All four members of Krononauts wear glasses. True thinkers, they pause before speaking. See, they’re worried. Outside of music, they work together. Closely. And revealing the intricacies of their jobs could have catastrophic results. They take an incredible risk in talking with an outsider like me. Any conversation misstep could alter the future dramatically.
Krononauts come from a dimension that most people wouldn’t understand. Nicolai Swamps (bass, keys, backup vocals) is the most laid back, relatively speaking. Who’s the most intense? Three-way tie. And they’ve been friends a long time, going back to “in this time zone …1996, maybe,” Swamps states with a straight face.
Strangely elusive, Leland Specter (vocals, guitar) has a dark beard and wide set, dark eyes. He explains, “We all met at the same place. Better that we don’t really talk about that. We worked in various departments. Basically, through various connections, we got promoted to field studies.”
Dead serious, he looks down and continues, “Our music is heavily inspired by science, interesting sounds and time-travel type stuff.”
Everyone else nods. All around, stone faces.
GK Crouder (drums) also has a full beard, though lighter in shade. With a low, secretive voice, he adds, “We were friends long before we made music together. We all had our own things to do with the job, with the ministry.”
Not church. The Ministry of Time Travel.
Suspicious, Crouder looks around and says, “We’re all inspired by the same things, so in every song, every person wants to have their own piece, their own little art, and when it works, it really works, and yet it’s tough, right?”
Swamps agrees, lighting a Camel. He too has a beard, though well-trimmed. With a deep voice, he says, “After the Doctor Jones band (former band home for most Krononaut members) served its purpose, some of us got assigned to different areas of our job. Leland and I were fortunate enough to be assigned to the same position, and we continued to record music until all four of us got back together in the same room again.”
“In the same room” meaning, according to the bandmates, reassigned to the same year again.
Swamps takes a slow drag, continuing. “Some of our songs are about crazy things, but some are applicable to life here. We’re talking about personal stories that we’ve experienced or perceived in our travels, and we have reservations about putting that out there sometimes, because it’s very close to us.”
Someone else lights up. The other two have quit smoking.
Specter says, “When we’re playing a song, we’re reliving a moment we’ve witnessed. All of our songs have that storytelling. We’re not just trying to rhyme. People get it, I think. We usually get pretty positive responses. But I don’t think any of us, especially because of our jobs, want to be particularly noticed.”
This goes beyond storytelling. It’s about four close friends on an adventure and, somehow, each one has to find his way back to the others. A circus ride, a time capsule that disappears and reappears and loops and loops until someone out there shuts the sucker off. Inviting, odd, spacious and playful.
Specter leans back and adds, “This is an incredibly good live band, and that’s the trouble we’ve had — capturing the sound that we have live on a recording.”
Janus Jones (keys, synth) stands out. Clean-shaven with sparkling blue, curious eyes, he smiles constantly. Although quiet as a rule, he pipes in, “When there’s a crowd there, dancing and having a good time, nothing feels better. I feed off the audience energy.”
Perhaps they’re from another dimension, but they’re all bright, well-spoken travelers. Make no mistake — behind the tight-lipped talk, there lurks a highly energetic, danceable band. Like true scientists conducting music experiments, they never talk about what they want to sound like. Instead, they feed off of a soundscape of accidents, letting parts wander, bringing it together in the end.
Specter says the greatest complement he received was this: “Someone said they couldn’t tell who was playing what. They didn’t mean that it sounded like a wall of noise, but that the parts would loop in and out of each other in a way that you would think you were listening to a keyboard, and then the next thing you know, it might be guitar.”
With their mission at stake, although the Krononauts keep their identities on the down-low, they do plan to put out a full-length recording soon. But the time frame is unclear. They try not to look too far into the future.
KRONONAUTS (www.myspace.com/doctorjones) perform at the free MidPoint Indie Summer Series this Friday at Fountain Square. Get event details here.