Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pheaturing Joel Bradford From The Auspicious End and Century3

Hello, welcome to another entry of the Phile. I can't believe it's February already, or as I like to call it... Phebruary. In a few days the Phile will be five years and one month old. Let's start of with some good news: the Chilean miners were at Disney World this past weekend. They were the Grand Marshals in a parade at the Magic Kingdom. It was weird, Disney dressed all as a dwarf... Sleepy. Everything went smoothly except they kept on sending canaries into every ride to check it out before they went in. Disney put them up all for 6 nights... in the tunnel below the Kingdom. I thought that was cruel. What else is going on? The president has named his new press secretary: a guy named Jim Carney. Because nothing says integrity like the name Carney. It’ll go a little differently now. First he’ll take questions from reporters, and then he’ll guess their weight. It was just over a year that the iPad was unveiled. And a year ago that I said, “It’s just like a big iPhone.” To which everyone said, “But it doesn’t make calls.” And I said, “Exactly! Neither does the iPhone!” There are all these protests going on in Egypt. I don’t know what they’re about, but it might have something to do with elections. Or that the streets in Cairo are so overcrowded there’s not enough room to “walk like an Egyptian.” What do you call Egypt now they have no internet or telecommunications? Gypt. Someone hacked the account of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Or not really hacked. Someone asked for his password and he surrendered it. Facebook says they're very concerned about this. And they are committed to making sure the only people who will be able to take and sell your personal information without your consent is them. Here's some movie news: We have a new Superman. Warner Brothers announced that British actor Henry Cavill has landed the role. Didn't you lot fight the Revolutionary War to avoid things like this? If I knew they were looking for a British Superman I would of auditioned. Knowing my luck they would of cast me as Jimmy Olson's dad or something. I mentioned a few minutes ago the problems with Egypt and made a joke about the internet being taken away over there, but it's a serious matter. Egyptians cannot read the Phile right now. Anyway, there's a very popular poster being sold over there to complain about the situation. Check it out.

Hey kids, have you seen the new stamps Facebook put out?
Now, the Super Bowl is this coming Sunday, and even know I am a Giants fan, I have to admit I don't know a lot about football. I am British after all. So, I thought I would go to someone who does know a lot about football and get their take on it. So, once again, here's a new pheature I call...

Me: Jeff, who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl and why?

Jeff: I am a Steeler fan so I am trying to be objective. Both offenses are led by QB's that can light up the scoreboard. Both defenses are great, but the Steelers have too many injuries both on offense and defense, so as much as it hurts to admit it I pick Packers to win 24-17.

Me: Okay, and what do you think of the Black Eye Peas playing the half-time show?

Jeff: I am not surprised that Black Eyed Peas are doing the half-time show. Its good to see a contemporary group doing it after a few years of some of the older bands playing. And Black Eyed Peas are pretty safe, music wise. Though with Fergie the chances of another wardrobe malfunction is always a possibility!

Thanks, Jeff. Be sure to check out Jeff's own blog at This week he reviews the movie True Grit. Speaking of blogs, there's a thousand other blogs out there. Not all are five years old, have almost four hundred postings, and are as funny as this one is, but there's a lot out there nonetheless. So, that's why I thought I would start a brand new pheature called...

So, here's how it works: I just hit random and see what came up, and the first award goes to the blog Bogarts and Babies. Here, kids, is a snippet and photo from this amazing blog.

"There are many things in life that i love. high heels, reading, laundry i didn't have to do, antibiotics for the never-ending-ear-infection, and free food samples at sam's. we go almost every weekend. sometimes we buy food, sometimes we pretend like we are going to buy food. but, we always partake of the samples. this past weekend was a gem of a sample day. there was stuff everywhere, including candy bars. it was delish. the kids had a grand old time and before too long, they were sugar-rushed into silliness."

So, after you have read the Phile, go to and check it out.

Today's guest is records under two names... The Auspicious End and Century3. His new album "Music For Futureports" is now available from AeroPop Records. Please welcome to the Phile... Joel Bradford.

