Is there a difference in the process studio live? Is it loops either way, or for the record, was it layering in ProTools or whatever?

I try and interact with my pedals and use them as a tool and not rely on them. I’m trying to build songs on this record. I wanted to build songs that were complete songs and not just relying on looping. What happened when I was composing them, I was composing them and getting them down in ProTools, and then figuring out how to do them live. In the studio, because I had four days in there, at Electrical, and I was doing it on tape, I found that it was a very different process. It was different from playing live in that I had to get a good take on a lot of songs from beginning to end, whereas live, you make mistakes and stuff and people don’t generally notice; it’s more about the feel.

And then also, I created all these different parts that I couldn’t play live but that I could do in the studio. Some songs on the record, like ‘Waterwalk’ and ‘Everything I Am Thinking,’ I haven’t figured out how to play those live yet. A song like ‘Too Heavy,’ that one I actually pretty much recorded in the studio like I perform it live. But some of the others I feel like I was trying to get away from relying on those pedals so much and just compose the songs.

Was that something coming off the last record you specifically wanted to change?

Yeah, I’m totally limited by my pedals. If they ever didn’t work at a show, I’d be screwed. I also wanted to see if I could go beyond them. Not rely on my effects to convey something, and not just loop. I don’t want to be someone who’s out there just looping. I find that can be very uninteresting. It can be cool, but it’s really easy for it to be monochromatic and uninteresting. I wanted to make songs that were a little more complex than that. Maybe at some point I’ll want to play with live musicians so I don’t have to step on my pedals to get that one part of the song. That’s where I was going with this album.

I don’t get ‘monochromatic’ from the record at all.

That’s good, I didn’t want it to be that way. It’s weird. It’s very odd how you see the songs and how they’re perceived. Not to judge people or music or anything, but I know that I have watched performers who play that loop, and I’m aware of their looping. Or seeing someone with a laptop on stage with a backing track and thinking, ‘Oh, that’s a backing track.’ I don’t want people to feel that way when I play. I want to feel engaged with what I’m doing and my equipment and the audience. I want all that. If I have a backing track or a part on my loop station, I want to feel like I’m interacting with it or that it makes sense as part of the song, it’s not some static thing I’m playing over. It basically is, but I’m trying not make it sound like that (laughs). If possible, I don’t know.

Are you bored of playing by yourself?

No, not at all. I love it. I really love it. I think at some point it would be really fun to play and have other people on stage with me. I think you get so much out of that. But I don’t think I’m there yet. I like the opportunities and I think it’s cool to have the chance to just be up there with myself and it feels really personal if I can communicate with the audience in that way. I really like that.

About the tour, is there any show in particular you’re looking forward to? Are there places more receptive to what you’re doing than others?

I can’t wait to play the Brooklyn show. I love [Jonathan Kane and The Reid Paley Trio] and I think that’s gonna be really fun, to share the stage with them. I can’t wait (laughs). I think their music’s the same vibe as what I’m doing and I’m really looking forward to that. I’m just looking forward to everyplace. I’ve only really toured for my stuff once before and one thing I really liked was how every city’s different. Every scene is different, all the people are different. I really enjoyed that, so I’m really looking forward to meeting the people at these clubs and playing for new people. I can’t wait to get my record out there (laughs). I feel really good about it and I’m really happy to be on this label, and I’m really looking forward to being able to sell my CD to people and have them listen to it. Every city is going to be different, and I know I can’t decide in my mind what it’s gonna be like. I’m gonna just try and do a great show and hopefully people will get it and like what I’m doing and more people will hear this record than the last one.

In Tune is due out Nov. 3 via Radium/Table Of The Elements and Helen Money will be at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn on Oct. 29. For more info, check out or

JJ Koczan knows this isn’t really “metal” in the traditional sense, but is all about mind-expansion. Give it a shot, you might like it.

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