(2011 Nov 14) Ballad Of publishes 'Fave New Band: Tearist …Full Interview'

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(2011 Nov 14) Ballad Of publishes 'Fave New Band: Tearist …Full Interview'

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Fave New Band: Tearist …FULL INTERVIEW
By CamilleMusic on November 14, 2011

Tearists are a band to keep an eye on. Thing is, the next great band to come along… and their sound whoever they are, is always something that none of us can imagine just now – and when you first hear a great new band what you hear is both totally alien and totally captivating (I have strong memories of hearing Friendly Fires in the early days in 2007, and this is exactly how it felt – you’re a little stunned by what you hear and then hit back for a replay, everyone listening is both super happy and a little lost for words). This is the quality of Tearist. Hailing from LA their sounds is jagged, disruptive but will make definitely make you want to dance. Its basey and the front lady Yasmine is cool without doing anything cool (ya know, like Glasser or Karen O, but not like them too). Balladette Tess met the band – Will and Yasmine. And note, if you like what you hear, you can get FREE COPIES OF THEIR MUSIC AT THE BALLAD PARTY NOV 18TH. So, here’s how it went:


What drew you to create a more natural, less edited record with “Living: 2009-Present”?

Will: I’ve always been drawn to demo recordings of bands I like, and live records, really try to get the raw sound. We just wanted to present ourselves as ourselves in the purest form. I know it’s not what most people like and it’s not for everyone, but it’s what I appreciate. When I find a band I like I try to dig up all the weird, obscure sound recordings and demos. That’s just the way I am. I wanted to be able to present that to people that may feel the same way about that as us.

Yasmine: Peter Kolovos approached us about it. We were in the process of writing new songs and he had been at our very first show. He’s this amazing noise artist and he had been at every single show. Our first show wasn’t even a show. We didn’t have any songs, we played at a bar that should not have shows. We thought it was so funny. We were thinking, “Everyone’s gonna hate this.” I had pieces of paper taped to this column that had a few words I liked, and for certain songs I would swing around the pole and look at the words and swing back around and make up some stuff. A lot of our songs bases came from that first show where I was trying to respond to the crowd. And when you’re in the moment you have to make it sound like it’s a legitimate song. We didn’t expect anyone to be there or for anyone to like it. Everyone who came to that first show came to almost every show after that. Peter was someone I really respected in the community who was giving us these insane compliments. We genuinely thought our friends were gonna hate this, which to us was like the ultimate freedom. We were thinking if everyone was gonna hate this, let’s make them really, really hate it. Let’s go full force into this. When you stop thinking about everyone else, it’s the only way you can get to yourself, to what’s real. It’s innate. My friend Travis, who’s in Pictureplane, randomly came to that show, and since then he’s been pioneering us. That night after the show, we had a two hour talk about performing and what it meant to us. No one knew who he was at the time, and I’d never heard of him so we both were championing each other. We would play shows together and talked on the phone all the time about what was inspiring us, sending each other drawings. From that first show came all of these things. Peter had gone to so many of these shows and he had been recording them, which I didn’t realize. He just asked, “Can I put out a live album for you guys?” At first I was really blown away. We didn’t have a full length out yet, we had an EP. It’s such a high compliment, like people make live albums years down the road. But it is a lot of what we are. The live performance is half of who we are. We had a ridiculous fanbase before we had any albums out, just based on the live performance. I’m consistently overwhelmed by the fans. We were only doing what we wanted to. With a live album, it made the most sense. I couldn’t listen to the songs because we just heard mistakes, so we just had him put it together with what he thinks he likes. When I listened to it I cried. I couldn’t believe it was mine. Some of the songs weren’t there yet. He had chosen some that were such early versions of those songs. I was just remembering where I was at certain places. It was something I would compare to what inspired me. Like when I was a kid listening to live performances of Dépêche Mode.

I know your live performance is extremely important to Tearist as a band. Would call what you do performance art? How does art play into your performance?

Will: Yeah, that’s definitely the way we approach it.

