Spurred by the announcement that Columbus’ Sword Heaven are organizing a noise rock festival, Christopher Animalhead (probably not his real last name) has been writing a series of articles (1, 2, 3) concerning the Midwest’s connection to the rejuvenated noise rock movement. Today’s feature, Noise, DIY, and The Rebirth of Lo-Fi, features some rather candid words from Times New Viking guitarist Jared Phillips:
Can a noisy recording be considered art? Can it be considered pop? Is it just noise? But the TNV folks and the majority of the DIY culture honestly believe that it’s not just about HAVING to record with tape hiss, it’s about APPRECIATING the tape hiss.
Appreciating the tape hiss – yes, that just about explains it,” Phillips said. “An old wizard friend of ours (Editor’s Note: I think he means Mike Rep) once said something to the extent of, ‘Tape hiss is the sound of life,’ or, ‘Tape hiss is the sound of the comet’s tail.’ Something poetic like that. We just like to make records that evoke a unique atmosphere, putting our sound in a different place, perhaps one that’s a little more intimate. Records, I think, are supposed to sound a little experimental – it’s a completely separate art form than seeing a band play live. You know, people think distorted guitars on records are okay, but distorted drums or vocals are not. Who decided this? Hitler? The Shins?
Hitler and the Shins side by side? Phillips’ comparison may be a little harsh, but there’s little doubt that dinner indie, middling indie, or whatever you want to call it, is stifling creativity by catering to the most basic tastes of the pale indie masses. If you’re like me, and you’re secretly hoping that the new noise obliterates the current indie rock standard, then as Phillips points out, while we still have a lot of work to do in changing people’s appreciation of noise, he and his band, Times New Viking aren’t really interested in leading a revolution:
That’s not why we make music, to change people. Most of the critics are people who think music is supposed to sound a certain way, or they are people who spent too much time and money at recording school – hence their panties getting all bunched up when groups like us just teach ourselves how to do it the way we want. I’m sure a lot of people who don’t listen to anything remotely experimental are the same ones who believe that everyone owns Pro-tools, or SHOULD own Pro-tools. Really fucked up, in-the-red records are nothing new. ‘White light/White heat’ is forty fucking years old. Seriously,” Phillips said.
Reluctant revolutionaries or not, there’s no doubting that there’s some interesting rumblings coming out of the Midwest these days. Keep your ears open in the coming months for the new Times New Viking disc in January, Columbus’ Noise Fest, and the first annual Festival 71 being put on by Radio Dystopia at the Beachalnd Ballroom/Tavern Jan 26th. Times New Viking and Sword Heaven will be joined by The Homostupids, Sun God, The Black Swans, The Deathers, Necropolis, Brian Straw, and the proverbial more to be announced.