THE ÆFFECT TALK VANS, CONCEPTUAL REGGAE BANDS
By James Montgomery
Article from The Independent Florida Alligator
25 October 2001
As Aaron Feibus sits eating his pineapple pizza (with a fork and knife nonetheless!), a tired gleam comes over his bespectacled face. See, he's just recently finished a 28-hour drive from Mesa, Ariz. - riding solo most of the way - behind the wheel of his band's newest acquisition: a bad-ass, red 1997 V-10 van.
"It handles real well," he deadpans.
The reason for buying the van was a simple one: to get his band, The Æffect,out on the open road.
"We haven't gone out on tour yet," Feibus said. "And when we play in Gainesville we usually need, like, someone's Chevy Blazer to load all of our equipment in. Now that we've got the van, we can carry all our stuff, and we're gonna head out on a couple of East Coast tours."
Getting the band - vocalist Feibus, keyboardist Steve Kramer and drummer Brad Bulifant - on the road is an important way to promote its debut LP, A Short Dream, a heady mix of '80s New Wave thump and swagger coupled with pulsing synth chords and soft piano sensitivity. The LP, while sounding layered and complex, still manages to maintain a certain level of D.I.Y. earnestness, something Feibus freely admits to.
"When we originally started doing this, it was recorded in my bedroom on Pro Tools," Feibus said. "Steve came over and played a song. A little while later, we redid it on a real keyboard instead of the garage sale model we recorded the first take on.
"I've always been into recording stuff by myself," Feibus said. "Back in the day, in 11th grade, Steve and I and a few friends formed this band called Jamaican Triangle, a reggae band with a concept: It was like the Bermuda Triangle, once you're lost inside you're never to be found again. It was completely embarrassing.
"Anyway, I recorded this stuff at my house, fooling around with, like, Windows 3.1 running into my dad's stereo and back again to form layers of sound," Feibus said. "It worked, but barely."
A few years after experimenting with the reggae concept, Feibus formed a more complex-concept band, the Hypercube, a motley crew of robots bent on destroying the world and humans determined to stop them also featuring a dude on stage sitting in a box, his face spray-painted silver.
"UF had this culture week thing, and one of the events was this Battle of the Bands thing at The Swamp," Feibus said. "We were all children of the Hardback, and figured it's be funny to play at The Swamp. So we formed this crazy band and did just that and we ended up coming in third place."
The band recorded a CD, the next step in Feibus' home-recording evolution.
"We recorded that CD on a pirated version of Cakewalk, which was a huge step up," Feibus said. "I don't know how smart it is of me to be talking about having a pirated version of the software, though."
The Hypercube also marked the beginning of Feibus' experimentation with electronic, synthesizer-heavy music a sound currently blowing up on the fickle shaggy-haired hipster scene.
"We're Second Wave," Feibus said. "There was the New Wave thing in the '80s, but now you've got all these bands like the Faint using synthesizers. The new Dismemberment Plan record is dancy. The synth stuff is really popping up all over the place now."
To record the bands full-length album, Feibus has "Side-graded" his current Pro Tools recording program.
"Now it's on my iBook," Feibus said. "The studio now is wherever
And as for the full-length album, can we expect more of the ultra-hip synth rock?
"I don't know," Feibus said. "We're trying to get some musicians from UF to play on the record. You know, real strings instead of synth strings, real horns as opposed to sampled ones."
Is that it?
"And some flutes would be nice, too."