Honduras are long-standing Brooklyn hometown heroes. Since 2012, they’ve recorded tons of catchy ’70s influenced power pop tunes that ooze with New York City lore, and have filmed many of their own music videos. They’ve played hundreds of shows in Brooklyn DIY spaces, opened for Blur and Interpol, and toured the country with other indie darlings such as Sunflower Bean and L.A. Witch. Despite a pandemic and a change to their original lineup, Honduras are moving forward with a record that they finished last January and will be playing their first livestream this Saturday 12/19! We chatted with the band’s vocalist, Pat Philips, about books he’s read in quarantine, his struggle with social media, division in our society, and the need for better access to mental health care.
AF: How has Honduras changed and grown in 2020?
PP: For a large part of 2020 I thought Honduras wasn’t going to be a band anymore. Tyson Moore, who I started the band with, got in touch with the rest of us in April and said he was ready to move on from Honduras. We couldn’t blame him. Him and his wife moved outside of the city, and the three of us had accepted he would quit eventually. But it was still a bit of a shock. And kind of heartbreaking. I have a long history with Tyson – we actually went to the same elementary school in Columbia, Missouri where we grew up. We’d been working on music together for the last 15 years, so I have so many life memories intertwined with him. After he quit the rest of us gave each other space. Fortunately, we all really believed in an album we’d just finished in January and wanted to keep going. We’ve been rehearsing the last couple months and we’re grateful for an opportunity to play a show, or a virtual show, or whatever.
AF: How was writing and recording “Remains,” the singleyou released this past fall?
PP: I really struggle with social media, and I think during the time of writing “Remains” I was acknowledging that it was affecting my behavior. It was written shortly after the 2016 election when everything seemed to be at a fever pitch. Anger, jealousy, insecurity, hatred, vanity, materialism, division are some things I believe social media exacerbates. I’ve also worked in nightlife in NYC for the last 9 years, and during that time a friend had just passed. That was surreal because he would close the bar with me every night, so it was weird adjusting to his physical presence being gone. We didn’t actually record the song until March of 2018 at Ultrasound Studios in Los Angeles. We were playing a few shows out there and fit in a session with Samual Shea and Julien O’Neill of the band Warbly Jets on production/engineering. The session was really loose and great. The studio was in downtown LA which I’d never been to before, and man it’s really scummy around there. The street the studio was on was a weird alley street, and the sidewalk was lined with all these Turkish men drinking espresso and chain smoking. We really enjoyed that session.
AF: Have you been working on any non-music things in 2020? Discover a passion for any unexpected hobbies?
PP: I’ve always had a passion for books and the free time was a blessing to read a bit more. I read some James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Hemingway, the Joy Division oral history. But the book that actually had the greatest impact on me was called The Broken Heart of America by Walter Johnson. It’s this 500 page history of the city of St. Louis “and the violent history of the United States.” St. Louis is the most segregated city in the US and also has the highest murder rate. But it also has an incredibly vibrant history. Maya Angelou, Miles Davis, Chuck Berry come from St. Louis. I was born there, but moved to Columbia, MO at 5 years old after my parents got divorced. St. Louis has always been the city where most of my family lives but a place I never really understood. The book helped fill in some missing pieces. I also helped my fiancé’s parents for a few weeks with moving into their new house in New Jersey. Did a bit of painting, and putting together furniture and shelves. I’m not very knowledgeable in some of that work but it was great to get out of Brooklyn for a few weeks and work with our hands. We’ve been in our apartment this whole year, but this year has instilled our love for NYC. With that said, the few trips out of the city helped restore sanity.
AF: Can you tell us about your new line-up or is that surprise for the livestream?
PP: Maxi Motcham has been filling in on guitar/synth for us. We’ve only been rehearsing for a few months, but he’s really professional for someone his age. Plays both instruments well. I think we’re all just happy to be playing music again. We understand it’s a huge privilege, and we’ve had some cool opportunities over the years. But it’s not something we take lightly, or pursue for financial gains. We do it because we have to – it’s a release that I couldn’t compare to anything else. And I’d be terrified of a life without it.
