Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ponytails

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Interview with Suko Pyramid & Max Devereaux

Earlier this year, we told you about a “diamond in the rough” from Madrid, an accidental Soundcloud find named Suko Pyramid. Adrian Suchowolski (the man behind the moniker) recently released another album, Different Love, and he had some help this time. Max Devereaux, fellow songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a cast of important actors (mentioned below) are credited on the album as well. The Suko you know is still there: soulful, weird, fun; but this time with a jazzy, more orchestral vibe. It’s also more polished, both in terms of production and composition, compared to the lo-fi experimental Juicy Costumes LP. There’s a lot to unpack with this album so, I thought it best to get it straight from the two horse’s mouths and interview Adrian and Max about the making of the album, their long distance friendship (Spain-Wisconsin), and their art.



Rabbit Hole (RH): So, how did you guys meet?

Adrian Suchowolski (A): Around a year ago I was uploading songs to Soundcloud when some weird guy in a cowboy hat comments on one of the songs - "this is the fucking shit right here oh my god fuck" – Obviously, it caught my attention. I never had that much enthusiasm in the comments. Then I see the weird guy sent me a private message, says he wants to collaborate on a song with me. So I sent him three ideas, he liked them and we decided we needed to do an EP. Then, he sent me three more I liked so we decided to do an LP. The weird cowboy guy was Max Devereaux all along... Yeah...

RH: The title of the album is “Different Love.” What’s the idea behind the phrase?

Max Devereaux (M): "Different Love" comes from the song "Stuck On A Train" and in the song we talk about the challenges a young artist must face. To choose to be an artist, means you choose to be different than the rest of society. You put yourself at risk of being insignificant, of being forgotten or hated by others who don't see the value of what you do. You are automatically guaranteed a healthy slice of pain and suffering to accompany your artistic journey. In Woody Allen's movie, "Midnight In Paris", Gertrude Stein, played by Kathy Bates says, "It's the artist's job not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence." This really stuck with me, so keeping that in mind, the "Different Love" Adrian and I talk about in the album, is just that, it's our antidote, it's our solution. It is the kind of love that the artist attracts, it is the kind of love the outcast attracts, it is the kind of love that the beggar attracts. It is not always good, or sustaining, but it is love nonetheless.

A: "I'm a kid who never went outside, maybe there's some different love I'll find," this is a line that Max came up with after we talked about our childhood. We came to the conclusion that there were some traumas caused paradoxically by love, love shown in a harmful way. So, in this song we sing about how this love left us stuck and about hoping to find a different kind that won't give us the same problems.



RH: What are some of the themes tying the tracks on this album together?

A: We cover our fears of death, frustrated sexual desires, fears of turning into a monster, fear of discovering we've been monsters all along, and also about growing up with some unsolved problems from early life and trying not to get trapped in Neverland in the process. In some moments we make the fears come true, in others we try to defend ourselves from the fears. There's also hope for these feelings to get better or to be more bearable in the future, and we are trying too at the same time to unleash fun and goofiness even around these subjects which are no fun at all. In that sense you could say we are covering in this album our obsessions and needs and trying to make sense of them, which I think is something he and I do in our heads all the time.

RH: How does the album art tie into that?

A: The album cover is us “Stripping Off” and hoping that people find it inviting and strip off with us and have fun with us. It's just our personal fantasy to be naked in front of everyone once and for all, hoping to be liked. There's this Soundcloud follower of mine that hates the cover so much. She commented on it two times already in different tracks.

RH: What are your guys’ common influences?

M: We have many common influences that are not just musical, but in Art in general. We both love Alejandro Jodorowsky, we both love Tim and Eric and the many side projects of those two. We both love Japanese culture and art and food. We both love staying up late at night and working which can bring forth fantastic inspiration. We both love art history and find influence in artists who came before us, be it poets, painters, writers, etc. When it comes to music, we found out pretty early on that we both LOVED the Beach Boys and the fine work of Mr. Brian Wilson. So that gave us a sense of trust that whatever we did together, it was always going to be in the spirit of Pet Sounds or Smile. As my relationship with Adrian grew, and time went on, we started to pinpoint some of the more wayward musical influences that shaped our respective sounds. We also took it upon ourselves as collaborators to expose each other to new art that we had not yet experienced, which made the process that much more enriching.

A: We also love Exotica and it's front man Les Baxter, he might be the main influence for this album, because is about mixing whatever genre or sound that you think has a transmitting quality to it without caring too much about tradition or training.

RH: There’s a few other people in the album credits: Paul Westphal, Emma Bonack, Nelson Devereuaux. How did they come into the mix?

M: When we began recording the record we knew we wanted to do the bulk of the instrument tracking ourselves, but we had always written the songs with the thought in mind that my brother, Nelson, would layer horns and winds over the top. So he was a collaborator from the very beginning. He and I have been working together very closely for the past few years. We have been playing on each other's records, and I've done a fair amount of mixing for him on his albums. Working with Nelson and having that family element can sometimes strengthen the entire project with a sense of purpose, such that, "we are doing this to make our lives and the lives of the ones we love better". Adrian and Nelson actually met in Barcelona, when he was on tour with Bon Iver. It was really wonderful to hear both their recollections of the meeting. I think meeting Adrian, really cemented the importance of this record to Nelson, because when he returned from tour, he was really inspired to finish his horn and wind parts.

Once the songs were more fleshed out and the basics were in place. It was time to track drums on the album. Although Paul Westfahl and I had never done any recording together, my mind instantly jumped to him to play on this record. Paul stuck out in my mind, because of the spiritual weight of his playing. One time I was at a gig and I saw Paul play a drum solo that was so beautiful it made me cry. He has such a light touch when he wants, but can be hard and heavy when he wants and everywhere in between. I love the darkness his playing sometimes has, which he attributes to the ultra-washy, Bosphorus cymbals he plays. You can hear them all over the record, which I love. Paul's musical flexibility and diversity also made him a perfect fit for the album because of its many stylistic changes from rock to punk to jazz to funk to world music to free music. And yet again, his strength when it came to improvising during the free sections also made him a great match for this album. When Paul first got the tracks, I think he was a little discouraged because the rhythmic skeleton of the songs was already so defined, between Adrian's keyboards and my bass playing, but after a few listens through, he found sweet spots where he could push the songs over the edge with his drums and percussion. Paul wasn't afraid to double track himself and even play along to electronic drums we added, so I think that made the finished product really unique and great. I really appreciated how open minded he was.

Emma and I worked together and I went to a piano recital she had and got a chance to hear her sing, and I completely fell in love with her voice. It sounded both innocent and well trained at the same time. I really wanted her to sing on more songs than she did, but her busy schedule kept her too tied up. I was really pleased with what I got though. The part in "Pressure" where it goes, "Why for the millionth ti--" and then the second chorus of voices go, "why for the millionth time!" was all her idea, and I just really love it when people who maybe wouldn't be recording vocals on an album like this, come up with brilliant ideas like that.

RH: What challenges did the long distance present in recording, mixing, and mastering?

M: The record took about 6 months longer that it would have if we were living in the same town, because we had to wait to discuss and write when it was an appropriate time for both of us to Skype. That, coupled with the fact that we had to send all that audio back and forth, really slowed down the process and forced Adrian and I, two people who normally work very fast, to slow down and take our time with the record. Which in turn forced us to get to know each other a lot better, to the point where we would just Skype to catch up and hang out. I remember at one point I set up my laptop so it was facing the TV, and Adrian just watched me play Zelda: Breath Of The Wild for hours and we talked. It was awesome.

RH: What do you think your fellow collaborator(s) added to your songs/ideas?

M: Adrian, brought out the surrealist in me. I know that part of my artistic persona is definitely always in there but it often lays dormant, without a properly surreal collaborator to bring it out. Adrian also found wonderful ways to walk the tightrope between comedy and tragedy, which I think is often times very difficult for artists who are too blinded by extremes. Above all, Adrian added his accent, which gave the songs a really good vibe, and I think our voices blended in a really interesting way.

A: Max opened a whole new world of collaboration for me. Nelson Devereaux and Paul Westfahl made the album so much more worth it to listen to. Nelson has such a rich understanding of harmony and melody that he shines through inevitably. He knew how to meld into any weird track that we gave him, like "Stripping Off." Paul, our Drummer and Percussionist, has experience with jazz, indian and avant grade styles. He gave us the final push to make the album as crazy as we wanted it to be. He fixed all the problems we had, he kept the songs interesting all the way through, changing the rhythms and genres effortlessly inside the same song and completely bucking our initial perception of the album. Also, we had the luck of having Emma Bonack sing on a couple of songs making them much more joyful and fun. In the end of "Pressure" what seems like a choir of children is just Emma. The three of them were in the US so for me, each time Max sent me a new version of the song with these other artists I was amazed and thankful that I could work with such well trained artists, something that I never had the opportunity to do before.

RH: Is there any song on the album that you are particularly proud of?

M: I Hold The Key

A: I'm really proud of I Hold The Key as well because I think we discovered a new sound without noticing. Some people say it's like an orchestral, folksy jazz. That makes me excited. I'm also proud of how the three songs of mine that Max covered ended up being much better than the originals. I always say to him that the only three songs that I had that were any good were taken and made better by him so now I have to work on new stuff fast to have something to show... But now I have this album to show. So, that's good.

RH: Which did you have the most fun with?

M: Eat My Head Like An Insect

A: I had a lot of fun with the endings of the songs, Max and I did simultaneously different experimental endings to songs. That always felt funny to me to end a perfect pop song with an unsatisfactory avant-garde ending. Just when they think they already have it figured it out, it wakes them up.

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The album is available (pay what you want) on both Max's and Adrian's Bandcamp pages.

Matt Ackerman, Max Devereaux, Adrian Suchowolski

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Opportunity Had Many Names by Bjorn Bols

Monday, September 18, 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Four Lines by IN SNOW

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

Xeresa

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

A Future Remembered by A Signal In The Static

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Softspoken by The Sorry Shop

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A​.​M. Son

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

/​/​ECO ESTUDIO SESSION​/​/ by The Terrorist Collective

Sunday, August 13, 2017

THE ZOD1AC TAPES VOLUME 1

Friday, August 11, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Gardens of Babylon by cultural critic

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Disorder Mixtape by Disorder

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ocean themes vol​.​1 by SMHERTZ

Thursday, June 22, 2017

17 by The Non-Functional Saints

Friday, June 9, 2017

Floating World by Meznoyume

Monday, June 5, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017

7 come 11 (2017) by the lost and found sound

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Colorist by Spieglass

Sunday, April 30, 2017

cultural critic (EP)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Down and Out in Uruk and Luxor by Brother Lucid

Thursday, April 27, 2017

jocelyn packard

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tudo é poético aos olhos de cada um, desde que você se permita​.​.​. by Sketchquiet

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Friday, April 7, 2017

Farewell, Reality or How to Philosophize with Nothing Left by I Cut People

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

To Be a Beast by Dino Spiluttini

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Escapists by The Autumn Stones

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Adventures of Mr. Potoilethead by Fannyland

Friday, March 10, 2017

Cerebrotonia by Eye Candy

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Triptych #3 by Various Artists

Saturday, February 25, 2017

OZEAN - limited edition cassette by Lavender Sweep Records

Friday, February 24, 2017

Juicy Costumes by Suko Pyramid

After sorting through underwhelming electro sounds for an hour on Soundcloud, sometimes you stumble upon that diamond in the rough, that unheard of artist that just has that raw, undeniable talent. Perhaps the sort of mischievous satisfaction felt is similar to what A&R people feel when they hear an amazing demo and know they have something unique that the rest of the world has yet to hear.

