Jeremy: Great! Thanks for spending some time with us.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Gemstone”?
Jeremy: It’s the last of three tracks focusing heavily on symmetry, so we knew that it was going to be a platform under which every major motive in the EP returns. So for example in that final minute you have lyrics from every song recited over the bass’s statement of Cartoons Eyes and the piano’s of Moonstone.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
Jeremy: Popular culture is so saturated in façade. It’s driving me crazy and pulling me in. So, I wanted to write the song from the perspective a character that doesn’t recognize real beauty. Discovering what that was going to sound like was a process. We wanted something quirky to back it and that modal sound from the vocal melody and piano meshed.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Jeremy: Nothing other than live stuff (as of right now). We spent months drawing 400ft of sheet music for an upcoming single. So, we are gearing up to release its video where it unwinds through the streets of Portland to uncover the notes as they sound.
The single comes off your new album GEMS – would you call this a somewhat conceptual record?
Jeremy: Yeah definitely. It’s most obviously conceptual in that each of the three songs is about a different perversion of beauty. We draw a lot of influence from classical music, wherein the organization of a piece is as important as any other aspect of it. Musically, GEMS is structured around the idea of symmetry. It’s exactly nine minutes for a reason and is all interconnected.
What’s the story behind the title?
Jeremy: A gem seemed like a nice metaphor for beauty. They’re adored by humanity across culture and time and are the kind of thing that just exists to be admired. Also, this idea of the gem in the ground vs it in a necklace lent itself nicely to the culture we find ourselves in.
How was the recording and writing process?
James: The writing and recording process are so closely related in this band. We always want our records to sound like us live, and vice versa. GEMS, however, is essentially a studio record. There were definitely some challenges finding a singular vision for each tune. I feel like when we write and perform songs well before production, the vision exposes itself in a more natural and obvious way. When you’re writing in front of a microphone there’s a lot more guessing and chances being taken. But I think both methods can result in a great recording.
How minimalistic did you choose or intend this album to be?
James: For us the complexity is in the details of the songwriting and the interplay between the instruments, not in the production techniques themselves. We wanted three simple, short, and digestible songs that could be listened to in under ten minutes. The production was very straight forward featuring an upfront vocal sound accompanied by minimal, and natural sounding instruments. We experimented with bigger, more complex sounds, but it felt unnecessary in the music.
What aspect of beauty’s perversion and obsession did you get to explore on this record?
Jeremy: Cartoon Eyes is about the monetization of something beautiful. In it the character finds a stone to be beautiful and his only thought outside of that is it’s worth. Moonstone is about one’s obsession over it, again in a kind of veneered sense. Gemstone is about the inability to identify it.
Any plans to hit the road?
Jeremy: We’re playing around the Pacific Northwest a lot.
What else is happening next in Do Ra’s world?
Jeremy: We’ve got a lot coming. This idea of symmetry is more of a period of work than one production. We’re rehearsing an LP that takes it further than this EP ever could. It’s the result three, very obsessive, years. So between that, performing, and some upcoming singles we’re staying busy!