16:16 an imaginary intersection


Some of these songs go too deep into ’90’s New Wave territory, but like a rescued cat, I love them anyway. I don’t know if it’s possible to write tunes like this today without being retro, ironic, or both. But back then they were honest New Wave. When Erik Carlson (aka Area C) and I created 16:16, we had already been playing together for years without a band name. We had no idea about the often jaded world of branded marketing – what we needed first and foremost was an album (or in this case a cassette) of our best stuff to date so that we could document a prolific creative era in our respective lives. So we invented a time and a place…  The auspicious number 16 had been trailing us in the same way the number 13 may haunt the rest of you: Our drum machine was an HR-16, the year was the upside-down 1991, but most importantly the address where we finally got our noise on tape was 1616 JPA in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The 1616 house hanging on by a thread. Photo from June Parina, 1616 alum.
A recent photo of the 1616 house, hanging on by a thread. Photo from June Parina, 1616 alum.

That house happened to be our shared hideout of self-proclaimed outcasts, artists, and scholars. It became a magnet for alternative culture and there were many occasions there like the sensually themed ‘velvet party,’ that descended into nudity and awe-inspiring decadence. But mostly it was an incubator for creative thought and Erik and I were the resident noise makers. While we all brought our emotional and literal baggage, we managed to still travel light with small amps and curated effects pedals as if we recognized that we would never play a large gig, that 16:16 with all its creative investment of time and space was merely a transition.

Instead we could set up our makeshift performance anywhere, especially at the imaginary intersection of pop and avant garde where there was much to be learned. As we explored the then deserted downtown like the abandoned and crumbling depression-era theater, we would sometimes take our gear and perform to the cheering acclaim of a ghosted audience that was only in the past and the future but never in the present.

[ listen to full previews of 16:16 »  |  buy 16:16 on bandcamp » ]