Multicult interview with Nick Skrobisz

November 17, 2013

Multicult interview with Nick Skrobisz

Noisy and brash Multicult are here to kick some ass and chew
bubblegum, and right now they’re all out of bubblegum.  From early beginnings as a one man recording
project, Multicult has grown into a full-fledged noise based punk rock band
that’s far more cogent and coherent than most of its counterparts in the genre,
not to mention decidedly more well written. 
In such a cluttered industry it would be easy to overlook Multicult but
from the first moment I heard Spaces Tangled I knew that there was something special,
unique and altogether different about Multicult.  Something that set them apart from the run of
mill noise punk bands these days.  I
could yammer on and on all day about how much I like the band and make even
stranger and more awkward attempts at describing their sound but as Multicult’s
own Nick Skrobisz says, “I think in today’s world it’s just better to sample
the goods online.  It takes almost no
Listen while you read: http://multicult.bandcamp.com/

What’s Multicult’s
current lineup?  Has this always been the
band or have there been some changes made over time as far as that’s concerned?
Burchette, Jake Cregger and myself (Nick Skrobisz) are the original
members.  The only exception, if one
could call it that, is the self-titled LP which I did solo shortly before the
other two joined.
The more people I
talk to these days the more I realize that people are often in several
extremely active bands at one time.  Are
any of you in any other bands at this point? 
Have you released any music with anyone else?  If so can you tell us a little bit about it?
I play in The Wayward.  Jake also does a grind band called Triac and
another sort of postpunk thing with Highway Cross.  Rebecca used to play guitar for Fight
Amputation, whom you may have heard of. 
She and I also had a band for a while called Lady Piss.
Let’s take a
little time and talk about your musical background.  Where are you originally from?
Rebecca and I
both live in Baltimore and Jake is just outside of DC in Arlington,
Virginia.  I’m originally from Virginia
as well, so I guess one could call it a mid-Atlantic upbringing.
Was your home very
musical growing up?  Were your parents or
any of your relatives musicians or extremely involved and or interested in
My parents are
deaf so we didn’t have a stereo in the house until I was about ten.  Then, my dad got us a stereo and he later got
me a guitar for Christmas when I was thirteen. 
My two younger brothers play guitar and piano respectively.  The older brother I play in another band
with, The Wayward.
What do you
consider to be your first real exposure to music and when did that take place?
When I was
thirteen, hearing In Utero gave me such an uneasy feeling.  It sort of opened up the panacea of under the
radar stuff, at the time to a thirteen year old, of Jesus Lizard, Black Flag
and what have you.
If you had to pick
one show, one song or one moment, a transcendent moment in music that changed
the way you saw everything what would it be?
Me and my high
school bandmate took my Dad’s car to Baltimore (without permission, of course)
to see Unsane at a converted strip club in Baltimore called Memory Lane.  We were sixteen and it was raining immensely
all the way up…  The drive from Northern
Virginia was really horrendous.  Once we
arrived, we didn’t have enough money to get into the show since we didn’t
realize how much in gas and tolls it would take to get there.  Luckily the door was open, and the only
people in the club were the Unsane guys. 
They were totally inviting.  When
we told them that we didn’t have enough money, and that we weren’t even old
enough to even get into the 18+ show, Chris said, “just tell ‘em you’re with
us.”  So we just posted up in there,
watching them do a dry run on a new song, with no door guy or even a bartender
present.  I got the impression that the
owners didn’t even bother locking the doors of this place when it was
closed.  When they played their set
proper later that evening, it was the probably the most cathartic thing I had
seen in my life at that point.  It was a
view into what being in a band really was and why playing what one wanted,
without any interest in being likeable or cool, was indeed feasible and totally
When and what
brought about the decision that you wanted to start writing and performing your
own music?
It started in
high school, playing in bands and playing hooky at the same time.  It wasn’t all that gradual, or all that
instant.  It’s just what I’ve always
When and how did
you all originally meet?
We’ve all known
each other for close to a decade, playing shows together in numerous bands and
what have you. 
What brought about
the formation of Multicult and when exactly did that happen?
