(2011 Jan 20) SuperSuper! #23 GR†LLGR†LL, Light Asylum interviews + oOoOO interview with Taylor Momsen

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(2011 Jan 20) SuperSuper! #23 GR†LLGR†LL, Light Asylum interviews + oOoOO interview with Taylor Momsen

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Supersuper! Magazine (#23, 2011)
Issue date proof: https://twitter.com/char_mcmanus/status ... 4465762304

Back-up links:
GG: https://cultofnow-blog.tumblr.com/post/ ... ersuper-23
Light Asylum: https://cultofnow-blog.tumblr.com/post/ ... ersuper-23 / https://web.archive.org/web/20111103111 ... ht-asylum/
oOoOO: https://cultofnow-blog.tumblr.com/post/ ... ersuper-23

Front cover:
GR†LLGR†LL interview: click to read
Words: Jade French

A master of the now-notorious Witch House genre, GR†LLGR†LL mixes shit up with his trademark skittered backbeats and ethereal visuals. SUPERSUPER caught up with him to chat about genre traps, being signed to label champions Disaro and the biggest question of all – Lil Wayne or Ginuwine?

SS: Would you still be making music if the Internet didn’t exist?

GG: I would. My visuals and music are my way of creating something to cling onto, like some people find a god, fitness or whatever! But I would probably never have been heard; I would have been too shy to put it out anywhere.

SS: Do you count yourself as part of the ‘Witch House’ scene?

GG: I I’m part of some kind of DIY movement, with people mixing a lot of stuff together into something that makes sense to them. The phrase ‘Witch House’ itself doesn’t say much to me, but people kind of stayed with it.

SS: How do you want people to feel with your music/visuals?

GG: In my head the visual and the music are pretty much tied together – I love contrasts. I’m interested in creating climbs of emotions, rather than a story, as it makes it possible for people to make out their own ‘beliefs’.

SS: What drives you to make music?

GG: My visuals and music are the fields where I feel totally free and can express myself, without borders or self-restrictions… it feels good to escape to another place for as long as it lasts. That’s something.

SS: Being signed to Disaro is a pretty big deal. How did it happen?

GG: I met Robert (Disaro) randomly on MySpace because we shared the same taste in a lot of things, and he liked my music. Disaro appealed to me because it didn’t feel like anything had to be labelled - I was free to do what I wanted.

SS: You covered Lil’ Waynes ‘Lollipop'… do you think he’s better than Ginuwine???

GG: I love Lil’s Wayne’s flow and his way of being - it kind of depresses and excites me at the same time. Between those two I’d say Lil Wayne, but overall R. Kelly is the ONE.

SS: What is the best song to get a party going?

GG: Anything my two friends /BORNWRONG put on when they DJ. DARLINGS!

Light Asylum interview: click to read

Words - Charlotte Oxnard
Photos - Eden Batki

Based in the heart of Brooklyn’s underground scene, Light Asylum (otherwise known as Shannon Funchess and Bruno Coviello) have been catching the attention of discerning ears with their combination of ethereal, yearning vocals and deep, brooding synth-pop. 2011 looks set to be a breakthrough for the duo…

SS: So, for those that haven‘t yet been lucky enough to make your acquaintance, who is Light Asylum? What’s the story with you guys?

BC: Light Asylum is Shannon on vocals, electronic percussion and sampling pads, and myself on keys and drum machines. We started a few years back opening for (Brooklyn-based collective) Bunny Rabbit and the Cult of Miracles, where we spent a month in a minivan on tour together. The rest is history…

SF: I actually started Light Asylum as a solo project in 2007, with a couple of friends producing, but that didn’t quite work out. Then, in 2009 I booked a couple of shows and asked Bruno to join me – since then, we haven’t looked back!

SS: You’ve recently released your first EP, ‘In Tension’. It sounds to me like a contemporary take on the ‘80s darkwave vibe being played at a party on the moon in the future… what was it like putting it all together?

SF: It just flowed naturally from the two of us together, when we got into the rehearsal space and started jamming.

BC: Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and Depeche Mode were all big influences. Each track has a different relevance to me but there seems to be an undercurrent of energy between them – namely, religion and spirituality. The EP gets pretty churchy at times, both sonically and lyrically, especially with ‘Dark Allies’.

SS: I heard Christianity had a big influence on the recordings - what was the story there?

BC: We both had experiences growing up with music at church - the first time I ever heard live music was from a church organ. It was a total trip when we got to play the Manchester Cathedral recently… it felt like coming full circle.

SS: As people, the two of you both have really strong, distinct looks - are you into fashion at all?

