What is it that draws you to music?

Strange Names: Music defines mental and physical moments in everyone's life. There's a push and a pull that exists in every song. Constantly discovering and re-discovering things you love about someone's performance is never a tiring experience. If it isn't new, then it's sentimental. And if it's sentimental, you probably listen to it when you fall asleep. And when music is private, it's a very different experience than when it's public. Movie scores really get this point across. It enlightens you all around.

Carroll: The first music that ever drew me in was Miles Davis. I was probably six or so and having such a young person's vocabulary, could never find words that expressed the tumultuous complexity of my boyish mind. Hearing the tortured blast of trumpet, the jagged swirl of drums in some of those songs was a way for me to just point at the speakers and say, "THAT! THAT IS HOW I FEEL!" I've learned a lot of new words since then but music still renders me speechless.

89.3 The Current, Radio K,
and City Pages present...
Strange Names
Tickle Torture
Two Harbors

with DJ Jake Rudh
First Avenue Mainroom
Fri August 8, 2014
$10 | 7pm | 18+

Tickle Torture: I like anything that makes me feel like I'm driving a cadillac through the universe.  I'm talking about neon cars on neon highways.  If the track contains both laser sounds and congas, there is a 100% chance I will be into it.    

Two Harbors: Good melody, a massive chorus, and loud guitars.

Can you tell us a little more about the new "Once An Ocean" video? It's so excellent!

Strange Names: The "Once an Ocean" video is actually over a year old at this point, but it was really fun to make. We did it in a day. There was a lot of dust, but also a lot of Rosé.

How did the band come together? How does the band stay together?

Strange Names: We began writing music in late 2010, and didn't perform live until a year and a half later. We weren't sure how we were going to do it for a while. We present ourselves as a songwriting duo, and when we play live, we collaborate with our very talented and creative peers: Fletcher Aleckson on drums, and Lawn Mall on bass. We could never do this without them. We're relocating to New York at the end of the summer, and finishing our record in Brooklyn. The bond is tight.

Carroll: Carroll got it's start because of a house named Carroll on a street named Carroll. It was this very open space where more people than legally should have lived, worked, created, and cooked together. At one point or another four of those people were us. We were looking for a name and our friend Emma pointed out that it is was all around us.  I think the band stays together because after all the time together in confined moving spaces, green rooms, rest stop bathrooms, and strangers' living rooms, we still text each other in the middle of the night about a potential bridge to a new song. Whatever should have spread us further apart has brought us closer together. Also no four guys share a stronger affinity for absurdist humor and banh mi sandwiches.

Tickle Torture: The band started when I got sick of working on music with other people. Being in a band is like having 5 girlfriends. So I quit my old band and started making music by myself and I always wanted to explore combining R&B and noise music.  So I did that, and after playing a ton of shows solo karaoke-style with just me and my mp3 player and my bubble machine, people started asking me to be involved in the project.  So I added back up dancers.  Then live background projections.  Eventually, enough people wanted to join to make the Tickle a full live band.  The way I keep the band together is by buying a ton of shitty beer for everyone for every band practice.  Except that one week I quit drinking.  Sorry bout that one, boys.

Two Harbors: The band came together at Twin Town Guitars when I was there to consign a van full of gear with every intention of quitting music. The guy behind the counter was Kris Johnson (lead guitar), and he told me he wouldn't take my stuff, but that he would start a new band with me. We've been a band ever since. We've been together now for over 10 years. We have stayed together so long because we are very good friends, and we agreed from day one that it's all about Wednesday night (the night we rehearse). Four guys in a room, playing songs, drinking beer, and having a laugh. It's that simple. We don't let money or anything else get in the way of what we do on Wednesday night. Also, everyone has an equal voice in any decisions that are made, and we are very respectful of each other. Easy.

Any news on another album?

Carroll: We recorded our debut LP in January with producer Jon Low (The National, Sharon Van Etten, Local Natives) in Philadelphia. Though we've put out one single ("Bad Water"), we don't have a release date yet. 60-82% of our set on August 8th will be songs from that record.

What's the best song you've written? What's so special about this one?

Strange Names: It doesn't seem productive to pinpoint a single song and say "that's the best song" because you're suddenly living in a vacuum. We're often trying to get out of our own way when we write. But we are especially excited about the songs on our upcoming record. We've been sitting on some of these for years.

Carroll: I will get in trouble with my band mates if I say any particular song so without naming names: it's the one with drums, guitar, bass, synth, and vocals playing simultaneously. Something about that one really gets me. 

Tickle Torture: The best song I've ever written is my new hit single "Would I Love You" because in the full six and a half minute album version it has a 3 minute conga solo with lots of laser sounds.

Two Harbors: The best song we've written is "There Is Love." It's an absolute anthem, and we love performing it live. 

What is your approach to keeping people entertained at a Tickle Torture show?

Tickle Torture: 5 string fretless bass. Taking out my dick.

If you could turn a potential fan onto your music in one sentence, what would you say?

Strange Names: One sentence: Your mom loves it.

Carroll: "Imagine you've only just settled into a Jacuzzi set to your ideal warmth when you look down and realize the substance you thought was water is a mysterious, potentially toxic green liquid."

Tickle Torture: If there is a lack of depraved sex-funk in your life, you should come for a ride in Uncle Tickle's cadillac. But you won't be getting a ride home.  

Two Harbors: If you like The Verve, The Smiths, and The Who, we're gonna get along just fine.

How does it feel to have had you record mastered at Abbey Road Studios?

Two Harbors: Walking through the front door of Abbey Road for the first time is such a mind blowing experience, it's very difficult to put into words.  We worked with Frank Arkwright (who has worked with The Smiths, Johnny Marr, Blur, and Oasis), and he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. He brings us to his mastering suite, and goes right to work. Our songs ringing loudly within the walls of Abbey Road Studios. You can't top that feeling.