AF: Do you have any plans for new music in 2021?
PP: We will be releasing a 12-song full-length LP called Redeeming Features. We’re putting out two songs in January, and hopefully the rest of the album shortly after.
AF: What would you like to see change in the world in 2021?
PP: Oh wow. It’s really the division that gets to me. I hope this next year, after all we’ve gone through we can all lean into that voice that beats deep inside. It’s the human spirit, and it’s love. Love and understanding for others. A lot of the fears we share are false masks that people at the top perpetuate for their own profit. We’ve all been through hell, but 2020 illuminated a lot of what is wrong with society. A lot of the systems of the United States appear to be broken. A lot of marginalized people do not have access to opportunity. I think the government should spend more money helping its people, I think corporations should be taxed fairly like the rest of us.
On a personal note, I got to a place a few years ago I didn’t know I was going to be able to get out of. I’d repressed sexual abuse from my past, and was struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. I got arrested at work one night and spent 40 hours in jail. Something shifted mentally in those hours, and when I got out I was broken. It was a low point, but soon after, for the first time, I was able to tell my partner about the trauma I’d experienced. I had held that secret in for 12 years. Fortunately with my insurance in New York, CBT therapy was covered. I’ve been in therapy for the last two and a half years and it’s changed my life so much. I want to advocate for therapy, and hope it can become more available for people. After 2020 we’ve all been through traumas, and I believe therapy for millions more people would help put our society back together.
Long Neck is the solo endeavor of New Jerseyan Lily Mastrodimos; the name comes from Mastrodimo’s love of dinosaurs, and the band’s records serve as methodical archives of her evolution as a person and musician.
Their sophomore LP World’s Strongest Dog, which was self-released in April 2020, catalogs Mastrodimos’ triumphs, hardships and growth during her late 20s. On it, Mastrodimos is joined by John Ambrosio of drums and percussion, Kevin Kim on guitar and Alex Mercuri on bass and was recorded and mixed by Tom Beaujour.
The record’s opening track “Campfire” is an anthem to building something new, and since August Mastrodimos has been doing just that by booking weekly virtual showcases called “Around the Campfire.” Today, there’s a special Black Friday edition with about 20 artists including Oceanator, Shady Bug, The Cosmonaut Cassettes, Garden and more. We chatted with Lily Mastrodimos about her love of bats, the New Jersey music scene and how science informs her songwriting.
AF: What realizations did you come to while meditating on your late 20s during the process of writing and recording World’s Strongest Dog?
LM: I had a professor who once who told me that I get caught up in the struggle and not the process. I think, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to understand what he meant. I used to be so debilitated by stress and anxiety and depression, but in the past few years I’ve been able to seek help and learn how to manage that struggle. You’ve got to manage the struggle however you can, hold yourself accountable, and be open to the things you learn on the way.
AF: How has the New Jersey music scene changed over the years?
LM: Jersey is such a small state, and I think the music scene actually benefits from that. Everyone knows each other and is so down to help each other out. Some really wonderful booking collectives have popped up (hi Beehive!), DIY venues and community centers have been established in towns that may not get a lot of musical foot traffic otherwise. Jersey has such a rich musical history, and it’s beautiful to see it continue and grow in the way that it has.
AF: Are you still working in a scientific field and has the pandemic changed anything about the work you’re doing?
LM: I still want to work in the scientific field. The pandemic has put my grad school plans on hold, and I miss being out in the field. I’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as I can. I go birdwatching on my off days, and I installed a bat house on my roof this summer.
AF: What is your favorite thing about bats?
LM: Oh God, everything! Here’s a relevant fact for the day: Did you know vampire bats will socially distance when a member of a colony is sick? Let’s learn from bats!
AF: Does your work in science ever cross over into your music?
LM: Oh absolutely. It’s easier for me to dissect my own feelings when I can relate them to ecological processes or animal behavior.
AF: We’ve listed many of your Around The Campfire Twitch streams on here over the past few months. What inspired you to start curating your own Twitch showcases?
