Currently pleasing the heat–braving souls at SXSW, Gardens & Villa meshes an '80s synth sound with that of a black metal band and a '60s-era psychedelic guitar... so one could say that their sound isn’t all too conventional. But that hasn’t held them back from garnering a whole bunch of fans.
Having just finished taking over North American soil with a tour that stretched all the way from Manhattan’s neighboring borough of Brooklyn to California’s southern lands of San Diego, the band is full of all kinds of interesting stories—ones that even date back to the days when Garden & Villa first formed. And as we talked with frontman Chris Lynch, he shared some of those tales, answered our usual five questions, and gave us a little insight as to the inspiration behind the band’s newest album ‘Dunes.’
Read on below, and make sure to check out their remainig tour schedule HERE:
Do you mind talking a bit about the band. How did you guys initially get started?
Well, me, Adam, and Levi met in college and started to play together. We started a garage band, slacking on all our studies [laughs]. We all just wanted to do music. But that band broke up. So I left and went on a hitchhiking trip and went up to Portland and Seattle and I noticed a bunch of gardening movements. After 6 months, I returned to Santa Barbra and was like lets rip out the whole yard and make a garden. So the next day we ripped out the yard. Then everyone started joining in and we got chickens and it started blossoming. We decided to name the band after that and we lived on Villa street, so we named the band Gardens and Villa.
At first it was a lot more acoustic/folky sounding, then we got really into 80's music overnight. Adam was really into synthesizers.
Do you still have your garden?
No, we had to move out of that place unfortunately to go on tour. Now it's two and a half years later and we've found out what everything else is.
Where did you get your inspiration for this album? What was the driving force behind this one compared to the first one?
This album is a bit more melancholy and sentimental. The first one we were kind of dreamers because we had no idea what the music industry was, we had never even been to NY. A lot of the songs we actually began to be write and sketch while we were out on the road for our first tour.
Do you have any crazy stories from that tour?
[Laughs] Yeah, one comes to mind. We went to a Wendy's drive-thru and ordered $19 worth a food, and as the lady is handing us our food we noticed this shadow coming up on the van. Then she starts screaming “he's got a gun” and she slams the window and ducks! This guy was creeping up with a gun! Dusty was driving so he just floors it over the curb and we fly out into the street and landed on a train track when a train happen to be coming… so he had to floor it again! Then we were out $19 and were contemplating going back to get our food [laughs]. We didn’t end up going back though.
Where did the name 'Dunes' come from?
A lot of the song titles and themes have come from outside. We went to Michigan to record our album and we wanted to do it there because it has a post apocalyptic feel in the winter. It seemed like the perfect place. We were completely isolated and couldn't really leave because it was snowing the whole time. We were totally taken out of our comfort zone. The experience got super crazy at points and forced us to just dive into this world. Right outside the studio there were these giant Dunes of Ice. So one day we left the studio and ended up going to these sand dunes on lake Michigan that completely blew our minds. It felt like the California coast except frozen. These sand dunes were hundreds of feet tall and we just ran around for 7 hours with a sled and just surfing on the sand. We just felt like kids, just playful adventure times. We have a bunch of footage of it.
Now on to the five questions. What was the first car you had?
A 1991 Dodge Caravan.
What was your favorite cartoon or TV show growing up?
"Dino Rider," definitely.
Do you have any best or worst advice you were given?
The best advice? Ginger Tea...this old Chinese woman told me, "Everyone smokes and nobody dies because of ginger tea." It's the secret.
What posters did you have on your wall in high school?
Refused- The shape of punk to come, NOFX, and a bunch of surf posters.
What was the first album you bought?
It was Oasis. I really wanted to get Offspring but my dad wouldn't let me.
Cool, man. Anything else you want to add to in?
Yeah. I think the album represents us from a time period. We hope it can take people to another place when they listen to it.