Speak, Memory band photo by Johnny Bohlen

With stylistically eclectic songs, Speak, Memory, speaks with me in this Norman Music Festival performer question and answer session. Speak, Memory will perform at the Main Street Event Center on Friday, April 27, 2018, at 1:00 am (Thursday night). After going through a line-up shuffle within the last year and a half, Speak, Memory are back in full force and at their most creative with the recruitment of Cody Fowler (current bassist for Horse Thief) and Nicholas Morgan (former drummer for the Hitt Boyz). Here are ten questions to get to know them.

1. To get people to know you, how would you describe yourself and your music?
S, M: When it comes to our music and our personalities, both share traits: unusual or obtuse at first, but easy to warm up to. Contemplative, a little dreamy. Occasionally frantic. Basically, like us.

2. What song would you like a person who hasn’t heard your music listen to first?
Tim: “Selfish” has always been a song I introduce to people first if they haven’t heard us before. It’s accessible sounding yet a fairly complex song that attracts different crowds.

Cody: “Splenetic” is a great song to dive into to get a feel for Speak, Memory. It’s quick, it’s upbeat, and overall a fun song. It makes for a good “sample” of what we’re all about.

3. What’s your song writing process?
Tim: Cody or myself will present a completed piece and once we are in the same room, we’ll workshop the ideas. We’ll break the sections up and work on it piece by piece. Everyone tries to get a feel for the structure before worrying about rhythm and melody.

4. What are your thoughts on the Norman Music Festival?
Cody: I feel that Norman Music Festival is a great way for people to experience local music in a way they never would otherwise. The festival atmosphere attracts so many more people than just a local 3-band-bill show, and I find that it is an awesome opportunity for the larger Oklahoma community to cross paths with the music community here. So many musicians get to catch up, and check each other’s music out, too. You don’t always get to see the shows you want to, and at NMF they’re all happening together, and it’s so much easier to see a bit of everyone there.

5. In general, what inspires you?
“I remember watching an interview with Dr. Dre from 1997 where he talked about having an open mind and listening to everything but emphasized certain artists and aspects he’d pay close attention to see if he could expand upon those ideas, so I’ve always followed that model.”Tim: Non-musical inspirations: The human condition (women who won’t give you the time of day gets the creative juices moving), history, a sense of solitude, spirituality, etc. Musical inspirations: We’re all over the place. There’s genres that all three of us connect with (math rock, post-hardcore, 2nd & 4th wave emo) but we branch off and listen to metal, jazz, hip-hop, electronic, etc. I remember watching an interview with Dr. Dre from 1997 where he talked about having an open mind and listening to everything but emphasized certain artists and aspects he’d pay close attention to see if he could expand upon those ideas, so I’ve always followed that model. It allows growth and spurts unique ideas.

6. You’ve just been offered an all expenses paid trip. Where would you go?
Cody: I’d like to spend more time in Sweden. I had an incredible time there, a couple of years back when another band of mine toured through there. We were only there for three days, and I really wanted to spend time getting to explore and take everything in. I’d find the same tiny bed & breakfast the band stayed at one night in the Swedish countryside, and I’d bring my wife and son and just enjoy the place like I never got to last time.

Tim: Similar to Cody, I’d like to spend more time in Lijiang in China. I spent a weekend there in the Old Town area while I visited China to fulfill a study abroad requirement in college and to this day I still think it’s probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve been fortunate to visit. There was this restaurant in town that served the best toast and eggs I’ve had anywhere. It was also my first time drinking goats milk and mmmm mmm! Yeah, it was a universal dish but that restaurant did it best. Lijiang’s also one of the few areas in China where you can drink the water from a faucet or even from the lake itself (more). Outside of Lijiang, I’d love to go to either London or Seoul. I figure I would’ve visited those places already. One day.

7. Any plans while you’re in the Norman area?
Tim: Catching up with friends and bands, for sure! I’m looking forward to seeing out of state bands like Kississippi, Snail Mail & Japanese Breakfast, as well as Oklahoma based bands like Ester Drang, Plain Speak & Traindodge.

8. What else you want the public to know about you?
S, M: We’re working on new music. Our ep “Value to Survival” (which can be purchased at speakmemoryok.bandcamp.com or streamed on whatever streaming service you have) will be four years old this coming August, so needless to say we’re long overdo! We have a couple of new tunes we will be debuting at NMF and we’re pretty proud of them. Keep up to date by following our social media accounts. We’re fairly active on them.

9. What do you think should be the Eleventh Wonder of the World?
Tim: Lijiang. Refer to #6 as to why.

10. What was the most extreme adventure you’ve had?
Tim: While visiting Beijing, I befriended a woman from France at an underground dance club near the apartment I was staying at. We connected well after talking for three hours and we met up a couple nights later at another club called Banana. Since I was the only person out of my group who was interested in going out that night, I did whatever I could to not only get to the club without a translator but also to ensure I didn’t die. I had my friend Terry write out how to get to the club for the taxi driver, and then I took a subway when I had to and ended up at my destination. It was a miracle I made it there and back because my Chinese was very limited and anything could’ve happened. The fact I gave complete strangers a chance was very daring, yet rewarding because I made friends and connected with people who had the same anxieties I did when it comes to visiting another country. It was definitely a Lost In Translation kind of moment (minus getting shot at by live B.B.’s).

Cody: The most extreme adventure I’ve ever had was getting lost in London overnight for roughly 8 hours. Without getting into too many details, I wasn’t in any condition to be wandering about on my own, but I decided to anyway, and without a working phone or GPS of any kind, I got lost. I pride myself on my sense of direction, but I was just so turned around, and the Underground had stopped running by that point. I ended up bumping into a guy who gave me directions back to the area we were staying in -I was literally on the opposite side of the city!- and I walked all the way back. I turned down a bus ride because I didn’t have any money. The Paralympics were taking place that year, and I remember they had the streets all blocked off for the opening ceremonies taking place the next day. I just followed this street south and found my way back.

The eleveth Norman Music Festival is on April 26, 27, and 28, 2018. Read more interviews from performers in the festival, present and past, here. To learn more about the festival, check out our NMF page.

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Dennis Spielman

I'm Dennis Spielman, the Producer of Uncovering Oklahoma, which I started in 2009 as a way to show that Oklahoma isn't boring. As for about myself, I’m a creative person that writes imaginative stories. I also run The Show Starts Now Studios, which is my umbrella organization for all of my shows I create. Come join me on Patreon as I create content that adds adventure and wonder to peoples' lives. More about my stories and projects are at DennisSpielman.com

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