LM: Thank you! I started Around The Campfire because I missed booking shows, and I missed going to shows, and I missed that community. I thought I would only do it for August, but the list of bands I wanted to book was just too long and I enjoyed the shows too much. I decided to keep doing it for the foreseeable future. In October we moved all of our streams to our very own website because we learned Twitch is owned by Amazon. The switch has been so perfect, though. I can archive all of our shows and the streams run so much more smoothly. It’s been amazing.
AF: What have been some of your favorite moments from your Twitch streams?
LM: Oh my goodness, it’s so hard to choose! The Diners set is up there, Tyler’s performance was just so fun and wonderful. Anjimile and Billy Dean Thomas put on such incredible shows, and getting to see them play together was wild. I’ve loved all of these sets so much and I’m thrilled that these artists get to share their art with us every week.
AF: What plans do you have for the end of 2020 and beyond?
LM: Long Neck will be releasing a music video soon, but that’s all I’ll say about that! Around The Campfire will continue for the foreseeable future – the December lineup will be announced soon and it’s a wild one. Once it’s safe for “irl” shows again, I’d like to turn Around The Campfire into a live, monthly show. All in all, we’re scheming!
RSVP HERE for Long Neck with Oceanator, Remember Sports, Sailor Boyfriend, Ben Eisenberger, Cinema Hearts, Maya ‘Moon’ Osborne, Shady Bug, The Cosmonaut Cassettes, Evan Diem, Garden Centre, Yvonne Chazal, Erica Freas, Suzie True, sodada, Soot Sprite, Adam Carpenter, Fresh, Me Rex, and Finish Flag on 11/27 at 7pm ET.
More great livestreams this week…
11/27 Girl Skin via The New Colossus Festival YouTube. 9pm ET, RSVP HERE
11/28 Making music Writing Lyrics with Paige of Irrevery via The Coop Workshop Square. 2pm ET RSVP HERE
11/28 Hinds via Moment House. 9pm ET, $12. RSVP HERE
Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.
If J Mascis and Shania Twain started a band together after Armageddon, it would sound like Drug Couple – an actual couple, Becca and Miles, who met and fell in love in 2016 while working on the record for Becca’s former project. Since then, they have written and recorded their debut EP Little Hits and a forthcoming follow-up, Choose Your Own Apocalypse, while microdosing LCD together. You can check out their dream punk ballads at Baby’s All Right on 1/29 with Edna and Coy Sterling. We chatted with them about their dream roadside attractions, upcoming wedding, and plans to harness the power of mind control in 2020.
AF: What was your first ever show like? What was your most memorable show of 2019?
DC: The first time we played together was actually for M’s solo stuff, opening up for Chairlift in Red Hook; the first time we played as our own project was a house show on the Fourth of July at B’s childhood home in Vermont. Our most memorable show of 2019 was probably when we played at Camp Here Here, a very cool place in the Catskills.
AF: If you could play with any band alive or dead who would it be? What band would you want to play your wedding?
DC: Fucking OASIS! We’re actually getting married this summer, and the plan is to have the afterparty be a big ass show with a bunch of our friends playing throughout the night. Yo La Tengo would be pretty cool though too.
AF: Do you prefer microdosing on shrooms or LSD? How does microdosing contribute to your songwriting/recording process?
DC: DEFINITELY the latter. We were pretty into it while we were writing and recording the last record, but it’s been a minute.
AF: What album would listen to as your soundtrack to the apocalypse?
DC: We wrote our second EP, Choose Your Own Apocalypse (that we’ll be releasing this Spring) as a sort of a soundtrack to the impending apocalypse. It’d probably be pretty stressful though so maybe just some Sam Cooke or Neil Young. We’d say Al Green…but then things get all sexy and you’ve really gotta focus on minute-to-minute survival in that kinda situation.
AF: When you go on tour, what will your first road-side attraction visit be?
DC: M is a fast food connoisseur and B’s never had Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Hardee’s, or Whataburger. So those. Also looking forward to Walmart and hanging out in all those gigantic roadside gas and food centers on 80 in Ohio. This is M’s idea of a good time fwiw.
AF: Beyond that, what are your plans for 2020?
