Catching up with Egrets on Ergot. Group based out of Los Angeles consists of: Atom (Vocal/Sax), Crow Jane (Guitar/Vocal), Matt (Drums), Daniel (Bass/Vocal)
Interview/photos by Grace Dunn.
G: Adam, we have met briefly at Echo Park Rising and your set every time thereafter is so reviving to me. Each member commands the space with their unique sound, but can we get a background on each member? Introduce yourselves please!
Atom: feeling trapped, unstimulated, unchallenged, without money or discipline for school, I relocated myself from st. louis to california in 2005 and formed a psychobilly band (think the Deltas and the Ricochets). Working in nothing but food service all the while, I bought a cheap saxophone at a pawn shop in long beach about 10 years ago, taught myself some things on it. by 2010 I lost interest in my former band, was living in hollywood and started posting flyers around, looking for a new music project to join….
Crow Jane: I am a human that entered into a harsh, dry ghetto reality, otherwise known as Palmdale , CA. Being a kid in Palmdale made me bored, filled with angst, and willing to do anything to leave my reality for a short while… becoming an artist. One of the ways I would ease my mind was listening to and creating music. I found punk, it was an obsession, and the people I found it with were my family. Creatively running throughout my life, eventually I was lead back to Los Angeles county, and eventually was submerged in the Mika Miko scene at The Smell. I saw a band named Le Face and met our (future) drummer, Matt. I later met Adam when Rosa Castillo brought him over to a random house I was staying at. Adam and I connected in time, he wanted to start a band, and I picked up a guitar again for the first time in years.
Daniel: I am the third or fourth mighty bass player in Egrets on Ergot. I joined in the late summer of 2014. I recently finished a PhD in musicology: my dissertation is an 800-page monster on the Los Angeles noise music scenes. My job is to do homework for college students. I write papers on philosophy, sociology, and anthropology; music theory assignments, and compositions. My role in Egrets is to provide the outline: not to control, but to focus the chaos between Heather and Adam, and to make the most of Matt’s explosive drumming style.
Matt: Background: I am the umpteenth drummer for the band, even though maybe 1 show was played before I joined. The of us have been going strong as a unit for 5, almost 6 years now. I’ve been playing in bands in the SoCal music seen since about 2004, playing with such bands as Friendly Neighbors, Le Face, and Ssurgeons. What I attempt to bring to the table in Egrets musically is a mélange of tribalistic, dancy, and primitive driving beats that both groove with Daniel’s bass lines, while at the same time meld dynamically with what both Adam and Heather are doing. Other than music, I am an art fabricator, industrial designer, and practical fx artist for film, television, and live events that’s currently trying to wrap up a bachelor’s degree in industrial design.
G: What sort of bands or albums stick out in your timeline that revitalized you to create music?
In my early years – Rosie and the originals
In my later years- Dead kennedys- fresh fruit for rotting vegetables
The Residents- meet the residents
The subhumans- RATS
Crass- penis envy
The doors- strange days
Currently- einstürzende neubauten
THE birthday party
Arab on radar
Teenage Jesus and the jerks
Theatre of hate
The Blackouts-History in Reverse
Get Smart!-Action Reaction
The Mutants-Fun Terminal
Savage Republic-Tragic figures
The Wipers-Is This Real?
God and the State-Ruins
The Birthday Party-st
Wall of Voodoo-Dark Continent
The Cure—Japanese Whispers
NIN—Pretty Hate Machine
Kate Bush—Hounds of Love
Aphex Twin—Selected Ambient Works 85-92
Nels Cline—Destroy All Nels Cline
Ladytron—Light and Magic
Madonna—The Immaculate Collection
The Glove—Blue Sunshine
Q 3: The translation of ‘Surfeit of Gemutlich’ translates into English as ‘an excessive amount of something pleasant or cheerful’. Would you describe that meaning to us in terms of Egrets on Ergot for the masses? Did I translate correctly?
yes! Gemutlich- the outdated Germanic term- also translates to cozy n’ comfortable. can’t remember why I was doing some half ass research on archaic vocabulary one night, but it caught my eye, sounded like awkward mouthful, and was sure its meaning could be applied quite appropriately to something Egrets in the near future….. it’s an abstract speculation of how our country has landed in what many are considering the most disturbing political chapter in relative history. The more privileged of the population has been out to brunch and only of recent, it seems, are they beginning to understand the severity of their neglect. We’re all responsible in some way.
