Friday, August 31, 2012

Interview with Alex from Running

Cover Art for Running's First Record

Ariel Pink may be my favorite songwriter of all time. It's between him and Tom Waits - put Kurt Cobain there hell, ok, Bjork can come too. The point about Ariel Pink, and the rest of those musicians, is that they come from a long line of history, most of which results from some sort of Blues derivative, even though for Bjork and Ariel, it may seem a bit less bluesy. Ariel Pink writes really really poppy songs - poppy not in the sense of Rihanna vs. Chris Brown, but in the sense of the good ol' days, like if Tom Petty did a lot more mushrooms and Bruce Springsteen sang about gender change, all the while Kraftwerk is dancing on the recording device. That's a terrible comparison. I'm just having fun.

The point here is that Ariel Pink worked with a lot of different people early on, most visibly John Maus, synthpop savant extraordinaire, and Geneva Jacuzzi, a brunette pixie who appears in Pink's newest Video "Only in my Dreams." A little bit less known is Gary War, who I saw at the empty bottle last week. Before Mr. War emerged onstage, however, a little band called Running played and they blew my mind. I don't know if I've ever seen drums played as hard as Alejandro plays. Jeff, the guitarist, hunches over with a classic sneer and eyes the crowd and the singer. And then Matthew, vocalist and bassist, gives his everything as he is carried away by the tubthumping rhythm of his bass.

I had to get to know these guys so I approached them and asked for an interview and they were kind enough to give me one. I also picked up their awesomely-titled Asshole Savant. It's a one-sided 12" with an etching that comes with a flexidisc, making for one hell of an odd package. I loved it. It sounds awesome. A lot like their live show.

A Live Show
You can pick up their earliest release at THE PERMANENT RECORDS WEBSITE. You can also check out their record Asshole Savant HERE And this is their Website - there isn't much on it.

Jordan: Who all is in the band Running and how did you guys meet each other?

Alex: Jeff, Matt, and Alejandro. 3 guys. We met here in Chicago, met Jeff hanging out around town, met Matt in some dark bleak corner.  Running started in 2009, August for sure. Our relationship blossomed right away

J: When did you first come up with the idea of being in a band together? Had you guys been in bands together or bands in general? 

A: Possibly when some Wolf Guys were playing some flutes made out of toilet parts at the now defunct Mopery, then Matt slurred the words let's start a hardcore band and i said fuck yeah homey. We had never played music together. Then, same week I saw Jeff, he looked very tired, and I asked him, how about you and me in a punk rock band?

He nodded, he was in. We jammed, he busted out that heroin-skronk guitar tone--we were all in love.

J: How important is the music scene in Chicago to the band? Have you guys always been here?

A: Running is a Chicago band--a sweet place to be. People are supporting, friends play killer jams, you chill. Love the many gigs at weird basements, creative spaces, and other wacky places. 

J: What do you all do when you aren't making or playing music?

A: For Internal Revenue Service reasons we cannot disclose that information, we are fully, and legally employed. 
Running works but fuck it, I'll tell you everything. Matthew is the CEO of a multi media empire known as Priority Male ®, Jeff and I just count wads money and gamble other people's money and homes all day at the Chicago Board of Trade. Do you PayPal?

J: What is the process like for making a song with you guys? Do you have set times in which you're specifically "writing" a song, or does it kind of just end up happening?

A: We get drunk, and bang some instant classics, recorded on an phone. Its simple, Running pays the rent for a space, our instruments live there. 

Asshole Savant Cover
Personally, I just listen to The Fall, I hate everything else, and I rip off their drums, often, very often, but its just like their old fuck M.E.S. stealing all kind of tunes--and making them better, of course.

J: Do you ever have to consider the label that you're working with in order to come up with a product, or do you take a mostly finished idea to someone when you want them to put it out?

A: We typically put together a recording and know who we need to hit to find out if it can be released. Permanent Records picked up the first one, and I think it happened when their minds were blown when they connected the dots that their pals Matt, Jeff and I were Running and knew each other...WOW! Liz loved #1 Dad (a Running song, the slowest and longest), so I knew they were giddy about releasing that slab. They released our first piece of wax, with beautiful art made by a machine, depicting Chicago's grid, definitively a wolf in sheep clothes. Then when CAPTCHA honcho's Mr. Funke asked us to release something, we knew about his roster of bands and got pretty excited. He also experienced the excruciating pain of dealing with Running making an art statement on wax, kindly baptized Asshole Savant.  We had the songs, took them to a studio, Cooper from Cave manning the board, Asshole Savant was born. Funke paid the bill, it was that simple.

J: How did you arrive at your present sound? Is it a conscious thing as well, or did it just happen because of noises that you all enjoy?

A: Naturally, we play loud, to make sure we are effective at ignoring the sounds of our own tormenting thoughts, you know, about life in general in this mundane world, paying the bills, drinking pale ales, skeletons biting bird's asses, common things. I enjoy harsh damaged sounds, and Jeff delivers then pretty well as I've seen tweakers looking even weirder than their regular selves during a Running set. 

J: How would you say that one of your records translates into a live show?

A: Personally I like the live shows because people smoke me out and i get free drinks.  Live is where is at for me but Running on record is the awesomest shit i've ever done. I have played in other bands and I have never listened to my own shit as much as I listened to Asshole Savant. I stare at it constantly. Running sounds like the record, and the record sounds a lot like Running think its sounds live. 

J: What makes a good show for you guys in addition to free beer and getting paid?

A: People getting wasted, buying our record and leaving it behind at the pisser. Girlfriends telling their boyfriends: What have you done with your life? Why aren't you in Running? Pass ME the CornNuts ®

J: What are some upcoming shows of yours that we can look forward to?

A: Good question! November 8th with Cave at the Hideout (I think) kick off show for the Cave/Running tour 2012. 
Maybe somewhere before that, just google Running for more information. 

8 - Chicago, IL @ Hideout
9 - Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog
10 - TBA 
11 - Easthampton, MA @ Flywheel
12 - Boston, MA @ Great Scotts w/ People of the North
13 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge w/ White Hills
14 - Brooklyn, NY @ Kent 385
15 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brendas w/ Purling Hiss
16 - Pittsburgh PA @ 6119
17 - Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness
18 - Detroit, MI @ TBA

J: Are any of you guys actual runners, or is the name just something you thought was cool?

A: Frankly we do not remember why we are called Running. My dad was a runner, a marathon man, he had a bunch of trophies, I made "smoking devices" out of them. I would love to teach a workshop on that, 2 week internship. 

J: What can we look forward to in the future of Running's output?

A: Expect more tapes and bullshit gimmicks we'll be peddling at shows but, if you want less uncertainty in your future, do not fret,Running is excited about this Castle Face release.. GROUP FLEX II - SON OF FLEX is almost ready to go. This playable flexi book features new and exclusive tracks from Warm Soda, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, The Mallard, Running, The Fresh & Onlys, Kelly Stoltz, White Fence, Blasted Canyons, Sic Alps, and Burnt Ones. It's going to be see through, and kinda 3D, and awesome, so get ready. Joe Roberts did the art and it's insane and we should be doing presales once we're a little closer to getting it made but we're really excited and wanted to get some details in people's brains.

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