Hey there, ChipWINners! Welcome back to Quick Shots, my monthly album review column that brings you the latest from the scene to help you determine if something is right for you. This month, I’ll be reviewing four new albums from friends in the scene that are at different points in their careers. While some are just getting back in the scene, or are continuing to thrive in it, one is taking their final bow, and leaving us with a parting gift before they move on with their lives. It’s going to be a bittersweet journey this time, folks. So take a seat, plug in those headphones, and get ready for a rollercoaster of feels, as we look at music from The Laohu, +Let’s Disinfect+, StarStorm, and BitTrashRiot.
The last month has been pretty insane for me. I just moved from Boston to the glorious concrete jungle of NYC for work, and part of my plan is to be closer to the scene here, and other great music scenes I love. New York City is a breeding ground for inspiration if you look in the right places. There’s always something to do, someone playing a gig, someplace hidden that’s DIY filled with passion projects. There are young people and people who’ve become worldly throughout the decades, taking what they know and using it to hopefully inspire others. This brings me to this month’s article: I wanted to cast some light onto some of the people in these converted warehouses and buildings to showcase the positive difference they’re making with art, visuals, music, sound, and booking.
Last month, I had a really cool opportunity to play at a Kick.Snare event, held in Bushwick. The event is hosted and run by Kris Keyser (also known as ‘Onism’) and Christophe Richard (also known as ‘Note!’). I’ve also had the opportunity to attend my first PULSEWAVE show, which was the second time I was at Babycastles. This article is about the last month and the kind people I’ve come across at a few NYC events.
Hey wassup ChipWINners! Welcome back to Quick Shots: the album review column in which I break down the highs and lows of new releases, then give you a numerical TL;DR to help you decide which new releases give you the most bang for your buck! This week, I’ve got two albums that are very much skirting the fringes of what can be considered chiptune. But, they’reboth incredibly bodacious records from two rad artists thatyou guys should be paying attention to. So if you’re in the mood for something new, straps yourselves in and take a ride with a black guy as we check out new music from Hyperultra and Slothfella!
Hey Guys! Welcome back to RCwK! This time around, I got a hold of an artist I’ve been wanting to chat with for a long time! Sean Monistat is a man of many faces and immeasurable talent. While he’s not quite as prolific as Carl Peczynski, Sean is a similar character in that he does have an act to suit every style of his. So when I reached out to him for an interview, I wasn’t sure which act I was going to get. When he told me which one it was, though, I got super excited! Not only would it offer me a chance to speak with Sean, but also with his wife, Duchess Wendi, and their partner in crime, Rebekah Red. To top it off, it’s an act that is very appropriate for this time of year! Without further ado, I wish all you ChipWINners a Happy Halloween, and present you with a special (trick or) treat: Thorazine Unicorn!
Kuma: Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me for the interview!
Wendi: Thank you for having us!
Kuma: So, lets get this thing started with a question I haven’t asked in a while: who came up with the name for the band and why’d you choose it?
Wendi: Our Personal Astrologer, George Courtney, came up with the name. As soon as it came out of his mouth, we knew it was Magickal.
Kuma: Really? That’s an answer I wasn’t expecting. I was aware you guys were magick practitioners based on conversations you’ve had with mutual friends on Facebook, but wasn’t aware you had a personal astrologer. Does your spirituality play a big part in your music, or is it as playful as it seems on the surface? Tell me, what does your music mean to you guys?
Wendi: Our music is a combination of the spiritual aspects of our personal lives, intertwined with events and things in the universe which we find fascinating, and those things for which we feel passionate. Things from the past, present, and future. This may sound really romantic, but we found that with each other, we could finally express our inner voices.
Rebekah: We actually met because of our love of the unusual, and felt we were destined to make music together.
Kuma:Very nice. That seems to compliment your rather diverse sound. I have to say, my exposure to industrial and goth music, so to speak, is limited, but of what I’ve heard of acts like skinny puppy, bauhaus, etc, they seem to lack the sense of, dare I say funk, you three have. When you guys were crafting your sound, was this something you were planning on? Making goth music that was more approachable, or even danceable?
Sean: We make music that we personally enjoy, like the music that I grew up on. Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, combined with the technology that was around during that time. Analog synths and old game systems.
Rebekah: We make music that we like and it’s influenced by a lot of different styles, so when other people find something in it, particularly if it’s not the type of music they usually listen to, that’s very gratifying.
Wendi: I make them listen to the angriest music.
Sean: We don’t plan on sounding like any artist in particular, but i take note of the things that annoy me about certain songs that i love and do what i can to not do that.
Kuma: Hahahahaha! I’d love to find out more about that angriest music later, but for now, I want to go back a little bit to something you said before, about how you guys feel you can best express yourselves when you three are together. What I’d like to know is what it is each of you bring to the table that makes this collective work so well? I don’t just mean in terms of who performs what role on stage, but I mean, emotionally, creatively, what do you guys that the others may not that makes everything fit so well among you three?
Rebekah: I come to music making from more of a singer/songwriter perspective, and working with the tools which Sean and Wendi bring, we are able to make something none of us could make alone. It’s validating to have found people who share ownership and who will let you add to what they have written, and want lyrics about dystopian futures, and lonely space dogs.
