-Interview- Blood Party (4/2/15)

Oakland, CA based post rock band Blood Party gets interviewed and talks about working with producer Sylvia Massy (System Of A Down/Tool), the California music scene and upcoming plans.
From: Oakland, CA
Sounds like: Post Rock

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Blood Party” and is there any meaning behind it?

PAUL - Music was always around me as a kid. I started playing piano when I was 8 years old. I was always interested in drums but I didn’t start playing until I was 14. I took some really beginner lessons for a minute, bought a Tool album, joined a rock band. Boom. Blood Party was that one name that stuck during the grueling process of creating a band name not taken and it made us giggle.

BEN - I never listened to music much until I found Bjork and Aphex Twin in my teens. Bjork opened up a whole world of unique approaches to music, Richard D. James showed me how ugly noises by themselves become beautiful when used properly. Just voraciously devoured everything I could find that tickled me from that point on, always wanted to make music I was proud of. Could NOT be in a better place for that right now. We were throwing around different names, Blood Party is the one we ended up both liking that wasn’t taken. Turns out ONE OF US accidentally stole it from a throwaway joke from a Questionable Contents strip. OOPS. But I think we both enjoy the dichotomy inherent in a METAL AS BUTTS sounding name when we’re….not really metal at all. Favorite WHAT DOES YOUR NAME MEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN story - Trent Reznor, after the umpteenth time being asked that, “It doesn’t mean ANYTHING. It just. Sounds. COOL. NINE INCH NAILS. JAZZ HANDS.”……….I dunno if he actually did jazz hands, but the world is a way better place if he did.

2. What do you want listeners to take away from your music? How did you hook up with Sylvia Massy (Tool, System Of A Down) for the album and how was the experience?

PAUL - When we write music we are usually more concerned with what we are going to take away from it, not so much how other people will interpret it. Of course it’s an incredible feeling to see the same passion in a listener but it’s more of a bonus if it happens. The band recorded our first demo in Oakland with our good friend, David Hughes, over at Shine on Studios. When we were ready to record a follow up album we emailed Sylvia’s studio just for the hell of it. She was genuinely excited to work with us and showed a big interest in our music. Sylvia Massy is one of biggest female producers in the world and has recorded a ridiculously long list of fantastic bands and artist. Despite all that she still has the same passion and drive about recording even small underground bands like us. That’s a beautiful thing in itself. To get the opportunity to make an album with her and Ian Rickard was a very special moment for us in music.

BEN - It’s pretentious and trite, but really true…..I don’t think either of us care what other people think about what we do. Sure, I love playing for people into it, and we’ve been lucky to have some really fun shows. But even if we didn’t ever get to play out, I know I’d still play and write for myself, then bug the crap out of Paul till he came over and made little ideas into BIG FUN SONGS. Oof. It was amazing to work with Sylvia Massy. So many people that have done as much as she has are burnt out and going through the motions at this point. She is so NOT. The joy she gets from working with musicians and the way she makes the process weirder and better and more fun on every level is just…..perfect. Ian Rickard, her engineer, is such a professional BEAST too. Recording can be stressful and so formulaic it takes all the wonder out of it. Not at Massy’s Hood. Inspiring is not a strong enough word. Big ups to Dave Hughes at Shine On Studios in Oakland too. Wonderful human to work with.

3. How has the response been so far to the "Why Won't You Hold Me Computer" album since its release?

PAUL - The fact that we are a two piece instrumental band floating in a music scene oversaturated with music, I think it’s done pretty well. The San Francisco bay area is definitely not the music scene it used to be and the struggle for every band is always going to be getting their music noticed and heard. We couldn’t be more proud of this album, the songs on it and what we accomplished in the studio together.

BEN - Lulz. Better than one could expect with a two piece instrumental band? It’s been a huge thing with both of us to try to make the music we want whilst eschewing sequenced parts. No knock against bands that use loops and sequenced tracks, some of my favorite musicians write stuff that is impossible to perform piece by piece live. Just been approach we both have a lot of fun with and embrace. Like BUTTS. Having Ms. The Massy and Mssr. Rickard help us reproduce the bigger sound we go for live helped a LOT. Lots of positive responses make my butt WIGGLE.

4. What can people expect from your live show?

PAUL - Nudity, Kittens, Fooooooog Machines…..We like to play right up front and close to the crowd at the edge of the stage. We like to be as close to the peoples as possible. I generally never play on the drum riser unless the club requires it. Our shows are loud, energetic and full of bass sorcery and drum magic.