Me: Hello, Joel, welcome to the Phile. What's up?

Joel: Hi, Jason! I'm glad to be here. And I was actually just finishing up a cover of the theme from "Twin Peaks", incidentally. But other than that, things are pretty much the usual - a Host at Epcot by day, and musician by night. You know how it goes.

Me: Okay, man, over the years I have interviewed a few musicians who don't go by their name but a band name when they don't have a band. I always find that an odd concept. What made you go under a different name, and not Joel Bradford?

Joel: Well, I've always been partial to the kind of artists that don't have a recognizable face - the kind of bands that only really exist in studios. The Buggles, the Postal Service, and others like them; artists who focus on production values and songwriting as opposed to 'rawking out'. My interests have always been on the production side - one of my big early influences was Brian Wilson, not musically, but as someone whose primary instrument was 'the studio'. My entire first project, The Auspicious End, has been my experiments with different production styles, and I feel like the facelessness a band name can lend gave me a starting point behind the scenes as opposed to just showcasing my voice (which probably shouldn't be showcased).

Me: You have two names band names actually, don't you? Is that because the music is so different you wanna keep it separate?

Joel: Yes, that's exactly it. I've been recording as The Auspicious End since 2006, recorded three albums and an EP, and when I started the fourth in 2009 I found the music had taken a drastic shift in tone and style. I ended up choosing the name Century3, and I liked the project's feel so much that I decided to keep working under both names.

Me: Let's talk about The Auspicious End. I have no idea what that means, Joel. Where did the name come from and what does it mean?

Joel: The name came about as a result of the music I was writing for my first album, actually. While that album sounds drastically different from my later work, and a little disjointed, there was one element of my songwriting that stuck out - while most of the songs are written in a minor key, several have a tag ending in a corresponding major key. The word 'Auspicious' means 'favorable or fortunate', and since the end of each song took an auspicious turn, well… I just thought 'The Auspicious End' had a nice ring to it, once I'd actually put those words together.

Me: In just a few years you released something like four albums under that name. Does songwriting come easy to you?

Joel: Initially, it didn't - it took me over a year to get a few songs written, and another six months to polish the work into something I could release. The next year I didn't have an album project as such - I just recorded fragments of tunes and sounds, and was able to turn what I had into the base of two separate, complete albums recorded over a 9 month period.

Me: You play all the instruments on the albums with no help, right?

Joel: I suppose you could say that GarageBand helps me - aside from the first album, which was mostly recorded live with my keyboard, everything is sequenced. There's not a single real instrument on any of my last four released projects, it's all done with my keyboard and a MIDI controller.

Me: On one of your songs you sampled dialogue from "Star Trek" which is unique. Are you a Trekkie, Joel?

Joel: That would probably be an understatement. I have a deep love for all things futurist - architecture, EPCOT Center, music, and science fiction - particularly "Star Trek". When I was ten months old I took my first steps - to a close-up of Captain Kirk on a rerun of the original series. I own the box-sets of the entire original series, as well as the first seven films on DVD. I'm a Trekkie in a big way.

Me: I liked it that you did a cover of an Eurythmics song. Are you a big fan of Annie Lennox? What made you choose that song?

Joel: I do love the Eurythmics. I'm pretty strongly influenced by the mid-Eighties - especially New Wave and Dreampop, and Annie Lennox is no exception. I chose that song because it fit really well with the overarching concept of my third album, "Enter the Vandals". It's a very bitter, dark album - very synth-heavy, lots of distorted drums - and the plaintive lyrics of the song really struck a chord with me from a young age. When I started that project I knew that would be the cover to go on it.

Me: I have to mention the artwork for the album covers. Whoever does your artwork has a great imagine and is very clever. That's not you again, is it?

Joel: Guilty as charged. I first got a copy of Photoshop when I was a sophomore in high school and fell in love with it, and what it could do. Now, the photography isn't mine, but it's all Creative Commons licensed, or attributed (as in the case of "Enter the Vandals") but the actual finished product in each case is mine (although the font and logo for Century3 may look somewhat familiar to some).