Yasmine: I wouldn’t say it’s an intentionally performance art based thing. That is kind of where I come from. It’s like these different manifestos, and more the idea of them. The ability to fully give into the performance. I’m not aware of the some of things I do or how hurt I get. I’m in this really raw, animalistic state. So I can get really hurt and I get nervous sometimes because I’m not a violent person. At shows, it’s the only place I’m completely vulnerable. It’s been the way I’ve always approached acting I’ve given in fully to becoming the character and it’s sometimes been harmful to me in the sense that I have a hard time coming back to it. Certain acting coaches would get upset with how deeply I’d get into the character. At shows I see everything, but in this other way so that my innate response is physical. It’s truly an animal response, like if something’s going wrong. Once this guy was grabbing this girl in this disgusting way and she kept pushing him. I saw it and I felt this weird need to protect and I felt very disrespected. I couldn’t put it into words at that moment. In the middle of the song, I just jumped off the stage and kicked this guy in the stomach and dropped him to the ground. Then he grabbed my butt and I turned around and did it again. I got back on stage and my mic had been unplugged so I finished song screaming. I was horrified later, like if I had one of the pipes with me I could have really hurt him or myself. I would not have in any scenario just hit anybody. It’s not for me to get a response. It’s me putting myself fully out there. All these songs are so specific to certain things and some are really emotional even if they sound happy. The way I’m dancing is not preplanned. Theatrically we don’t ever stop. One time I unplugged everything, and the only thing not unplugged was my microphone. I just kept singing and Will figured out that I had gotten so into I kicked over his power strip. I just kept singing and then he came back in. Later people came up to me and said, “I really loved the Einstruzende Neubauten part, that was a really strong move.” And I was like, “What?” It is sort of theatrical but it’s not like “Oh here’s our piece.” It’s too real.

What is the audience reaction typically like at your shows? Or is it very different every time?

Will: It’s really different every time. It depends on where we are. Here in the States it’ll usually be like, “What the hell is going on? What do I do?” There will be some people nodding their heads, some people dancing, some people just standing there staring. A lot of staring! In Europe we noticed when we played in Dublin and in London people were really on the same level as us. They were treating it as music and moving and dancing and stuff. When we played the Old Blue Last [in London] it was really packed and it was a really good gig. When we play here [in the U.S.] it’s very different. Although I don’t know if it has to do with Los Angeles. It seems like the toughest crowd. Not that we’re trying to make people dance, but it’s cool when they do. We’ve only been to about 10 cities in the U.S. and it’s similar all around. When we go to a place where we have a lot of friends, it’s always better and there’s more energy.

Yasmine: There have been crowds who fully stood still, and later on they were saying they couldn’t move. They don’t leave, they don’t talk to each other, they just stand there and watch. I remember being in Japan and it was a respect thing. They would stand there, watch, clap, and be silent. I feel like France was like that too. The younger kids get crazy, singing and jumping. It’s so different every time. There’s never been a time when I’ve felt like people aren’t “getting it.” I’m always thinking, either hate it or love it. Don’t be in between and be talking. If I see someone walk away I feel like I’m not doing my job. I feel like I haven’t been honest enough. I take very personally. I feel genuinely like the crowds are really, really with us. As long as we are too, the more present we are, the more present the crowd is.

Tearist’s sound is indescribable and without precedent. Are there any bands out there that you would compare yourself to?

Will: Not really. That’s what we’re trying to do. That’s a huge compliment, to not sound like anything and be completely unique. We definitely have influences. Most of the bands we like or that we’ve talked about in depth have been other bands like that, who didn’t have any influences or precedence. So that’s kind of what we want to be as well. Einstruzende Neubauten is one. They’re a German band and they’re a really interesting band to me. I’d heard of them on the periphery and I never really got into them and still to this day I don’t know a lot of their material. I just feel a certain connection to them. I don’t have to listen I just know there’s something innate about it that I relate with on a very deep level.