DC: Make beautiful things together that we can be proud of forever. Harness the power of mind-control. Become the surprise late entry candidates in the Presidential election that capture the hearts and minds of a nation and, after winning, save the world from its imminent destruction by being able to actually explain our fucking ideas and plans with a shred of believability, coherence, and authenticity.
Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands. This week we’ve doubled up and listed the best shows from 12/20-New Years!
My favorite show of 2019 was Combo Chimbita at Ace of Cups in Columbus, Ohio, so I’m so happy to be ending this year’s RSVP HERE column with an interview with them! The NYC-via-Colombia tropico-psychedlia meets cumbia rock band has a live set that takes you to another dimension of afro-futurism punk. Combo Chimbita consists of vocalist Carolina Oliveros, Prince of Queens on analog synths, Niño Lento on guitar and Dilemastronauta on a drum set that includes unique percussion instruments and crazy looking cymbals. Frontwoman Carolina Oliveros’ voice is so powerful it will make you cry and the way she plays the guacharaca is so intense it’s almost scary – I seriously thought she might slice someone’s head off. On their latest release Ahomale, which is a Yoruba word that means “adorer of ancestors,” Oliveros set out with the intent to connect with ancestral cosmology, a spirit that becomes animated in their live show.We spoke with the band about their Sun Ra Arkestra, music in Colombia, and inspirations behind their live show…
AF: What were some of your favorite cities you visited and shows you played while on the road in 2019?
Dilmeastronauta: LA, San Juan, NY
Niño Lento: San Juan, PR/Chicago/LA
Prince of Queens: This year we went to so many places! Playing in San Juan in January was amazing, LA, Chicago and Austin is always great for me – so many friends and the crowds are always amazing. One of my favorite shows was in Berlin for Día de los Muertos with Turbo Sonidero; that was an incredible party.
Carolina Oliveros: Berlín, Barcelona e Italia, LA, Chicago
AF: What are your favorite records to listen to while on the road?
D: SunRa “Nuclear War is a Mother Fucker,” Concha Buika “Don’t Explain”
NL: Bocanada (Gustavo Cerati), Lejos de Mi Amor (Polibio Mayorga)
PoQ: When you spend so much time on the road you listen to too much music sometimes… I like silence honestly! But I think always at some point during tour we hit that moment where we listen to classic rock and español and we all sing soda stereo really loud with the windows down.
CO: Me gusta mucho escuchar mucho afrobeats. Me pone alegre y contenta.
AF: What are the differences in the way the direction of music is going in Colombia vs the US?
D: Both cities offer something unique. I feel like NY provides me with access to witness more of the Caribbean diaspora music while Colombia offers its own roots plus, rock, metal etc.
PoQ: I think music in the US might be driven more by the diaspora and the immigrant experience. A lot of amazing music coming out from Colombia feels more focused on re-imagining and inspired by tradition and roots music. I think they are both super relevant and in many ways crossover.
CO: Se que colombia musicalmente en este momento es un gran referente, siento que se está haciendo mucha música que está conectada a las raíces.
AF: What are your favorite percussion instruments to use during your set?
PoQ: I don’t play it but the Carolina’s guacharaca is special.
AF: What is the inspiration behind the synth sounds you use?
PoQ: I love techno and sound design in general. I always try to approach synth playing more as a sound design tool than a traditional keyboard per se. I love analog sound and just unexpected freak out moments of synth.
AF: What are some of the biggest inspirations and influences on your live show? What are you looking forward to most about your show with Sun Ra Arkestra?
D: I look forward to witnessing the legacy of Sun Ra among the members of his band, their ability to improvise and to be colorful.
PoQ: Too many inspirations! I’m inspired by artists than transcend time and generations. Sun Ra Arkestra, los Wemblers, tabou combo, BIG sound on stage and full on rhythm. I’m not really a religious person but music is spiritual and powerful sound and stage presence can take you places far and deep. That’s what I am into. Honestly just meeting them and hearing them play. So much to learn and experience.
