Profligate: An Interview

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WARM LEATHERETTE UTTERS ITS LAST BREATH. AND WITH IT, A COLD DEATH RATTLE. 

BEHOLD, PROFLIGATE. AN INTERVIEW.

Words by Sky Madden

Photos and Media by Sadie Mellerio

Profligate is: Noah Anthony

DECADES MAGAZINE [SKY MADDEN]: Test, test, test….

PROFLIGATE [NOAH ANTHONY]: I’m uhhh, a pretty low talker.

DECADES: Wow, so yeah, I can’t believe you’re here and it’s the last Warm Leatherette. I’m here with Noah Anthony and some stray cats in the back of Sub Mission on 18th and Mission shit hole.

It’s so nice. 

Uhhhhhhmmmm. Oh jeeze. I feel like get more nervous than the people I’m interviewing do. 

PROFLIGATE: I hate cats.

DECADES: (Laugh)

PROFLIGATE: I love cats. But like….. I saw this thing recently and decided. I’m so sick of cats. 

DECADES: Ah.

PROFLIGATE: I’m never getting another one.

DECADES: It’s a personal thing.

PROFLIGATE: Well I have a cat and she has so many problems. Like, I have to give her two pills a day. It’s just like, it’s such an ordeal.

DECADES: Man, they like you. These cats here like Noah.

Cats swirl around Noah’s waist and tip toe in between the La Taqueria El Buen Sabor chips and chicken burrito splayed out on the table along with the recording equipment as if to distract, to divert our attention from the conversation.

DECADES: Hmm there appears to be like, something very real going on here.

PROFLIGATE: Yeah.

DECADES: Wait so you spent a year living in Oakland but where are you originally from?

PROFLIGATE: I grew up in West Virginia. 

DECADES: West Virginia?

PROFLIGATE: Yeah. Up in the country.

DECADES: Oh wow.

PROFLIGATE: Yeah. Get away from the burrito. (Anthony to cats)

DECADES: Where do you live now though?

PROFLIGATE: Now I live in Chapel Hill. I moved there in July.

DECADES: I’m building some chronology for the kids at home here listening in on this interview. Where, what sandwiched your time before and after Oakland?

PROFLIGATE: Hmmm let’s see, ha well, me and my ex-girlfriend. We used to have this band called SOCIAL JUNK. We moved out here to Oakland after a brutal tour around the country and we just kind of ended up here. That was in 2008 or ‘09. I moved there from Kentucky. After Oakland I moved to Philadelphia and that’s where I started PROFLIGATE. The project before was called NIGHT BURGER and it kind of transformed in to PROFLIGATE. I felt like it was time to change the name because the music had changed so much. 

DECADES: That’s exactly what I want to talk about. See, noise is very new to me. Techno and dance music or music rooted in dance rather, is more something, well dance music is my entry point into music. But since being exposed to noise music inadvertently by living in San Francisco and also by my girlfriend Sarah Bernat who I find to be the great connector of scenes and of people trying to breakout. 

To make a vast generalization I want to make the point that there is this world of noise and there are people who stuck with noise, stalwartedly and then there are these people who started to get curious about making noise music informed by dance and techno. There are these people who came from noise in a sense and they really embraced these techno sensibilities, these sounds. 

I’m wondering what you think about this.

PROFLIGATE: Yeah, I dunno, I mean it just seems like it’s more of a natural progression of people trying to do new things. I’m not knowledgeable about techno music honestly at all. I also don’t feel like I play techno music. 

DECADES: Yeah I guess I don’t know how to really describe PROFLIGATE.

PROFLIGATE: I definitely grab on to things from industrial music and with PROFLIGATE I guess that’s what I’m actually most interested in. I also listen to a lot of pop music. But, I also feel like back when noise music was the thing I didn’t really feel like I was a noise guy either. I never felt like I was making noise music. Everything I ever did- and with SOCIAL JUNK as well… it was all composed. We were methodical about working on stuff and about writing songs. I feel like I’ve been in the same place I’ve always been. It’s just like… things change and so you experiment. Everyone has to experiment with things. I mean I’m also, I don’t know… I do hear a lot of different ideas and from my friends and other people and that definitely has an influence on me, I’m sure. 

        

Pictured above: Noah Anothony live as PROFLIGATE October 12th 2013 at the final edition of Warm Leatherette. Watch excerpts of the performance and his audience here.

DECADES: In your last interview I read that you said, “I’m not a noise guy, I’m not a techno guy, no labels, no politics no bullshit.” That’s very strong.

