Ooooh, we’re having a showcase! Please join us on 12/18 at Spike Hill in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and peep some local bands who we believe should be heard and seen. Doors are at 730 and the show is free. Below please find artist profiles of the talent we booked. We hope to see you there!
8PM: Wildcat Apollo
Formed in 2012 by Alex Margolin and brothers Taylor and Aaron Eichenseer, with lead singer Cat Tassini completing the indie rock/synthpop band a few months later, Wildcat Apollo released their debut full-length in October of this year. The 12-track eponymous record combines elements of garage rock and dancey shoegaze, full of catchy bass lines and innovative guitar hooks.
AF: We read that you guys are planning to make a permanent move to Austin, TX to join your bandmate Aaron. How do you anticipate that move influencing your sound, or inspiring each of you musically?
Cat: Well, we’ll all be together, so we’ll be writing together and growing together musically and just feeling more like a unit. I think Austin’s more relaxed vibe will definitely sink into our skin and come out in our music. It’s Aaron, Taylor and Alex’s hometown, and even though it’s not mine, I love it there, and I think we’ll all feel really comfortable and confident. And of course all the festivals and venues there will inspire us to be on top of our game.
AF: You all seem to share a lot of instrumental duties within the band (Cat and Alex both doing percussion and synth, Taylor and Aaron both on guitars). Do you also share songwriting duties? How do you generally go about collaborating as individual artists to create your music?
Taylor: Everybody in our group contributes to the songwriting; there’s certainly no set process as to how we develop a new song. It’s a mixed bag. Sometimes there is an independent writing process going on, where one member will come to the group with a decently formed concept and everybody else is left to fill in the blanks. Like when I was working at an after-school program and the fourth graders would take pink highlighters and glitter and brown and purple crayons to sketches I would do in my notebook. Collaboration breeds magic. You can’t be afraid to let your vision grow into something bigger. But we also do a lot of jamming and recording of jamming with a loop pedal or on a computer. This is great because it lets the music be the guide and you can turn your brain off and just let it flow and figure out what happened after the fact. It’s how we express ourselves, by shutting up and playing. Also, that everyone is artistically motivated in our group is a real blessing, because we hold each other accountable to be our absolute best.
AF: Where’s some of your current inspiration coming from?
Cat: I’ve been listening to Lorde, Miley Cyrus, and Sky Ferreira all week. Taylor: Brutally honest self-reflection.
AF: Cat, you’ve said you had no previous experience being in a band before you joined Wildcat Apollo last year. What are some of the things you’ve learned along the way, so far?
Cat: The biggest lesson I’m learning is giving up control. My artistic life before the band was dominated by directing. I was doing performance and video projects where I would handle almost everything and I’d just work with a friend or two on it. I came up with the idea, figured out all the details and made sure it all happened. So I didn’t have to depend on anyone else. But I missed the camaraderie of being a part of a cast and a crew. And eventually I felt limited and wanted to work with more people, people who were better than me. And in my the rest of my life, I was traveling and trying different jobs, floating around in the post-collegiate nebulous phase, just being totally free and independent, but also feeling confused and angsty. And then I got drawn into the band, which sort of came out of nowhere, but gave me a great sense of belonging and gave my life a direction. But I had to learn how to be a part of a team again and do it in a brand new context. And that context was a group of guys who had been playing music together their whole lives, so that was intimidating. Also I tend to have really strong artistic visions, so I had to learn to trust my bandmates and not just reject an idea because it’s different from the idea in my head. It’s something that I’ll have to keep learning over and over again: how to disregard my perfectionist control freak instincts and just trust the process and the people around me. Also, I recently co-directed one of our music videos and worked with Bull Moose Pictures on it, and it was a wonderful experience. So I’m learning and I’m happy the band is giving me an opportunity to experience that.
AF: Since it’s the end of the year and all, what are each of your New Year’s resolutions?
Aaron: To really push boundaries sonically and to embrace new technology in the song writing process.
Alex: To find a job.
Cat: Mine is always to be better with time and money.
Taylor: To release another, better record by year’s end.
Wildcat Apollo wishes to thank you, Annie, and everyone at AudioFemme for the tremendous opportunity to take part in your monthly showcase, especially considering the abundance of great music in Brooklyn and on the internet at large.
*Aw, yr welcome, Wildcat Apollo. Can’t wait to hear you play tonight!
Listen to “Gotham”, here, via Bandcamp:
9PM: New Politicians
New Politicians have been building some great hype with their two EPs, Alpha Decay and Drag A City, both released earlier this year. Their self-described post-punk sound has a gritty and straight-forward aesthetic, paired with melancholic lyrics. The four piece band are set to accomplish a lot more in the coming year.
AF: How did you guys come together as a band? Are you all still based out of New Jersey?
