Photo courtesy Starving Weirdos
Brian Pyle and Merrick McKilay’s creeping wheezes and flushes of dense, blissed-out drone and scrape have been crafted over the past seven years in bedrooms and bunkers around Humboldt, California. Their work has resulted in a slew of never-released albums chock-full of mesmerizing free rock and ambient shimmer and shake.
They finally released a CD-R for public consumption through an out-of-left-field hookup with Aquarius Records in San Francisco late last year. And guess what? It blew minds. Floating down the same stream as Double Leopards, Birchville Cat Motel, and No-Neck Blues Band, the album sent streaks of cavernous feedback into the atmosphere. It turns out a whole bunch of folks bought it and so now the guys are releasing a smattering of their moaning, groaning abstract meditations on labels like JYRK, Root Strata, and their own Athiestsaregods imprint.
Vice: You’ve made something like 14 albums and it all sounds really different. What’s the process?
Starving Weirdos: We try to foster an approach that’s free yet focused. Most of it is created on the spot and so isn’t repeatable. The devices we use to make sounds constantly change and our whole approach to recording varies greatly from piece to piece. We layer, treat, and edit afterward—whatever it takes to make the end result compelling and rad.
Why has no one heard all these hours of music before now?
We’re pretty geographically and socially isolated. We were so busy playing and recording that getting it out there wasn’t our priority. We’ve got tons more stuff to release and are playing and recording all the time.
You guys seem to be on a similar trip to some elder statesmen that nobody has ever heard of, like Taj Mahal Travelers, AMM, and Musica Elettronica Viva.
I saw AMM play once and it totally changed my life. We have a deep respect for the work of folks like Morton Feldman, Alvin Lucier, La Monte Young, Derek Bailey, and Harry Partch too.
Do you guys have a particular recipe either musical or edible?
Two bowls of extremely potent pot. None of us eats for three or four days before a show and afterward we feast on ramen and cleverly concealed containers of low-grade hooch.
Would you be inclined to eat each other if the going got tough?
Most definitely, yes.
Starving Weirdos have a double CD-R coming out on Root Strata in February and a CD-R on JYRK in March. Keep your eyes peeled for other releases during the year. Contact Starving Weirdos at firstname.lastname@example.org.