You know which interviews I like? The interviews with bands that don’t come pre-packaged. No expensive press photos with stylists efforting to make them look gritty and tough. No “lo-fi” videos made by a band that put down their caviar to grudgingly make an appearance on camaner. I prefer home-made videos of a band playing live to 20 people in a small club in whoknowswhere, the music almost drowned out by people talking. These are the bands that are hungry, passionate and make music because they love it, not because they’re trying to become the latest Stereogum buzz band. Haling from Philadelphia via Hungary (?!) SuperGoose make music that has industrial and electronic influences, but avoids the common trap of making music that’s lacking in emotion. To the contrary, their music reeks of desperation and power as they mix guitars, synths and beats to create a perfect storm of passion. TDOA writer Ravin talks about the passion with vocalist/guitarist Ram1.
TDOA: Okay, so which is it? Are you guys from Philly or Hungary? And what’s the music scene like where you’re from?
Ram1: Our origins are Hungary, Delaware and Hollywood. I make the most noise in the group so we use Hungary as our home. Music scenes are alike everywhere, they’re good for a while and then they suck. Where we live now there has always been a folk and bluegrass scene, so we stick out like a sore thumb.
TDOA: I believe you guys are a three-piece, but it sounds like so much more is going on… What exactly is Supergoose’s set-up?
Ram1: I play an old casio thru a Micro-synthesizer pedal, a broken digital delay, drum machine and guitar, a lot of extra noise comes from the drones I make. Ram2 plays bass and loops. Ram3 plays drums.
TDOA: To me, Supergoose sounds like David Bowie fronting “Check Your Head”-era Beastie Boys with Trent Reznor on synths. Would you agree? Who would you cite as your primary influences?
Ram1: We all definitely agree with your comparison there, touche. For this project our influences are early-mid 80′s Touch and Go stuff, as well as early-80′s English industrial bands like “Killing Joke” and “Red Lorry Yellow Lorry”. We all grew up on that stuff, dark dance shit.
TDOA: What I like most about you guys is how you use synths tastefully instead of going all hyperactive coked-out Brooklyn apes**t with it. What’s your perspective on the instrument and how do you feel its best used?
Ram1: I think the low dark notes on a distorted synth have so much more impact on the body and brain than almost any sound in the world. It knocks me on my ass like nothing else does. I think we utilize it more as a rock instrument than other bands do, i feel like it’s some messed up guitar that i run through effects.
TDOA: What’s your approach to songwriting? Do you begin with any instrument in particular? Is it a group process? What are some of the lyrical themes on the record?
Ram1: Ram2 and I start by finding drum beats on my old school drum machine that seem like we want to “get down” to. Then the two of us try to freak out to them with our full set up minus the live drums, even the light show is on for inspiration. So far almost all the lyrics come from the point of view of a 17 year old kid named James who died just after he figured his shit out.
TDOA: Tell us a little bit about the recording process. Even though your sound incorporates a lot of electronic elements, you chose to commit most of the music live to tape first, instead of programming it all directly into ProTools. What were you trying to achieve by doing this?
Ram1: We recorded to tape mainly to make it sound as dirty as we sound live. The is an element of impending disaster to our band, you know something is most likely going to explode or go wrong. We’ve done demos straight into Pro Tools and we didn’t like that quality at all. I’ve been recording music since high School I knew we would be served better by the live tape feel being that there are so many electronic elements in the band.
TDOA: Stemming from the previous question, you guys made a conscious effort to make the album sound “live”. Why did you feel this was important? It seems for many bands nowadays, the live act is almost an afterthought to the recording…
Ram1: We write the songs live, come up with the lyrics live, we play them out live, we are a live band. I love the recording process, but I really wanted to record everything as live as possible for our debut album. Every single thing was recorded in the room through a speaker or monitor, even the drum machine was recorded blasting through an amplifier. Nothing went directly to the tape except the vocals.
TDOA: How do you guys make those cool drone-y loop effects that bookend the songs on the record? Are these sounds prerecorded for the live show?
Ram1: Oh, you want us to reveal our deep dark secrets here? Okay, The drone is the basis for all our songs. I started using this technique when I was 18 and just wanted some sounds to play over so i wouldn’t feel so self-conscious. Basically my vocals, casio and broken digital delay are fed into an old rack mounted digital delay with a hold pedal that can capture layers of sound. It’s different every time we play. It is a pain in the ass to set up this stuff so we can do it live, but it’s a lot more exciting than watching someone in front of a laptop. I can manipulate the sounds however I want once I capture them, it’s a ton of fun.
TDOA: The lights for your live show are pretty rad! They certainly add another dimension to the music that feels cerebral and mysterious. What inspired their creation and what exactly are we seeing? Are the lights pre-programmed to sync with the music or do you use some kind of trigger?
Ram2: We rented these cool LED lights for our first 5 shows, then we realized that for the price of renting them 5 times we could’ve already bought them. So we cut our losses and bought them. We just have to buy pitchers of beer for my brother or some other willing participant to operate them. They do automatically go along with the music. We really didn’t enjoy the way that people stared at us when we played so we thought a light show was the way to go.
TDOA: What are your plans for the future? Is there a tour on the horizon?
Ram1: We’ll play where people want us to play. But our show takes a long time to set up. We’ve had our set cut down to 20 minutes because of how long it takes for us to set up. We’re starting to get more choosey about where we’ll play only because it’s starting to hurt our feelings. It takes hours to breakdown, load out from our 3rd floor studio, unload, set up, breakdown, load back up to the 3rd floor so to play for 20 minutes doesn’t make much sense. We need a crew for sure.
As far as touring goes, know any “good” booking agents? We’d enjoy touring with Radiohead, anyone have their number?