I had been
working on demo songs on my own a lot in late ’08 and throughout ’09, and
decided to bite the bullet and press them to a record.  After playing it for a few friends, Rebecca
and Jake particularly, showed an interest in a live show that I booked before
having any bandmates.  After the first
practice, the chemistry was so natural that we decided to just run with it and
turn it into a full-fledged band.
Where’s Multicult
currently located at?
How would you
describe the local music scene where you all are currently located?
Fantastic.  There are so many bands in Baltimore always
forming and translating into other acts, and they tend to exceed or defy
Are you very
involved in the local music scene?
If by
“involved”, you mean going to shows and playing shows, I’d give myself a seven
out of ten, versus some who religiously attend every event.  It’s really not feasible, being that there
are three or four worthwhile shows going on any given night in Baltimore, which
is just another testament to its vibrance.
Do you think the
local music scene has played a large role in the sound, history or evolution of
Multicult’s sound?
Certainly.  Rebecca especially has lived here a long
time, so she can attest to that.  I think
that Baltimore is just one of the most ideal environments for new ideas to
thrive.  I heard recently that a lot of
product-testers use Baltimore for their assays, because apparently it’s the
most representative sample of the U.S. as a whole.
I seriously dig
your name, it’s almost impossible to forget and has a certain ring to it that
doesn’t fall into the comical pun realm that so many names do these days.  What does the name Multicult mean as the title
of the band?  How did you go about
choosing it and who came up with the name?
thanks!  Like most ideas, it sort of
sprung up when it wanted to.  It doesn’t
mean anything specifically or exclusively. 
I guess it’s the opposite of exclusivity.  What’s that, inclusivity?
It may seem like a
clichéd question, and one I assumed I would avoid like the plague when I began
writing, but I can see where it comes from now and when you listen to a band
that has as dense and complicated sound such as yourself I can only wonder who
your personal musical influences are? 
What about influences on the band as a whole rather than individually?
Kraftwerk, Birthday Party, Big Black, Halo of Flies, Esplendor Geometrico,
Front 242…
I love writing
about music but I’m not always the best at describing how a band sounds as I’m
not super interested in labeling, classifying or pigeonholing a band’s
sound.  Rather than me making some
awkward attempt and describing Multicult to our readers how would you describe
the sound in your own words?
I think in
today’s world, it’s best to just sample the goods online.  It takes almost no time!
What is
Multicult’s songwriting process like? 
Does someone approach the rest of the band with a riff or somewhat
finished product to work out and compose with the rest of you or is there a lot
of jamming and exchange of ideas during rehearsals and practices?  Has there been much change since the band
We don’t put
too many parameters on it.  A pattern on
any one instrument can germinate into a song; sometimes you have that song that
just assembles itself.  For some songs,
we let Jake run wild on drums with a full mic setup and we make arrangements
based on cutups of those sessions.
Do you enjoy
getting into the studio and recording? 
As a musician myself I think that we can all appreciate the end result,
holding an album in your hands knowing that it’s your and that you made it is
an absolutely amazing.  Getting into the
studio and actually recording the material on that album, well that can be a
little stressful too say the least.
immensely.  It’s great.  Not really so stressful these days as we do
all the recording ourselves, so we’re not on anyone else’s time when it comes
to creating output.
Does Multicult do
a lot of preparatory work before you head into the studio getting compositions
and arrangements just the way that you want them or is there room for change
and variation when it comes to recording for you all?
We are
constantly writing and recording and throwing stuff away if it doesn’t click
with everyone.  It’s like a sieve
constantly shaking to isolate what nuggets remain.  A song will remain quite flexible while being
written.  Though once it’s released,
generally it’s onto the next adventure.
Speaking of the
studio let’s take some time and discuss your back catalog a little bit.  2010 saw the release of your debut album the
Self-Titled Multicult.  Can you share
your memories of recording that first album? 
Was it a fun, exciting experience or was the process difficult for you
at all?  When and where was that material
recorded?  Who recorded it and what kind
of equipment did they use?
It was a lot of
fun recording that material, very haphazard and liberating at the same
time.  I had started playing drums about
a year before, and was very much interested in structuring songs based solely
on drums.  I wouldn’t touch the song with
a guitar until the drums and bass overdubs were in place, and suddenly the
guitar got a whole lot more interesting. 
I found a consonance that was lacking in previous efforts.
