Brooklyn’s own, Not Blood Paint, is ending their tour tomorrow night at Rough Trade (8-16) and for many reasons, we are truly geeked for this gig. While they’ve been meandering their way through the south, the art-rockers have issued a credo of sorts, and I think it is something we all can agree on when seeing any gig whether it be pop, rock or rap.
We live in an age of distraction; whether it is posting to Instagram while the show is still happening (guilty), or checking your favorite sports team’s progress because we can, leaves us not fully engaged with the performance in front of us. Whether you know it or not, those little actions affect the band, your fellow concert-goers and in the end, your own reality of what just happened. So with this simple list, Not Blood Paint urges you to follow the steps below so you can be fully engaged and at the end of the night, happy that you lived in the present.
Take the following steps at the upcoming shows to BE WITH US:
Step 1: Pick a show that you can attend. Commit to being there no matter what.
Step 2: Before getting to the show, choose a way in which you can alter yourself for the experience.
Step 3: When at the show, try to not anticipate what will happen next. Try to receive impulses through the other free human beings in the space with you, and act as fully as possible through these impulses. Avoid being analytical but pay attention.
Step 4: If there is music, allow your body to be conducted by it. Try to trust that sounds have the power to transmit meaning directly through the body.
Step 5: Be playful with yourself and others. Try to silence your inner narrator and focus on what is happening right now. The world outside and the world you are currently inhabiting are both real and correspond to each other.
Step 6: When the experience has ended and it is time to leave the temporary meeting space, pay close attention to what happens on your way to home base. Are there indicators that you are currently ‘in limbo’ between two worlds?
Step 7: Take time to reflect on your experience. Look around for reasons! Take a bird’s eye perspective and treat it as a puzzle to be solved: what patterns or principles can be discerned? What motivations? Where could things have gone differently? Can you assign qualitative differences between options?
It is our hope that the more we do this together, the more we store up the will power to create out of suffering as opposed to shutting down. BE WITH US. Let’s look each other in the eyes. – Not Blood Paint
We were intrigued about the steps above so asked the guys what it all means and more in this Q&A:
1. There’s a lot of storytelling woven into your new album, Believing is Believing. What kinds of real-life stories/art/experiences inspired the ones that came to life in the album?
Joe Stratton (guitar / vocals): I saw a homeless man on the subway holding his head and shaking saying,”I am an angel, I have a halo, white power, white power, tampons!” and then the rest of it I just assumed he meant
Seth Miller (drums/vocals): Neighbor was written after Hurricane Sandy, and that sort of was a processing of our experience with that. We experienced it indirectly, there were a lot of people close to us who experienced it very directly and we visited some places that experienced it even more directly than that and the song came out of that process.
Joe: Play Nice was based on a relationship I had with a man who used to tie me up. He would tie me up when he went to work and let me out when he got home.
George Frye (guitar / vocals): Clearly, Imbalance comes from the events we’ve been seeing transpire in the police and black communities in our nation and our frustration with that dynamic.
Reference the track by track. : https://spillmagazine.com/spill-feature-not-blood-paint-believing-believing/
2. A couple publications have described you as a “terrifying” band. Does this surprise you at all? Do you think it’s a good descriptor for you?
G: It doesn’t surprise us and yes it’s a good descriptor. Next question.
J: It hurts my feelings.
S: I feel like if someone were to call us terrifying that maybe it means we’re doing part of our job right. I think we’re trying to scare ourselves a lot of times, or throw ourselves off balance in some way. And we’re trying to get something out of that process, but perhaps it would be even a greater sign of success also saw the playfulness that came with that. It’s not mean spirited in any way. It’s a playful violence.
3. What was the biggest challenge in the studio when working on Believing is Believing?
G: Working with Jim Bertini
J: Working with Kahan James
Mark Jaynes (bass / vocals): The two people that weren’t us were the worst part about it.
S: I would reverse that entirely and say they were the saviors of the projects.
M: So you’re saying the other three members of Not Blood Paint were the worst part?
G: SETH was the worst part!
S: I would say the biggest obstacle was our own sense of perfectionism. We rehearsed everything to perfection to be exactly as we wanted it in every detail. If we would have been able to just hang out in a room and do that, we would just do that over and over again till we went mad and still wouldn’t have an album. So we had Jim and Kahan playing the important roles of poking fun at us when we took ourselves a little too seriously, I thought that was kind of nice. We set some rules, after 8 takes we had to do a hard cut, no more takes. Which we mostly failed to follow.
