A Place Both Wonderful and Strange just got home from their very first US tour, so we decided to get caught up with Russ Marshalek and Laura Hajek about what the experience was like – the good, the bad, and the gas station bathroom ugly // read up on all of that, continue on to check out what they listened to on the road (Gin Blossoms heavy // “yes, hey jealousy is there like 8 times. it’s accurate. ” – Russ) and if you’re in NYC, catch them performing at Tilt BK!
Most memorable show and why?
Russ: I really enjoyed all of them, to be honest. Philly was literally at my favorite venue to perform at, Atlanta was really special because it was my home town, St Louis was really raw.
Laura: Chicago! We love the empty bottle and the staff there are so sweet. Plus, there was a street festival happening down the block!
Any songs that stood out as favorites to perform live?
Russ: Well, we at the kind of last minute worked up a cover of NIN’s “Hurt” built around an old Silent Drape Runners track, and that ended up being a lot of fun. W*tch slays literally every time.
Laura: W*tch is always a favorite for me, because it bangs.
Any notable fan/audience interactions?
Russ: Seth King, who produces and performs as Resonata, came out in Richmond and that was awesome. However, I was also so tired I was hallucinating and I couldn’t understand, like, how to speak words. At some point–I think Birmingham??—we ended up selling a LOT of our David Lunch posters (David Lynch photoshopped to be hanging out at a Panda Express) and I’ll never understand that tipping point.
Laura: In Nashville my boyfriend showed up, watched the show and we got to make out after the set.
Hiccups are inevitable – any mini or mega disasters? And how’d you resolve?
Russ: Oh you mean other than me, drunkenly, in a shack in Mississippi the night we had to cancel our show in Memphis because of car issues, deleting the Ableton Live project for our live show? Yeah, that. We basically had to go on improv and backing tracks in St Louis but it was still a really good, really fun show.
Laura: We had some computer issues but Russ is a hacker and fixed them all.
Best thing you ate?
Russ: In Atlanta, my brother prepared a multi-course vegan Japanese tasting menu from scratch that involved roasting vegetables tableside. It was fucking beautiful.
Laura: Russ’ brother made us an amazing Vegan, Japanese feast in Atlanta. It was delicious and healthy.
WORST thing you ate?
Russ: Guacamole with ranch dressing and chips for dinner in Mississippi. Don’t fucking JUDGE ME okay.
Laura: I slurped down some oysters from the kum and go. Sometimes I’m too impulsive.
Weirdest thing you saw on the road?
Russ: In Birmingham (I think) we stayed at a Red Roof Inn, and the next morning Laura and I went across the street to a Howard Johnsons for breakfast. After waiting for like 20 minutes to be seated in a 1/4 filled restaurant, a woman stood up and forcefully said she needed to go outside. The waitress brought her pancakes and people not at her table told the waitress the woman had “needed a break”. The waitress then slowly walked towards us and informed us there was “a 45 minute delay.” Super fucking Twin Peaks-y.
Place you wish you’d had more time to explore?
Russ: Just, in general, random tourist traps and road bullshit. We had several 4-5 hour drives, and with sound checks usually around 7 that meant we had minimal time to fuck around.
Laura: I wish we could have stayed in Memphis. I love it there.
Place you do NOT wish you’d had more time to explore? (Let me guesssss…Ohio???)
Laura: Every gas station bathroom in the world.
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
Russ: I mean…really? Nothing. For me and for this project (not for Laura) this was the first real tour, so literally everything added up to make it what it was.
Laura: I would have brought more shoes.
What would you do the same?
Russ: Have guacamole and ranch dressing for dinner in Mississippi.
Laura: I’d continue to not forget my gear at the venues.
What’d you miss most about good old NYC while you were gone, apart from obvious things like friends, family, significant others and/or pets?
Russ: I missed my wife something fierce. I also missed, like, solitude.
Laura: I missed the sharp, pragmatic critiques that NYC freaks so willingly give one another.
And now that you’re back, what’s next?
Russ: Well, sleep. I just took a job doing social media at Equinox. Playing more shows. Laura and I are making a record. And I’m going to write.
Laura: We are experimenting with new Roli instruments and expanding our sonic styles while still serving you those tasty jams you know and love, brah.