So-lets date ourselves for a second. In spring of 2007, Cale did this interview with Nic Offer and IT WAS SUCH A BIG DEAL FOR US at the time. Like-the biggest. But, time flies and !!! are back in town and it completely slipped my mind that they were. Having said that-this interview is vintage Cale (including the dumpling reviews from Hui) so, we had no choice but to rerun it. Oh, and catch CHK CHK CHK @ The Cat this Saturday-ed.
I stumbled upon !!!’s ‘Me and Giuliani’ single for $3 in 2003 at the CD Cellar in Falls Church. I remembered reading somewhere that these guys shared members with (the great, now defunct) Out Hud, so I purchased it on a whim. Popped it in on the way home and pulled into my parking spot right as those hand claps and stomps came to an end. I turned to my girlfriend at the time and said “that was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard” she said “I dunno, I’m not sure I really liked it” I dumped her on the spot.*
!!! is on tour supporting their latest and greatest album to date, Myth Takes. We got to sit down for a couple minutes with frontman Nic Offer to get the skinny.
*some details of that story have been slightly altered for entertainment value
Brightest Young Things: How’d you guys hook up with (Enon drummer’s side project) Holy Fuck? We did a party with Enon a while back and love those guys.
Nic Offer: I saw them play in Toronto and I thought they were the best band I’d seen that year.
BYT: You have quite an extensive tour ahead of you – how do you keep the bus from getting rank?
NO: We don’t. We try to embrace our smells and hope chicks still embrace us.
BYT: If said malodorous tour bus crashes in the tundra (with Phyllis on board for merch) – who get’s eaten first?
NO: Jerry, he’s the rookie… and muscley.
BYT: LCD Soundsystem is playing the night before you, who is gonna get Tyler?
NO: Duh, us.
BYT: Duh. Who is gonna make the stilted DC hipsters bust more moves?
NO: Duh, us.
BYT: Duh. Every time I’ve seen you guys it’s been intense. Even when you were on crutches and “doing the Nic” as we like to call it. What happens when you’re feeling under the weather or just having an off day? Are you able to pull that out of thin air? Fake it? Drugs?
NO: Thin air works every time.
BYT: Let’s say you were writing the liner notes for the !!! box set 20 years down the road, and you had to do one of those track by track commentaries, you know one or two sentences of trivia/background about the song:
It took us 10 years to record something with a distorted guitar, but I think we chose the right riff to do it on.
Probably our favorite song on the record and reviewers least favorite.
Recorded to a 2-track added 4 on the floor kick and vocals and Justin did all the dub mixing in 2 takes. Mario always wanted the other take, who knows whether that mix would’ve been more amazing.
Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (Adult Contemporary Version circa 2011)
We remixed this one for Jello Biafra’s bid against Giuliani in the 2012 election. Debate rages on whether we should have let him rap, but we were all wrong about the vocoder.
BYT: We interviewed Rafael Cohen of Supersystem a while back and he said that they would reunite if Out Hud reunited and toured with them again, sound like a plan?
NO: Only if Fugazi is coming too.
BYT: Actually that was just my idea, he didn’t think it would happen… but next time I see Ian MacKaye I’ll see if he’s game. Is the Live! Live! Live! import worth the $25 asking price on Amazon?
NO: Never listened to it…probably not. Why don’t just download it like everyone else, geez it’s 2007 already.
BYT: I Tried! Apparently not even one person bought it in order to upload it. What have you been listening to lately, old or new?
NO: A compilation on Soundway called Columbia! The Golden Age of Disco Fuentes 1960-1976
BYT: If you had to have sex with one non-human animal, what would you choose?
NO: Dolphin, they’re so smooth, and their orgasms can kill you, but the chance seems worth it, no?
BYT: Totally worth it. I would choose a squirrel cause I think the tail would add extra pleasure. Mmmm… hot lady squirrel… ahem – can you talk about the new album/liner notes/web site art concept? It’s pretty rad stuff.
NO: Kevin Hooyman is a friend of ours in Brooklyn who is also an amazing artist. It’s always better to do stuff with friends if you can.
See the full image here and keep reading for our chat with Kevin!
