Made up of members of many metal and post-punk bands (Municipal Waste, Melt Banana, Revocation, and Goes Cube, amongst others) Publicist UK has been referred to as a super group no less than three times (as per my online searching) and though that does hold some water (they’re no Traveling Wilburies or Velvet Revolver, but still) the NYC based “hard music” band is making their own mark with their genre-sprawling maybe-it’s-metal-maybe-it’s-Maybelline music (I suck at describing music, please see question #3 where I defer to vocalist and accomplished music writer Zack Lipez).
Their debut album Forgive Yourself came out via Relapse Records on August 21st, and it is absolutely fantastic (as if Relapse would fuck with some garbage). Watch their latest music video for the song “Canary” and read our interview with Zach and guitarist David Obuchowski of our second favorite super group (they edged out Velvet Revolver but I will always love Traveling Wilburys; “Handle With Care” still brings a tear to my eye) below.
ZACK: Definitely ‘New Girl’. In much the same way Zooey Deschanel transitioned from the emblematic ukulele playing indie chanteuse of such bourgeois pabulum of 500 Days of Summer to a credible comedian, Publicist UK is part of my larger transformation from failed human being to “phoenix that burns bright in a cleansing flame” and will hopefully be mourned by more than family and Facebook friends upon my death. Also, Publicist UK is a surprisingly amusing ensemble. We are, as individuals and as a collective, a happy combination of all the main characters on ‘New Girl’. Especially Cece.
‘Mindy Project’ looks pretty good but I’ve only seen a couple episodes. The only doctor show I like is ‘St. Elsewhere’ [Ed Note: reeling in shock from grave omissions of ER, Gray’s Anatomy, and Scrubs here].
DAVID O: Having never seen either show, I’ll default to the leads. And in that case, I’m Team Zooey. She was in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which I enjoyed. I even own the DVD, I think.
Publicist UK has repeatedly been referred to as a ‘super group’ due to your members’ past affiliations. If you could put together a REAL super group featuring members of chart topping 90s alt rock groups Counting Crows, Gin Blossoms, Spin Doctors, and Goo Goo Dolls, which Publicist UK song would you have them cover?
ZACK: As someone who was an operating teen to adult during most of those bands heyday, I don’t have an ironic affection for any of them (except for perhaps a couple Spin Doctors songs that my older sister, who I love, played occasionally). The fact that a great number of bands that sound exactly like Gin Blossoms are now considered “pop punk” is especially grating. I did, however, once see the dude from Counting Crow shopping for comics at Forbidden Planet once, so I suppose he can stay too. [Ed Note: I was also very much a full grown teenager during this era and you will have to (un-ironically) pry my Gin Blossoms record from my cold dead hands]
I suppose “Never Gone To School” would be the most apt cover, as the ‘90s was the beginning of the backlash against “political correctness” which that song, in part, addresses. Perfectly reasonable people would go to liberal arts schools, be put off by what they incorrectly and ahistorically perceived as being bullied by “the other” and come out conservative, or at least boringly centrist and, ugh, “reasonable.” They should have stayed home, become waiters, and kept their empathy.
DAVID O: I’m with Zack here. I was an angry high schooler with a punk band when those bands were big, so I’ve got no ironic affections for them, either. But I’ll go with “Away” so that one of those guys has to sing the phrase “Satan’s cock,” and then I’d like to see if they can pull off the metal part.
Zack, you’re a healthily employed music writer who has penned pieces for outlets far more prestigious than this one. Can you just describe your band’s sound for me so I don’t have to tack together the buzz words used by the three other articles I Googled prior to writing this (post-metal-punk-reverb-loving-dark-music) piece?
ZACK: Heavy Goth.
DAVID O: First time I’ve ever heard Zack described as healthy. Or employed. For what it’s worth, I’m totally fine with “heavy goth.” Though, I never had any inkling we were goth until after some of our songs were premiered and I started reading that we were goth. And that’s fine, because I like goth, or at least, older goth. But it also feels a little weird for me to say we’re “goth.” I think I tend to say we’re heavy new wave. Someone recently called us “doomwave,” which I must admit, I kind of like.
From my new (useful) intern John: “Wondering if this video was cut from old clips of stuff or influenced by Russian Constructivism?”
DAVID O: It’s both! I feel like the constructivist aesthetic fit the verses nicely, particularly with Zack’s delivery. And so I used some clips from very old, very nicely composed films about perception (vision and sound), which, again, I thought fit some of the themes of the song. There is some original footage in there, too, though.
What does Publicist UK have on deck for the rest of 2015?
ZACK: We will probably/hopefully be doing some touring in the Fall/Winter.
DAVID O: We’re itching to get back out on the road, for sure. But we’re also well into the writing process of the next record. We’ve already got more than an album’s worth of material for it, and I’m currently working on another five or six songs right now. I think at some point this winter, the three instrumentalists in the band (me, Brett, and Dave) will get together for a long weekend and play through all the songs (something we didn’t actually do for Forgive Yourself). From there, we may tweak arrangements. At that point, my guess is that we’ll have two albums worth of songs to choose from. So from there, we’ll narrow the songs down to three more than we need, and start recording.