Interview: Coffee and Conversation with Inconsistent

LAURA ELLEN BRANDJORD | Photo Courtesy

The third and final day of the New Direction Fest was a bittersweet time. There were still plenty of great bands yet to play, but it also signaled the end of the fest until next year.

Before Minneapolis band Inconsistent took the stage for the first time with new addition Maddie Spall, they took the time for some musical conversation at Atomic Coffee.

It also made me decide that maybe coffee shops should be my new place for interviews. I mean, coffee and talking about music are two of my favorite things; why not combine them? So, shout out to Inconsistent for suggesting the meeting place.

Inconsistent came into being when lead singer and guitarist Isaac Luedtke decided to start a side project from his band Unturned. He took fellow bandmates, drummer Sam Kuchera and bassist James Goranson, along for the ride. Goranson said, “The three of us were, for like a year, just hanging out and writing music. Then we released an EP and started practicing with Maddie.”

Growing up in the DIY scene of Minnesota’s Twin Cities, the four members have the good fortune of entering into a very supportive collective. Luedtke admitted, “It is really great to live in a place where there are a few gigs a week.”

Goranson and Kuchera also gave a lot of credit to fellow Minneapolis band Household for fostering the blossoming of the scene. Kuchera referenced the impact of the “Household House” venue set up by the band, stating, “I really think the peak was when everyone was going to the shows. Like, there was literally always so many people in that house whenever there was a show.” Goranson added, “Household really gathered together a whole group of people and showed people kindness and everyone kind of just loved it.”

The band hopes to finish up their first full-length album over the summer, but as they are all in other bands, they are usually pretty occupied with one band or the other. Spall spoke on the band’s work ethic stating, “One thing I really appreciate about this band is I feel like we use our time wisely. We are all in other bands, but when we practice we practice HARD.”

Laura Ellen Brandjord (LEB): I find your lyrics very relatable. Even something like ‘Ten Month Tea Break’ I find resonates with me even though the line ‘I’m moving out by the time I turn eighteen’ is clearly based in high school. What are your thoughts on how your music relates to a broad swath of people from high school to mid-twenties college students trying to figure life out?  

Isaac Luedtke (IL): I think that the thing about writing lyrics for me is I don’t think about anyone hearing them beyond these people and like my mom. So being relatable isn’t really anything that I’m concerned about. I’m just trying to write something I feel and however that comes out, whatever rhymes I use or whatever else goes into it. But it’s cool to hear that people relate to that. It’s so easy to feel like you’re alone and feel s—-y. It’s like cool to know that that is what other people are going through too.

LEB: Many of your songs deal with topics of mental health and feelings of ‘otherness.’ Is this based on personal experience or done in a conscious effort to bring awareness to the issue?

IL: Well, I mean, like it is something I deal with on the daily. So, it’s constantly on my mind and something I think about when I’m writing. It (writing) is really an outlet for me.

LEB: What is your songwriting process like? Are the lyrics written up first and then the song is jammed out, or how does it happen?

IL: Well, almost always I’ll write a whole song and bring it in and be like, “This is how it goes.” And then from there we’ll change it up, switch textures around.

Sam Kuchera (SK): It’s like you (Isaac) bring in the whole idea and we like switch it to make it unique to each person.

James Goranson (JG): It’s never at any point like Isaac telling us what to do. It’s like, “Here, I wrote this,” and we all figure it out around that.

Maddie Spall (MS): It’s like Isaac is the eggs and flour of the cake and we are like, you know, the other stuff.

IL: Like the frosting.

MS: Yeah and maybe some flavoring and the drums. You can’t make a cake without drums.

LEB: I like to end my interviews by getting your answers on some ‘fun questions.’ They may take a little while for you to decide on an answer, but they are usually pretty interesting and entertaining. So first off, what is one band you would save from breaking up?

SK: I already know. I’d bring back My Chemical Romance. Like, right now, because that was just one of the bands I listened to a lot. I mean, I still listen to them.

IL:  I would definitely bring back Molly’s Worst Nightmare.

JG: Oh damn, that’s it. That’s the best answer. You win.

IL: They shouldn’t have broken up. They were too good.

MS: Dude, I’d say Nirvana. It’s stupid and definitely cliché but they riff. I’d love to see Nirvana just once.

JG: It would be interesting to see where they would have gone past “In Utero.”

MS: Like, would they have become a stadium band?

LEB: What is one piece of gear you cannot live/play without?

SK: Well, I guess if I were to take one thing with me I’d take my cymbals. You can kinda use any other everything else like when you are gear sharing, but you’ve got to have your own cymbals.

JG: I’d say my tuner just because since we started this band, so much of my equipment has been switched in or out. I’m constantly upgrading, but I’ve always had the same one tuner. So, I’d be pretty bummed if that was gone.

MS: I’d have to say my guitar. It’s important. I feel like worst-case scenario, I could plug into someone else’s amp and turn up the gain and make it sound cool. But I can’t play someone else’s guitar. It’s like riding someone else’s skateboard; it just feels weird.

IL: I’d say my amp in general. I love my amp. I didn’t think I liked it for a while, but I’ve played through a couple different amps now that I haven’t liked as much. That Marshall JCM-900 50 watt with reverb. I bought it off of Craigslist. The rest of my gear is just OK.

LEB: Any dream gear still on your wishlist?

MS: Dude, OK, there is this really pretty guitar. I want a Fender Mustang with matching headstock REALLY bad. Like seafoam green or something. My guitar is busted, like kinda bad. So anything would do it because I’ve got a really good amp right now and my pedals are pretty decent. A new guitar is definitely the next step.

JG: I’d say my ideal rig would be a Fender American Professional P bass through an Earthquaker Dunes through the Aguilar Tone Hammer and then into probably a Fender Bassman 500 and into like some kind of 610 or 612 would be sick. Everything I don’t currently have.

IL: I struggle with guitars a lot. I like humbucker pickups, but a lot of guitars that look cool don’t have humbuckers in my opinion. So, I’m still looking for the perfect guitar. I really want a chorus pedal because I think chorus is a neat effect. I only brought two pedals on my board right now — just a drive and a reverb, so more pedals would be nice.

SK: I think the next thing I want to upgrade is basically all the small stuff. So like new stands and the little stuff that I literally won’t think about until it breaks. I don’t know; I like my drum set and my cymbals.

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