Following on from his 2011 full-length Tiger Belly, Auckland-based Tourettes has just released his latest EP Dead Dogs Dance. We shot him a few questions to ask him about the background to the record, a new collaboration with Scratch 22, his forthcoming novel and his involvement in Something magazine.
How long has the EP been in the works? You were saying that some of the tracks were written during the time you spent in Iceland, Berlin and Melbourne.
I started working on the songs a couple of years ago but I didn’t start thinking of it as a project, rather than a bunch of random tracks, until maybe August last year. I always wanted to do an EP. I always feel less is more with music. The same with playing live. I’ve never seen a band play for more than 45 minutes and thought ‘man I wish they had gone longer’.
Were there specific themes you wanted to touch on when you were writing each of the songs?
With ‘Chernobyl’ I was thinking about a human made dystopia and how it would be still be exciting in some ways. I thought this was a good metaphor for the way we fuck our lives up on a personal level.
We included The Shocking and Stunning as part of our annual Awesome Feeling compilation. Can you tell us about how working on ‘Chernobyl’ with them came about?
I heard there music when I was in Iceland and contacted them about doing a song. They sent me 3 different beats to work with. I wrote most of the song in Berlin recovering from hangovers and trying to find something vegan to eat. Their one of my favorite bands at the moment. I still haven’t met them either.
Does what you’re listening to at the time have any influence on the music you make? And if so, what influences do you hear on this EP when you listen back?
With this EP it was more what I was reading, rather than music, that played the biggest influence. For example the song ‘Mercy’ is heavily influenced by the short stories of Peter Carey. Or ‘Methodone’, which I wrote after rereading Junkie by Burroughs.
What do you personally think are the benefits of releasing your music through Bandcamp as a name-your-price download?
I just wanted people to hear it. There’s nothing worse than putting all this time and love into something and then have it stuck on a CDwhich people don’t want. That said, I doubt I could afford to do another release in this manner in a hurry. Its a strange time to be making music. It feels like some new model is around the corner and right now people are just trying anything to see if it works.
‘Childhood’ features production from Scratch 22 and I hear that you’ve been working on new music together. Is it comparable to your previous work with him and what’s your plans for releasing it?
We’ve started demoing songs with Matthew Crawley. We’re also going to Berlin next year to start work on an album. Its’ very different than anything any of us have done to date. Its a concoction of rapping, singing, poetry and catchy, strange music.
You also wrote a novel recently. Can you talk us through the plot of it a little? When can we expect to see it released?
It’s the tale of two hapless artists who fall in love and ruin each others lives. Along the way the reader is introduced to a host of reprobates and mad people. I’m shopping it to publishers as we speak so hopefully sometime next year.
You also spend your time working on the recently-launched Something. Are you able to tell us about your role with the magazine and what you’re hoping to achieve with it?
I’m the co-editor along with Tom Scott. Basically Something is a vehicle to promote not only artists but interesting people in general and their work/ideas.
With the EP now out, what are you focused on doing next? Are there any other solo projects you’re working on or would like to begin work on?
I’m getting together a live spoken word album and working on some more songs with The Shocking and Stunning. Also looking towards doing a poetry book next year.
Tourette’s tour dates:
November 23 – Golden Dawn, Auckland
December 1 – Puppies, Wellington
December 12 – Chicks Hotel, Port Chalmers
December 13 – The Dark Room, Christchurch