As he showed in a recent essay he published on his own website, Landlady’s Adam Schaltz is as passionate a music fan as he is a music maker, a fact that is equally evident in the music he makes. Landlady’s self-titled fourth album, released in the middle of March, is a record of improvisation and experimentation, the sound of a talented collective coming together on a shared project without ever losing the sense of self-exploration that comes with ploughing your own musical furrow.
As well as a passion for music, Adam also possesses an infatuation with the album format, the way it can transport you as a listener into an entirely different world and allow you to explore it. Citing the influence of records like Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battle The Pink Robots and Spoon’s Kill The Moonlight, the sort of in depth albums that inspired Adam to form a band and try and recreate the transportive qualities of those records. For their self-titled record, Landlady were inspired by the idea of survival, recollecting a dramatic 180 degrees spin when driving between Seattle and San Francisco, where their tour van narrowly avoid flipping over, something Adam credits to having “boxes and boxes” of unsold merchandise weighing it down to the road. That near death experience started a fruitful exploration of loss, joy and, “green room humus”. Musically, Landlady are a difficult band to pin down, a band of musicians who between them have played on records by artists as diverse as Japanese Breakfast, This Is The Kit and Rubblebucket, to name but a few. In an album that works so wonderfully as a whole, particularly wonderful is the record’s central double-punch Supernova and Sunshine, the former is a soulful slice of melancholic 60s pop, while Sunshine is a huge piano ballad that sounds like BC Camplight embracing his prog-side. Intriguing and intricate, Landlady have succeeded in their goals; a record that’s way more than a collection of tracks, they’ve created a world to get lost in, and one you’ll want to visit time and time again.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Landlady?
Landlady is a band! We’ve been a band for quite a while, I write the songs, me Adam Schatz, and then the band arranges and expands them together. We started in Brooklyn but now everyone lives all over. The current lineup is Ian Chang on drums, Will Graefe on guitar and Ryan Dugre on bass, I sing & play keyboards and occasional saxophone. Everyone plays with a lot of different artists and bands when we’re not together, and everyone actually has really great solo records out as well! From all our years putzing around New York we’ve become connected to a really amazing musical family of musicians where everyone does so much and it’s all honestly very good.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
The first show with a band where it felt like we were a band was at a benefit concert for a new skatepark in a town near mine in Massachusetts, a family friend was running the event. I was 13, and it was with my first ever rock band called One Eyed Stanley. We were named after a one eyed basset hound our guitarist had. BUT maybe we didn’t have that name yet? For that show we might have been called Mad Agatha. We played two or three songs I think, and I remember being nervous to the point of my legs shaking, but I also remember being so happy to be playing with my friends, and that happiness never really went away for me.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
Music was always an inescapable path for me. When you feel lucky enough to connect with something at a young age, the idea of ever not pursuing it doesn’t even cross your mind. But I also haven taken photographs for a long time and have recently been doing a lot of writing, so I try not to limit myself to one outlet, and usually by shifting focus to one thing it lets the other things breathe and feel fresh when I return to them.
FTR: What can people expect from the Landlady live show?
We are a very high energy, dynamic group. It gets loud it gets quiet and there are all these micro improvisations that happen in everyone’s parts in every song, which means we are always surprising each other and keeping the show fresh in ways that drives us forward. But next time we can actually tour I think we’ll just be so thrilled to be playing music together again, so you may see a lot of smiling. Or not!
FTR: What’s next for Landlady?
No idea! I’m gonna write new songs for the next album, we’ll tour eventually but i’m not rushing into that either. Time is moving at the speed it moves and I’m not going to get in its way. In the meantime I’m working hard to just keep promoting the new album and make sure everyone knows it exists, which can feel like an infinitely impossible full time job with no benefits. But I don’t regret any of it.
They Listen To…
Kevin Ayers – Whatshebringswesing
Duke Ellington Ft. Mahalia Jackson – Blues In Orbit
Cass Elliot – Does Anybody Love You
Joan Armatrading – Woncha Come Home
Danny Lubin-Laden – After You
Landlady is out now. For more information on Landlady go to http://landladyland.com/