Showcase: Innerpartysystem Interview and Music

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Written By:

Aidan Williamson

05th June 2008
At 14:13 GMT

3 comment(s)

Genre hybrids are nothing new nowadays, if you can splice together say, hardcore dance and hardcore rock, or perhaps country and punk or even traditional Irish folk with Oi! what is left to discover?

The small problem there is that not all such experiments are successful, just like an elephant/pig hybrid it will sometimes look just like a hideous mutant. Thankfully Innerpartysystem don't have any such problems.

Their mix of electronica, dance and powerhouse rock music all blend together into a wonderful new creation.

After traversing the local music scene in the small town of Mohnton, Pennsylvania, the boys each played in various bands, mostly in the vein of hardcore/metal staple which were the standard. After making the magical decision to join their efforts together, the boys packed up their "rational lives" and set to devoting their existence to Innerpartysystem.

Now their video for lead single "Don't Stop" is picking up steam on the signal and the band were happy to answer a few questions about the events surrounding their ascension.

First off, on the subject on their new video - which can be seen below - drummer and vocalist Jared explains a few complaints that the TV networks had when they sent back the video and demanded cuts aplenty.

"The biggest thing was that we had to reduce the amount of flashing to pass the Harding Test. We made this video with our manager Penta, who's made all of our videos up until now, for almost no budget back when we were on [the] Stolen Transmission [record label], the band footage is in our basement and the white band footage was shot against a white wall in our kitchen with a camcorder. All the newsroom footage was shot in BCTV, our local public access news station. We talked them into letting us use the studio on an off day. "

"When you're making a video like that, thinking "maybe this will get seen on the internet" you don't really think about it flashing too much and giving kids seizures. We also had to edit out the ball gag and mouth opening device (I have NO idea what the real name for that is) for the video to play in the UK during the day. However MTV in the US, so far, didn't have any issues with the ball gags. "

Huh, so MTV U.S is down with the S&M whereas in the U.K, not so much. Go figure.

Your band name is Orwell reference. What is it about the book "1984" that so struck a chord with you? How would you say it changed your outlook on the world?

"Wow, that's heavy. That's a really good name question. We're used to getting 'Why is it so important to have PAARRRRTYYY! in your name.' 1984 is timeless, but reading it now in hindsight, living in a time where there really do seem to be cameras everywhere it only seems all the more relevant. To be honest I haven't read it for years, I probably should revisit it to properly field questions like this."

"We never expect people to read this much into the name, but the truth behind it is that at the time we were signed, we were just a myspace band that had only played a few shows. We were using the name "The Takeover" just because it was something simple to throw up on a myspace. Had we thought the project was going to go this far we would have put a little more thought into it. When we first signed with Stolen Transmission our lawyer did a trademark search on the name and came up with tons of conflicts. With the internet now, it's hard to come up with a good original band name that no one has. It almost allows you to over-think the originality of any name you can come up with to death."

"We started this massive email chain between the four of us and our manager and spent a solid month just brainstorming hundreds of shitty band names. We were trying to come up with references, watch movies, and read books (but in all honesty watched way more movies) that fit the vibe of the band and what we were writing at the time. It was just after we had written Don't Stop, and everyone at the label was really excited about that song. Innerpartysystem just seemed to embody everything we were looking for."

"In '1984' (and like I said it's been a [while] so I may be a little inaccurate) social classes were defined as the Innerparty, Outerparty, and the working class [ed: or the proletarians, proles for short]. It sounds really 'holier then thou' when you say it, we're really not this full of ourselves, but we liked the idea of creating this full, multimedia, over-stimulating, elitist environment that we were trying to invite everyone into. It's the ironic elitist class. I guess it was that overall vibe that struck a chord with all of us."

It's always got to be Orwell hasn't it, why doesn't Kafka ever get the same level of attention we pondered audibly?

"Probably because he's overlooked in many high school English classes," Jared responds. "At least in my English class in Berks County, PA. Why the fuck I had to write a high school book report on Jane Eyre but had to discover 'The Metamorphosis' on my own I'll never know. I don't even remember most of Jane Eyre other than the girl eating it on the sled on the end. I mean really, who tries to kill themselves by running a sled into a tree? Maybe I was just too young to put the proper 'weight' on it...or it could have just sucked. Wow sorry for that tangent. That one's been building for awhile. My English teacher would be proud."

Turning to current events, the imminent release of the band's debut album edges ever nearer. Henceforth, we asked about what the experience has been like for them working on such a huge project?

"We went from recording a low budget indie album in our house in Mohnton, to working with producers and mixers that we've grown up idolizing," Jared explains, " It was so surreal for Pat to be talking to Alan Moulder on the phone about mixes, or to sit with Stuart Price in his home studio and work on tracks. This whole ride continues to be a headfuck and a blessing every day, we're all really grateful."

