Detroit House Guests
Nicola Kuperus: I think Detroit’s kind of a love/hate kind of thing, but I think when you live here you can be that way. Most people that live here are really Detroit proud, Detroit-centric and...
Adam Lee Miller: I know people that have so many different opinions on Detroit from just within Detroit. I know people that say they are not actually Detroiters because they don’t belong to the majority population of Detroiters because our incomes aren’t 200 dollars a year and we’re not black. A lot of people would say that to be white and to have employment in Detroit is to not actually be a Detroiter, which I’m not sure I agree with. But, people like my parents who lived in Detroit until I was 14 years old and have actually turned their backs can’t understand why I would still want to live here.
NK: I think the great thing about Detroit is that it’s really cheap, for the most part, to live here, so you can do whatever you want to do without really being bothered.
ALM: I think it’s the primary thing if you’re asking an artist why they’re living in Detroit it’s because they can keep their expenses low. I mean if you ask somebody on the street why they live in Detroit it’d be something completely different. No way out. That’s often been the case with me: there’s no way out. The expenses are low.
Sam Consiglio: I have a really conflicted opinion of Detroit myself, where one day I love it and one day I hate it. It’s like a family member for me when someone says something like, Oh, you live in Detroit...isn’t that shit? I’m like no, Detroit’s awesome. Shut up. And then if the person’s like oh, I love Detroit, I’m like it totally sucks, shut up.
ALM: I think everybody from here feels that way.
SC: When you talk to someone that’s not from Detroit, and they want to put their two cents in...you’re like shut up, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
NK: It’s kind of a scene in a bad relationship...
ALM: And, it’s like I want the city to do well, but whenever there’s a traffic jam or something then I’m just oh, man, I hate this...this city better not ever get people moving in here. Those kind of conflicts are constant.
Do you have an idealized vision of what the city should become?
ALM: Sometimes you thrive on the isolation, but sometimes you, ah, just want to go to the store. Sometimes you just want to go to be able to go to a store. You’re from Detroit, so you know there’s nothing of that kind in Detroit. It’s not like in Portland or New York or whatever and walk down to the corner and just get yourself a head of lettuce. We’d have to hop in the car, probably in the snow...
SC: There’s like one good kind of hippy/organic bakery/coffee place in the city and it’s so funny...every time you go there you end of parking your car in the alley because every parking spot is taken. It’s only...there’s so few things.
I think I might know the place you’re talking about. What is it?
Over on Cass?
I’ve been in there.
SC: You know Larry, the homeless man?
I don’t think so.
SC: Well, he lives in front.
ALM: I think if you ask Larry about Detroit, like what is Larry’s Detroit?, it’d be completely different from our Detroit.
NK: Probably loves it...he’s probably so rich...
SC: Did you see the eyeglasses on recently? He had on the fanciest eyeglasses. Larry always has something for sale, and one time I accused him...I said, well, did you just steal it from somebody? He said, “Sammy, I never steal from anybody. I find everything in the garbage.”
Moving into music: who should we be watching in Detroit music, outside of your label, and over even outside of...well I guess just overall, whether it be techno or rock or...
NK: Probably the band we’re touring with, Genders
SC: Yeah, we’re really proud of them–they’re like our little brothers.
What are they doing?
SC: They have a new sort-of mini LP coming out on Tigerbeat6 and they have a few homemade releases. And they had a real limited run on Ypsilanti Records. I think right after this tour...I have high hopes that this is their introduction to the world, the US.
Are you deliberately moving away from techno, with the inclusions of the live guitars and bass?
ALM: I never thought we were techno, so I would say we’re moving towards it incorrectly because we were never near it, so we have to be getting closer...
NK: I think the history of ADULT. is kind of weird in that, for years and years and years, people have put us in all these strange categories, none of which we’ve truly ever really belonged in, not that we belong in anything now...
ALM: I think I can kinda understand, though: we have a lot of different things going on in our music. If someone’s really into...if someone’s a poet, then they’re going to listen to the lyrics; if someone’s a programmer, then they’re going to listen to the drumbeats; if someone’s a producer, then they’re going hear the mix. I guess if someone listens to a lot to techno, they’re going to really hear the electronic elements of the music. If someone’s more into indie, then they’re going to listen more to the structure and the message. Whenever someone listens, they come with their own set of baggage that’s going to enable to hear something someone else might not. It’s always very odd to hear someone talk about our stuff because for me nothing sticks out.
NK: I think the first things we wrote up until now... We’ve obviously changed as a band, things are a lot organic sounding and less...things are a little looser and less...
