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The Cheap Freaks, Ireland’s premier purveyors of premium Garage/rockabilly/punk mayhem, have a new LP out. And it’s really, really, really fucking good. “Bury Them All,” out on Big Neck Records, is one to snatch now, because everyone’s collection is the poorer for it if it’s missing. We spoke with the Freaks about their LP, the Beatles, why the Dropkick Murphys are shite, and unreleased Christmas gems:

WT: You guys recorded 90% of the LP in Dublin, and some of the songs on the LP were on the earlier EP. Do you feel there’s a difference between the old material and the new?

CF: We just did the ones that were chosen, the ones that we felt suitable. A lot of songs were done over a few sessions, so for the EP, it was just the four that we chose…we just thought they were the best to put out.

WT: Can you talk a little bit about the recording? The album does have a lo-fi quality, but all the instruments really come through. Is there any specific thing you recorded or a sound you emulated?

CF: We have our own thing, but we’re obviously influenced by albums and there’s a lot of stuff out there that we would be interested in sounding like….the likes of Reigning Sound, Compulsive Gamblers, that type of thing. But, me and Robbie always have a very clear sound in our heads, and whether that be influenced by something, or how we just want it to sound in our heads, we’ll work to get that right.

WT: How do you write songs? Is it a collaborative effort?

CF: No, it’s joint…it’s collaborative to a degree, it’s like I’ll write a song, bring it in, and someone might have an idea about an arrangement, and it’s the same thing with Robbie. We’ll write a part, and we’ll bring it in, but then we’ll work on them, so generally, we don’t sit there saying ‘right. let’s write a song.’

WT: Do you find there’s creative differences in the process, or are you guys generally on the same page?

CF: Not really…I suppose one of the good things is that we’re writing separately, so there’s a bit of variety in there. On the album, you can hear, there’s kinda different vibes on different songs…we’re coming from the same place, but we’ve different influences to a degree. When we come together, it all fits, though.

WT: Going from that, are there any Cheap Freaks side projects we should watch for?

CF: We done a christmas track a couple years ago [laughs] it was just me and Robbie. We’ve talked about doing a couple things, different vibes, but we’re concentrating on a lot of things, doing a second album, and we’ve got a lot of tracls recorded, we need to finish off…maybe in the future, I’ve got songs sitting there that maybe wouldn’t be suitable, Robbie’s got the same.

WT: Any chance we’ll see the christmas song on wax?

CF: Christ…I dunno, probably not. It’s a bit old, we wouldn’t wanna rehash it. [laughs]

WT: So, was there any particular band/records where you were like “That! I wanna do that!” and started writing your own music?

CF: Well, I started years ago…a big influence at the start woulda been the Beatles, they still are a huge influence…that’s my band. Over the years, a lot of other bands have come in, but the Beatles are like my mainstay. Same as Robbie…influenced by a lot of 60’s stuff. Ya know, the Beatles, Kinks, Stones, all that, but also a lot of 60’s garage…both me and Robbie love the Monks, and goin into the Move, Ray Woods, into the 80’s, the Mummies…that kinda garage revival, but also a lot of melodic stuff, not just full-on garage.

WT: You guys are putting out your LP….any plans for touring/stateside?

CF: We’re going to Belgium and Germany in May…just a short tour, and then Norway later in the year. We’re going to Galway, and Cork with the album. I’d love to go stateside, maybe next year. Probably not this year

WT: I know at least in America, when people think of Irish music, there’s two camps: the traditional stuff, harps and flutes, etc., but then there’s “Irish Rock” – the Pogues, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly. You’re obviously Irish and play Punk, but you don’t sound like either of those – do you think it’s a fair label?

CF: I don’t think so. there’s obviously a clear view of Irish music…people have a very set opinion of what it is. What you’ve just described are…middle of the road shite that’s in the Irish type. We’re Irish and all, but I don’t think we’re a typical Irish band, compared to what people would think…to listen to the record, we could be from anywhere….I don’t really have much interest in the ‘Irish’ music scene, on a whole apart from the bands I know and I know are good.