Me: You do everything, Joel. Next you are gonna tell me the album label AeroPop Records is your own label as well. Is it?

Joel: It is. I'm not quite sure what to do with it, but I do own a sole proprietorship - with essentially no expenditures and no income. At this point it's a way to protect myself, and, I'll admit, a way to make my releases a little more authentic. So even though the physical media production is handled by an outside company, AeroPop Records owns the rights to all my recordings - and I own AeroPop Records. It's a system that'll have to do until (and unless) I get signed.

Me: And I love it that you sell merch on your site. Do you create all that as well?

Joel: Yes, I do that too. Again, it's produced by an outside company, so I don't have to maintain stock or handle orders, but I designed everything in my store - and I do make a profit on what sells! It keeps things easy, and lets me focus on the music.

Me: I noticed you write very ELOish music, Joel. Are you a fan of ELO? Who are your influences by the way?

Joel: ELO has been a massive influence on me - particularly the end of there career - the last three albums they released. Most of my work is in the form of concept albums, and ELO's "Time" basically laid the groundwork for what I know about album structure. As far as other influences, I'd have to say Grandaddy, whose album "The Sophtware Slump" is what made me want to record music at all; Chris Garneau, a fantastic indie musician; the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson's solo material; Isao Tomita, for his masterful electronic treatments of Debussy; The Flaming Lips (and particularly "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots"); Julee Cruise and Angelo Badalamenti on the "Twin Peaks" soundtrack; Brian Eno, the original ambient musician; and, of course, the wonderful people like George Wilkins and Edo Guidotti, who are responsible for my favorite pieces of Epcot attraction music.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your latest release, "Music For Futureports" under the name "Century3". Where did that band name come from?

Joel: So, as I mentioned above, I'm a massive fan of EPCOT Center - what it is today, but mostly what it was about twenty years ago. Any Epcot buff worth his salt can tell you that one of the early revisions of Horizons, a ride that has since been demolished for Mission:SPACE, was called Century III. I liked the sound of that, and Horizons was my favorite Epcot attraction from a very, very young age (about four). The music is very spacey and has a very pronounced sadness and loneliness, and I connoted that with the tearing down of Horizons and the end of the US space program - like giving up our dreams of Tomorrow.

Me: How is Century3's music different from The Auspicious End's music?

Joel: While The Auspicous End has always had a pop bend to it, even when subverted or distorted, the music that became "Music for Futureports" had a grand, sweeping quality to it - for starters, the tempo is almost entirely below 60 BPM - roughly one beat per second or less. It's slow, it's ethereal, and it has more of an orchestral feel to it - I like to say it's the soundtrack to a sci-fi film that never existed. Also, there are only two songs with a standard verse-chorus writing structure - everything else is instrumental, or has sparing vocals used more as instruments than as storytellers. I've taken a lot of different approaches as The Auspicious End, but nothing was quite as drastic a shift as this one, and I felt it needed more distinction than just another project. The thing about "Music for Futureports" (the name itself is a reference both to Brian Eno's "Music for Airports" and to the Horizons attraction itself, by the way) is that it isn't meant to be listened to as a collection of songs, or as a standard concept album, like "Dark Side of the Moon" - it's a single piece of music.

Me: A lot of the song titles on "Music For Futureports" I can't pronounce. Maybe you can help me pronounce some. Give me a few samples.

