Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An Interview with Slick!

Nick Slick, front man of Oakland's very own rag tag trio of gutter glam heroes Slick! had some time to sit down and answer a few questions for us.  In a revealing interview, find out why he talks like Tony the Tiger, why he doesn't care what his audiences do while he's playing, and why he believes Joe Jackson is a spaceman!

Interview by J Castro

Who is currently in Slick and what do you all do in the band?
Nick: We are a classic three piece or power trio as alot of people like to say. It consists of me Nicholas J.C. Slick! on guitars, vocals, various keyboards (on the record) and miscellaneous percussion, the lovely and talented Sasha Simone on bass and angelic harmonies, and Matthew the monkey man Costa on drums.

How did you all meet and decide to play in this band together?
NICK: Last year I was in a band called Glitz, we were booked to play a showcase at SXSW 2014 but 2 weeks before we were scheduled to hit the road our drummer told us that he couldn’t do it. It put us in a very difficult position, with little deliberation we hit up every drummer we knew who could pull off learning two sets in two weeks. If you’ve ever been in a rock & roll band you know that drums (and drummers) are notoriously the most challenging component to integrate into an already formed band that already has a specific particular sound. Every drummer we knew was already too busy or it was too short notice to pick up and go tour the south west for a couple weeks. Finally when things were looking pretty bleak, I was telling my good friend Mike Noda (later to play bass in Slick!) who I was living with at the time about this predicament and he suggested the drummer in his band Caldecott the man was Matt! I hadn’t considered that because they were more of an accessible easy listening to mellow indie band. Kind of like something you’d hear on an adult contemporary radio station like KFOG, but we decided to give it a try. It turns out Matt was very familiar with us and previous bands we’d been in and was quite a fan. So he was very enthusiastic and glad to be a part of the whole thing, on top of that the guy’s a great drummer, of course it was a little shaky at first but by the time we played our way down to South-by and back he had it down. Later we disbanded due to creative differences and Matt & I formed Slick! We’ve been a band less than a year and have already gone through numerous bass players, I had known Sasha through other projects she’s involved with that were outside of the “scene” that I’m more familiar, I knew she’s ambitious and a talented player so it was perfect timing.

How would describe your band’s music to someone that’s never heard you before?
NICK: I’d say if you like Rock & Roll, Pop, Glam, Punk or anything that’s timelessly classic, what we do is everything you’d want to hear. With Slick! you can hear everything from the Beach Boys to G.G. & The Jabbers, from Roy Orbison to KISS I could go on forever with the blanks to the blanks but I think you get the idea. I want to have a very recognizable sound but nostalgic at the same time without barricading myself into one thing.

What typically inspires your song lyrics?  Are there any subjects you guys purposely avoid in your song lyrics?
NICK: Lyrics, I will admit are what I’m least good at musically, I tend to stray away from cerebral poeticism or politics. I’m not a Bob Dylan Leonard Cohen type of songwriter even though I’m a fan of both. My lyrics are usually very surface level, simple, dumb not much nuance or double entendres hidden meanings etc. As far as what inspires them, a lot of it is from my life experiences or stories from my friends or family. The musician’s condition is another inspiration “You don’t like me (Cuz I rock & roll)” is a testament to how I feel about the current state of bay area music not limited to, “Your band Sucks” as well. The rest are about all that romance, because let’s be real, people can’t get enough of that shit. It’s autobiographical though is what it comes down to, all I can do is write about what I know and see if I can do it in a way that people can relate to. We’ll see about that though.

What’s your favorite album to listen to from beginning to end?  Tell me a little about the first time you heard this album.
NICK: Fun House by The Stooges. I was very young and very on drugs.

I was reading this interview with Nick Cave and he said that out of all the art forms, music has the power to change a person’s mood the fastest.  Do you agree with this statement, if so are there any records that you put on that can change your mood pretty fast?
NICK: I do not agree with that statement. I think it’s probably true for people who love music, however there are so many people who really could care less about what they hear. Why do you think the radio can get away with playing the same 20 songs all day every day? I think the average person when it comes to music is either indifferent or adapted to whatever is presented to them. That being said it’s obvious that there are very common threads among what the average person likes and how it makes you feel. It’s been said if you play a song that’s based in the major scale it will typically sound like a happy or more upbeat song, however minor can be interpreted as sad or melancholy. Mostly seems like ain’t nobody care.