I know that the
Self-Titled LP was limited to 300 copies but who put that out?  Is the Self-Titled album still in print?
I put that out,
there are a few available still through distributors I believe.
You followed up
the Self-Titled album with your first single, “Open Fire” b/w “The Costume” on
Amplified Noise Recordings in 2011.  Was
the recording of that material very similar to the session(s) for the earlier
album?  When and where was it
recorded?  Who recorded it and what kind
of equipment did they use?  Was that
single a limited release?  Is it still in
We record
everything where we practice.  The Self-Titled
LP was recorded in the same place, though I think the recordings have been
progressively improving, with better gear acquired, techniques etcetera.  There’s also a bit more scrutiny, ha-ha.
The Open Fire 7”
also contained a download coupon for two bonus tracks from the first album, “On
Day Glow” and “Le Coq Sportif”.  Were the
digital bonus tracks the same recordings and mixes that appeared on the debut
Self-Titled album or is there any variation between the two versions?
No, the 7”
bonus tracks are newer versions that Rebecca and Jake play on.
Then in 2012 you
dropped your sophomore effort the Spaces Tangled album on Sleeping Giant
Glossolalia.  Did you approach the
writing or recording of that album differently than the Self-Titled album?  When was that material recorded and who
recorded it?  Where was that at and what
kind of equipment was used? 
It was quite
different.  I think the variety of
processes used from song to song really lent itself to the robustness of that
record.  About a third of the material
was written live, another third based on bass and drum tracks that Rebecca and
Jake laid down, with the remaining bit comprised of songs adapted from demo
recordings I sequentially made just after the self-titled record.  We used, and still use, very basic 16-channel
A/D conversion along with Some Neve, Neotek and clone preamps, with a wide
variety of mics.  Spaces Tangled was made
with a bit more care and acumen than the first two releases.
What does the
title Spaces Tangled mean or refer to?
Primarily, it
has to do with limits in the choices we make and the causality thereof, but it
has a lot of other implications, which made it appealing for us.
You also released
your second 7” single this month (October 2013) comprised of two tracks, “Jaws”
and “Luxury” this time on Reptilian Records. 
I know the new “Jaws” single was released in three different limited
edition versions by Reptilian.  There are
one hundred copies on clear wax, two hundred on white splatter colored vinyl
and finally seven hundred on black wax. 
Were those new songs you recorded specifically for the single or have
they been around a while looking for a home? 
When were they recorded?  Where
were those tracks recorded at?  Who
recorded them and what kind of equipment was used?
Same place,
same equipment as all the other releases.
Does Multicult
have any music that we haven’t talked about yet?
Lots of new
live stuff, probably half our set right now. 
Are there any
plans for a follow-up single or maybe a new full-length in the works or on the
horizon at this point?
New record,
early 2014.
Where’s the best
place for our U.S. readers to pick up copies of your music?
Direct from the
labels you can get most of our stuff: http://sleepinggiantglossolalia.com and
What about our
international and overseas readers?  With
the completely insane international postage rate increases this year I always
try and see if there are any purchasing options available to our overseas and
international readers.  With the internet
these days I know about a ton of stuff coming out, but without proper
distribution they feel like a carrot on a stick to me as I just can’t afford to
pay more in shipping than I am for the actual album. 
Yeah it can be
tough.  Right now for European
Distributors we have a couple via Kaos Kontrol in Finland
(http://kaos-kontrol.org) and X-Mist in Germany (http://x-mist.de).  There will be more soon with the forthcoming
And where’s the best
place for our readers to keep up on the latest news like upcoming album
releases and shows from Multicult at?
Do you enjoy
touring?  Do you spend a lot of time on
the road?
Of course,
yes!  We don’t tour as much as some
bands, but we get around.
What does
Multicult have planned as far as touring goes for the end of this year?  Do you have anything planned for 2014 yet?
We’re doing a
few shows in Philly, New York City and Baltimore in November and we’re working
on some touring and a new Record in early 2014.
You have played
with jaw-dropping bands over the years. 
Who are some of your personal favorite acts that you’ve had a chance to
share a bill with?
I think we all
agree that Vaz is pretty tops on that list and we’ve been lucky enough to play
with them on numerous occasions, Roomrunner as well.  Also Thrones, Fight Amputation, Shit and
Shine, Xaddax, Gay Witch Abortion and Child Bite.
