BLACKBOOK ARCHIVE INTERVIEW: Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan Meets The Killers’ Brandon Flowers

Dave Gahan 2009
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With a vital, exciting new album, Spirit, released this week, Depeche Mode once again prove that they are post-punk’s most enduring and relevant act. Not to mention one of the most influential. Worldwide ticket sellouts for their Global Spirit tour confirms that they are also the most popular,

Here we revisit a strikingly visceral and revealing 2009 BlackBook interview with godlike singer Dave Gahan and the frontman of one of their most successful musical progeny, The Killers’ Brandon Flowers.

 

Brandon, how have you been influenced by Depeche Mode?

BF  Before I ever thought of myself as a musician, I was personally affected by Depeche Mode. Some Great Reward and Songs of Faith and Devotion shaped me as an individual before I even wrote a song. So they mean a lot to me… [laughs]. God, this is surreal.

It’s interesting that you bring up Songs of Faith and Devotion. I’ve always seen Depeche Mode’s work as being about exploring guilt, perversity and sexuality as a reaction to society’s ideas about religion and morality.

DG  The three subjects that you mentioned and that Depeche Mode write about are the keys to wanting to be a part of something, and wanting to be able to be intimate, and ultimately having some sense of peace within yourself. For me, I can’t get that from somebody or something else. You have to feel it within, that there’s something that the universe is offering; but we often seem unable to grasp it.

Brandon, there also seems to be a search for moral and spiritual grounding in your songs.

BF  It’s been a constant struggle for me. Growing up in Las Vegas really prepared me for this. There’s so much that goes on there that is taboo everywhere else, and it finds its way into our songs. I’m trying to come to terms with the reality that I’m a believer, and I’m getting more comfortable with it as I get older. Sometimes it’s a weird contradiction with what I do, I know.
DG  Not really. It takes a lot of courage nowadays to actually come out and say that. I think we all want to believe in something.

The lyrics to the songs “Kingdom” and “Miracles” on your solo record Hourglass deal directly with the struggles of being a non-believer.

DG  Yeah, it’s a constant search for hope and faith that there is a higher power that has a better eye on things—because, obviously, we’re not doing a very good job of it.

Brandon Flowers Killers Image 2017

Well, the Killers’ “Are we human?” is a big, poignant, existential question.

DG  Through music, you’re able to express that, whether lyrically or atmospherically. I hear it in the landscape of the Killers’ songs; I can hear the search.

I think it was Wagner who said that if you want to find God, look for Him in music.

BF  They say that making your own music can be the closest thing to a religious experience. When I do go to church, the hymns are what always suck me in. I can be having a day of doubt, but as soon as I hear the right gospel song, it’s over. There’s no more doubt.

Dave, you were a part of destroying everything that the music industry had become comfortable with. It was punk, it was electronic music and the bands did it. Now, technology is changing things for the bands, rather than the bands being in control of the revolution. How are you both dealing with it?

BF  I’m paranoid all the time because of YouTube [laughs]. But the great thing about technology is that it allows you to make an amazing sounding record in your kitchen.

You could argue that Daniel Miller took the first step down that road. He said that a guy, alone with his synthesizer, was the most punk thing ever. And he made this incredible club hit, “Warm Leatherette,” as the Normal, with just himself and his machine.

DG  Yeah, that was pretty radical at the time. We had that as our template for the kind of music we wanted to make. Coming out of punk, we knew we weren’t going to blag our way through guitar, bass and drums. But we could just plug our three synthesizers into a PA, and we could play all these little clubs in London. At the time, it was not considered “real” music.

Brandon, you’ve derided the lack of ambition from the general music culture, and with the latest Killers record, you seem to be reaching for grandiosity. U2 had The Unforgettable Fire and Depeche Mode came out with Music for the Masses. Are you consciously preparing for that next step?

BF  Well, in talking about all the blandness, I think it’s a fear of just going for it. All the bands I grew up listening to, they went for it. Now, we’re finally feeling comfortable enough, and we’re not going to be afraid of it.
DG  That’s right. You have to go out there and embrace it. We just made another record that was produced by Ben Hillier, and he said to me that he’s never worked with a vocalist who works as hard as I do. But a lot of discipline goes into maintaining any kind of ongoing success and ongoing growth. It’s not something you just pull out of the air. You have to believe in what you’re doing.

