new wave

ZIPPER CLUB GOES THE DISTANCE
August 11, 2016 11:49 am

If you haven’t heard “Going the Distance” by Zipper Club yet, get ready because it’s going to be stuck in your head pretty much forever. The band, comprised of Mason James of Cerebral Ballzy and Lissy Trullie, have recently been working with James Iha (of The Smashing Pumpkins fame) to produce their debut album. If it’s anything like this single, I can’t wait to hear it.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS spoke with Mason about new wave, new music, and new experiences:

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Your press release describes Zipper Club as being a “new wave-inspired” band. Are there any new wave albums that inspired you as musicians, or any that you’d recommend in general for your fans to listen to?

Stand And Deliver by Adam Ant, Big Country by Big Country is kind of a jam. The Bangles.

What bands from LA do you feel deserve more attention?

Every band in LA gets plenty of attention.

Has your producer James Iha given you any advice that’s resonated with you?

He has a real mastery of how to craft a song. He imparted little bits of his wisdom while working together. Subtle changes made a world of difference.

Did you squeal and freak out directly before/after meeting him?

I just got off tour. I met him in a dingy basement in Brooklyn to work on a Record Store Day single. I was so hung over that I wasn’t squealing much.

You just released a video for your song “Going the Distance”. What can you tell us about the production of it?

We wanted to make a non-literal adventure video that visually represented the music. We went out to the desert with some friends…and it turned out rad.

Did you help with the video’s concept or direction?

Jason Forrest Hogg and I had been messing around with ideas for a while and decided to direct this one together. Lissy and I worked as a band to conceive the storyline. We hit up some of our friends, bought a Cadillac, broke down four times on the way to the desert and then made a video.

What can we expect from your upcoming album?

Spacey synths and big hooks.

Zipper Club has a very different sound than your previous band Cerebral Ballzy. Is there anything in particular you were looking to do with Zipper Club that you felt you couldn’t do with Cerebral Ballzy?

I conceived this band out of frustration with punk. Punk can be pigeonholing in terms of musical creativity. This is a way for me to do something I wanted. It’s catchy and still cool. Once Lissy came into the fold, the remaining songs were greatly influenced by her presence and the collaboration built something great.

What advice can you give a band who is new to the music industry? Is there anything you were particularly surprised by when you were first starting out?

Get ready to sleep on a lot of floors.

Will you be touring soon or doing any live performances?

We play LA every Monday night in August at the Satellite. Then we’ll be on the road for the next year and a half.

Check out more Zipper Club with their tour, on Youtube, their site and here with the new single, “Going The Distance”.

STILL CORNERS LIVES
February 1, 2016 12:10 am

When a band goes more than two years without releasing anything, their fans begin to worry. Or worse, forget. That’s why it was something of a Christmas miracle when Still Corners released the single “Horses at Night” at the end of 2015. It was their first release since their 2013 LP Strange Pleasures and well worth the wait. I’m pleased to announce that Still Corners is very much alive.

To commemorate the occasion, ATYPICAL SOUNDS had a nice chat with writer/producer Greg Hughes and vocalist Tessa Murray.

You released a new single, “Horses at Night”, at the beginning of December. Is this in anticipation of a new album?

TM: We wanted to put something out before 2015 ended, we had just finished that song and thought yeah, let’s put this out. It’s not on our next record and was just a one-off really.

Will there be a tour in 2016? Any U.S. dates? How about SXSW?

TM: Yes we’re planning some SXSW shows and a new tour as we speak.

You toured with Chvrches in 2013. Are there any experiences on that tour that stood out to you?

GH: There were tons of people at the shows, lots of great cities. I remember driving through New Mexico, just seeing this massive expansive flat desert with mini-tornadoes everywhere, appearing then disappearing as we drove. We spent a lot of time in our van. Nothing like waking up on your friend’s armpit, just in time for sound-check. I just remember having my imagination rejuvenated more than anything else.

Tessa, you sang in choirs before moving to singing with Still Corners. What was it like to make that jump? Was there anything that surprised you about singing with a band?

TM: To suddenly be standing in front of a huge drum kit and guitar amps and synthesizers took some getting used to. I didn’t really have any idea what it would be like, but we hit our groove. The feeling you get after a performance is similar though, it’s a big high when you come off stage and know that the audience was into it.

What are your favorite venues in London? Are there any parties or club nights you’d recommend?

GH: Bush Hall is great. For larger shows the Barbican and Shepherd’s Bush. Any night at Cafe Oto.

Greg, what advice can you give for someone in the U.S. who is looking to move to London? What was it like for you when you first moved there? Scary? Fun?

GH: When I first arrived my mind was blown; I needed a new mind after that. My advice is to do it all. Ask around for a cheap room, rent is high. Bask in the glory that is the National Health Service and never worry again about convoluted over-priced healthcare. Drink pints often. Get rid of your car, you won’t need it.

Are there any foods from your native Texas that you wish they had in London? What have been your favorite foods in the U.K.?

GH: Proper Mexican food, but there isn’t proper Indian food in Austin. You can’t win.

Be on the Lookout for Still Corners in 2016.

When MSI Was Pink
September 7, 2015 4:17 pm

In 1990, Manhattan’s East Village hadn’t yet developed into the glorified shopping mall that’s become so popular with big-haired tourists and yogis alike. It was still fertile ground for people who wanted to create. And it was within this landscape that the band Mindless Self Indulgence, and the character of leader Little Jimmy Urine, were born.

