Treefort Preview: An Interview with Aan

[Originally published for Noise & Color PDX, March 20, 2015]

Portland-based experimental pop outfit and Treefort alums AAN are back at the festival this year.

Following the early 2014 release of their Amor Ad Nauseum LP, the band received critical acclaim from numerous local and national sources, including TIME’s bands to watch at last year’s SXSW. Their intricate song structures and frontman Bud Wilson’s captivating timbre vacillate between driving swells full of pulsing guitar and gently bubbling croons on the edge of breakup. The band is reinvigorated after a recent lineup restructure, and we had a chance to ask Wilson a few questions before he and the band head out on tour following Treefort.

N&C: How has the new lineup affected the music/the band motivation? Are you changing things to suit different members’ strengths/attitudes?

BW: Aan’s been my project for a long time. I usually write all the material and bring people in as it’s being drafted to hear it in real time, make changes as needed, then track. I’d say not a ton has changed with the new lineup for process, though the music being written is geared more towards certain strengths of the current players. In Lane’s case, the drums are treated as a melodic instrument. We’re trying to put a song in the beat, not a song over the beat. With Gabe, we’re deconstructing the chords and spreading them out across the other instruments. That’s something new for this band. Unlike prior Aan material, none of these songs can be played solo. The attitude is professional and everyone’s hoping our work will translate to bigger stages and opportunities to play with groups we admire who share similar ideas on music.

N&C: What’s in store for 2015 (and beyond)? Tour? New albums?

BW: We’ve been in the studio a lot and writing. Gabe lives in Seattle so we get together about every other week. We’re doing our best to get a new record finished before summer. We’ll do a few more Western US runs this spring/summer. Beyond that, gotta wait and see I guess.[/half]

N&C: How do you see yourself fitting into the Portland scene? What’s the best part of making music in Portland? Any bands that people should be looking out for?

BW: I don’t really see us as a “Portland” band. Or a “Northwest” band. The music I write is ME, and as much as I love things about Portland, I wasn’t born here. Even after ten years I hesitate to call myself a “Portlander”. The Portland I live in now isn’t the same one I moved to. What inspired me about Portland then were people taking musical risks, groups were putting their hearts into the music and it felt REAL. There’s a lot of genre music now. I think it has a lot to do with how difficult it is to make a living doing this, so musicians have to dumb it down in the hopes it might get synced into an advertisement. And that’s FINE! But I don’t feel anything when I listen to it. To be fair, there are plenty of groups keeping it real here. The ever spirited &&&, Genders, my homie Eric Crespo’s project Ghost to Falco is about the realest local band I know. Down for life. I was digging a show I saw with The Ghost Ease too.

N&C: What is the most fitting and/or hilarious comparison you’ve received from someone listening to your music?

There have been too many comparisons. I was dreadfully flattered by a Jason Molina comparison once. It’s almost always meant as a compliment when someone asks that question, no matter who they’re referencing.

Be sure to check out AAN at Treefort on Saturday, March 29th from 5-5:45 at the Linen Building (1402 W Grove St., Boise, ID).