Over the last few years, Roosterhead have gotten really good at making weird music. Mostly because they make a lot of it. And there's no denying that buddies Luke Johnson and Shawn Her Many Horses are two of the maddest scientists in OC's music scene. For proof, look no further than their recently released 22-track effort Attention Deficit Fever Dream. With a smorgasbord of sounds that range from childlike to monstrous, this two-piece show us once again what happens when a band gets drunk on technical creativity and neon paint. The crashing drums, melodic guitars, twisting synths and multilayered noise are reminiscent to cavalier rock of the '90s.
Putting the album out probably should've challenge enough for the band--they put most of it it together by tossing their live recordings and arrangements back and forth over the Internet as they wrote songs independently for the first time in their history. But now coming up with live translations of the songs is a whole new adventure. Give a listen to the album and see them pull it off next Wednesday at the Doll Hut, opening for punk legend Mike Watt on Wednesday, Dec. 3. Before that, we briefly spoke to Luke to get some of the story behind the new album.
On their strange instruments and recording techniques:
There are a lot of weird instruments and recording techniques we used for this album. On the last track, "Pleasures of Life at the Touch of a Button," Sean recorded the whole song just using an iPad, whatever sounds he could find in the Garage Band app. The first track, "Download the Word," that whole song is built this a little keytar thing I picked up for $6 at Goodwill. There's another one where I use this air organ I got at a garage sale five or six years ago. There were a lot of odd things we would have never thought of using before. For this record, any instrument was fair game.
On the double (triple?) meaning of the album title:
The title is Attention Deficit Fever Dream, which has two meanings. The attention deficit part--well, Sean and I both have short attention spans and we wrote a bunch of short songs that weren't anything alike. Then the fever dream part of it was because all the songs still fit together in this psychedelic dream that's all part of the same trip. The other meaning of the title is more literal, like as far as the lack of attention for our band and feeling like an unknown band and how that affects your hopes, ambitions and dreams. So we wanted to have more emotional honesty about things we care about and what we're going through while trying to make as much music as we can.
On performing their complex song arrangements live:
When we were making the album, one of the rules was don't worry about how we're ever going to play these songs again. It was just playing whatever we could at the time. Now we're already playing most of the new songs live, like with show we have with Mike Watt next week. So it's weird trying to re-learn our own songs. I had to add a bunch of instruments to my set up. I have a bass that I hang from a stand because on this song Day Dream Time Machine there's a sound that has be playing drums on a bass that has a weird flager effect on it. So in a live setting I hang it up over the kit and I hit that with one hand while playing my drums with the other. I also have a synth and an electronic drum pad. It's getting pretty hard to do this band with only two people, but we're definitely doing everything we can to make it work.
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Roosterhead perform at the Doll Hut on Dec. 3 with Mike Watt and Porkchops and Applesauce. Free show. 8 p.m. For more info, click here.