The Float marks the first release in eleven years from former Spinanes singer Rebecca Gates, who enlisted a host of musical friends into the mix (17 by our count, collectively referred to as The Consortium) while working on the record on and off over the past few years. She joined us with the slimmed down version she’s been playing with in Portland over the past year or so: Joanna Bolme on bass, Rebecca Cole on keys and Ji Tanzer on drums.
As the vocalist and driving creative force behind The Spinanes, Rebecca Gates released three albums on Sub Pop in the 90’s— the first two (1993’s Manos and 1996’s Strand) with drummer Scott Plouff before completing 1998 swansong Arches & Aisles essentially as a solo act. The band was a college radio darling and Manos became the first record on Sub Pop to hit #1 at CMJ.
In 2001, Gates shed the Spinanes moniker and returned with Ruby Series, a slimmed down collection of smooth pop that explored some new textures with the help of John McEntire (Tortoise). From that point, however, Gates shifted her focus, turning more and more to visual art and design. Over the past decade she’s spent much of her time curating exhibitions and giving lectures, while also involving herself in artist advocacy groups like The Future of Music Coalition and The Agency League of Musicians. She didn’t abandon music entirely either, creating soundtrack scores for documentary films and lending guest spots to recordings here and there. It’s not as if she’s been doing nothing, in other words.
Finally, at long last, The Float arrived this past June, boasting several locales, studios and personnel, but hardly sounding like it has so much mileage. We talked to Gates about the history and evolution of some of the songs on the record, how it feels to have a regular band again, and just what took so long in between releases.
Audio recording/mixing: Steven Kray with technical assistance from Randy Layton
Video production: Greg Boone
Video shooters: Anthony Del Calzo / Jeremy Petersen / David Christensen
Photos: Nathan Quigley