21 May 2010

Microfilm Answers 5 Again

My thanks to Microfilm (Matt Keppel and Matt Mercer) for not only allowing some streaming, but also allowing SDM to bring you a free download.

Real house music, anyone? Streaming in the background is “Body Language,” a Queen cover by Microfilm, off of their new, double alblum compilation “I Am Curious” (the singles) and “I Am Rewired” (the remixes). (I reviewed the compilation last week – link.) The second track, “Am I Ever Gonna Fall Apart in NYC (Astrolabe’s Breakdown in Bed Stuy Edit),” is a track that Microfilm shared with me, and now I share with you, authorized by the band, as a download below. After reviewing the compilation, going back through my collection of Microfilm tracks, and obsessing over house music for a few days, it was a no-brainer: I knew I had to reach out and ask them for a second interview, especially since there was a question I have been burning to ask. I would like to thank Matt Keppel and Matt Mercer for taking the time and answering 5 and sharing their downloadable track with the readers here.

1. I wanted to kick myself in the ass that I did not ask you this before… Why Billy MacKenzie? How did you guys decide to name a song after a post-punk icon?

MK: Originally the song was called "A Boy & His Dog" which was going to be about the 1970’s cult film about post-apocalyptic America, but then I started thinking about the voice of Billy MacKenzie and what a unique and fantastic voice he had. But he still seems only like a small cult figure in the U.S., even long after his death. I wanted to give him a shout out, as well as make an in-joke about how not fantastic my singing voice is.

2. I love the fact that you covered Queen… ballsy I may say! How did you guys come to that decision? Is there anything that is “too sacred” to cover?

MM: We both liked that this stadium-rock band of virtuoso musicians put out this odd, vaguely disco album [“Hot Space,” 1982]... It's probably one of the most subversive Queen tracks -- no real guitar, all those strange synth sounds and sexual ambiguity. And it was a challenge; when I really sat down and deconstructed their song, it's strange and way more complex than I expected.

MK: Not for me! I love covering “rock” stuff and songs that a lot of wanky music critics would be like “Oh, you can’t cover ______ band, they’re iconic! Or “They’re a real guitar rock n’ roll band.” I love the idea of debunking some rock n’ roll mythos.

3. You just released your first compilation: “I Am Curious” and “I Am Rewired.” Should we consider this release the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one?

MK: That was part of the idea of putting the dates in the album titles, to give the collections a definitive time period organization. I guess I just realized that all of that material (minus a few remixes and the new covers) were all songs of ours from the previous decade. I like the idea of collecting a time period together.

MM: We consider every album to be a turning point for us. We're unsure what's next. We wanted to consolidate our EPs and singles and introduce people to us who may not have been exposed to the first few years of our repertoire -- as much of a "Hello, here we are," as "This is where we've been so far."

4. Remixing is an art form that does not get the credit it deserves. When you guys sit down to remix a track (whether your own or another artist’s), is there a philosophy or concept you work from?

MM: Sometimes I approach remixing as a highly functional thing, taking a track that might not work on the floor and using the core song to drive it with a more mixable final result. Many times, however, especially when remixing our own material, I run with it in any number of directions just to see where I'll end up. I would say the ultimate goal is to make something that we really like and would enjoy on a dance floor, whether or not it's faithful to the original song. Our remix attempts during the 2 Radiohead "competitions" online exemplify this especially.

MK: I personally like remixes that are far from the source material. Some people might whine and say, “Well, why not just create a “new” song then, if you’re going to take their original that far away from the source.” But I think that’s what makes a successful remix, not being a slave to the original.

5. You guys are currently working on new material… How far into the process are you? Any hints on what we could expect?

MK: I’ve already been writing lyrics and a few vocal melodies for new songs. I’ve also started collecting samples to use, cutting them up, altering them for use. I personally would love the next collection to be more of a cohesive concept piece, in lyrics and music. I would love to do something a bit less pop/dance floor centric and a bit darker and weirder, a bit more complex and cinematic, but these ideas and concepts are always changing and mutating.

MM: We are just getting started. The blank slate is always a bit intimidating, but it's wide open from here and that's also exciting.

Keep up with Microfilm at their homepage, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Fairtilizer.

Create a MySpace Playlist at MixPod.com

If you like the second track, "Am I Ever Gonna Fall Apart in NYC," you can download it right here: Link.

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