak of, we make do with what we have earned. When the time comes for us to publish our work officially, you can expect us to come begging for alms via Kickstarter or some other online busking apparatus.

Instruments

Genres

Influences

How did you get together as a band?

We are not a band in the typical sense. We are two home studio nerds with a long history of making piles of 4 tracks. We have both been in many touring bands in the past, including The Twist (Tacoma, WA), Eastern Star (Tacoma, WA), Caustic Resin (Boise, ID), Size of Alaska (Boise, ID), Godzoundz (Boise, ID), The Universal (Boise, ID). We had both all but given up on music until we decided to do this project. Now we find ourselves redefining our expectations and ideals. We do what we like to do without external forces directly influencing our creative process without our explicit consent. Neither of us has much interest in playing shows, loading equipment, touring, or any of that bullshit anymore. We like making music together in our cozy basement studio and are mostly content with relative obscurity. Not everyone will "get" what we do, and that's ok. We don't expect to have mass appeal in a market possessed and dominated by a literal glut of more traditional rock bands.

What is music to you?

A language and a medium of communication beyond mere words. It's just something we do, mostly because we can. But also because we really love doing it, and have a high appreciation for the language of music. We hope we can bring more to the medium than just a collection of tightly organized sounds. It's a psychedelic experience we are after, to take the listener on a journey.

What is the meaning of the band’s name?

The Mystic Tape Deck is a device our seers and editors utilize to communicate with mythical beings from alternate temporal dimensions. Simple as that.

What is your band to you? Each member can write their own answer

An outright rejection of common perceptions regarding what constitutes mob validated musical projects. We intend to do things "our way" and not be defined by what we see as outmoded and useless capitalistic distortions of music and art.

What is your music about and what message do you want to send with it?

We are telling the story of a mythical being who SHINEs. We hope that music can be more than sounds. More than people with guitars and drums and bass. More than dancing in a club and drinking and bobbing heads. We believe music is an act of divine rebellion and it has somehow lost touch with that idea somewhere along the way - no doubt while seeking other more material, capitalistic pursuits.

What inspires you to make music?

Beauty. Perpetuating, appreciating, and creating beauty.

Which musicians or bands have influenced your music?

Our music is influenced by too many artists to count. The concept under which we make music is influenced by other concept-driven projects such as Gorillaz, Blue Oyster Cult's "Imaginos" concept, Jethro Tull "Thick as a Brick", and bands like Yes, King Crimson, Rush, Pink Floyd etc etc. All of that, minus the machismo, big money and glamour of course.

What have you learnt from each other that you didn’t know before joining this band?

This is sort of a dumb question. Sorry. I am not going to answer that one.

What is the feeling during a live show?

What is the feeling? What the hell does that mean anyway? The feeling is that we are making something other than music. We are not a band and we rarely play live shows if at all. That is in no way the primary focus of our project. Drunk people in a bar rarely possess the desire to appreciate or examine a complex piece of art. They come there to drink and be social and pout and preen and be seen. Our music doesn't really pretend to offer that to people. We prefer to reach out to people who want to smoke a joint and put on their headphones and escape - go on a magical journey through unknown and unfamiliar imaginary landscapes.

What do you dream of?

Finishing this project and for it to take shape, helping inspire people to rethink the music industry and drive it toward a more artist-centric model, not so driven by cheesy dime-a-dozen capitalist aspirations. We are not driven by fame and the tired old adage of "sex drugs and rock and roll." Although we certainly like all of those things. A lot. Especially the sex and drugs part. Rock and roll? Eh - not so much I guess. Kind of a boring relic of the past. We love a lot of rock and roll mind you, it's just not a factor driving what we do. Ultimately we want the same thing most other musicians want - we want to keep doing this and support our project and have the continued means to make it grow. We're not really all that different, we just prefer to take a different approach to getting it done.

What does it take for a band to get their music heard by a larger audience?

Work. Persistence. Sometimes doing horrible things like signing contracts and shelling out money and pretending to fit into a particular niche when we really don't. Marketing degrees always want to draw comparisons between things saying "oh this is like that, therefore, if you like that, you should buy this." We despise that kind of thinking. We aim to create something outside the ordinary realms of music production. Something that is more than mere sounds. It's a different kind of experience we aspire to evoke in people. An inspired feeling - like we can overcome tired conventional thinking and that doing something different is really what it's all about. Music can be so much more than just a band doing regular band stuff. It can be a work of art.

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

It is a sad state of affairs. People clinging desperately to old-world models of rehearsing, playing shows, recording, going on tour, getting signed, going broke, breaking up, wash rinse repeat. Not just musicians either. The industry pushes everybody through the same cookie-cutter play-doh-fun-factory. It's their models of profitability driving the process, not the art. I honestly struggle daily with understanding why anybody would want to subject themselves willfully to that kind of hell. The real problem with the industrial model of music production is the general unwillingness of musicians themselves to embrace a new model or a new way of thinking about what they do. Markets respond to demand, and if the markets are not changing it's because we aren't demanding change the right way or loudly enough. To stand up and say "I am not the same as this or that, what I do is truly unique and I strive to be something to which a typical label cannot be applied." Instead, people fall willingly into the same patterns as every other band in the multiverse, doing the same things over and over. It's insanity, but unfortunately, a really boring and ordinary kind of insanity. Not the "fire of the mind", inspired, creative genius type of insanity.

What do you think of Drooble?

Seems legit. I guess. Might be a useful networking tool. It's really geared toward a more "traditional" model for bands. I don't begrudge it that though. Not one bit. It's a tool made to fit what is considered a common and typical model for the way most people still make music. You want people to use your tool you make sure it fits as many different hands as possible. That sucks, but there really isn't much that can be done about that. Websites are really pragmatic things.

What does frustrate you most as a band?

Being labelled a "band" and have typical capitalistic expectations thrust upon us by people who cannot widen their expectational horizons.

Do you support your local scene as fans? How?

Sort of. We have been in lots of bands. Speaking only for myself here, I am utterly through with "music scenes" and all that tired old bullshit. I just want to do what I love in the pursuit of a higher artistic ideal. We still like music, and there are plenty of people whose bands we support and appreciate. We just wish it was different. There are so many brilliant artists who never see the light of day because being truly unique is not a good thing for marketing strategy.