CO: Me gusta muchos lxs artistas que son únicxs y espontánexs y que proponen algo diferente en vivo, que no tienen miedo a explorar y dar creatividad para sus shows. James brown, Janis Joplin, mayra Andrade, La Lupe , celia cruz , concha buika. Tocar con Sun Ra será una de las experiencias más impactantes de mi carrera. Agradecida con tu interés de tocar con el combo .. sera una noche memorable, para ser feliz y hacer vibrar al público. Si quieren candela, candela le vamo a dar !!
AF: What are your plans for 2020 and the next decade?
D: I wanna tour in Latin America, it has become a dream I would like to fulfill.
PoQ: Travel to South America, write some new music and keep exploring, searching and interpreting those energies that keeps us together making music.
CO: Seguir poniendo sabor en el fogón. Haciendo beats poderosos , mucha letra que conecte y retumbe , muchos lugares para conquistar y mucha Alegría y nuevos amigxs
Booking a tour is basically planning a road trip with the goal of playing music every night and (hopefully) making enough money for gas to your next destination. Booking your first tour is a grind, so it’s helpful to have higher purpose that is fun and motivating. Bands usually plan a tour to promote an EP or album release, but the first “tour” I went on was a 32-hour drive straight to SXSW in 2011 with my two-piece band Pool Sharks (my drummer, Lani now plays in Weeping Icon) in order to play one house party at SXSW that was shut down before our set. I’ve been to SXSW seven years in a row now, so it’s a fun place to start!
You could be really creative with your touring intent. Kino Kimino toured down to the Woman’s March on Washington in January (the house party we played in D.C. post-march was INSANE). This past August, Sharkmuffin toured to see the Total Solar Eclipse in South Carolina with our appropriately named friends Wild Moon.
Garage rock/folk blues guitar goddess Melissa Lucciola (of Wild Moon,Francie Moon, and bassist of Kino Kimino) is one of my tour heroes. She has undertaken DIY tours that have lasted 4 months or more at a time, with small breaks in between. One of her main goals as a musician is to tour and will take every opportunity to do so.
“Touring has always had an array of special purposes in my life. I have toured in bands and acoustically from house shows to art galleries to larger venues and have always found great purpose in any of those situations. I went on my first tour ever because I love to travel and play music every day and fortunately we were asked to join another band that knew how to book it. Later on I was asked to tour solo and acoustically. Even though playing acoustic wasn’t my first choice, I figured since I had the opportunity to do the leg work and learn how to tour, the places to play, and how to make some money while at it that I could one day help all my friends who want to play music full time too. I’m still on that path and was able to bring my full band on the road earlier this year on my most successful tour yet, which was very encouraging for me.
Touring has also made me aware and extremely appreciative of this amazing network of people who constantly help each other out. By touring you eventually find yourself in this very large community of fellow musicians, artists, organizers, and just straight up supportive people who are pushing each other along. I am part of a bunch of groups online that are always assisting each other with booking shows, finding photographers or artists to help with merchandise and posters, website designers, videographers for music videos and just simply sharing their music with each other.
I’m really honored to not only be able to do what I love, but be a part of something bigger than me that continuously helps others be able to do it too.” – Melissa Lucciola
Whether you want to support your release, support a good cause, or are just craving adventure, here are some basics to start booking your tour:
Give yourself enough time. It’s best to start booking tours 3-5 months in advance. If it’s a tour to a festival like SXSW, the earlier you start booking it the better. Keep in mind that you’ll want to start promoting the show at least a month in advance and it could take two months to lock down the date/venue/supporting acts.
Make friends & trade shows. Pay attention to your band’s e-mail/Facebook messages. Musicians you probably have never heard of are looking to play in your town and may have reached out for your help. If you set up a good show for them in your area, they’ll most likely be happy to return the favor in their town!
Take advantage of online DIY communities. The Internet is a beautiful thing sometimes. Do DIY is a great resource of DIY spaces and organizers in many cities across the U.S. There are also Facebook groups for DIY scenes almost every major city that you can join and post in. While reaching out to people, always include links to your music, bio/other press, the dates you’re looking to play, and if you have any friends/know bands in the area.
Google. When all else fails, reach out to every venue & band you like in a certain area. Go to a venue’s contact page on their website or message them on Facebook.
