I Have Been Floated: An Oral History of the Elephant 6 Collective

[23 June 2006]

By Brian Heater

“I had more fun now than ever playing before.” Will Cullen Hart, the redheaded Olivia Tremor Control co-frontman is pouring sweat. He is seated at a table on the balcony, just after the band’s second sold-out performance at New York’s Bowery Ballroom in 2005. The night ended in a cacophony of instruments and applause and a dog pile of exhausted musicians. These were two intense nights of a short reunion tour for the band after a five-year hiatus. The break proved to only strengthen the popularity of the paisley-fueled, psychedelic pop band.

Rock and roll thrives on romanticism, and one would be hard pressed to imagine a music story with more romance than that of Elephant 6, and the genre-defining music that sprung from a group of four teenagers trading overdubbed tapes recorded on boom boxes in the bedrooms of their parents’ homes in a rural southern town. Though the phrase Elephant 6 and the names of the individual bands associated with it have been namedropped in countless music interviews, articles and reviews, no one can say for sure exactly how many Elephant 6 bands exist, because no one can say conclusively what Elephant 6 is. To some it’s a proper record label, to others it’s a nebulous collective of musicians based out of Athens, Georgia, and to others still, it will forever remain the project of those four youths in from Ruston, Louisiana.

I. 70s, 80s         Click here for artist bios

The Music Tapes

Robert Schneider: From the time we were all into heavy metal bands like Krokus in sixth grade and beyond, we were all this little group that was obsessed with music together.

Scott Spillane: Ruston is a town where it’s really hard to find… I don’t know if freaks is the right word. There were five or six or eight people that would swap records back and forth. There were no record stores in the town. You had to go 60 miles to go to a record store or do mail-order.

Will Cullen Hart: There was a group of us that gelled together, because we didn’t want to be in Whitesnake.

Robert Schneider: I met Jeff Mangum in second grade in Ruston, Louisiana. I had just moved there. I was from South Africa. The first day of school, Jeff came up to me with a Wiffle Ball bat, asking me if I wanted to play. I freaked out and thought he was going to hit me with the bat. He said, “No, I’m not,” and I said, “Yes, you are,” so I turned around and ran away, and he started chasing me with the bat raised above his head. He chased me all around the playground.

Will Cullen Hart: I met Jeff because he wanted to play football for six months. His school didn’t have a team, so he joined the one at my school. He had really long hair for Ruston at the time.

Robert Schneider: I met Will Hart when Jeff and I went to see Cheap Trick when we were in sixth grade. It was my first concert. Rick Nielsen threw out a guitar pick during the show, Will and I both went for it, and I got it. After the show Jeff and I went back to his house and air-guitared to Dream Police with tennis rackets.

Will Cullen Hart: Schneider was a good guitar player; I was always bragging because I couldn’t play at all.

Robert Schneider: Will and I took an algebra class to prepare us for high school, and some girl came up to me and said, “Oh, you play guitar,” and Will chimed in and said, “I can blow him out the fucking window.” We started getting to be better friends in middle school. We started loosely writing songs, and Jeff started taking drum lessons, and I took guitar lessons.

Will Cullen Hart: Jeff and I wanted to play riffs in his basement, but we couldn’t, so we decided that we were going to be in a punk band, but we didn’t know what that was besides being crude, so we’d just say, “We hate your mom.” Robert would show us how to do chords, and we were like, “You gotta just trash it, yell it.”

Robert Schneider: Jeff and Will had a band in high school called Maggot. It was a total noise band.

Laura Carter: It was this really sweet thing in the early days, when Will and Jeff and Robert would give each other tapes of these songs, and some of these songs are just god awful, terrible. They were just 13-year-old boys yelling, “Fuck your mama,” and bashing on the drums as hard as they can. It was just kids having fun, and they would fill up a whole cassette tape with this, two-track recording of just dog shit, and they put this Elephant 6 logo on it and would be like, “Hey, man, I made you an album!” They’re hysterical.

Robert Schneider: Will would record on a boom box. He would record the most insane shit. Highly experimental—beyond experimental.

Will Cullen Hart: We considered it an EP, taping over MC Hammer promotional cassingles. I would make 10 and give them to 10 people.

Laura Carter: Robert always had bigger plans. Jeff and Will said that Robert was always writing real songs, and they were just expressing themselves. Robert was a natural song craftsman right from the beginning. Both Jeff and Will stuck with it long enough that they started to catch up and write their own songs, too, but in high school, Robert was immediately putting together real songs with real structures and more than one part, where Jeff’s and Will’s songs might be a one-note, one-part song that just had to do with yelling obscenities.

