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PYPY Interview with Roy Vucino

© Val Bessette

PYPY is an all out psych punk attack from the get go.  The moment the needle hits the grooves of wax for the first time the immense bass and thundering drums threaten to kick it right back out again!  Born from the unholy union of members from CPC Gangbangs, Red Mass and Duchess Says, PYPY is an insanely blistering assault of the senses!  Fuzzy, distorted guitars wail, wah and moan behind walls of distortion and noise that threaten to implode and consume the band.  There’s just enough of an in-the-red value to the production of their debut album Pagan Days to make it sound right at home on the insanely killer Black Gladiator Records divisions of Slovenly, who have been delivering delightfully degenerate masterpieces for as long as I can remember.  PYPY’s no exception to their long dynasty of immensely talented bands either.  Switching between male and female vocals, the blistering energy of raw thrashing punk rock is rolled up tight into a joint that’s been dipped in a LSD of psychedelic and noise rock, creating a caustic concoction of power, talent, speed and dangerously demented melodies that speed up and slow down like that guy in the corner of the party that took way too much speed early on in the night and is trying to mellow out with a handful of sachinol, teetering between blinding spasmodic movements and the nods…  Guitarist Roy Vucino took some time to set me straight on jhow PYPY started as a casual way of having fun and playing with people that they wanted to, and how that fact isn’t going to be changing anytime soon.  I know a lot of people are going to be checking out PYPY because of the Duchess Says connection, or the Red Mass connection, or the CPC Gangbangs connection, but there should be a lot more people listening to this band out simply because they’re interesting and fucking unique.  They don’t sound like everything else going on out there, and in fact they sound very little like anything else going on, and they don’t even sound exactly the same from track to track, that’s one of the things that makes PYPY so good and sets them apart from the pack.  For the rest of the skinny though, you’re going to have to see Roy’s words of enlightenment below loyal readers!  Read on and I’ll see you on the other side…


© Val Bessette

Who’s in PYPY right now?  Is this your original lineup or have there been any changes since you all started?

Phil C, Annie-Claude, Simon, and Roy Vucino.  At first it was just Phil and I under the name The Stallone Brothers, then Annie joined and Simon soon after that and we became PYPY.

I love figuring out what other projects and bands people have going on, but spending hours behind the computer looking around at stuff and never really knowing if what you’re reading is reliable is somewhat of a problem these days.  I know that several of you are involved in several other projects at this point.  Do you mind sharing what those bands and projects are?  Who have you released music with in the past?

The others play in Duchess Says.  Simon and Phil also play in Quatro.  Simon, Phil and I recorded as Night Seeker on the FUBAR 2 soundtrack.  I've played in Les Sexareenos, CPC Gangbangs, Luxury Rides, Del-Gators, Daylight Lovers, Milky Ways, Honey and Lies, Vomit Squad, on a few of Mark Sultan's records, The Irritations, Cheating Hearts, and Les enfants sauvages.  Now, I mainly play in Red Mass and Birds of Paradise and my side projects La Voix Humaine, Bestalita, Brakhage and Ice Dream Cone.

Where are you originally from?

Istanbul, Turkey.

What was the local music scene like when you were growing up?  Did you see a lot of shows?  Do you feel like the scene when you were growing up played an important part in shaping your musical tastes or the way that you play at this point?

Yes, I was crazy enthusiastic.  I'd go see a bit of everything.  My dad would drive me and I’d go see all-ages shows and try to sneak in to 18+ shows.  I loved a lot of what was called "alternative" music and punk rock.  I saw The Meat Puppets, Fugazi, Mike Watt, Nirvana, the Boredoms and The Ramones when I was a kid.

What about your home?  Was it very musical when you were a kid?  Were either your parents or any of your relatives musicians or extremely involved and or interested in music?

My dad taught me guitar and one of my uncles was a lounge singer.  He would croon in hotel bars.  My grandpa also played a bit of everything. My dad was pissed when I quit law school to do music, but secretly, I think he was cool with it.

If you had to pick one defining moment of music in your life, a moment that changed everything and opened your eyes to the infinite possibilities before you, what would it be?

I discovered a radio show called Brave New Waves that featured indy, garage and experimental music.  I'd record the shows and started going to experimental concerts at a young age by myself, stuff like Keiji Haino, The Ruins, and Ikue Mori.  The range of sounds blew my mind.

What was your first real exposure to music?

I'd pretend to be a radio host and do a radio show in my room.  My dad saw I loved music so he made me take xylophone, and then guitar lessons.  He took me to see ACDC when I was a kid and I just loved it!

