The band recently released their latest single Take It or Leave It and their EP Post No Bills will be released on July 14. Although they are planning to tour regionally from August into early fall, they will be playing at Rockwood Music Hall at 196 Allen Street on Thursday, July 9.
The band consists of trio Howzr, Chris Moran and Brian Lawlor. I spoke to members Moran and Howzr about the new EP, how the group got together and dirty, surfy rock ’n’ roll.
How did your group come together? Are you guys from Brooklyn?
We met at this rollerskating disco derby place in Cincinnati when we were younger. One time I elbowed Howzr in the nose and he broke his nose. I felt really bad and he asked me to come over and play some music. So we just sort of…
We’re just messing with you. Howzr and I met a while back. We played in a band together in New York for eight to 10 years and there were different projects. We played the Bowery, the Village, and out in Brooklyn before Brooklyn became hipster-ville. We had a revolving door of members then took a bit of hiatus where we wanted to just strip down and get good songs together.
Describe your sound. It’s as if Peter, Paul and Mary and Iggy Pop were having an unholy marriage. Or like one of the Beach Boys having relations with a sea urchin.
We really look to the 60s garage rock bands, everything from British Invasion to American Garage Rock like the Sonics and the 13th Floor Elevators, along with modern punk rock alternative grunge. We’re the loudest band in Brooklyn.
How did you settle on this specific genre? It was something I’ve always listened to. There was always a sixties, psychedelic thing that would kind of creep into our other bands but it wasn’t the main part of our sound.
We were a lot heavier back then. It was like a little critter wanting to get out. It was a direction I always wanted to explore and we got the fresh start.
Has anyone said that you sound similar to a particular band?
We started as a two-piece so we’d get compared a lot to The White Stripes and The Black Keys. Recently, now that we are a three-piece and with the new album, we are getting compared to people like Iggy Pop which makes us feel good. People actually get it. We’re happy with people comparing us to other artists because they are who we listen to. We’re happy that people can grasp where we are coming from and our influences.
So you just released 'Take It or Leave It' and you will be releasing your new EP very soon, what are some of the differences from your first EP?
The old album was more grunge. This album is a little more focused on psychedelic and soul. Our whole plan for this EP was to have everything as planned out as possible, just rehearse as much as possible, play it out live until it’s tried and true. One of the big differences in this album is that we were able to do all the songs live in a couple of days in the studio. It’s been an evolution. The first album was the preproduction and the second one is the evolution.
Anything from the first EP that you wanted to carry into this one?
It’s not so much the music but how we recorded it. We used to like a lot of old gear. We recorded through analog and there was a lot of preproduction on this one.
We went in and busted out six songs in half of a day. We got each song within the first three takes and that is what really makes a difference when making a record. You get this live feel. We made sure when we got in there that we were really focused on getting those tracks as live-sounding as possible with really no edits. We didn’t do any editing. That’s what we learned and what we pulled from the first record.
Also, towards the tail-end of our first album, we said to ourselves, ‘let’s just get one idea and that will lead to one song, instead of trying to fit 15 million pieces into one song.’ It makes it so much easier for the listener to understand what we’re doing. We wanted to make that the statement.
In that first album, we tried some different things and we found three or four songs that really fit us more than the others. We like the other ones but this is the tone that we like, the direction that we like and the sweet balance of things. We’d think, ‘now wouldn’t it be great if we had ten more of these songs for our set.’ So we tried things out to make that one set better and more consistent. When you find the five or six that are your favorites, that’s when you try to record them.
Can you name a song from the first EP that perhaps inspired this one?
There’s a couple of songs that are still in our set, like I Gotta Girl, which signals the direction. Sunshine is another one.
What should audiences expect to hear?
They should expect to dance. It’s something that will get your hips moving. I think it’s fresh. There’s a lot of indie stuff going on right now, which is cool, but there’s not a lot of people doing dirty, surfy rock n’ roll. When you come to the show, you’ll never know what you’ll get. People could be crowd surfing or there will people just standing there or people passed out on stage. With this album, it’s kind of like a live show. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. It is what it is.