Most people assume that since I run a site that focuses on acoustic performances, that I must be a fan of acoustic music.  And I am… to a certain extent.  But it’s not what why I started this site.  See, my theory has always been that a good musician is a good musician no matter what the musical delivery method.  This focus on acoustic performances is just a fun way to test that theory...  A test to see if when you strip all the technology away, the emperor still has his clothes, so to speak. This week’s featured artist, Death Kit, passed the test with flying colors.
To be honest, when I initially approached Death Kit, it was with a wee bit apprehension.  While I quite enjoyed their music, it was seeped in electronica which could be rather difficult to translate if they happened to rely too heavily on it create their sound.  So I was more than pleasantly surprised when we hit the location and they effortlessly turned out this wholly acoustic number… and so was everyone else heading home that particular evening.

Watching the video, you can definitely tell there was a bit of skepticism and nervous laughter when we first boarded.  Just watch the woman in the corner between singer August Brown and bassist Cove Gelt… You can see her actually cover her face, bracing for the worst.  But as soon as August opens his mouth, everyone’s focus immediately shifts to the band.  And, by the 1:25 mark, that woman in the corner is completely into it too, bobbing her head along to the music.  
Death Kit will be playing at the Silverlake Lounge Wednesday night at 10pm, so if you are in the LA area, be sure to go check them out.  I’m definitely planning on it.

GORILLACOUSTIC: What does the world need to know about Death Kit?

AUGUST BROWN: That we love you terribly and promise to call more.

GA: Your output is fairly electronic in nature, yet you easily broke out this acoustic number for the shoot. Does your writing process generally start more acoustically or does it just depend on what you have at hand when inspiration strikes?

AB: Death Kit started as a wholly laptop-based project that I wasn’t even producing for – a friend helmed most of the programming on an early e.p. that we did in our bedrooms with barely any organic instrumentation. But I’ve always been hugely bored with most live electronica, and really wanted a band to build out performances and give people something to watch. I like the idea of not really revealing what sound is coming from where onstage while still being really physical and tactile as a live act. So once I took over production duties, I made a point of writing loops and melodies and structures and kind of stopping halfway through the arrangement process, to let Terry and Cove and Chad finish the songs off. They’re all such impossibly creative and fantastic players, and now that the lineup is settled it’s getting way more egalitarian in writing arrangements and we’re switching instruments more often, so we’re feeling more familiar with the “songs” instead of just “parts” and can translate that to different settings as needed.

GA: Why did you choose to perform on a train?

AB: Chad thought of it, but it was apropos. I’m kind of riveted by public transit; that grand Metro route schematic for LA county that you see at bus stops can hypnotize me for hours. This is such a stoner musing, but absorbing the sheer scope of all the different places you can go from any given point on that grid just kind of amazes me. And most of the techno I’m listening to now, like Basic Channel and Gas, is kind of made for night bus rides coming down from a long night out. There’s something so sweet and kind of celestial about being surrounded by mute strangers in terrible fluorescent light. I ride the Gold Line recreationally, it still has a bit of the ghost of the Red Cars about it, and I can’t help but pine for what Los Angeles could have been if those weren’t torn out.

In a different life where I could perform simple math or draw a straight line to save my life, I’d love to be a city planner. I kind of look at writing music as solving a similar structural problem -- there’s an end goal of creating a particular emotional world, and you try to make as many right decisions as you can to get close to that ideal.

GA: What’s in your death kit?

AB: Scotch.

GA: What other local artists (besides yourselves of course) should people be checking out?

AB: Well, Wet & Reckless and Emperor X are just movements unto themselves, and it would behoove all of you to go shovel money at them and cook elaborate vegan meals in alms to their artistic benevolence.

Gorillacousticers probably don’t need me to tell them this, but Health is the best band in L.A., it’s not even a contest anymore. But beyond that, Infinite Body is composing some crushing, heartbreaking ambient pieces, and the Franks are just pure pop whiplash. Our friend Ferraby Lionheart has a really winsome new record too.

GA: If you could do another gorillacoustic performance anywhere else in the world, where would you do it?

AB: Probably inside the wooden stilt house on an island off the west coast of Thailand where I had the loveliest week of my life. In all likelihood it washed away in the tsunami, but I have to believe it’s still there.

GA: Better straight to SyFy "on a Train" movie: "Snakes on a Train", "Zombies on a Train" or "Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus on a Train"?

AB: I don’t know, you can’t really top “Under Seige 2:Dark Territory” for riveting train-centric cinema.