While touring the U.K. with David Gedge’s the Wedding Present, two of my friends on the tour could not stop raving about how fantastically legendary Ringo Deathstarr were, live. Given the number of opening acts they have seen, I took this to heart and checked out their debut EP, then moved onto Sparkler to find amazing collections of toe-tapping ambiance.
Frontman Elliott Frazier recently sat down with us to answer a few questions.
PM: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. I want to start things off by fully admitting that we didn’t know a whole lot about you prior to 2010. But after hearing so much buzz from the Wedding Present’s 2010 tour, we checked out your excellently noisy self-title debut, that I was surprised to learn was released back in 2007.
Why are we just hearing about you now?
RD: Who knows…we never really had proper labels or distribution in the United States of America*.
*(The band is on the U.K.’s SVC label now)
PM: Tell us a bit about your first full-length LP, Colour Trip, that has already been generating a fair bit of talk. Maybe you can also let us know why you went with the British (which we in Canada are so fond of) spelling, the recording process and you know, if you ate anything particularly memorable during recording (I just had a nectarine).
RD: The British spelling is because the record label behind this whole thing is British and you know, that’s just how the Queen would spell it.
We recorded it a year ago, and we had never really been in the studio for a month straight before, so we took advantage of all the nice toys they have. Some songs were written in the studio, some we had been working on off and on since the previous summer…A studio date here, a studio date there. But once Club AC30 got behind us they put us up for a month and we got busy. The most memorable thing for me was just working with Jason “Computer Boy” Buntz, ‘cuz he was not too afraid to try crazy ideas, and let me tell you, we both had plenty.
PM: How do you feel about all of the Pitchfork publicity? Yay, nay, indifference because publicity is publicity?
RD: Pitchfork gave us a good review once a long time ago, and it did help. but one can’t be too concerned with Pitchfork….we do our thing, they do theirs.
PM: A lot of listeners have decided you channel a lot of JAMC, MBV, and the other usual shoegaze suspects. But I’ve often found that when listeners peg all sorts of influences on a band, the band doesn’t even have them on the
mental list. Do you have a mental list, and if so who are they?
RD: Every time I hear a really shitty band, it inspires me to make something better. So there’s all that…plus you know, there’s plenty of music that influences us besides “shoegaze”: Black Flag, Fugazi, Ramones, Devo, Dance House Children, Descendents, Nirvana, Nirvana, Nirvana, Beat Happening, Guitar Wolf…
PM: For our SXSW attendees, where is the best place to get the best burger in Austin?
PM: A lot of your recent tour dates have been in Europe, one of them with the legendary Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (what a bill..G500 fans must be peeing their pants, as I think those that don’t already like you will after the show). It must be weird to play with folks who have been doing this for decades, like David Gedge and Dean, in an intimidating way. Have you noticed a difference between the veterans and the newbies?
RD: Not really, just age I guess. Some people are party animals, and some are not, no matter how long theyve been playing…So we just like meeting the living legends. So far they’ve all been cool to us.
PM: Finally, when are you coming to Toronto!?
RD: In the springtime, when the flowers are in bloom.
You can pick up Ringo Deathstarr’s Colour Trip that is set for release on March 8th.