Robert Schneider: Will had a dream where he woke up with the best name for a band. And he wrote it on a piece of paper in the middle of the night, and when he woke up in the morning he looked on the piece of paper and it said, “Hummingbird 19.” He was like, “Oh, man, that kind of sucks.”

Will Cullen Hart: Before that, I was writing “Amoeba Kite” on my tapes-like a string with an amoeba at the end.

Robert Schneider: Around the same time, when I asked what the name for our label was going to be, he said Elephant 6 just off the top of his head. And I said, “We’ll call it the Elephant 6 Recording Company, it sounds more fancy.” My feeling was, There are probably 20 to 50 or so kids in the whole country who might be interested in this thing. Let’s put out a bunch of cassettes. We pressed 10 copies of things at first.

Laura Carter: Eventually people started thinking that it was a real recording company.

The Bill Doss

Will Cullen Hart: Bill was a friend of Robert’s. He lived a few miles away in a little town called Dubach.

Robert Schneider: When I was a freshman in high school, I put together a band, and I saw an ad at the local guitar store, a handwritten note card that said something like Van Halen, and I fucking loved Van Halen, so I called Bill up. He wasn’t so into Van Halen anymore, but he liked the Beatles and new wave, so we got together and he was the lead singer in my band. The bass player quit, so he switched to bass, and we played like that for a few years. We had a band called Fat Planet.

Will Cullen Hart: Bill had been playing in a lot of bands up to that point. A lot of cover bands, did cover tunes of the day, like Animotion’s “Obsession.” They decided that they were going to call themselves Altered Images, and then they played a water park, and when they got there, the other band was called Altered Images.

Ross Beach: Olivia Tremor Control started with Will on guitar, Bill on bass, Jeff on drums, and all three of them sang. That was the band that emerged out of Synthetic Flying Machine, which was the three of them, and this girl named Shannon, who was Will’s girlfriend at the time. They came after Jeff and Will’s original band, Cranberry Lifecycle.

Will Cullen Hart: After three semesters at Louisiana Tech, I couldn’t pass math. I got a house, and I was like, “We can record all the time.” This to me was the essence of what it all became. We had a drum set, a couple of guitars. It was like we’re kind of a little band. I would go to the bathroom or make beans, and Doss would write half the lyrics, and then I would come back and write the other half. We ended up writing the first four Olivia Tremor Control songs like that, passing it back and forth. Spontaneous creations. In 1993 we played our first show as Olivia Tremor Control.

Robert Schneider: I moved to Denver to go to college when I was 20. I moved away from Ruston the month after I graduated high school and moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, where I went to college, and then I moved to Denver—actually I moved to Kentucky in the interim and played on a riverboat in a little R&B band. I got together with Chris Parfitt and we started the Apples—the “in Stereo” was added later, in 1995. Jim Macintire and Hilarie Sidney owned a bass and drums, and they were trying to think about learning to play, so they became the bass player and drummer for our band. About the same time, Will and Jeff were recording this incredible stuff under the name Cranberry Lifecycle. They had been recording for a year or two when they were in college. They recorded this four-track stuff, and I got their tapes and was real turned on by them.


Apples in Stereo - Signal in the Sky

Will Cullen Hart: Jeff decided to go in search of some stuff and took off for a year. He was out in Seattle, and Elephant 6 offered to put out a Neutral Milk Hotel seven-inch. He was the first to be on vinyl, which was Everything Is Beautiful Here.

Robert Schneider: Will moved to Denver, and that’s when we officially started Elephant 6. He, Hilarie, John Hill, the Apples guitarist, and Kurt Heasley of the Lilys all lived in a one-bedroom basement apartment.

Will Cullen Hart: By then we’d met Julian Koster, and he was getting something together to go on tour as Chocolate USA, and he invited Bill to come on tour to play bass. So Bill went out for a month, and he came back. By then we had saved enough to put out the first Olivia single. That’s how he met Pete and Erick.

Jeremy Barnes: I met Chocolate USA when they played Albuquerque and the band I was in opened for them. I was in high school. We hit it off really well, so then Julian called me and said, “I want you to play in this band Neutral Milk Hotel. It’s great, you’d love it. Jeff would love you.” We had a 30 minute practice, and Jeff said, “Do you want to join the band?” So I dropped out of school and moved to New York with $90. Jeff said, “My friend Scott is going to play in the band. He’s a real down-to-earth guy. He’s been living in his van for three months, working at a pizza parlor.” But Scott knew how to play trumpet and didn’t tell anybody, and Julian had a roommate who had a trumpet, and Scott started playing it, and everyone was like, What’s this?