SF: Not much, but the ideals of the music definitely influence our fashion in that the music is dark, so…

BC: …our music influences our style. The music is dark and so are my clothes a lot of the time. My friends say I dress like a goth guido! I can’t be all one or the other, because truth really encompasses both extremes.

SS: So what are you wearing right now then? Is it a goth guido day?!

BC: A tie-dyed black T-shirt I made after I dropped it in some bleach. It looks like black and brown undulating demon clouds from the abyss… in other words, it’s cool.

SF: I’m wearing Dolce Vita buckle boots, a black flight jacket and a vintage oversized sweater I bought at a charity shop in London. Oh, and a beret from a military surplus shop in Canada. I buy the best clothes on tour.

SS: Jealous! How did you like the UK when you were over recently - aside from the jumper, did you find it to be a fruitful shopping location?

BC: We love punk, and London has a lot of classic punk shit, like DMs, Sex Pistols, Vivienne Westwood and Bow Wow Wow. American punk is more like The Ramones and hardcore which is also really cool but you guys will always be known for having “bollocks” and not being “wankers"… whatever that means!

SS: The concept of the Internet becoming a music and art ‘scene’ in and of itself has really taken off recently. To what extent have you felt part of that?

SF: Little to none with regards to the scene itself, but the impact the Internet has had on the spreading of our music is immeasurable.

BC: Tons of people have come up to us at shows and said that they first heard our stuff on YouTube. For a while there were no recordings, so we have definitely benefited from people having that instant access to our music.

SS: So you don’t relate to this online Witch House thing then, and the online culture that has grown out of all of that?

SF: We are revisiting the music we felt akin to in our dark, awkward teenage years. We ain’t buying this ‘Witch House’ pop terminology shit - we prefer to stay outside the box. I’m against defining myself as an artist because I’m not done being one, and hopefully never will be… but if I had to choose, the closest existing genre to compare Light Asylum to would be synth-pop.

SS: And more locally, is being based in Brooklyn a big deal for you guys; does it directly inform what you do?

BC: I live an industrial section of Brooklyn and I’ve always picked up on the sounds of the city – there’s so much information, it can be an intense place for your ears! In our track ‘A Certain Person’ Shannon sings "Walk these city streets at night” - have you ever walked around any big city, and just listened? There’s a constant soundtrack - cars, machines… I have always looked for a way to integrate the sounds I’m hearing into music, and we’ve used soundscapes in our performances many times.

SS: Sometimes electronic bands can be seen as quite faceless, and that they struggle to engage with audiences - how do you keep Light Asylum interesting as a live spectacle?

SF: I want to take the audience on a journey as a means of escaping the rigors and lament of routine, everyday toil in an unconscious consumer world. There are neon tubes, lasers, fog machines… it’s not new, it’s a very ‘80s avant-garde approach to live aesthetics. There are NO laptops on stage, ever! We want people who come to our shows to say, “Hell, they are putting out a ton of sound and electricity for just two people!”

SS: Shannon, you recently featured as guest vocalist on the (excellent) Teengirl Fantasy track, 'Dancing In Slow Motion’ - how did you get into working with them?

SF: They were friends of Bruno’s roommate, and just asked real nicely if I’d like to sing on a track they were working on at the time for (debut album) ‘7AM’. ‘Dancing in Slow Motion’ actually sounds A LOT like the keyboard melody in Light Asylum’s ‘A Certain Person’!

SS: So, other than yourselves who should we be looking out for next year?

BC: Xeno and Oaklander are awesome, and Gatekeeper. Look out for Wish if you like trancey happy club music from the future!

SF: Unison, Gary War, Night Gallery… the list is too long! It’s a great time for music lovers at the moment. Artists are broke but good stuff is really coming through because people have nothing left to lose - with high rent, no jobs and clubs paying less, there’s nothing left to do but what you really love.

SS: Finally, what’s next for you guys? Are you gonna be back over in the UK soon?

BC: Recording new material and more shows, and working on our new video ‘Dark Allies’. Hopefully we’ll be doing some shows in the UK in the spring… I want fish and chips!

oOoOO vs. Taylor Momsen interview: click to read
oOoOO vs. Taylor Momsen

Star of Gossip Girl and The Pretty Reckless, Taylor Momsen publicly eschews her mainstream profile in favour of cultivating an image of rebellion and ‘punk’ values. But are her claims to underground 4real, or mere pose? We sent 2010’s underground hero oOoOO along to find out!

“Easy for a good girl to go bad/And once we gone…” - Rihanna

oO: There is some dark imagery in (Taylor’s band) The Pretty Reckless’ videos, and some pretty dark lyrical themes too. Do you think the dark edge is gonna scare off some potential listeners who knew you through your acting, before they heard your music? Do you care if it does?

