[ONE-MAN DANCE] Ask Ian Anderson about the lo-fi dance punk he makes as Guidance Counselor and he'll let a serendipitous tale slip: "I didn't listen to electronic music until I bought a sequencer on accident." He haggled a pawn shop broker down $50, only to realize he'd confused a sequencer with the synthesizer he was after.
Moving back to Portland after a two-year stint in Olympia, Anderson found a home on his brother's couch—but it didn't come without stipulations. "[My brother] was like, "You're going to have to learn how to play music if you're going to live on my couch,'" he explains. "I was always enamored [with music]," recalls Anderson. "Always, always. But I couldn't figure out how to do it. It seemed too impossible. I think that changed when I got that sequencer."
Now, Anderson adds jagged guitar, live drums and dancey keyboard to his sound sequencing, but he doesn't consider himself a serious instrumentalist. "If someone ever is like, 'Hey, you don't know what you're doing,'" he says, "I'll be like, 'Yeah, but I never said I [did].'" The dirty blond, mustachioed gent (who says "rad" about every other word) also keeps a mental list of untrained musicians—Joy Division's Ian Curtis and They Might Be Giants, for example—at the ready for encouragement in times of musical slumps.
Anderson should be gaining confidence, though. As a February tour with local pedal-pop trio Starfucker proved, Guidance Counselor can survive on music alone: Anderson lost his voice mid-tour, but he still performed blog-lauded high-energy sets, focusing more on freaking out and dancing than his usual, authoritative vocals (which range from attacking the status quo to contemplating fleece pullovers). And since beginning as Guidance Counselor in July, he's already played the same number of shows as years he's lived—22.
Taking March off to focus on writing, Anderson found a new muse: dreams. Along with material from MySpace-generated interviews (and quizzing his Stumptown coworkers), Anderson's been dutifully recording his own dreams on a tape recorder aptly deemed the "dream catcher." Much like its new inspiration, Guidance Counselor's musical life has been the result of happy accidents—the kind that end up making sense.
Guidance Counselor plays Wednesday, April 2, with Paperbacks, Colin Jones, Sixteen Switches and Staley at Someday Lounge. 9 pm. $6. 21+. Also Thursday, April 3, with Breakfast Sandwich at Ground Kontrol. 10 pm. $4. 21+.