Five Bands We Like Who Also Happen to be Playing Gigawatts Fest

by Maria Joanna Bohemia

Gigawatts Festival 2015

Gigawatts Festival is happening this weekend and tons of Noise Love favorites are making an appearance. So many, in fact, that it was impossible to decide who to single out for this preview. I ultimately let two questions lead to the selection:  1) Which bands do I always have a monumentally fun time seeing? and 2) which bands can I interview without feeling super shy? So, without further adieu, here are five bands with super good live sets who are also very nice to talk to:



Cosmonaut:  Playing Friday, 7/24

*What aspect of the Gigawatts Fest are you most looking forward to?

Jack, guitar and vox: Playing with friends! Danny did such an incredible job of mixing awesome local bands with more well known headliners and that contrast is really what it's all about.

*In what ways do you feel Gigawatts has impacted the Bklyn DIY scene?

Jack: Gigawats is basically centralizing the music scene for a weekend, which is dope. I think there is a huge void right now, and since so many major diy venues closed everything feels a bit disconnected. The magazine element really helps to show kids what's going on and the festival is going to bring a lot of artists and fans back together in one location.

*Any special Gigawatts-related memories?

Jack: Going to make them this Friday at The Wick!

We played a Gigawatts Valentine's Day party at Silent Barn. We got super into it and made ridiculous cards for everyone and poured candy all over the place. Our buddies Cold Fronts played too and it was just a rare all out crazy night.

*Most memorable thing to have happened to the band in 2015?

Jack: I work at a hotel in midtown and just the other day a ballerina from Italy came in and recognized me from the band and asked for a recording of a song we only play live! I was blown away. First to know kids in Italy are jamming to our music and then asking for some random deep-cut?! So amazing. She found a live YouTube video of it and said it was one of her favorite songs. Naturally I had to send her our new single.

*Do you have any releases slated for this year?

Jack: Yup! We just got back the masters for two songs we hope to release in Sept. Both have really cool music videos to accompany the tunes.

Secret Crush

Secret Crush

Secret Crush:  Playing Friday, 7/24

*What aspect of the Gigawatts fest are you most looking forward to?

Greg, (Flying V) guitar and vox: All the bad decisions I and the people closest to me will make over the course of that weekend.

*Do you have any releases slated for this year?

Greg: We are releasing two songs before the end of the summer and we might be able to put out some more by Thanksgiving *fingers crossed*.

*A few Secret Crush songs contain samples from old films--what films are these samples from?

Greg: “KGB” contains a sample of Lauren Bacall from To Have and Have Not. “Where to Run?” contains a sample from Stanley Kubrick's The Killing. Other songs feature samples from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and All About Eve, as well as a malicious voicemail left on our friend's cell phone - but that's another story. The samples are an homage to the band White Zombie

*Most memorable thing to have happened to the band in 2015?

Greg: Most memorable thing in 2015 was when we recorded in an abandoned house in New Jersey and all these strange noises kept appearing on the tape. We thought it was a ghost and soon realized it was trying to warn us about the axe wielding maniac inside the house. The tapes were destroyed during our escape as the house collapsed.

*If Secret Crush were to break up, would the band's secret crushes be revealed?

Greg: If Secret Crush were to break up our secret crushes would be revealed 10 years later for our reunion tour.



Journalism: Playing Friday, 7/24

*What aspect of the Gigawatts fest are you most looking forward to?

Kegan, guitar and vox: I'm excited to watch it all play out this year. Danny has been doing his thing for a little while now but seeing how much work he has been putting into it this year has made me excited for this festival for a long time. Like any event, all the anticipation becomes the real experiences and shared memories that we can take with us. The amount of friends and colleagues playing at this thing is crazy. One of Danny's greatest strengths has always been his ability to bring people together and this festival is gonna be perhaps the most public example of that.

*In what ways do you feel Gigawatts has impacted the Bklyn DIY scene?

