by Hank Lacher on May 30th, 2012
Sinizine.net caught up with Linear Downfall after a sick set filled with new songs, a new second guitarist (Dom), and their signature pink and blue duct tape with matching LED petal boards. They have been serving mad tempo changes and noisy, technical, groovy riffs to Nashville for years, starting at Rocketown and the occasional house or park show and progressing to the higher-capacity Exit/In. However, they are most at home in places like The End and Springwater that perfectly match the screaming strangeness of their schizo-rock.
Charlee (vocals, bass, synth) and brother Chance (guitar, vocals) have been writing music together since damn near 1992 The siblings added William Passionfruit on drums about four years ago and haven’t stopped since. The band recently returned from a trip out to Oklahoma to record with The Flaming Lips, so we’ll get the scoop on that as well as William Passionfruit’s date with Bjork.
Through a flood of sweaty kids I waded, biding my time and looking for an opening to steal them away from friends, family and fans. Eventually, my creeping paid off and I caught them by their van, about to load up. Enjoy.
[Editor's note: all dialogue labeled "LD" is a quick, stream-of-consciousness response from Charlee, Chance and Will almost in unison as they play off of each other word-by-word]
SZ: Hey guys, what are your influences that aren’t musicians?
Charlee: I guess good filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick and…
LD: …. UFOs, rainbows, the Sun, the Earth (and how it looks), flowers, depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, strobe lights, kaleidoscopes. Definitely kaleidoscopes, PTSD…
Will: And OB/GYN. Thank you, next question.
SZ: Tell me about working with The Flaming Lips.
Charlee: One night, we were playing Springwater and Ke$sha, of Ke$sha, brought The Flaming Lips, of The Flaming Lips, and Wayne (you guessed it- of The Flaming Lips) came up to Chance and I and said, “We’re here so what do we do?”
I told him, “Well we are about to play, so you should watch us play”. He stood in the front row and rocked out while tweeting us. After the show he got my number, we stayed in contact and then he said that he wanted us to come out and record at his house.
Chance: After about eleven hours of driving that was about to kill us…
Will: We died, and then we lived, and then we went to Wayne’s house…
Charlee: … (ahem) We recorded three original songs and King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man”.
Chance: Wayne asked us to cover that and we didn’t think we could do it justice at first, but we recorded anyway. Then we did two more of our songs and another one we wrote at his house that was based around a weird ribbon synth that was given to him by Sean Lennon.
Charlee: We also recorded a song Wayne wrote called “Karen, Don’t Be Sad”.
SZ: Are you guys still self-recording?
Chance: Yeah, in our studio and even some of the days with Wayne. We like to get it down ourselves and then have our engineer come in and clean it up a bit, so it falls somewhere between good and shit. Quality wise, that is- can’t have it sounding too polished.
SZ: Time for the “Lightning Round”!
LD: Uh… ok.
SZ: Which country, were you large enough to eat a country, would you eat and why?
Will: Iceland, because Bjork lives there.
Charlee: Paris, because of all the delicious pastries. I mean France.
SZ: It’s a good country, that Paris.
Chance: (thinking) Any country except the USA?
SZ: How many Linear Downfall members does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Will: Because it’s a fucking light bulb!
SZ: Will, you have the reputation of being a lady’s man. Is there anyone you’d like to give a shout out to?
Will: I just want to thank Bjork for taking me to my senior prom. She was really high maintenance but we pulled it off. I had to fly her in from Iceland and she would only eat Spaghetti-O’s the whole time which sucked because a bunch of places were out of Spaghetti-O’s for some reason. They were having a Spaghetti-O festival in um… Lebanon so even though almost everyone was out of Spaghetti-O’s, I managed to pull it off.
SZ: You guys do a lot of noise on stage though you are not by any means a noise band. What does that part mean to you guys?
Charlee: All of the chaos in our heads is channeled into that noise.
Chance: You never know what is going to happen. You might wake up to the worst day of your life and you might wake up to the best. Music has to follow life.
Charlee: There is so much static in our heads sometimes. We have to get it out but you can’t just stand there while playing noise. Chance will be trying to saw his amp in half and it becomes a full body thing.
SZ: What does being able to dance to your disco beats, circle pit, groove to the blues and generally freak out do to the audience?
Charlee: At first, they didn’t move and just stared at us. It looks really great now to look out and see everyone getting into it and keep up with our time changes and open up like that. Since dancing is a thing that a lot of people are self-conscious about but when people are moving however the fuck they want to, it makes us really happy.
SZ: Boys, one last question. I heard that Charlee unloaded the whole van tonight. What do you have to say for yourselves?
Will: I was setting up a projector.
Chance: I was helping Will set up a projector- it didn’t work. To be fair, we loaded it and she had some help.
Charlee: It’s ok. I’ve got to get buff somehow.
Will: Girl, you already buff! Look at dem muscles!
You can find them at lineardownfall.com and pretty much every social networking site but screw all of that- just go out and see them play! June 2nd, they will be playing at the Rotary Amphitheater and then at Two Purple Pigs on June 6th, both in Manchester for the Music Tree Fest. This is part of an effort to raise money to make Bonnarroo’s land a permanent fixture because as William Passionfruit says, “That shit probably costs millions.”