Lake Versions: The WL Interview

Editor’s Note: We asked Bradley Davis of Fresh Snow to interview his bandmate Tim Condon’s new side project Lake Versions. We thought it would be fun. You tell us if we made the right call or not. (Edit after actually reading: we sure did.)

Purveyors of: Digital float tank headphone symphonies

File next to: Portishead, This Mortal Coil, Popul Vuh, Stereolab.

Playing: Sunday May 19th, 2019 at Arraymusic (155 Walnut Ave.) with Mary Ocher + Your Government plus Roach.
Get your tickets here!

Full disclosure: I have worked side by side with Lake Versions’ multi-instrumentalist and studio wizard Tim Condon in Fresh Snow for years now. I am quite familiar with his methods (and reactions to my methods) in that project. This interview is sort of like bumping into your partner’s new partner in the living room the weekend after you drunkenly suggested that you open up your relationship. Are they better looking than you? Sure. Are they younger than you? Most definitely. Can they satisfy them the way that you do? Probably. Am I jealous? Honestly no, I’m just glad that they are happy… but keep it down in there; I have to work in the morning. Lake Versions is Franziska Beeler (Chere Francoise), Tim Condon (Fresh Snow), and Jesse Crowe (Beliefs, Praises). Jesse and Tim were kind enough to answer my questions.

Has your approach to Lake Versions differed in any way to your approach with your other bands? Have you learned anything that will inform your processes in the future?

Jesse Crowe: When Lake Versions first started, it was very much about contributing to a project that I believed in with someone who I looked up to. Tim’s music was constantly fresh and inspiring, and every time I was asked to sing on a song, I simply couldn’t say no. I really tried to relate to the music vocally as its own entity and with a very specific emotion and timbre that I thought would suit the pieces as they were constructed. Now that we have been expanding into a writing trio, I’ve really been enjoying playing as many instruments as well as challenging what it means to be in a project with three writers. For every project I’m in, I really try to approach things as their own world and break out of the roles, tastes and genres as I would play off of with Beliefs or Praises. Like being a new character.

Tim Condon: I started Lake Versions initially to represent avenues of music that I had not approached before, but that were direct and simple pathways to emotion. This made it different to other bands I am in, in particular Fresh Snow — in my mind the music of Fresh Snow is commonly shrouded in misdirection and subterfuge. Hesitation and confusion is a wonderful outcome of Fresh Snow’s music. Lake Versions follows a different, more linear path. Trying to use different instrumentation also helps in creating characteristics that do not necessarily reference back to other projects/ bands.

How have the songs evolved from the writing/recording to the live interpretations?

JC: I feel as though the songs have become more free and less formatted. We have added harmonies and play things out of the grid. The songs breathe more within the tracks and jump out of feeling like something that’s strictly electronic.

TC: With Jess and Franziska, we have two very good musicians in the band, who are capable of playing pretty much any instrument they pick up. This has taken the music in very different directions, away from my initial direct and rudimentary playing. This has allowed the live interpretation of the songs to be quite different to the album, and the songs have taken on more of an awareness of what they will be in a live performance, rather than late night in headphones. The (forthcoming) album has hugely benefitted from contributions by Michael Olsen, Karen Ng, Laura C. Bates, Jason Allen, Erin Cousins and Bryan Bray, so trying to find ways to represent their voices has been a challenge, without relying on omission.

Follow up question: Any regrets for not working in the opposite order (live shows then recording)?

TC: Yes! 

JC: None at all. I really like being handed something that’s semi-finished and working off of someone’s set idea. I like both ways of writing and think that sometimes you create really interesting work when you’re given restrictions.

What have you found inspirational when working on Lake Versions material? (Music, art, books, film, or beyond)

JC: Art and books and film? Yuck! Okay, I’m kidding…. Hmmm… With LV specifically, I think I try to think of environment, as all three of us have the commonality of moving far away from home as a reference point. 

TC: I’ve taken inspiration from nature, and isolation/ distance with this material. I also keep coming back to the same thought with these songs; trying to create music that reminds me of who I was when I was younger; when I felt more closer to who I am/was, and less distracted/ diluted by influences/experiences/preconceptions. Trying to write music that is pure and direct, and even naive.

Are there any more remixes of other artists in the works? What is it about presenting someone else’s work in a new light that interests you?

JC: I would LOVE to do more remixes and add vocals to more people’s tracks. We don’t have anything in the works as far as I’m aware of right now, however, I’d love to remix more Toronto artists if they’re interested!

TC: You get to feel like you are in someone else’s band, even for just a period of time whilst working on it, which is exciting. To change and manipulate someone else’s music, so to represent elements of their song in your own way is very intriguing, and an honour to have that opportunity.