Kegan: Having a weekend essentially devoted to taking bands and acts from the local scene and putting them onstage next to huge touring acts is a feat in itself. Being a part of this community is, to me, all about sharing the experience of being delusional enough to keep making music. Everything everyone does impacts the scene but this festival feels like an overall force of good vibes and positivity because of the people involved. Of course we should never shy away from having discussions about corporate sponsorship, gentrification or the music industry that events like this festival are sure to bring up.

*Any special Gigawatts-related memories?

Kegan: Danny's energy is pretty relentless so that always makes his shows and his presence a memorable time. I can recall a few times when it has been just a few of us in a room though, taking in a particularly inspiring set with deep appreciation. That's kind of the magic with that dude and a lot of the best people I know in the scene. There can be five people or 500 and it's still gonna be an awesome time.

*Most memorable thing to have happened to the band in 2015?

Kegan: Our most memorable experience was definitely opening for Wild Nothing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was sponsored by Converse and it was free so it was sold out and packed even for us as the opener. I think we were a great fit to share the bill with and we had an amazing time. Everyone from (Wild Nothing) were all super nice and it seemed like the crowd was down with everything we were doing.

*Do you have any releases slated for this year?

Kegan: We just finished mixing what is going to be our first album. It will mostly likely be out at the beginning of next year.



Piers:  Playing Saturday, 7/25

*What aspect of the Gigawatts fest are you most looking forward to?

Opal, keys: I'm most looking forward to seeing some of the out of town bands that I usually miss like Palehound and Pile. And some bands that I don't see on bills as often like Sofa Club and The Gradients.

*In what ways do you feel Gigawatts has impacted the Bklyn DIY scene?

Opal: Danny definitely has a brand with its own offerings. Aside from his booking shows, if you've ever been in the mag you've got some pretty good company.

*Any special Gigawatts-related memories?

Opal: I remember going to 171 Lombardy once and getting my face painted. I was pretty hammered and I didn't know it was a Gigawatts show at the time but I just remember being like, “why am I out here what place is this.”

*Most memorable thing to have happened to the band in 2015?

Opal: Not sure what the rest of the band would say but we opened for Nate from the Foo Fighters' new band. I guess that's like the "coolest" thing?

*Do you have any releases slated for this year?

Yeah we have a 7" A/B coming out in the next month or so right before we go on a West Coast tour, and another one set for release around CMJ time.

*Keytar or keyboard -- which is better?

Opal:  Hahaaa keytar forever. The onboard sounds are super cheesy but now that I have a desktop synth for it I just use it as a controller and I love it.

The Yin Yangs

The Yin Yangs

The Yin Yangs:  Playing Sunday, 7/26

*What aspect of the Gigawatts fest are you most looking forward to?

Alex, drums and vox (at the same time!): Really looking forward to hanging out and drinking beer and eating food and listening to Black Lips. For free.

*In what ways do you feel Gigawatts has impacted the Bklyn DIY scene?

Alex: They really took a serious and kinda cool picture of us. They gave the community a clearer picture of us by letting them know how much we don't use reverb. In that, I mean I learned that Gigawatts was about the music digs.

Everyone creates a picture they want to see. I believe they do a good job of making a picture.

Brendan, bass: Personally, I don't suscribe to the “Brooklyn DIY scene” as an embodiment of vital creative energy. I think there is amateur music and networks of artists operating in Brooklyn and around the world just as there always has been, and feel the term “DIY” can be narrow in scope. I read articles about the death of DIY pertaining to the closing of venues that, while supported underground music and events, existed in rapidly developing parts of a rapidly developing city. To me this has no bearing on whether people will continue to create and showcase art without asking for permission... I think Gigawatts is an incredibly serious operation, anyone who has watched their festival for the last few years can tell they are no laymen about Brooklyn music. I know they have a tight knit team that is passionate about legitimizing the music they care for. I think operations like that are incredibly important to artists like myself.

*I sort of feel like the Yin Yangs' success has really accelerated this year. Is there anything in particular you owe that to?

Brendan: I think we owe any success and betterment of our band to people like this and all of our friends and peers who have supported us, as well as venues like Palisades, Bohemian Grove, Silent Barn, Shea Stadium, The Living Gallery, and Aviv, who have hosted us on some very important gigs in the past year.

