Timothy John Masters, Evan Michael Harfield, G Alan Busch Jr., and Ryan Pedron have all been making music for years, just not together. After moving from Gainesville, Florida to Brooklyn, New York for their own personal reasons, the four musicians reconnected in the Big Apple to experiment with new material, and thus, Conveyor was born. The avant-garde pop collective’s sound focuses on layers and textures, creating beautifully intricate songs that continue to unfold upon each listen. This summer, the quartet released a self-titled debut full-length album and spent the latter part of the summer on the road. After returning from a six-week-long tour, Masters was nice enough to chat with me about Conveyor’s beginnings, inspirations and plans for the future.
Katrina Nattress: How did you all meet?
Timothy John Masters: The four of us met while living in Gainesville, FL. There's a very dense and familial music scene there, and although the four of us didn't play together as Conveyor, we all played in different groups that often shared members and played shows together.
KN: How long have the four of you been playing music together?
TJM: We've only been playing as Conveyor for the past year and a half, although in other configurations we probably have something like 15 collective years.
KN: You’re originally from Gainesville, Florida. What made you decided to move to Brooklyn?
TJM: The four of us all moved for different reasons. Three of us are currently pursuing graduate degrees, two of us moved up to develop our professional careers, and at least one of us moved with the intention of making music.
KN: How long have you been living there?
TMJ: Michael, Evan and myself have been here for two years, Alan for three.
KN: Do you feel like it’s the right move?
TMJ: Isn't it?
KN: Would you consider relocating again?
TMJ: I think it's important to live in a number of different places. If not, how would you know whether you were missing out on something important?
KN: You self-released a number of handmade EPs before released your debut full-length. Do you feel like this helped build a fanbase for the LP?
TMJ: I really don't have an idea of how big our fanbase is, though I'm sure it's small. I think self-releasing things was a good way to start building brand recognition, but the overall goal was never to necessarily maneuver people into a position to anticipate a full-length, it was just to release music.
KN: Did already releasing material put more or less pressure on you for the full-length release?
TMJ: There is a degree of nervousness in releasing everything because of the indelible nature of the Internet. We were excited to release the full-length because it feels the most definitive of who we are as a band compared to our past releases, but then again those releases felt that way when we put them out too. In retrospect, I think I would have withheld some of our older material until it felt more developed, but then every time we're onto something new it makes the older stuff feel not as good.
KN: Your full-length possesses beautiful, rich textures. It sounds great! Take me through the recording process.
TMJ: We recorded and mixed the entire thing ourselves in a small, rented rehearsal room in Brooklyn. It's a closet of a room with a finicky A/C, and so maybe some of the more shimmery sounds on the record are a sort of hazy, sweaty manifestation of that. Our recording process is very much based on starting with basic instrumentation and then layering on top of it until sometimes even the original melodies are indiscernible, though if you listen closely we put a lot of focus on interlocking melodies and rhythms. Everything has a place. Then we sing on top of that.
KN: Do you think you’ll continue to self-produce your music, or would you like to work with an outside producer in the future?
TMJ: It would be great to work with someone else's brain in the mix.
KN: If you could work with any producer, who would it be?
TMJ: Doug Fischer.
KN: Your music has an innovative art-pop feel to it. What are your largest musical inspirations/influences?
TMJ: Personally I take a lot of inspiration from words and the way certain words sound or can be manipulated to sound, the way they look on paper or can be manipulated to look. A lot of lyrics come from nonsense sounds that eventually start to sound like nonsense phrases, and then we sing them ad nauseum until they make sense to us.
KN: What’s next for Conveyor?
TMJ: More, better songs.