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Author: Subject: Interview With Timmy [2011]
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[*] posted on 5-19-2011 at 07:02 AM Interview With Timmy [2011]

ASCAP Interview With Timmy By Brianne Galli

Tim Anderson

As can be expected from a guy that goes by the name Timmy the Terror, musician Tim Anderson has his hands all over just about the music world, that is. After three full-length albums with Ima Robot, his project with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros frontman Alexander Ebert, Anderson pursued the production route, working with artists like Mickey Avalon, Dead Man’s Bones and The Goat, and releasing countless remixes. Playback caught up with the genre-bending guitarist/producer to find out when we’ll hear more from Anderson’s original group, and to see what’s in store for Timmy the Terror’s future.

How did Ima Robot get its start?

Alex and I met through a childhood friend of his who I had met while at the University of Oregon. I was engineering at a hip hop studio in Korea town called Chart Time, and the idea was for me to record Alex's band. It was Alex and Christian, who's a Magnetic Zero now. We ended up gelling and starting a new band and making a record in a week or so, the three of us locked in this little room with lots of 40 ouncers and pizza. It was amazing.

Since Alex Ebert is involved with Edward Sharpe and his own solo record, when can we expect to hear more from the band?

Well the core of the band has remained Alex and I, with Filip Nikolic, aka Turbotito (from Poolside Music amongst other things) rounding out the gang. We have developed an open door creative policy where whenever we are all free and in LA, we jam. What comes from those jams makes up pieces of records that we put out on Werewolf Heart. We have a new batch, perhaps our favorite ever, on deck to be finished whenever we all feel like getting together.

Why did the group decide to pursue separate projects? Was it a mutual agreement?

After years of touring and grinding on a major label, we all needed a break. We all love making music and are compelled to create so it was only natural that in the downtime we would pursue other things. Alex is the most prolific artist I've ever known, so his rise with Edward Sharpe was no surprise, and incredibly inspiring at that. We are all brothers and will collaborate whenever it fits, that's the only agreement.

What’s your role in the Werewolf Heart collective?

I started WHR with the guys from Dead Man's Bones as a loose collective. We at first put it together to release their first record, but quickly realized we needed help. Saying you have a label is one thing, supporting a new band on tour is another. Luckily ANTI- got it and stepped in. Then after I learned the ropes I put out our friends The Goat and the newest Ima Robot record. I've always wanted to put out records, so it has been eye opening and really fun and really hard. I will continue to build the label and put out records I feel fit the cache for a long time.

When did you first start making music? What motivated you to pursue it?

My older brother Steve was my idol. He had long hair, always wore black, and is an amazing musician and student of music. He introduced me to the world. He had a poster of Sid Vicious on his wall, right next to a Jane’s Addiction Nothing’s Shocking pull-out from the album, and it piqued my curiosity. I was obsessed.Then one day, and I remember it vividly, he sat me down in his room (where he usually never allowed me) and put on a Beatles vinyl. He played me “Rocky Raccoon,” and to this day I feel that was the start. I never looked back. I wanted to live in that world. My mind was blown. I asked for a guitar immediately and he taught me “Satisfaction.”

You co-produced the first Ima Robot album, what appeals to you most about the production aspect of making albums?

To be honest I personally only co-produced it in the sense that I sat in the studio and bugged the engineer every second of the recording. I was so obsessed with knowing how an album was made, I probably drove him crazy. The engineer - Ryan Williams, who is a god - would let me in on everything. I asked about every move, the EQ, where the mics were, I was all up in his shit. And that experience was the catalyst for my interest now.

Ima Robot really spanned a number of genres and was difficult to place in just one, do you prefer to work with musicians that do the same?

Yeah, definitely. I am really interested in how music makes you feel when it hits you in that certain way, and genre is secondary. Alex and I grew up in the classic era of hip hop and dance music, and I consider Tribe, Dr. Dre and Daft Punk to be the legends I subscribe to. Getting older you, of course, discover all eras of great music, film etc., and are inspired by that. But our generation is special in that these different genres infiltrated our hearts and that blend is what's cool. Those bands and artists are our classic rock and punk, so that's what I tend to naturally pull from.

What do you enjoy about working in the studio verses working on stage?

Touring is the best, there's nothing as fulfilling as connecting with a room full of people. We had that on lock during certain periods, but it was also mostly a struggle. Ima Robot had a bit of a confrontational element that one night united a crowd, and other nights it united them against us. It was wild. Seeing Edward Sharpe and the way they lift up an audience is pretty mind-blowing, and I respect it. I segued into the studio because at my core I am searching for the right atmosphere, mood, and tools with which I can put the sound I hear in my head onto tape. I live for that search, and the studio is where I live.

Do you have a signature sound that you try to add to the songs you produce?

I want the songs to sound like the artist, not me, though my wacky unorthodox method probably makes it sound like me. I call it the kitchen sink method, meaning that we crush our boundaries and expectations and throw every idea that comes freely from the stream of consciousness at the track. Try to let our subconscious bleed into the song so the unexpected is possible. That comes from jamming and feeling free to let intuition guide you.

What is your goal in production? What do you want to do for the artists?

I want people to get that sound that's inside of them out. The goal is to use each other to create something that feels exciting, fresh, inspiring.

Do you prefer to write on your own or collaborate with others? Why?

It depends. Some people only hear melodies and lyrics, so it's better to come to them with a track finished or almost finished. The other way is we make it together in the room, which I prefer because we all know if it's dope or not in that moment, and if it's not, we can quickly scratch it and move on. I love making something, recognizing that it sucks, and moving on! It's a skill that has taken a long time to acquire. It's so easy to dwell on something that just isn't ever going to be great all day. Waste of time!

You released your own track under the name “Timmy The Terror,” can we expect more of that?

I've released an assortment of remixes and the like using that childhood nickname, as it seems to fit my wackiest production sensibilities. I have no major ambition with this stuff, only to work with creative people and have an outlet for my own quirks and glitches. So I suppose yes, look out for more Timmy The Terror remixes and solo pieces.

What work most defines your style as a musician and producer?

The Mr. Little Jeans forthcoming record is my jam. This is where I've begun to combine all the organic and futuristic elements onto a canvas that feels contemporary and right. I loved making the Dead Man's Bones record, because those guys allowed me to help execute their vision how I saw fit.

What artists would you like to work with in the future?

The next phase of collaborations slated for WHR is exciting me. NAR, Gumshoe and Maize Ollinger. Also Kanye and Poolside.

Are you pursuing any non-music-related projects at the moment? What are they?

I have written a few screenplays over the past few years and I'm trying to get better so one day I can write my version of Purple Rain meets The Wall. The Purple Wall!

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[*] posted on 5-19-2011 at 11:11 AM

super cool, thanks!

what i'd give to hear that very first "album" the three of them recorded together...
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