Family Time, Part Two

<img src="" alt=" " />In Part Two of their interview, Jeff Curtin and Adam Schatz of Family Time went even further....

Family Time : Q&AIn Part Two of their interview, Jeff Curtin and Adam Schatz of Family Time went even further.  The duo talked about their upcoming Disney theme songs remake, Long Live King Richard, Pixar, their live band, all the other musical things they do, Carl Sagan vs. Daniel Faraday, Young Ben Linus, Frogurt, and all the Lost questions we could throw at them…

QRO: What were people’s reactions to the idea of music based around Lost or Carl Sagan?

AS: We didn’t tell anyone – we just did it.  We didn’t give anyone a chance to say, “That’s stupid…”

JC: But early on, in both processes, people were, I think, just a little surprised that we would even try to do both of these ideas.  It was a little shocking – well, not necessarily ‘shocking’, not something other people would think was a good idea…

AS: The ideas other people have when they’re high, and then don’t do – we do it!  And we have them all the time…

JC: That’s thing – we are the band, at this point, who’s crashed more cardboard into the stage than any other band in history.  We don’t know where it goes, after the fact, but we’ve crashed a good twenty tons of cardboard, refrigerator boxes, dressed up as airplanes.  And that’s not really obviously a good idea, but we do it…

QRO: Do you know of any other ‘recap rock’ bands?

AS: No…

JC: Harry & The Potters, they were doing sort of a ‘tribute’ thing for Harry Potter.  But we’ve come to adore each other and what we do, although the wizarding world and the Lost world don’t really overlap…

AS: Let’s just say they ‘don’t mix’…

JC: We’re talking about doing something with them, eventually.  There are some other ‘Lost bands’ out there, just like there are other ‘wizard bands’ out there.  But we’re waiting to branch into other TV shows…

QRO: Was the Season Five premiere party at Bell House the last time you’ve done the ‘just Previously On Lost’ kind of thing?

AS: Yeah.  We’re going to be doing some more – we’ve already booked the finale show that’s going to happen (QRO concert listing).  We play colleges from time to time.  Kids love it… birthday parties…

JC: I think our rowdiest show ever was at Princeton.  They built us probably the biggest cardboard plane we’d ever had.

AS: We commissioned it – and they did it!

We’re at the Kennedy Center, there early, and there are all these dudes in Secret Service outfits, and we’re using Exacto knives…

QRO: Where are you guys Long Live King Richard, your covers of classic Disney songs?

AS: Just got started, but we have got two recordings already up and online, and we’ve got a bunch of other ideas.  It’s going to be a really prolific year; we’re going to output as much material as we can.

JC: We’ve got the Robin Hood theme mixed with… it’s kind of a Robin Hood medley.  We’ve got “Inchworm”, which is a song from this musical Hans Christian Andersen, it became a jazz standard; it’s kind of a children’s song, they put it up on Sesame Street, and we’re doing our own take on it.  We’re doing a couple songs from Dumbo; we’ll have some Pinocchio, some Sleeping Beauty in there.

It’s sort of a shout-out to Stay Awake, which came out a couple years back.

AS: Another Disney tribute.


The main purpose with the Disney stuff is to connect with Pixar, so we can score one of the Pixar movies, and work with Thomas Newman

, who was just nominated [for Best Original Score, WALL-E].

QRO: Disney, Lost… even Carl Sagan made Cosmos – what is your obsession with broadcast television?

AS: Why not?…

JC: TV, the production value on it is so high that we feel like it’s becoming more than TV used to be, and so shouldn’t it inspire more than TV used to inspire?

QRO: You said, when you were in L.A., you met some of the writers of Lost – what was that like?

AS: We booked a short tour: we did San Francisco and three shows in L.A, sort of hoping to create a buzz.  The dude who makes the Lost DVD’s for ABC contacted us and was interested in meeting with us.  He brought some of the producers, and he came to one of the shows, and we partied…

QRO: But you couldn’t get on the Season Four DVD…

AS: But it will be on the Season Six DVD!  Footage of us on the ‘Special Features’ – we’re ironing out the details….

JC: We also got a guest star from the show, he played ‘Young Ben’, Sterling Beaumon, he sat in with us on a few choice numbers and really killed it.  He’s a great singer, has a lot of energy.

QRO: You guys do a lot of other things in music, outside of Family Time…

AS: I play in a lot of bands [also The Teenage Prayers, Blast Off!, Father Figures].  I also organize a concert series, I run a website for jazz in New York City… Just try to get involved in all angles.