Scott Spillane: Jeff made On Avery Island in Denver, and he wanted to tour. I was living in Austin at the time, and Jeff asked me if I wanted to go to New York. I was working as a cook in a pizza restaurant, and I got him back there to help me. The bars there all get out at two, and there’s this massive rush, so I was like, “Help me get all of these pizzas done.” After that, he was like, “Man, this sucks,” and he asked me to go to New York, so I put in two weeks notice and went to New York. I didn’t play any horns. I had played in high school and played tuba in college. I went to New York and practiced until I could play the trumpet.

Robert Schneider: The first Elephant 6 release was the Apples first EP, Tidal Wave that I recorded on four-track, and the second was Olivia Tremor Control’s first EP, California Demise.

Will Cullen Hart: We each worked at a movie theater and saved enough money to put out California Demise, the second Elephant 6 single.

Robert Schneider: Will did a lot of the artwork, we made the catalogs, we would dub off the cassettes. At first it was a little tiny cassette label and pretty soon meeting orders just stopped happening. After sending off 50 cassettes, we started to fall behind. We weren’t trying to get any level of acceptance or success. We were just saying, “Fuck you, here are our pop songs.” All we were trying to do was put some good in the world—and say fuck you.

II. 1992-1999: Going to Georgia

II. 1992-1999         Click here for artist bios

John Fernandes: Will went down to the Virgin Islands with a girl.

Will Cullen Hart: I went down there to live permanently. I brought my four-track. I still had a month to go back to Florida if I didn’t like it. The house I got didn’t work out, so I had to start sleeping on the beach. She fell in love with some bartender or some convoluted mess like that so I was like, “I’ll go back to Florida, and then I’ll go back to Ruston or something.” I landed in Florida, and then I remembered that I had a friend who lived in Athens, Georgia, from the radio station in Ruston, and I called her to see if I could hang out with her for a week or something, so she came down and picked me up. I called Jeff and was like, “This is a cool little town.”

John Fernandes: Eventually, Jeff and Bill both moved up here. They got these three cots in an attic room, and since they were sharing rent on one attic room, they barely paid anything. All they did all day was record. Just get up, get out of your cot and start recording each other’s things.

Kevin Barnes: When I first met Will, Jeff and Bill, we actually lived together, as early as 1992, and they had Elephant 6 already started. They were pressing their own copies of seven-inches and cassettes, and they put the Elephant 6 logo on it.

Andrew Rieger: I met Will and Bill at a birthday party. Elf Power had just recorded their first record on four-track, and Olivia had just done their first seven-inch, and we traded records and realized that we were both kind of doing the same thing.

Lauren Carter: The real true beginning of Elf Power was Andrew and a four-track. It was mainly a recording project, which is why we hit it off so well with the Olivias. Jeff was included in the Olivia gang at that point. Here we were in this small town, and we were four-track recorders, and the Olivia guys were four-track recorders, and neither one of us knew each other. The music wasn’t that similar, but how we spent out free time, our obsessions, were exactly the same. We would both get off of work, run home, plug in the four-track and stay up all night and blow each others’ minds with sound, or try to, and that was our recreation. So when we met Olivia, it was like, Oh, my god, I can’t believe that we lived in this same town for a year. So then we started collaborating on each others’ projects.

Jeremy Barnes: Neutral Milk Hotel lived in New York. Julian had a rent-controlled apartment. We were paying $200 for an apartment in the West Village in 1995.

Laura Carter: Andrew and I moved to New York, and because we had been friends with the Olivia guys, they were like, “You’ve got to hang out with our friend Julian Koster.” When we went up there, we contacted him and we met Jeff. But it wasn’t until we all moved back to Athens independently and I started working sound at the 40 Watt that Olivia and Neutral Milk asked me to do their sound on the road. So on the first tour, I was the sound person. By the end of the tour I was playing on four songs for the finale, running from the sound booth to the stage.

Jeremy Barnes: We didn’t have any money, so we moved to Athens because Olivia was there and it was cheap.

Scott Spillane: It was really, really cheap back then. You could find a room for $75 a month.

Will Cullen Hart: The three of us moved into a room and paid $30 a month. It works out for a while until one gets a girlfriend. I worked as a telemarketer for MADD, and Bill did the same. Jeff delivered Chinese food and was washing dishes at an Italian restaurant.

