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PYPY Interview with Roy Vucino

August 31, 2014

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
One Comment
  1. Lord Stucifer

    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!

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