What do you want to give people with your music?

BF  There’s never been a song that we put out that I don’t want to sing. It’s inevitable that someone else is going to feel that same feeling that I have, that transcendence. For instance, no matter how dark a Depeche Mode song might be, there was always something uplifting about it.
DG  I’ve never quite understood why people think our music is so depressing. We’re making music that relates to life. I could be singing about hiding away within myself, but the music takes you to a higher place. It’s that human contradiction. There is a lot of black comedy in our music that I don’t think people really get.
BF  The last song on Black Celebration, “But Not Tonight”… [sighs heavily in adoration]. The line, “My eyes have been so red I’ve been mistaken for dead / But not tonight.” Those are the moments I’m talking about—in all the dark, there’s optimism.
DG  That’s life, and it’s why people relate to it.

Singer + Twin Peaks Star Chrysta Bell’s Hip Guide to Oakland

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Image by Rui Aguiar

Our love for all things David Lynch has never been a secret. So it’s hardly a surprise, we’ve also fallen hard for his current and always stunning muse Chrysta Bell. The ethereal vocalist and songwriter has regularly collaborated with the modern Renaissance man, including the gorgeous recent single and video “Beat the Beat.”

Leading up to the quite anxiously awaited release of her new album We Dissolve, produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey), as well as her starring role in Showtime’s equally anticipated new Twin Peaks series, we asked the lovely Mlle. Bell to give us a peek into her current creative mindset…and also to share some insights into where she goes to seek sustenance and inspiration in her new adopted home of Oakland, California.

Chrysta Bell on Her New Music

The new record has a lot of the same darkness and tension of my music with David Lynch, but with some radio-friendly aspects as well. I venture into some “goth soul” territory, which comes pretty naturally with my most prevalent artistic motifs of the life/death/life cycle, the Great Unknown and Ultimate Transcendence. The lyrical matter is still pretty heavy and twisted… death ballads/murder ballads/obsession/passion/escapism. In the music I always want to convey that there will be a final and total peace, but the record romanticizes the trip of humanness, being trapped in a feedback loop. In the song “Over You’ I want to get over you but I don’t want to get over you. In “Heaven” I’m calling a dead lover and leaving phone messages.

On Why Oakland Inspires Her

Oakland is the most raw, exciting, brutal, depressing, vibrant and inspiring place I have ever lived. The plight of existence and the will to overcome adversity is everywhere. The duality of the organic ice cream shop next door to a tent community of homeless is commonplace. There are signs of life, death, struggle, survival, compassion and courage on every block. I have been undeniably enriched and expanded by my time living here.

 

 On Her Favorite Hangouts in Oakland

Beauty’s Bagel Shop  (Breakfast)

The line out the door will not be an issue once you taste this bagel. As you wait you’ll be sufficiently entertained by the stellar people-watching due to its location in the young, alternative and vibrant Temescal neighborhood. I always get the everything breakfast bagel with braised greens. The coffee is a standout as well.

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Shangri-La Vegan (Lunch)

The food at this vegan spot is simple, wholesome and extremely tasty. The atmosphere is super chill and it’s a great place for having a thoughtful conversation with your dining companion. There’s only one thing on the menu (it changes daily) and it comes with soup and all-you-can-drink hot tea that is earthy and satisfying. There is a selection of after-dinner treats and I always indulge.
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Geta Japanese (Dinner)

Geta is a tiny sushi joint serving traditional Japanese fare. Get the special of the day even if you have never tried it or even heard of it. Prepare your mouth for some of the freshest, most exotic and tastiest fish of your life; it’s the closest to an authentic Tokyo sushi experience as I have found in California. I love to order a carafe of hot sake and a beer and sit at the sushi bar; when the beer comes, ask for an extra glass and pour the sushi chef a beer. They love it and it’s a great and enjoyable way to bond.
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Alchemy Bottle Shop  (Shop)

This boutique of expertly curated spirits, wine and beer is what would happen if an art gallery and an upscale liquor store had a baby. The interior is all white and chic, and the elegant presentation of the wide range of liquors, liqueurs, bitters, and exotic mixers (you name it) includes handwritten information about flavor profiles and origins. I love looking at all the creative bottles, labels and packaging and imagining how a bouquet from the farmer’s market will look in the bottle once the spirits have been enjoyed. The free Saturday “tastings” offer opportunities to expand your palate and meet locals.
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Fox Theater  (Music Venue)

If you have a chance to see a band you love at Fox Theater, TAKE IT. It’s an architectural marvel built in 1928 that is beautifully maintained and features state-of-art sound and light packages – so the shows sound and look incredible. This venue will make a great performace from one of your favorite artists into a life event. Killer spot. An Oakland treasure.

