Summerduck speaks in movements, huge cataclysmic swells that rise and fall like the fate of nations. The architect behind these structures is Farhad Ebrahimi who’s attention to detail is uncanny and who’s ear seems to be attuned to the earth’s process of regeneration.
On the debut EP, Good Luck Summerduck (available for free at Summerduck.net), this four-piece builds sonic monuments wherein every nuance and detail informs the whole of the idea without wasting a note in the process. This is an epic sound that engulfs the listener in waves of feedback until the shore becomes an afterthought and the struggle to stay afloat transforms into a dance with the dark depths of nature.
Q&A w/ Farhad Ebrahimi guitar/vocals for Summerduck
Q: When did you first start thinking about forming the band that would become Summerduck? and what is the story behind the selection of your band mates for this project?
A: The initial inspiration for Summerduck was in my listening to a bunch of early Harvey Milk (especially the first two full lengths) and late Polaris Mine (everything after Greg Moss joined the band) in late 2005 and early 2006. I was really taken by the concept of using heavy guitars in sparse, pretty arrangements–especially when the accompanying vocals were unaffected and melodic rather than aggressive or abrasive or whatever.
The idea nagged me for the better part of a year, and I eventually started writing some of my own stuff along those lines. But! I had reservations about asking anybody to form a band until I’d been able to demo some finished songs and gauge people’s reaction to them, which didn’t happen until May of 2007. I wasn’t sure if I was up to the task of composing and arranging this kind of music all by myself–let alone leading my own band–so I wanted to make sure I took things one step at a time.
Greg Moss was one of the first people who responded favorably to the demos, which was really exciting for me since he’d been such a big part of what inspired me to make them in the first place. He is (in my opinion) the best heavy bass player in Boston, and he has a tremendous ability to take the rough bass parts I write and make them totally awesome by adding what I can only refer to as “special Greg notes.”
Nate Mcdermott was also one the early responders who showed interest in helping play these songs with a full band. Originally we thought that he’d only be able to sit in for a show or two, but thankfully everybody’s schedule has worked out, and he’s become our regular second guitarist. It’s really awesome working with Nate because he’s such a quick study. He even knows my vocal lines better than I do.
Michael Hutcherson was recruited a little later on, and we sought him out because we needed a super awesome drummer who was able and willing to deal with my ridiculous arrangements and the excessive volume of our guitar setups. It’s worth noting that Michael is just as much an architect of Summerduck’s guitar tone as any of the guitarists. I’m even told that he sketches stacks of amplifier cabinets in the same way that a filmmaker might storyboard a film.
Q: Just this past week in an article written about Summerduck in the Boston Phoenix, it was stated that you question the ethics of touring around the country in a van selling cd’s. Can you extrapolate on this statement some more?
A: Sure! I’ve been trying to be more and more mindful of my resource consumption patterns over the last five years, and tour (or rather the associated burning of gasoline) is one of those things that can be a bit difficult to justify. I’m not 100% opposed to touring by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve definitely reached a point in my life where I’m no longer inclined to seek it out. It’s also a very easy decision for Summerduck, as we don’t really have the scheduling flexibility to tour at this point anyhow.
Recordings on physical media are a similar subject, I think. I love a pretty piece of vinyl in a nice sleeve just as much as the next person, but I’m also a pragmatist when it comes to purely digital distribution (i.e. MP3s or AIFFs or whatever made available online). What’s important to me is that people can easily listen to what we’ve recorded, and if that can be done without bringing any more plastics and paper goods into the world then I think it’s worth asking ourselves what would have been gained by manufacturing a physical object. That being said, I have burned a bunch of CDRs of Good Luck, Summerduck, as it’s nice to be able to give people something other than a URL at shows.
Q: What is the most flattering/sickening musician/band comparisons you have received from fans, friends, family, press etc…?
A: I was definitely psyched after our first show when a couple people said my vocals sounded like Scott Walker, and obviously I’m always psyched when anybody hears the Harvey Milk/Polaris Mine influences and thinks that I’ve done them justice rather than produced something derivative (which is a near constant fear of mine as a songwriter).
My mom thought parts of Good Luck, Summerduck sounded like Alban Berg, which was cool for mother-son bonding over 20th-century classical composers if nothing else.
Nobody has said anything sickening yet (knock on wood). I guess we’ll see how inspiring we are on Tuesday night, though?
Q: What are some of you’re biggest influences when it comes to vocal style and phrasing?
A: That’s an interesting question for me to think about, because when I first started writing these songs I was really just trying to make myself sing naturally (which is still new for me). I’d written most of the vocal melodies abstractly on the guitar or in MIDI (I use MIDI sequences a lot to test harmonies and arrangements), so I was mostly just trying to get the pitches right. My original goal was more or less to treat the vocals as just another instrument that happened to convey words as well.
As I’ve gotten more comfortable singing, though, I’ve definitely started to notice my own influences. The Scott Walker thing was flattering surprise after that first show, but now it’s totally in the back of my head (for better or for worse) whenever I’m singing. David Bowie and Dave Gahan/Martin Gore from Depeche Mode figure in there somewhere, as does the John Adams opera Nixon in China and Michael Gira’s vocals in Angels of Light. Closer to home, I’ve definitely been inspired by my friends Jason Sanford (from Neptune) and Andrew States (from Badman).
Q: If you could play a show in Boston with 3 other local bands who would they be and at what Boston venue would you play?
A: Ahaha this is probably the hardest question for me, because I’m afraid that whoever I list is going to read this and think, “Oh jeez I hope we don’t have to deal with those guys.”
That being said, three Boston bands that I’d absolutely love to be able to play with at some point are Earth People Orchestra, Don’t Ever Lie to Anyone, and Reports. As for a venue, Summerduck requires a substantial sound system, which probably makes us more of a club band than a basement/guerilla venue band. With that in mind, I feel like I can never go wrong with Great Scott, as the room sounds good and the staff have been fantastically supportive of a lot of stuff I’ve been involved with in the past.
Listen to Summerduck
Tuesday, February 10th
The Middle East Upstairs
18+ 9pm $9