"The amazing thing is that the bulk of the record was recorded and put together in our home studio, which is really modest. If you saw it you'd be like ' made this record here?' It's a fucking dumpy ass band house. The first 6 songs we did with Marc Needham at his studio out in LA. It was the first time we'd gotten to hear an Innerpartysystem track with live drums. He really brought alot to those tracks. 'Don't Stop' came out of those sessions."

"It was those initial tracks that really got people excited, and lead to Stuart Price and Alan Moulder coming on board to mix a few of the tracks. We did a second session with Joel Hammelton at his studio, Studio G in Brooklyn. Working with Joel really allowed us to get alot more experimental and creative with the tones we were using. Finally our US A&R guy, Eric Speck sent a track to Spike Stent called 'What We Will Never Know,' he killed the mix on that and added some additional programming. He really pulled out a total Massive Attack down-tempo vibe."

We did try to prise the name of the album out of them, but sadly, they were not forthcoming, "We like keeping people in suspense, sorry. Really, in all honesty we haven't firmly decided. We have some ideas."

When reading descriptions from other people about the band, what's the one sentence likely to stir up mild annoyance?

"The worst is when you get a glowing review, and then they mention the "emo" vocals. I find people throw that word around alot in UK reviews. Maybe 'emo' isn't a four letter word over there yet, or maybe they're just saying we suck and I don't want to admit it. Either way, we really try to take any description or criticism with a grain of salt and not let it bother us or get us overly excited."

You've been very critical of the media's obsession with celebrity culture, what happens if Innerpartysystem ever reach that level of fame? What would you do to change things?

"Wouldn't that be the ultimate ironic artistic statement? We always joked about how ironic it would be to see 'Don't Stop' on mainstream media. It really just boils down to: we've all joked with our friends about how much reality TV sucks, how tabloids make us a little ill, and that we shouldn't care about a new celeb diet trend more then we care about world affairs. The fact is, the best way to make mind numbing media go away is to turn it off. If we're all complaining about how cheesy reality television is getting, why do we keep watching it? All we're really looking to do is bring those conversations out into the public. We aren't a political band, we're just a pop band, but there used to be a time where you could be a pop band and still say something in your songs."

We couldn't resist the urge to delve into the past of the band. Both frontman Patrick and our spokesman for the day Jared played together previously in the band Thirteen Over Eight. Which could only be described as 'different' to Innerpartysystem. It was fun to see Patrick doing screamed vocals though, anywho, with three members of Thirteen Over Eight not making the transition to Innerpartysystem - including Patrick's brother Andy - we asked whether or not there was any ill feelings in the wake of their new found popularity.

"I can't believe I'm answering a question for a UK website about thirteenovereight. That band never played anywhere outside of regional Pennsylvania... The Reading, PA music scene is really tight knit small community. It's too small to have anything more than healthy competition and support. There's not even a proper rock club there right now. Between the 4 of us we've probably done some time as teenagers in almost every band in the area at some point, so the idea of anyone harbouring a grudge seems crazy. I'll never understand the current fascination with old bands, for new artists. They weren't that great and ended for a reason. I guess it's one thing if you're talking to Walter Schreifels (of Rival Schools) or something. But for me that's like asking me how some girl I dated from when I was 14 is doing. It's the past, this is what we're doing now."

How receptive was your hometown to your rather unique sound, what with it being pretty much an exclusively hardcore/metal scene?

"Reading's really supportive. Even the oldschool leftover hardcore crews seem like they're hungry for something new. I know we talk alot about being from this tiny town in Amish Country Pennsylvania like we live in a creative fuckhole or something. There are some really great, supportive people there, our friends and families are there. What they may lack in a defined music scene like NY, LA, or London they more than make up for with heart and support. We just had our first hometown show in months a few nights ago. It was a great time. We complain about it sometimes, but at the end of the day, it's still home for us. "

Finally, we opt for the slightly vague closing question, What's the most interesting thing you've learnt this year?

"This was the year that we learned that you are only what people perceive you to be. That's why we choose to be mostly smoke and mirrors."

While we don't have the usual array of songs made available to us to introduce you properly to the wonder of the band, we do have the video for lead single "Don't Stop", a collection of thirty second clips from their "Download E.P" as well as a free download in the form of a very interesting cover of Joy Division's "Transmission" by the band.

VIDEO: Innerpartysystem - 'Don't Stop'

MP3: Download E.P medley [Night is Alive/Way We Move/Heart of Fire]

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Free Download: "Transmission" [registration required]

To see our live coverage of the band's show - including a fair few photos - at Texas' SxSW festival; Be sure to click here.

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