Since 2004, people around Orange County have known of dance rock trio Pop Noir, founded by singer/bassist/keyboardist Luke McGarry and twin brother guitarist Joe McGarry (now with drummer Nico Saavedra). Audiences familiar with local music know, for example, that the McGarrys were born in the UK (in Manchester!), and are the sons of cartoonist and illustrator Steve McGarry, who had designed record sleeves for various Factory Records albums (including Joy Division's!). The twins are also award-winning designers and illustrators; in 2007, they became the youngest-ever recipients of the Silver T-Square Awards from the National Cartoonists Society. But here's more about Pop Noir beyond their press kit, courtesy of Luke McGarry.
Times the band says they're from Huntington Beach in press materials. They say they're from Costa Mesa (and sometimes Los Angeles) because "we've never actually played a show in Huntington Beach, haha," Luke said.
Animated video they're working on with A Certain Ratio, one of the seminal Factory Records bands. They toured with Joy Division/New Order and Talking Heads...Madonna opened for them once, and they're enjoying a bit of a revival recently. "We've actually recorded a song with them and we're animating a music video."
How old the McGarry twins are. "We're not quite at the lying-about-our-age stage yet, but who knows, we might stay 22 for the next five years," Luke said.
Ways the McGarrys express themselves via visual art: "We're illustrators, animators, web designers and programmers, yeah jacks of all trades...we even silkscreen our own t-shirts," Luke said. But music is definitely the priority: "The artwork is really just a means of funding our musical endeavours--that's not to say we dont enjoy the artwork."
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Ways people tell the twins apart. "One of us is the handsome one," Luke said, jokingly. As identical twins who both do art--and perform in the same band, do they ever have to deal with identity issues? "Not really. We both have similar interests, but bring different aspects to the projects we work on together. It's a bit like a Venn diagram. Music wise--and this is more of a personal taste example--growing up, I was always into the more electronic stuff. Chemical brothers, Lo-Fidelity All Stars, etc. Joe was into Oasis, the Verve. So that kind of came out in our music--and thats why I can't play guitar!
Reasons why opening for Doves in Anaheim last year was the best show they'd ever played: "It was a combination of our Manchester roots, a sort of hometown show, and a massive crowd. And it gave us an excuse to cover New Order on the 10th anniversary of (New Order and Doves manager) Rob Gretton's death.
Number of times they've been asked the question, "Do you think you get certain perks because of who your dad is?" Luke was nice enough to say he didn't mind that question, and answered, "Connections help a bit, but it's not like we're Sting's kids. In the case of Doves, the only influence our dad had was being able to find the manager's phone number. Our dad's connections only lead to introductions, not special favors. And he's not that connected anymore--he's been out of the music business for 30 years. To be honest, the entire music business is connections--even on a local level, someone has to introduce you to the booker or your friend's cousin has to be in this band or that band. How does a local band get a tour with Cold War Kids? Or Local Natives? It's all friendships. As a band, you just embrace it... and then count your blessings that someone you know is in a position of influence.
Pop Noir perform Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 9 p.m., Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, FOR FREE!