Use your social media network. You probably have more friends/fans in different places than you would expect! Posting “Can you help us find a show in these places on these dates?” on each of your social media networks could get many unexpected results when you’re stuck.
Stay Organized. It is easy to get confused and double book dates or forget to fill dates all together. Creating a spreadsheet you can share with your bandmates with the dates, cities, bands, venues contacted, and any notes on the progress really helps keep things clear. And then you’ll also be able to yell at your bandmates to CHECK THE SPREADSHEET in the group text when they ask the same question for the thousandth time!
Stalwarts of NYC’s DIY scene, experimental noise punk band Weeping Icon released their debut EP Eyeball Under on Kanine/Fire Talk Records in July. Thematically, the record touches on hard-hitting topics like street harassment, religion, anxiety, sexism and secrets in “safe places” like the doctor’s office, as well as anger and frustration with current events in politics. Weeping Icon are uncompromising and display a brutal honesty that is sure to weed out those that can’t handle the truth.
While listening to Eyeball Under I can vividly recall the live shows I’ve experienced with my jaw on the floor and hair whipping around in front of my face. Sara Fantry’s searing guitar tones, Sara Lutkenhaus’s dizzying noise progressions, Sara Reinold’s driving bass lines, Lani Combier-Kapel’s kinetic drumming, and vocal deliveries that range from sultry to electrifying battle cries are key elements to the band’s sound. Luckily, the band has found a way to capture the raw energy of their live performances in these recordings.
AudioFemme had the pleasure of dissecting the collective mind of Weeping Icon. Stream their latest record while you read the interview below, where we discuss the making of the album, the growth of NYC’s music scene, and empowerment through music.
Audiofemme (AF): How did you come together? When did Weeping Icon form?
Lani Combier-Kapel (LCK): Sara Fantry and I played in ADVAETA for 7 years together and towards the end would jam alone on harder, noisier riffs. When that project disbanded in fall 2015, we started jamming more and decided to start another project. Two more Saras later and voila!
AF: What is the significance of the band name? What does it mean to you?
LCK: If you look up weeping icon in google image search, you’ll find all of these Christian paintings with water damage coming out of their eyes and it looks like they’re crying. A lot of them are of the Virgin Mary and some of them supposedly have a funny smell. I’ll leave the rest to interpretation, but it’s a real crazy image to work with.
Sara Fantry (SF): I’ve always been fascinated by idol worship, and the hugely physical reactions people have to their own religious truths. No level of contesting information seems to sober fanatics. Weeping icons are often said to cry blood. Thousands of people show up to witness and experience them. To me, they represent the morbidity in extreme dogma.
AF: How long have you been working on Eyeball Under?
LCK: The whole thing was written and recorded in less than a year. All the songs on the EP are the first ones we had written together – actually, “Jail Billz” is the first song we wrote. It feels good to just spit it all out instead of taking an overly long time to perfect it. The album was recorded live and all instruments were recorded in one day!
AF: Can you tell me more about the album artwork and working with Justin Frye?
Sara Lutkenhaus: (SL): We love all of Justin’s visuals so we sent him our album and let him run wild.
Sara Reinold (SR): Justin was great to work with – he came up with a few variations and we were able to pick and choose aspects that we liked in each, He was open to ideas and suggestions, allowing us to really shape the perfect cover. It was a great experience, hope we can work together again in the future!
LCK: PC Worship is a huge influence for me musically and we all love Justin’s visual work. I love what he ended up doing and it helped frame the rest of the art and photos for this release.
AF: How did you translate the wild live energy into your recordings? What was the process like? Who did you work with?
SR: We recorded pretty much in a live setting, with all of us playing together in the same room – then we overdubbed vox and some extra synth parts afterward. The connection between the four of us and how we communicate when we play live is very important to the music and our sound. If we had recorded any other way I don’t think we would have gotten a correct representation of the band.
