Sunday, March 29, 2009

CROSSOVER interview

If you've wandered onto here in the past, you'd know that I'm quite keen on Crossover. They're one of those bands I'm very happy to have gotten acquainted with. I remember we first got in touch through the wonders of the inter-web while I was on a trip to Berlin where I was planning to cross paths with the Weegs on their European tour. They had just actually split from Berlin themselves and wound up in the Southwest of the US. We've kept in touch since then and have had the good fortune to work on a few things together, with Senor Ratboy himself lending his design and laying-out skills to the Mt Sims projects on
Hungry Eye and now this Missing Foundation project we've been talking up on this very blog. Truly good people, and genuine music heads, we've rapped about everything from their recent tracks to obscure metal to old hardcore bands. Their record is coming out any day now on Punch Records in Italy, and should be a mandatory purchase. They seem to have interesting stuff to say, so I wanted to do an interview with them about their travels and music. I can say they really delivered. Read on...

Throughout Crossover's career, you seem to have been located in places as diverse as NY, LA, Berlin, Portland, and all sorts of other locales in between. Where have your travels taken you? What usually prompts a move like that?

We don’t stay in one place for very long. We met in NYC back in 1998. Lived together in a basement in the lower east side and moved around to every borough before our 5 years in the city were up. From a warehouse with no bathroom or shower in Dumbo (Brooklyn) to a 3 bedroom railroad house in Williamsburg where we squatted for a year. It was at that time we created our band. We both werked together at a shop on Lafayette St. in Soho 6 days a week and after 7 to 10 hour shifts we would make music all night - every night.
Neither ov us had ever been in a band before, we jvst knew that we had svmthin’ to say and we were determined to find a way to put it together. In 1999 we started with a Dr. Sampler and a microphone which were on lend. Everything we have ever done has been by hook or crook. We had to borrow, we stole a little, but we would never beg. We began makin’ songz for our first albvm Fantasmo in 2000 and by 2001 we had a CD out. We gave every copy ov that album away.
We don’t even have a copy for ourselves. We don’t have any ov our second albvm either.
We had no idea our first albvm would have brought us where it did. Just after all that craziness happened downtown in September ov that year we left for a tour that lasted for a year and a half. We played for the first time in Berlin having never even been on a stage before. We have been to many cities in Germany, been to London a handful ov times, also Paris. We have gone to Spain and Italy few times, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, and Poland. We have lived in many ov the states in the US and played in most ov the major cities svch as NYC, LA, San Francisco. Also Canada - which we luv. There r so many places we have yet, to go, see, and perform. It’s early days for us. We have jvst begun. We have sacrificed everything for the CROSS. We go now where it tells us to.
We really want to go to the Scandinavian countries, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan; the list goes on and on. Having moved a lot as a kid we suppose it just became second nature. It’s like an itch. Shit gets old so u gotta split.

When the first Crossover record dropped, it sounded different than a lot of the other electro going at the time, and the band got caught up in the whole electroclash thing which was happening. How did the band get involved in that?

Oh man, this is a very long and arduous story as a lot ov ourz have been. No one waz doing what we were doing at the time and suddenly thingz jvst went nutz. We got swept vp in it yet, remained the loners by design. The media ate it vp. It’s fvnny and kinda sad cvz that whole scene waz killed as soon as it hit the streets by lovers and haters. The lovers tried to keep it underground and the haters wanted them all to die!
The players in the game were ducking and covering and disassociating any and all ties. The posers and sell outs did whatever they could to catch a ride. It became really hard to make a move without getting caught vp in svmthing lame. We had our wigz skrewed on tight and somehow made it thru the thing by making very few mistakes. Cvz we stayed trve. Then there waz the inevitable press backlash that said no kids don’t listen to that stvff cvz it’s not valid – here’s the new trend to shove down yr throat again ~ it’s called Rock N’ Roll, ever heard ov it!? It’s got dudes with guitars and drumz and stvff. Our motto has always been “More chix – More Synths!!!” The journalist didn’t really know what to make ov it and the muzik posed svm sort ov threat to their master plan ov selling magz and merchandise. Many showed the industry that we didn’t need them nor did we want the tired Marshall Stack approach or the stand around and watch-song-applause-song applause ego stroking sheep herd mentality ov yr average concert.
That is fvckin’ boring. Don’t jvst sit there – Go nutz! We have always felt that the future ov music and art is in the handz ov non-musicians and the self taught.
A lot ov really kvl bandz got thrown into the pot with a bunch ov other trash and nobody wanted to be part ov any scene. They were all too far out and recluse for that. There was no unity at all. Somehow it became like a free for all fvk fest cvz the wrong people got their handz on it and tried to label it market it. This is no new story…
However mvch people want to forget about what happened then, the fact is that is waz really fvn and stoopid exciting. The real headz from nearing 10 years ago r still doing what they set out to do to this day and kicked the doors open for so many splintered genres that exist cvz ov it. The muzik we r talking about is and waz unable to be categorized and it jvst get’s heavier and weirder. Which we think is really kvl.