When you guys are playing live, what’s the most annoying thing an audience members has done that totally distracted you from rockin’ and rollin’?
NICK: I just want ‘em to go crazy, other than that they can do pretty much whatever they want. It’s a show it’s about having fucking fun!

If Slick could tour with any band from any era throughout rock ‘n roll history, who would it be and why?
NICK: Probably the Doors or the Grateful Dead hahahahahahahaha need I say more?

If you were a space explorer and got stranded on a life sustaining planet with only (A) one person, (B) one meal, and (C) one record to listen to for the remaining
of your life there, what would all of  these be:
NICK: The Person : An alien woman that first would try to kill me but then later fall in love with me and then we would fuck and create an entire race of alien humanoids that would create technology and 10 million years later destroy the planet through our selfish ways and have to go colonize another planet.

One Meal:  Either Chinese food or Mexican food

I probably wouldn’t bring a record I would just start a band with my humanoid/alien children and I’d exploit them for the entire planet, I’d be like a spaceman version of Joe Jackson, actually he probably was a spaceman.

What’s the single best piece of advice someone gave to you that you followed and actually helped?
NICK: When anybody asks you how you’re doing? Reply with “I’M GREAT!!!” and say it in the voice of Tony the Tiger.

Where can people go to buy or listen to you music?

NICK: A bar, your mother’s house, the street, my house, any venue in Oakland or San Francisco, iTunes, Spodify, Soundcloud, Youtube, the mall, a car, any body's town via www. it’s extremely easy to find if you’re not a useless person.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Golden Handcuffs

Golden Handcuffs from left to right: Russ, Keagan, Lucas
Golden Handcuffs play Rock N' Roll with a fantastic blend of Glam, Punk, and Power Pop peppered throughout their songs.   The band recently took some time to answer some questions for us about their influences, their hometown of Portland Oregon and the friendly competition within their scene.

Interview by J Castro

Let’s start off by telling me who is currently in Golden Handcuffs and what everyone does in the band:
-Russ London: Guitar/Vocals/Lyrics
-Lucas Schmit: Bass/Backing Vocals
-Keagan O’Brien: Drums

How did you all meet and decide to play music together?
RL:  We got together through musician-wanted ads about 3 years ago. I remember Keagan showed up to that first practice with just this old marching drum, a snare, floor tom and maybe a ride. I wasn’t really sure how it was going to work but those first practices we played the trashiest 2-chord shit. It was great.

LS: We hit it off right away. A genuine interest in gross old cartoons, The Cramps, and conspiracy theories.

KO: Yes I remember Russ looking like a stoner version of Jimmy Fallon and recognizing Lucas from a couple local shows.

You guys just changed your name from Sharks from Mars, a name you’ve gone by for a few years now, to Golden Handcuffs.  Why the name change?
RL: Yeah we needed to shake things up and go a different route. All those hours spent in the van smelling rotten feet and half drank and long-expired milkshakes had us pretty delirious when we were thinking of names on tour. I’m pretty sure we were in weird places in our heads whenever we hashed out that name. I can’t speak for the guys on this, but about half way to Las Vegas a mix of terrible cocktails, no sleep, and Texaco’s finest had me feeling like a millionaire.

LS: I love the new name. Our general style has changed a lot, and I think our current name is much more fitting to everything we are doing now.

What band or musician would you say had the biggest influence in your life?  If you can recall, tell me a bit about the first time you heard them and how it changed you from that moment forward:
RL: Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. I can remember hearing Ice Cream Man and his version of Buzz Buzz Buzz when I was like 2 or 3 years old and just laughing and dancing and thinking it was the greatest. That’s the stuff that keeps me writing songs and making poor life choices.

KO: In middle school my mom didn’t allow me to listen to all the stuff the other kids were listening to. She was cool with me listening to Lou Reed and The New York Dolls and Minor Threat though because she thought it was nice I was listening to music that was demoting the sex drugs and alcohol lifestyle. (The lifestyle that I will be living when I finally retire and am able to take out my 401k).

LS: Lemmy for sure. I remember my old man showing me a live video of Motorhead, and being blown away by it. The boots, the denim, the rings, the bass, the attitude. Rock & Roll. Live To Win fucked me up forever!