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Eli’s Mile High Club  (Nightcap)

This dive bar is the right mix of grime and personality. The owner is a great guy and somehow that shows through in the atmosphere. I filmed my music video for “Beat the Beat” at Eli’s, and he plays one of the bar patrons. A great place to meet friends who live close by, you feel lucky if this bar is your local hang. As David Lynch would say “it’s got a thing.”

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INTERVIEW: Jessica Chastain and Niki Caro Explain How Their Holocaust Movie Ended Up Being a Modern Film

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(l-r) Johan Heldenbergh and Jessica Chastain star as Jan and Antonina Zabinski in director Niki Caro's THE ZOOKEEPER'S WIFE, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features
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The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the true story of a Polish couple who housed Jews in the Warsaw Zoo during the Holocaust, and were able to save the lives of more than 300 from the Warsaw Ghetto. The heartbreaking movie stars Jessica Chastain in the unforgettable role of Antonina Żabińska, and is directed by Niki Caro.

The movie is unique in it’s feminine perspective on a grueling war saga, and thanks to it’s inclusion of many wild animal actors: Chastain’s roster of scene partners include real tigers, elephants, camels, polar bears, skunks, and lions. Interestingly enough, the film, set in the early to mid twentieth century, feels alarmingly modern.

“Well, the world’s changed,” said Caro when asked about the film’s relevancy. “Seven years ago, when I became involved in this movie, I thought I was developing a historical drama. As it happens, we have made a contemporary film.”

Take a look at our exclusive BlackBook interview with the film’s star and director below.

A (Very) Insider Guide to London Eating and Drinking

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Above image: Oldroyd

There was a time not all too long ago, when eating well in London meant hitting up some unassuming corner dive where they just happened to make a great curry. But the city’s post-Millennial food revolution has gone so far as to cause French culinary god Alain Ducasse to actually call it the best dining city in the world now.

Super trendy hotspots abound: celeb-bedecked Chiltern Firehouse; Jason Atherton’s Social Eating House; The Clove Club in hipsterwhelmed Shoreditch. But what if you just wanted to hit the capital for a few genuinely great meals (or a good pint), with lots of local charm, and without all the glam trimmings (and puffed up prices)?

To that end, we asked New York girl-about-town Rachel Felder, who would admit to London being a sort of spiritual home, for her best under-the-radar picks (from hip Islington to pretty Primrose Hill), which she elaborates on below.All appear in her fabulous new book Insider London (Harper Collins), in which she takes the reader on a whirl through what can be a rather apoplexy-inducing city, whittling it down to the absolute gems of dining, drinking, shopping, hotels and culture. With its striking photography, it is a masterstroke of Englishness: stylish, eccentric and utterly brilliant.

 

Oldroyd

This tiny duplex restaurant, tucked quietly down one of the main thoroughfares in Islington, serves truly wonderful Italian food in a setting that’s relaxed and mellow. It’s an ideal spot for a date, or just a leisurely lunch with friends on a weekend.

Rochelle Canteen

Shoreditch has become intensely hipster-ified over the last several years, but this hidden little spot is marvelously low key, although it’s just a few blocks from the area’s trendy bustle nearby. It’s essentially the extension of a catering business; open just during the day, breakfast is particularly good here, especially the granola, which is made on the premises.

Lemonia

This is a truly neighborhoody restaurant in one of London’s most charming areas, Primrose Hill, a genteel little nook that’s an easy stroll from Camden. The Greek food is authentic and delicious – especially the spanakopita, or flaky spinach pie – and it’s also a great spot for people watching, including, occasionally, a sighting of one of celebs that lives nearby.

 

  • Rochelle Canteen
  • The Duck & Rice
  • Tayyabs
  • 69 Colebrooke Row

 

Tayyabs

It’s not hard to find a good Indian restaurant in London, but this one might well be one of the best. It’s unpretentious and friendly, with truly wonderful (and filling and not overly expensive) food; you’ll rarely see a tourist at this East End spot, but it’s pretty much always crowded with people from the neighborhood and beyond.