On the other hand, our story waz like this: Me and my girl knocked vp svm fvked-vp trax for shits and giggles and it went off. Then there waz this crap label that ripped us off on our first albvm which still press it illegally to this day. Hear that readers!? Don’t buy records from rip-offs!!!
We had all these sleazeballz that tired to put contracts in our face. We never signed shit. Then we ended vp hooking vp with this other dude that in the end became the biggest scvmbag ov them all. Again hanging us out to dry on our second albvm. Again – Don’t Svpport Rip-Offs! So there it is kids! The muzik biz svx big time!
We were lucky or unlucky depending on how u look at it to have experienced all sortz ov dirty biz along the way. We know it all soundz like sour grapes but, u asked…

The sound for the second record then got a lot darker. What prompted the shifts in tone?

Our answers to the last 2 questions could hint to why our muzik became a bit more grim. The time after and up until now has been a period ov disillusionment and demystification. We have little faith or trvst in humanz and now we jvst wanna fvk shit vp! We also had svm time when we were landlocked in the desert. Although this was a good research period, it waz actually quite scarring.
We had no choice but to submerge ourselves in a microcosm ov inspiration to stay alive.
How soon people forget what is really goin’ on in this country once they step out ov the few hip-city pockets and enter Middle America. There r so many real problems that one faces on a daily basis. From yr everyday plastic consumerist slaves to yr extremely dangerous gun toting religious political fanatics to yr meat-head drug induced cretins. They cvm in droves and r running the program wether u like it or not. And they don’t like anything different in those parts so u better hit the road before sun down. So we dumped all ov this into our music and art and got out at nightfall before the towns people came in an angry mob with pitch forks, fiery torches, and stix.

What's the hardest part about relocating the band so often? Starting afresh somewhere must have its benefits, but are there any setbacks and hindrances you regularly encounter?

For us we always destroy to create - Out with the old and in with the new. Every time we make an albvm we start again. Being forced to make due with whatever recourses r available to us insures that the process will be exciting and demands us to werk for it. We don’t know what it is like to have endless svpport, resources, and funds so, this is an obvious set back.

SPACE DEATH waz an unusual experiment where CRSSVR took on a life of it’s own.
Everyone that waz involved on this project approached us and offered their services in the name ov the CROSS. We have taken on a new member ov the crew, werked with new artists on the layout and opted to go with a unique and dark Italian underground label.

If I understand properly, you guys record a lot of your own material. Have you set up a studio somewhere in Portland? What kind of locations do you look for to set up shop in?

Man, really we do our thing by any means necessary and always have.
The lyrix were written during the grueling summer months in the Arizona desert.
The programming was done in autumn in the woods of New Hampshire.
The final production and vocal recording was done this winter in the attic ov our house in Oregon.

The Crossover records all seem to have some kind of running narrative propelling them. What's the narrative on this newest one?

This time we r calling bullshit on all wanna be mystics. We say fvk fantasy and let’s get down to the real deal. We had a lot to get off our chests. We speak ov Sheep herd mentality, Sad virtual reality, Nuclear winter, Mental baggage, Family secrets, Black holes, and Suicide.
U know, and Misanthropy and Technology. Warm and fuzzy stvff.

