The first three albums by Foot Village, the Los Angeles noise/drum/holler/weirdo quartet, were about a future world in which the only survivors of the apocalypse were those living in a place called Foot Village. The band’s new album, Make Memories, is not billed as a continuation of this trilogy. But it sure feels like it. There are a lot of hyper-orgiastic rhythms and manic yelps and cult gibberish, as well as some undeniable doomsday proclamations. Why can’t these kids shake the apocalypse?
“I don’t know,” says drummer/vocalist Grace Lee. “We talk about the end of the world a lot. For me, I have issues with things ending, and the whole concept of change and letting-go. When we sing about it, it’s about learning to be okay with that. And learning to find ways of letting-go and rebirth and becoming comfortable with new things.”
Speaking of new things, Foot Village has recently become extremely fascinated with strip clubs. Apparently every time the band is touring and touches down in a new European city, they go looking for weird sex clubs. As you might expect, this has led them into some dicey situations. After Grace and I talked about the apocalypse for a bit, we talked about how Foot Village once searched for an underground maze in Berlin where something called a “Sex Minotaur” was rumored to live. And then we talked about the time in Prague when she thought they were all gonna die.
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So I heard it through the grapevine that Foot Village is really into live sex clubs, and that you go looking for these clubs every time you tour Europe.
Oh, god. Yeah, I don’t even know how that started. We love going to strip clubs. At least I do. I guess it all started in Berlin. The people we were staying with told us about this underground maze in the city where, supposedly, a sex minotaur lives. It’s like a dungeon, and you can go down there, and all this shit is happening in the maze. We had the day off, so we jumped on the train to go look for the maze and the sex minotaur.
What were your expectations regarding the sex minotaur?
I imagined a dude with a big minotaur head being naked and running around chasing people.
And you wanted to be one of the people running from the sex minotaur?
Yup. We wanted to know what it was all about. It just sounded like an awesome thing to do. In Berlin they have these public Internet kiosks at the bus stops, so we were looking up “sex labyrinth” on them. Nothing was popping up. We couldn’t find it, so we found the address to this place that was called Big Sexy Land, or something like that. It said it was a sex shop with live sex shows. We figured that if anyone knew where the sex minotaur and this maze were, they’d know at Big Sexy Land.
That seems like a reasonable assumption.
So we rode the train to this place, and it was out in the middle of nowhere. There were these weird suburbs and these weird hotels. And we found Big Sexy Land. There was this Italian male prostitute outside of the shop. I tried to speak Spanish to him, because Spanish is a lot like Italian, and I asked him if he knew where we could find the sex minotaur. I tried to ask him, but all my questions were like “How do you say ‘sex’ in Italian?” or “How do you say ‘minotaur,’ in Italian?” It was so bad. So we just went inside to ask someone in there. We paid a few euros to enter, and inside there was this main room with all these individual closet rooms surrounding the main room. In the main room was a rotating leopard fur covered heart-shaped bed.
That sounds very promising.
It was awesome. We all paid two Euros for two minutes so we could each go into one of these closet rooms. Josh and Dan went on one side of the rotating room, and I went on the other side. When we opened up the curtain in our rooms, and put the money in, the window opens so you can see what’s in the middle of the room. And you can see everyone else in the other rooms looking into the main room. It was us three and three other random guys.
I put my money in, closed the curtain, and the window started revealing what was inside. It was this large breasted woman, and she started dancing in my window. But when she sees who she’s dancing for, she starts screaming. Like she’s not used to seeing Asian women or something in this sex room. She starts screaming, and I felt really uncomfortable and it was crazy. So I started waving at her. And then she sees that Josh and Dan’s windows have opened up and she goes to dance for them, and she just ignores me.
That doesn’t seem fair.
I know, right? I paid the same amount of money as they did. So then this guy comes into my closet room. He’s this bald Eastern European dude in his 40s wearing a tight black t-shirt and tight jeans. I said, “Hey, who are you? This is my room!” I tried to push him out of the room. Then he put more money in the coin machine. I figured that if the dude was in the room, maybe the girl would come over to our window and dance for us. So I let him stay in the room with me.