Kevin Barnes: Maybe it was just the house I was living in, there was kind of this communal situation where no one was on the lease, so people could just come in if they wanted to, pitch in for the rent and then leave when they wanted to.

Andrew Rieger: There were always a bunch of different houses that served as meeting places where people had their recordings set up.

John Fernandes: Everyone was getting together a lot, and we’d have these potlucks on Sunday. After we’d eat, we’d just go over to someone’s studio or house and start recording and working on each other’s things.

Kevin Barnes: The heyday, most of the late 1990s, everyone was involved in each others lives, and we would collaborate more, have dinners where everyone would make something. If you couldn’t cook, you would bring Dunkin’ Donuts. We’d all get together, hang out and talk about music.

Will Cullen Hart: It fell together cosmically.

Laura Carter: Someone would be like, “I scored a Farfisa at the J&J Thrift Center for $40!” So it would be like, “Of Montreal wants a Farfisa on this song. Call Laura.” Will Hart scored a guitar organ, so of course there’s a little wave where everyone’s album has a guitar organ on it. And then I got the zanzithaphone. It’s really a Casio digital horn, but I was not about to have my credit on the Neutral Milk album be for Casio digital horn, so I called it the zanzithaphone. It was very much about who found what instrument when, and how long before that instrument broke.

Robert Schneider: There was definitely this hippie San Francisco 1967 explosion happening in Athens that was exciting, but at the same time, it wasn’t that exciting to me. It was my friends and I loved them, but that didn’t turn me on. To a large extent, it had to do with out-weirding your neighbor.

Andrew Reiger: We weren’t exactly having drug orgies or anything, but everybody was pretty content to just play music, smoke a little pot and have fun.

A Peculiar Noise

Pat Noel: I was doing a crossword, as I was having my bagel this morning, in The San Francisco Guardian, one of the down clues was “Hometown of Elephant 6 and the B-52s.” I guess that really means it was a cultural phenomenon.

Laura Carter: The first time I really realized it was huge was when Scott Spillane left a backpack full of money in the Pizza Hut, and I was like, “Scott, how much money was in there?” and he was like, “About $20,000.” That’s when I first realized we were big time.

Laura Carter: I really was aware at certain shows that this was it, that this had fulfilled every dream I had as far as trying to hit the big time. It wasn’t like we didn’t feel success; everyone felt success.

Kevin Barnes: Olivia Tremor and Neutral Milk Hotel would take bands on tour like Of Montreal, Elf Power and the Music Tapes. Bands that were more established would help the bands that weren’t as well known.

Pat Noel: Beulah lead singer Miles Kurosky and guitarist Bill Swan made their first record, Handsome Western States and Robert had heard it. Apparently he and Hilarie were having some conversation about music today and how it should be and they put the tape in and said, “This is what it’s supposed to sound like.”

Robert Schneider: A band becomes a member of Elephant 6 band by invitation. One way of becoming an Elephant 6 band by association. Sometimes you would hear a band, like with Beulah, you would be like, “This is a kindred spirit. This is Elephant 6.”

Scott Spillane: At the time the Elephant 6 thing was getting out of hand, and we started seeing all of these bands that had little Elephant 6 logos on them all over the place.

Tidal Wave

John Fernandes: It seems like after a while, after bands started touring, there was less time to kind of intermingle, so all the bands started to go in their separate paths, kind of in an organic way.

Jeremy Barnes: I think that Athens would be a difficult place to live in for a long period of time. It’s a wonderful town, but you see everybody all of the time, and everybody loves your record and then you get a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts and you’ve got three kids talking about your lyrics. I think that got Jeff down.

Jeff Mangum: I was exhausted both physically and mentally.

Laura Carter: When Neutral Milk started to get so popular, Jeff started to back away from the whole thing. A lot of people that were approaching us at shows started to have a cultish behavior, and for me that was scary, because we were just people. We were excited to have this really develop into something wonderful, so at first there was just total excitement. Then as it kept snowballing, there was a little bit of fear.

Jeremy Barnes: Neutral Milk Hotel never broke up, we just stopped playing music together. It’s a strange thing. We lived in Athens for another year. We’d see each other and on occasion we’d play together.

Will Cullen Hart: Olivia Tremor Control took a break, and I was making songs on a four-track like I always do, and I wasn’t thinking of making an album. It was a lot to happen to a person. I was doing a lot of drugs. I was doing a lot of tripping.