WT: Do you feel sidelined by that image?

CF: Not really…that’s why we’d prefer just to get out of the country, and that’s why we went to Europe, Germany, and we wanna go back to Belgium and Norway. There’s only so many venues in Ireland that you can play, and I suppose you’re right about how Irish people view music.

WT: Or even how Americans view Irish music!

CF: There’s a great crowd here tonight…fair play to everyone for coming. People are interested, but in the mainstream, Irish music…is not the type of thing we’re doing. People wouldn’t even be aware of it.

LISTEN/BUY: http://cheapfreaks.bandcamp.com/album/bury-them-all-2

CHEAP FREAKS LIVE AT THE LITTLE GREEN STREET GALLERY, DUBLIN

Photos: Ashley Reese

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Matt Rendon, the mastermind behind the Resonars, is a uniquely busy man, singlehandedly digging up the sorely-missed ghosts of 60’s psychedelia with a pop edge sweet enough to rot your teeth. With 3 LPs under his belt, and a new single on Trouble in Mind records, he provides a bright, shiny contrast to the sea of lo-fi apathetic muck currently abounding. Wax Trash spoke to him about his new “Long Long Thoughts” EP, the creative process, and National Geographic:
WT: Can you tell us a bit about the new release? Do you feel there’s a difference in approach from your previous work?
MR: It’s a 4-song EP released by Trouble In Mind. They’re the first songs recorded on an 8-track machine, the main difference in approach is I didn’t have to stress so much about overdubs or ping-ponging. That’s both a positive and a negative.
WT: What’s the writing and recording process like for you, given that you’re mostly a one-man band?
MR: I normally start with a good title, then strum around till something comes up. I like having old National Geographics nearby because random images can turn an idea around. The recording process goes – drums, rhythm guitar, bass, then bouncing those tracks to one. Vocals ping-ponged back and forth and then a lead instrument.
WT: Any particular examples of how a National Geographic has inspired a song?
MR: There’s a song called Here’s The Frenzy on That Evil Drone that originally was a little jibe at George Bush (thus the line – ‘cos we do believe the boy, he’s not too bright) but I was looking down at pictures of a coronation of the King of Tonga. That sort of turned it into this abstract song with images of repression in a paradise.
WT: The record’s got impeccable recording quality, but also has that gorgeous vintage tone. What’s your favorite piece of gear (playing or recording)?
MR: My lunar kit! It’s a 1970s Ludwig kit set up like Keith Moon’s circa 1966.
WT: There’s a strong 60’s influence in your work; what bands or records are your biggest influences from that period?
MR: The Who and the Beatles. My Generation and Revolver. Loving those bands has inspired me to write the best songs that I can, and to play them as hard and loud as possible.
WT: What are your favorite contemporary artists, and do you find your self drawing inspiration from them as well?
MR: Feeding People, Summer Twins, Tough Shits, Conspiracy of Owls, Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, Mmoss, Audacity. The list goes on and on. You can’t help from being inspired and influenced by these people, the records are so great!
WT: What song or album are you particularly proud of as your favorite, or a good example of the Resonars sound/ethic
MR: I like That Evil Drone. I’m proud of Run Kodiak Run, firstly because I was able to put my John Fahey influence into a pop song, and secondly because it came straight from the heart. It’s how I imagine dog heaven might sound like. I had just lost my dog Kodiak to cancer.
WT: With bands that take strong influence from a particular sound, there’s always a tendency to simply classify them in the “[whatever]-revival” ghetto. How do you feel about that sort of label in relation to the Resonars, or just in general?
MR: There are bands that go all-out with the clothes, the old gear and the snotty attitude. I’m not a fan of that at all because it seems that they get everything right except the songwriting. I’m just a hick from Tucson making records in a garage. The records sound the way they do because I record on  TEENY strips of tape and utilize harmonies and old-fashioned miking techniques. I call it psychedelic garage pop
WT: Any big future plans for the Resonars?
MR: I’m working on a new LP called Crummy Desert Sound for Burger. After that, we’re going to record an LP for Trouble In Mind as a full band and I’m REALLY excited about that. James Peters, Isaac Reyes and Jeremy Schliewe are fantastic players and people. We’re playing LA in mid-June and after that, who knows? Maybe a tour in the fall. I just want to have as much fun as possible.
WT: Release date?
MR: Burger is very loose and patient with me. I really want to have it out by July…it needs vocals and overdubs and it will be finished.
The “Long Long Thoughts” EP is available at Trouble in Mind

