Ok kids. Set down your obsessive hurricane Sandy-crazed tweets. Everyone evacuate the school building in an orderly fashion. This is not a drill. Remain calm and hold your neighbor´s hand tight. This is gonna be one for the history books.
About a month ago Anika Trujillo, whom you might remember from her stellar days in the Universal Ninjas (not to be confused with these quacks), sent me a download of this weird new collaboration she started with a studly mystery man who goes by the moniker, Chop Sticky.
Looks like these two artsy fartsies met on craigslist but, not that way… I´ll let them explain it all. Let´s focus. Their music is massive. It roars monumental moments against poetic, intelligent discourse. The cliches of activist-oriented musicians might not interest some marred or skathy elitists, but for the rest of us proles, there still exists an undying urge to hear music that doesn´t leave you covered in the slime of a misogynist media props or vapid claims of avant-modernism. The best part about PISS-OFF!, as ironically-reactionary as their band-project might sound, is their overt sense of humor. It actually reminds me, loosely of Liliana Saumet`s avatar Leidi Li for its conscientious, and simultaneously obserdist objections to patriarchy. Think expressionism´s response to impressionism at a surrealist party.
When listening to their recently released debut, FUK U LISTEN you get the sense these two love to dance in hectic protest against the woes of life as if it were some kind of performance art school exam. The outcome pure pastiche.
Their music maniacally calls upon The Master (be it patriarchal deity, slave owner, “the man”, what have you) as if to evoke thine enemy before a battle. But, don´t let the war-cry of “Antisocialite” scare you away from Piss-Off!’s harmonious, heartsrevolution-ary moments sprinkled over some Midwestern grown corn. But, our old time heroine, the Juke-Joker celebre, Anika, and Daniel, our new Secret Santa of Sound, can speak for themselves, quite alright. Lets just hope they meet up in Brooklyn again for another go around ASAP.
And in the meantime, lets just pray the Statue of Liberty doesn’t get blown away by hurricane Snooki, I mean Sandy.
Where are you from and how would you say those places have affected you as people, as artists?
Anika: I’m .. from Ohio…but I am definitely an Evanstonian as well. I know that Ohio is all over my singing. I really do sing like a lady, that’s when I put my queen on. Illinois made me lyrical, you can’t live in Chicago and not know how to talk that shit. Lyrics, Illinois. Singing, Ohio.
Daniel: I’m from Massachusetts originally, but spent 3 years at school in Santa Cruz, CA, then 6+ years in Brooklyn before just moving to San Francisco. In MA I listened to lots of metal, punk, hip-hop and electronica of all sorts. People might assume that kids from the suburbs with glasses like really wimpy indie stuff, but in my case the music I grew up with was pretty extreme and aggressive. Santa Cruz was a good break from that. Its so beautiful and mellow, it would have helped me relax except I got really into drum’n’bass. Those were the days.
Where are you both now? Brooklyn is it? How was that transition?
A: Yes, I’m currently in Brooklyn. The transition was real. I’m REALLY getting to know myself. I am grateful for that. My knowledge is powerful only if I use it, I act accordingly.
D: I’m in San Francisco now. The music scene in the Bay Area is pretty sweet. There is a lot of psychedelic influence, in both the the rock and dance music scenes. There’s lots of weird glitch and dubstep associated with the Burning Man crowd, also tons of old school house and techno, and I hear there are good DIY noise/punk and hip-hop scenes out in Oakland I gotta check out soon. I love how colorful everything is here.
I love Brooklyn too – although I’m trying to move on! But there is so much happening in NYC. I spent a lot of time playing in the experimental/noise scene around Brooklyn, and loud high energy music always felt so cathartic there. At Brooklyn shows, screaming until I lost my voice made sense. I’m not sure if that will translate out here in SF. Hopefully I don’t get all soft!
Daniel, I have already interviewed Anika. So, I’m intrigued by you… Who are you? How’d you two meet?
D: I am a soft spoken nerd who likes crazy music. I can dance like a goof, I joke around a lot, but when making music I can be pure rage. I am passionate about the environment, left wing politics, dance music culture and promoting general non-uptight-ness! Anika and I met on Craigslist. I posted and got a number of replies, and when I heard Anika’s tracks and freestyle I was immediately like “fuck yes”! Anika is super talented, she can write stuff that hits you immediately, and she’s got the real presence of a great performer.
Anika, going back to some points you brought up when you were doing Universal Ninja’s, the elements of incisive inquiry disguised through frivolity and play fascinate me. How is it working with a new partner in crime? Have you managed to keep that same level of sincerity and seriousness?
A: Haha, yes. I love you for remembering that. Being playful, concise and witty have become a cornerstone of my artistic direction. PISS-OFF! for me is about finding a set of sounds and exploring that… Each song on this EP has a purpose, meanings. This project had a real grasp of tying together specific sounds, playing through songs continuous in order to flow in one’s conscious. I stepped way outside of my comfort zone, mostly by choice. Daniel is amazing to work with. He always brings such a high level of energy to the table…I love making music with him.
When you mention the “Master” in Antisocialite, who or what are you referring to? What’s brewing in that “melting fire” and what exactly are you cats calling for a revolt against?
A: The master is the programmer. The melting fire is our life. The million little moments that occur at the same time. The things we can never control, but spend all our life trying to. I’m saying rebel against it…break the program, break that shit. gender and race don’t exist… I’m gettin ahead of myself.
D: Revolt against injustice and intolerance in the world. Anika wrote the lyrics but I think of them as a memo to myself and like minded people not to feel lazy, helpless, trapped, bored, and just going along. Instead I should be protesting, volunteering, collaborating. That song wakes me up like 3 cups of coffee.
The music is so aggressive at times, cluby and dance-able at others. I think I liked you both at your most guttural, your most punk. Who are your influences then, along the punk-spectrum?
A: Most recent metal/rock/punk artists in my playlist are: Acrassicauda, Metallica, Asking Alexandria, Alkaline Trio, Iggy & the Stooges, Motley Crue, The Darkness, Fleetwood Mac, Pipes & Pints, Dragonette.
D: I’m pretty into Atari Teenage Riot – they are a sick example of punk meets rave and can be both fun and serious. Bad Brains because they are fast yet melodic and even playful. At The Drive-In for the passion. The Clash for the love and politics.
Lastly, how do you both define yourselves and your music?
A: My motto is “music takes the parts and puts them back together.” I’m being 100% real with you because I can’t remember to pretend. I’m human I will change, so will my music. Love is my primary motive. I obsess that is what I do. It’s in my blood. I believe in this case; it is a good thing.
D: I love music. I want to make the best, craziest music in all genres. I want to be an activist but also a party animal. All this desire leads to frustration, and so I need to express that through extreme music. It’s an ongoing cycle!