Somojo Magazine

The Larch

The Larch

Discography
Free Kick b/w Crashing Main Street & The Anvil Chorus: Flamingo single 1998
Royal Peculier: Dent Resistant Full length CD 2000
Monday Down: Dent Resistant 5 song CD 2001
Pouters Rollers and Runts: Dent Resistant Full Length CD 2002
Only Pop Music can Save Us Now:  Dent Resistant 5 song CD -2003
Prizes from the Groove Arcade: Dent Resistant Full Length CD 2005
Gravity Rocks: Dent Resistant Full Length CD 2008
Larix Americana: Dent Resistant Full Length CD 2010

We talk to founding member of 'The Larch' Ian M. Roure

Would you mind introducing us to ‘The Larch’?
We're a post-punk/psychedelic pop band based in Brooklyn New York; formed by UK-US dual national Ian Roure - who will be answering the Somojo questions...

Ian Roure: 6 & 12 string guitars, vocals, micro-tonal keyboards & songwriting
Liza G. Roure: Keyboards and vocals
Ross Bonadonna: Bass & engineer
Tom Pope: drums & percussion

How long has the current band line up been together?
We’ve had the same line up since Ross joined as our bass player in 2006 (though he recorded us and played session saxophone etc. on our albums from the beginning.) Tom Pope, much sought after drummer whose been known to sit in with Bob Weir's RatDog and who also plays with Brooklyn Frenchified favourites Les Sans Cullottes, joined the band in 2004 and Liza - a superb singer/songwriter herself - became a band member in 2001. I started the band in 1997.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t yet heard you?
We've been described as the missing link between the Kinks and Robyn Hitchcock and a cross between Squeeze and the Auteurs; I usually describe our music as Blur-eque but with a lot more lead guitar!

What have you been up to recently?
We released our 7th CD this year! It's called Larix Americana; it's been getting stellar reviews and lots of interest from web radio stations & fanzines.
 http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thelarch1

How did you come up with your name for the band?
I got the idea to name the band "Larch" (no "The") from a Monty Python skit (the Lumberjack sketch actually.) But when we were on an indie label called Flamingo in the late 90s; the owner, suggested we change the name to "THE Larch" (since at the time the trend was towards bands *without* the "the" prefix – think Oasis, Ash, Pulp, Elastica etc. so that we’d stand out - he also thought it was better if it sounded *more* like the Monty Python bit!

Which software/recording process do you use?
We record at Wombat Recording in Brooklyn which, not so co-incidentally, is owned by our multi-talented bass player, Ross Bonadonna; he uses Pro Tools (see also http://www.wombatrecording.com )

Would you sign with a major record company?
If the right deal came along!
Ross adds: these days the majors rarely have much to offer, they are still caught up in a 20th century business model, and best case are only interested in lowest common denominator type bands.
So, we're not holding our breath!

Do you have any new recordings planned?
We're working on a bunch of new songs.

How much involvement do you have with the arranging and production of the songs when recording?
We arrange the songs as a band. With the last CD I was responsible for the production of the tracks and Ross engineered as usual - me and Ross did the mixing together and Ross did the mastering.

Do you find the process of recording enjoyable and does it get easier the more you do?
Yes & maybe.  The easier whatever level you're on gets; the easier it is to try to approach the next level!

Do you try to capture your ‘live’ sound on recordings or do you think that the ‘live’ sound and recorded sound should be different experiences for your fans?

Our live sound and arrangements are really the bare bones of the studio recordings. We like to keep as much as possible of the energy of the live band – especially in the instrumental sections – but the studio tracks are built up from there; we add vocals, layer different guitars (I like to overdub my electric 12 string - usually as a rhythm guitar - for example) and add extra keys, tambourines, saxes, strings etc.

The Larch

Do you have any favourite tracks from your album?
I’m pretty damn delighted with the way the whole album came out; we spent a lot of time arranging and producing the songs. I think the Strawberry Coast came out particularly well.  In the Name of… came out nicely - better than I expected.


Who are the main songwriters for the band?
The Larch is primarily a vehicle for my songs – Liza, as I've mentioned, is also a wonderful songwriter in her own right, but we choose to keep our projects separate. You can hear Liza’s glamorous melodic rock songs at http://www.lizasongs.com

Do you have a method for writing songs?
I usually start out with a general theme that I use to tie the new crop of songs together – I’m not very linear though; sometimes the connections are extremely tenuous. Originally all the songs on Larix Americana were going to be about modern day commerce and the way technology is affecting the way modern people do business; in the end though, only a few of the songs fit squarely in that category - but having the original idea as a guide led me to other interesting tangential places.

Do you write songs only about personal experiences?
No, it's a mixture; one song that is based purely on personal experiences is the Strawberry Coast. The Strawberry Coast is the area where I grew up in Hampshire – more commonly known as the Hamble Valley. The verses in the song are about some of the things that happened and some of the characters we met when we were touring that part of the UK in 2007.

Inside Hugh is about some of the people I used to work with in the Wall Street area – and one of their favourite, uh, work-time habits.

Sub-Orbital Getaway and Space Vacation may sound like metaphors for drug-related experiences but they're actually written about the expanding world of space tourism!

Both Tracking Tina and In the Name of... were inspired by stories I heard on a radio station we have in the States called NPR (National Public Radio); Tracking Tina is about nervous parents keeping an eye on their kids by giving them mobile phones installed with GPS/sat-nav location transmitters; In the Name of...came from a story of a guy and how he was insidiously enlisted and brain washed by religious extremists as a boy.

Who are your favourite songwriters?
Here are a few:
Ray Davies (the Kinks)
Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices)
Joni Mitchell
Difford & Tilbrook (Squeeze)
Robyn Hitchcock
Gerry Goffin/Carole King
(early) Elvis Costello
Morrissey/Marr
Anthony More (Slapp Happy)
Arthur Lee (Love)

How do you promote your music and get your music out to new fans?
People can buy our CDs or down load the MP3s at CD Baby:
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thelarch1

We also have a nice FaceBook and a MySpace page - definitely drop by sometime!
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Larch/121969674688?ref=ts
http://www.myspace.com/dentresistant

Or drop me a tweet:
http://twitter.com/IanOfTheLarch

Is there anything you'd like to add?
Many thanks to Kevin and Somojo magazine for the interview and web-air-play and everyone checking out our stuff; you guys rock!

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