Why do you choose to record experimental music?
D. Drucker > I don't really "choose" to make music, let alone "experimental" music. It's more of a compulsion, a necessity. What else is there? It's about as natural as it gets. I make the music that I make, as I've always done and it changes over time constantly. It's certainly not making me any money or getting me laid despite popular belief (topics I've certainly addressed within songs) but then again that's never really been the goal. It's definintely a cathartic experience, especially live performances.
As far as recording experimental music goes, I'm not sure I truly make "experimental music" though I don't believe in the idea of that truly being a genre. There's definitely a lot of rock, pop and folk contexts to what I do but it's sort of mangled and fucked up. It's very personal which may in of itself be experimental and there is a fair degree of "experimenting" going on such as a lot of improvisation, instantaneous composition, sound collaging and just generally fucking around with conventions I suppose. I guess it's weird stuff but if it was "normal", that would probably be weirder. Also I'm a dork and I read a lot.
Who are some of your influences in experimental music?
D. Drucker > My influences are all over the place and always have been. There are certainly a lot of non musical influences, like dreams, films (especially horror in general), books, the psychedelic experience but then also just growing up immersed in popular culture and things like MTV when I was a kid.
I'm into all types of different music like everyone else I guess (maybe that's not really the case though); Cyndi Lauper, Dr.Dre, Steve Reich, whatever. Popular music was definitely the initial catalyst. As far as experimental music influences, again they're similar to everyone else's. Some stuff is just really fucking good. I dig the usual stuff like Krautrock and No Wave for sure, the outsiders like Jandek and the Shaggs, anything remotely psychedelic, the Dead, Zappa, Sun City Girls, Caroliner, ESP Disk, Aphex Twin, Miles, Throbbing Gristle, japanese psych, new zealand noise, noise in general (super inspiring and kind of really opened me up early on, my generation's punk rock or folk or whatever), the minimalists, can't deny Ariel Pink/R.Stevie Moore and that whole trip. But now I'm veering off topic and many would consider this stuff not "experimental". I could go on like this forever. You get the idea. Again, I'm a dork and I read a lot. Also I'm fond of alterted states of consciousness. "Experimental" music lends itself to these states if you're willing to allow it to do so.
What is the audience reaction to your music at the live shows?
D. Drucker > Assuming there is an audience, which sometimes there is and sometimes there isn't, the reactions definitely vary. Painted Faces shows have been known to make people leave the room covering their ears. Sometimes people love it and that's really inspiring or at least they're moved in some way which is my only hope. As long as they aren't bored, I'm content. I've been told it's really weird, unsettling, spooky, awkward, bizarre and lot's of synonyms for that stuff. I take those as compliments. I never play a show the same way twice. Every single one is different, down to the people I'm playing with, or not playing with (solo), gear used, setlists, improvisation, it's always a unique experience, every single show, whether there is one person watching or 30 (a lot for a Painted Faces show).
One of the best receptions I got was when I played alone in San Francisco in this dude's bedroom, where we stayed for a couple of nights as well while on tour last summer. I sort of fell apart on stage, bared my soul and explained songs as I was performing them. People seemed to really be intrigued by it and bought tapes. Performance is really important to me. Often people find it amusing and endearing if they're into it and not put off by the jarring sounds and general loudness. I suppose it's not far off from sketch comedy or something like that, which I draw a lot of inspiration from for sure. Also a big thing I like to do is engage with the crowd which often evokes total apathy but sometimes people get into it and then they become a part of the Painted Faces Band for that show. I'll do things like hand out shakers and toys and have people play and be part of the communal experience. Sometimes people will join in and bang on things and sing backup vocals which is like an amazing religious experience.
Simply put, I engage with the crowd. Not sure I answered your question. I tend to ramble.
Who are some of the guests on the Painted Faces sessions?
D. Drucker > My recordings actually don't feature anyone else besides me, though there's occasional background chatter from roommates and such as has been the case for years (which I encourage). With that said, Sean Crutchfield has provided some super minimal percussion on a couple songs. I'd like to get more people involved with the recordings soon though, but it's still more of a collective as far as concrete "bands" go which makes recording with other people difficult. It's hard to get more than one person together and the key members of the collective are spread out all over the country.
Live, there have been too many members to count, some sticking around for one show, others playing with me for years. Core members or regulars (freaks) include the aforementioned Sean Crutchfield (who used to perform/record as King Ghost, now as Soda, also my current roommate), Kyle Turner (my original partner in the band who runs everything from the website to owning Cornbean, the illustrious tour van and conjuring ethereal alien sounds out of his guitar, currently lives in Miami, we play together a few times a year but we'll hopefully be touring together soon), Dave Pretto (one of my oldest friends, he's moving to Denver from Rochester, we've been jamming together as Cyclical Elements since a couple years before I began Painted Faces and we played in bands in High School in Miami together. He's currently playing with 23 Psaegz), Michael Amason (runs Cookies N' Cream Records, makes noise currently in Oakland as well as doing rad tattoos), Adam Devlin (my original drummer, just rejoined the fold, formerly of Philospiders, currently making noise on his own), Harry Cloud (lives in LA, the newest regular after we toured together on the West Coast and should be touring again soon, makes great music as Harry Cloud).
Then there's people I play shows with regularly in New York who are sometimes jammers in Painted Faces or at least should be: Sarah Lutkenhaus who goes by Lutkie (also a rad visual artist like many of the people on this list), Chris Shields (performs as Mr.Transylvania, also of United Waters and Alien Trilogy, also a filmmaker, writer, actor, curator of arts and other things). There's definitely others too. Basically I like to surround myself around creative and interesting people (without sounding pretentious). They're all good friends as well. Shows are often a chance to hang out with these people since we tend to be busy.
You synthesize many different sounds into your music. David, how does it all come together?
D. Drucker > It just kind of works out that way. There's not much of an over arching plan. There are lots of influences which are constantly growing and changing, hence all the different sounds. Sometimes songs are born right on the spot fully formed or improvised in the moment. Others I slave over for a bit and they develop. Also, songs are constantly changing in the live format. Recording involves a lot of experimentation and banging my head (or guitar) against the wall. All of my favorite artists from Faust and Husker Du to Miles Davis and the Beach Boys all synthesized lots of different sounds over their musical careers. Why did I pick those artists? Probably not a great example but you get the idea. Bjork's another good one and an early big influence on the Painted Faces modus operandi.
When did you sign to Gulcher Records? What was their reaction to your music upon hearing it?
D. Drucker > I signed with Gulcher back in May/June or so, early summer of 2013 (the year of the Freak). I can't speak for Bob who runs Gulcher but he seemed to dig the music enough to sign me at the very least. He's a very hands on guy who pretty much runs everything with help from Eddie Flowers (Gizmos, Crawlspace, etc.). I can't thank them enough for giving me my first larger wide release.