Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My View of Your Naked Chest Dulls the Pain

In not so breaking news , we posted a new track on our myspace like 2 weeks ago. It's called We Are All Animals and it's from our forthcoming split with Portland , Oregon's Night Wounds. The split will be vinyl only and will be on Nail In The Coffin .

And here's a lil' back and forth I had recently with John Webb from PRE. A band we've had the joy to tour and do 2 split 7"s with. Their debut record is one of my favorites of this year and I feel so amazingly lucky to have met them , both on a personal and musical basis.They are a big favorite here in camp AW so anyone with an interest in our music will be most likely pretty charged up by PRE. We did this talk a few weeks ago , but i **just** got around to editing it and posting now. that's why there's the references to NYE.

Chloe Lum / AIDS wolf :In many ways , since we first met you guys and got that PRE demo , I felt you were our twin band . Similar sounds , similar approach + attitude. I’m guessing others feel that way too as our bands not only done 2 splits , toured together but we are also label mates 3 times over (Skingraft , Lovepump United , Blood of the Drash) , something that I’d guess doesn’t happen often.

What do you figure the chances are that 2 bands , living so far from each other would end up so intertwined?

John Webb / PRE: That whole thing is so weird! I remember the first time I heard you guys. PRE had only been around for about 4 months and were thinking of recording a 'demo'. I remember ordering yr album from the Lovepump site and was so stoked when it arrived with a 3inch badge as well!!! I remember sitting in my room playing it to Kevin. We were both totally blown away. Artwork, songs, recording. Amazing. Then, by the time you guys came to London we had recorded 'the demo'. We came to your London show and I made Kevin give you a copy. That was a hard 20 minutes or so. We were both too shy to give it to do it.

Anyway... You liked it, we were really happy - we all had sex, you pointed us in the right direction - we sent out 2 demos, one to Lovepump and one to Skingraft, we all snogged and the rest is current history etc etc.

Hooking up again with you guys in New York in October really brought up that whole ' 2 bands intertwined' thing for us. It's like family meeting up after a years break, only better.

I know I'm sounding really emo here, but that's what is sooooooo amazing about music and the position PRE is in. We have only really hung out a handful of times, but along with Jake and Mookie (Lovepump United) and Mark (Skingraft) it all just makes me want to take my top off and carve FAMILY into my chest with a bicycle pump or something....


Yeah , you guys saved our asses that first time in London , what with Kevin putting us up. The fact that your band ruled was just icing on the cake 'cause we were pretty fast friends.
I gotta say I REALLY love the family vibe of working with Skingraft , Love Pump United , Panache (our US booking agent)- it’s great to be working with friends who really care about the music they’re putting out or booking. I’ve always said that for me , the camraderie was one of my favorite parts of being in a band. I love being excited by music and meeting people just as curious/passionate is always great. Even better when they have right-on projects of their own.
I also find it interesting that both in music and in visual art when I really enjoy someone’s work and they feel the same about mine we usually end up getting along really well and being fast friends.
I’d say many of my closest friends are people I met via mutual admiration- it’s funny how our other interests and personalities would mesh up so much.

I’m not really sure what Andre and Myles do in the morning but for Yannick and myself the basic routine is get up , check emails , eat , go to the gym , eat again. then we start working on Seripop stuff , often dealing with clients and getting sketches done and sent off. For Seripop we ideally do more of the client relation stuff early in the day and the creative work latter in the afternoon or even at night.

We’re in an interesting situation because we live off of Seripop YET so much of what Seripop does is for the band , or for our friend’s bands.

3 nights a week we jam with AIDS wolf , usually for 2-3 hours a shot. Yannick will often spend a fair bit of time at home going through our practice tapes and dumping them on the computer to make CDs for the guys. Otherwise nobody would remember the parts for the new songs. While he does that I usually work on lyrics for new songs or do band correspondence or draw.

If we’re not practicing and don’t have a huge work rush for Seripop stuff we’ll often spend our evenings drawing more casually. Sketching ideas or doing more “fun” stuff like posters or just drawing for the sake of it.

While we’re at home drawing we just listen to a steady steam of records all day. So the only times we’ll stand is is to flip the record or get another tea/coffee.

Every week or 2 we’ll have a day where ALL we do is pack and mail tubes of posters off. That’s probably the most mind numbing boring thing we do and we both hate it . Mailorder is a good income source for us and we’re glad folks like our print but fuck filling out customs forms SUCKS! And we are LAZY!

Sometimes managing time is tricky because we mostly make our money doing illustration jobs or record covers and we never know in advance how busy we’re gonna be in a given week.

Ideally , as we get more stable financially from our illustrations , we spend more and more time making music. And the easier it is for us to go on tour and the more money we can spend on amassing crappy gear.