TM: I don’t know, I’m just trying to be myself… I’m doing my own thing, this is rock music and it might not be for everyone. I accept that, that people might get scared. I would think it’s weird, if people pretended to like the music but they hadn’t even listened to the album. I’d prefer for people to actually listen to the music, the lyrics, the melodies… Music videos are stimulating and my image might "scare" off listeners, but at the end of the day it’s about the music.

“It’s okay to kill your idols” – Courtney Love, Hole

oO: I’m definitely hearing a strong ‘90s grunge influence in your music. I actually listened to all that stuff as a young kid - although you’re obviously too young to have been directly influenced by Nirvana’s or Hole’s best records at the time they were coming out. Do you think that sound will have a big influence on the music that’s gonna made over the next decade?

TM: I fucking hope so… I hear a lot of ‘80s influences in the pop music today but it would be cool if the ‘90s rock stuff came back. Soundgarden are doing stuff again, and that’s a good sign. Everyone is their own person - you can try to contrast a rock image with a pop sound and it can be labeled ‘rock’, and that’s not necessarily right. I don’t think that there is a lot of genuine rock music around – although there is a lot of rockabilly fashion, which I think is really cool. We have to start somewhere, but bringing back rock music would be rad and welcoming.

“We’re so trendy we can’t even escape ourselves”– Kurt Cobain, Nirvana

oO: Do you consider The Pretty Reckless’ sound to be pop music? Do you think distinctions like pop or rock or goth or grunge have any meaning at this point, when artists are blending genres together so much anyway?

TM: I don’t really know what the hell a genre is… I’m a singer/songwriter, The Pretty Reckless write songs, and some of the songs could be said to have a rock n’ roll aesthetic to them but each song is to its own. This is the first record we’ve made and it’s very diverse, and while everyone should be able to listen to it, it’s up to you how to interpret and classify it in a category. Us as a band classify it as “rock n’ roll”, but at the end of the day we’re singer/songwriters - you can even find things you relate to in pop songs.

“Doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results, is the definition of crazy” – Albert Einstein

oO: Some people complain that nothing new ever happens in music any more, and that new artists are just continually recombining elements from the past. Do you think there’s any truth in that?

TM: I think that’s just how music is… you know when somebody does something great because you look to what they’ve done and take influence from it. Even The Beatles had influences from the past - there are always people who have come before you, which I think is a good thing. You just have to find a new way to take the influence and make it your own, and keep it unique.

“Everything’s The Same (Ain’t Nothing Changed)” – Billy Swann

oO: Do you think there was ever a time when the new wasn’t just people redoing what had already been done before?

TM: Uhh… the person who invented notes started something new, I suppose… What makes you original comes down to the way you say it and the way you bring it. In the musical scale, there are 12 notes, and with those 12 notes you have to figure out what you want to do with them, how to re-arrange them and be original. It’s all up to your decisions.

“I don’t think anything’s underground anymore. And I think that’s a good thing. Everything is up for grabs” – Colin Greenwood, Radiohead

oO: A lot of underground musicians have been incorporating elements of mainstream music into their work lately, using conventional elements from pop (that would have been considered pretty square a decade ago) to make fresh-sounding tunes. The mainstream always ends up pirating everything from the underground eventually, but have you noticed any current mainstream acts just blatantly ripping off more underground artists (like how Rihanna’s ‘Rude Boy’ video totally steals from M.I.A., for example)?

TM: No, I haven’t really, I don’t pay attention to that stuff. As I said before, we’re all exposed to the same things - influence is influence. It’s just how it is, we all learn from each other.

“Red carpet and rebellion/Makes ya wonder at the established ones” – Brody Dalle, The Distillers

oO: There was a time when rock, punk, and ‘underground’ music all existed in opposition to mainstream values, especially consumerism - but that doesn’t seem to be the case today. I’m pretty sure Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix would never have wanted to spend money on Chanel or Alexander Wang, but I know you’re really into high-end fashion (and so am I). Do you think there is anything that could still be considered as rebellious in music today? What would it be directed at?

TM: Well, I disagree with that. Rock has always been a part of fashion - it’s just how it is, it’s one entity. In the ‘60s, a lot of fashion designers used the organic style of rock musicians and mused on it and made it a trend. Fashion and rock n’ roll just blend, and it’s been like that for a long time.

“It’s only rock and roll” – Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones

oO: I saw an interview with you once where you said you “believe in rock n’ roll." Can you explain why rock n’ roll is so important to you, or would explaining it just be a pointless, un-rock n’ roll thing to do?

TM: No, I’m not going to explain anything - "Rock n ’Roll” represents freedom - freedom of the heart and freedom in life. It’s a very liberating thing.

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