It’s hard from someone like me because I’m more of a collector and much less of an artist. The way I see things are that they’re either this thing or their that thing. What I see are artists and their work and in my brian they fit into nice neat little blocks so it’s very liberating to read about someone who feels like what they’re making isn’t necessarily tied to any conceptual intention. Necessarily. 

PROFLIGATE: I think it’s natural to want to break things apart. 

DECADES: What did you mean just now about pop music?

PROFLIGATE: Depeche Mode. 

DECADES: Fuck yeah.

PROFLIGATE: I guess also like, pop music, really accessible music you know? It’s really been a big influence. 

It’s just constant you know. 

I’m just constantly bombarded by it. 

Everywhere you go, you know? I definitely think that is a big influence. 

DECADES: I feel like we’re living in a strange, unique time where the perspective seems to be the converse of what’s what’s always been. Of what has always been… which is pop music influences that which is the underground. I feel very much now, that it’s flipped and that which is underground informs pop music. Look at how weird all that shit is like Nikki Minaj and GaGa you know. There are pop things happening and there are dance things happening and maybe folk, country, bluegrass- all these things, ambient and dub, and then you have representation of each of these things as far as tradition can see. But now, it’s not that way. Pop music is like you say. It is ubiquitous. It’s nebulous and it is influenced by that which is yet to be unseen or unheard. It’s neither here nor there. 

It’s very blurry.

PROFLIGATE: Yeah. Maybe. 

DECADES: It’s the way that we take music in. It is this way because of laptop and streaming and DJ’s and record stores and all the instantaneous ways we ingest music. 

PROFLIGATE: Everything has changed.

DECADES: Yeah. Like how do you like to listen to music?

PROFLIGATE: I listen to music…. pretty much constantly. I bought a van recently and I wanted to make sure that it had a tape player in it. I feel like I just mostly listen to tapes in my car and just drive around all the time and I listen that way. Then there’s my turntable but…. I just moved and I have so much stuff in storage. 

DECADES: You drive a lot while you’re listening to music.

PROFLIGATE: Yeah. In North Carolina you have to drive everywhere. I listen to a lot of tapes.

DECADES: What are some tapes that you can remember that are sitting in your van at home right now. 

PROFLIGATE: Ahhhh whhoooffff. Okay This guy Bernard Herman.

DECADES: Bernard Herman?

PROFLIGATE: Yeah. He’s um, not the composer obviously. Um.

DECADES: I don’t know either Ben Hermans. 

PROFLIGATE: It’s this guy from New York. He had this album come out earlier this year called ONE THOUSAND MASKS. It’s pretty much on repeat. It’s been on repeat for quite a while. 

I don’t know, I just go through so much. 

DECADES: You said that it’s constant. 

PROFLIGATE: What?

DECADES: You said that you listen, that you listen to music constantly. Maybe you can’t remember what you have in there because you listen to so much. 

PROFLIGATE: Yeah I mean if you opened my van probably 40 tapes would fall out. 

DECADES: I think that tape cassettes are having an interesting time.

PROFLIGATE: Yeah.

DECADES: The band I’m in almost exists exclusively on tapes and we’re really good. 

PROFLIGATE: Tapes are my favorite medium by far. I use tapes in almost every project that I do. 

DECADES: I saw during soundcheck that you had a Walkman sort of tape player up there with you. I’ve never fully understood what people do or what they can do with a tape player live necessarily.

PROFLIGATE: You can do loops and uh, well there are a lot of different uses. I play in this other band called FORM A LOG. It’s a trio. All tapes. But we like, we work as a band. We have like, tight songs that we play with prerecorded music that we’ve played and then recorded on our own separately and then when we get together we write songs with our tapes. 

DECADES: You have to excuse me, I’m so grossly overeducated so to me it’s like I want to make this comment that what you just described is just so sort of Post Modern you know? That you would do that. 

PROFLIGATE: Tapes and using tapes are just natural for me to use. I use tapes all the time.

DECADES: But the idea of recording something like a bass like and bringing a bass to practice you bring a tape and play it. 

PROFLIGATE: Yeah well, what we did actually first was try to form a real band with real instruments but it was terrible. It just like really bad so we got the idea to record on our own and then get together and just play it. It’s probably my favorite project that I’ve ever been in as far as collaborating with other people. 

DECADES: What do you think of the current state of making and doing music, how do you feel about the whole scope of like… thinking about something and then doing it and playing shows and like what you’re doing tonight for instance, playing this party. The state of it, now, right now. What do you think of what is happening right now.

PROFLIGATE: Well I think it’s a lot easier to try things out and try your weird ideas. Now anybody can just like throw some insane shit together and get out there. 

DECADES: Do you think this idea of “anybody” or “anyone,” can impact the universe of…. art and music?