When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music?  What brought that decision about?

I started playing in bands that wrote our own music and was playing shows by seventeen.  Learning covers was boring and I was never good at it.

What was your first instrument?  How and when did you get it?

We had a piano at home when I was a kid.  Then, I took xylophone lessons, but my first real instrument was guitar.  My dad basically gave me his.

When and how did the members of PYPY originally meet?

Duchess Says were playing with The Lost Sounds.  I knew Jay, so I was hanging around and then when I met Phil we got disgustingly high.  They'd seen the CPC Gangbangs before and we decided to split a practice space.  I then went to see Phil because I had a big crush on one of his friends and I wanted him to introduce me.

What led to the formation of PYPY and when would that have been?

Phil and I started an experimental project called Stallone Brothers. We had planned to record swingers fucking and using contact mics, we were going to create rhythms with FX. We just started doing noise jams and eventually that lead to PYPY.

What does the name PYPY mean or refer to?  Who came up with it and how did you go about choosing it?

I came up with the name PYPY.  We wanted it to be a symbol and the notion of infinite numbers, and infinity, was interesting.  Eventually we read up on the philosopher Pythagoras of Samos, who discovered that musical notes could be translated into mathematical equations and that whatever scientific laws dictate how sound travels, must be mathematical and could be applied to music.

Where’s PYPY located at these days?

Montreal sewers, like those lovable ninja turtles, except that we're the "Grown-Up Outta Shape Human Rockers".

How would you describe the local music scene where you all are at right now?

All over the place, and self contained because of the vast market.  Because there are bands that have taken off from here, there’s often this weird sense of hype which can be distracting and deceptive.  It's easy to get caught up in it and get discouraged.

Are you very involved in the local scene?  Do you book or attend a lot of local shows?

Yeah, I don't like going to bars coz I don't drink much or like socializing, but I do go see tons of shows.

Do you help to record or release any local music, and if so can you tell us briefly about that?

I've recorded bands like The Nodes, Ultrathin, Dead Wife, Vomit Squad, Mark Sultan, and Loose Pistons with my 4-track.  I call it Sauropelta Studios, which refers to dinosaurs, ‘cause it's ancient.  I also release comics, noise, punk and folk music on my CDR label K.Y.B Records and Publications.

Do you feel like the local music scene played a large or important role in shaping the band’s sound or in the history and evolution of PYPY, or do you feel like you all could be doing what you’re doing and sound like you do regardless of where you were at or what you were surrounded by?

We were influenced by the fact that there are healthy experimental, rock n roll, metal and punk scenes in Montréal.  There's definitely an audience for it.

Whenever I do these interviews I try and give bands an opportunity to describe what they sound like to our readers themselves.  Some people have a blast with it, while others like myself always struggle with defining and labeling stuff.  How would you describe PYPY’s sound to our readers who might not have heard you yet?

We're definitely a mix of no wave and psych rock split right down the middle.  A few years ago there were bands with digital carton singers, like the rapping rooster or crazy frog.  We're definitely channeling those digital singers as well in our rock music.

While we’re talking so much about the band and you’re makeup I am really curious who hear who you all would cite as your major musical influences?  You all are involved in a lot of other musical projects, who would you name as major influences on PYPY the band as a whole rather than individually?

For myself John Coltrane, Roxy Music, Don Cherry, Otis Redding, and Captain Beefheart.  For PYPY I’d have to say DNA, Hawkwind, Pop Group, Chrome, Black Sabbath, James Chance and Devo.

What’s PYPY’s songwriting process like?  Is there a lot of jamming, where you all kick ideas back and forth in practice where you work stuff into a complete song as a band?  Or is there someone who comes to the rest of the band with a riff or more complete idea for a song to work out with the rest of you?

It's a fifty-fifty mix of both those approaches.

Do you all enjoy recording?  As a musician myself, I think that I can most of us can really appreciate the end result.  There’s not a lot in the world that beats holding an album in your hands knowing that it’s yours and you made it.  Getting to that point though, getting everything recorded and sounding the way that it should, especially as a band it can get a little frustrating to say the least.  How is it recording for PYPY?

It's fun recording.  We all get along and are on the same page. I’d be into spending a bit more time on our recording next time, but there's something to say about the spontaneous energy of Pagan Day.  It's live and they’re good performances.  I generally prefer recording to playing shows.

Do you utilize studio space when it comes to recording or do you handle recording in a more DIY fashion, where things are done on your own time and turf?

We went to a small studio; real simple set-up.  Live with minimal overdubs.  Jean-Michel Coutu got a great soundtake and the mastering job was killer.