Beigel Bake

For decades, this fabulous (and fabulously cheap) bakery has been beloved for its doughy bagels (aka beigels). Unlike almost everything in London, it’s open 24 hours, and pretty much always busy – so the bagels are always fresh (and, frequently, warm too.) There are plenty of fillings offered, but, personally, I love the bagels here just plain, eaten while walking down Brick Lane.

Marksman

There’s something undeniably inviting about a classic pub; this one, quite near the Columbia Road market in East London, makes you feel like a regular even on the first visit. But it has something extra: a seriously excellent restaurant upstairs, especially for traditional British Sunday roast lunch.

69 Colebrooke Row

Although it’s in the heart of Islington, this elegant cocktail bar has a truly insidery feel: it’s in a residential nook, on an unglitzy corner, without big signage or any fanfare. It’s got a real feeling of glamour – more that of an Italian champagne bar circa 1958 than a North London bar today – without being overly fancy or stuffy.

The Duck and Rice

A pub atmosphere and inventive Chinese food might seem like an odd combination, but at The Duck and Rice it somehow works. Downstairs, the focus is on beer and light bites; upstairs, the food is more of a priority. (The specialty is, appropriately enough, Cantonese style roast duck; but the Singapore fried noodles are also fabulous.) It’s in the heart of Soho and lively, even on a weeknight evening, although it’s understandably packed on weekends.

 

  • Marksman
  • Lemonia
  • Tayyabs
  • Beigel Bake

Send Away the Clowns: The Circus Makes a Final Pass Through Brooklyn

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Image courtesy of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Strobe lights pulse to the beat of a live band as white helmeted astronauts blast off into space. Massive bubbles dangle from the ceiling, filled with flexible, tumbling women swinging their ponytails.

No, this isn’t a BangOn! warehouse party in Bushwick – it’s the final season of the Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus. With ticket sales down and the elephants no longer in the show, well, they just can’t keep up with the changing times.

The circus is indeed closing. Just another of those things you thought would always be there – and then suddenly it’s not.

 

 

A radically shifting culture has made it so. To wit, there’s a great running gag in Modern Family, where gay character Cameron is always insisting his clown act is perfect for children’s parties – with the little ones ultimately concluding that he’s totally lame. Yeah, there’s a “gay prejudice” metaphor in there – but it’s mostly about the kids thinking that the circus is kind of icky old people stuff.

And with the rise of cosplay, the selfie generation can dress up all year round and be photographed, rather than paying to see someone else do it. Ringling Bros was up against a changing zeitgeist.

As for the disappearance of the elephants? Pressure from animal rights groups.

 

 

 

Some things never changed, though: the smell of buttered popcorn still fills the air. Hawkers sell swords with flashing lights and bags of cotton candy larger than your head. The sounds of children crying and laughing can be heard in equal measure.

And yet, this is the Barclays Center, where you can purchase a kosher pastrami sandwich or a locally sourced burrito. The beer selection is sublime and local with a range of New York State brews.

Nevertheless, the final show is anime brought to life. The ringmaster’s jacket glitters with crystals as he introduces an intergalactic showdown with a go-cart riding Tatiana who threatens to take over the circus. Lions and tigers roar and roll over each other at their trainers’ command. The clowns have a snowball fight…on ice skates! A nearby boy, swinging a glowing light saber is asked about his favorite part of the circus. His reply? “Everything!”

The Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus is a right of passage that will be lost to all future generations. Still, for some of us, the $12 elephant cup filled with shaved ice may be overpriced – but the memories certainly aren’t.

(Ringling Bros Circus will be at the New Coliseum in Uniondale, NY from May 12 – May 21)

 

 

#RinglingBros #OutOfThisWorld #🌎🚀

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Canada Turns 150 – Fairmont Hotels + Air Canada Throw a Fabulous Winter Party

Canada Tremblant Apres in the Air
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Image by Stephanie Starjovski

With its hotsy Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and its enviable, progressive society, Canada doesn’t look a day over 21. But in truth, she turns a gorgeous 150 this year – and we were recently invited up to celebrate that special birthday with her.