PROFLIGATE: Yeahhhhhh hmmm I mean I think it’s a really cool thing. A lot of it is. You hear a lot of things that maybe you wouldn’t years ago and maybe you just get to hear different world of ideas and things. And now there are people making music who might not ever have made music or get to make music. It’s easier to make your ideas come together. You do have to just kind of sift through a lot of shit out there but there are a lot of gems out there too. I love YouTube and all the access it’s like watching someone doing weird home videos but music instead sometimes. 

I’m not opposed to it.

DECADES: Do you watch movies?

PROFLIGATE: I watch like, three movies a day or so. I’m like… crazy about movies. 

DECADES: Oh wow, tell me what you like. 

PROFLIGATE: Uhh I guess like, mostly horror movies and uhhh horror and weird shit hmmmm.

DECADES: What are the last few things you saw by yourself.

PROFLIGATE: I saw that movie THRILLER: A COOL PICTURE. It’s kind of an original of a certain genre that I’m not exactly a total fan of. It’s a part of that whole Rape-Revenge genre.

DECADES: Yeah that one, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.

PROFLIGATE: Yeah, Spit On Your Grave uh huh that one, that one is pretty brutal.

DECADES: IRREVERSIBLE is like my top top top top favorite. 

PROFLIGATE: Yeah.

This movie kind of started that whole thing. THRILLER: A COOL PICTURE. Had to watch that one twice in one day recently actually because my girlfriend hadn’t seen it. 

DECADES: Tell me more of what you’ve seen. 

PROFLIGATE: I just saw CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD over at my friend’s. I believe it’s a Muccio Focci. Killer, killer movie. In Chapel Hill there’s this guy who runs HOT RELEASES a label. He does a lot of Halloween movie screenings. 

DECADES: I think it’s interesting how often horror movies are paired with music specifically. 

PROFLIGATE: Yeah. I mean. They’re totally separate in my mind. 

DECADES: You’re not the horror/techno guy.

PROFLIGATE: Yeah I don’t do like, samples in songs and that kind of thing.

DECADES: You know that band GATEKEEPER?

PROFLIGATE: Yeah, yeahh.

DECADES: I love that shit.

PROFLIGATE: It’s cool. I like it. 

DECADES: Yeah.

PROFLIGATE: Hmm I guess I am actually sampling from a horror movie. Tonight actually I’m going to do it I think. 

DECADES: Tonight!

PROFLIGATE: Yeah from this horror movie called COME AND SEE.

DECADES: You have a release called “COME AND SEE” no?

PROFLIGATE: No that’s “COME FOLLOW ME”.

DECADES: Ohhhhhh.

PROFLIGATE: Not related.

DECADES: Not related. 

PROFLIGATE: Yeah no. “COME FOLLOW ME”… I had this tape, from this friend growing up. He would just record himself onto these tapes of him talking and stuff and telling stories. So weird and so like, I don’t know, real strange but like one of his tapes, that I somehow ended up with one which was called “COME FOLLOW ME” …

DECADES: You mean it said that on the tape.

PROFLIGATE: Yeah that’s all it said. 

DECADES: It’s strange and it’s good that you told me that because it’s funny. So much of what I see, so much of your music I have like… I have a very erotic experience with it, PROFLIGATE is a sexual thing for me. Or the way I feel the content moves me is, in that way is an erotic idea for me sometimes. So like “COME FOLLOW ME” to me for me makes me think about how much I don’t actually know about what your musical or lyrical intentions are. Like it makes me realize how much on to other peoples music because I’m like oh, PROFIGATE and “Vixen,” ‘everything here for me is about sex.’ Or something. For instance.

PROFLIGATE: I mean I can see that. All that stuff is definitely there but it can be interpreted in other ways I suppose but yeah that’s not intentional for me really. 

DECADES: How do you feel about drugs.

PROFLIGATE: Um I don’t know I mean I do them every once and a while I’m not like, I don’t smoke weed or anything. 

DECADES: I don’t smoke weed either.

PROFLIGATE: I can’t handle weed. 

DECADES: It makes me want to jump out of a window. 

PROFLIGATE: Yeah I feel completely insane when I smoke weed. 

PROFLIGATE: Cat go away. (To cats)

PROFLIGATE LIVE SPECS / LIVE RIG AND RECORDING GEAR

-Cool Edit Pro

-Ensoniq (ST 1) (WL ESQ earlier ENSONIQ) bass lines and basic sequences

-tape player with pitch control / dual speed

-BOSS - 505 sampler

-beringer mixer

-reverb pedal issued by Radioshack

-Boss loop and delay pedal

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