Yannick and I have been slowly putting money on some basic recording gear and have both been reading up a fair bit on home recording , in a few months we’ll have a pretty decent set up for AIDS wolf (and our various side projects)to do demos in our practice space. Mostly we’re just buying lots of mics so that we can keep stuff more or less separated. We do our song writing from jamming so the better we can hear what each of us did on tape , the easier everything is.

Having our own company certainly gives us flexibility to tour , all we have to do is give a heads up to the folks who regularly hire us that we’ll be gone and that’s that. I mean there ALWAYS is tons of last minutes rushing to get everything we started done before we go but , ultimately since we don’t have bosses we can leave for as long as we want, as often as we want.

We’re pretty much busy all the time but will TRY to fit time for going to shows , going to the DJ night I do with some friends , attempting to see art , hosting bands at our house. There always time for Freebird. I guess the main thing that suffers are our social lives.

What about you? Do you have difficulties balancing life with being in a band? Your recent us tour was a month long , were lots of headaches and heartaches involved? Do you get homesick ?

JW/P : Yeah, balancing things can be really difficult and frustrating. Living in London is hard purely because it's so expensive. Apart from Keex, who works freelance, the rest of us have FULLLLLL time jobs. Making music is essentially a way to make the day-to-day stuff a little more bearable. We will rehearse once a week usually, but for whatever reasons it's kinda rare that all 5 of us make it. Me, Rick and Kevin are always there. Like Yannick, I always record our rehearsals, and burn cd's or send mp3's to pass around to everyone. that way, even if someone isn't around, they can still get up to speed, plus we always forget stuff.

Outside of PRE, me, Keex and Kevin do other music related stuff. For example, this week I'll be practicing with mine and Kevin's new band, Male Bonding - plus we are duping tapes for Paradise Vendors Inc (our tape label) first release. Talbot Tagora / Hand Jobs split . There is always time to go to shows, art or music. We are totally spoilt for that living in London.

The U.S. tour meant we all had to negotiate taking a whole years worth of holiday in one block, which was hard. There was no point in us going all that way just to do 2 weeks. I don't think anyone got homesick on tour. It was hard to really. We were out on our own (with constant help from the life saving Michelle at Panache), so there was always driving, navigation, rolling tees, counting out dimes, repairing broken windows, repairing broken teeth, trying to find fruit, trying to find floors to sleep on etc to figure out. We are all pretty big drinkers, so there were a few headaches along the way, but nothing that Fleetwood Mac couldn't smooth out. Remember Keex at CMJ???

It's hard being apart from girlfriends. You end up spending the equivalent of the airfare on calling cards. Plus when you get back it takes a while to switch your head back to London mode. It's easy to get selfish and self absorbed. I fucked up big time regarding this and hate myself for it. Matt's girlfriend wrote him a dated letter for every single day that we were away, which was super sweet. He opened the last one during the taxi trip back to JFK and shared it with us and the fruit consuming taxi driver - it made Keex cry.

The tour was amazing though, and it went by so quick. We are all such good friends that we felt invincible.


CL/AW: My worse moment on tour was smashing a guy in the face with a mic. It was in Baton Rouge and things SUCKED . It was a huge “hangout” type bar with pool tables . The staff and the other bands were very nice to us but from the beginning , when the first band started playing jangly garage rock I knew we were in for it.

During the 1st band there were about 80 people , by the time we started 15 or so were left. Half of whom split as soon as we started playing. The few people who stayed watching us seemed bored as shit and all I could think of was trying to get the set done as fast a possible so we could get the hell outta there.

In the middle of one of our songs , some Joe-college guy started heckling LOUD . I mean you know how fucking loud we play? The guy was projecting over us , basically SCREAMING that we sucked. I walked over to him and asked if he though he could do better several times while pointing the mic at him.
I was so boiling pissed I kept goading him , telling him to get on the stage . Finally when he just stood there muttering insults under his breathe I SMASHED his face and then spat a huge a chunk on him.
THAT was the worst part of our tour.

All I could think after was I was really glad I don’t drink cause if I hadn’t been so nervous about really hurting him I probably would have lost it on his face.


In 2008 we gonna do few us shows through the winter and spring , hopefully we’ll make it to SXSW. Then we’re spending the end of April and all of May in Europe Plus a few dates in Israel .30 some shows. You guys better play some of them with us!It’s around that time that our new record will be out so hopefully people might care about that.HA!

Then, a full U.S. tour in the fall. Andre’s talking about Japan/Australia in late fall.... I dunno , I guess we’ll see what happens.