Robert Schneider: I found out I was having a baby, the Apples were real busy and producing records became a strain on me, because I wanted to produce my own stuff. I was putting so much on other records that maybe I wasn’t achieving so much on my own records. One day I called Will up and said, “Dude, I’m dropping out. This is high school.”

Pat Noel: We kind of made a conscious decision to distance ourselves a little bit from the whole thing. As the reviews were rolling, it was like everyone was getting really pigeon-holed.

Robert Schneider: After a while it gets annoying when your record comes out and it’s a work of genius and the reviews come out and half of them are comparing it to other records that are obviously inferior to your records, because it’s the best fucking record ever.

III. 2005-present: All Tomorrow's Parties

III. 2005-present         Click here for artist bios

Andrew Reiger: It’s not like Olivia Tremor Control ever hated each other, and I don’t think they ever officially broke the band up, Will and Bill just wanted to do albums on their own. I believe it was the offer to play in London at All Tomorrow’s Parties. Then when they started playing, from what they all said, it came back pretty easy, and they all enjoyed it a lot.

Will Cullen Hart: Somebody asked us to play, and kept asking. For the first time, we were all like, “That would be fun, let’s do it.”

John Fernandes: When we got the offer to play [All Tomorrow’s Parties] we were thinking about playing a few shows here and there, because everybody still lives here in town. This seemed like a good opportunity to go and see a few cool bands. That went so well that we decided to do a few more.

Andrew Reiger: It was pretty amazing. It seemed like all of the old energy was still there. The songs sounded amazingly fresh, and it didn’t sound like a nostalgia act at all. It was really great.

Scott Spillane: I hear people talking about songs that they wanted to record but never got around to, and I would hope some new stuff could come out of it, but at this point we want to see how things work out—put our toes in the water before we dive in.

Will Cullen Hart: To start to play a song and everyone claps because they know it—how weird. I mean, we didn’t have that before.

Jeremy Barnes: Even though I’m excited to see them play together, I think it’s important that they work on what they’re doing.

Will Cullen Hart: We’re going to play, it’s cool, let’s leave it at that. You talk about it too much, and the whole thing falls apart.

Where You’ll Find Me Now

Jeremy Barnes: I know that Jeff Mangum could write another wonderful record, but if he doesn’t want to do it, he won’t do it. He’ll focus that energy elsewhere. He’s done it, and if he does it again, that’s great. I just want him to be happy, and I think he’s a lot happier than when we were a band. He’s a lot more grounded.

Laura Carter: Jeff has matured a whole lot in the last few years. I think we all have. You hit 30, and you start to change your life a bit. He was never crazy. He was an excellent leader of the band, and as a far as a motivator and someone who made us feel as though we all contributed to the project, he always did that.

Kevin Barnes: He’s a super-sweet guy. He’s not like Howard Hughes or anything like that.

Laura Carter: In some ways I think that Jeff is a genius who knew that the mystery of dropping out. Like Soft Machine’s Robert Wyatt, who waited another 10 years to make an album. That is cooler than seeing a band grind into the ground playing the same songs and traveling around the country. Part of me thinks that the attitude of the fans was overwhelming. People were like, “I was going to kill myself, and you saved my life.” That’s a hard act live up to, and if your next album sucks, what are they going to do, go kill themselves?

Will Cullen Hart: I keep telling him, “You should just sit down with an acoustic guitar like Nick Drake and do Pink Moon. A simple, just lyrical thing.

Lauren Carter: Jeff was fearful that he had poured all of these ideas that he had had since he was 13 into that album. I had heard these recordings that he did when he was 20, and the melodies he had in the album that he wrote when he was 28 were already developing then, so this was not something that he could whip out one a year. It was everything that he had been working on since he was very young had blossomed into this album, and there was no way to follow it up without spending 10 years of your lifetime of experience waiting for something to erupt. When he did write songs, it was very much like that, a little eruption of an idea where he would be like, “I’ve got a song,” and then he would run to the bathroom and just start singing it out. The parts were already constructed, and it just didn’t come out quite right until it all clicked.

Will Cullen Hart: He’s doing a lot of sound collage. The last thing he sent: a rooster, a door, a balloon blowing up, door creak cutups, fireworks, shortwave radios, kids and birds, balloons and planes. We trade tapes back and forth.

Jeremy Barnes: I still think that after all of that, it was still four kids from Louisiana working on tapes to impress each other, and that’s what it still is. And now some of them could care less if the world knows what they’re doing, but they still care what their friends think.

