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Escape Velocity

Down To Earth Memory Tapes Not Desperate For Attention
Kev Kharas , September 23rd, 2009 06:31

For the best part of a year the assorted hacks of the blog underworld scratched their heads and rubbed their bellies as they pondered the human behind, first of all, Weird Tapes and Memory Cassette and then Memory Tapes, the apparent marriage of the two former identities. Anonymity is anything but a barrier to hype – see Burial, Zomby and Blank Dogs for recent proof of that – and all three of those IDs would surely have gone dog-eared with fingering had it not been for the sheer gossamer of their pop; Memory Tapes’ debut album Seek Magic synthed and nostalgic for a time that would have been lost to all were it not for its preservation in the endlessly déjà vu-ing bubble-world of a well-known but often badly-remembered joke (The Seventies, Eighties and Nineties walked into a bar and…) Anyway, the upshot of all this spectral kiss-chasing is that Pitchfork dug up “28-year-old stay-at-home dad” Dayve Hawk, a man resident to southern New Jersey with a stray ‘y’ in his name. Why? Who knows. If Dayve’s been snared by the music press, then his music has not – glow-fi? Chill-wave? Wave-gaze? Dream-pop? All almost. Evasive? Gloom-drunk? Post-generic? Yes.

Are you a shy man?

I don't know if shy is the right word. I just think I'm not desperate for attention.

Can you remember what the first tape you bought was?

Probably ‘Freeze Frame’ by J Geils Band... I kind of remember getting that at K-Mart with my earnings from weeding the driveway cause it had a weird cover.

You know all those unravelled spools of tape you see laying around the street? I heard the other day that they contain the recorded curses of witches and that the witches wrap them around cars in the hope that those cars will crash. That's why you see so many apparently.

Sounds like I need to re-spool the next tape I see on the street and have a listen.

You've said in other interviews that you don't drive or have a mobile phone - so how did you end up as the latest darling of the ‘blog world?

Well you don't have to call ‘blogs and they don't have drive-thrus so it works well for me. The one bad thing is that despite avoiding college I sometimes still feel like I ended up with a desk job sitting in front of a computer.

Who does you artwork? I remember stumbling across the Memory Cassette MySpace page sometime last year and the images on there have been lodged in my brains ever since. They’re fantastic.

Most of it is done by my friend Scott Eastwood. The cover for Seek Magic is by a painter named Tomory Dodge. I have had good luck with generous artists.

I don't want to come over sour or pretentious, but I guess it's quite hard to root your music in anything or anywhere. Do you think of your music as existing at any particular time or place, either real or imagined? Where does it come from? Why is it here?

To me it has a definite vibe from my own life... the town where I grew up. Suburbs tucked in the woods somewhere between the city and the ocean. I would say it has more to do with my imagination than anything else though. I'm not a down-to-earth person. It's here because it's all I know how to do. Kind of a trite answer I know... but it's true.

When you're writing and recording your music do any thin lines present themselves? Are there any areas or styles or sounds that you back away from?

No. I think it's a shame that people get so hung up on ‘sounds’. Everything will be out of fashion at some point as everything will be in again. Why wait? Who cares?

Do you pay much mind to notions of 'genre'?

No. These are all ideas that people dream up to make things easier to describe to one-another. It's lazy. I don't think anything needs a clear definition.

If you could do anything you wanted for 24 hours, what would you do?

Have sex… I mean write songs… I mean play with my daughter…

Would you be able to pinpoint any key influences or inspirations upon your sound?

The Beatles?

What was it like sitting in the virtual 'shadows' looking on while people fell in love with what you were doing?

If anyone fell in love with me I don't think I was looking on as it happened. I've just been keeping my head down trying to get records done.

Do you have any other aliases we don't know about?

If I do it will stay that way.

Any plans to play live at all?