Wow. This is just a series of bad decisions.
I know! That totally embodies Foot Village. We’re just a series of bad decisions. I was curious about what would happen. And, with this guy in the room, she did come over and dance for us. She lifted up her leg and pushed her poon on the window and started grinding against it. And the guy in the room with me started licking the window.
And he started making all these noises and sticking his tongue out at me. At that point, I yelled at him and left the room. Josh and Dan couldn’t still see what was going on in my room, so in their minds they were like, “Wow, why is Grace yelling at this girl?” They didn’t realize I was being attacked by this guy who became my version of the sex minotaur, even though he wasn’t the real sex minotaur.
At least there was a happy ending. So Foot Village pursues similar sex adventures in every new city?
Yeah. It’s a custom. Sex clubs have become a way for us to bond. You know, relatedly, we’ve gotten a lot of criticism for of our new album art because there’s a nipple on it. Even more criticism than we got for Friendship Nation, which had penises on it and everyone’s naked. This time there’s one woman, and we’re getting a lot more heat for it.
Who’s giving you heat?
These two kids on YouTube reviewed our album and were like “Yeah, the lead singer really likes to be naked. It’s weird how she’s the only one naked on the album art.” It’s not even me on the cover, you know?
I’ve only seen the front of the album. Are there more naked pictures of this woman included?
Yes. There’s a series of nude photographs of her jumping on a trampoline. So there’s nudity on our album art, and we love going to sex shows. People’s perception of us is probably pretty strange. We don’t consider ourselves sexual deviants, though. We’re all pretty nerdy. I’m the only one who’s a perv. And there are a lot of gender issues with this band. Definitely with me being the only female, with three dudes, there are a lot of funny social behaviors that happen. Sometimes I feel like they’re part of a team, and I’m on the girl’s team alone. But it was a joint decision to make this the album art. I like that our band is about savagery and being primitive, and nakedness goes along with that, I think.
Who is the lady featured in the photographs?
Sarah Taylor. She’s amazing and she’s super powerful. She was completely naked and was so excited to jump on the trampoline. Josh’s wife came out to help out with stuff, and she said, “Hey, Sarah, if you want to cover up I have a robe I can let you use.” And Sarah was like, “No, I’m more comfortable this way.” When her boyfriend came to pick her up, she didn’t get dressed. She went out to the sidewalk, in front of the house, naked with her body completely painted. She’s amazing! And the images are beautiful. We’re not really trying to make a statement or anything.
She sounds amazing. So I heard another fun sex club story happened when Foot Village was in Prague.
Oh, yeah. When we played in Prague, we stayed at a hostel. We were all freaking out because we thought it would be like the movie Hostel. And when we were driving around, it looked just like the movie. We thought we were gonna die. Everyone was freaking out. So we checked in, and around the corner from our hostel there was a little sign on the side of a building above a steel door that said “Erotic Club.” We all wanted to check it out. So we knocked on the door and this guy opened up a little window and asked us for money. We paid, and inside was this tiny room with a bar and televisions hanging from each corner of the room, all of them were playing hardcore porn.
This sounds like the perfect place for Foot Village.
Totally. And then something started licking my hand. It was this little Pekingese dog, which I guess was like the club dog. That seemed like a good start for the night. There were these three ladies hanging out with a few guys and the bartender. We sat down and had beers and no one came to talk to us all night. We were there for at least two hours. They kept looking over at us, and the bartender even made gestures for the girls to go over and talk to us, and they just said “No.”
Why do you think they didn’t like you?
I don’t know. It probably has to do with me being a woman, and that I’m Asian. Maybe we didn’t give off the right vibe. They had a menu that had all of these sexual dances and stuff on it. One of them was called “banana split.” I guess we all chickened out because we didn’t order anything. But these two guys got really drunk, and one of them got down on his hands and knees. Then he started barking. And he crawled up to me and started licking my hands, and rubbing his face on me.
How did you feel about that?
It was freaky, and super scary. We finished our beers, hung out a little more, and then left. We always put ourselves in these situations because we’re curious, and we want to have a crazy night. But then we chicken out and run away. But for a second I truly thought they were going to kill us.