JC: I have a studio called ‘Tree Fort Studios’.  I engineer and produce for bands; I have a new album with this band I’ve been producing for, Those Darlins – that’s gonna be coming out in May or June.  So we’re gonna be helping them get out.

Otherwise, I’m in town, working on – I do all the sound for

QRO: Jeff, what’s it like to work at

JC: I’m kind of on as a freelancer.  They have a pretty nice office, but I use my own studio to do all the sound work.  They have a bunch of editing suites.

It’s been really great.  It launched in early ’08, so it’s been going on for about a year.  I’ve gotten a chance to record and meet a lot of bands that I listen to, and always wondered about their gear, production style – how they get the sounds they get.  As an audio engineer, that’s an invaluable position to be in.  I’ve been able to bring in some of these tricks that I’ve seen out with a lot of the bands we’ve worked with into our own recordings, I pick up nice gear secrets, share secrets…

We’ve also got a new show for Pitchfork where we do live recordings strictly to four-track.  So I’ve kind of gone back to four-track, which is where we were when we were in high school.  It’s been good to get reacquainted with it.

Pitchfork’s been good at coming up with good challenges, for me at least, to try to help these bands recreate their sound, and look and sound good, and the way they want to, which is something that is hard to achieve, especially in indie music.  For example, on late shows, or late night television spots, you don’t often find the band’s true sound represented very well.  They’re just not good at it – they put reverb on it.

So it’s been cool to try to create all these sounds for them.

QRO: Did you record Champollion in your studio?

JC: We did it in a mix of our basement, which is our house studio – that’s where we do the Juan’s Basement show for Pitchfork – and then also we do it in my studio, Tree Fort, in DUMBO.

We all have ProTools set-ups in our bedrooms, so really, a lot of this stuff would be like – and this goes for all of our recording projects – we always kind of create a basic track, and e-mail it out to whoever’s going to be working on that track, and they sort of record whatever they think is good, and then sends it back, and we all compile it together.  So a lot of what we’ve kind of developed is a surprise.

QRO: Adam, what’s it like being a concert series promoter here in New York?

AS: It’s great.  I started right when I came to New York, because I was playing in a bunch of different bands who didn’t know each other, and I was like, “Why don’t you know each other?…”

Because there’s fatal flaws in the way shows are presented.  Venues want bands in and out before any other bands can play.  It’s very competitive, when it doesn’t need to be

, so I try to figure out way to make things better: three bands on stage, house band off stage, so there’s constant music going; mandatory pie session, where the bands eat baked good before the show (which I provide); free cookies for people who show up on time, so people stop being late – ‘Late Larrys’…

And then I have a jazz series, sort of founded on the same ideal, but for the flaws of jazz.  Both have been really successful.  I hear, more than anything else, just bands, who I respected and was a fan of before I ever met them, my show was the most fun they ever had.  And that’s it – that’s why we’re in bands, anyways.  If you’re in a successful, but you’re not having fun, it’s just another job…

QRO: Did you use that when you set up this residency?

AS: That’s how I met all these bands – I know the specs.

I’ve just tried to become a sort of ‘man about town’, knowing everyone who I think is awesome.  And if you’re awesome, you should work with me, and here’s why…

QRO: Jeff, when you were working on Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut, did you think they were going to blow up to the level they have?

JC: I think that, even from the beginning, we knew that it was great stuff.  So we were just kind of helping them out, because I went to school with them, we had the basement studio at the time – hadn’t built the full studio yet.  I just got started helping them track drums, basic tracking, stuff in our basement; I was overlaying percussion and stuff like that.

After they started playing a few more shows, and had this EP out, they blew everyone away with these first few shows.  And they were good to come back and finish the album, when they got signed to finish the album, at our studio.  It was a really fun time doing it.

It was funny, watching it happen.  I think, like with anything, it springs up so rapidly, it was almost too fast to get your mind around it, you know?

They’re back in our studio now, Tree Fort, recording a set of new songs for the next album.  They’re back at it; it sounded good.

You know, they jammed on some of the early Champollion stuff, early on, just to come over and try out the material.  It was fun.

QRO: Where did you find your live band?

JC: Some of the band is made up of people I live with.  We all kind of live together – Juan & I, my roommate, do this show called Juan’s Basement; we’ve been playing in bands together for years.  So we brought in some of our friends, we tried that out – and then it was fortunate to run into Adam, because he had this connection to all these NYU music kids.  So we eventually started bringing them in, and they’re all really talented, play wonderful instruments…

So it’s kind of a combination of people we live and people Adam goes to school with and works with at school.

QRO: Who do you think is the better physicist: Carl Sagan or Daniel Faraday?

JC: Well, I don’t know where Carl Sagan gets it, but I know Daniel Faraday gets it from his mom, and that I can really respect.

