Holy crap, the new Street Eaters LP is perfect. From the backwards-masked vortex that leads into “Reverse,” one is immediately sucked into a brutally even struggle between drumstick wielder Megan March and guitar killer John No–each trading animalistic vocals as they trade primal beats and post-punk riffs like heavyweight boxers trading blows. And just as there’s no time for musical filler, there’s no space for lyrical stupidity, either. The sound may be rough but the songs are smart and solid and suitable for those of us who grew up on indie punk as well as the crusty kids that use dental floss to sew patches onto their black Army surplus jackets.
After listening to the brand-new, hand-stamped CD (that comes in a stitched jacket) for weeks nonstop, I shot over some questions to the real-life couple/post-punk pair. Naturally, they answered my queries as a duo and from the road. Can’t wait until they finally roll into SoCal next month…
Blood::Muscles::Bones is a pretty stark title. Or does science necessarily equal bleakness?
The title was intended to evoke the bare necessities of life–in a sense, cutting out all the extra baggage that holds us back. Blood, muscles, and bones are vital components of the body that are found in every part of it and are always growing, changing, and moving. That sense of movement+change is also key to understanding how we approached making this record, which is about self-preservation and survival. I’m not sure if it was intended to feel bleak; rather, strong and real. Sometimes, if you want to build yourself to a place of strength, you have to face the bleakness head-on and accept it for what it is.
That first song is a real ass kicker! Street Eaters’ sound isn’t about studio tricks in any way, but the backwards tape part is so perfect for a song called “Reverse.” Can you tell me about that?
We do like to keep things raw and intense, which is something that can totally be lost along the way with a lot of studio tricks. We recorded onto 2-inch analog tape at Buzz or Howl Studios with Stan Wright, keeping things driving, and he did an old-school board mix in the studio. Non-digital, so if we wanted to change something we’d have to set the levels and mix it all over again from scratch. We decided to do the intro for “Reverse” after the song was already recorded, and we had a minute to think about it. We basically just picked a part of the song and ran it backwards, did some wild stereo panning, and it sounded perfect.
There are so many great cuts but “Dead Parts” is probably my favorite song. You two really go at it full blast, back and forth, from your vocals to your gear! Is that exhausting to duel like that or do you actually feed off of each others’ energy?
We definitely feed off each others’ energy and mutually exhausting ourselves is part of the goal, part of a total release. That song is about choosing to create your own community because the one in which you’ve been born or pushed into by mainstream culture doesn’t necessarily work. It is a bit like choosing your own family–which is a necessity of survival for a lot of people we know.
Songs about reversals, fading memories… Are you starting to reflect already? This isn’t exactly a comeback album. You’ve been making music nonstop for years now!
We like writing songs about our past experiences and critiques of the world around us, all tied in by a strong survival instinct and embrace of the struggle. I wouldn’t necessarily see this album as a “reflection” in a comeback type of way, but rather writing about life and the experiences we’ve had. We’ve both been through a lot of difficult, intense, and visceral experiences over the last several years. As a band, I think we are really just beginning to hit our artistic stride.
Digging the hand-stamped and stitched cover, and personal touch in general. How much time did you dedicate to putting these things together?
We consider the artwork to be a huge part of our band and it’s fun to do something even if it takes a bit of time. We’ve been doing the “sewn” CDs for a while now, mainly for our friends, but with the new record we decided to have them be the official form of the CD release. I really can’t say how long it took to make all of the CDs (100 so far, which are already almost out since we’ve been on tour and doing mail-order) but I can say it took a while. Of course, we’ve also got the LPs with 3-color letter-press covers and the gold-colored cassette tapes. We get pretty into doing handmade artwork, and also silkscreen our own posters, t-shirts, canvas bags, etc., so sometimes our merch table at shows gets a little ridiculous. It’s almost like we are one of those metalcore bands with 13 different t-shirt designs, except that we make all the stuff ourselves and also have a bunch of records to sell.
And now you’re in the middle of yet another long-ass tour. Is it possible to be more comfortable on the road than at home?
I do find myself sleeping better on tour, ha ha! We kind of thrive on that “discomfort.” It is an element we feel pretty natural in, and I look forward to every tour we do. Traveling around the country and world playing music and seeing our friends is pretty much a dream come true, and we feel extremely lucky that people care enough to help us book the shows, play with us in their own awesome bands, come to the shows, buy our merch, and put us up for the night to make it happen.
Check out Street Eaters at streeteaters.com. Better yet, catch a show buy some merch, and say hi.