"..untold textures interlacing our brains with our bodys.."
(Image credit: Meredith Waddell)
Recycled Audio Antics
Juche is Jon Martin, Jack Boyle, and Andrew Bankson, three friends living in different cities; Cincinnati, Youngstown, and Pittsburgh. The three have spent the last few years piecing musical ideas together, collecting old tape cassettes, working on samples, and going on aimless road trips. Their first album ('Self-Titled') is a result of this collaboration, melodic experimental electronic music drawn from the sonic textures of number stations, radio transmissions, and old forgotten tape cassettes. Though they haven't played live yet (they're working on it!) they received some attention on 4chan - which usually is not a good sign - meaning that their music could be heard for the first time by people who weren't their parents or girlfriends. They are currently working on a second album, which is highly anticipated by 10s of people.
Hello, how are you?
Jon: Hi, I'm doing great. I just got back from visiting my family in Pittsburgh for the holidays. I also got to see these dudes (we live in three different cities, unfortunately) and work on some new stuff that I'm really excited about.
Andrew: Hey, I am also doing well. Living the dream.
Jack: Afternoon. Everyone looks well. I too am well. I think I’m going to buy a motorcycle. An orange one.
What are you currently listening to?
Jon: In terms of Electronic/Electronic-y-Hip-Hop type stuff, I've been listening to Iamamiwhoami, XXYYXX, Clams Casino, and Prefuse 73 lately. Finishing our first album, I finally began to feel confident in Juche's “sound,” resulting in my listening less to past or potential musical influences and more to a broad hodgepodge of awesomeness. Recently, this has been early B-52's, Tears for Fears, Thelonious Monk, and Ke$ha (obvies). Andrew just turned me onto Danny Brown. The new Kanye is pretty great.
Andrew: Is this the Temptations? Lately I have been listening to: Danny Brown, Ghostface Killah, Purity Ring, Burial, and neat beats… When Wrecking Ball isn’t on repeat.
Jack: This guy gave me this ipod he thought was broken on a bus. It wasn’t broken. He just didn’t plug it in for long enough. Anyway, it had a bunch of Jay-Z and Kanye, and, well, I’ll stop there because that was the only stuff on there worth listening to. But, it turns out I like it a lot. I also like what Girl Talk does. I like Beirut. Classical music. I listen to the Bower Birds a lot. I love Otis Redding. Also, there’s an American Samoan duo called Poopy Box which everybody should check out on MySpace.
What or whom inspired you the most to begin this project?
Jon: As for what inspired us, we pretty much make the music that we want to listen to. A lot of the timbre on our first album was inspired by the eerie, sonorousness quality of recordings of clandestine short-wave radio transmissions (like numbers stations) as well as a general affinity for the aesthetic of telecommunications: radio towers, satellites, telegraphy and the like. This provided an overarching theme, but the project can also be traced back to a interest we had in making music with sounds that did not evoke imagery of particular musical instruments; focusing the music on the sound abstracted from a particular physical source. That sounds so pretentious, but it was a constraint that we really embraced. We bent that rule a bit on our first album (I'll call it “Self-titled”), but I think the overall effect came across pretty successfully. Incidentally, it has also made live performance a puzzle, but we're working on it. As for who inspired me, I mean...Björk is freaking awesome.
Andrew: I think Jon put it well. I think we share an interest in the way that radio enables sounds/music to sort of get thrown into the ether. It can be accessed by anyone and collected, but it is impermanent. When I first heard of number-stations, I became fascinated with the idea. They have an otherworldly sound with a sort of sinister undertone. They take something that is broadcast to the world and make it into a personal message that an outsider will never understand.
Jack: Jon did. I mean the music he was making in college, some of which appears in some version on the album, really interested me, especially in terms of how he was producing the effects. We traded knowledge on some of the technical aspects of sampling and instrumentation. And we traded a couple of ideas for songs to collaborate. Trading ideas with these guys really inspires and motivates me.
Is there a story behind the name?
Jon: Juche is the political ideology attributed to Kim Il-Sung, which North Korea (DPRK) adopted after abandoning Marxist-Leninism in the 1970s. I've always been interested in mysterious places and, given their hermetic isolation, there are few societies that people know less about. If I remember correctly, Andrew and I were playing around with some samples from the DPRK once and joked that “juche” sounds like a band name. The name just needed a band. We were working on our music already, so it kind of happened naturally.
Andrew: Interesting side note: "juche" roughly translates to self-reliance. I think we were watching some sort of documentary in which an old North Korean soldier was explaining it as, to paraphrase: if the state could not provide its citizens with plowshares, they would build their own in order to make their country work. I remember we had a discussion about how seemingly strange and dichotomous it sounded at the time (especially compared to the image of the DPRK we are usually presented with). It was also a cool name that needed a band.
Care to shed some light on your EICV7"; theme, favorite track(s), etc?
Jon: I'd say “The Whale,” is my favorite. It definitely sounds like us, but it indicates a bit of how our music is developing as we are working on the second album. It's going to be a bit more beat-driven and hook-structured than the self-titled release was. Theme-wise, though, the song's name is a bit of a preview of things-to-come as well; we're heading in a maritime-themed direction, which is totally sea-punk of us (JK). “In Lincolns” was the result of a collaboration with David Tarbell of the band Saw Fist Tree, who wrote the song and sings on the track. Their stuff is great, and it's totally different than the kind of tunes we write. We wanted to work on some stuff together, so Jack and I did the instrumentation, primarily from samples of me singing, with the beats consisting of samples from the same vocal samples.
Andrew: My favorite is also "The Whale,".
Speaking of new music.. is there a new LP on the horizon for Juche?
Jon: There is, and I'm really happy with what we have so far. It's coming along at a good clip, despite our geographic separation (I live in Cincinnati, Jack's in Youngstown, and Andrew's in Pittsburgh, where he and I grew up). There's no official title for it yet, but think of something at the intersection of “Call Me Ishmael”, "Battleship Potemkin", and Rihanna's performance of “Diamonds” on SNL, but nothing like that.
Got any other projects we should know about?
Jon: Two things come to mind. Our first album will be receiving a limited physical release in the UK sometime in January through Drone Warfare Tapes, whereas it was previously only available in digital form on our bandcamp page. The other project is that we are in the early stages of translating our music into something that we can perform live.
Jack: I also play in a jangly Indie Pop band called Third Class.
What movie would work best on mute while listening to you music?
Jon: There's an instructional film from the fifties called 'A Communications Primer' that is absolutely perfect on mute with the self-titled release (I've tried it) and is totally thematically in-line with the album. It's available for free online and I highly recommend it. If you're thinking feature films though...THX 1138, maybe. Tarkovsky's Stalker? It's not a movie but Serial Experiments Lain comes to mind.
Andrew: Metropolis, but I don’t know why anyone would put it on mute. Maybe Solaris (not the George Clooney one).
Jon: Nice. Two Tarkovsky movies.
Jack: Watership Down.
You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?
Jon: Probably My Bloody Valentine's 'Loveless'.
Andrew: Boards Of Canada’s 'Geogaddi'
Jack: Our next album.
Are you living your dream?
Jon: I never thought that anyone aside from a few friends would listen to our music, so the response that we've received from our first album really is a kind of dream come true. The idea that anyone would really enjoy and want to own our music is more than I would have ever thought it reasonable to ask for. It means a lot to me.
Andrew: See answer to question #1.
Jack: Once I get that motorcycle.
Thanx Jon, Jack, & Andrew (Juche)!
Juche just released EICV7" No. 62..which you can get for FREE right here..;]