You know, Daniel Faraday has time-traveled – I have to say, scientifically, I have to give it to Daniel Faraday.  Because, as far as the practically application goes, he didn’t travel back in time.  And Carl Sagan, maybe he didn’t travel back in time, but he did a better job of communicating – everything Carl Sagan says is not delivered in a whisper.  When Carl Sagan delivers his thoughts on physics, astronomy, with a full voice and careful words and a lot more passion than the whisper from Faraday…

Our kind of new motto is that we live by the three C’s: Caring, Curiosity, and Carl Sagan.  And Carl’s the biggest C…

QRO: What do you think of Season Five of Lost so far?

JC: It’s got a lot of Faraday, which we were really counting on.  He’s our favorite character, that’s really official – we’d give him a trophy if we met him ever.

I think it’s been going pretty well, reliving the plane crash, Ben’s face is bloody as usual – we love that they’re bring back our favorite things about Lost.

I don’t know if we’re going to do the whole season like last time – we’re going to try to paint the season in broader strokes, maybe by doing five or six songs throughout the season.  But as good as Season Five or Six can be, we picked the best season to play songs for.

AS: Season Five blows!  I loved the premiere – the premiere was a delight.

JC: It would be better if Jack died.

We picked the season that resulted in a single album, rather than a double-album, which is near impossible.

QRO: Do you have a favorite episode?  Character?

JC: Our favorite character is Daniel Faraday.

AS: Favorite episode?  ‘The Economist’, without a doubt, for me.

JC: It’s where Sayid first break-dance kills…

QRO: I guess your least favorite character is Jack…

AS: Yeah – it’s a tie between Jack & Kate.

JC: If Jack & Kate had a child, that child would be our least-favorite…

QRO: Do you follow all the little intricacies on the show, the Easter eggs, connections, etc.?…

AS: We try to, but we’re not obsessive about it.


We have a few friends who can’t help but share with us from time to time.  Those are our best Lost friends.  And we welcome the conversation, but we don’t seek that type of thing…

AS: We don’t welcome it that much – we deal with it…

QRO: Do you ever have to deal with people who are too into Lost?

AS: Yeah – they’re call our fans; the same way they’re too into us

But we love them.  They’re the best.

QRO: Have you ever covered “You All Everybody”, or any of the other songs from the show, like “Make Your Own Kind of Music”?

AS: We’ve thought about.  We should…

JC: There’s two Driveshaft songs: there’s “You All Everybody”, and then there’s Charlie and his druggie brother were writing a power ballad that was pretty good, that we thought about finishing for them.  But we’ve never done that.

We’re into Geronimo Jackson, for sure…

AS: Love Geronimo Jackson!

QRO: Ben – bad guy or good guy?

AS: Great guy!  There’s bad guys, good guys, a great guys – he is a great guy…

QRO: Are you waiting for an outright Carl Sagan reference on Lost, so you can say you ‘called it’?

AS: It will – it’s not even waiting: everything we hinted at happening, has happened.

All I’m saying is: alien landing…

JC: When that happens, our official logo will be palm trees flying through outer space…

QRO: Are there any songs that you particularly like playing live?

JC: We have been varying our set every night [at this residency]: Champollion, the Lost album, and all the other stuff we’re doing – we’re throwing in a few covers – we have a lot of material that we’ve been developing for the last couple years as a band.  More than anything, we like to keep it new for the show.

But particular fan favorites are the way we introduce our Champollion set is with the most epic space-rock intro ever.

AS: For Lost, it’s “The Ballad of Sayid Jarrah”, “Be My Constant”, and “The Island Won’t Let You Die” – those are the big three everyone loves to play.  But they all go over great.

Family Time playing “The Island Won’t Let You Die” live @ Union Hall in Brooklyn, NY on February 24th, 2009:

QRO: Do you have a favorite tour story?

AS: Toy Story?  Two…

I don’t know… the ‘Young Ben’ thing was pretty ridiculous.  That can’t really be topped.

JC: He took us to the Guitar Center in L.A., which is the biggest Guitar Center in the world, he said.

AS: He’s so funny

JC: When we played the Kennedy Center in D.C., there was this lady who came up to us afterwards and told us that watching us was like seeing The Beatles for the first time, ever.  And that was the biggest compliment we’ve ever gotten.

AS: It was a delight…

QRO: Jack or Sawyer?

AS: Dead – they’re both dead.

JC: The answer is Sawyer, if puts on a fuckin’ shirt…

QRO: You’re more of a Neil Frogurt people…

AS: ‘Frogurt’ – name of the century, without a doubt.

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