We tracked with Jeremy Backofen at Kirton Farms in upstate New York. The studio sits on an amazing piece of land with views for miles and bonfires aplenty. We took a long weekend there and had a great time. We mixed with an old buddy of mine, Alan Labiner, who’s worked with some artists known for experimenting: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Celebration. Alan was amazing to work with; he really understood what we were going for. He worked quickly, translating our many thoughts and ideas into exactly what we wanted. You can badly describe a weird noise to him and with a few clicks, that weird noise is a reality.
LCK: I don’t play to click tracks, sorrynotsorry. Also, Joe Plourde helped us overdub the vocals and I’m glad we did – they sound so much better than the originals did.
SF: One thing I think has become very specific to our live show is playing without pauses in between songs. We try to turn every transition into its own ambient or harsh noise experience. We wanted our album to retain that, so three of the tracks are noise transitions. Also on the tape and vinyl (out in September), the tracks flow into one another seamlessly. To continuously make sounds for a half hour without a break for thought, applause, or pulling your bra strap up after it fell down, means listening to one another, filling in gaps differently, and facing down new challenges every time. I’m excited to see how this idea manifests on our next album!
AF: What gear do you use to create noise elements?
SL: I record a lot of different sounds onto my sampler at home. There are 2-3 synths I mostly use and then I contact mic pretty much whatever I can find.
LCK: I’m still figuring out my drum machine. It’s broken and half the pads don’t work on it but I guess I don’t use many sounds anyway. On “Jail Billz,” I overdubbed some metal drum sounds using Lutkie’s gear! She’s a noise goddess.
SF: I use some weirdo pedal sounds, plus I try to incorporate non-traditional noise making items to play my guitar with. Those may or may not be secret things.
AF: Why is noise important to your expression? What does it represent?
SL: Noise can describe things so perfectly when words can be awkward or inadequate. It’s also sensitive to every environment, which means it’s always going to sound slightly different. It demands being present to try to respond.
SR: Noise allows us to tap into that primal energy. As the bassist, I get to express all of these pent up emotions by a gut rumbling sound. The four of us exerting this primal energy in our own different ways is at the core of the band, especially on this EP, where we see themes of anger, retaliation, fear… All this built up energy has to go somewhere, and the noise elements help us to express it beyond the constraints of the English language.
LCK: Even when you’re alone in silence, you can still hear noises – houses creaking, the A/C on, water dripping from a leaky faucet, upstairs neighbors. This is the real world we live in. Unless you’re in a controlled environment like an anechoic chamber, you’re gonna hear random shit. We’re just taking these kinds of noises and ramping them up a few notches – sort of like our environment is screaming at us.
SF: My parents would never understand my appreciation for noise. Their generation is dubious over whether rap music even qualifies as music (IT DOES). To me, noise is the next frontier. It’s what hasn’t been done and never will be finished. It’s limitless.
AF: Did writing “Jail Billz” give you more power when facing street harassment? Was there a particular encounter that broke the camel’s back and drove you to write this song? How do you deal with catcalling and harassment? When I am catcalled lately this song comes to mind. It reminds me that I don’t have to take their shit for a single second. I feel it is empowering in those moments to have this song in the back of my head and know that I am not alone and that I have the power and the right to retaliate.
LCK: Honestly, this song was written so subconsciously that I think my mind just started yelling out those words without me thinking much about the context of it. Of course, I went back and rewrote them but I remember just yelling out “I’ve got a sword!” out of nowhere, and who else would I want to kill other than shitty men? Heheheh. In all seriousness though, being catcalled and being touched without permission just plain sucks and is predatory behavior. The fact that it’s still so common is a societal flaw that keeps women afraid and weak because we feel unsafe. We need to all stand together and maybe create our own Mafia.
SF: You know, I do think this song & Lani’s lyrics have empowered me more. Lately, I walk down the street feeling tougher, fiercer, the words “I’m not afraid to slit your throat” running through me like a mantra. None of us condone violence of course, but it’s interesting how we teach the subordinate half of our species to be non-violent, and the dominant half that violence is sometimes justifiable. If (certain) men were afraid of us the way they are often afraid of each other, they would think twice about bullying us with their desires, words, and touch. I want to feel ready with that violence, not to abuse, but to keep myself and other women or bullied people protected. And thanks for saying that — we aren’t alone, and it’s important to remember that.