Joel: Okay, there's a history behind the titles on "Futureports" - I wanted to tell a story with the album, and while I've normally had lyrics to work with, those were noticeably lacking in this case. So the story is told through the song titles - it basically follows a group of people on a long space trip, possibly a colony ship. And a lot of the things I wanted each song to say needed more words than one or two to demonstrate - so I had to make my own words. Take Hibernetics and Somnambutron - they're both portmanteaus. Hibernetics is a combination of 'hibernation' and 'cybernetics', and Somnambutron would be the word 'somnambulate' - sleepwalking - with 'tron' attached. So you have a computer controlling hibernation, and a sleepwalking machine. Geosynchronicity would be referring to our colony ship establishing a geosynchronous orbit over its intended destination, toward the end of the album. And as for "Sansterre Syndrome", the two words combined are 'sans' and 'terre' - French for 'without a planet'. So you have hi-bur-net-ics, sahm-nam-bew-tron, and sahn-tehr syndrome.

Me: One song "Verne and Copernicus" I can pronounce. Is that Jules Verne you are referring to?

Joel: It is indeed - the references to Horizons continue! I wrote "Verne and Copernicus" as a kind of prologue to the album, and I figured that (much like Horizons) I needed to start at the beginning of the future and space travel - with Copernicus, the famous astronomer, and Jules Verne, one of the earliest modern men to actually reason out the concepts of a voyage through space. Also, the two names together have a nice ring to them - VERNE and coPERnicus. It feels nice to say, almost rhyming, but not quite, and a nice rhythm and flow.

Me: Joel, I looked for your music on iTunes but couldn't find any of it. Will you be putting music up on there soon?

Joel: You know, I'd love to. I'm currently in the process of getting my music there, but Apple has me on some kind of waiting list. As soon as I hear back from them I'll let you know!

Me: Do you ever play live, do live gigs?

Joel: That's something I haven't done in a few years. My music depends a great deal on layered, dense synths, and as a result I can either play bare, stripped down versions on a piano, or sit in front of a laptop singing and pressing 'play'. And that feels like a really boring show for me, so I can't imagine an audience sitting through that. Maybe if I get a projector and can do some kind of sequenced video displays I can start playing locally again, but for the present I'm focusing on writing and recording in my home studio.

Me: You're based in Florida, right? What part? Does Florida have a big influence on your music?

Joel: Well, there's the obvious - Walt Disney World. But beyond that, I actually wrote an entire album centered in Florida - my second, called Shalimar, is actually the story of someone running away from suburban life in Central Florida to the eponymous tiny little town in the panhandle. When the character gets there he realizes that it's not what he wanted, and he longs to return home - something that happened to me. I spent a year in a small town called Palatka, somewhere between Gainesville and a bunch of scrub brush, and the whole time I wanted nothing more but to come back. Without that year, though, I'd never have gotten my first album off the ground. So I'm very thankful for the time and experience of really seeing old Florida. I also learned that if I never saw a single palmetto plant again, I would be A-OK with that.

Me: So, what's next, any new music coming out? Any new band names?

Joel: Well, no new band names - as yet! I'm currently working on an album for each of the two I've got - for The Auspicious End, an upbeat, electropoppy affair currently titled "Return To Form", which will probably be the end of that project. As for Century3, I'm taking things on a more terrestrial level: the next album is going to be a concept piece about future overpopulation and food shortage, and I'm calling it "Mesa Verde Agricultural Research Station".

Me: Joel, thanks so much for being on he Phile. Go ahead and plug your website and tell the readers where they can purchase your music if they are interested. I wish you lots of luck, and you are welcome back to the Phile any time.

Joel: No, thank you! I've had a great time talking to you - it's always nice to talk shop with someone who knows what to say. My website is - that'll give you links to both artist names. All the material for The Auspicious End is available on that page, and Century3's album should be available for sale on the Century3 page in about two weeks. In the meantime, there's a sample or two from each album I have, as well as that merch you mentioned earlier. You can also look me up on - you can purchase downloads for full albums or individual tracks there, as well as listen to samples of each song on the album. Thanks again for having me on the Phile! I'll be happy to come back and visit anytime!

Well, there you go, another entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jeff Trelewicz for his help with Ask Jeff, Joel Bradford for a great interview and of course you the reader. The Phile will be back next Wednesday with the announcement of the 14th book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club and the guest will be as Erroll Zastre from Second World. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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