Is there a lot of preparation and work that goes into a PYPY recording session where you spend a lot of time working things out and getting songs to sound just the way that you want them to?  Or do you all approach recording with a well-worked out idea that has some room for change and evolution during the recording process?

Not really, we went in knowing we basically needed good live performances of the tracks.  I got good and baked, it needed to feel good.  We even wrote “Psychedelic Overlords” live on the spot.

In 2012 you all had two tracks featured on the FORCHRISTSAKE Records Compilation, “Ya Ya Ya” and “Psychedelic Overlords”.  Can you tell us what the recording of those tracks were like?  Where and when would that have been?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?  Was that compilation ever released physically at all?  I’ve only ever been able to find it digitally but the track listing on the page has stuff broken down into A-side track and B-side tracks, so I didn’t know.

It was on a computer with good preamps.  That song came out on a tape and the idea was, the people putting it out were gonna record all the bands themselves for the comp.  So we went in cut the track for the comp and decided to play all our set songs as well.  That became the record and we did two versions of “Psychedelic Overlords”, one for the comp and one for the LP.

After a small delay Black Gladiator/Slovenly released your Pagan Days earlier last month.  It finishes with “Ya Ya Ya/Psychedelic Overlords”.  Are those the same recordings that appeared the FORCHRISTSAKE Records Compilation that were just combined into one track for the record or were those songs re-recorded?  

Two different versions of “Ya Ya Ya”, one where we improvised an ending and came up with “Psychedelic Overlords” on the spot.


Was the recording of Pagan Days a fun, pleasant experience for you all?  Can you share some of your memories of recording Pagan Days?  When and where was it recorded?  Who recorded that material?  What kind of equipment was used?

It was in Jean-Michel Coutu's practice space, done live in one and a half days of recording and one and a half days of mixing.  It was chill.  Jean-Michel is a sweetheart.  Small room, bit claustrophobic, my brain was fried.  I almost lost three thousand dollars that I forgot at a shitty subway station.  I was so baked, but luckily the subway lady found my bag and put it aside for me; sooo lucky!


Does PYPY have any other music that we haven’t talked about yet, maybe a song on a compilation or a single that I might have missed?

A noise CDR called KK on my CDR label, K.Y.B. Records and Publications.


With the release of Pagan Days extremely recently does PYPY have any other releases in the works or on the horizon at this point?

Nothing yet.  I guess we'll start thinking about a follow up or doing a hardcore EP.


With the completely insane international postage rate increases that have gone on the last few years I try to provide our readers with as many possible options for picking up import releases as I can.  Where’s the best place for our international and overseas readers to pick up copies of your stuff?

Various punk distros.

What about our US readers?

I'd go directly through Slovenly/Black Gladiator mailorder.

And where’s the best place for fans all over the world to keep up with the latest news from PYPY like upcoming shows and album releases at?

We don't have a website, so our Facebook is really the only place to get the info.

Are there any major goals that PYPY is looking to accomplish in 2014 or do you all have any big plans?

Not really, we're gonna concentrate on our main projects Duchess Says and Red Mass.  We started the project for fun and it'll stay that way.

Do you all spend a lot of time touring?  Do you enjoy touring with the band?  What’s life like on the road for PYPY?

We've only done a handful of shows.  It's been fun and we're all old friends.  We didn't expect to do anything with the band, so it's low stress.


What, if anything, do you all have planned for 2014 as far as touring goes?

Shows around the province of Québec and a few US shows in the winter.


Do you remember what the first song PYPY ever played live was?  Where and when would that have been at?

I guess, “Pagan Day” must've been it.  We often start with that.  “Molly” and “New York” we're written early on.  We'd play “Molly” as a psych jam when we were writing the music for FUBAR 2, but they ended up using a Blue Cheer song instead.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live performances that you’d like to share here with our readers?

We did a benefit show in Montreal where we played with guests Mikey Hepner of Priestess, Andre from AIDS Wolf, Taylor Hoodlum Stevenson, and the Deaner hosted.  That was great!  We also had a group of impostors that look like us start our record launch.  People were so confused, it was hilarious.  We played a New Year's show that was crazy.  Phil was so wasted that night I had to plug his chord jack into his bass, he couldn't even do that.


In your dreams, who are you on tour with?

The Stooges, Black Sabbath, Devo or Sonic Youth if they'd still be playing shows.

© Julie Rainville

Do you all give a lot of thought to the art that represents the band on stuff like flyers, posters, shorts and covers?  Is there any philosophy or vision that you like to impart with your art?  Do you have any go-to artists or people that you usually turn to in your times of need when it comes to those sorts of things?  If so, who is that and how did you originally get hooked up with them?

