Listen to the premiere of US MALE's song "Summer of N64"
Summer of N64
Photo of US MALE courtesy of the band's Facebook page
Sink into the couch/ Trying not to think about it/ Trying hard not to see your smile/ The light shines on those earrings you have left here for a while.
These are the opening lines of “Summer of N64,” the crunchy debut song from US MALE, and a pretty accurate representation of the band’s profile: sensitive dudes who like to hang out. It is the project of Cassidy DW: certified dude, Fuel Café burrito-slinger and member of a slew of local bands that include Temple, Animals In Human Attire, Yellow Poems, Fuckhoney and Spineless Bastard. With US MALE, he assumes sole songwriting duties and has assembled a band of other familiar local players to record an EP, Major Moon, which comes out Jan. 13.
We caught up with DW at a recent rehearsal, where we sunk into a couch, flipped on “The Simpsons,” and talked about recording, his influences and the ’90s.
You’ve been in a ton of bands. What made you decide to break off and do US MALE?
It was kind of like setting everything else to the wayside, and getting to what makes me just fucking smile. It’s like the kind of music I’ll play at my job when I’m pissed, the stuff that would bring me out of it and cheer me up. Like, an old Yo La Tengo record or the new Yuck record or whatever. Things that were either, at the time, very contemporary or, in hindsight now, are nostalgic of the ’90s alternative and grunge and underground rock.
The music has lots of ’90s references, musically and lyrically. Why do you connect so strongly with that decade?
I was born in 1990. I think we were all pretty much born right around the same year. That shit just tugs at my heartstrings so intensely with nostalgia, and now that I’m trying to make it on my own, I find myself looking into my past for sources of staying grounded, or something. I’m playing old Pokemon video games or constantly watching old “Seinfeld” and “[The] Simpsons” re-runs and stuff like that. And then, my musical tastes: A lot of people say they like everything, and they do, and I’m definitely one of those people. It’s hard for me to focus on any one genre even if it’s what I focus on in my own project. As much as the music reflects a lot of ’90s romanticism and nostalgia, I still live in the present, and the music brings in inspiration that I can’t even help.
MN: You’ve put a lot of time into recording the EP. What’s that process been like?
DW: The idea was, and still has been, to do a song a session. We record the foundation and then we would not even have time at the session to do any overdubs or anything; I’d throw down a scratch vocal we could all reflect on it, and I could sit there and obsessively listen to it … and just getting so excited, just listening to it over and over again, waiting to hear what was going to happen next. That’s part of the process for me, is getting to have fun with it. I’m almost afraid of when I have to give US MALE over as a project to the kind of process that’s just: You go in and record live from the studio floor, a whole release in one day. I like that we’ve gotten to nurture this.
The four guys who are here tonight (DW, Myles Coyne, Brady Murphy, Justin Zander), is this the band?
This is going to be the band now. We didn’t even know it when we went into the studio. As soon as Brady started playing with us it all became crystal clear, what was gonna happen as a project, as a band. Everything streamlined a little bit. Anyone who takes a note of the liner notes of the cassette, they’ll find that maybe the songs Brady’s playing drums on are the most streamlined, almost the most live-from-the-studio-floor sounding.
What’s your plan for releasing Major Moon?
Well, it’s awesome because we actually just found out for sure today when I was working earlier at Fuel. I was talking to my boss Cory von Bohlen who runs Halo Of Flies records and plays and sings in Protestant, and I’d been asking him, “so like, should I do CDs, should I do tapes, whatever.” He said, “Don’t do CDs man,” just because it’s really inefficient to order smaller amounts, and I wanted to do a smaller run and get a chance to do a reprint with different art if it runs out, ’cause it’ll be fun to see if people buy it. So we’re gonna do cassettes. It’s gonna be a set of 100 cassettes, and each one is gonna come with a Halo of Flies record download card. I want people to feel encouraged to buy the artifact. Because we all remember having fun looking over the packaging of a record we really liked, at a time when we weren’t so jaded because we were constantly snagging whatever record we wanted off of the Internet.
US MALE will play its first show on Friday, Dec. 21 at The Uptowner as part of Riverwest Fest.