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Tim Gane of Stereolab

Simplicity Equals Complexity

Four years after their last LP, Stereolab is back with Chemical Chords, a nod to 60s pop arrangements with layered horns, strings and vibrato guitar providing the backdrop for Laetitia Sadier's delicate French and English vocals. Tim Gane (guitars/keyboards) spoke with SF Station during a phone interview from the band's New York tour stop. Stereolab will perform at the Fillmore on October 21st and 22nd.

SF Station (SFS): Did you plan to make an upbeat album?

Tim Gane (TG): I had it in mind to keep the songs short and I didnít want any slow, meandering tracks. I donít always know how the tracks will come out. In general, I wanted it to be short and dense with arrangements similar to arrangements in the 60s where there was a lot going on.

SFS: What do like most about the 60s pop style?

TG: Itís not so much the music -- I like lots of music and only some of it has influences my own music. I started to think about the architecture of the arrangements that they used in the í60s and I was thinking about aping the beginning of the arrangement ideas but not the music. It was an exploration into something different that I hadnít done before.

SFS: Does that apply to the simplicity-equals-complexity approach that you have discussed in the past?

TG: Yeah, simple elements can come together in a way the makes a song the sum of all its parts. I like to control certain aspects of music and let other aspects happen by chance. I react to them as if I am a listener and not the person creating the song.

SFS: How does the album transfer to the live setting?

TG: We donít try to do the same things and we are not trying to reproduce every element of the track. We just go back to the basic, essential elements of the tracks and try to build them up in a different way using the instrument and the player that we have. Sometimes we might play some parts that were strings on the album on another instrument, or we might just change that whole part of the song completely. Itís a much harder and edgy sound than whatís on the record. Itís almost like two bands: fifty percent is what we tried to do on the record and the other half is how it is affected live.

SFS: Did you enjoy being on the other side of the interview for the article on Rhys Chatam that you wrote for the St. Petersburg Times?

TG: No, not really. It is very difficult for me to think of questions. Once I began to do it, it flowed quite well, but it took a lot longer for me to think of things to ask. I thought it would take one hour but it ended up taking five hours because I didnít want to ask anything stupid.

SFS: It wonít be a second career?

TG: No, itís too hard, but I suppose if I did it enough, it would get easier.

Stereolab performs on October 21st and 22nd at the Fillmore. Tickets are $27.50. Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm.