We asked the main in question about the bands second
album, "The Late Great Truth", the "Pro-Anti" label
he shares with The Moldy Peaches and friends and seeing
The Strokes rise and rise!
Crud: Tell us about "The Late Great Truth" and
how is it different from your self titled debut?
Stipplicon: It's different in almost every way,
I think. The whole thing is just more focused. The songs,
the performances, the production. It knows what it is,
it's not guessing. When we started, Stipplicon was like
an inflated solo project, and now it's a real band.
We are one creature with lots of arms and brains.
Crud: This new record seems to have a lot of
the different influences you mentioned on your website
You can hear the Pixies and Elliot Smith, can you tell
me about some of the others? I picked up on a post-rock
vibe-am I mad?
Stipplicon: I love all kinds of music. I could
list them, I guess, but no matter who I mentioned I'd
feel like I was cheating someone else. Some people more
than others, you know, like I think that The Beatles
and The Doors and Hendrix and early Metallica and Slayer
and other metal stuff and lots of early 90's hip-hop
like Gang Starr and Brand Nubian and stuff. The influences
don't make much sense when you're listening to the album
I think, because a lot of the influence you can't hear
or see - it's in my head, an approach rather than a
sound. But as far as the post-rock thing, I think you
might be mad. I don't even know what post-rock means!
Why post? I feel like labels like that are so afraid
of themselves. I mean, it feels like anyone calling
themselves post-rock is horrified to be associated with
the past, they think they're beyond it or above it,
but at the same time they take the majority of their
influences from it. It's like being raised in a family
that's good to you and teaches you almost everything
you know and then as soon as you've taken everything
you can from them, you start your own family and call
it a post-family, because you're embarassed of your
parents or something. I mean, of course, there's some
monumentally cheesy shit that was made, but I ain't
embarassed of rock! I fucking love rockin to rockin
fucking rock rock rocking fucking rock. Yeeeeeah. It
made me care about music more than anything else. I
owe so much to it. I mean, we're not pumping out some
tired blues shit or anything. I hate boring music whatever
style it is. It's definitely new and real and cool as
hell. But rock is my family name, no doubt about it.
Crud: "No Crowd" is a beautiful song. Can you
tell us about the lyrical influence of that?
Stipplicon: Well, that's the oldest song on the
album. I wrote it after I broke up with my first real
serious girlfriend, and I was really really sad. I was
very attached to her and I felt abandoned and alone
and all the other horrible shit people feel when they're
forced to leave a situation they don't want to leave.
It was a hard thing to go through. So when I wrote the
song I was dealing with it, trying to find an upside
to the shit-monsoon I had to walk through. It's one
of the most patient songs I've written, I think.
Crud: Production wise "The Late Great Truth"
is produced by the band and Mark Ospovat and it's a
very "live" sound you've created. Was that the intention?
Also, were there any records around that you were influenced
by production wise. Also, are there any producers you'd
like to work with in the future?
Stipplicon: Yeah, we wanted an organic analogue
sound on this album. Straight to tape, mixed on the
fly. I like our shit to sound like humans actually made
it, you know? I'm not ready to take up the cyborgasm
lifestyle yet. I like there to be real fingerprints
in the sound, that's why there's a thumbprint on the
CD itself. It's like a Popsicle stick skyscraper. I've
always had a deeeeeep love for Appetite For Destruction,
the first Guns N Roses album. It has a distinctive sound,
but every song is completely different. It draws from
its influences but doesn't just replicate them, it builds
on them. That's what we do, too, I think. I don't really
keep track of producers' careers too closely because
they're all pretty far out of reach for us. We got no
money to pay for fanciness, so we just do it ourselves.
I don't even think of hiring somebody.
Crud: What have you been doing in the two years
since the release of your debut?
Stipplicon: Just writing and playing shows and
recording and doing stuff with all my friends and travelling
and quitting my day job and spending time with my girlfriend
and watching movies and letting shit filter through
my system. The last year has just blown my mind to smithers
and burnses. Ehhhhxcellent. I'm full of life.
Crud: Tell us about the "Pro-Anti" label?
Stipplicon: Well, I thought of that in college.
Me and Seth from Dufus are like brothers and we both
care a lot and wanted to leave school with some kind
of hope for the future, somekind of artistic union to
carry us into the new deal of life. So we made ProAnti.
It was initially supposed to be an artist collective
type of thing, but as time's passed it's become more
of a grass roots record label. All the artists pay for
their own stuff on it, so it's not even like a real
business venture, more of an association by name. It's
like a graffiti crew (I spent a lot of years writing
graff in NYC before I started playing music). So it's
like, we play on each other's albums, our bands gig
together, we all hang out. So far we've put out Stipplicon,
Dufus, The Moldy Peaches (solo and together), Jeffrey
Lightning Lewis, Turner Cody, Velapene Screen and maybe
even some other stuff that's slipping my mind. Pro Anti
is true fiction for it's own sake.
Crud: How did you enjoy touring with The Moldy
Peaches,and what did you think of Reading/Leeds?
Stipplicon: Touring was the shit! It was my first
real tour. I play guitar for The Moldy Peaches, and
it felt really good to just jump around and not have
to be tied to the mike. We went from playing for our
friends in little clubs in New York to 5,000 screaming
Japanese kids and then Belgian kids and then English
kids at like 10:00 in the morning. It was amazing. One
of the best feelings ever. You get to travel with your
best friends all expenses paid and just fuck around
and laugh and then you get off the plane or out of the
shitty van and you rock your crockers off for a while
and then hang out and watch shows and talk to people
and then go do it again. Awesome. Reading and Leeds
were great shows. Especially the Leeds gig (no disrespect
to Reading! That was great too). But Leeds was one of
the best Moldy Peaches shows ever. Me and Kimya (one
of the singers) went ballistic at that one. I did a
big old cockrock guitar solo and then we had a wrestling
match on stage and I did a flying elbow on her. People
were going crazy. I kinda hurt myself a little but I
ain'y no pussy! It was worth it.
Crud: How did you feel about The Strokes being
moved to the main stage? Was it weird watching your
friends on such a big stage?
Stipplicon: Well, that was actually the first
time I saw them play. I'd never caught them in New York
so that was my first Strokes show. They were great,
but they were AWESOME at the Lomax in Liverpool the
next night. The demand for them is amazing in England
so I wasn't even surprised by the move. Actually, I
was more surprised to find out they were ever supposed
to play in the smaller stage in the first place. The
Moldy Peaches are opening for them on a five week tour
in the US in October and I can't wait for that. We go
together really well. We're gonna wreak slavic on America.
Crud: You were recently in NME, the pictures
were cool, but the article had a bit of an "agenda"
it seemed to me, what did you think?
Stipplicon: Yeah, I think that's true. A lot
of the time with the press I can't even tell if it's
a positive review or not. They like something but won't
quite commit to it - they have to throw a back door
escape in there so they can backtrack if they were wrong
about a band. Scaredycats. The stuff that guy was saying
was allright and everything, but he didn't try too hard
to thread it together with our band that much. He was
on his own mission. But I didn't mind it or anything.
He said some good stuff. And the pictures were very
Crud: On your website you rail against "Trendy
pop garbage, music made for money" were you thinking
of anyone in particular when you said this?
Stipplicon: No, just your generic shitty band
with pop aspirations. They try too hard to please. They'll
do anything, say anything, sing what they think they're
supposed to. They're just bent over, greased and ready
for the first business person to pork 'em good. I say
if you wanna get filled in the crapper and make money,
fine, but don't try to pass yourself off as some kind
of real musician or passionate artist or something.
They're just business kids dressed in rock n' roll clothes
trying to bottle the essence of everything they don't
even understand. They're shitheads. Gel in the hair,
tight shirts, edgy-but-not-too-edgy hairstyles, expensive
instruments, stupid songs about nothing that sound like
everything I've ever heard divided by three and then
multiplied by shit over money to the most willing power.
Everyone's seen the equation, you get the idea.
Crud: I get an impression that the artistic scene
is NYC is similar to what is was like in the late 70's,when
punk was happening ,and there was that fated CBGB's
crown hanging out,and you could afford to just be an
artist and live in NYC. Is this the way it is or another
Stipplicon: I'm not sure. I mean, all the Pro
Anti kids are doing it right and if enough people realise
that then all the other people we know can get some
recognition too. I know LOTS of amazing musicians and
songwriters and stuff but I wasn't here in the 70's
so I don't know what it was really like. I know the
media tale, but not the reality. They can make a square
seem like a circle if they try to. But there's definitely
a lot of good stuff happening, it's just not concentrated
in one place or anything. You have to sift through a
lot of stink to get to the flower. I'm having a good
time with everybody here. We're making our way.
Stipplicon are made up of Strictly beats-drums, Doug
Keith-guitar, Glen Ganguzza-bass and Jack Dishel-voice,
Stipplicon - Stipplicon available to
Matt Mason USA
Strokes Is This It?
Interview conducted by Priya Elangasinghe