1939 Ensemble’s experimental sound is drawn from the contrasts of textures and noise. Originally a duo of drummers, Jose Medeles and David Coniglio played drum kit and vibes interchangeably, and the essential snap of the drums and and crackling noise through effects pedals made an unsettling and strangely beautiful bed for the vibes’ warm, bell-like sound. The brief songs might unwrap a melody only to erupt into ecstatic or forboding waves before receding as abruptly as they started.

Now a quartet with Josh Thomas and Knate Carter, the group’s expanded sonic palate includes trumpet and electric guitar. They still take turns playing the vibes. We met up with the group at Revival Drum Shop in S.E. Portland, to hear them play from their upcoming release New Cinema, in a showroom full of vintage drum kits and percussion.

KMHD DJ Derek Smith spoke with 1939 Ensemble (Jose Medeles, David Coniglio, Josh Thomas and Knate Carter) about the band’s new lineup, what inspires them, and their constant push to create something new. Watch the performances above and hear/download the interview and songs in the player below.


Audio recording and mixes: Steven Kray
Interview: Derek Smith
Videographers: Nate Sjol, Drew Barrick, Jennifer Sowell
Editor: Jarratt Taylor
Executive Producer: David Christensen