BEN - Dunno. Would love to be able to watch us from the outside. Because EGO. Favorite compliment I’ve ever received after a show is, “MAN you guys make a lot of noise for two people.”. I just……I just want to watch Paulsy do his front man thing.

5. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

PAUL - Russian Circles, Tool, JUSTIN BIEBER (because the dude knows how to draw)


6. Any crazy show stories?

PAUL - We did a little mini tour up to Washington last year right after we recorded "Why Won’t You Hold Me Computer". We took some wrong turn around the Oregon border and drove over the pass on some tiny back woods road in a snow storm at like 5 am. We almost ran out of gas on the mountain and we were pretty sure we would die. I was positive Ben would have eaten me too. Then we played The Checkerboard the next day in Spokane. The stage is basically three large steps. It was the strangest set up but a really great night. Also: This adorable little hipster girl in the crowd made some very interesting moans after each of our songs. Not gonna lie, kinda the highlight of the tour. Probably the worst show story we have had was our cd release show in Oakland. We showed up to the venue and the owner had a rave set up on stage instead of us. He then told us we were going to be playing in a run-down old hydroponics closet next door with no bathroom, no bar, and no windows. It was humiliating. Ha, yeah, so we found somewhere else to play that night and moved the entire show. Ended up being a packed great night!

7. What’s your take on the current state of rock?

PAUL - I don’t think the industry will ever be a medium that makes sense or is fair. As music continues to evolve each year the industry struggles to catch up and the majority of bands that aren’t writing trendy generic marketable pop will always struggle to make money at it. I’m not against mainstream music it’s just always surprising what gets popular. It really is all about who you know. You continuously read depressing articles in the paper how rock is dead, but rock music is very much alive. You just have to know where to look to find it and support it. The best idiotic quote ever said about our band at a show by some random bro was, “I guess it’s interesting what they are doing but they will never be on the radio.” That pretty much sums it all up right there.

BEN - I don’t listen to a lot of rock stuff, but it’s an interesting time for music. The reach and availability of smaller, weirder bands is so much greater than it’s ever been. Unfortunate that what has gone hand in hand with that is a huge loss of revenue for any band not making Nickleback style mass appeal stuff. But I think there are so many people out there taking rock and metal into beautiful, weird places. Because YESHHHHH NEW DIRECTIONS.

8. What’s the current music scene like there in the California both locally and state wide?

PAUL - The music scenes are very different in each city in California. We generally play the San Francisco bay area mostly which can be very diverse and fun to perform in. But the scene has changed a great deal. The tech boom has once again infiltrated a large portion of historic venues causing many to close their doors and others to reopen as dance clubs. It’s an oversaturated music scene that unfortunately makes it very competitive to play in. But there are so many extraordinary bands in the area making some amazing music. And from what I have heard lately, the city is now providing support to the rock clubs which is fantastic.

BEN - The East Bay is in a hugely transitional place right now. Sad that a lot of live music venues have been pushed out to make room for yet another boring wine bar for the tech crowd, but there are still quite a few fun places to play. Also still a lot of bands doing interesting things out here.

9. What’s your take on legal/illegal music downloading?

BEN - lol. That boat has SAILED. It’s unfortunate that Lars Ulrich was the figurehead for helping musician’s hopefully profit from their art at such a pivotal point. Because good message, HORRIBLY UNLIKEABLE MILLIONAIRE does not an effective platform make. It’s amazing that we are at a point where one can carry around three thousand albums on their phone, sadly that and other download approaches has fostered an attitude of anything intangible should be free in so many. If you like what an artist produces, but never do anything to support that artist, how do you think they will be able to continue to produce?

10. What’s next for Blood Party?

PAUL - We are currently spending a lot of time writing. We hope to record another album with Sylvia as soon as we are ready, while sprinkling in a few local shows every month. We like to continuously remind ourselves why we do this, which is for fun. So as long as that is always the priority, there is a lot in the works for the band and we will continue to keep making noise.

BEN - Whatever Paul said. I just show up and look pretty. WOOT LAZY MUSICIANS.

11. Any shoutouts?

PAUL - We don’t believe in shouting. That’s something a singer would do.

BEN - YOU’RE TEARING ME APART LISA. I DID NOT HIT HER. oh hi mark. Insert Tears For Fears Cheesy Joke Here.