Scott Spillane: Would I say Elephant 6 is still going? Of course it is, but now we’re trading tapes.


Elf Power - All The World Is Waiting

The Interviewees:

Jeremy Barnes: Played drums for the post-On Avery Island Neutral Milk Hotel lineup. Appeared on Oliva Tremor Control’s Dusk at Cubist Castle, played with the Gerbils and has subsequently worked with Bright Eyes. Currently performing as A Hawk and a Handsaw alongside violinist/girlfriend Heather Trost. Opened for Olivia Tremor Control on select reunion dates. Plays a mean bell-hat, and currently has the longest beard in the collective.

Kevin Barnes: Longtime Of Montreal singer, songwriter, guitarist and all around ridiculously prolific mastermind. The group’s 11th LP in eight years, The Sunlandic Twins, was released last year on Polyvinyl Records.

Ross Beach: Enjoyed a brief interaction with the collective while attending Louisiana Tech. Founding member of the Gerbils and the Clay Bears, along with Mangum, Spillane and fellow Gerbil Will Westbrook, helped to record Jeff Mangum’s demos for what would later become the first Neutral Milk Hotel record, On Avery Island, in his dining room. Currently lives in Portland, moonlights as the lead singer of the Hellpets.

Laura Carter: A founding member of Elf Power, Carter played with Neutral Milk Hotel, The Instruments and any other E6 band that need a keyboards, clarinet or a zanzithophone. Currently runs Orange Twin Records with longtime Elf Power partner Andrew Reiger and heads up the Orange Twin Conservation Community, 100 acres of forest outside of Athens, which she hopes will prove a model of self-sustainable living, where hippies and trial lawyers can peacefully coexist.

John Fernandes: Member of Olivia Tremor Control and the Circulatory System, as well as having performed just about every other band in the collective. Currently runs Athens’s Cloud Recordings, which has issued records by A Hawk and a Handsaw, The Circulatory System, Pipes You See Pipes You Don’t (OTC keyboardist, Pete Erchick’s solo project) and Olivia Tremor Control reissues, as well Homemade Recordings, a series of limited-run CD-Rs with heavy experimental leanings. Also works at Athens-centric record shop Wuxtry, and will wink at you if you buy Black Foliage, or so we are told.

Will Cullen Hart: The creative force behind Olivia Tremor Control, along with songwriting partner and current Sunshine Fix leader, Bill Doss. Hart is generally acknowledged as being the more experimentally-leaning of the two, as well as being an amazing painter, and the band member who suggested that the cover of Dusk be edible. Currently heads the Circulatory System, which released its eponymous debut in 2001, featuring Fernandes, Erchick, Jeff Mangum and a slew of other E6 alumni.

Jeff Mangum: The leader of Neutral Milk Hotel. In 1998, Mangum released In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, one of the most acclaimed records of the decade, before falling completely off of the indie-rock radar. Despite scattered appearances on other projects, like the Circulatory System (including a full east coast tour with the band), Major Organ and the Adding Machine and the Orange Twin release Field Recordings Vol. 1, a collage of recordings made in Bulgaria, Mangum is generally considered to a bit of a recluse.

Pat Noel: Pianist for Beulah, Elephant 6’s one true West Coast representative, and one of the few bands to release an LP on the Elephant 6 Recording Company’s proper record label. The band played their final show in August 2004 at Battery Park in New York City. Noel currently helps run San Francisco record/distribution company Future Farmer, which has released recordings by, among others, E6 satellite group (via. Denver) the Minders.

Andrew Reicher: Started Elf Power in ‘93 as a series of 4-track recordings. The band released their first LP in 1995, Vainly Clutching at Phantom Limbs, complete with E6 logo on the back. Their latest record, Walking With the Beggar Boys was released on Orange Twin Records, the Athens-based label that he helps run with Reicher, which has also released recordings by Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeff Mangum, Major Organ and the Adding Machine, Pipes You See Pipes You Don’t and the Gerbils.

Robert Schneider: The man behind Apples in Stereo, Marbles and Ulysses. Recorded many Elephant 6 releases at his Denver studio, Pet Sounds, including both Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control LPs. Schneider is currently studying advanced calculus in his spare time.

Scott Spillane: Member of the Gerbils and Neutral Milk Hotel, Spillane was also spotted sporting a big white sousaphone during the Olivia Tremor reunion shows. Lives in Athens where he complains at length about post-Olympics zoning ordinances.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/060623-elephant6-1/