Results for Jeff Mangum

interviews

Robert Schneider

For this week's feature Jim and Greg dive into the psychedelic world of Elephant 6. For those new to this crazy universe, Elephant 6 is a label and musical collective that was started by childhood friends in Ruston, Louisiana. The bands that came out of this group of music-lovers include Of Montreal, Beulah, Elf Power, with the most notable being Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, and Apples in Stereo. Jim and Greg will focus on those three Elephant 6 acts, discussing why they're so important in the rock landscape and which tracks and albums you should check out.

Sound Opinions always likes to begin any consideration of a band, label or movement with the music. Here are the three songs you sample first (you can find a list of all other song titles at the bottom of the page):

  • "Memories of Jacqueline 1906" by Olivia Tremor Control
  • "Two Headed Boy" by Neutral Milk Hotel
  • "About Your Fame" by Apples in Stereo

One of the key players in the success of the Elephant 6 Recording Company is Robert Schneider. Schneider is the chief songwriter, producer and lead singer of Apples in Stereo and co-founded the collective along with William Cullen Hart and Bill Doss of The Olivia Tremor Control and Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel. Jim and Greg wanted to find out from Schneider how so much great music came from Ruston, Louisiana. Schneider explains that because of the college music scene, he and his friends were exposed to a lot of great music. Schneider and Jeff Mangum took up music early as a way to escape mundane, small town life. Eventually all of these friends decided to start a label and call it Elephant 6.

Greg describes Schneider as the“pop craftsmen,”of the bunch and Jeff Mangum of the Neutral Milk Hotel as the“soul child.”The Olivia Tremor Control were then the trippiest. He and Jim discuss their debut release, Dusk at Cubist Castle, a double album whose subtitle,“Music from an Unrealized Film Script,”points to the music's psychedelic nature. The Olivia Tremor Control tried to capture the feeling of a live performance and made a dense album full of layers and layers of sound. This was also the case on their second album, Black Foliage, but OTC disbanded soon after that.

Next Jim and Greg discuss Neutral Milk Hotel, the band that probably has the largest fan base. In fact, Jeff Mangum holds a mythic standing among music fans that parallels only that of Kurt Cobain. Mangum went for a soulful, more stripped down approach that was moving and easily identifiable for many listeners. This is evident in the band's 1998 release In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, a concept album about tragedy, and at times, the story of Anne Frank. Mangum wanted the star of this album to be the acoustic guitar, his voice and his words. This sometimes caused conflict between the songwriter and Robert Schneider, his producer, but the result is one of the most innovative and important albums of the 1990s.

Go to episode 70
specials

The Elephant 6 Collective

The recent death of Olivia Tremor Control co-founder Bill Doss has Jim and Greg thinking about the legacy of the musical collective he was a part of: The Elephant 6 Recording Company. This week, they revisit their conversation about Elephant 6 with the collective's chief producer, Robert Schneider. For those new to this crazy universe, Elephant 6 was a label started by childhood friends from Ruston, Louisiana. The bands that came out of this group of music-lovers included some of the most beloved of the indie rock nineties: Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, and Apples in Stereo. Schneider was the chief songwriter, producer, and lead singer of Apples in Stereo. He explains how he and his friends first heard the psychedelic pop of the Beach Boys, The Beatles, and Pink Floyd hanging around Ruston's college radio station as kids. The collective's most important albums, among them The Olivia Tremor Control's Dusk at Cubist Castle and Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, bear the sonic mark of those early listening sessions.

Greg calls The Olivia Tremor Control the trippiest of the Elephant 6 groups. He and Jim discuss their debut release, Dusk at Cubist Castle, a double album whose subtitle,“Music from an Unrealized Film Script,”points to the music's psychedelic nature. Greg calls Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel the“soul child”of the collective. Jeff went for a stripped down approach that was moving and easily identifiable for many listeners. This is evident in the band's 1998 release In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, a concept album about tragedy, and at times, Anne Frank. The longest lasting of all the Elephant 6 acts is Apples in Stereo. In addition to being the collective's four-track guru, Schneider was always the“pop craftsman.”In 2007 Apples reformed and put out New Magnetic Wonder, a return to power pop form for the group, and one of their best recordings to date.

Go to episode 353
news

Music News

Following up on their 2011 music business report last week, Jim and Greg are happy to announce that vinyl album sales continue to be healthy. For the third year in a row, Abbey Roadwas the top-selling vinyl album. But nostalgia isn't the only thing pushing record sales. New artists like Mumford and Sons, Bon Iver and The Black Keys also had top selling vinyl products. Jim and Greg are pleased to know that music fans continue to have affection for this format, especially in a year when digital music sales finally topped physical ones.

Coachella, the first of the big music festivals of the season, announced its upcoming lineup. During not one, but two weekends in the California desert, attendees can see performances by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Radiohead, The Black Keys and Jeff Mangum. But they'll miss out on a reported Black Sabbath reunion due to guitarist Tony Iommi's recent cancer diagnosis.

Our last bit of news proves that when it comes to the life of a musician, not a whole lot has changed in two centuries. A letter written by composer Ludwig van Beethoven has emerged in Germany valued at over $128,000. In what the BBC describes as six pages of“scrawled corrections,”Beethoven complains about his ailments, and like many a rocker today, a lack of money.

Go to episode 320