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Carving Spears with Needle Gun

June 12, 2008

Now that the heat wave has kind of subsided, you can relive the last week of Code Red swamp weather with a sweaty warehouse show. Teenage noise foursome Needle Gun shares a bill tonight at the Copy Cat with Mr. Moccasin (which includes City Paper contributor Jared Fischer), Aghost, Birthing Nets, and St. Louis’ Muscle Brain. Noise checked in, via e-mail, with Needle Gun about the band’s origins, DIY methods, and what to expect this evening. (Apparently, balloons.)

City Paper: How and when did Needle Gun form? Were you all playing music before, either alone or in some of other configuration with current members?

Needle Gun: Needle Gun formed two summers ago, in this type of heat. It started as Jack [Patterson] and Max [Eilbacher], then we peeled Gram [Hummell] and Mike [Allison] off the walls with phone calls once the temperature kept going up. We were all good friends and the jams were (still are) worth the sweat. All of us had noise or rock bands that played each other’s parties and basements and put out “CDRs” … none are really worth mentioning, some browsing on MySpace and Xanga crypts can lead you to them.

CP: Is your music strictly improvised? Also, your performances, that I’ve seen, have been rather short. I think some people find fault with that–as if they don’t get a solid 30-45 minute set they’ve being stiffed in some sense. Have you dealt with any complaints in this regard? Also, what is (or would be) your response?

NG: Our music is and isn’t improvised . . . sometimes we grab sticks, bones, clang, sing, scrape out a jam that’s right pleasant or terribly trite, other times we end up carving spears, making tools, and drawing maps to the spots we wish to reach soundwise. Some people do feel we play too short, and that’s fine with us, 15-45 minutes is the time frame I like to see MOST bands play, we make no [exception]. If people do not care for that, I’m sorry, can’t sweep the sumac every time.

CP: You all seem well-integrated into the experimental and noise scenes here in Baltimore. While Needle Gun has a core membership, it seems you all have collaborated with a number of other musicians. Also, you all are fond of split releases with other groups. I’m curious as to some of your favorite collaborators? Also, how do these co-releases come about?

NG: In regards to a Baltimore “scene,” it is simply our friends. We all . . . LOVE playing music, so if our other friends want to lay some licks or fried fish down to our table they are always welcome. Sometimes people are busy making money or turning soil, so other people take their spots, there’s a long list somewhere of all the people that have added to our stew. Jen Kirby, Marc Rothe, Scotty Russell, Dan Gilmore, Alex “newage” Strama, Sam “hexsxrew” Garrett, and Jaxsonmil Flytrap are a few recent ones.

If we really like another band or musician, sharing a split release with them is an honor and a great excuse to record some tunes. Also, riverlike internet networking sites (at times a barren waste of life) have been a major hatching ground for shows, contacts, and media releases as we message nice folks from faraway places.

CP: On the subject of the Baltimore underground music scene, you all are in tight with some smaller local labels like MT6 and Terra Firma. I get the sense that these small-run, DIY releases have significance for you all–like, you are not just working with smaller labels until something bigger happens along. There’s a definite community vibe that shines through in you penchant for working with these labels as well as your fondness for co-releases. Can you speak to this community you’re part of and what value, or importance, you find in DIY methods of getting your music out there?

NG: I can’t stress enough the factor of friends on this Baltimore music “scene” equation. Labels like MT6 or Terra Firma do things correctly, [there's] no image or sell-to-kill ratio, the whole thing is so informal and easy. A CD-R is released because Scott (of Terra Firma) or Alex (MT6) likes our music, simple as that. No money = no bullshit/axis of power. If 0-3 people buy our music this year, it has been a great year of the brown rat, no ghost of John Lennon or holographic David Geffens flipping my lights at timed increments at night.

CP: So, for those who have yet to see you perform, what can they expect from this Thursday’s show?

NG: I can predict as well as you. All we know as of now is Mr. Dirt Scrussells will be hitting skins, balloons will be used, and all four core members will be there. Hopefully live music will sprout, with those wood floors you never know.

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