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The Weeds Move From Beat Poetry to Ambient Sounds

When spoken-word duo the Weeds came back from their second hiatus, they had a completely different mentality from before their first two stints, and more than a decade, as a band.

Adam Matza had always been the vocals in the group, growing up writing poetry in high school and later reading his work at a nightclub. The effect his poetry had on the crowd felt right, he says: "The whole performance aspect happened by accident."

Matza morphed his poetry into music with his first band, the Baboons. That was before he started his current act, titled after the last line in a book of poetry he wrote also called Weeds. When the band got back together last fall for the first time since 2003, the guys wanted to see where they were musically. Matza realized he didn't want to continue with poetry and the "angry element" it once had, and drummer Jim Seidel didn't want to play acoustic drums anymore.

While the duo were at the studio one night trying to write old-style Weeds music, they realized it wasn't flowing the way it once did. "This time around, neither of us was interested in doing what we had done before," Seidel says.

They started experimenting with sounds and as Matza puts it, "stumbled into ambient music."

"Truly, the Weeds has evolved into something that is spiritually what it has always been but quite different in its execution and sound," he says. "The same amount of energy, passion, and emotion goes into what we are doing, but it is vibrating on a much different level and frequency."

While Seidel had played drums his whole life, he recently sold his acoustic set, switching to electronic, and Matza started toying with synthesizers. "The electronics factor opens up huge corridors of creativity for myself, as well as Adam," he says.

In the previous two eras, the band would work out material at open mic nights, but now the band wants to step away from the stage and no longer be the focus of the scene they're playing. The new music on their upcoming release This Is Jambient has a more psychedelic feel to it with longer, improvised songs that can last up to 20 minutes.

When they started recording, the band had no intention of releasing the music. But now, Matza admits, they "dream of being spectators at their own shows," letting the crowd decide if they want the music be the dominating element at the shows they play. Instead of being center stage with spoken-word poetry, the band will improvise at its shows, searching for new sounds, blending into the background so the music is, Matza says, "complimentary to the vibe."

The guys describe it as almost the "anti-band" approach, blending into the background while performing at art galleries and installations. "Our approach is to become invisible," Seidel says, "and not be on the stage."

Check out the Weeds' Virtual Release Party on April 20 at 10 p.m. at ustream.tv/channel/weeds-jambient.

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