On NYE I’ll be helping my crew , The Pirates of the Lachine Canal , with a party. We have Clockcleaner from Philadelphia coming plus great locals the The O-Voids
, Panopticon Eyelids & The American Devices . I’ll be DJing the noise rock , weird punk , avant garage and space jams as long as I can hold up behind the DJ booth on crutches.

My pal Shaun , who’s the one who really put the show together , and I have a friendly competition going on over our record collections. We both DJ this weekly night he set up and I’m looking to show off with all the new records I picked up while on tour. It’s been frustrating being laid up with a broken foot cause I really wanted to DJ as soon as I got home!

Nerdy huh?
Most bands I know get laid or wasted , all we do is buy records and books , check emails and wash our clothes as often as possible ( I think we must be one of the most hygiene conscious bands out there , after the Chinese Stars that is). Oh and go to Whole Foods like every day .

You guys are for sure much more the party animal types than we are. Does this ever cause any drama?I know Keex was falling all over the place at CMJ , any interesting stories there? What will YOU be doing NYE?

JW/P:the 'party animals' side of PRE hasn't caused too much aggro so far. Matt can be rather urmm 'insensitive' at times, but so far this has just caused tons of laughter, rather than insult. in a similar vein to Chris ex-aids (Chris Taylor our former guitarist)! Keex was so wasted at CMJ. Jupiter from HEALTH and her were knocking back a lot of licker - she stole Andre's bottle of whisky and then lost it , I seem to remember! I KNOW that us and ***HEALTH could get into a lot of trouble together - we just haven't had the time yet.

There were some moments on tour that were 'interesting' but nothing too fucked up. Baltimore was BIG, but I opted out of that nights 'entertainment' and slept in the van. When I went into the warehouse where the rest of PRE were partying the next morning to clean my teeth, it was depressing as hell.

NYE is a weird one. I've not committed to anything yet. Might come to Montreal and see Clockcleaner.

So, what do you make of the whole 'sinraft' bootleg live split. Crazy eh? All of us topless in the worst venue in Brighton. Still can't remember how that materialised...

CL/AW:Considering how SHITTY and depressing the Brighton show was and how poorly we were all treated , it only made sense to take off our clothes. I’m waiting to be crucified . People are such fucking puritians!

We get so much flack for our photo in “The Lovvers” , journalists always get pissy thinking we are trying to shock.
I wish they’d just get it through their skulls that we like excuses to take off our clothes! It’s usually my fault! I make out with the audience and wanna get naked all the time.

I’m glad for the boot though , it’s helping me erase the memory of a terrible show and replace it with memories of Freebird singalongs and taking off our clothes in an empty venue while being heckled by the bouncer.

I guess that’s the better part of touring with friends , you can turn a shit show into a fun night just by hanging out and having a laugh.

Are people accepting of naked bands in the UK?
How do you feel your music and noise-rock in general is accepted in the UK vs. North America?

People seem pretty cool about naked girls over here. I work in a record shop (Rough Trade) so I got quite a lot of stick from from people when the 7" came into stock, but just dumb jokes. I don't get it when people think that by doing a record sleeve like that, it's an exercise in 'shock'. Who finds topless people shocking????? Keex gets a lot of questions about why she plays in her bra or pants (English folks call underwear "pants") or whatever. She gets hot really quickly cos she's so active, so she takes her clothes of to kool down. Why is it any different to a guy taking his top off? It isn't unless yr have issues with females - she still has everything covered. In write ups for our shows, people always mention stuff about Keex playing half naked like it's our shtick or something. that pisses me off.

It's hard for me to compare the noise rock scene here with North America, as I don't know what it's like there. It's ok here I guess. I haven't heard too many rad noise bands. Things are getting better though. I think people here are so into the NME scene that people are scared to like bands that they haven't been told to like. - maybe thats not true, but it feels like that sometimes. I like being out on our own though. I would much rather come to America and play show, then play shows in the UK.

A friend of ours lives in a warehouse and has just started putting on shows. That's so fucking kool. It's rare for London. That kinda thing happens all the time in the states (and Canada!). We need more of that kind of action over here, rather then rigid venue gigs.

Whats yr views on the UK / North American scenes? You have played to people both in the UK and North America, so in theory you must have noticed differences.

Don’t even get me started about the double standard about sweaty , overheated gals shedding some clothes. It’s actually depressing how quick you get to see the real sexism and double standards that are alive and well in the underground music scene to this day.
It’s like as if riot grrl never happened.
Not only is a gal taking off an extra layer a shtick , her very femaleness is also! Especially if she happens to be somewhat cute.
I’m not sure who finds nude people shocking exactly but journalists at least love to state that they AREN’T taking in by our supposed attempts to shock! As if we were up to some serious G.G Allin stuff rather than in a tasteful naked pose in the nature.
As for the bootleg split , I love it cause the photos are soooo unflatering! it looks like an office party gone wrong!

