The Chain Letter Interviews: Pitchfork Fest Part I

Dayna Evans

frankie rose

All photos by Allison Taich

For the Pitchfork Festival edition of our ubiquitous Chain Letters, we were able to break through the capital-H Heat to speak with some of the fest’s most enigmatic performers. Frankie Rose, who kicked the weekend off with her shimmery guitar pop, sat down with us in the Union Park grass to razz on PBR, while soft-lulling duo Majical Cloudz provided us with a diplomatic approach to men’s fashion, and we capped the first part of the series off with hometown heroes Pissed Jeans and their playful pranks on us and others. Stay tuned tomorrow for the thrilling second half of the Impose daisy chain, when we get and give answers from METZ, Parquet Courts, and Woods. Like a strand of robust sausages, these links are sizzling.

Frankie Rose

Frankie Rose, beer in hand and holes in tights, was a benevolent darling when we had our first Chain Letter interview on Friday evening in the park. The first of all the six to compliment Impose and the operation we run over here (though surely not the last), we knew she had our heart. Her performance was one of our most memorable of the weekend and our conversation was a great way to let the links unfold.

Kurt Vile, when we spoke to him at 4Knots Festival, asked us these three questions. Basically what I’m going to do is I’m going to ask you his questions then I’m going to ask you to provide us with three more questions for us to ask the next band. Majical Cloudz is next in the chain.

So Majical Cloudz are gonna get my questions?

Yeah, they’re the next ones.

Fuck yeah, I’m so pumped. So fun! I love Impose for that—always interesting. So interesting, in fact, that I think, “I can’t do this—I’m not creative enough!”

You’ll be fine! Kurt’s first question was, “What do you think about Bud Light Limes?”

Dude, I fucking love Bud Light Limes.

They don’t feel tacky or weird to you?

I don’t care—I think they taste fucking delicious. It tastes like summertime at the beach. It’s like Bud Light with lime in it. It’s perfect.

Do you have other beer preferences or would you go with Bud Light Lime one hundred percent of the time?

All beer sort of tastes the same to me. Well, actually, Pabst Blue Ribbon tastes like rubbing alcohol, so I’d mostly go with Bud Light Lime.

What are you drinking now?

Don’t know. [Pause] Goose Island! The official beer of Pitchfork Fest.

Second question from Kurt: How do you feel about Australians?

Wow. I feel like they’re powerful personalities. I’ve never actually been friends with one.

Have you toured in Australia?

No, I never have. I’d love to go. I feel like Australians are fun-loving, as far as I know. Sometimes maybe even too fun-loving.

Oh?

Nah, nah, nah—that sounds negative. I love Australians.

Do you encounter many Australians? Do you have a lot of Australian fans at your shows?

I have a lot of friends who work in the service industry and once a year, for some reason, they [Australians] all come to Brooklyn at one time. And that’s always weird for many reasons. One of the reasons is that I don’t think it says in guidebooks that you’re supposed to tip bartenders when you buy beers. So, Australia, if you’re listening—tip on every drink you get and then the bartender won’t ignore you. A public service announcement.

We’ll make sure that all Australians know this. Third question is: What is your favorite Rolling Stones song?

It’s a pretty cliché one actually. “Wild Horses.”

It’s a great song, though.

So beautiful. Universally loved.

Absolutely, which doesn’t mean it’s bad. Now we need some questions from you to pass on to Majical Cloudz. What are you thinking?

Okay so, Henry Rollins: a) Cool dude; b) Kind of a lameass; or c) Hm. What should be the third one?

Or c) Don’t care?

Yes, c) No hair, don’t care.

Second question?

Second question is oh, geeze. Sci-fi: how do you feel about it? Sci-fi movies specifically. Third question. Men in shorts: how do you feel about that? Acceptable? Not acceptable?

Majical Cloudz

Though Montreal’s Majical Cloudz weren’t on the official lineup to perform at Pitchfork Festival this year, they did play the pre-party to the fest that supposedly had all the attendees raving slash crying. (We didn’t make it because we were still driving in from Brooklyn—boo.) The duo of Devon Welsh and Matthew Otto were kind and sweet, and didn’t appear to even break a sweat when we put another strong-eyebrowed compadre on blast.