We are also serious about work ethic, and have been through a lot with each other over the course of this band, while trying to manage expectations. Also bands / musicians like Jay Wade, Haybaby, Bodega Bay, Pill, Retail, Junk Boys & MPHO who support one another so fiercely yet can honestly respect each other's work, give us the closest thing we have to a scene.

*Do you have any releases slated for this year?

Brendan: We have a new tape coming out on Time Castle Tapes titled Taste. Duane from Time Castle has been a huge help to us. He released our original demo and got it into places like Captured Tracks and Rough Trade, something we would have never gotten it together to do on our own. He has served as producer, advisor and friend to us. We encourage everyone to look him up, he has a very comfortable home recording studio and is an incredibly capable engineer. 1989 Recordings at The Silent Barn has helped us a lot on these recordings as well.

*are you guys doing anything in particular to prepare for the tour you'll soon be embarking on?

Brendan:  We may have a few tricks up our sleeves before leaving town in regards to our music....! Buuut right now we are looking foreword to a great weekend of a million bands at the festival, and our set at 1pm on Sunday at The Wick.

Alex: Taking care of our bodies. Working on new songs.

Brendan:  Valve job


Interview: Some Words with Nick Bassett of Whirr


Here’s a band you should hear: Whirr, a bi-coastal quintet who makes heavy and melodic “mature punk.” Founded in the Bay Area by guitarist Nick Bassett, along with guitarist Joey Bautista, guitarist/vocalist Loren Rivera, bassist Eddie Saldago, and drummer Devin Nunes, they originally went by the name Whirl, which was maybe about as on-point, musically, as it could get. There’s so much hazy swirl your head will whirl. Free whirl. Whirr is still the same, under a new name.

In 2013, in support of their first release Pipe Dreams, they embarked on a headlining tour with Philly’s Nothing, during which Nick and Nothing’s Domenic Palermo started their own spawn, Death of Lovers. This collaboration led to Nick’s re-location to Philly as well as being Nothing’s full-time bassist, and from there he and his Whirr-mates continued to write new material for their upcoming new full length. Sway was released last year on Graveface, and has gotten them deserved attention for that hazy swirl and devouring reverb.

This attention has also, at times, been entertainingly polarizing for some who don’t do jokes that well. Looking at them as a band, it’s easy to think they just act like a bag of dicks all the time, but probably because all the beauty comes out through Whirr’s songs. Listening to them sounds like everything. Title track “Sway” is an incredibly beautiful slow burning experience, single “Heavy” is just that, and the album closer is “Feel.” This album is all about the feels. All of them. Catching them at Baby’s All Right on Wednesday, April 8 is recommended.

To gain even further deep, deep, penetrating insight into Whirr, here is Maria Shurr’s interview with Nick Bassett, as short and to the point as Whirl’s song titles.

Maria Shurr: Your press release mentions that Loren rewrote the lyrics for Nick’s material. Is this a common occurence in Whirr? Is there a primary lyric-writer?

Nick Bassett: No, he never rewrote lyrics. Loren writes them.

MS: I know the band, or at least Nick, has a strong connection to Philly, partly due to the alliance with Nothing. What are your favorite things about the city?

NB: Franklin fountain.

MS: Nick says the album is “mature punk.” What are some other bands that may fit this label?

NB: None.

MS: What is it about Graveface that made you sign to them?

NB: He's tight.

MS: Touring seems to be a drag for a lot of bands. How do you keep sane on the road?

NB: I usually keep it all inside.

MS: Do you feel that most newer shoegaze music lacks a real bite? Are you happy to be the primary band working that angle nowadays, or do you wish others would step up?

NB: I don't really know or care honestly.

MS: Why did the band change its name from Whirl to Whirr?

NB: We got sued by some old bitch.

MS: What are some other goals Whirr has, beyond being the loudest band in the world?

NB: Being the richest band in the world.

MS: Do you still hate Pitchfork?

NB: Yep, basically any publication that reviews music.