How do the zines and communiques figure in to the Crossover narrative? Do they take on a separate life of their own or are they an extension of the records and songs?

The C.P.C.’s r full ov secrets and clues and act as guides to the ongoing adventures ov VEE & DEZ, EEV & ZED, Ratboy & Ratgirl. They also elaborate on the subject matter in our song lyrix and ideology. Their purpose is to give the listener and CRSSVR Svpporter svmthing more in the way ov better understanding our aim.
We have made over 5,000 foto-copies on our dime and hand stitched each ov them before shows. It adds to the stage fright and jet lag having to needle and thread hundreds ov zines before sound check. We give them away for free personally to people that cvm to our gigz.
There has been a first volume ov 6 issues and 1 issue so far in the second volume. We haven’t made one in a while but, we will probably do more. It’s uncertain. They tell us when they wanna be made.
For a moment we had the extra copies ov each rvn available for purchase but, now they r gone and the first volume is out ov print. One day we would like to professionally print the first volume in a compiled book.

You do a lot of your own videos, right? How are you able to swing all of this stuff on the move? What kind of equipment do you use to produce this multi-media stuff? Is there anything more involved or intricate you'd like to work on in the future with this stuff?

Yeah, we make everything with a no-shoe string budget and d.i.y. ethic. Again, with borrowed equipment and our laptop. We r not really tech-geeks by any means and we r not manual readers. So we jvst plvg and play, point and shoot and see what happens. It’s not like, if svm fundz were to be thrown our way, we wouldn’t know what to do with it. We would definitely put it to good use. We have tonz ov ideas. Sadly, America doesn’t hook vp the arts like they do in say Canada or svm European countries where bandz have all the time in the world and top notch equipment to bang vp svm killer trax. Or maybe we do - we jvst have never bothered to look into it. We take it day by day and evolve naturally. It is part ov our process. We dig it this way – it’s our style. Rat & real.

It's been a while since your last record and you've started working with a new label in Italy Punch Records. How did you hook up with them and through what course of events did you decide to work with them?

They were jvst first to ask and we said yes. Svmtimes all u got do is ask. Jvst reach out have the guts to believe in svmthin’ and yrself and make stvff – Pvt it out into the world. This albvm made itself. It is really important that when we werk with people that they understand our stvff. Also to honor and respect the art form. Not to meddle with it. We have a very strong vision and we never compromise that.
Our new label is behind us. That is all that matters. Not all that swarmy money biz b.s..
Plvs we wanted to make a statement ov our intentions ov keeping our stvff UG & Cvlt.

What else can we expect from Crossover in the future? More music/ videos/ travels?

There r many trix vp our sleeves. Keep a watch on our actions. Mvch is on the horizon.
We r werkin on svm sik vidz! U bet yr ass we r gunna tour. We have already begun werkin’ on the next albvm with 13 new songz cvmin’ down fast!

We will have to say this has been one ov our most revealing interviews as we tend to keep stvff in the shadows but we svppose we took this opportunity to set the record straight.


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Missing Foundation history- Pete Missing interview

Below is the first in a series of interviews done with members of Missing Foundation done by Vincent Dominion, who put together a sort of oral history of MF through the words of people associated with the band. He kindly gave us permission to reprint some of these here on the blog. Missing Foundation has a storied history involving many characters, but why not start with the main character himself, Pete Missing! This interview must have been done around 2001 or 2002, right around the time Pete was in Berlin, and exhibiting his work at the Tacheles. Following this time, Pete came out of his self-imposed exile to return to the United States and ran a gallery out of a storefront in Madison, Wisconsin, if I remember correctly. It is here that we started communicating and planning for the 1933 reissue. Pete then returned to New York City for a time before splitting his time between Berlin and NYC again.

The interview is a bit short on details about Missing Foundation's history, but it's a good insight into communication with Pete. At bottom, he's a visual artist, and is most in his element with his paintings and his art, which are often strewn around him when he works. His writing is a bit like his painting; very busy, very extravagant and colorful, full of slogans and superimposed images. You can really tell how he'd be the mouthpiece of a band like Missing Foundation.

