In the mid 90's, when I started going to underground shows around LA, Uphill Gardeners was one of my favorites. The ultimate no-wave band, almost to the point of absurdity. The compositions sometimes seemed so counter-intuitive that (as question 2 below shows) I believed someone when they told me Uphill Gardeners were trying to mock the listener. Nevertheless, I still loved it and since everything was still so well put together it was still impressive and messmerizing.
Now, about a decade later, olFactory (the label run by The Smell) is putting out an album of all of Uphill Gardeners unreleased material. Don't miss out when this happens! Links below!
1. It has been about a decade since Uphill Gardeners was a band. What was your reaction going back and hearing these recordings now?
The absolute number one thing about hearing those songs again or for the first time ever(!) in some cases, was just how amazing an engineer Tom Grimley was. It sounds exactly like it did in the room when we were recording the songs. I wish he was still recording bands. Also, we were really fortunate to have Nigel as our drummer\keyboardist. His playing was so fucking good. I really enjoyed revisting those songs. I don't know how we even did some of things we did, especially Jarrett's parts, He could get so many different types of sounds from his guitars or synth. I could have used the Boss PS-3 a little less, i think.
2. I was once told that Uphill Gardeners was a total put-on. Fake-no-wave. Any truth to this?
Not true at all. A love of No Wave was probably the thing that Jarrett and i most connected on. In the 90's, those records were really hard to come by and each time he, Jim Smith, or i would get a new one, it was a big deal and we would trade tapes of that stuff. We were all also really into Aphex Twin, Wu Tang, and Krautrock. But no, not a put on at all. We were all very serious about our arrangements and music but without being academic serious chin stroker dudes about it.
3. What was playing in LA in the mid 90s like compared to now?
It's actually really similar to present day LA, their are a lot of cool all ages venues happening now like there were back then and also lots of really great, diverse bands doing shows together.
4. What other mid 90s LA acts do you think deserve renewed recognition?
Solid Eye, Slug, Polar Goldie Cats (before i was in the band, that's how Jarret and i met btw- at a Polar Goldie Cats show), Nels Cline Trio, Crib, and early Los Cincos.
5. What is everyone from Uphill Gardeners up to now? Please share any relevant links as well!
Jarrett went on to form Young People, Sound of the Soil, Skull Skull, and play in Liars. I think now he is concentrating on his solo compositions.
Nigel joined Godzik Pink after we broke up, and now does electronic music under the name Dougnut.
After we split, i joined Polar Goldie Cats and also the For Carnation. i play solo and with a bunch of other folks as well and record\produce bands.