(Today’s post is the third in a series of 4 posts containing original interviews with the members of chiptune rock band I Fight Dragons as they geared up for the release of their new album, “The Near Future”, due out December 9 of 2014. Interviews were conducted primarily through email, with supplemental information provided via telephone. This third post focuses on Packy Lundholm, lead guitarist and explorer of different musical styles.)
Packy doesn’t hesitate to talk about different musical influences that play into the sound of I Fight Dragons. He ventures that “Hari’s bass tones are fairly influenced by 90s bass production, whether he realizes that or not,” and can expound on John Lennon’s craft: “he had no hangups about dropping a beat from a measure here or there if it made the music flow better with the text (such as Across The Universe), or dropping particular words from a line so it would fit within the time signature even if the sentence didn’t exactly make sense (“always know sometimes think it’s me” from Strawberry Fields Forever comes to mind). I’ve definitely encouraged artists I’m performing with/producing to try throwing away the rules of time and syntax to serve the music and the message better.”
(Brian points to other influences too, such as the bass contributions found in 80s metal, guitar and drum work in Wilco, Zeus, and Rush, and the power pop sound of Fountains of Wayne.)
Packy’s love of the variety of styles music has to offer also bubbles to the forefront when he talks about his solo work, saying that he has enjoyed exploring everything from power pop to psychedelic jams to tuff dance-punk. “I would love to get more well versed at actually writing my own material within some of those styles that I don’t typically do on my own… On the other hand, I have such a great (and busy) time doing records with others that I don’t feel particularly stressed about my solo explorations and sometimes it’s nice coming home to my comfy song space,” he admits.
In talking with Packy, it becomes clear that music is, to him, much more than a profession. It’s ingrained into the structure of his life and the lives of his family. When asked about the tattoo that is visible on his shoulder in some of the photos on the band’s website, Packy will talk freely about how and why he chose to mark himself with music. “‘The Wheel’ is a Jerry Garcia/Grateful Dead song that over the years became like our family’s mantra/life philosophy. It was also my dad’s favorite song of all time, and when he passed away in 2009 my mom and brothers all got tattoos of the Dead’s own wheel logo in tribute.”
(Brian will happily discuss other tattoos that he and the other members of I Fight Dragons have been inked with over the years. Apparently Chad and former bandmate Bill Prokopow have personal IFD-inspired tattoos, Hari has a shoulder tattoo that symbolizes rebirth, and Brian himself has tattoos designed to remind himself to “zoom out” and not fixate on small details of a situation.)
Packy’s sense of adventure and exploration is not limited to soundscapes. He wishes that I Fight Dragons could tour internationally. “I want to toss out some international locations where we have awesome IFD fans that are way, way overdue for a show. Roughly speaking… England, Ireland, Argentina, Australia, Japan (okay, I don’t really know of any fans there; I just really want to go to Japan).”
On a fundamental level, Packy ascribes to a philosophy of social responsibility in harmony with personal empowerment. “We live in a time where success is often a function of how well you can establish your unique identity, confidence, and worth to the world… individual confidence is an important component of one’s worldview – then again, too much of it results in all kinds of problems, both internally and for the world as a whole.” In a band that is not overtly political, and in which it’s pretty certain that not everyone votes the same way when the ballot booth curtain comes down, Packy is subtly working to help people feel more in charge of their lives: “if our music serves to inspire people to rise up and empower themselves like they haven’t before, we’ve done our job.”