Friday, June 22, 2007

Mini-Interview: Molecules

Some people might call what the rock band Molecules do pretentious...

I mean, ask them about their inspirations and they'll talk about Camus, Pynchon, and Zorn or delve into existentialism, musical exploration, and science. More art name checks than in a conversation with you average pop act, sure.

But I've always thought that it's not pretension if you back it up, and they do, with -- what I said about their album 23 Factory Slaves -- "a recipe for success involves harmonizing male and female vocals, heavy use of organ, samples from old news broadcasts, and almost psychedelic moments of pure jamming."

To paraphrase Ian MacKaye, at least they're fucking trying.

So, I asked husband/wife members of the band Nikolai Goodich and Guylaine Vivarat a volley of questions about a number of different topics. Here's how it turned out.

Who are Molecules? What are you all about?

Guylaine: Molecules is mainly Nikolai and I with our friend Julian Woolsey on bass. We have gone through many band members, drummers especially...

Nikolai: We are an amalgam of syncretic psycho-social behaviors culminating in an audio sequence within which we wantonly express our neurological desires for a post-utopian alternative social schema.

How did the band start up?

Nikolai: I have been a band 'leader'/singer.songwriter.guitariste since 1989 and this formation has been extant since 2001 or so... The beginning was Don Bolles (The Germs, 45 Grave ) asking to join the 'band' he heard rehearsing one night...

Guylaine: Nikolai and I actually met through one of those "looking for musicians" ads - we didn't start making music right away but it eventually happened - then we had Don Bolles with us for a while, which was a wild ride and we've never been the same ever since!

How has it changed over the years?

Nikolai: Don quit. We have had at least 15 drummers whom we ate and spit back... We fired a guitarist. We recorded a great record (23 Factory Slaves). We fired a bass player. We got an old friend on bass.

Why "Molecules"?

Guylaine: The idea that we are all part of the same song, molecules inside a sonic entity.

Nikolai: It’s the word for the substrata of materials that all we know of is composed...

And did I hear you have to deal with a name change?

Guylaine: Yes, some San Francisco band called The Molecules is hassling us to change the name so we probably will, just so they shut up!

They've been around since the 1990s, they're a Mike Patton-sounding band and I guess they have a small cult following - ironically, especially in France.

They got really mad at us when we played in San Francisco - whatever!

Nikolai: We shall play a few shows as DESTRUCTO...

What's it like being in a band with a spouse?

Guylaine: Hmm, let's see... Hell?

Bliss... sorrow... joy... visceral pain... amazing... difficult... sweet... sweat...?

What do you think the pluses and minuses are of being a band in LA?

Nikolai: Plus: Many TRULY great bands to learn from and be blissed out

Minus: Only a few clubs worth playing...

Guylaine: The music scene in LA is actually one of the reasons I stayed here and never went back to France - there are so many good bands here and a sense of community that I find amazing

It's also difficult because there are so many people playing music and doing it well that it's hard to be visible - when you live in a small town and you play in a band, you're special.

In LA, unless you have something really different, people look at you and go - yeah, boring. And they go out to smoke a cigarette.

What do you think is the best thing a person can do with his or her time?

Nikolai: Make art... Make love... Reading... Discourse... Help others... Take lsd...

Guylaine: Eat some good food and drink some good wine.

What's next for you?

Guylaine: We need to record another album and push the ideas in the first one a little further.

Nikolai: Write, rehearse, record: ALBUM #2.

What should I have asked you, but was too lazy and/or unskilled to think of?

Guylaine: I guess you could have asked me what I thought of the new French president but nobody cares really, so it's no big deal.

Nikolai: You could have asked us to decipher the motivations behind the leader of The Brian Jonestown Massacre?

Last question: What LA bands are you listening to these days?

Guylaine: There are so many I don't even know where to start!

I listen to a lot of garage stuff - The Music Machine, the Seeds etc... I recently got a Standells cover album where they do an amazing version of Eleanor Rigby. In the non-rock world, I like Madlib a lot.

And of course, friends' bands ... The BJM, Spindrift, Sky Parade, The Warlocks, The Movies, Naughty Bird, The Willowz, The New Collapse, The Centimeters, etc, etc...

Nikolai: X...LOVE...Autolux...The Tyde...The Warlocks...The Morlocks...BJM...X.

That’s It! Thanks for your time.

The band currently known as Molecules are playing next at The Echo on Saturday, June 30th with Radars to the Sky, Tigers Can Bite You, and The Henry Clay People.

- Get Out Of The Car MP3


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