I’ve heard from some people that writing or playing music is therapeutic to them. Have you ever found this to be true?  
RL: Yeah I can get behind that. The most therapeutic thing about writing songs for me is making them fun, good, and about nothing much more than one feeling or thought. I try to avoid anything that takes more than a sentence or two to explain.

Golden Handcuffs are currently based in Portland Oregon.  With so many great active bands there, is it tough to get noticed and to get people to come to shows?  Do you feel like you’re going to have to start from square one with the new name?
RL: Yeah man it’s competitive, but that kind of thing just makes all the bands better. We know we can share a van for over a week without planning elaborate ways to murder each other, and that’s more than most new bands can say.

What feeling or sentiment do you want your audience to walk away with after seeing you guys play live?
RL: How can I party with these guys? Would they be so kind as to crash at my place?

LS: Yeah just blown away.

This is the part of the interview that I like to call “four questions I stole from other interviewers”:

1.      What was the first album you bought with your own money?
RL: Probably the Wedding Singer soundtrack. I remember it had White Wedding and I thought that was pretty rad.

LS: Reverend Horton Heat - Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

KO: NOFX- 45 or 46 songs that weren’t good enough to go on our other records

2.      What was the first band t-shirt you ever owned?
RL: The MC5

KO: The Exploited

LS: The Misfits

3.      What was the first concert you went to without your parents?
RL: Public Vacuum at Ray’s Golden Lion in Richland WA

LS: The Nekromantix with Shark Soup at the Hawthorne Theater in Portland OR

KO: No Regrets at Landslide Skate park in Detroit MI

4.      What band or musician's picture was the first to get hung up on your
bedroom wall?
RL: Metallica – Master of Puppets flag

KO: A Mudvayne poster in 5th grade… this is what made my mom limit my music selection, thanks mom.

LS: 800 Octane - Rise Again. Some local favorites of mine.

When can we expect the arrival of Golden Handcuffs debut release?
RL: As soon as we can make it happen! We have our debut single all recorded and we’re heading back into the studio in late September to work on some more tracks. Maus at Red Lantern Studios here in Portland did a hell of a job! We’re shooting for having our vinyl debut out by early 2016.

Follow Golden Handcuffs!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Line Traps

Line Traps forge brief, bitter, bare knuckled punk rock blasts deep within the lush green gardens of Victoria, British Columbia .  The band recently talked to us about their humble beginnings as a one man band, their meticulous song writing process, and why you shouldn't expect a Line Traps world tour anytime soon.  

Interview by J Castro

Introductions please!  Who’s all in the band and what does everyone do?
LINE TRAPS: T. Depression – Guitar/Vocals   P. Ethylene – Bass/Vocals   G. Debris - Drumbs

How did all of you meet and come together to form the band?
LINE TRAPS: T. was embarrassing himself playing with just a guitar and drum machine, ‘cause nobody else would play with him. It took him almost six years in a new city to find two people to play music with. He started jamming with the girls and asked them if they wanted to do a full band version of his drum machine project (New Krime) at a show he had booked in a couple weeks…that was it. Line Traps first show was with Big Eyes and Criminal Code, billed as New Krime.

When first starting out, did you have an idea of what you wanted Line Traps to sound like, or was it one of those things where the music kind of took its own direction once you started playing together?
LINE TRAPS: We mostly took existing songs and played them the only way we could… the sound has been changed by endless shows playing drunk and often angry… becoming increasingly faster. A lot of the songs started out really robotic, as they were choppy, stupidly simple cuts from the drum machine days…they’ve since evolved to just beyond stupidly simple and slightly less robotic. It’s hard to nail down what we wanted the band to sound like…it’s just a shit mix of all our favorite music…inept 60’s garbage, nasty basement punk, early 80’s hardcore, 90’s garage-punk, etc, etc…took all that crap in over the years and now we’re regurgitating it as a sloppy mess of shit-tone guitar, fuzz bass and robot beats.