Gian: All four of us are currently based out of New Jersey. Around the time the band was formed though, I was living in Philadelphia attending college and Renal was working in Manhattan. We would share files via email and then come home to Centerville on the weekends to jam. As brothers, Renal and I have always connected over music and have been writing together since we were young. Winston and I went to school together and had been playing in a few projects before the idea for New Politicians was formed. When I tracked the demos for some of our first songs, I brought it to them and we decided to form a band around it.
Q: Your two EPs were released about 6 months apart. How do you think you developed as a band in that time and in what ways are the two releases unique from each other?
Gian: Well, since the release of Alpha Decay we’ve had a lot of opportunities to play live in New York and New Jersey which has given us plenty of experience playing together as a group. We recently recruited a new drummer, Chris, who allowed us to implement a pretty rigorous practice schedule that’s been refining our skills collectively and individually as well. From the song writing aspect I think there is a continuity between the songs on both EP’s. The only major difference is that Drag a City was self-produced at home in our apartment where we didn’t feel the restrictions of time and money during the process. That allowed us to take control of our sound for the first time and we ended up with a record that we’re really proud of.
Q: Your most recent EP includes a song titled “Are We The Dining Dead?,” presumably a reference to the Eternal Sunshine line. What other non-musical sources do you draw inspiration from?
Renal: Why yes, it is a reference to Eternal Sunshine. At the time of writing the lyrics to that particular song I had finally gotten around to watching the movie from beginning to end. Lyrically, I tend to draw most of my inspiration from life experiences as well as books and movies. Finding connections between my life and what I am reading or watching helps me generate multiple perspectives. While we were writing for the Drag a City EP, I had just finished reading Tender Is the Night and “Winter Dreams”, both Fitzgerald stories that served as a catalyst for my ideas.
Q: What’s the story with your band name?
Gian: Renal came up with the name New Politicians and when he brought it to the group we immediately liked the irony of calling a rock band “politicians.” It’s more tongue-in-cheek than it is a deep statement or anything. However, a lot of truth is said in jest.
Q: What are your plans and goals for the upcoming year? A full-length release, perhaps?
Gian: We’re planning to play as many shows as we can in support of Drag a City as well as continue to promote the record with the goal of receiving some label attention. So far there’s been a lot of positive feedback on our social media sites and we hope to continue to gain new fans throughout 2014. A full-length isn’t completely out of the question but we feel we don’t currently have access to the resources necessary to make a quality debut record. Regardless we will continue to write, record, and build our song catalog so who knows what the future holds for New Politicians.
Listen to “The Length Of Our Love” here, via Bandcamp
10 PM: Wild Leaves
This folksy five-piece and their “sun-drenched harmonies” sound like a far cry from Brooklyn’s cityscape, but the fresh local band is making waves with their debut EP, Wind & Rain. The 7-track release is a confident showcase of their wispy, nostalgic melodies, which are sure to bring some comfort and warmth to our showcase!
AF: How and when did you guys come together as a band?
WL: Wild Leaves officially formed as band in January of 2011. But its roots run much deeper. We had the pleasure of being friends in college, moving to Brooklyn together, and experiencing a similar struggle to find our respective places in the world. The band formed in the midst of that struggle as we began to articulate the challenges we experienced, through songs. Starting with intimate two-piece performances in our Crown Heights apartment, and growing into regular gigs, across the city, as a five-piece.
AF: What are you focusing on right now? Any plans in place for 2014?
WL: We just recorded a new batch of songs a couple weeks ago so we are mixing them now. This is a fun part of the process because a lot of the pressure is off (temporarily) The songs are what they are at this point and we get to just focus on putting the whole presentation together. We’re looking to do a release in early 2014 followed by massive amounts of touring. We’ve got people to see all across this beautiful country.
AF: Seven tracks is a good amount for an EP. Why did you decide to go with an EP release and not a full-length album debut?
WL: Ultimately it came down to releasing something that encapsulated a moment. We had a bunch of songs that didn’t make the cut because they felt ancillary to the place we were in. Recording those seven songs was a turning point in our collective time together in this city. A lot of work had gone into our transition and the songs were a away of acknowledging the past, while still embracing the future.
AF: What are your long-term goals for the band? Where do you anticipate going from here?
WL: Our long-term goal as a band is to write songs powerful enough to change the world. One of the major driving forces in our creative process is the open conversation we maintain with the people we come across on the road. Whether its through lyrics, a performance, or a conversation after the show, we view each experience as an opportunity to exchange ideas and hopefully make the world a better place.
AF: What are your New Year’s Eve plans this year? Any parties, shows, etc?
WL: Our new years plans are to lay low and spend some quality time with our loved ones. It’s been a wonderfully busy year. We played something like sixty shows, made new friends in many new places, but didn’t spend a lot of time at home. Winter is the perfect time for reflection and recuperation.
Listen to “Everyone”, here, via Bandcamp:
After the live show, stick around for dancing, courtesy of the ever-wild, B-Tips, who’ll be spinning all your faves til late.