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Q&A: Not Blood Paint talks about crowdsourcing funds, drawing inspiration from seeing bands in small rooms, and more

Dec

30

We asked Not Blood Paint to tell us a bit more about their live performances, life in New York City, and how it felt to run a Kickstarter to help them produce their work. Read the full interview below and check them out live at LPR on January 11th.
 
NBP
 
Hey, Not Blood Paint! We’d love to hear how you all got together and started making music. Not to mention how you decided on your band’s name.
 
Before we shifted focus to rehearsing music on a regular basis, we were putting up theater and throwing parties at our loft space in Bushwick. We devised pieces, created a rock & roll Macbeth, and got ourselves tied up in endless happenings for an audience of none. We realized that people who lived all over the city would travel for great parties and music way more often than for a piece of theater. So we built a studio and started playing and recording regularly. The worlds melted together.
 
The name came like this…one morning, we look out our loft window into the mostly empty lot behind it. Staining the cement is a huge puddle of blood, next to it a revolver and a pair of broken glasses. Murder or photo shoot…which really happened last night? Both options equally plausible…
 
Can you name any acts that have influenced your sound and/or inspired you to start a band?
 
This is a tough question because we’re often listening to very different music from one another, and it all tends to find its way in. A good angle to tackle this would be the bands we were obsessed with seeing live when we first started making music together. We’d never miss The Dirty Projectors, we’d dress up in wild creations for Of Montreal. Yeasayer live was inspiring. Same for Deerhoof and Grizzly Bear – we got to witness these musicians transform themselves from bands that can blow the roof off of small spaces and bars into live acts that can fill huge theaters and perform alongside orchestras and professional dancers. Each of them kept topping themselves every time we saw them.
 

 
We’ve read some interesting reviews of your previous shows. Free Williamsburg described Not Blood Paint as a band most likely to start a cult, going further to say “Prog, imbued with humor; a tour-de-force of revisionist 70’s psychedelic adventurism, Not Blood, Paint remind us that cocaine is one helluva drug.” This was in 2010. We assume things changed in the course of six years, but one never knows. Can you give our readers a sense of what they might be getting themselves into on January 11?
 
We probably don’t seem like 70s psychedelic adventurism anymore, though that might be our revisionist tendencies at play. We forgot we reminded people of cocaine back then cause we were high on other things. Another thing about this quote that is out of date is the bit about being the band most likely to start a cult.
 
As for our show on the 11th, expect to be disappointed or expect to be transported to another world. Try both!
 

 
What inspires your blend of theatrics and performance in your shows? Who determines the costumes, makeup, and general feel for each show? Have you had one look that you repeat often or wish you could try again?
 
We were seeing a lot of live music in rooms that were filled front to back with people that really seemed like they didn’t want to be there. From the sound guy, to the audience members with band shirts, to the band! It’s bizarre and boring. We may be both of those things at certain times, but always on purpose.
 
We draw from many sources for the visual element of our show. Some choreography is built into the song structure. Sometimes we get an idea for a costume based on how the venue looks. Sometimes our demeanor is character based. Sometimes there’s a narrative that connects the whole set. We’re trying to shock ourselves into staying as much in the moment as possible, so the visual element should never be reduced to a bag of tricks. It should be about opening up the space and sparking lines of spontaneous conversation.
 
We try not to repeat the same show twice, but sometimes certain characters have enough meat on their bones to become reoccurring actors in a constantly progressing mythology.
 
It seems the only thing people can talk about these days is the death of Brooklyn, gentrification, how hard it is to be an artist, what it means to make art in NYC, and all of that. Do you feel welcome as an artist in NYC? Do you intend to stay here to make your art?
 
Gentrification is a distressing and fascinating process to be in the middle of. We’ll never be rid of it as long as we have the metropolis and the lizard brain. It leaves suffering and alienation in its wake, while feeding off of creativity. Of course we’re not welcome in New York, because we’re not welcome in this country. Most of America doesn’t tolerate the dream being confused with too many questions. What the most dangerous artists do tends to appeal to those who have found or are seeking ways to use cognitive dissonance creatively. New York is wildly resilient, but this doesn’t really hold true for the majority of the country.
 
Further to the above, If you were to leave NYC, where would you head to?
 
If we move as a band, it will likely be to a place where the musicians playing live are more interested in directly challenging and supporting each other’s work. If things don’t change pretty rapidly, commercial music could totally cease to exist at some point. There hasn’t been a clear exchange of value for quite some time now. But there is no reason to think that the phenomenon of music playing, particularly live, will disappear during increasingly tumultuous times, thanks be to the Goldsmith. There is always a reason to sing.
 

 
Perhaps now’s a fitting time to ask about Kickstarter. How was your experience crowdsourcing funds to help the band finish the record? Would you do it again?
 
The crowdfunding experience was exhausting, terrifying, exhilarating, and humbling. The amount of input and planning necessary is really wild, and we’re very much still in the middle of it. But we’ve started to realize that to successfully engage with crowdfunding is to catch a glimpse of something that may very well help save the arts, education, medicine, technology from death grips. It’s pretty mind-blowing when you consider the possible implications of looking at this as a new model or way forward for the above fields. Should artists be fundraising 24/7? We hope not. But the effort necessary for a creator and an individual trying to support their idea meeting to bring something off the ground is great training for people to think actively about how an exchange of values might come into focus more or less organically.
 
We hope we don’t have to give it a go another time soon, but we definitely learned a ton that we would apply next time.
 
On The Rise is meant to expose LPR fans to new music from around NYC. Are there any bands you’ve seen recently that you think our readers should check out?
 
Starlight Girls for the spook pops, Steve Nelson for the cosmic folk, Sister Helen for the raw majesty, Throw Vision to witness one well-chilled groove organism.
 
What would your dream bill be, with or without Not Blood Paint?
 
Not Blood Paint followed by Of Montreal, followed by Janelle Monae, followed by Prince.
 
Fill in the blanks: Fill in the blanks: Not Blood Paint is the lovechild of ________ and _________, sent here by ___________.
 
Not Blood Paint is the lovechild of Joe Stratton, Mark Jaynes, George Frye, and Seth Miller, sent here by The Goldsmith.
 
Not Blood Paint will perform live at LPR on January 11th with A Deer A Horse, Howth, and Language, as part of our On The Rise series. Tickets available here.
 
OTR_jan_feat

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