Are Cellphone NXNE 2013's most charming boy band?
If you're as sick of whack slow music as I am Cellphone offers good reception. It's fast, it's eerie, it's cool, it's now, and most importantly, it sure gets your head boppin'.
I recently chatted with the fearsome foursome over email to get some insight to this can of nuts called "Cellphone." Be warned they are a beast with four heads: I asked them separately a series of questions that ended up highlighting each unique personality. Mike: the Party Dude. Alex: cool but rude. Jay: builds machines (brain) and Eric: a giant rat (jk).
Using these unique responses I was able to use my trained writing ability to present a cohesive yet individual Q & A with Toronto's Cellphone.
Hi guys! Please state your hometown and role in "Cellphone."
Eric: Newton Massachusetts, I play guitar and synths.
Mike: Ft. Lauderdale FL, I play bass and lead vocals.
Jay : Toronto, I play Guitar, Synthesizers and Vocals
Alex: Toronto, I am a synthesist and a programmer.
As I understand it you fellows met in college. How did Cellphone come to be?
Alex: We are four best friends.
Eric: Me and Mike recorded a couple punk songs drunk last summer and the rest just fell in place.
Mike: Alex and Jay both joined the band shortly after the first demos were made.
Jay: Half true, Eric and I met in our university residence, and we met Mike and Alex later on through mutual acquaintances.
Alex: It just kinda had to happen.
That's really fascinating. If I put a gun to your head and made you pick one band/performer you'd aspire Cellphone to be who would it be?
Jay: If you put a gun to my head I'd probably tell you to just end it all already.
Mike: Ted Nugent fronting Manowar.
Jay: Seriously, though... Probably U2's The Edge.
Alex: Animal Collective.
Ok, ok, we're getting off topic, let's get deeper into what makes "Cellphone" tick. A lot of your songs incorporate "funny" voices, allusions to shit and some fairly goofy synthesizer noises. Is "Cellphone" a funny band or are these elements much more cerebral?
Eric: Cellphone is not funny; life is funny.
Mike: We essentially started off as a joke.
Jay: It's true. Our self-titled debut tape consists of what could be considered unorthodox vocals and synthesizer sounds. There is definitely an element of humour (or paradox) on that record, born from an awkward self-awareness of our musical infancy.
Mike: We produced our first release within the first month of being a band, so we kinda used our initial goofball instincts. Since our first release we have gotten a lot less jokey, but we still want to keep our music fun to a certain extent...
Alex: That question sucks.
To continue this introspective bent: do you personally feel Cellphone has an agenda beyond the music itself: an aesthetic something you want to celebrate or condemn? A mood you want to propagate? Or even a philosophy?
Mike: Things you will never have, places you will never go, people you will never meet.
Jay: I don't think we have an agenda, we aren't Anarchists and we're not N'Sync - although we do value some qualities of both.
Eric: It would be cool to get some billboards up. I would like that.
Jay: We just want to create something routed in classical pop principles.
Mike: Cellphone is a demented brotherhood with a slight case of boy band syndrome.
Alex: Hounds of Hate is probably my favorite band
Deep, man, deep. Now's lets talk about our favourite town: Toronto. What other Toronto bands do you enjoy?
Eric, Alex, Mike: THE SOUPCANS.
Mike: Man Made Hill, Ell V Gore, Sexy Merlin, Hussy, S.H.I.T.
Jay: I don't listen to a lot of music at the moment, listening almost exclusively to Metallica and Moroder.
So, based on your personal life experiences, do you think there is something about the Toronto scene or Toronto artists that is unique or a pain in the ass?
Eric: Sometimes there is too much cool and not enough attitude.
Mike: There are Canadian versions of other bands and it's kinda weird
Jay: The Toronto Scene has its ups and downs, just like any major city. I feel that here people are on two sides of the spectrum: they are either afraid to stray outside of the comfort zone of what has been sanctioned "cool", or they wander so far into dissonance that they lose sense of the most basic constituents of music. We take pride in synthesizing the most attractive elements from all types of music that we enjoy and consider "significant" and then modifying sounds and flavours to fit the mood of the song
Alex: The blues scale can [another fellatio reference]
Luckily you have many opportunities to see these charming young fellows (and Alex) during NXNE:
Thursday June 13th: Pretty Pretty Records showcase at Black Box Theatre @ 10pm.
Friday, June 14th: Wavelength NXNE concert series at Creatures Creating Gallery @ 1:00am.
Saturday, June 15th: Hot Tar the Vice NXNE Party @ 360 Dufferin St. Parking Lot.