The band is currently based in Victoria, BC.  Is there a supportive crowd/scene there that comes to your shows and understands what you’re doing musically?
LINE TRAPS: The music scene in Victoria is as underwhelming as ever. 20 somethings going nutz for 90’s pop punk and grunge revival…and whatever passes for post-punk these days. A few years ago, there were still a buncha scuzzy punk bands with names like Alcoholic White Trash, Lesbian Fist Magnet, Fuck You Pigs…and of course Dayglo Abortions. Bands singing about shit and dicks and fighting and hating cops. Lots of metal influenced punk bar bands playing to the lowest common denominator…and at the same time, an all ages scene that is very heavy on Grindcore and Crust stuff. It’s like everyone in Victoria missed everything that was good in music…ever. We play a lot of bills we have no place being on…and almost nobody in town gets it. Playing for people who don’t get what you’re doing can be a lot of fun though…just staring at a room full of confused faces.

You released your Self-Titled debut LP earlier this year.  Other than your demos, this is the first actual Line Traps record.  What led to the decision to do an LP first as opposed to a couple of singles first? 
LINE TRAPS: Having morphed from a one-man freak show, we started out with more songs than we could handle. It only made sense to record everything we had and get it out there. A lot of those songs are really old. I think the intention was to record them, put ‘em out and eventually phase them out in favor of new material. Sadly…we seem to be incapable of writing new material, and we’re still playing that stuff. Plus…a one sided LP with handmade packaging costs about the same as a 7” to make...and you don’t have to flip it every two songs.

Line Traps - S/T Debut LP 2015

I was reading the review of your record in Terminal Boredom and they compared the band A LOT to Rip Off Records type stuff like Dirty Sweets and the Kill-A-Watts.  What do you think of the comparisons, was Rip-Off Records a big influence on Line Traps music?
LINE TRAPS: So far we’ve been compared to like 6 different Rip-Off bands over 3 different reviews. T. was picking up a lot of Rip-Off releases in the 90’s, but I don’t think we sound like any particular Rip-Off band…or even a combination of a couple…and I don’t think Rip-Off was any more of an influence on our sound than anything else. The one thing I always appreciated about that label is that even though not all the bands had a similar sound…they all had a similar FEEL. It seemed like none of those bands cared too much about how they looked, what gear they played, or how well practiced they were, I think we can relate to that. Oh yeah…our next LP is due out in 2016 on Rip-Off Records.

What sorts of things typically inspire your songwriting?  Are there any subjects you purposely try to stay away from in your lyrics?
LINE TRAPS: It’s a mixed bag…conspiracy theory, robots, masturbating with electricity. What we do isn’t rocket science…and nobody is gonna be quoting our lyrics anywhere. Shit, half the time we just string random words together to fill up the space before the chorus, which is usually just the song title repeated 4 times.

photo by Don Denton

When people see your band live, what sort of feeling or sentiment do you want the audience to walk away with afterwards?
LINE TRAPS: I think we’d like people to walk away after 18 minutes of us playing with a smile on their face…but seeing as that is unlikely…agitation, anger or disgust would also be acceptable responses. We aren’t playing to crowds of our friends…and it actually takes effort for us to make it through a set without the whole thing falling apart. It’s nice when people we don’t know come up and say something…anything…about the band.

Let’s turn the tables a bit, what sorts of things have you ever seen people in your audience do that annoys you? 
LINE TRAPS: When people stand there and do NOTHING while watching a punk show is the most annoying thing to see. If you’re watching our band and we can’t even move you enough to bob your head…then go outside, we’re obviously wasting your time. I don’t know if it’s just the west coast, but I’ve seen way to many bands play in Victoria, Vancouver and even Seattle and Portland in recent years, where nobody is moving. I’d rather play for 6 people who clearly enjoy a live punk show…than 200 people standing there watching and taking the occasional picture with their cell phone.

I was reading this interview with a former drummer in The Cramps and he talked about how guarded Lux and Ivy were with their image, he said it was so bad that it almost imprisoned them.  Do you feel image is still an important aspect to being in a rock band these days?
LINE TRAPS: Some of the best bands had a carefully cultivated image. Then there were bands that rejected having an image, and their lack of image become their image. In the end, everyone is going to see you as something different than everyone else. You can try to influence how people see you, or you can just be authentic, and hope that comes across. These days, if a band dresses or acts differently on stage than they do in “real life”, I’m probably not going to like that band.

