Sunday, 30 November 2008

Go Ear - Abe Vigoda @ Now Wave, The Deaf Institute 3/12/08

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty fucking jazzed about next week's Now Wave at the Deaf Institute. The line up for the night features LA’s finest purveyors of Tropical Punk, Abe Vigoda, who we previously wrote about here, with support coming from Televised Crimewave, who we gave props to way back here. For those that don’t know, Abe Vigoda are stalwarts of their native city’s ‘Smell’ scene (a loose collective of bands centred around LA’s all ages/ vegan/ punk venue, The Smell, which is run entirely by volunteers) which we’ve been banging on about since like, forever.

Rather than bore you with the same old same old we figured we’d take it to the source and get exclusive word on the whole shiz from the band themselves. The whole thing worked out a little like this: New Ears asked some questions, Abe Vigoda gave some answers, and everyone mentioned the words ‘The’ and ‘Smell’ a whole lot. Behold…

New Ears: Over here in the UK there is obviously a growing awareness of yourselves and the other bands that have emerged from ‘The Smell’, but we are still rather unaware of the ins and outs of the actual scene surrounding the venue. Could you fill us in? Are you guy’s friends with all the other bands affiliated with the venue?

Juan (Abe Vigoda): Firstly, there were a lot of bands who we are friends with that are no longer in existence that played with us at The Smell who I feel are super important. One band in particular, ‘Hello Astronaut, Goodbye Television’, was really amazing. We would play lots of shows with them and even went on a small tour together. I totally wish they were still around because they were so fun to see live and wrote some of the best pop songs ever! Other bands that I feel were just as important to our connection to The Smell are Le Joshua, My Little Red Toe, and Silver Daggers. These bands are not in existence anymore but were totally crucial to that time.

NE: Have any of you guys ever been actively involved with the venue in terms of volunteering/helping out etc?

J: Yeah I would do door every once in a while and I will help Jim out when I’m there. It’s totally important to me to keep The Smell as a place that I feel I'm responsible for. We want the place to be there for as long as it can and it can’t be done by being careless and not helping out when you can. It's rad to have a spot that, no matter what, I know I can book a really fun show and help out a touring band by setting something up there.

NE: Are there any parallels between the kind of ethics that govern The Smell and your own within the band?

J: For SURE! The Smell has a total sense of humour and doesn’t take itself too seriously which is a really important attitude to have. Jim Smith who runs the space has no pretension about who can and can’t play; he is really open minded about that sort of thing. I feel like we as a band have maybe also adopted that, having no pretension about music and most things in general. The one aspect that is also really important is the DIY element that The Smell has; we make our own shirts and sometimes make flyers and are involved one on one with the artwork on our records and all of those elements of being in a band. We don’t pay someone to do those things.

NE: How synonymous do you feel the venue is with your band, were you established locally prior to playing there or have you grown with the venue?

J: We have grown up as a band in The Smell. I met many of my close friends there because they were in a band or came to see us or whatever. All my contact with the music world originated at The Smell, whether by seeing a band play or playing there myself, we have built friendships with people all over the place!

NE: One thing I've noticed about LA is that while The Smell seems to have bred a certain scene, it doesn’t necessarily come with a definable sound - all the bands seem really diverse sonically speaking. Is there a common thread you can identify between yourselves, Mika Miko, HEALTH, No Age etc that unifies you or is it more a celebration of the diversity/individuality of the bands?

J: I think the unifying factor is the ethics that the scene provides. I think that growing up playing at The Smell has provided us with a good philosophy about playing music that might not have occurred if The Smell didn’t exist. I think that it gave us a really good sense of reality because it is so DIY and anything that has come out of being in a band, i.e. notoriety or attention or whatever you would call it, has been interesting and cool but more than anything we are into playing music we find to be interesting, whether it's "marketable" or not, and I feel like that has to do with playing at The Smell and being part of that community.

Abe Vigoda - 'Lantern heights'.mp3

Words: Billy iDle

1 comment:

Lauren said...

It really is "tropical punk rock" categorized on Wikipedia, ha ha. Nice find! Thanks for sharing!