While school’s been back in session for just over a month now, hip youngsters around the city have something to look forward to this autumn! Greenpoint-based All Ages Press, a small press/indie label specializing in teens-aimed books, tapes and zines for the stranger-spectrum of high school kids is unleashing their debut release tomorrow, October 4th, with a cassette from MOTEL TV, the new project from Dave Otto of Slam Donahue. It’s coming out in conjunction with the zine “Smaller Town” at the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo which features short stories from members of Man Man, PUJOL and Prince Rama.
We’re thrilled to premiere one of MOTEL TV’s tracks, “Lemonade,” and spoke to Dave about his teen years and doing everything himself.
How did you first link up with All Ages Press?
I used to be in a band called Slam Donahue and [All Ages Press founder] Brenna Ehrlich works for MTV so, she did an interview with us and we became friends after that. And then, she was doing this thing and asked me if I wanted to release some music. I’d been working on stuff in my home and was just looking for an outlet.
How different is working on MOTEL TV stuff as opposed to Slam Donahue?
Ummmm, I’d say 100% different probably because this is all me doing everything and before it was a collaboration. It’s a lot harder to do everything yourself but more rewarding, I guess.
A big emphasis of Slam Donahue was as you put it in previous interviews, “simplifying music to its basic element.” Do you feel there’s the same amount of simplification in the MOTEL TV cassette?
I do, personally. I made a conscious effort to try and make it a little more complex because I can write songs that are just power chords and call it a day. I took a lot of time with these. The base of the song, the core is very simple, but I tried to add flares here and there to make it interesting.
You’ve also said, when re-listening to your Slam Donahue work, you could hear your anxieties present. Are there any anxieties present in “Lemonade?”
Yeah. My mother died, like, ten years ago and it’s about how every Mother’s Day I have to deal with the social media flood talking about how great it is to have a mother. I decided to shut up and put it in a song.
With All Ages Press being primarily aimed at teens, do you recall which music or zines you were into as a teenager?
I never really read any zines, I wasn’t too cultured, I guess, as a teen. I listened to mostly The Doors and The Beatles for most of my teenage years. I rejected most of current culture.
If you could give any music from today to the teenage Dave Otto, what would that include?
I think, probably Ty Segall, Dirty Projectors, Flaming Lips, Of Montreal, stuff like that to show that there’s still hope for music.