Houston Calling

10 Questions for The Black Math Experiment

June 8th, 2005 · No Comments

I was handed a CD after the recent Wilco concert. A few days later, I hear this Berlin-sounding band and think “no one’s doing anything like this here right now.” The band — The Black Math Experiment — sent me a copy of their new EP, which will be available at their show at Helio’s this Saturday (6.11.05). Another great local act, The Methods, will open the show.

You can learn more about the band here and here.

I recently asked the band a few questions and they were kind enough to respond. Enjoy.

10 Questions for The Black Math Experiment

HC: How did The Black Math Experiment get started as a band

TBME: In 2001, Bill Curtner (Guitars/Programming) was at Dead Hand System show with his friend and future BME producer K. While waiting for DHS to take the stage they were punished for sins in previous lives by being forced to sit through four nu-metal clone bands. He decided that he was going to make some music that he wanted to hear, just so it would exist. As Jerry Garcia said, “Someone has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.” Two years of searching brought Christi Lain (Vocals) Captain Mongo Nelson (Bass) and Jef Rouner (Vocals) out of the sticky nether regions of the Internet. Chris Soliz (Keyboards, Programming) had been his friend and collaborator for many moons already. The music, the live show, and the concepts all come from the five of us, infinitely twisted, working in unison to create something greater than the sum of our parts.

HC: I hear a lot of eighties new wave/synthpop in your music (Berlin, Wall of Voodoo). What do you consider to be your musical influences?

TBME: Depeche Mode, Devo, Helmet, Bill Hicks, Negative Land, Richard O’Brien.

HC: What’s your take on the Houston music scene? How would you change it for the better?

TBME: The problem with the Houston music scene (and all American music scenes) is the artists take themselves too seriously. When musicians quit having fun, art becomes commerce. In essence, bands become afraid to be themselves, fearing that if they step outside of the genre-box even a little bit, their chances of fame and fortune will come up double zero. Our Solution? Carpet Bombing.

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry? Are you for or against the “MP3 revolution”? How do you use the internet as a tool to market yourselves?

TBME: While the music industry fears change (and risk), The Black Math Experiment embraces it. You might even say we worship it. The MP3 Revolution is something that the RIAA cannot keep pushing to the side with frivolous lawsuits. The commercial availability of blank cassettes didn?t destroy the music industry in the 80’s, and MP3’s won’t destroy it now. The Internet is an indispensable tool. We do sixty percent of our promotion through the Internet via websites and mailing lists. It’s all a matter of accessibility. We can publish any work within minutes.

HC: What’s your dream gig?

TBME: We’d like to play Japan, or at Brian Eno’s funeral. Christi’s got this fantasy of singing with Dave Gahan that sounds suspiciously like the plot for Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” video.

HC: I hear a lot of different, intricate things on the EP’s songs that aren’t typical of many indie/lower-budget recordings. Sounds good. How do you guys approach the songwriting and recording process?

TBME: We like to believe that each one of us is in tune with forces and influences beyond the scope of normal human perceptions, that we can receive transmissions from THE ANSWER clear enough to artistically interpret them for the benefit of our fans. Sometimes it’s a specific idea between one of two of us that the others hone and sharpen through their influences, and sometimes we all literally blank out for hours and wake up with a song. “Step” was like that. Between having our fingers on the cosmic pulse and our just above-average wackiness, songs (and other things) get written. Recording is just a matter laying down the tracks and clarifying through technology where human ability has failed. We know a guy who broke his neck once and had to wear a halo. He covered it in tin foil and wore big bug glasses and would invite random strangers to take him to their leader. Our recording process is a lot like that.

HC: If you could have any band cover one of your songs, what would it be?

TBME: Pantera doing “Step” would be cool.

HC: What’s the description you hate to hear about your music?

TBME: We haven’t heard any descriptions about our music that haven’t pleased us on at least some level. Out and about though, we get mistaken for Mormons a lot, and we could certainly do without that.

HC: You guys recently recorded an EP. What’s next for the band?

TBME: We’re releasing the first digital 7″ in the fall. We possibly opening for the Legendary Pink Dots near the end of the year, and we’re working on an epic rock opera about a world where it’s always Christmas. Mostly, we plan on annoying the world of music.

HC: What’s in your CD player right now?

Bill: The Cure ? Faith
Christi: Placebo ? Without You I?m Nothing
Mongo: Liquid Tension Experiment
Jef: The TOYS soundtrack
Chris: The Residents – Fingerprints

Thanks to The Black Math Experiment for taking the time to answer these questions for Houston Calling. Please be sure to make plan to come out to see the band this Saturday night at Helio’s. Pick up a copy of their new EP at the show — it’s good stuff.

Be sure to check them out on MySpace. Visit The Methods’ website here — get a copy of their album, Realized Amidst Sorrow.

Now Playing in My iPod: Kevin Tihista — Home Demons, Vol. 1

Tags: Music