KEXP Q&A: Timber! Artists

Timber! Outdoor Music Festival brings together musicians, scholars, outdoors folk, star enthusiasts, campers and lovers of root beer to enjoy a weekend of music and nature. To help celebrate this weekend’s wonderful outdoor music experience, we at KEXP wanted to ask some of the musicians performing at Timber! this weekend a few questions about their festival expectations, their favorite camping food, what instruments they’re bringing and more!

Alexandra Niedzialkowski of Cumulus:

If you could collaborate with any of the artists at Timber!, who would it be? 

Damien Jurado. In a heart beat. I own every one of his records, and his music was a huge part of what inspired me to be a songwriter. His voice has become a kind of comfort blanket for me when I find myself somewhere unfamiliar. The dark, calm of “And Now that I’m in Your Shadow” along with Jason Molina’s “Pyramid Electric Co.” taught me about how uplifting and powerful a sad song can be. Also, the way he can adapt to a full band with a choir or just him and his guitar, it’s amazing to watch and I love not knowing what comes next.

What’s the one thing each of you are bringing that you couldn’t live with out over the weekend? 

I’ll be bringing my journal and a pen (I always have a notebook handy) and my stuffed animal dog. I never ended up naming it for some reason, but I’ve had him since I was like 10 years old and it fits into the curve of my neck so perfectly I still take it with me on all my travels. I’m weird… I know.



Scott Teske of Seattle Rock Orchestra:

What’s going to be different about your performance at Timber compared to other shows?

My hope for our set at Timber is that it will be intimate. We’ll be using a scaled-down 15 piece chamber orchestra, and given the beautiful setting and the intimacy of the songs on Pet Sounds, we’ve got our fingers crossed that the confluence of those factors will create something really special. The last time we performed Pet Sounds was four years ago, so we’re really looking forward to revisiting that material.

What is your favorite camping food?

My favorite camping food is some hearty oatmeal in the morning, with all the customary tricks: cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins. It’s fast and easy to make, gives you a good slow-burning reserve of energy, and inexplicably tastes better when you’re camping!


Timmy Sunshine of The Comettes

What is your favorite campfire food?

That’d have to be brats over the fire with sauerkraut!!!

If you could hear one band from the lineup tell a ghost story, whom would you want?

It would have to be Charles Bradley because he has that smooth, sexy voice, of course!!!


Matt Gervais of Mikey & Matty

Do you have any memories of camping when you and your brother were kids?

Oh yeah man!!!  We got em!!!  How about the time we backpacked deep into muddy creek (it was literally called that) in Utah and stayed there for two nights, chased coyote trails, swam through deep mud puddles and had gun fights with rocks that looked like guns as the moon rose over the canyons.  We got caught in a flash flood, with enough  room to escape and wait it out, meanwhile we scared a wild turkey out of it’s hiding space and watching it squack it’s way to a new turkey safe haven. Then we played in the quicksand and let ourselves be caught in it until we were nearly waist deep. (Friends had to pull us out of it). Finally on the last day we ran out of water (it was around 100 degree heat) so we hiked back to the car where we had left a watermelon purchased from a road side fruit stand in the trunk. Somehow, through some kind of miracle, that watermelon managed to stay ice cold. Let it be said there is nothing better than ice cold watermelon when you’re dirty, sweaty, and so dehydrated you feel like you might die. It’s the only way to have a watermelon.

Are you afraid of ghost stories?

Heck yeah we’re afraid of them!  But that’s what makes them so fun!  We’ve heard stories of old uncles and aunts haunting their homes in eastern Washington, which is actually kinda more quaint and peaceful than it is scary.  The only thing better than ice cold watermelon after nearly passing out from dehydration is a good ghost story by a campfire.  Especially the ones that keep you up at night.


Ben Todd of Lonesome Shack

Is camping something you still like to do, given all your days living in your shack in Albuquerque, NM?

Yes I still love camping!  I always will.

What guitar(s) will you be brining to Timber?

I’ll probably bring my usual Teisco electric and maybe my Harmony Sovereign for an acoustic.


Julia Massey of Julia Massey and the Five Finger Discount

You’re big into star dust, what do you think about when you look up at the stars?

What I think about what I look up at the stars changes each time I gaze, but I tend to think about what a relief it is to be a tiny speck in the cosmos, and yet still able to observe it.  I also think about that scene in “The Lion King” where Pumbaa tells Timon that he thinks stars are big balls of gas burning billions of miles away and Timon thinks he’s crazy.

How does nature affect your songwriting?

When it’s harder to quiet my thinking mind, I tend to retreat to Ravenna park (it’s the closest access to “nature” that I have at the moment).  It’s in settings like that that I’m able to better listen for what music might want to come through.

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