M: Sure, but it’s good to have a number. What’s the thing Kahan would always say?
M: Yes, “hullabaloo!” He’s an extraordinary producer. No, it’s…a piece is finished when it can only be made different, not better.
4. Alternatively, what were the highlights? Are there certain parts of the album you guys are especially happy with?
G: The tambourines in the breakdown from Borderline.
S: The entire song the french song.
G: Kahan worked wonders on that one.
S: Yes, he was the spark for one of the most successful parts of that song, composition wise. Also, really happy we found a really great shape to it, even though the album wasn’t written with any sort of shape in mind.
G: And weirdly, it wasn’t a parallelogram, which is what we were expecting. But it turned out to be…fairly rhombus.
J: So rhombus.
5. How was life on tour? Which cities or venues were the best?
G: Snug Harbor in Charlotte
M: We love the south
S: When it come to spaces and venues who are doing cool things that are exciting to us that have their own sort of ethos, RowdyDowdy in Atlanta was awesome, Be Here Now in Muncie, IN is awesome. Electroganic in Norfolk is awesome in that regard. oh and the pretty pit.
M: I’ll throw down for the storied PJ’s Lager House in Detroit, MI. Sounded great, people were lit. Live late night. Juju.
S: Snug Harbor in Charlotte had that kind of juju, we already said that. What else, Savannah.
G: Big time juju in Savannah. And Baltimore, greatest city in America, really whipped it out in the last leg.
J: So basically everywhere that isn’t chicago.
S: And there were some mystery ones, too–don’t know quite what’s up in Pittsburgh but we’re excited to go back, something’s going on there.
G: We can feel the spirit there.
6. We’re pretty intrigued by the instructions you guys provide for those attending your show. Can you explain a little bit about the experience you’re aiming to create?
S: we’re trying to offer people tools to turn a show into an active conversation, you can come and watch a show if you want but hopefully we’re giving you some touch points to enter in and make it a conversation. that’s a goal.
G: I think the points are pretty clear.
M: We already said it, we don’t need to say it again.
G: And we can’t say it any better than we said it before
M: Do we want to say the word Goldsmith?
(Mm’s, ah’s and nodding)
S: We’re going to manifest the Goldsmith, that’s a goal. But it’s only going to happen if we decentralize the sense of power. The band Not Blood Paint is not going to make the Goldsmith happen and you as an individual is not going to make the goldsmith happen, but if we work together, if we work harder together, the goldsmith might just show up.
M: How do you know when the goldsmith shows up?
G: When we can’t hear our own thoughts anymore.
S: Good indicators: we’ll see bodies moving around, including ours.
M: Mostly you just know.
J: We know when we can communicate with the crowd without words. There’s an understanding in the room
7. What has been the audience response so far? Have you seen a change in the way people act during your performances?
J: We do see a big change in people who have never seen us before from the beginning of a set until the end.
S: We make people fight through a kind of skepticism
J: It goes away quickly
S: We’ve seen some examples of people losing their sense of constructed identity and just giving over to the moment
M: One time, on a night the Goldsmith was shining particularly brightly, we had this show in Munice, IN, where, long story short, there was an explosion of fried chicken from the ceiling. And we decided to feverishly pick it up and start devouring it. And then we had people from the crowd coming up to us wanting to eat it, too. It was wild. Afterward, a woman came up to us and actually said, “I’m a vegan and I just ate chicken out of your fucking hands.”
J: For people coming to see us for maybe the second time, there’s usually some eager anticipation for some kind of surprise. Something unexpected.
G: I think that goes for the people who are coming to see us for the 17th time, as well.
M: that is an exciting thing to feel. We take joy in delivering the surprise, or trying to deliver the surprise.
S: We’re also looking to BE surprised.
G: And often ARE
S: We often have people show up to the show justlookking wild and we don’t know what’s going on with these creatures, they might have a specific outer appearance that might be alien to us and we don’t know who we’re dealing with, and that’s exciting. Don’t know if we’re dealing with a hostile presence or a benign force.
We are also thrilled to premiere Not Blood Paint’s new video for “I Am An Angel,” as it’s a heavy-rocking tune that hits all the right notes. The cinematography has the perfect amount of surreal vibes to make us feel dirty, but yet wanting more of the grungy goodness.
Buy your tickets for Blood Not Paint’s headlining gig at Rough Trade on 8-16-16 HERE.