|Photo by: Facebook.com|
Val Glenn describes herself as "an editorial nightmare" on Time and Temperature's Facebook page. But the woman behind the music is anything but. Glenn is personable, charming and genuine, with her honest and open personality carrying over into her recording style, where she insists on having complete creative control to keep her music as raw as possible.
Glenn will bring that openness to Nelsonville Music Festival this weekend with Time and Temperature's two sets. ACRN sat down with Glenn to discuss her DIY approach to music as well as her plans for the festival.
ACRN: First off, how did you get involved in music and what made you start performing?
Val Glenn: That’s funny because when people ask me that question, I feel like the answer is a lot longer than I really probably should give. I’ve always played music. I started playing guitar when I was 11. I started writing songs when I was 17 and playing them out [in public]. But as far as Time and Temperature goes ... I had left college and moved back to Columbus, which is where I’m from, and I really wanted to play and all I was doing was going out to shows and seeing bands and thinking really hard about how that was what I needed to do.
It was actually a friend of mine who I had met when I was in college who had kept in touch and I had told him--it wasn’t actually the truth at the time--but I had told him that my new band name was Time and Temperature because I had just come up with it, and I was like, “Maybe eventually I’ll actually make this into a band.” But he thought that I already had a band--this was probably in 2004 or something--he was like, “Hey, I’m playing this show at Kenyon College, do you want to open?” And I didn’t have any songs yet. So, I wrote them. I had two weeks or a month or something, and I wrote them and I played them. It was terrifying, and that’s kind of how thing’s got started, from like a bluff, you know?
ACRN: Yeah, that’s awesome. So how would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard Time and Temperature before?
VG: That is probably the hardest question that anybody ever asks me because that’s usually the thing that I try to pawn off on my friends because I never know how to actually describe my music. I mean that’s really hard for me. I don’t think that it’s folk music because I have a lot of friends who make folk music, and what I’m doing is not like that. I guess the word that I use to describe it is pretty bummer, and you should be in the mood to listen to it [laughs].
ACRN: I know you prefer to have more of a DIY style when it comes to recording and releasing your own music. Why do you prefer that?
VG: I’ve watched a lot of friends kind of ebb and flow with their, for lack of a better word, musical careers. The thing that I’ve noticed the most is that the people that I’m friends with that are in bands that are the most successful--it’s hard to be an independent musician in the sense that you’re not making pop music because not a lot of people maybe know about you, and you end up doing a lot of work for not a lot in return. I don’t consider myself to be making the kind of music that can or should be produced on a mass scale. That’s really just me kind of making that assessment for myself thinking, “Well I don’t think that what I’m doing is ever going to be incredibly popular, so I don’t really want to give my creative process over to a label who is going to make me tour for like a year and a half straight." I don’t know, it just seems like a cycle for me and the kind of music that I make that it potentially may not be the best choice, you know?
ACRN: You’re also playing Nelsonville Music Festival this year. How did you get involved in that?
VG: Well, I had friends play in the past who had nothing but wonderful, wonderful things to say about it. I kind of had noticed over the year what it was becoming, you know, that it was really changing and becoming something and attracting a larger diversity of people and a larger diversity of musical acts. This year, I just told Tim [Peacock] that I wanted to play it, and I [told] him when they were curating the festival [that] I really want to be considered. The first lineup came out and I got really nervous because it was perfect. Everybody that I could ever possibly want to see this year is playing, some of my friends were [sic] playing, it just seemed like it was perfect and so I tried to really gently let them know that I was really serious about playing and it worked.
ACRN: I know you have a more intimate live show. How do you plan on transitioning it to a festival stage?
VG: Well it’s going to be really different because Time and Temperature, for as long as I’ve been doing it, I have done all the shows by myself. But this is a good opportunity for me because I have a lot of new material that’s very different than the sound that I’ve been writing before. So a lot of the songs have more of a band sound so it makes sense in that format. It really won’t be a problem and thankfully [Peacock] gave us the opportunity to do two sets. We’re doing a plugged set and a “no electricity” set in the [no-fi] cabin. We’ll have a chance to play the newer songs for the plugged set with the band, that’s going to be something completely different, and then play the older songs, the more minimal songs in the cabin.
ACRN: Have you ever attended Nelsonville Music Festival before, even just as an audience member?
VG: No, I haven’t. This is going to be my first year. I wanted to go last year and I’ve heard a lot of really good stories about it being an amazing thing. I’m excited to be an audience member as well as being able to play this year.
ACRN: So you plan on staying after your show and enjoying the festival?
VG: Oh yeah, without a doubt. There are so many performers this year. I mean I consider it as possibly a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity to see so many people in the same place. Yeah I definitely intend on staying the whole time. I think it’s going to be amazing.
ACRN: Who are you most looking forward to see at Nelsonville?
VG: Well my friends Dark Dark Dark are playing. I’ve seen them several times over the years, but I’m excited to see them again because they changed a lot as a band creatively and I’m excited to see what kinds of things they’re going to be doing. Kurt Vile’s record that came out last year was one that I listened to a lot and so I’m excited to see him perform. Bad Brains is a really legendary punk band and myself being a black person in America--it’s hard to say because they’re not the only black punk band, but they’re the one people know the most and they’re pretty legendary, so I think it’s going to be pretty rewarding being able to see them in that setting. They’ve been around for a long time too and I really respect them.
ACRN: What other projects and events are going on for Time and Temperature?
VG: Well while we’re practicing for Nelsonville, we are going through a lot of material to make a new record and my dream is that it’ll be a double LP. It’s a lot of different songs, so we’re in the studio now working on that. Aside from making sure that everything is absolutely ready to go for this festival, [we’re] focusing on crafting the best recording that we can right now.
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