AF: What have you learned from your previous projects that drive Weeping Icon?
SR: What I have learned from being in so many bands over the years is you really have to take the time to learn about each member’s personalities and how they will react to things if you want to be in a healthy collaborative relationship. It’s important to know how to share ideas and opinions without stepping on anyone’s toes, and how to take criticism without getting angry about it. I’ve been in many different kinds of band formations, all who had very different writing processes and different ways to be collaborative. Maybe one person writes all the parts and brings it to the band, maybe they write just the main chords and let everyone write their own parts, or maybe everyone writes songs separately… It’s important to be open to the many possibilities. What I LOVE about Weeping Icon is we all actually sit down and write the songs together, collectively, in the same room at the same time. I love this approach as everyone has a say and we can be honest with our opinions. Being in other bands has helped me appreciate this approach so much more.
LCK: Collaboration is great but you’re never gonna see eye to eye with everyone on everything. So in my experience, it’s important to just give someone what they want every once in awhile, especially if it’s not something you super care about. I like to sit on a scenario for a moment and think, “how much do I REALLY care about getting my way on this?” Most of the time, I don’t actually mind all that much! Not reacting in the moment is hard but ideal.
However I always keep in mind: someone who likes getting their way will try and come to a compromise – but they are still getting their way! Letting other people take control is and should be okay as long as it’s not taken advantage of. This the most important lesson and is something I now take into account every time I work in a group.
Also, being able to try all ideas without question and letting go of ideas is a big one. Let go of that ego. Your idea is NOT always the best one! Use that idea for something else!
AF: Do you feel empowered by the NYC/Brooklyn DIY scene? How has it changed over the years? How do you give back to the community?
LCK: I’m a big optimist when it comes to the NYC music scene – it really has the capacity to grow musicians in a way that’s toughening because there’s just so much out there. You really have to be part of a community or be proactive to play shows. So that’s what I did – I immersed myself with as much underground music and communities as I could handle by going to shows and eventually working shows.
All of us in Weeping Icon are regular flies on the walls at local shows. Sometimes we won’t say yes to playing a show simply because we want to see another one that same night. We’ll be the ones at the apartment noise show and there’s like five other people. My partner sometimes says, “you’re always out!” and I’ll answer “no way, I hardly went out this week! I just went to four shows and had two band practices.”
I’ve been on the Programming Team at Silent Barn for four years now and I listen to so much random music submissions every single day because of it. Now, when I hear something unique, my ears immediately perk up and I know it’s something I should take a closer listen to. Music that I play is affected since I kinda know exactly what I’m into when I’m practicing or writing songs. I guess the more you immerse yourself in something, the more developed your taste gets.
AF: What are some local bands you are inspired by?
SL: Oh man, Signal Break, Dawn of Humans, L.O.T.I.O.N., Palberta, and Macula Dog. But I think we all got schooled by Martin Rev when he played in June. He is so good.
SR: Bambara, Ritual Humor, Yvette, also, Russell Hymowitz is my bass idol. He’s an inspiration.
SF: So much stuff! I’m sure to leave out so many: Parlor Walls, Pill, Heaven’s Gate, PC Worship, Smhoak Mosheein, Gold Dime, Conduit, Uniform, Dead Tenants, Squad Car, Shimmer, HVAC, so much more…ALL THE WOMEN / QUEER + NON-GENDER BINARY PEOPLE IN THE SCENE PLAYING BALLS OUT TITS TO THE SKY.
LCK: PC Worship (have to second this), Moor Mother, Boy Harsher, Heaven’s Gate, The Dreebs, Deli Girls, Beech Creeps, Lutkie.
AF: Do you have plans to tour?
SF: Oh ya, it’s happenin’ soon!
LCK: You have a hookup in St. Louis?
Weeping Icon’s Eyeball Under is available for purchase on cassette and digital formats now via their Bandcamp. Keep your eyes peeled for the vinyl release September 22; follow Weeping Icon on Facebook to keep up with live shows and upcoming releases. [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
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