The Siberians are a Brooklyn group of rock ‘n’ roll vets that play “barbaric Siberian garage punk”.  The band is fronted by Todd Colberg, formerly of North Carolina’s Spinns and Gondoliers, with Hullabaloo’s Charles Gaskins on rhythm guitar, Frank Caira of the Above on bass and recent addition Chris (also ex-Gondoliers) on drums.  Even though these city-dwelling adults put out their debut 7” ‘Who’s Laughing Now?’ this year, it sounds like it was laid to a dusty reel-to-reel by a bunch of horny teenage misfits in their dad’s garage in 1966.  It’s rollicking, primitive, bouncy, fuzz-laiden, soaked in reverb and catchy as hell. I talked to Charles Gaskins, rhythm guitarist of the Siberians and CEO of Killer Diller Records (the label that released their fine debut single).

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Wax Trash: When I first heard your stuff, what initially struck me was the production. Its so 60’s, and that’s a hard feat in this day and age. Tell me a little bit about the recording/production that went into these tracks.

Charles Gaskins: My friend Matt Petronelli recorded us at this small studio, Rock It, that used to be a couple blocks from where Todd, Frank, and I live — we don’t live together, we all just happen to live two blocks from each other, in Greenpoint. Matt is an amazing sound engineer and he’s a fan of a lot of good music, so he knew how to approach recording us with a slightly lo-fi sound. We didn’t want the record to sound too sterile or digital, even thought it was recorded digitally. We recorded the tracks live and added the vocals, tambourine, and back-up vocals later. I also brought an old telephone microphone that we used to mic the room and capture a really dirty mix of all of the instruments, and we also used that mic, along with a clean mic, when recording vocals. The telephone mic is low in the mix, but it’s loud enough to give character to the recordings.

WT: The second thing I thought was, “for a bunch of teenagers, these guys really know what they’re doing!” The songs just sounded so youthful to me.  It wasn’t until later that I found out you guys were all grown up…Do you agree with Lester Bangs when he said rock ‘n’ roll is best played by adults?

CG: HA! Todd is 40, Frank is 33 or 34, and I’m 29. Tom, the drummer on the record, was 23 or 24 when we recorded. Our new drummer is 28, I think. I don’t know if age really has to do with being a better band. There are kids in their late teens who are busting out some amazing shit, as well as guys in their 40s. There are also teenage bands and dudes in their 40s that totally suck. To quote an album I’ve never heard by a chick that I’m pretty sure is dead, “Age ain’t nothing but a number.”

WT: The “HA HA Ha” s on Whos Laughing Now are awesome.  Those are credited to you…was that your idea? Does Todd write everything or is it more of a group thing?

CG: Todd writes his guitar part and lyrics and presents it to us. He usually has an idea of how he wants the drums to sound. Frank and I just start playing around until we think something sounds good. So the main idea of the song is always written by Todd, but we all put our own ideas into it. The laughing was definitely my idea. I’m a huge fan of ’50s and ’60s novelty records and the idea of the song fading out with me laughing like a maniac was really inspired by weirdo R&B songs. Very Las Vegas Grind.

WT: It’s easy to say that you guys sound like a Pebbles or Back from The Grave band.  Are you guys comfortable with this description? Do you view this as a compliment or do you think its kind of dismissive or lazy to compare your sound to compilation filled with a ton of different songs? For example, Who’s Laughing Now reminds me of “They Prefer Blondes” by the Banshees with different vocals of course. What are some of your collective influences for the band? Any favorite bands/singles that epitomize the Siberians taste or act as a guiding light?