[Pete at the Tacheles in Berlin]

Can you describe your time with MF?
Manic psychotic creative destructive constructive [prophecy of the coming events we have now]

Are you still in contact with w/ex members?
Adam I just saw on tour in New York he has a kid and is working on a new band. Chris Egan is a photojournalist in Boston.

What did you think of the Spitters?
Heavy load but unlistenable, not grounded and still boring rock music in the end but stage shows were more power. The cd’s are not a good representation of the Spitters sound. A well missed band. Mark dead in New York of cancer in 2000.

I heard about a show you did at the Knitting Factory w/John Zorn and Marc Ribot. Can you tell me about that performance? What do you think of those guys and was it recorded?
Well, John and I lived on the same block and he is a friend/collaborator of improvisational music. I was happy to throw my Berlin recordings of electronic sampling live with vocal overdub. John Zorn of course is a small genius and Marc Ribot is also great noiseician and guitar player. This may be recorded but I do not have a copy.

What music/writers/filmmakers are you into now?
Only electronics but I couldn’t really pinpoint. I think.....Tricky, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, Chemical Brothers.......I give everything a listen and there is a lot of drum & bass live instruments with electronic etc.... still coming up.

After MF why did you take off to Berlin?
Basically after the F.B.I. was at my house on a false tip and not finding anything I decided to go back to live in Berlin but this time I went into the former east and found an incredible place far from the anals of America. I was able to record and build massive installations. Check out the photos on the web site or Berlin is my dream city but maybe someone else would get lost there. It has a big underground of active people, artistically and politically. Their energy changed my life my music and my interests.

Why did the F.B.I. raid your house?
The reason the F.B.I. were at my house is because they tried to say that I started the riot in 1988 (at Tompkins Square in NY) but in the end they realized they were dealing with an entire angry neighborhood, which fought gentrification, homelessness and homesteading rights on city owned abandoned property falling into deterioration. And at that time a government that was and is not working for the people. The F.B.I. investigation fell back on the 9th precinct police department which found no real criminal actions against MF.
Basically, they would have to arrest the entire lower eastside and so I moved to Berlin to squat and make new music and leave America behind in search of a better atmosphere.

Can you explain the differences between America and Europe? The lifestyle, the food, the politics and the general awareness of everyday life?
I would say Berlin and Europe as a whole is the complete opposite way of life. America is abrasive and abusive. People haven’t learned not to hit each other over the head. Europe has more history and more information. We are making the same mistakes they made 700 years ago. The only difference is our big party is burning up the resources. Germany banned nuclear, dropped out of the war on Iraq and the green party is in power for 4 more years. Gay marriages are legal, men and women can go nude in the park, drugs are decriminalized, prostitution is legal, free medical, free dental and free education for everyone. 20 million dollars to the culture in Berlin, it’s illegal to go hungry and 67 is 76. America is pop culture, beer culture and full of decadence and violence. For sure the nature will revolt and the world is in a warning.....pharmaceutical nightmare......genetically engineered chicken......end of the food chain......cannot replant the seed......waterwars........MF.........future shock........bombs...war.

[MF logos in Hamburg, Germany]

How would you describe your current musical/artistic direction?
The new “Nature Revolt” cd was released on Maspop records in New York 2002. This is my latest drum & bass message project with artist/musician DJ Hazard. You can order it through my website. Me a Cyril were on European and American tours and the concerts were high energy gigs. In Berlin we connected with one MF drummer, Florian Langmaack from Hamburg and combined our sound. Florian is a set designer for movies but is still recording. Me and Florian recorded “Rotation” and “Low Denominator” with Binar Tobi, electro beat computer wiz from Berlin. Another electronic cd recorded in Berlin is “Cracked Ocean”.

MF was so noisy and primal. It seems that most people who start out doing that kind of music end up on the drum and bass electronic side. What took you in that direction?
After living in former East Berlin for 7 years it becomes a part of you. Berlin is the electronic central for Europe and runs a wide range. Atari Teenage Riot is great digital hardcore but there are many more. Binar was a project I worked with on ambient electro noise with digital vocal scratching that sounds like machines. The door to the future is music technology. Music is medicine.