Our hosts? Toronto based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts have actually teamed up with Air Canada Jetz to offer up one of the most fabulous promotions we’ve ever had the pleasure to make acquaintance with: Après in the Air allows you and fifty-odd of your most fun-loving friends / hangers-on to charter a swish private jet – whose interior is sexily done up like a very stylish ski chalet party, complete with plush pillows and blankets, a cheese trolley and copious champagne.

The trip then takes you to the capital, Ottawa, and the dazzling Quebec resorts of Montebello and Tremblant.

Of course, you don’t need four-dozen friends to enjoy an ethereal winter getaway up North – though we highly recommend accumulating them beforehand. Either way, here’s how to do it all in very Canadian style.

Ottawa, Fairmont Chateau Laurier

The country’s capital, it has a homey, rustic feel (think Portland), but with awesomely grandiose architecture perched dramatically above its eponymous river. Check in to the spectacular Fairmont Chateau Laurier, which is, stylistically, an 18th Century French castle right in the middle of downtown.
Hipster sorts will love the city’s Canada Agriculture And Food Museum, or the Canadian Museum of Nature; But the National Gallery, which houses contemporary, Asian, sculpture and photography collections, is perhaps very much on topic with its exhibition, The Advent of Abstraction: Russia, 1914-1923.
Make time to walk the Alexandra Bridge over the Ottawa River (it takes you all the way to Quebec) for jaw-droppingly awesome views of the city skyline.
If you want to hit Ottawa’s food scene, Riviera, Back Lane Cafe, Navarra by Rene Rodriguez, Play Food & Wine, Pressed, Fraser Cafe and The Urban Pear are amongst the best.
But back at the Chateau Laurier, a must do is the Great Canadian Winter Tea in the hotel’s Zoe’s Lounge – with duck confit sandwiches, maple eclairs and Saskatoon berry tarts. Later, order up a few rounds of their exclusive 150 Canadantini – made with Iceberg Canadian Vodka and Cave Spring Canadian IceWine.

Quebec, Fairmont Le Château Montebello

Simply put, one of the most romantic destinations anywhere. The Chateau itself, built by a Swiss millionaire in the 1920s, is the largest log structure in the world, actually – as if someone had constructed a charming wood cabin and it was subsequently puffed up into a luxurious resort. We took a rather thrilling ride through the woods and over the grounds by means of a husky-propelled sled. But sporting types can also take to one of a pair of curling courts on site (it’s really just as exciting as it looks in The Olympics), enjoy a bit of cross-country skiing, or do some high-speed snowmobiling on an ethereally frozen Ottawa River.
But perhaps the best winter sport of all is cocktails or brandies at the Chateau’s Bar le Foyer, which surrounds a striking six-sided fireplace. Afterwards, dine on locally-sourced dishes (tartare of Quebec smoked duck, Boileau red deer, vegan squash & chickpea cake) at the hotel’s rustic-luxe Aux Chantignoles restaurant.

 

Quebec, Fairmont Tremblant

This is the grooviest ski resort in Quebec Province, hands down. Hit the slopes above a buzzing brightly-painted village of shops, restaurants and cafes, which is part Canadian charm, part Swiss chic.
In between swishes, take a dip in the Chateau’s heated outdoor pool (or if you’ve had a particularly vigorous day of skiing, try the outdoor therapeutic whirlpool bath). Set aside an afternoon for the Spa de Tremblant – indulge in a warm & cold basalt stone massage, a Valmont signature facial treatment or an elixir ice cider body wrap (Seriously, how could you not want an ice cider wrap?). Rooms have a plush, living room vibe – ask for one with views up the slopes.
Even if you don’t ski, take the gondola up to the top of Mont Tremblant, and just stand around in awe for awhile.
End it all with Après–ski at its finest: champagne cocktails on the Chateau’s terrace around a crackling a fire, with a striking nighttime view of the village below.
Happy Birthday, Canada!

NYFW Wrap: Fashion Got Political

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New York Fashion Week is a wrap – and, motivated by divisive Trump policies, political statements were a major trend. From newcomers to the well-established designers, the shows provided a platform for designers to express their opinions on hot-button topics such as women’s rights and the immigration ban.