So how do you feel about Henry Rollins? Cool dude, lameass, or don’t care?

Devon: A tragic clown.

Why do you say that?

Devon: Because I appreciate him a lot and I think that he has a lot of wisdom in some respects but he’s also a parody of himself. He’s a mix of both. He’s very serious to the point of it being hard to take him seriously. He’s super intense so I have a lot of respect for him.

Do you think that translates to passion at all? That his problem is that he has too much passion?

Devon: Maybe so. That’s never a bad thing.

Matthew: I think it’s purely passion; there’s very little substance below it, so then it’s all just passion about X thing, then he’ll just be consumed by whatever that thing is and just go for it and have a super strong opinion about it.

So we have cool dude, lameass, and don’t care—of the three?

Devon: Definitely cool dude.

Matthew: Yeah, cool dude.

Sci-fi movies. How do you feel about sci-fi movies?

Matthew: I like some of them.

Do you have a favorite?

Matthew: Let’s skip to Devon real quick while I think about it.

Devon: I’m not a fan of science fiction.

Really? How come?

Devon: I think I’m more attracted to stories that are plausible in reality. I’ve never been really interested in science fiction. I like action movies, so when action movies blend with science fiction, I’m interested, but otherwise I don’t know if I could think of a favorite sci-fi movie that I really like. Well, actually, if I had to pick a favorite sci-fi movie, I’d pick a movie called Fortress. It stars Christopher Lambert and it’s this realistic dystopian world in which—well, it’s really vague. It’s a really corny film, but it’s about the preservation of life and family in the face of a kind of vague, totalitarian government. But it’s worth watching.

Sounds cool. What about sci-fi books?

Devon: I’ve never been able to get into sci-fi books. I read very little fiction. I mostly read nonfiction of any kind. Nonfiction expands my awareness of the world. Fiction offers a lot, but it’s harder for me to stick with a plot that has been constructed by an author. I’d much rather read that author’s biography than I would read their novels.

Interesting take. Matthew, did you think of a sci-fi movie you might like?

Matthew: I realized that I’m not actually that into science fiction. I appreciate it as social commentary, and I see its value, and there have been sci-fi films that I’ve enjoyed, but probably not for their main purpose. Mostly because there are certain details in them that I like. I mean, 2001: A Space Odyssey, I like watching it and being appeased by it and going with the flow of it, but there’s very little in it that I can actually say that I’m profoundly interested in.

I know this isn’t sci-fi but do you guys get into Game of Thrones at all?

Devon: No, not at all.

Matthew: Nope.

[Editor’s note: I am not a Game of Thrones fan either. It was just curiosity!!]

Okay—third question. Men in shorts: approve or disapprove?

Matthew: I never wear shorts, but I do not mind that other people wear shorts.

Bad look or good look?

Matthew: I don’t like it that much personally. I don’t mind that other people do it, but I personally feel sort of silly wearing shorts. There’s a silliness I can’t get over. It’s like getting a fresh haircut. It’s something that really bothers me, makes me feel really kind of naked and makes me feel very, sort of, juvenile.

What if you’re hot though?

Matthew: Sometimes it’s really tempting, but I don’t own any and it would involve ripping my pants. It would take a really hot day. Today being one, but I’m still not wearing them, so that says a lot.

Devon: I’m completely indifferent. Whatever you want to do is fine with me!

What three questions do you want to ask the next band?
Do you have a tortured relationship with parents?
Have you ever dabbled in the opposite sexuality of your own?
Who do you secretly long for in your life that will not have you or acknowledge you?

Pissed Jeans

Earlier that day, Philly’s Pissed Jeans had played a scorching set to kick off the second day of the festival. Despite the number of complaints being chattered all around and sweat being squeezed out, nary a fuck was given by PJ as they brought their unique brand of tomfoolery to the stage. At one point, when Tito’s Vodka tanks were not being delivered fast enough to Pissed Jeans’ gregarious frontman, Matt Korvette deadpanned that they were operating on Philly time, not some bullshit Chicago time. My friend Alex and I were the only ones who cheered. God bless Philadelphia. In our interview, we discovered that they know the band METZ and were going to take this opportunity to take the piss out of them beyond even our wildest dreams.

