Members: Clark Crawford & Theo Spanos
Theo Spanos and I were introduced to one another by a mutual friend, Chad Crume, sometime in 1993. I took my bass over to his apartment and we played around a bit. I knew he was special when I saw he had an electronic drum kit, played mainly with brushes, and was a huge fan of Kevin Haskins.
Theo was originally slated to be a member of Roman Candle, and we wrote and recorded a song with him, “Pleasant & 7” (it can be heard on The Complete Discography Volume 2), before Theo made the admirable decision to focus on his studies. We remained friends and continued to see one another socially throughout the entire time I was in Roman Candle.
After my first year at Southwest Texas State University, I came home for the summer and Theo and I began hanging out again. Our friends, Chad and Joe, were spending their summer creating an interactive CD-ROM art project in Macromedia’s Director. They were doing this under the name BLiCK. They were looking for some unusual pieces of music to go along with the visuals, so Theo and I agreed to provide the music and to do so under the name FLiCK.
We started working together in my bedroom at my parents’ house and cranked out quite a bit of interesting material in a matter of weeks. We played the pieces for Chad and Joe, and they loved them. Unfortunately, they never got around to doing the art end of the project so before long, Theo and I gave up on BLiCK. We were having so much fun working together, we decided to continue on with FLiCK.
We spent the better part of 1997 writing material and working on the eponymous album which we recorded “after hours” at the Fire Station Studio. We also played a number shows in various clubs around Austin.
Near the end of 1997, I started going through one of my control freak periods, and I am afraid that the last 6 months of FLiCK were not particularly enjoyable for Theo. We disbanded sometime in early 1998, but still remain friends and collaborated several times after that. Hopefully, we’ll do so again in the future.
3 (1996 & 2000)
The first 12 tracks are selections from the many rehearsal sessions at my apartment in San Marcos. Sometimes we were working out songs for a show or a recording, sometimes we were jamming and coming up with ideas, and sometimes we were just goofing around. Examples of each are represented here.
By 2000, I was married and living in Austin, and Theo had been up in the Seattle, WA area for a while. He came home for a quick visit and while he was here, we worked on a few things together. We started off with some drum material we had recorded back in 1999 when we were both living in Houston.
As far as how these tracks were composed, the techniques used were nearly identical to the ones used back in the summer of 1996. Lots of surrealist games and what not. We would typically start with an idea then Theo would dictate a set of parameters or a somewhat restricted path for me to pursue while fleshing things out.
“Clish” was based on a poem Theo had written that we each read over a bass and drum groove. One of us added some layers of short-wave radio noise.
I do not remember much about how we wrote “Vacuum Boom” only that we did it very rapidly.
The final track, “Blur The 70s In 45 Seconds,” was interesting in that when it was time for Theo to leave, all we had was the vibraphone line recorded. Theo came up with an interesting idea and wrote down a series of cryptic instructions for me to follow in order to complete the track in his absence. I wrapped things up the following day based on his cues.
This album was completed in late 1997. The recordings were made with two Alesis ADAT digital tape machines in Studio B at the Fire Station Studio.
“Online Me” was one of the first tracks I wrote after acquiring some decent electronic equipment and later became a FLiCK track. This version is much cleaner than the demo and features some excellent auxiliary percussion performed by Theo.
“Girls Fighting” was written one afternoon while Theo and I were screwing around with ReBirth. We recorded some TR-808 patterns and then pulled them into Sound Forge and created the 22/4 phrase that forms the foundation of the track. I added some synth parts and Theo played an acoustic beat along with the electronic one to give it a more organic feel. This track was later remixed as “Girls ‘98” for mr. Harten’s The T*A*S Boobie Joint.
“Broken” was the closest sounding thing to an early FLiCK work on the album, and was restructured in the studio while we were mixing the album. It starts off with Theo going nuts on a completely distorted drum set, followed by a long sample from the film “Repo Man”. Before long, it launches into the last half of the actual track.
“Circular” was essentially a reworked live version of “Circle” (it can be heard on Bedroom Music), Theo’s girlfriend at the time, Katherine, played cello on the recording. In my opinion, this track has aged particularly well.
When I first wrote the swelling synth bass line for “Dark Clouds Approaching,” I immediately thought of a huge storm rolling in. It just had a very ominous sound. I ended up renting a bunch of tornado videos and pulled a ton of samples from them to layer throughout the track. A somewhat creepy side note... I was driving around San Marcos on the evening of May 27, 1997, listening to a rough mix of this in my truck, and I remember there being large storm clouds all around me. The music fit the scene perfectly. When I got home and went inside, I turned on the TV to see news reports of the F5 tornado that had just rolled through Jarrell, Texas, killing 27 people.
I wrote “Exit #2” one evening at my parents’ house and although Theo did not actively contribute on the initial composition, his influence was present in the odd-meter rhythms I used.
“Open-Ended” was born out of a rehearsal session one day at my apartment in San Marcos. I love the swelling cymbal played with mallets that builds over the first minute and thirty seconds of this track.
The version of “A Dark Ride” on this album is simply a better recording of the original demo with little if any structural changes. Probably my favorite FLiCK track, the music fits so well with the sample from the Coen Brothers’ “Miller’s Crossing.” There is also some great understated syncopation from Theo on the drums.
Bedroom Music (1996-1997)
The first five tracks on this disc are the original works we recorded for the BLiCK/FLiCK project.
“Circle” was the first of these recordings. The core of the track is a beat Theo played on his drum kit that we pulled into Sound Forge and edited into a 22/8 phrase. We then took turns adding various synth, piano, and percussion parts to it. This was later re-recorded as “Circular” (it can be heard on FLiCK).
For “Overload Improv,” we simply took turns adding random elements to the mix until we hit a certain point and called it done. Theo was a big fan of the surrealist movement and our recordings were heavily influenced by their methods.
“Timepiece” started out with a marimba pattern played by Theo on his electronic drum kit. Next, I added some organ and processed choir elements. To wrap things up, Theo added some electronic percussion.
A little more direct in its approach, “7 Meals” began as a synth pattern played through the Novation Bass Station Rack running through a fuzz pedal and Theo’s drum beat. It was Theo’s idea to unplug the pedal mid-song and add a phaser pedal to the chain. One funny note about that... the first time we played this track for Chad and Joe, we were driving down MoPac in Joe's brand new car. When the synth was unplugged creating the distorted static noise, Joe freaked out and thought we blew his speaker system. We kept saying, “No, that’s part of the track,” but he was completely convinced we destroyed his new car.
“Dark Ride (Demo)” began as a bass and drum jam we came up with one afternoon and marked our transition from fairly experimental to more traditional works. This track was also re-recorded the following year for the FLiCK album.
“The City” was the first track we recorded after breaking off from BLiCK. The first three minutes are all Theo playing his drum kit using a custom bank of samples we created just for this composition. After that, I come in with the Roland Juno-106 as Theo continues to add sparse samples. Then, around (05:20), I start to bring in a couple of loops and a dense mix of noise ensues.
The last 6 tracks on this CD were recorded live at The Whitis House on April 12, 1997. In addition to a number of FLiCK standards, the set included an early version of the Sanchez track, “Shaken Baked” (at the time called” Shake”) and a FLiCK-style cover of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” with us manipulating the drums via a delay pedal in much the same way that Bauhaus did on the original.