There's been a rash of releases from local artists this fall, huh? From Starfucker to Horse Feathers, Blitzen Trapper to All Girl Summer Fun Band, Benoît Pioulard to...you get the picture. One band that hasn't popped up in the release flurry? Atole. During 2008 the electronic five-piece has given us many chances to wonder when it'll drop an album. There were such advancements from its highlight performance at PDX Pop Now! to adding Copy on bass
. Add to that the act acquiring a hefty load of new electronics earlier in the year to aid in redefining the left-field group's sound and the increased inclusion of frontman Manny Reyes' bilingual vocals and everything the group has done this year has been trending toward releasing a LP—or at least building the appetite for one. And now comes news that Atole will indeed make good on that trend by releasing its long overdue debut album in spring 2009 on Audio Dregs. Yep, that's right: it'll be disc numero uno for Atole.
Keeping in the electronic vein of things, we sat down in front of the laptop (as we're doing now to write this post) for some good old fashioned communication with Audio Dregs labelhead E*Rock (aka Eric Mast) who, among many, many other activities, runs Supernature alongside Atole's Manny Reyes and Marius Lieberman. We get a goofy scoop on the signing, the possibility of the group adopting "early '90s military" uniforms (presumably out to steal My Chemical Romance's thunder
) and perhaps the best description of Atole I've ever heard. Maybe the best description of any band ever. We also get a sneak peak at what else is to come from Audio Dregs in 2009. Hint: New Copy! New E*Rock! And a release from ROTFLOL—which easily gets my vote for raddest band name I can remember hearing of.
So, first things first, how did you come to land Atole for Audio Dregs? When and how did the crossover to your label occur?
I've known Manny and Tim and Howard forever, not to mention they're all super tight with Copy, and I've been listening to all of their their music for a long time in separate places; so I like the people and I like their music so I said, "Hey Manny." (He's kind of like the leader of the band because he sings.)
He said, "Yes."
And then I said, "I'll help you put out an album if you record one some time."
He seemed okay with the idea, so he was like. "Rad." (which is some sort of slang term from the West Coast meaning "affirmative.")
Audio Dregs actually released an album by Howard's former solo project, called Supersprite as well as a couple albums by that Copy fellow. Pleasant chap, what's his name again? Oh yes, Marius J. Lieberman.
How would you describe the band?
I'm not ready for this, I write the label press releases the day before they're due, but here goes...its your typical ZZ Top meets Depeche Mode in a darkened discotheque (post-prom after party) and it turns into a "live for YouTube" knife fight. In the tussle two members of Throbbing Gristle accidentely lose a pinky and someone else falls into a punch bowl. I don't need to tell you who wins the fight, but I think you get the basic aural picture.
Why did you want to release Atole recordings?
Well, it makes sense doesn't it?
What can we expect of the disc?
I haven't heard it yet because it hasn't been made yet, but I did ask them to change up their sound a bit, less synthesizers and "danceable grooves" and we're going to add a brass section and that "oom-pa-pa" beat is going to reign (very soon). I told Manny it doesn't sound "Mexican" enough, and he agreed. So he said he'd go back to boarding school and study guitar solos, give it a more metal edge. The rest of the band is working on new uniforms, sort of an early '90s military look. I think we'll make it sort of a non-linear audio remake of that movie Weird Science
Why Audio Dregs and not your other label Fryk Beat?
Audio Dregs is more flexible.
What other releases will be on Audio Dregs' plate come March 2009?
Things have been busy, the end of 2008 will see new albums from Dim Dim (Belgium) and Minotuar Shock (UK), as well as the return of Lineland (Chicago) and Melodium (France). 2009 will have a new ones by Lullatone (Japan) and ROTFLOL (Jacob from Paper Rad) and also new ones from Copy and E*Rock. There's also a couple DVD projects in the works. So it should be a pretty epic year.
Do you think you'll do visuals for Atole in terms of album artwork or video(s)?
I'd like to, but time is always the biggest challenge when it comes to making new videos. I do about 5-10 album covers a year and as many music videos, not to mention remixes and design jobs. If I had some sort of lighting studio at my disposable and some hired guns I could probably optimize my output. Also I need to buy a video camera.
Audio Dregs official site
Hang the DJ: DJ BJ
Hang the DJ: DJ Copy
Photo by Nilina Mason-Campbell