Where can people log on or go to buy your records?
LINE TRAPS: People can hit up our Bandcamp page here:
Or just find us on Facebook and send us a message…we have like 30 different T-shirt designs too…

What lies ahead in the near future for Line Traps, any touring?
LINE TRAPS: We’ll be recording new material in the next couple months…probably for the second LP. Probably a short trip down the coast sometime soon, but two of us have young kids…so that makes any real “touring” kinda outa the question.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Dysnea Boys

Berlin's Dysnea Boys play relentless, hard hitting punk rock as if they were in Southern California and it was the Reagan years all over again.  The band recently answered some questions for us about how they all got together, what the band has coming up in the near future, and what exactly is a "Dysnea" boy!

Interview by J Castro

Who are the folks that make up Dysnea Boys and what do you all do to earn your keep in the band?
C.C.: I’m the bass player, and I do my best to keep up my chops so the guys don’t kick me out of the band!

JASON: I sing, do the words. Love to do graphics too.

CHRIS: I play guitar

TOM: I play drums and I am needed to counter the West coast with some basic south Germanism.

Dysnea Boys are currently based in Berlin Germany, but some of you aren’t originally from there.  How did you all meet and decide to play music together?
C.C.: None of us are form Berlin actually, but most of us have spent a good number of years here
now. I’ve just put in my 5th year. Although Chris is also from Vancouver, we didn’t meet until living here through mutual friends. Jason and I met at a party in my first week of being here. He was talking about the Germs and snorting a vodka shot. I knew I wanted to be in a band with him immediately. Tom and I work together and met there. 
Jason. Moved here about fifteen years ago. Two kids and a tone of other music too. I’m from near San Jose, California.

CHRIS: C.C. and I wanted to get a band started pretty much as soon as we started hanging out here in Berlin, had a few jams with Tom and shortly after tricked Jason into singing for us.

TOM: I guess that´s how it happened. For me it´s great that I was lucky enough to have run into people that still appreciate the Punk and Indie stuff we all grew up with but on the other side are totally open (and able) to create our own sound.

What band or musician would you say has been the biggest influence on you?  If you can recall, tell me a bit about the first time you heard them:
C.C.: I had an older cousin who introduced me to AC/DC and Van Halen when I was really young. Those were my heroes as a kid. It wasn’t until the 8th grade that I heard punk, and that was life changing. Obviously we all traded tapes and got our hands on everything we could, but SNFU at that time was my favorite band. I can still sing every word of their first two albums.

JASON: .The Who, Zombies, Beach Boys, 70s rock stuff, Germs, Fall, oldies and cruise music. As a kid I loved watching little RnB groups jamming in the band pavilion at Flea markets. Guys my age actually pulling off listenable music. I’d get over that later.

CHRIS: hmmmmm... so many bands...

You recently released the Find Water 7” earlier this year.   Can you tell me a bit about the making of the record and what led to the decision to release it yourselves?
C.C.: We recorded it at the school Tom and I work at! It was recorded and mixed by Brodie White (from Berlin’s The Sun and the Wolf) 

JASON: Compulsive need to give birth to music and songs. Get them out there in the world. Sonic messages in bottles. Who’s gonna respond??  What opportunities will be created?

CHRIS: Releasing it ourselves was the fastest way to get it out there.

You guys did a video for the B-Side to that record, a song called “Mind Stories”.  What was your experience like making the video, were you pleased with the end results?  Where were the live cuts of the band filmed?
C.C.: Jason made this one happen!

JASON: Bryan Ray Trucotte in LA did that. The guy from Kill your Idols who published Fucked up and PhotoCopied. Punk is Dead Punk is Everything. Live footage is from Schockoladen here in Berlin. That other stuff is stock US advertising and Natl Geo stuff he’s been sitting on since God knows when. We had nothing to do with the editing process;  that was his Frankenstein. I’m fine with it. Time to get some together for the other songs.

CHRIS: the live footage was filmed by Derek Howard at a Berlin venue called schokoladen.

You also just released a split 7” with a band called Jiffy Marker on the Canadian label Debt Offensive Records.  How did you end up pairing up with the Jiffy boys and Debt Offensive?
C.C.: The guys in Jiffy Marker are long time friends of Chris and I. Chris played in bands with some of the guys and everyone in that band has a long resume in the Vancouver music scene. 

CHRIS: Yeah, longtime friends. So great to be on a 7” with such swell peeps!