Sean: I create songs that express a feeling I have or want to make the audience feel, but I find myself struggling with lyrics and melodies. I felt trapped and thematically obscure before.
Wendi: I’ve been writing poetry since I was very young, but I never showed it to anyone. It was so personal and so private but I have always wanted to share it, but I didn’t know how. I have, with Sean and Rebekah’s help, been able to give my words to other people in a way that doesn’t scare me.
Kuma: Wow, the diversity of that response really made me smile. Although I’m surprised to hear you guys say some of these things!
Wendi, in the couple times I’ve met you, you’ve never come across as anything other than quietly confident. The idea of you seeming scared to share your writing kind of baffles me!
Sean, with how prolific you are and all the musical acts you’re involved with, from +Let’s Disinfect+ to thelonglegs and even TheRaPists, the idea of you feeling thematically stuck when you’ve been so diverse is obscene!
And Rebekah, while I’ve not met you in person, between what I’ve heard of you through the music I’ve heard and what I’m hearing now, you come across as the most steadfast of the group in your vision and what you want to express! You guys really had trouble expressing yourselves without each other? I just…I find that incredibly hard to believe, that despite all this creativity, you guys are all revealing yourselves to be such private, and somewhat inhibited people.
Rebekah: It’s not really that we weren’t able to, I mean it’s not like I’m living under the stairs! But what it looks like when I express myself BY myself, it looks different than this. We’re each parts of the whole, that’s really what I’m saying.
Kuma: You know, I didn’t picture you that way, but now that you said it, I’m compelled to do a bad photoshop of your head super imposed on Harry Potter’s body in his under-the-stairs room.
Reb: That’s pretty great.
Sean: My artistic mission has always been to push things to the extreme, and oftentimes that marginalizes what I do. Good dance music is good dance music, and the songs we create together have a pop appeal that i can’t create on my own.
By the way, I love bad Photoshop.
Wendi: Well, a lot of my lyrics are from really painful, secret times in my life, where no one but my notebooks knew what I was thinking and feeling. I guess I had a shell to retreat to in my writing, and that was very comforting for those times. I definitely did come out of my shell by performing– as a Dominatrix for a time– and then as a puppeteer. I came to find my strength in being on stage. Like, I absolutely do not get stage fright anymore. I just get up there and I’m my True Self.
Kuma: That’s very cool to hear. And that response makes more sense to me, Sean, that in some ways, these lovely young ladies here help reel you in some so you can make a cohesive piece of music together. Wendi’s revelation of her blossoming into actualization through puppetry and Dominance is only more evidence of such.
That being said, lets talk about the album you’ve put so far: Metamortify.
How long did you guys work on that EP? Is there any song one on it that really speaks to you guys individually and as a group as something you’re proud of? has it, now that it’s out there, met your expectations of what you guys wanted from yourselves as musicians?
Sean: I am incredibly proud of it, considering we did it all ourselves. In working together on it so long, the hardest part was deciding when it was finished. We have grown so much in the time we have been together as both musicians and lyricists, that the songs we are currently working on have me indescribably excited for the next release.
Wendi: I’m proud of every song, for sure. They’ve all evolved in their own time and way. Some of them were very different when we first conceived them, but they grew like a chest-burster in Reb’s ribcage.
Rebekah: Picking one song would be like choosing a favorite child. If we wanted children. Which we don’t.
Kuma: But guys: if you have children, you could plump them up and give them to me as a gift, and then I can eat them and make each of you a lovely set of gloves out of their skin! Don’t you want children skin gloves? Don’t you want the cycle of mutual love to grow between us?
Wendi: I don’t know what to say…how thoughtful!!!
Sean: Winter is coming.
Kuma: Winter IS coming, and children skin is the best skin. A second skin, if you will. That being said, when can we expect a second album from you guys? And what is next for Thorazine Unicorn in general?
Kuma: Very nice! Is this your first time performing at this venue? Also, do you have any other shows or appearances lined up in the near future after this? Can we expect to see you three at MAGFest?
Sean: This is actually the first live music performance at Catland, which is a fantastic occult bookstore that we can’t recommend highly enough. The performance space in the large back room is very reminiscent of the underground basement dungeon goth clubs that our music sounds best in.
Rebekah:: After Friday’s show, we have some other irons in the fire, and you may very well see us at the Gaylord!
Kuma: NICE! That being said, Sean, Wendi, Rebekah, it’s a pleasure having you three here with me and getting to know you all better. Is there anything you’d like to say in closing before we wrap things up?
Wendi: Thanks for chatting with us! I’d just like to invite people to let us entertain you! I think we offer something for everyone who likes electronic music.
Rebekah: There are so many different things you can do with this technology, so many ways of shaping a musical landscape. Thank you letting us share some of our vision.
That’s it for this this issue of RCwK! Don’t forget to follow/like/subscribe to Thorazine Unicorn, and if you’re in NYC tomorrow night and need to burn off all that energy from your trick-or-treat induced sugar rush, check them out at Catland at 9pm! Til next time!