What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I come from a very musical family. My father taught music and voice at a university when I was growing up. He directed various church choirs that my mother was also a part of, so I was always surrounded by music. My friend Dylan Lambert, who performs with me, I’ve known since high school and we cut our musical teeth together playing with 4-track cassette recorders, mostly doing experimental/soundscape type projects. Later on, I made a friend who was very involved in electronic music production and learned much of what I know spending time in his studio.
Eventually I started working on my own material. Sweat Boys began as three songs that I had written and wasn’t sure what to do with. I was invited to take part in an art/music showcase and decided to recruit friends to perform with me. 8 years later, we’re still at it.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Nervous Prayers, with the exception of one song, “Endlessly” (which was written a very long time ago), is basically what happened when I started writing music in the middle of a complete mental breakdown. My head was a mess. I was confronting a lot of old shadows, the effect they had on my personal relationships and some of those personal relationships not doing well. These new songs came out of me the way they did, and I ran with it. Musically, this record is completely different from our last release, which was more of a party record. Nervous Prayers still has songs you can dance to, but really, it’s all love songs.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Musically, I love grandiose pop, goth rock and EBM/industrial. Non-music wise, I love the films of Werner Herzog and David Lynch. I read a lot of short horror fiction. I’m particularly fond of ghost stories.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I don’t feel qualified to speak to the uniqueness of our sound; I just think these are good songs. If other people enjoy them, that’s wonderful, but I like them, and that’s enough for me.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
When people ask about deserted island albums or books, I have to ask myself “What are the conditions on the island and how did I come to be there? Am I alone on the island? Do I have supplies? Do I need to build shelter and feed myself?”
But assuming that it’s just going to be me on a deserted island, what would I need to get by, I would want:
Music – “The Pink Opaque” by Cocteau Twins, “Toward the Within” by Dead Can Dance and “Painkiller” by Judas Priest
Movies – “The Legend of Hell House”, “The Enigma Kaspar Hauser” and John Waters’ “Cry Baby”
Books – “Geek Love”, any short story collection by Richard Matheson and a toss-up between a bible and a book that tells me which plants on the island are poisonous
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I definitely prefer studio work. It gives me a chance to forget the world and just make sounds. While I very much enjoy performing, everything leading up to actually being on stage I find incredibly stressful. I deal with quite a bit of anxiety, but once the show starts, I feel OK.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Probably the most interesting fact about Sweat Boys is that my first performance outside of my home town of La Crosse, WI, USA was in Brussels, Belgium. I went there to visit friends and they booked me a gig. A bit of a disaster, but it was fun as fuck.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I don’t know if it’s the most “unique”, but “Endlessly” has the best story. That song was written about 18 years ago by Dylan Lambert and me when all we had was one synthesizer, a 4-track cassette recorder and a drum machine. When we recorded the original demo, we didn’t have any amps or speakers, so we monitored the recording using the built-in speaker on Dylan’s television. About 4 years ago, I found the original demo cassette, which I thought had been lost forever and decided to re-record it for Sweat Boys. The drum loop you hear at the beginning of the song was taken from that original cassette recording. The magical part of the story is that we had the opportunity to open for an amazing group from Sweden called Kite that I had absolutely fallen in love with. I asked the singer Nicklas if he would perform the song with me and he agreed. Later he offered to sing on the studio version and that’s the version on Nervous Prayers. We are absolutely honored to have him on this record.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
We have some shows coming up this summer that we’re really excited for and we hope to travel more with the group. I’ve started working on the next record and have some fun remix projects I’m doing for other acts.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity.
Photo credits: Bob Good (1st one), Adam Nantz (2nd one)
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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