All over the place.  Confusing, surprising and absurd.  We like some of the ideas put forth by the Dadaists.  For the record we went to Elzo Durt ‘cause his art is really psychedelic and he's a psychedelic dude.

With all of the various mediums of release that are available to artists today I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the various methods that they do.  Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own music?  What about when you’re listening to and or purchasing music and if so, can you talk a little bit about your preference?

Vinyl sounds the best, but I still love cassettes.  I remember the first tapes I ever brought, Dead Kennedys Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death, Joy Division Closer, The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks and The Best of Velvet Underground.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If you do, can you tell us a little bit about it?

I collect noise CDRs, movies, toys, comic books, VHS tapes and tons of CDs and vinyl.  I buy new records.  Garbage bin records.  I’m pretty obsessed.  I listen to all sorts of music and I also get records to sample, so I get tons of different genres of music too.  I'm all over the place.

I grew up around a pretty large collection of music and I was encouraged to dig in and enjoy it from a pretty young age.  I would just go up and grab something, stick it in the player, kick back with the liner notes, stare at the artwork and let the whole experience transport me off to another time and place.  Having something physical to hold in my hands and experience along with hearing the music always made for a more complete listening experience for me.  Do you have any such connection with physically released music?

I'm in my thirties, so I grew up listening to my dad's seventies records.  It had a huge impact on me.  I even remember being terrified by Led Zeppelin IV.  I thought it was super satanic.  Then, I had a big crush on my neighbour and I’d go hang out and play at her place while her brother listened to metal music.  I was really impressed by that.  Later, I started skateboarding and went to Florida where I bought 80's thrash, punk rock and crossover records, i.e. D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies.

As much as I love my music collection there’s no denying the ease and portability of digital music.  When you team it with the internet, well you have something truly amazing on your hands.  Together they’ve exposed people to a world of music that they wouldn’t have even known existed otherwise and allowed a lot of independent bands much needed global interaction.  Nothing is ever black and white though, and illegal downloading is running rampant right now, not to mention how hard it’s become to get noticed in the chocked jungle of material flooding the market right now.  As a musician during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

I can't say I love all of it.  Streaming a record instead of holding a copy in your hands isn't as enjoyable.  You use to just have to look a bit harder.  I prefer how it was back then and people just don't spend time on records anymore.  With PYPY we recorded the LP fast, but we'd been playing these songs for years.  That's why we kicked ass on a live recording.

I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can but with all the amazing stuff out there right now, there just isn’t enough time!  Is there anyone I should be listening to from your local scene or area that I might not have heard of before?

Pink Noise, Suuns, and Panopticon Eyelids are great.  I like US Girls too; she lives in Toronto now.

What about nationally and internationally?

Human Eye is my favorite.  Cheveu and King Khan and BBQ show are great.  I love Rick Froberg's music, so I dig the Obits.  I dunno there's so much.  Roscoe Mitchell from Art Ensemble of Chicago released a CDR "Not Yet"; a fucking CDR, 1,000 or so copies of the best music in the world.  That CDR blows all modern music into the garbage.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview!  It wasn’t short and I know it had to have taken a while to fill out, but it’s been awesome learning so much about you all and I hope it’s been at least a little fun looking back on everything that the band’s managed to accomplish since you all began…  Before we call it a day and sign off, is there anything that I possibly could have missed or that you’d like to take this opportunity to talk to me or my readers about?

We make music to connect with others.  We try to keep an open mind, be kind and think of others.  Don't take what you have for granted, that shit comes and goes.  We've adjusted our ethics to capitalism and the will to power.  It should be the opposite and we should adjust our politics and ideas towards humanitarian ethics instead.  We got it all wrong.  Everything in culture is like elevator music now...  Fuck that shit.  Make art for art’s sake.  Make music for real with heart and a sense of adventure.  Music can actually make people react and think differently, use that.  Sing, or if no one hears, shout.

DISCOGRAPHY
(2012)  PYPY – KK – CDR – K.Y.B. Records
(2012)  Various Artists – FORCHRISTSAKE Compilation – digital, ? – FORCHRISTSAKE Records
(2014)  PYPY – Pagan Days – digital, CD, 12” – Slovenly/Black Gladiator Records (100 copies on white 12” vinyl)

© Julie Rainville

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014

1 comment:

Lord Stucifer said...

Thanks for the cool interview! I came across the band whilst trawling through Bandcamp one day. Had a listen and bought the L.P. straight away! Awesome stuff!