CG: That doesn’t bother me at all. I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, though. This band has been around, off and on, for three years. We’ve gone through several phases and line ups. We could easily play traditional country, blues, rockabilly, or whatever but this band was formed out of a one-off band Todd and I did opening up for Mark Sultan. We didn’t even have a band name, we just learned 5 Back From The Grave/Teenage Shut Down songs and played them that one time. Todd and I decided to start a real band like that, but with original songs.

WT: How awesome are the Baxx Sisis?

CG: Really fucking awesome!

WT: Do you have a prized piece of musical gear you wanna brag about?

CG: Todd had this amazing Domino Californian Rebel guitar that got broken in half at our old practice space. That thing was killer. I’ve got a pretty rad Phantom that was made in the ’90s. I’ve never really been one to drop money on musical gear. If something is too nice or rare I’d be afraid of breaking it.

WT: With Killer Diller, Hullaballoo and Bananas Magazine you’ve been active in the NYC garage/rock n roll scene for a quite a while…what sparked all this? When did your love for records and rock n roll go form a hobby to an obsession to a profession? Was it a certain band that got you so excited you had to start up a label and put them out, or just something about Brooklyn itself?

CG: Hullabaloo was started by my friend George, AKA DJ Shimmy, and we had both moved to NY around the same time. Neither of us knew each other but he booked my friends The Crucials to play one of the very first Hullabaloos. They asked George if I could guest DJ the show, George and I ended up getting along really well and he asked if I wanted to do Hullabaloo with him. We’re going on five years of doing it in march.

George and I later started a website called GaragePunkNYC.com. I’m too busy to work on that site so we have Drew and Oweinama helping George with it now. The idea for Bananas happened at my bachelor party. My friend Christophe was saying we should do a print version on GPNYC.com, and I said I’d rather do something that wasn’t specific for the city, so we could have the magazine in as many places as possible, and he agreed. A few months after my wedding we put out the first issue of Bananas. Fun fact! When I was 14 my friend Kidd and I had a ‘zine called Potentially fatal. It started off as a photocopy and stapled magazine then switched to a newsprint ‘zine like Bananas. It’s really funny reading it now because my taste in music hasn’t changed at all.

As for Killer Diller, I’ve always wanted to have a record label, and I actually contacted Johnny Bartlett (Hillsdale Records, Phantom Surfers) by email in 2000 to ask for advise on starting an indie label. He straight up told me that you won’t make any more and that it’s not worth the headache. That put me off for a while, but a couple years ago I had an idea for a novelty record all about this weird African drug called Jenkem. I put out that 7” and haven’t stopped putting things out. But Johnny Bartlett was right. This label does nothing but drain my wallet and stress me out. Maybe if I was releasing indie rock or goth music I’d make money. Oh well.

WT: Garage rockers are sometimes accused of being close minded.  Name some music that no one would expect you dig? Any embarrassing guilty pleasures you don’t mind revealing?

CG: I don’t feel like a have any guilty pleasures because I, personally, think that everything I like is awesome. That’s why I like it. I’m not going to like something I think is terrible. People do get surprised when they find out one of my favourite bands is DEVO, and that I’m a huge Roxy Music fan. I love bluegrass and country western. I can totally get down with a lot of that post punk no wave stuff. Weird noises and shit. I’ve always been really into ska, rocksteady, and skinhead reggae. I love the B-52s. I also listen to a lot of UK stuff like Cock Sparrer, The Business, The Adicts, Crass… All that junk. I could go on about music all day. I like a lot of stuff.

WT: What’s in store? Siberians tour/ LP in the works? Got a new Killer Diller release you wanna plug?

CG: I’m not really sure what is going to happen to Siberians. All of us are in other bands and are super busy. We only play a couple times a year. We’ll probably do a small tour down the East Coast later this year. Baltimore, DC, Chapel Hill, Jacksonville. That kind of thing.

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For Siberians music, show dates, etc., visit:

The Siberians – FACEBOOK

The Siberians – BANDCAMP

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KILLER DILLER RECORDS

GARAGEPUNKNYC BLOG

BANANAS MAGAZINE

HULLABALOO

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