Guess who’s back? After wowing us and creeping us out with 2009’s definitive bedbug anthem and the 2010 EP where they “pushed aside their clanky-clonky Birthday Party lurch to reveal the horrific marks where fingernails meet fresh flesh”, NYC’s hardest-working scumbags in the scuzzfuckery business, Pop. 1280, are back with their best work yet. Their long-awaited first full-length The Horror(due January 24 via Sacred Bones) moves our anti-heroes from gazing into the void to practically assaulting it; a new rhythm section gives chief muckmakers Ivan Lip and Chris Bug a robo-sex swagger somewhere between Devo and Pussy Galore. First taste “Bodies In The Dunes” is loaded with their howling end-of-the-world synths, complimented by some death-soaked, bummer-beyond-bummer lyrics.
Download: Pop. 1280, “Bodies In The Dunes”
What is “Bodies In the Dunes” about?
Ivan Lip: After we finished the lyrics it seemed to be a song about death. I don’t know though. The lyrics came together really quickly. I didn’t really think about them too much.
Chris Bug: Ha!
What inspired it musically?
Ivan Lip: I found the synthesizer we used on “Bodies in the Dunes” at a thrift store in Hell’s Kitchen. It was missing a power cable and it wasn’t a high-end synthesizer but the people still didn’t know what they had. I talked them down to $40. They’re out of business now.
Chris Bug: I just started pressing buttons on that old synth and all of a sudden…
What inspired it lyrically?
Chris Bug: Well the inspiration came from following the Long Island serial killer story that was unfolding around the time we recorded this album, but I think the song ended up taking on a very lonely, isolated life of its own that really reflected a lot of what we were feeling at the time.
What can you remember about the session for this song in particular?
Ivan Lip: We wanted to try something different with this song. We decided to jam with Chris on synth and then Pascal and Zach on two different drumkits. Ben Greenberg, who recorded it, did a great job miking them both up on the fly.
How was recording The Horror different than The Grid?
Chris Bug: We definitely had no idea what we were doing on The Grid, so we used that experience to try to get more out of recording for The Horror. We really took more time to layer sounds with lots of synths and guitars and noise loops. We actually recorded the “Thirteen Steps” 7-inch in this same session, so for us it was our first time recording so much music in one thrust. Also, we were much more miserable during this recording session, which I think really gave this album its identity.
Ivan Lip: While we took more time layering we also had just got two new bandmates about three months before we recorded. We had a 10-day tour booked a week after this line-up started practicing. This pushed us to show them new songs as fast as possible, and also to let go and improvise on some parts just so we could get everything done on our timetable.
What can you tell me about the industrial, metallic clanging in this song?
Ivan Lip: We found this piece of sheet metal by the side of the road. It’s made its way onto most of our recordings.
Do you have any favorite dunes from literature or movies?
Chris Bug: I’m a fan of Woman in the Dunes…
Ivan Lip: Absolutely not.