In your dreams,
who are you on tour with?
Unsane, or
maybe Umberto or Ministry.
Do you have any
funny or interesting stories from live performances that you’d like to share
with our readers here?
There are a lot
of funny moments of us getting from show to show, but they’re too numerous to
prioritize or even list, really.  Some
involving skeezy motel rooms or narrowly-avoided serious bodily injury.
Are there any
major goals that Multicult is looking to accomplish in 2014?
New record.
With all of the
various methods available to artists today I’m always curious why particular
artists choose the particular mediums that they do and why.  Do you have a preferred medium of release for
your own music?  What about when you are
listening to or purchasing music?  If so
I prefer the
vinyl format for release, it being the most “swank” and “baller” of the
formats, though I have no qualms with tapes or CDs.  We will probably have some of the latter in
the near future.  I do download a good
share of music as well, being the path of least resistance to hear new
Do you have a
music collection at all?  If so can you
tell us about it?
Lately, a lot
of electronic stuff, Umberto, Vatican Shadow, Oneohtrix Point Never, Huerco S.
to name a few in that category. 
Pyrolator, Tangerine Dream, Esplendor Geometrico, a lot of my staples
over the years have been more noise rock bands. 
Namely Unsane, Birthday Party and Big Black/Shellac.
I have a problem,
a serious, serious addiction to physical music. 
I grew up with albums of all sorts around and fell in love with
everything from staring at cover artwork for hours on end to meticulously
reading liner notes for a glimpse inside the minds and recordings processes of
my favorite albums.  There’s something
entrancing, almost magical, about holding an album in your hands.  Having something to physically experience
along with the sound that I don’t think will ever lose its magic to me.  Do you have any such connection to physically
released music?
Of course who
doesn’t want a physical copy!  I take it
however I can get it.
I love CDs, I love
tapes and LP.  I love DVDs and
mini-discs.  If you can stick music on it
I’m probably down for the cause but I am not one of those people that think
digital files are destroying music. 
There’s always good and bad that comes with a situation and while I
agree that digital music has made it easier than ever to illegal procure music
I’d also like to think that the widespread sharing has also resulted in spiked
album sales for bands that would have most likely never been exposed to an
agreeable audience had it not been for digital music and distribution.  On the other hand it’s crippling what we
think of as the music industry and this point and destroying decades of work
and infrastructure.  As an artist during
the reign of the digital era what is your opinion on digital music and
It’s all
give-and-take.  Your point regarding the
new exposure and accessibility I think is an insightful one, and I’m okay with
it.  Some of the mystery is gone, sure,
but if one finds listening to music to be a tedious exercise, then good

If you can’t tell I’m passionate about music.  There’s not a whole lot out there that beats
finding a new great band and picking up their album, anxiously following
announcements, trying to catch shows and most importantly buying music.  I try to keep up with as much good music as I
possibly can but there’s so much out there that’s available these days I have a
hard time keeping up with everything (as if that’s even possible).  Is there anyone from your local scene or area
that I might not have heard of that I should be listening to?
New Flesh (the
Baltimore one), Horse Lords, Leprechaun Catering, Microkingdom, Roomrunner, A
Guide to Rational Living, Wildhoney, Hive Bent, Two Inch Astronaut, I could go
on for days.  There really are tons of
Thank you so much
for taking the time to do this interview. 
It wasn’t short and I’m sure that it wasn’t all that fun or easy to get
done so thanks again for making it this far. 
Having humored me in almost every way imaginable is there anything that
I missed or you’d just like to take this opportunity to talk about or discuss?
No problem, it
was a pleasure!
(2010)  Multicult –
Multicult – 12” – Self-Released (Limited to 300 copies)
(2011)  Multicult –
“Open Fire” b/w “The Costume” – 7” – Amplified Noise Recordings
(2012)  Multicult –
Spaces Tangled – 12” – Sleeping Giant Glossolalia
(2013)  Multicult –
“Jaws” b/w “Luxury” – 7” – Reptilian Records (Limited to 1,000 copies:  100 on clear vinyl, 200 on white splatter
vinyl and 700 copies on black viny)
Interview made by Roman Rathert/2013
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013
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