One such experience, for me was hearing the young Spanish artist Suko Pyramid for the first time. His first online album, Juicy Costumes was released earlier this month. The album is full of sad melodies, bouncy understated rhythms, and electroacoustic production. It’s moody, funny, and above all honest. You can hear the influence of Radiohead, Brian Wilson, and more contemporary lo fi artists like Mac Demarco.

Many of the albums’ melodic and lyrical meandering takes some time to grow on you but there are tracks that are immediately catchy and will very likely be stuck in your head the rest of the day, such as Yawn to Survive, My Newest Sheep Costume, and Stripping Off. The later has a dark, jazzy vibe. The influence of Radiohead is most prominent in the soulful chorus, but you can also hear a bit of Beach Boys crooning in there. Like much of Suko’s music, the loneliness seems palpable, yet instead of being depressing, it’s actually quite beautiful. Suko’s music feels a little like personal therapy that once in a while, in between the wandering and the loneliness, strikes a common chord with humanity. As listeners, we’re lost and then found along with him. It might seem indulgent at times, but it’s also quite honest.

You'll probably pick up on a goofy, overtly sexual streak on the album as well. The album cover, for starters, shows Suko (I assume) feeding from a cartoon breast. The song titles are sometimes bizarre and humorous: Hairy Tits, Overweight Grandma Teachings, Fat Whales Escape. The ambitious collaboration with Owl Yeah, titled "Review (Giant Babies End up Lonely)” is about as far left field as you can get, featuring strange vocal manipulation and detuned synth. Suko is as eager to experiment it seems, as he is willing to bear his soul.

In all, Juicy Costumes is a weird, dark, whimsical experience, that proves the best, most unique music on the internet is sometimes hiding under the surface. Keep digging. The album is available for purchase on Suko’s Bandcamp. You can also listen to his extended catalogue on Soundcloud.

Matt Ackerman

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Anais by Harrison and Dunkley

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

List of Equipment by Lusterlit

Sunday, January 29, 2017

EP - One by Brothers Mothers

The Kyiv trio Brothers Mothers released their impressive first EP late last year simply titled ‘EP - One’. It’s difficult to pin down the style of this release or of the band in general which, in my opinion, is always a good sign. It says it’s original (as much as that’s still possible) and it’s certainly refreshing to be challenged by an independent release in an era dominated by nostalgia, and same-only-different rehashing.

Of course, that’s not to say Brothers Mothers (you have to dig the clever name by the way) aren’t grounded in some eclectic, stylistic foundation. It’s funky, psychedelic, progressive. The band cites influences as various as breakbeat, shoegaze, and jazz. The EP is chill then heavy, even post-punkish at times, but still with a groove. From the start, the first song ‘You’ grabs your attention. It’s lush with melody and dripping with sixties era effects. There’s plenty of shoegazing and weird synth sounds on the EP, however it doesn’t rely on these explorations the way a shoegaze or psych band would. That is to say, there is a musical foundation that shows their mastery not just of effect pedals, but of instrumentation and composition. There are chord changes, even rhythmic changes, executed with ease. In fact, the rhythmic dynamism is to me perhaps the most compelling aspect of the project, testament to the benefit of a human drummer in the age of digital drum loops. In short, these guys have chops.

You may have also noticed from the EP cover or from perusing their various social and streaming sites, their keen eye for minimal art and design. And, if you speak Russian or Ukranian you might also notice their appreciation for poets like Joseph Brodsky or Vilen Barsky, as they incorporate works from these poets in their lyrics.

Brothers Mothers prove to be a unique musical force, intriguing in their experimentation and impressive in their musicianship. They are doubtless an act to keep your eye on.

You can download EP - One for free now on Bandcamp

Matt Ackerman

Friday, January 13, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Splices and phases by soiled / Marcus h