I guess that’s one different we’ve noticed between the UK and the USA . In England people are much more into trend , hypes and fashions BUT it seems like folks over there are more open to being EXCITED about things there.
While in the US or Canada we get dumped on for our name or publicity shots , in England people are just “oh here’s a mad new band”.

It seems that while there are less noisy rock bands , those types of bands are seem as more legitimate than in Canada or the US. (perhaps due to The Wire?)

In the States , we do fine and have lots of like minded bands to play with (soooo many great bands!) but it’s more of a cult thing. People outside of the scene tend to be kinda snarky about noise rock . It’s certainly not seen as “cool” . In Canada , forget it! outside of Montreal , Toronto and Vancouver there is ZERO interest in this kinda music at all.

I mean , sometimes you can luck out on a decent show in some of the mid-sized cities but it’s soooo hit or miss and as far as I know there aren’t any active noise rock/no wave whatever bands in any of the other cities.
Except for Be Bad from Halifax but they just split up!

A few years ago , when we weren’t so world-weary , we went across Canada in some naïve hope of being noise-rock johnny appleseeds and came home wanting to end our lives. Let’s just say the general reception wasn’t very positive!

In the UK you at least get some curiosity ....

We’ll take touring in the UK or the USA over Canada ANYDAY.
What I’ve noticed similar in the UK and the funner cities in the States is that people tend to show they are having fun by getting rowdy, something that’s very inspiring to anyone performing. I just love feeding into the wild energies that crowds can give off. It’s one of the things that makes performing so satisfying.

Noise rock has never been very big here in Canada . I spent years just mailordering records of bands I’ve never get to see ‘cause until recently , most wouldn’t tour here and stores wouldn’t exactly be brimming with it.

It’s funny cause I spent my teenaged years in Ottawa , where there was a very fertile and active all ages scene but I really slowed down going to shows for a few years starting at around 17. In my most formative period I was strictly mailordering records and trading D.I.Y noise tapes with weirdos I’d find on the back pages of zines.

Being obessed with theBoredoms , U.S Maple , Lydia Lunch ,The Flying Luttenbachers,Royal Trux ect I just couldn’t get much satisfaction from the very PC post-hardcore scene in my backyard. I actually found it pretty alienating.

At least I was lucky enough to see U.S Maple early on , who for some bizarre reason came to play the Cave in Ottawa.

And for you guys, what are your main influences , interests and life changing experiences vis-à-vis playing music?

Influences are a tuff one as I can't speak for the rest of the band, but for me, myspace has opened up another world of bands that i/we would never have heard before. Bands like Pretty Thigh (R.I.P), Finally Punk and Hot Girls Cool Guys (R.I.P) Totally blew me away the first time i heard them, and are a huge inspiration. the direct result of that overwhelming feeling of excitement has resulted in the tape label I mentioned. Kevin and I are so jazzed about pairing up bands that we feel so lucky to have heard, like LOOK LOOK DANCING BOYS/PANTZ PARTY/TEMPERATURES/PAPER LEGS/TALBOT TAGORA /HAND JOBS etc.

I'm really interested in the No Wave scene as I know you are. Marc Masters current book "No Wave" is really great. - Mark Fisher (Skingraft CEO) has reviewed it for the current issue of The Wire! That scene and the way it included performance art, lo-fi films as well as bands/ music makes me HUNGRY. From where I'm at it seems like that kind of thing is maybe happening at The Smell in L.A a lot of those bands are an inspiration - Silver Daggers, HEALTH, No Age, Mika Miko etc. Maybe that's romantic of me, as I haven't been to L.A or The Smell, but that's what I like to think.(I've been there and it's pretty much paradise on earth!) I love that pop edge dood. In my world The Screamers have been as big as The Beatles. I'm really into the idea of making exposed, harsh music with a (for the want of a better word) 'POP' element. That's were PRE are heading at the moment.

As for in LONDON - I have an endless amount of respect for Chris Tipton and the Upset The Rhythm crew. I find their activities very inspiring. It's all about sharing the wealth.

Being in a band has changed my life so much. I know that without being involved in making music, I would be desperately unhappy and even more boring. I've met so many amazing and inspirational people through music. I've been stealing a little bit of those people's KOOL for a couple of years now. I plan to piece it all together over Christmas, like the ultimate jigsaw puzzle and relaunch myself in 2008. I am going to be so hot - and I will owe it all to the scene man...

1 comment:

??? said...

Yes! This beast of music keeps balling up in my head. O how I want to consume more and more - especially when I read stuff like this. I love how you guys are able to reflect on what you are doing as well as the importance of your efforts on a global scale. Man, there is so much exciting fun stuff going on in such an intimate level.