What sorts of things typically influence your song lyrics?  Is there any subject out there you try to steer clear from in your songs?
JASON: Try to steer clear from?  Um, no…. Intentionally stay away from???  No.
On the contrary, I hyper focus on things I’m obsessed with, stuff that I really really really only want to sing about, Atmosphere, quest, emergence, redemption. Trying to carve out a space through voice, word and song.

Do you feel like music is as much of an influential force to young people in this age of instant accessibility and excessive consumerism as it ever has been?  If not, do you think it ever can be again?
JASON: Music’s role in my life has changed drastically several times. I’m going to go with the notion that this happens to most people. At first it might be aegis and kinda like a life preserver. Then it becomes a social tool to help you rediscover and invent yourself. Maybe even show you why you behave the way you do. Music then might turn into a spring board to help hurl you into all kinds of other arts and forms of expression. I’m hoping that’s what it can do for someone.

CHRIS: Depends on the kid I guess... there's definitely a lot of distractions in the world today but I would like to think being a music fan runs a bit deeper than apps for your telephone. Also, these days anybody interested in music has access to pretty much everything, usually for free or very cheep. Music fans are just as crazy about music as they ever were.

TOM: Music is still really present in young people´s lives. Festivals are sold out, everyone is hanging on earphones. There is still a lot of great and shitty music out there. 30 years ago too. Anyone who tells me that nowadays it´s so hard to find great music just hasn´t checked properly. Maybe the great amount of choices and the unlimited accessibility makes kids like their stuff for shorter periods, but there are still lots that become seriously interested or even part of a fan/sub- culture.

Like me, I’m sure you remember the days before Social Media.  Do you feel like it’s become an essential part of promoting shows, records etc..?  Do you think promotion can still be done effectively without it?
C.C.: I think there are negatives and positives. I’m grateful that I played in bands back when records still sold, and little labels could support bands on tour, and with distribution and promotion. These days with less and less money coming back from music sales, I think social media is where promotion can be done cheap, or free and bands and labels have to be fairly tech savvy. That’s where we could use a little help!

JASON: Had a talk with a guy a couple weeks ago who I believe was born in ‘96 or so. He asked me how we booked tours way back then without computers. I told him with a straight face,’’ Telephones, post cards and moms cooking in kitchens next to phones scribbling and dictating messages spoken by distant voices down on sheets of paper. Sometimes that paper might have been pink or even yellow with thin blue lines placed horizontally. It was best if you wrote between the lines. Then I might call back and in turn give someone else a message if the person I needed to speak to wasn’t there. We handled tons of dates like that. Vast tours. Worked just fine.  Bet you could do it with a cell phone too.

CHRIS: It's definitely a good way to reach a lot of people at once, we still make posters and hand bills for every show. There's a lot of people that have nothing to do with social media and prefer to find out about gigs via more classic means.

Tell me about the name Dysnea Boys, how did you come up with that?
JASON: I liked it because I thought it was an homage to the Bruce Johnson Beach Boys song Disney Girls (1957). Thin White Rope has a track called that as well. Chris came up with it.

CHRIS: it's a reference to a song by Blue Orchids. We originally spelt it like the corporation does but figured we could avoid legal action if the spelling was different. Now it reads more like dystopia and nausea, perhaps a little closer to the shady dealings of the magic kingdom.

Where can people go to hear Dysnea Boys and to buy your music?
JASON:  Contact us and order a 7 ’’ Find Water” b/w “Mind Stories”. There’s the split 7’’ as well but it’s extremely limited from what I understand.

CHRIS: Bandcamp would work. Your local record store hopefully!

What lies ahead for the rest of 2015 for the band?
C.C.:  We have a new full-length record completed. We recorded in Berlin with T.V. from the Radio Dead Ones. It was mixed in London by Andy Brook, and was mastered by Daniel Husayn at the North London Bomb Factory. We’ve had some great people work on it, and we’re super happy with the result. Now we’re looking for the right label. Hopefully we can announce that soon. 

JASON: Yeah, our album’s done. Call us to come play your town!!

CHRIS: Gigs! Traveling! More rekids!

