Early in 2008, at the annual South By Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, we returned to these shores with our ears still annihilated by one band. Salvadore Fernandez has a chat with A Place To Bury Strangers.
There were several unreported cases of shellshock but a strong desire to go and repeat the experience. Losing more hearing was not an issue – they had to see A Place To Bury Strangers again.
Frontman Ollie Ackerman says in their defence, “We’re not trying to be over the top – it’s just where I think the guitar sounds good.” The label of ‘The Loudest Band In New York’ has been repeated throughout their many recent profiles in the music press, however.
Not only are APTBS an incredibly loud live prospect but their sound is also downright dirty and seriously scuzzy. It all fits perfectly.
Ackerman uses five or six distortion pedals onstage, which is not a huge number, but when you consider that his day job is building guitar pedals for the rich and famous (U2’s The Edge, Lightning Bolt and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails are among his more illustrious customers), it starts to make sense.
Watch the video to ‘To Fix The Gash in Your Head’ by A Place To Bury Strangers
Even the other band members, drummer JSpace and bassist Johnny Mofo have pedals attached to their instruments in order to make the perfect sound for each song. The drums often seem pre-programmed and electronic while the bass reaches seismic proportions.
That live show that saw everyone clamouring to get into some tiny venues saw the Brooklyn trio give a hugely introspective, largely instrumental performance which impressed and deafened in equal measure with their glitch-filled Jesus And Mary Chain meets My Bloody Valentine concoction.
“We’re not going to come onstage and hype up the crowd by throwing out free tshirts,” explains Ackerman. “I don’t think our shows have got anything to do with selfless promotion,” he continues. “It’s all about that show.”
If you wondered about the Bible-referencing name, Ackerman is quick to point out, “We’re a bunch of non-Christian motherfuckers! We did play at a Christian college once,” he laughs. “We did wonder if they had booked us because we’re a Christian rock band.”
A Place To Bury Strangers are supporting Nine Inch Nails across America in August. Look out for a tour diary from Oliver Ackerman right here on Thrash Hits .com