Well heeeello Abe Vigoda.
Don’t be fooled by their name folks, Abe Vigoda are not a tribute act to the great actor who’s career spanned all the way from The Godfather to a peak in Good Burger (Kenan & Kel’s visual tour de force). They are in fact a four-piece from California who’s sound has steadily evolved over the years through tropical punk, synth punk, lo-fi, and a bunch of other types of music that I won’t keep ruining with stupid genres. I had a chat with their lovely frontman Michael, but the phone signal was pure jank so I kept getting cut off.
Hey…hello, are you there?
Oh hey, I can hear you loud and clear now. Phone reception, my best friend.
Where are you?
We’re driving to Cardiff – we’re doing a BBC session that we thought was today but I guess it’s tomorrow so we have a free day today, which at this point in the tour is kind of nice actually.
What have you got planned?
I have no idea, there’s a castle in Cardiff. We could go look around in there.
What do you usually do on your day off?
We usually just try to find some good food, and then go explore a bit. If there’s a cathedral or something like that we’ll go and have a look at it, a bit of sight-seeing.
(I thought he said ice-rink)
Oh no, not an ice-rink no. Although I guess we could try that.
How was the tour with No-Age?
Yeah it was good, we did like four weeks in Europe with them, and it was a great time. I mean, it’s kind of like touring with an extension of your family; Dean actually releases our records in the US on his label Post Present Medium and he’s just a really avid supporter of what we do, and I mean we’ve known them for ages so yeah, it was cool.
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How was the Europe experience?
It was pretty low key actually, we don’t really have any crazy Europe stories! We went to like, Slovenia and Croatia, and I’ve never been that far east before, so it was really inspiring. Something so simple as just playing music in front of people feels so different from doing it at home you know?
The new album sounds way different to your old stuff. What happened, did you get sick of everyone calling you tropical-punk rock?
(Laughs) No, I mean it wasn’t trying not to be a tropical punk sort of record, it was just what came out naturally. We have a new drummer now, Dane Chadwick, and when we started playing with him we just bonded over totally different styles of music. I really like what we’ve done in the past but we thought it was time to do something different.
Yeah I can definitely hear a sort of darker, Joy Division style influence there, was that always there waiting to come out do you think?
Well the songs we wrote for CRUSH are all really honest, there’s no real goal; it is what it is. But yeah I definitely feel like I take inspiration from bands like Joy Division or like, early LA goth stuff, bands like Christian Death. I think the dark-side of it has always been there though, in the lyrics and stuff. I think before the funny guitars kind of went some way to mask it a bit, but there’s always been a kind of darker, transgressive side to the music.
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How did Dane join the band by the way?
He’s from Phoenix, Arizona originally – we’d been on tour there – and our old drummer Reggie who we did the Reviver EP with and everything, he had just told us he wanted to quit because he wasn’t really feeling music anymore, he wanted to go to school. And we were like fair enough, so we were trying out new drummers and we thought of our friend Dane, he’s a really good drummer and we all get along, and yeah – he moved out to LA to come and join the band, kind of a big step for him.
Talking of school, are you guys still in school or is that all finished now?
Well most of us put it on hold. I never really took college very seriously, I mean, I don’t know if I’m the kind of person for college right now, but Juan our guitar/keyboard player, he was taking it really seriously but he just put it on hold to do this for the moment.
Cool, I’d do the same fo’ sho. What are you doing after the UK tour?
Going home! The first time we’ll have been home in about 6 weeks or something, and we’ve got a big Thanksgiving dinner when we get back as well. But hopefully writing some more; I want to get started on the next project you know? We’ll al put our heads together and see what we come up with.
Have you been writing in soundcheck or anything?
Little bits yeah, but mostly just messing around. I have some ideas but I want to flush them out, get them done before the year is through, and then we’re doing a tour with a band called Wild Nothing in February, which I’m rea….
photo Iso Brown