Daniel: This title is obviously Adam’s brain child, but I can tell you my connection to it. From surrealist philosopher Georges Bataille ’s collection of essays Visions of Excess, he discusses the importance of excess in its relation between humanity and the universe. In economics, surplus value—an excess of product—is what leads to capital gains. In human waste, excess comes in the form of shit (see his book Divine Filth). In the ancient practice of leng tche (death by a hundred cuts), Bataille discusses his obsession with the victim of torture, with pictures of the scene he kept in his desk (see Tears of Eros). The second essay in Visions of Excess is called “The Solar Anus.” It speaks of the power of the sun that gives its energy—ultimately a sexual energy—excessively. To feel oneself in possession of an abundance of joy is the opposite of impoverishment, even—and perhaps especially—when it is possessed by the destitute fool. One of the most important aspects of surplus power comes in the form of its expenditure. Behold!—the live performance! An excess of sexy legs, eye liner, and bloody lipstick!
Q 4: Gothic art punk with industrial clamor doesn’t fully suffice for your sound. I believe you are coming up with a new genre in itself that deserves a new title of ‘Gemutlich Klingen’ altogether. Can you give us insight on your track ‘Occult Matters’? Do you believe and practice the Occult?
A new genre for us? That’s bold! And it sounds like a compliment, thank you
That song was the first we wrote stemming from Daniel’s “video ideas” phase, where he was sending the band pieces of basslines, sometimes 2 or 3 coherent arrangements almost song-ready. it starts in french, describing a brief and unplanned psychedelic experience, being contacted by something vaguely ominous. the rest is a derisive checklist, reactionary of the trend of armchair occultism in a music/art scene with emphasis on advertising itself. It really makes ya wonder. Lest we not forgot, “those who know don’t talk; those who talk don’t know”. I believe in its existence. I don’t practice it, but Sarah Wreck once told me, “regardless of what you would or wouldn’t say, the Occult is interested in you…” She was probably just fucking with me.
Crow jane: Does the world really need another genre?..
But, pushing the boundaries of those that are pre existing is a part of the ripple effect I enjoy thoroughly with this band. Also, I dabble with different Occult type things from time to time.
Daniel: Occult Matters
I remember Heather and I laughed at this song when it was first written. We changed our minds. It became a favorite to play during our Southwest tour.
Q 5: Reflecting on the past year, did you get around to your Favorite albums of 2017 list? (Each member)
Atom: Modpods- No Strut
Enrique Jesus Hernandez- Hunger City
Earth Arrow- Tribal Prisms
Crow jane: don’t have a list , but there is a lot of great music being made by our fellow (local) musicians currently.
Matt: Not albums per-say, but some of my favorite current bands are:
1. Prettiest Eyes
2. Traps PS
3. French Vanilla
5. Haunted Horses (Seattle, WA)
6. Popper Burns (Austin, TX)
Daniel: Favorite Album of the Year
Q 6: ‘Don’t just theorize, live it!’ is a phrase that sticks out in ‘Praxis’. How do you feel the audience should adopt this mantra in 2018?
Atom: While that song was inspired by friends and acquaintances using their intellect and academic achievements for what sole purpose appears to be arguing and winning and ultimately feeling good about oneself through conquering, the “chorus” as you have chosen to focus, could very well be used as a mantra in a political sense now and in perpetuity, to employ ideas and action that are aligned with defending our freedoms and combating the wicked powers that be. We truly seem to be in a time where everything is at stake and only proactivity on a massive scale can save this place and turn things around. The conversation should never end.
Crow jane: whatever it is that you wish to do.. do it with the best of your ability and make the most of your time here for you and everyone around you. Stand up for what you believe in while keeping an open mind. “If you change nothing, nothing changes
Daniel: In Marx’ “Theses on Feuerbach,” thesis XI reads, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” Whatever Adam’s true politics are, his line resonates with the German philosopher. Don’t just interpret the world; change it through your actions. The Women’s Marches throughout the US were an important step after our recent election. If there’s one important call to arms that I would like to see, it would be a Women’s March before the mid-term elections in 2018, followed by an overwhelming election turn out. But I’m just the bass player.
Matt: Honestly I feel a bit cliché when I say this, but I think its as simple as just staying true to your beliefs and yourself , not deviating from goals, and balancing your actions and your words. Don’t just theorize about being your ideal overman; live, practice, and share the words and actions that take you step-after-step closer to this ideal. In the crazy backwards era we just entered into, I’d say this is more relevant than ever.
Next chance to catch their gig: Thurs 1/11 @unionclubla
presented by @minty_boi
restocked vinyl and cd’s of “Surfeit of Gemütlich” LP on @cleopatrarecords at this show! + 3 t shirt designs featuring art by @__sicksicksick__ and photography by @j_moncrief !! @refusefascismla will be in the house for this event