NK: Even myself being a singer...I’m a lot more comfortable being a singer now.
I’ve definitely noticed that in the progression of albums, that the vocals are a lot less manipulated, more live sounding.
In an interview quite a ways back, like back in '99, you were describing a musical movement...you called it “generic music:” music that’s hops genre, that’s always changing. What’s that state of “generic music” now?
NK: Still generic!
ALM: It hasn’t caught on.
NK: Yeah, it hasn’t caught on yet.
ALM: Well, there’s more bands that would fit in it nowadays than back then. It could be a really big bin in the record store.
Name some bands that are doing it right...
ALM: Chromatics, Genders, Numbers...
Going back to genre labeling, which I know is kind of dumb and hurts music ultimately, but people like me love to do it because it makes our jobs easier. Given that, can I use this word: electropunk? Your reactions to that?
NK: I don’t know. People have been throwing that around...I can’t really say I love that...
ALM: I always have a hard time with those things because the definition of each of those terms from one person to the next is completely different and when you throw of two terms with dubious definitions together, it doesn’t make it any more clear what it is so...I mean...
(a phone starts going nuts with video game noises)
SC: Sam’s phone’s about to get techno on us! I mean electro...
NK: Can’t we just fit into the “weird” category?
SC: Yeah, I forgot, we wanted to change “generic” to “weird-o” where the “o” stands for Oprah...
Okay, I like that.
SC: That’s our new genre: weird-o, like Cheerio’s.
NK: It’s good, isn’t it? Then you just know whether you’re going to love it or you’re going to hate it because it’s weird...there’s no expectation like pop music...pop music is pretty across the board. But when you’re in the weird category, it's like, well, you don’t really don’t know what you’re going to get.
ALM: Then, hopefully, the Abercrombie and Fitch jock baseball cap wearing crowd, that’ll hopefully turn them away. Just by the name alone. Punk: you know you’ve got Green Day now, where you’ve got these total doofuses wearing these Green Day shirts–which makes sense–but if they see the word “electro-punk,” they’re not immediately turned off. They’re like, "Yeah, I’m into punk, I love Green Day!"
You don’t even want to convert this crowd?
Nothing to do with it?
(affirmative vocal noise)
How did Sam come about, in the band? What’s the story behind that?
NK: We kidnapped him.
SC: They’d been emailing for, like, a year trying to get me in.
NK: Put a gun to his head.
ALM: Originally, we’re art space buddies...then we got creepy.
NK: We’ve been releasing music from his other band, Tamion 12 Inch, for a long time. And, um, we needed someone to tour with us because we couldn’t everything ourselves for our D.U.M.E. EP and then it just worked out really well and here we are...
ALM: Sam broke a really nice vase in our house, and we’re making him work it off now.
How long does he have to go?
NK: A loooong time.
ALM: Looooong time.
NK: Waterford Crystal.
You start touring the 19th?
ALM: One week.
One week from today.
NK: That’s my line!
Where are looking forward to playing?
ALM: Portland. Portland. That’s our number-one-looking-forward-to city...is this article for Portland? One my top three favorite people in the whole world moved to Portland recently. And I’m going to see her when I go there.
SC: Wow, who are your other top-two favorite people in the world?
NK: We’ll all be together. I’m really looking forward to play Tucson.
ALM: And Los Angeles.
What about Tucson?
NK: When I was a teenager, I was in Tucson and saw one of the best hardcore punk shows I ever been to there. I got slashed in the face with a nail!
SC: She’s looking forward to it for revenge.
NK: I am looking forward to it. We’ve never played there... Hard to say what will happen.
ALM: Montreal, the MEG festival, with this band Der Plan. I ‘m really excited about that. They’re a very important band.
Who’s responded best to ADULT. in the past? In terms of touring...what cities?
NK: We had a really great show in LA in May.
ALM: And Paris. We’ve had really great shows all over. We like the shows where people are losing control, and you can always tell when people are losing control. It feeds you. And in LA, they really lost control recently. And they also did in Paris...
SC: San Fran, Detroit, Chicago...those are always really good cities for us. Glasgow was really good. Moscow was really good, surprisingly, we didn’t think anyone would know who we are. We’ll see how the rest of the world is ready to meet the challenge of those other cities and show us their cities are ever more off da’ hook. D. A. Hook.
02 – Breathe On
03 – Into the Drum
04 – We Are a Mirror
05 – Enter the Fray
06 – Uncomfortable Positions
07 – We Chase the Sound
08 – They’re Just Words
09 – Inexhaustible
10 – Stop (and Start Again)
11 – This Situation
12 – As You Dream