Follow Dysnea Boys!  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bruiser Queen

Photo by Brian McClelland

Bruiser Queen are a fantastic two piece band based in St Louis MO which consist of Morgan Nusbaum on guitar/vocals and Jason Potter on the drums.  They've been called "part Riot Grrrl and part Art Rock" which sounds pretty spot on to me.  Morgan recently took some time out  to gab a bit with us about their terrific LP Sweet Static, her musical influences, and waffles!  

Interview by J Castro

Tell me about how you two met and decided to play music together?
MORGAN: We were in different bands in the same scene. Jason was in Left Arm and I was in The 75s. I was a bassist then and just started dabbling in electric guitar. Left Arm’s guitar player was heading off to law school and Jason asked me to fill in for a Ramones cover set. It was a blast and we decided to keep at it.

Can you remember early on, what band or musician first influenced you to want to pick up an instrument and want to learn to play/write music?
MORGAN: I would say Hole’s album Live Through This really changed my life, but Heart’s Dreamboat Annie probably planted the seed early on.

How would you describe Bruiser Queen’s “sound” to someone that’s never heard your music before?
MORGAN: 60’s girl group meets 90’s riot girl.

When you started playing together, did you have a particular sound/direction in mind for Bruiser Queen or did the music kind of take on a life and direction of its own after you started playing together?
MORGAN: You know what we actually did have a vibe in mind. Jason was into garage rock and I was stuck on early post hardcore. So when we started hanging out he was introducing me to all this amazing music and I was majorly inspired. I feel like our sound gets better all the time as we hone in on our strength in song writing and as my guitar playing improves.

Photo by Brian McClelland

Your new LP Sweet Static came out in October of last year, can you tell us a bit about it? 
MORGAN: In Sweet Static we tried to show a little bit more variety of songwriting. Our previous releases were on the bashers side. Songs like “Tiny Heart Attack”, “Girl Like Me” and “Some Girl’s Ghost” are definitely a departure from those punk leanings. We went into the recording process with a focus on the songs and songwriting. I played bass, organ and even a deeply mixed acoustic guitar on most tracks. 2012’s LP Swears was the opposite. We went in specifically looking for a recording that sounded exactly what we were live. With Sweet Static we weren’t worried about trying to translate the songs live the same as the record. I imagine future records will be tackled the same way. The process was so rewarding and freeing to not have to worry about the live schematics of being a two-piece.

Bruiser Queen - Sweet Static CD 2014

Can you recall the most bizarre person or event that inspired a song of out you?  Is there any topic you try and steer clear from in your song lyrics?
MORGAN: I write about pretty much anything. I have songs about my childhood home, romance, bands staying at my house, ghosts, aliens, catch phrases my friends say, age, movies, wolves, sunny days, rainy days, family, global warming, gender stereotypes… The list goes on.

Bruiser Queen is currently based in St Louis, MO.  What’s it like playing shows out there, is there a supportive crowd that gets what you guys are doing musically?
MORGAN: I would say we have a very supportive STL fan base. We keep things weird at local shows. We’ll do crazy things like holiday themes (The 12 Bassists Of Christmas, For All The Hunnies Valentine’s Day Show) or we’ve even done an evening with Bruiser Queen where we do a mix of acoustic songs, new songs, old fan faves and covers; just us for 3 sets.

You cover the Lost Sound’s track “Black Coats White Fear”, did Alicja Trout and Jay Reatard’s music have a big influence on Bruiser Queen?
MORGAN: Jason was a huge fan of Jay and his death came right around the time we first started hanging out. So we listened to tons of his stuff. I fell madly in love with River City Tanlines, which we had the pleasure of playing with once. So I’ll say it had a significant influence, especially on my guitar playing.

 In your band’s Facebook page, you list “Waffles” under band interests.  Tell me about the best waffle you’ve had and where did this momentous occasion take place?
MORGAN: Go to MELT in St. Louis and get the Knockout waffle: chocolate with chocolate chips and chocolate syrup. Comes with whipped cream but if you wanna be a real American throw on a scoop of chocolate ice cream. BOOM.

What lies ahead in for the band in the near future?
MORGAN: We are working on tons of new songs and touring the US extensively in the next year. Keep an eye out for new singles to be released in early 2016 and tour dates around your town!

What are the best places to go or log on to hear or buy your music?
MORGAN: We absolutely love Bandcamp but we have music anywhere you buy music: Spotify, Itunes, Google Music, CD Baby, you name it. Request us at your local record store J

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