MSI, as fans know them, ripped the music scene a new asshole when they released Tight in 1999. If you were a teenager in the early 2000’s, there’s a good chance you were hanging out in a musty basement somewhere shouting the lyrics to “Bitches” from their year 2000 release Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy. But what happened before that?

Bootlegs of MSI’s earliest work have been circling the Internet for at least a decade. Finally, their early work is getting the attention it deserves. Pink, coming September 18th on Metropolis Records, contains 15 never-before-released MSI tracks, plus covers of “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode and “Girls on Film by Duran Duran. The album is a snapshot of who MSI was from 1990-1997; a celebration of being young and dirty in New York City.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS spoke with singer and writer Little Jimmy Urine (born James Euringer) about the new/old album, what it was like growing up in the city, and what’s in the future for Mindless Self Indulgence.

Your new album Pink is comprised mainly of previously-unreleased music from the early days of MSI. What made you want to release it now?

JU: Well first off, people were selling the self-titled record on eBay for like 500 bucks and I was not seeing any of that money. And I was the only one who had Pink in my possession. But fans knew about the record since the early 2000’s from the Internet. Whether you like Pink or not, one thing is true – it is the most anticipated record of ours because fans knew everything about it for so long but no one even had a bootleg of it. In fact the “bootlegs” that went around were never Pink, they were other bands using the name to promote their own bad music to my fans. So I was like “Fuck that, I am going to put out the real Pink.”

Pink also has covers of “Personal Jesus” and “Girls on Film”. What attracted you to these? Has 80’s synthpop been influential to your sound?

JU: I think synthpop is influential to every single person that has ever worked with electronic music equipment, period. Even if you’re anti-synthpop, that is also synthpop influencing you to do something different. For me, I love melody and 80’s synthpop has some of the best melodies and songwriting ever.

As far as covering “Personal Jesus” and “Girls on Film,” my number one reason to cover a song is, “Can I make a bangin version of this song?” Most people cover songs because the song means a lot to them, but all my covers are based on, “Does the MSI cover slam the fuck out of the original song in some way?” And honestly “Personal Jesus” is my least favorite Depeche Mode song ever – I am a “Strangelove”/”Black Celebration” guy myself. But man does the MSI version kick ass, so of course I’m going to cover it.

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Will you be touring to support the album?

JU: We won’t be.

Do you and your wife [Morningwood vocalist Chantal Claret Euringer] ever collaborate?

JU: Hell yeah! All the time. She did a lot of the little vocal samples and background vocals on Pink, How I learned To Love MSI, and If. We’re both working on stuff all the time and we ask each other’s opinions, help each other with lyrics and melody here and there, talk about art production, business etc. My wife is super talented at so much stuff so, of course, I love to work with her.

You have your own record label, Uppity Cracker. Can you speak a little bit about the process of setting up and running an independent label?

JU: Well, it’s really easy; you just make up a stupid name and get an LLC.  Then BAM! you’re in business. It’s just a good thing to have an imprint even if it just handles your own music. But really just go on the internet and look around you can probably find a video on YouTube that would walk you through the whole thing.

Uppity Cracker was started in 1999. Do you think setting up an independent record label is something that could still be done today?

JU: Yeah, easily. Record labels are not magic they are just small business. If you can open up a cupcake shop you can start an independent label. But it will have less cupcakes…

MSI has been around for a reasonably long time, and I’m sure some of your fans have grown up with you as well. Do you keep in contact with any of them? Are there fans you recognize that come to your shows?

JU: Of course, and I am sure that is the case with a lot of bands. But I think even more so with Mindless Self Indulgence because we have always come right off the stage literally at the end of every show and mingled with the crowd no matter how big or small the show or festival is. So being in the crowd every night for twenty years you get to know the regulars.

Growing up in New York City, how great was the temptation to cut class and do something fun?

JU: That is all we did! We grew up in an X-rated adult mall basically. With a bus/subway pass for free transportation that took you anywhere and everywhere 24/7. We would go to 42nd Street, play video games, go to peep shows and jack off, sneak into movies, go to comic book shops. It was the greatest.

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Who has the best pizza in New York?

JU: Joe’s Pizza on 6th & Bleecker, and Stromboli on St. Marks & 1st.

Have there been any New York venues you’ve performed at that you enjoyed going to as a teenager? Was it a special experience for you?

JU: CBGBs, Irving Plaza and Webster Hall definitely had that full circle effect of “Man I saw a ton of shows here, and now we’re selling out three nights in a row here, holy crap!” type of feeling.

As a musician, have you ever felt pressured to “grow up”? How do you respond to this criticism?

JU: Nope. One of my biggest influences is Mad Magazine – it’s a subversive satire written and illustrated by smart, talented guys. But it’s also considered lowbrow humor for kids. As long as I’m me I am happy, and I have always been me and I will continue to be myself. It is very satisfying.

What do you see in the future for MSI or your other projects?

JU: I love Mindless Self Indulgence. That’s my favorite band because it’s the band that pays my rent and I will do it for as long as I am physically able. But I do not want to see Jimmy Urine on stage in a wheelchair. And as for other projects, I do a lot of work for TV, movies, comics and video games which are all things that I have loved since I was a kid. So I sleep very well at night.

Listen: Mindless Self Indulgence