Interview: Audio Collagist Co La on Past, Process, Ponytail (R.I.P.) and Plunderphonics

Many a freelance music journalist takes on copywriting for artists, labels and PR firms to round out what’s typically a rather spare and piecemeal income. I’m no exception. We don’t talk about it much because it seems like, and can be, a compromise of integrity. We make rules for ourselves to keep our motives pure or, at least, bifurcated, but we typically don’t give away our employers. I’m making an exception for Baltimore’s Co La, recently featured on Pitchfork behind his just released Daydream Repeater LP (NNA Tapes), because our fact-finding interview was so fascinating that I’d be remiss as a journalist (so much for bifurcation) not to share it. It’s been itching at me for three months.

Co La, a.k.a. Matthew Papich, is a collage artist at the surface. He samples, he interpolates, he rips off, he recreates. He borrows from sun-dappled reggae and dust-caked soul. He takes bricks from Spector’s Wall of Sound and builds strange huts from them. What traditional beat-makers call loops, he calls “loopholes,” not because they represent his circumnavigation of copyright law, but because they act, for him, as portals into “magic grooves that can just roll forever.” The best part of a song for Co La is like that bizarre kismet tube that leads Donnie Darko from one surreal scene to the next on the way to the end of the world. I’m for music that compels without added exposition, but reading Co La’s thoughts on process provides the listener a loophole into his strange songs.

So hit the jump below to check out a tune, then to dig into the conversation. The questions are incredibly banal since my job was simply to gagther cold fact for a press release (which I’ll include at the end), and the exchange was by email, but, the answers more than make up for it. Let’s start at the beginning…

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Q&A: Double Dagger on post-punk + graphic design

Baltimore post-punk trio Double Dagger has just released a real beast of a record, MORE (via Thrill Jockey), which juxtaposes the moodiness of Fugazi against the searing energy of Fucked Up. It’s a great album, bar none, and turns out these fellas are also a great interview. Click on over to A.V. Club Austin to read about the album’s bizarre birth, the band’s choice to completely eschew the use of electric guitar, and uses for metal band names that you haven’t yet thought of.

Listen to Double Dagger’s “The Lie/The Truth” in Now Hear This (right).

Zestfully mean

The A.V. Club recently released its “Spring Music” issue highlighting some fresh faces for the freshest of seasons. I spoke to Dan Deacon, Adam “doseone” Drucker (Themselves) and Bill Callahan, though not a single one of them seemed too stoked for the season. In fact, they were respectively cranky, aggressive and ponderous — but I’ll be damned if they didn’t give great interview.