Checking In: Bridge Farmers Sustain Sonic Possession
ATX power triangulation bides its time
By Raoul Hernandez,
10:25AM, Mon. Jun. 15, 2020
Psych landslide Tyler Hautala (g/v), Kyle Rice (d), and Garett Carr (b) report, “We’re putting the artwork together for a tape of unreleased material, which should be out within a month or so. We have a new full-length finished and hopefully will have it out within the next six months, depending if we can find the right label to help us put it out.”
Austin Chronicle: Where are you sheltering and under what circumstances? Who else is there and how’s that going?
Tyler Hautala: I moved to Lockhart about a year ago and have been sheltering with my wife, our dog, and two cats. My wife is a jeweler and metalsmith, so she has been really busy making new pieces and I’ve been working on a home recording project, working on new Bridge Farmers material, and spending a lot of time on the Criterion Channel. And the occasionally psychedelic therapy session just to put everything in perspective.
Kyle Rice: It’s just me, myself, and I in my apartment. Luckily, I live next to plenty of greenery and hiking trails, so I've attempted to be outside. Other than that, records and Eighties movies have kept me pretty well occupied.
Garett Carr: Living in an apartment in North Central Austin with my roommate. Pretty small place, so not really ideal for sheltering, but it ain’t bad.
AC: At what point did C-19 shut down operations for you, and what went down with the ship, so to speak, both personally & professionally?
TH: I was bartending the night before everything was shut down and with the cancellation of SXSW, we lost out on some really cool shows. Since most of my income was coming from working in bars, it definitely is stressful wondering how the future will look and how performing live again will change. We lost out on the shows we had during SXSW, a show with the Obsessed at the Lost Well, and the Monolith on the Mesa festival in Taos.
The Obsessed show and the Monolith fest are being rescheduled, but it is strange to think about how shows and festivals will be in the near future.
KR: The bar I used to work at full-time and AGM went until the last minute. We shut down for the last time the evening of March 16. We actually had a band play that night for a bit, so I’m pretty sure we had the last live music in Austin until recently, though I could be wrong about that. And of course the Bridge Farmers had some amazing shows lined up that were all cancelled, some SX shows and an appearance at Monolith on the Mesa in Taos, NM.
GC: I work in a warehouse building guitar cases, so we stayed open a little bit longer than the bars did, but it did eventually have to close. We definitely lost out on a decent amount of shows, during SXSW, and after. We were looking forward to some of those shows for months, so it was a pretty big bummer when everything got shut down.
AC: As a global culture, people employ music for every purpose imaginable, obviously spanning religion to entertainment and everything in between. What happens to communities like ours when people can no longer access it in person?
TH: The livestreams have been cool, but it is no substitute to the experience of going out and seeing the music you love performed right in front of you. I think the livestreams do reinforce how important music is to people and how the void of not being able to go see a band is something that has to be filled. One way or another.
KR: The music scene, both locally and globally, has done a pretty bang up job adapting to the “new norm.” Our options to access recorded music or shows of the past are, and always will be, easily accessible, but with an actual live show, no dice. Fortunately, many bands have gotten together for a livestreaming show or found a way to jam via technology to have fun.
We were lucky enough to be asked to do a streaming show for the Lost Well at an undisclosed location. That was a blast! As a music community, we still have the ability to thrive and to ensure creativity is flowing. Personally, I can’t wait to hear what some bands have been writing during this time.
GC: It’s hard to watch a live show on a screen and get the same feeling as if you were actually there. The mental and social aspects are not really there. I think it will be a bit of a struggle to figure out good ways for the bands and the crowd to feel that rush of a live show. People can be pretty crafty when it comes to figuring out ways to enjoy something they like, though, so I think we might be seeing some new ways to experience live music, and other live media.
AC: Everyone’s had to shift or drastically alter their work situation. What does that look like for you?
TH: Since I haven’t been able to bartend, I’ve been picking up jobs here and there. Landscaping, painting, etc. My friend Tom is teaching me how to weld and hopefully it’s a trade that I’ll enjoy and won’t be shitty at doing.
KR: Actually, I decided to switch up my work situation. I’ve gotten a new full-time job and had to step down from my position at the bar I worked at. Luckily enough, they’re allowing me to still pick up shifts there when they re-open. Thanks y’all!
GC: As I said, I work in a warehouse building guitar cases. They let me know soon after the quarantine started that they would be opening back up as soon as the city would let them, with a smaller crew, and that I was welcomed back. I feel very lucky to know such a rad local business has my back.
AC: What’s your soundtrack for the apocalypse and what role does music play for you as a fan and scholar of it in times of hardship?
TH: Damn, that’s a hard one. As far as a soundtrack to the Earth beginning to reject all the bullshit and neglect that humans have pilled upon it, off the top of my head, I wanna listen to Earth, Can, Kraftwerk, Sabbath, Funkadelic, Charles Fuckin Bradley, Hawkwind, Neu!, the 13th Floor Elevators, Pink Floyd, Neurosis, Brian Eno, the Velvet Underground, Budos Band, Sixto Rodriguez, Richard Strauss, Cough, Psychic TV, Celtic Frost, T. Rex, Electric Wizard, and Melvins, just to name a few.
Music has always been an extremely important experience in my life and I feel very lucky that I am able to be a vessel for sonic possession and exploration. I would not have met the amazing people, had incredible and sometimes strange experiences, or been able to quantify the ideas, emotions, and experiences that have impacted me without music. Music is a fundamental and essential language, with no rules and no boundaries.
KR: My soundtrack has been lots of Afrofunk and Nineties metal: Obituary, Melvins, Lard, Fudge Tunnel, Napalm Death, Babes in Toyland, and so on. If I hadn’t had the foresight to accumulate the record collection I currently have, I’d most definitely be in the nuthouse. So thank you for that, past me.
GC: Well, my favorite band, CAN, would be perfect to listen to at the end of the world! Music has always been a big part of my life. It helps me escape, but can also help me learn about other people’s experiences, and their emotions surrounding that. Lately, expressing oneself in any way possible, but especially artistically, has seemed more important than ever.
Christina Garcia, Sept. 7, 2018
Michael Toland, Aug. 10, 2018
July 7, 2020
July 3, 2020
Bridge Farmers, Tyler Hautala, Kyle Rice, Garett Carr, the Obsessed, Lost Well, Monolith on the Mesa, Can, Black Sabbath, 13th Floor Elevators, Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Melvins, Obituary, Hawkwind, Psychic TV, Electric Wizard, Checking In 2020