BYT: Finally, we do this thing where we get my co-worker, a married-with-kids non-scenester 34-yr-old Chinese lady engineer, to review one song from the band we’re interviewing. She’ll give your song a rating of 1-5 dumplings. You have to pick out the song that you want me to give her to review though, so choose carefully, she’s hard to please. Also don’t choose something off Live! Live! Live! unless you want to send me a copy.
NO: Must Be The Moon
BYT: Thanx Nic, take it away Hui:
Don’t know what to say… I guess now days, people can just put anything into a song. I think I am going to pass this one, if I have to give a rate, I will just give one dumpling.
Decide for yourself:
Yikes. If you missed it, you can also check out Hui’s brutal review of our new site design here.
So I was pretty mesmorized by the beautiful fold out liner notes covered with Kevin Hooyman’s artwork that I wanted to find out a little more about it, I tracked him down and got him to tell us all about the creative process:
One of my best friends in Brooklyn is (Daniel) Gorman from !!!. We have the same birthday, 10/22/74, which I guess felt fateful in a way. Through him, I met the other guys and everyone is a friend by now. Gorman has also always done all the !!! artwork, but for this new album he asked me to do something, which was sort of different for them. Everyone came by my studio and we went from there. I could tell that Gorman had a vision but he didn’t want to influence what I came up with so he kept quiet for maybe a week and then described this scene of animals marching to an arc 3×3. It was sort of the same one-liner they have about THREES. Instead of 2×2 its 3×3! I’ve been working on a big book of animal drawings for a couple of years so his idea was the perfect fit and, even though there were some other concepts floating around, I was too psyched about this one to let go.
Gorman said that he was thinking of that Kanye West song, ‘Spaceship’. It is kind of an arc story. Kanye is wishing that he could get on a spaceship to escape from his GAP job and shitty life. I think we all can relate to wanting to leave the world at times, like it is so overwhelmingly screwed up that the only thing to do would be to build an arc to survive its collapse or be able to leave and start over somewhere else. It sort of seemed that that sense of escapism was similar to the !!! show experience. You try to forget the world, leave your troubles behind, and dance! Maybe they would think that this trivializes their music but, at the time I was listening to these instrumental dance jams from early mixes that kind of put you in a trance and there were no lyrics to indicate any other meaning and it was easy to picture these festivals where everyone was kind of leaving the world together, all dancing and caught up in the !!! pulse. So, maybe I was projecting, but that’s what I thought the arc image meant and it seemed right for what they were doing. It was great to have the early mixes because it really pushed me to energize the drawing. I think originally I was just lining the animals up in the style of the typical biblical arc image but with the music playing it seemed wrong to have the animals waiting patiently to board. So they all started dancing! I also wanted to treat the humans as animals, not as ‘arc-masters’ (or whatever Noah was). I thought maybe the humans would be the last to catch on so they are sort of discovering this world, drawn to the arc by the music and energy.
Nic (Offer) had come by and called a few times to talk as he was writing lyrics and coming up with his vision for the album and it seemed like he was thinking about kind of a more urban darkness than I would normally feel or draw. I know he was worried about a ‘hippy-vibe’ which I understand. The music seems more about night-life and NY than nature so… he had shown me some junkyard pictures that he thought were interesting and felt like what he meant so I tried to incorporate that into the scene. Wrecked cars, tire fires, etc. I think it is kind of the right feel. Kind of the Brooklyn influence, the dirt and junk, a world on the edge of falling apart. (not so much anymore…have you seem Williamsburg recently? try condo-vibe…but when those guys all first moved here they were definitely living in a bit of a junkyard. Nic’s still there…and Justin) It was all a bit of a bumpy road. There are too many guys in the band for decisions to be easily made. But the combo of everyone works for the music and, as I was pretty conscious of trying to listen to all the voices, I think it worked for the art. I listened to !!! a lot while I was drawing and tried to take it all in. I haven’t seen what all made it into the CD liner notes and gatefold but they pretty much let me go on that stuff. Same deal, just listened and drew. I thought the gatefold would be sort of ‘inside the party’ or the arc’s destination and the liner notes were mostly just words with characters to speak them. All in threes to be sure.
Check out more of Kevin’s work on his whacked out web site: http://www.kevinhooyman.com/