Every vacation has its own perfect moment that seems to act as your trip's euphoric climax. During our desert getaway outside Coachella a few months ago, this idyllic instance came during a session given by The Airborne Toxic Event. The sun was setting behind the mountains, providing us with the type of lighting you can't buy at the store, and with it came the LA indie/alt-rock group's brilliant performance of "The Storm" and "Timeless", from their recently released, third studio album Such Hot Blood. We're proud to say we finally appreciate the spiritual sentiment of the desert that west coasters are always harping on.
- 'Cause there's so much you can do in a studio with the arrangements, and then with a big live show, you can do it with smoke and lights and production and all that, and so when you get stripped down and just play an acoustic version of your song, it reinterprets the song and it comes to light. We've done acoustic versions of every song we've ever done, and I kind of like... We have a series of YouTube videos, one that's particularly infamous where he's driving a boat while playing the drum and I think Anna's playing mandolin and we're all just, you know. Steve and Noah I think are each on guitars and we're just kind of driving around a harbor playing our songs acoustic and yeah, that one's pretty fun. Yeah, we enjoy playing acoustic. Before it took you away I tried to think of something I could say I watched the shadows in the hall How they danced with the light and the white on the walls Your face in these pictures looks like a poem Your eyes lit up like a river stone Your body so much like a blanket thrown On a warm bed at night, like a house in a storm And then you walk right through the doorway You tell me you're here to stay The worst is gone and by God I love If you'd been here this way I surprise myself sometimes The way the days unfold and this road unwinds You tell me you see it too And the miles feel like inches when I think of you It's been 25 days since I've been gone 25 weeks since I've seen my home I spent 25 months chasing this song And all of this time I've been alone Then you walk right through the doorway You tell me you're here to stay The worst is gone and by God I love If you'd been here this way And you knew it all along I wasn't happy all along and your body all I wanted let me to just come home And then you walk right through the doorway You tell me you're here to stay The worst is gone and my God I love If you'd been here this way And I only just learned how to stand like a man I've got 25 years of running in sand How could I see with no ground at my feet What you gave to me when I was caught in the storm That I wasn't alone - The first song was "The Storm. " That was a song that Noah and I wrote together. It started with a piece of music that he did and I just thought was gorgeous, and I didn't even know what to do with it when I first heard it, I just thought it was really pretty and I wanted to make it into a song. Lyrically, I guess I wanted it to be a song about being on the road. The music had this real sense of reflection about it, so it starts in this very reflective place, and then this idea of... We've been on the road for five of the last six year and played about 800 shows or something like that at this point as a band. So, when you're on the road, you definitely feel such an incredible longing for home and I guess the song is kind of about that idea, and it's also about this idea of being seen for your struggles. You feel way less alone in your life when someone sees kind of what you've been through and identifies with it. You know it's when you get a new record , you just can't wait to get out and play it, because you spend so much time trying to get it right in the studio and you want to become Am I using that word right? - Yeah. So it's exciting to... You spend all time in your weird little head, you know, writing stuff, and then you spend time with your weird friends making it be something that you like, and then you go out and play it for the world and it's a whole other thing. And it's really, you feel really exposed. It's just like a piece of your life is being put out for, in some cases reverie, but in other cases judgement. So it's really highly highly exposing. So that's the one nerve-wracking thing about being an artist is when you have something new come out, that feeling. - As she disappeared alone in the darkness I felt her spirit stay in the room And I wished that our lives were endless 'Cause it's all so short, and I'm leaving soon I want to hold on to all of the people I lost I want to keep them with me We would never part We are, we are We are timeless, timeless Everything we have, we have Everything oh my God You are, you are The only thing that makes me feel like I can live forever, With you, my love I see how they run through the tall grass Such thoughtless minds, I wish I was thoughtless too What is this hole in my heart, that I cannot abide Just want you to stay with me tonight We are, we are We are timeless, timeless Everything we have, we have Everything oh my God You are, you are The only thing that makes me feel like I can live forever, forever With you Just help me through this moment After everything I told you How the weight of the loss feels like the weight of the sun I see their faces near me I hear their voices calling It was like their lives were over before they begun We are, we are We are timeless, timeless Everything we have, we have Everything oh my God You are, you are The only thing that makes me feel like I can live forever, forever With you We are, we are We are timeless, timeless Everything we have, we have Everything oh my God You are, you are The only thing that makes me feel like I can live forever, forever With you - It's great to play Coachella. You just feel like you're part of something that's really important in culture and music culture. There's so many bands that you're a fan of that you get to play with and participate with. It's not like playing other festivals. It's sort of like just being part of modern music or something, and so it's like your ticket to the dance. It's good. It's really amazing. Yeah, when we became a band... This is our second Coachella we've played, and I remember the first time we got invited and we were just so excited. It just, it felt like you were on TV. - It was a high water mark, for sure. - Yeah, it was great. It's really fun to play our songs on that big stage. Like, you turn up your amp, put on all the delay, turn it like way loud, and then get everything kind of echoing over the huge... We're playing on the main stage, which is a big honor. You get to fill up this whole big arena or field, I guess. - Yeah. - It's really amazing. The whole idea of writing and playing is communication and you can do that with like one or two people and you can do that with 100,000 people and it's still the same idea, you know? Coachella's like the middle of our tour, and it's crazy that this is easily our biggest tour by far, and a lot of cities we're playing to twice as many people as we've ever played before. We're not quite used to having so many people and they know the songs and they're all singing along, and there's this real sense of community. - That is the really bizarre part. I mean the EP, you know, came out, and then within days, people were singing the songs. It was just like, "Woah. " That's a trip. That's a total trip. - I think it's Daren's drumming, more than anything else, that hits-- - No, no, no-- - People are very passionate about drum fills and the lack thereof. - No, there's definitely, lyrically, there's something there to grasp to. I mean, everything that Mikel writes and sings about is like, oh man. I've been there. - But I think a lot of it's, too, if you go to the show, there's five people on stage and you know, Anna's doing her thing, she's very into the song. And Noah's just one of these rock and roll guys that brings like sort of a punk energy, I think. And then Steven-- - Steven's handsome. - He's handsome. And he's just an amazing musician and so, I think there's something about the five of us. When we played together, we all felt it, and I get the sense that that happens in the room as well. So it's good to be a part of it, and it's fun for us to be in the room.
The Airborne Toxic Event is an American indie rock band from Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. It consists of Mikel Jollett (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Steven Chen (guitar, keyboards), Noah Harmon (electric bass, upright bass, backing vocals), Daren Taylor (drums) and Anna Bulbrook (viola, keyboards, tambourine, backing vocals).
The band released its debut self-titled album in 2008 and released its follow-up album, All at Once, on April 26, 2011.
Named after a section of the book White Noise, by Don DeLillo, the group is known for its blend of rock music and orchestral arrangements, having performed frequently with the Calder Quartet, a string quartet based in Los Angeles. The group has also played concerts with the Louisville Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.