Yasmine: My whole life I’ve been wanting to do something that sounded like nothing else and that I couldn’t personally compare it to. When we started this, we couldn’t figure out what it sounded like. I was scared because like I said, we thought our friends were gonna hate it. It was so responsive to him and it wasn’t in a way that I understood why. He was learning how to play certain things and that’s what drew me to him. It was truly coming from him and not some school of music. It was what was coming from his feelings. We would sit there and there was never a moment when were like, “Oh this one sounds so much like this.” And I was really afraid. I wondered, “Is this annoying? What is this?” That’s when we realized we wanted to do this because we couldn’t figure out what it sounded like. That was the whole reason for the name tearist too. Knowing that we’re inspired by everything. I understand that the way my parents spoke, for example, it makes you who you are. There are certain things that were just in our heads that we subconsciously probably brought into it. But it wasn’t like, “Let’s sound like this or like that.” Whenever we get certain comparisons, I’m always thinking, “Wow it’s really not like that.” It’s more like a feeling of that. I just got goose bumps saying. For example, I would watch this Einstruzende Neubauten video of them in this warehouse. It’s really scary, like I couldn’t believe something like that existed. When I first saw it, I just thought, “Oh my god, it could be like this?” I would watch it literally every night before I went to bed. I had to watch it. Now we get comparisons to them and I don’t think we sound like them at all. But it’s the fact that someone can get that feeling from it. And it was the thing that inspired me to go further. I have to be involved in something where I have no rules and the person I’m with feels the same way. Will genuinely shares that with me. Tearist is the movement we created where we didn’t know what we were gonna do, didn’t know what it was going to sound like. We’re involved in all these different areas of art, so Tearist was going to encompass everything. We wanted to break away from everything we know and understand that we have been inspired by those things but what we take from them is something different and where we place them in our brains is different. We get suicide comparisons, which I don’t understand that either, but what a huge compliment. I think it’s all about the feeling and the passion of it and the honesty.

If not, was that intentional?

Will: We didn’t talk about it like, “We want it to be indescribable.” It’s like a total progression, even now it’s still changing. And that’s also the whole reason we did the live record, to show the songs in their infancy. That whole thing was recorded in our first year of playing shows together. If you were to go to a show now and hear one of those songs it would probably sound really different. When we came up with a basic, general idea of how we wanted it to sound we realized it was not sounding like anything we’d heard. That was when we knew, “Okay this is what we’re doing. This is what we have to do.” And that’s another point we make with our live performances. We don’t use prerecorded tracks and stuff so it’s a unique experience every time.

Why do you choose to incorporate pieces of metal into your music?

Will: The pieces she started using were pieces of metal lying around that I’d been messing around with before we’d met. Shortly after we started playing I just brought them out and gave them to her, and said, “You should use these.” We’ve gone to places, especially somewhere outside of the city, where there are abandoned buildings, warehouses, and junk lying out in yards. We’ve found things, even really close to where we’re playing. It’s not like we have to ask like, “Where’s the nearest junk shop?” It’s more organic. We’ve used just any scrap metal, drums, and containers. It’s a great contrast with the electronic music, which is usually thought of as clean and very rhythmic, because then you have the metal which is jagged and percussive. I think we both like contrast.

Yasmine: We had been playing in his room and I hit the wall with them and then he threw them to me. I got my own other metal pieces. I was using a drumstick hitting one of them and I would try out other things to hit on and everything at a different pitch. I remember doing that as a kid, hitting everything I could and hearing what everything sounded like. I was just the noisiest only child. And that’s kind of like now what we do. We were at South by Southwest in this random area. Right next to where we were playing, there was this huge junkyard and we both went through it. There were people watching and taking pictures of us. We were hitting different pieces to see what sounded good and I would sing along with it. Then we turn and there are tons of people watching us do this, just looking crazy in this really dangerous area covered in nails and broken glass. We’re just jumping in it and laughing. Then we brought some of it over and it looked dangerous. We brought long pipes and I brought a giant gas tin drum. Once we were playing at Glasslands in New York I was just going a metal spree. I was thinking, “This is so great,” I was finding all these pieces. I would put them on the stage and see if one of them would come to my attention at any point. The parts are very specific in practice, like I have really specific things I like to do. I get really chaotic on stage. We’re thinking about changing the set-up and having that stuff be on a table so I can actually do percussion in a more controlled way. Part of it for me has been instead of having to do it, I’m feeling that. Not to be a hippie or anything, but hitting it because that’s what needs to happen.

What are you guys working on now?

Will: We’re working on a 12” record coming out really soon. We’ve also got a bunch of more stuff we’ve been recording every time we go out to New York. So we’ll have a few different things coming out in the next 6 months.


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