Slogans on shirts were all the rage! Christian Siriano strutted his models in T-shirts reading People are People, while Jade Lai of Creatures of Comfort’s message was We are all Human Beings. But it was Prabal Gurung who made the most noise,  declaring The Future is Female, I am an Immigrant, Revolution has no Borders, and Stronger than Fear.

Other designers, such as Michael Kors and The Row, opted for more subliminal messages; the former sent out models in oversized sweaters with the word Love across the chest, while one of the latter’s looks was a white shirt with the word Hope sewn at the cuff.

 

 

Statement-making accessories also proved quite popular. Rio Uribe of Gypsy Sport opened his show with a speech about the plight of refugees living on the streets. Soon after, models came out sporting hats that read Make America New York, We Need Leaders and This Land is Your Land. Meanwhile, things at LRS Studio got cheeky, literally. Models walked out wearing undies that read Fuck Your Wall and No Ban No Wall.

Amongst all this antagonistic spirit, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein reminded us to unite as one. Hilfiger started the ‘white bandana’ movement at his LA show by having models tie them on their wrists, a message in support of humankind. Calvin Klein extended the uniting spirit by handing them out to his attendees before his NYFW show.

 

New York fashion week #LRSstudio#fuckyourwall

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INTERVIEW: Detroit Electro Icons ADULT.

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When electroclash took over the scene from New York to London to everywhere else that mattered at the turn of the Millennium, confrontational Detroit duo ADULT. had already begun resuscitating the darker aesthetic and lyrical tenets of 80s Euro-electro. Yet while so many of their peers were churning out opulent kitsch-deesko, Adam Lee Miller instead conjured a sonic palette which was jittery, foreboding, and cold but sensual, as front-banshee Nicola Kuperus wailed lyrics about human corruption, psychological emptiness and, well, all manner of everyday anxieties. (Indeed, they named a 2003 album Anxiety Always.)

They went on to transcend any genre classification, and to establish a signature brand of Teutonic techno-metal-pop. No surprise, they’re really big in Germany. Nicola also became a prominent art photographer, noted for the rather gruesome humor of her “death scene” tableaux.

Now they’re back with their first new album in four years, edifyingly titled Detroit House Guests – and due for release March 17 on MuteIndeed, they invited several of their most bellicose, uncompromising musical friends – including Michael Gira of Swans, Douglas J. McCarthy of Nitzer Ebb, and Light Asylum’s awesome Shannon Funchess – out to their Motor City studio for what turned out to be some very electrifying recording sessions.

Highlights? Gira and Kuperus forcefully chant “Nonsense / No sense” over the eerie buy absorbing dissonance of “Breathe On”; McCarthy’s haunting baritone lends a portentous edge to the infectious, Depeche Mode-like synth pop of “They’re Just Words”; and Funchess unleashes her feral beast on the sinister-but-groove-heavy “We Chase the Sound.” In the overall, Detroit House Guests impressively exhibits the astonishing breadth of their creative purview, while seemingly following a clear thematic arc.

We caught up with the pair for a chat about cultural overload, public vs. private persona, and, of course, anxiety.

Tension has always been your stock in trade, huh?

NK  I think so. And anxiety.

There’s a lot of anxiety now.

ALM  It’s interesting, we’re putting together our live set – and we were shocked by how these songs written during the Bush era still sound so current.
NK  As artists, we were always there to speak for the disenfranchised.

There’s a lyric on the album, “All that we perceive might be otherwise / These words that you say might be all lies.” It’s pretty spot on for our current situation.

NK  It is, but these are things that we’re always dealing with. The day Trump came into office, we were jamming to Dead Kennedys and Crass – and it’s amazing how relevant those albums are still.
ALM  I also think that Nicola writes lyrics that are very open ended – that can shift as the state of the nation shifts.

Worringly, though, there seems to be nothing provocative happening in music right now.

NK & ALM  I agree.

There’s the theory that technology has taken over for culture.

ALM  Well, we’ve been watching this CNN program that goes through the 60s, 70s…and the first 80s episode is all about television. Plenty of people thought TV was going to kill culture and make everyone mindless. But I don’t envy the young now, because I don’t know what that must be like – for everything to be on all the time. And everything is so public. It has to be exhausting at a level that I don’t think people completely understand yet.
NK  And people now feel that everything they do is important; they feel entitled to the attention.

Everyone just says what they’re thinking without actually…thinking.