Do you guys know METZ?

Sean: Fucking METZ. God dammit.

You can ask them anything you want.

Sean: “Why are you such a fucker?”

Majical Cloudz asked, “Do you have a tortured relationship with your parents?”

Sean: No.

Bradley: Definitely not.

Harmonious all around?

Sean: If people weren’t such dicks to their parents, then they’d be fine. Maybe you should be nice to your parents.

Bradley: They were super supportive. Growing up, at least for me (I know for Randy too), we had all their support. Buying us instruments. If we showed interest in something, they would give us full support. The older I am the more I appreciate that now. Maybe I didn’t see it at the time.

Do your parents like your music?

Bradley: No.

Randy: They think it’s funny.

Bradley: They weren’t excited that our name was Pissed Jeans. I made my sister tell them.

How did they respond to your sister?

Bradley: I mean, they were fine.

But no complaints from parents.

Sean: I mean if you play in a band in your parents’ basement, it’s probably relieving to them to know where you are at all times. It’s not like we were out stealing cars.

Second question from MC: Have you ever dabbled in the opposite sexuality?

Sean: I kissed a guy who had braces in seventh grade. Dave Shavitz, he still lives in Philadelphia. That’s about it. We did it to freak out some asshole kid who was like, “What’s up, faggots?” so we were like “Oh yeah?” and then we just made out. And he was like “Ughhh ew!” Seventh grade, man.

Braces, though. That’s a nightmare during that age. That’s all?

Randy/Bradley: Yep, that’s about it.

The third question—they got really serious on these ones—“Who are you secretly longing for in your life who will not have you?”

Sean: Hm. Bill Clinton.

Bradley: Probably my parents because of the tortured relationship we have.

Sean: Taylor Swift.

I would say Björk, especially after last night.

Sean: Did you meet her?

No, but she was wearing this gold lamé light-up outfit. It was insane. This shimmering thing.

I saw her at Radio City Music Hall and she was wearing this big white T. It was when it was really big with rappers. She just wore this giant white T.

Is that true?

Bradley: Well, no, but I like to remember it that way.

What three questions would you like to ask the band METZ?

Sean: Can you tell them that it’s not us?

Yeah, I’ll keep it secret.

Randy: But you told us who asked these questions.

But if I promise you that I won’t, would you believe me?

Sean/Bradley/Randy: No.

Sean: How do you feel about being shamelessly lumped into a group of bands like the band Pissed Jeans?

Is this a real question?

Sean: Do you think you’d have an easier time being musicians if the band Pissed Jeans weren’t in existence? How does it feel to play second fiddle to the band Pissed Jeans? Does that bother you at all?

[Laughter] Okay I’m writing that one down.

Randy: We’ve gotta stick with our theme here, or else it’s going to come off like we’re assholes.

Bradley: Do any of your band members always wear a blue ball cap?

Randy: I really want to take a stab at Canadian whiskey because it’s so terrible, but I’m not gonna do that.

Sean: Two-part question. First part being, how do you gauge your disappointment in the lack of stability and finances that come with playing in a guitar rock band? You’re not gonna make it rich. Follow-up question: do you wish you had gone into the whiskey business making fine Canadian whiskey instead?

Randy: Response: There is no fine Canadian whiskey.

Sean: The third part of that question is, or your response when they answer the first two questions is, “Trick question: there is no good Canadian whiskey.”

Randy: “Thanks for your time, you dumb dick.”

Bradley: The fourth question is: have you ever heard of the band METZ?

And we’re making a deal with this one that I can’t tell them that these questions are from Pissed Jeans?

Sean: Yes, you cannot say anything.

Bradley: And when you’re talking to them, make sure they get down on all fours, and you come up behind them and push them over. Just, like, a schoolyard trip. No harm in it.

Randy: Just make sure you get to the trick question part, and then it’ll be good. You got ‘em then.

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