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Monday, 2 August 2010

Tally Ho Interview - Patrick Flegel of Women




With their second LP due for release in t-minus 21 days, Tally Ho thought it was as good a time as any to hassle Patrick Flegel, guitarist and main vocalist with Canada's premier art rockers Women.

Anyone who has heard leaked track Eyesore knows that Women aren't simply going through alt rock motions. They've added more layers, further exploring the sometimes uncomfortable industrial sounds they channeled on their debut, as well as creating some dust covered chamber pop with truly thrilling and unexpected moments of blissful escape, a rare find in an increasingly commercialised alternative scene.

Sibling rivalry, Chad Van Gaalen's nether regions and a monster's penis, its all here...

Can you introduce yourself for Tally Ho readers…

My name is Patrick Flegel.

Can you pinpoint any significant event that inspired you to start playing music?

Possibly listening to the Supremes and later Beck, on the radio.

You’ve mentioned in previous interviews you all played in a number ofdifferent bands together before you recorded the Women album, do anyof you still play in other bands and if not, is it something you’d be open to?

Our friend Eric Hamelin plays in a lovely jazz outfit called 'No More Shapes' who just put a record out called 'Creesus Crisis'. Chris and I have have a group with him called 'Lanyard Skynyrd' or 'No Homo'. Chris records beautiful ambient music under his name 'Chris Reimer'.
Chris and Matt back our friend Jamie Cullen (not to be confused with diminuitive jazz botherer Jamie Cullum) up in a band called 'Church Of The Very Bright Lights'. Matt played electric bass guitar on the upcoming Marnie Stern record 'Marnie Stern' and Michael plays guitar and sings in a band called 'Friendo'.

How did the recording process for Public Strain compare to that of your debut?

It was similar to the first record. Haphazard. . . . Half of them sorted the day we tracked them, including half the lyrics. Chad got this Tascam 388 specifically to track Shaking Hand on the last record and we used that for pretty much every song on this one. Different people playing different instruments on different songs. Solaris was on most of the time with the sound off. His set-up is in a two-story garage behind his house. The basement is all cavernous and concrete so we tracked some down there. I was working the graveyard shift which was nearly a detriment.

It says a lot about Chad that we finished the record, he's a ray of sunshine who will show you psychedelic animation and fill your heart with joy. A chinese harp above the door and a chandelier. When he makes an elimination he finger bangs his asshole and tweaks the pitch.

What was Chad VanGaalen's involvement this time around?

He engineered and mixed the whole thing, played some drums,tambourine, cello, theremin, synthesizer and sang back-ups. His asshole is on there somewhere too.

From previous interviews, it seems the four of you all got involved inthe writing process for the first record, is this still the case or has one member emerged as the 'main' songwriter?

Similar to the first record, I typically have a skeleton but the songs change drastically when everyone else is involved. Lyrics and music. There are some songs that were written by the other folks.

The brilliant track Eyesore from Public Strain is currently available online; do you plan to release a single from Public Strain, with a video and the whole promo shabang?

That was actually an accident, the single selection! I think we'll release the other one later. I feel for the most part that videos are promo trash, but I did like that Health video that Eric Wareheim did.This child cuts a monster's penis off in the rain and is left alone screaming ( in the rain ) with blood all over it's face.

You seem happy to play around with your songs live, for instance Group Transport Hall from the s/t LP was almost unrecognisable when I saw you guys live, it was slowed down to a throbbing, hypnotic pace which I thought worked really well. Is that simply about stretching out a relatively short song to elongate your set, or are your songs constantly evolving?

Thanks. We just wanted to 'Chairs Missing' that track. Since we rely heavily on production we change songs around to make them work live. For the first record we just played them like a rock band with a few tapes in the mix. This time around we're going to manipulate the live sound more, possibly even bringing a sound 'guy' into the fold.

How much of your live set is improvised?

There are a few bits where no one really knows what's happening.

Would you ever allow Women’s music to be used in an advertisement?

I just want something for free, for the rest of my life.

You must have played with a fair few bands now at home and abroad, whohave been your favourite supports/tour partners so far?

Azeda Booth, Manchild, No More Shapes, Church Of The Very Bright Lights, Morgan Greenwood, Topless Mongos, Memory Screen, Sharp Ends, Faux Fur, His Clancyness, Deerhunter, Boundary Jim, DD/MM/YYYY, Metz, Freak Heat Waves, Nu Sensae, Shearing Pinx, Mutators.

Bit of a tabloid question but how is it being in a band with your brother? And going back a little, do you think it helped evolve your music taste having someone around that was into similar, esotericmusic?

Matt and I are actually feuding right now. Matt didn't wear shoes for a while and got me into 'Nam music. I started looking into different eras when I was 18.

You’ve mentioned your love of New York groups previously, particularly the No Wave scene; give us your ultimate NY band line-up…

Chris Frantz ( drum solo )

The Static

Teenage Jesus And The Jerks

Red Transistor

DNA

Neon Boys

And finally can you give me one musical and one non-musical influence?

Diana Ross / Jackie Chan
-Women are on tour in the UK in August

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