ALM  If you would have told me that our President would be tweeting at five in the morning…how did it get to that level of pervasiveness?

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Shannon Funchess is incredible, isn’t she?

NK  She is a powerhouse. Just to have her in the studio and to listen to that voice, that power coming out of her…it’s really inspiring.

Despite all the guests, though, the album feels remarkably cohesive. 

NK  It is a real journey in sound and in narrative, yes.

It’s especially great to hear Douglas McCarthy on a couple of songs. Nitzer Ebb arguably got ghettoized by the “industrial” tag. But they’re much more important and influential than they’re given credit for.

NK  Absolutely. They always challenged their audience, and that’s what we are always trying to do.

There’s the lyric, “This is the way the body works.” And both bands have always explored the mind/body divide – the battle between the physical and the psychological.

NK  The past couple of years I’ve been interested in the concept of the “front stage” and “back stage.” The author Erving Goffman wrote a book called The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, about how we all have a front stage physicality, and a back stage that’s more psychological.

With all the cultural clatter of these modern times, how hard is it to stay important and relevant?

NK  That’s a complicated question. You always have to promote yourself as an artist – it’s just different now. Ultimately you have to keep working and just do good work.

Does this record still represent ADULT. being an oppositional force? Do you hope that you can still rouse people?

ALM  Certainly we do. We still put absolutely everything into what we do.

Finally, how did depressed Detroit suddently become the new cool place?

NK  I’m not sure how cool it actually is. But being in Detroit we never have to compromise anything we do – because we live insanely cheaply. So artists can support themselves here. But even Detroit, like so many other places now, is on the verge of that, “Will it keep its integrity?” moment.

 

Your Alternative Guide to the Oscars, With the Awards You Really Care About

21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals
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Film’s biggest night will take place this Sunday, of course, and Oscar prediction lists are popping up everywhere. But what about the awards that won’t be announced at the main event? The ones you really care about?

And so it is that we’ve put together a celebration of moments in cinema this year sadly overlooked by the Academy – The Alternative Oscars 2016-2017.. Feel free to bust out your ball gown and grab yourself a date before reading.

Best Snot goes to… Viola Davis, Fences!

Let’s face it, if Viola doesn’t take home Best Supporting Actress this year we’re done watching the Oscars. But, let’s not forget about Fences’ other big supporting star: Viola’s iconic snot.

Best Eyeballs goes to…. Emma Stone, La La Land!

We’re big fans of Emma and all she did this year, and we sincerely think she’s deserving of a Best Actress golden statue. But that’s mostly because her eyes pierced our souls throughout Damien Chazelle’s film – they were so big, so controlled, and so breathtakingly bulbous.

Best Scene goes to… J.J. Totah, Other People!

Chris Kelly’s Other People flew somewhat under the radar this Oscar season, but it was a truly fantastic film, and J.J. Totah’s dance scene halfway through was the funniest, most powerful, inspired performance of the year in our opinion.

Best Style Onscreen goes to… Tilda Swinton, A Bigger Splash!

While we thought the film was self-indulgent and, frankly, boring, Tilda’s fashion in every scene was legendary, architectural, and, in true Swinton form, weirdly angular.

Best Hero goes to… Felicity Jones, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!

Star Wars is really impressing us with its production of a super successful spinoff film – and that’s in large part thanks to the funny, complex, troubled, and valiant Felicity Jones.

Best Character goes to… Alex Hibbert/ Ashton Sanders/ Trevante Rhodes as Little/ Chiron/ Black, Moonlight!

Moonlight absolutely needs to win Best Picture this year, and that’s thanks to the incredibly thoughtful, complex, and daring writing of the film’s main character, portrayed over three time periods by three incredible actors.

Best Tween Heartthrobs in a Life or Death Situation goes to… Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, Nerve!

Don’t judge – Nerve was honestly kind of fun to watch. And both its leads were silly and sensational.

Best Cast goes to… Zootopia!

Zootopia was really good. No further questions at this time.

Best Appearance of Natalie Portman goes to… Natalie Portman, Jackie!

Natalie really wows us every time, and so here is her annual award.

Best Person Not in a Film This Year goes to… Rihanna!

She’s just so cool. And ANTI deserved way more Grammys love.

 

There you have it! The real winners this year. Tune in to the Oscars this Sunday at 7 PM EST for less prestigious categories.