Interview with Long Time No Time
Ok. So to start off this interview off I have to clarify that although your video for Hellephant won best Canadian Independent Metal Video, you guys aren’t really a metal band. What are you?
This is a question we’ve been trying to answer since we started the band, and honestly, we still don’t have an answer. The best we can come up with is “horn band” which is still more of a visual description than a genre label. We do borrow heavily from the jazz/brass band tradition with elements like improvised solos, but we’re very hesitant to label ourselves as “jazz” or even “jazz-fusion.” The most accurate label you could give us would probably be “jazz instrumentation but they play everything.” This is due to the diverse musical influences of the band members, as well as our university music education. Band members to varying degrees are into so many different musical genres, so that shows up in our music. We’ve also spent a lot time studying how music works, so we like to think that gives us an edge in melding all these different styles – and throwing in a baroque style three-part chorale if we feel like it.
Can you tell us about your inspiration behind Hellephant? How did you come up with a story about the murderous anthropomorphic elephant hell bent on revenge?
Daniel (LTNT founder/saxophonist/vocalist/composer) is an avid reader of comics and also loves metal music; Hellephant is really just a fusion of these two things. The Hellephant is inspired by two characters: The Punisher, who began a murderous war on crime after seeing his family murdered in front of him, and Ghost Rider, who was given a second chance at life in exchange for punishing wicked souls on Earth.
The elephant part just kind of happened because hell and elephant work together phonetically, and Daniel thought it would be funny. There may have been some drinking involved.
There’s some really cool artwork for Hellephant made by Calgary artist Tays Odynski, how did that collab come about?
YEAH THAT ARTWORK IS SO COOL!
Being local artists ourselves, we like to do everything we can to involve other Calgary artists whenever we have the opportunity. That way we get to feel good about using the money we get from our fans to help grow the Calgary scene, and we never have to pay for shipping.
For Hellephant we were looking for some comic-book style art, but we didn’t want it to be too cheesy or cartoonish. We were looking for something that would pay homage the Hellephant’s origins while still conveying a very real sense of how threatening this creature is.
Daniel found Tay on Instagram by searching “Calgary artists” and we pretty much instantly knew that she could get us what we wanted. We found an amazing painting she did of a faerie woman kissing what looked a lot like a Ghost Rider with a flaming skull. If that isn’t an omen, we don’t know what is. She did a superb job and was great at fleshing out our ideas and we really couldn’t be happier with the end-product. The end-product is a real canvas painting that we get to keep, by the way. We have a Hellephant painting hanging up somewhere. It’s great.
Can you tell us about the making of the video? it’s quite the piece of art in itself!
The video was made fully in the spirit of a bunch of friends working through a zany project together and trying to have as much fun with it as possible. We had zero money, so the writing and filming process revolved around the idea of “what can we actually accomplish without spending any money? How do we create hell and carnage on a budget?” Luckily we had a lot of friends who were willing to help out and we really like the end product. Hellephant turned out to be a fantastic platform for goofing around with a camera. Huge credit to our friend Mike who filmed and edited, and our bassist Jesse who took on a huge organizational (and starring!) role. Primary filming locations included the apartment of three band members, and Calgary’s own pristine Fish Creek Park.
What do you guys normally write about? What are some inspirations for some of your other tracks?
Anything and everything really. It’s probably fair to say we’re more focused on music than lyrics, so we often come up with something we find musically engaging first and then throw lyrics on after. Sometimes a story comes to mind like Hellephant, or something more conceptual jumps out like Stubbler’s Gump. Our trombonist Tom has an affinity for hip-hop so our song Tombone was written explicitly for him to rap over. Our song I Don’t Wanna Go To School Tomorrow was written during our drummer Fletcher’s last year of engineering school. Something New is a song written to express frustration with formulaic love songs.
How did the band come together?
Most of us met in the University of Calgary Jazz Orchestra during school, and our sax player Daniel wanted a group to play music he had written. The goal of the group is to engage mainstream audiences with a fresh sound while keeping horns at core of everything we do.
I normally try to avoid this question, but I’m too curious. Where did the band name came from?
A friend of the band left a voicemail on another friend’s phone that we recreated on our album, and it was so hilarious and stupid we couldn’t let it die. “Long time no see” turned into “Long Time No Time.” We think it has a certain ring to it!
What do you think of Calgary’s music scene?
We are still figuring it out. We have definitely learned that there are some venues worth supporting because they will truly support us in return, and there are also others that will be glad to pay you in ‘exposure’. We focus primarily on sounding our best for every show, so we’re working on building our popularity game; niche isn’t always intuitive. One of our missions is to show people that good, fun music can come from outside of your comfort zone. That can mean exploring “academic” music if you’re a pop music person, and vice versa if you’re an academic musician. We like to think we land somewhere in the middle, and we’d love to encourage more crossover between those scenes in Calgary. More punks at the orchestra and more profs at bars!
We do need to take this opportunity to give some love to The Palomino bar for consistently asking us to play and treating us very well at their gigs, CJSW 90.9fm for giving our music some regular radio play, and the great fans who are always grooving along at our shows.
Can you name a few other Calgary band’s for us to check out?
Meadow Drive, Heira, and Fever Feel are some great local groups!
Who’s your favourite horn band?
Between us all we are big fans of No BS Brass, and we’re thrilled to have opened for the Dirty Catfish Brass Band. Also check out Five Alarm Funk and the Diablo Swing Orchestra.
What were some of your highlights of 2018?
– Recording and releasing our first album, First Time Full Time
– Performing at the UofC Student Union’s end of year celebration, Bermuda Shorts Day (BSD)
– Performing on a beach at FozzyFest in BC
What does Long Time No Time have planned for 2019?
– We have our recording dates booked for album #2
– A follow up to our Hellephant success with another music video project
– The Hellephant music video will be screened at the Calgary Comic Expo on April 26
– We will be performing and touring more as our repertoire grows, with one highlight being an upcoming gig in Banff at the Rose and Crown, July 2-3
– We are working on forming some collaborations with other artists, particularly visual artists and dancers (hit us up!)