How would you describe your life today?
Still hectic and on the road, can’t stay in one place for more than 6 months........I have to keep changing the scenario.........always searching for new possibilities to change the present course of the planet.

Anything else you want to add?
Only that America’s big party is coming to an end and the world has just cause to hate our guts but every big industrial nation makes war games and oil games. When we switch to hydrogen power, solar power and wind energy then we may be able to slow down the destruction of the planet. We are in a global warning and a war with Iraq will open the gates of hell. It is all crashing but 50 years of light might be silently good and stop trusting your government. Open your eyes and understand what’s wrong with pop beer culture, pill popping slow death, and genetically fried brain food. America the land that shits on it’s own people with pesticides, chemicals in every waterway and no medical, no dental and no education for everyone. We end the food chain for our acceptance of it and we radiate radiation kill kill kill aggressive abusive America. Fuck all your SUV’s as the environment goes up in smoke!

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Work on Missing Foundation 1933 reissue completed!!

So it's March of 2009, and I'm pleased to announce that one of the reissues we've been working on for years is finally coming to a head and will be going to press soon. When the idea for Hungry Eye started in late 2002 and early 2003, one of the things that popped in mind as something we wanted to do was reissue the Missing Foundation 1933 album. It had long been a favorite for a long while and was definitely a treat and honor to be able to work on...

It's funny to think back to those days and remember how the internet figured into all of this; I did a little google search, found something that looked like the email address of Pete Missing, and we started corresponding while he was running his gallery in Wisconsin called Recycling the Future. Eventually we ironed out a deal to reissue this thing, and started compiling all the material. While back then it was such a surprise to find folks like this on the internet, nowadays you'd be hard pressed NOT to find someone through some sort of web sources. On the other hand, looking back at the time that's past, one can't but note that the release is very overdue; 6 years wait?!?!

If we recreated the whole sequence of events, I would definitely change a bunch here and there about how the whole thing was approached. Compiling everything was a job suited to a serious production manager, and the many hours of tracking down tapes and videos, digitizing and transferring, learning as one went along, and going through some serious false starts now and again definitely took its toll on everyone. But we had committed to putting together something larger than just a straight reissue of the old 1933 package, and wanted it to include bonus tracks, a DVD and a good amount of photos and liner notes. A few people really pulled through in terms of helping get this thing done finally along the way, who we can't thank enough, and who deserve some serious recognition. Among them are: Ray Parada of the Mad Parade who stepped up and did a masterful job on editing the Cult of Rage footage along with Pete Missing's response to the whole affair, Rob of Rec'd Productions who not only shot some of the footage for the DVD, but also authored the DVD with the sole aid of my disjointed notes and dodgy sketches, and finally Dez of CROSSOVER, who promised to deliver on putting together a killer layout at a time when it came down to starting on it for the third time.

Also, many thanks to the folks who lent a hand in contributing material and answered questions along the way: Maurice Narcis, Vincent Dominion, Chris Iconocide, Seth Tobocman, Eric Blitz, Jim Waters, and many more.... and of course Chris Egan, Pete Missing, and Adam Nodelman.

Sadly, Adam Nodelman passed away at the end of the summer 2008. His help, encouragement, and enthusiasm for the project at an important time was crucial to seeing it through, and it with a very heavy heart that we won't be able to present to him the finished product. May he rest in peace.

In the meantime, we will start updating the Missing Foundation page on the Hungry Eye website, so check back there from time to time. Pete Missing has started uploading some material from the Missing Foundation archive onto youtube and the internet so as we are made aware of stuff, we will share the news with you. Also, in honor of getting this thing done, I'd like to share a series of interviews from Missing Foundation members and collaborators over the years given to us by one Vincent Dominion in his effort to chronicle MF in a sort of oral history. These interviews with start to pop up on this very blog in the coming days and weeks.

Below you will find some of the final mock ups for the artwork along with a trailer for the DVD. The end of March will see the project go off to press, so we will announce a release date once we approve the proofs and the ball gets rolling on manufacturing, but you can expect to see this out by early summer 2009. Pre-orders will appear on the website in due time.

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