Northern Transmissions got to chill at SXSW with Cole Alexander, Jared Swilley, Ian Saint Pé, and Joe Bradley who make up Southern punk, psych, and garage band Black Lips. There also extremely polite dudes.
NT: First off, do you guys have any idea how many SXSW shows that you’ve played. What are some of the more memorable gigs?
JS: So, so many…I think that 2007 was really a great year for us. We played, I think a dozen shows in three day.
ISP: We got an amazing amount of press that year. We had the New York Times and other non-musical magazines out to a number of our shows.
CA: Definitely, one of the great shows was when GZA got up on stage with us; he really put on a great show. He played with us for quite a long time.
NT: How amazing is Patrick Carney’s (Black Keys) knowledge of music? He must have exposed you to quite a bit of different music.
CA: He is a real academic. It was a real meeting of the minds.
JS: Patrick is so technically advanced. He has so much knowledge about recording technique. He comes up with these ideas for songs that are really quite interesting, even if we’re not down with them.
JB: He would reference Cream and Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker quite a bit, who is an amazing player to give me different ideas what to do on certain songs.
NT: You guys have played in so many countries including Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan. Are their any other adventurous tours in the works?
CA: We have talked about doing shows in South East Asia. I think that would really be an interesting area to play in.
ISP: We recently played in Bogota, Columbia. We really enjoyed playing there; the crowds were pretty incredible.
NT: You guys had a bit of a tough time in high school. Were people uptight about the music that you played, or your style?
CA: After Columbine, all the schools had this zero tolerance policy about practically everything. I mean there were waves of kids being expelled for everything. I got expelled for tardiness. It was a really tense time.
JS: There were students that would get expelled for being outcast types. I remember two brothers actually got arrested for fighting. They really were brothers. The police came to school and took them off.
NT: Tell me about your friendship with Bradford Cox (Deerhunter). Are you guys still sharing a twitter account?
CA: Lol, I don’t know why we share an account with him. I think that he really wanted to see how far he could push things. He really has a sense of humour. I think that he kind of enjoys pushing people’s buttons a little bit.
JS: King Khan has also done some stuff with us — that man is the best. We love him.
NT: Finally, tell us about the making of Underneath the Rainbow. Any interesting facts, strange paranormal activity, or interesting moments?
JS: Well, we spent more time on Underneath the Rainbow than any record we have ever made. We did two sessions in Nashville and two sessions in New York. The plan was that we really wanted to make a concise type of record.
CA: We recorded the album in both digital and analog. Brent Hinds from Mastadon is on it, and is such a super talented guy. Bradford Cox helped us, and the amazing Curtis Harding, huge shout out to the amazing Burger Records. In New York we worked with Dap Kings music director Tommy Brenneck (Cee Lo, Charles Bradley) and, of course, our longtime collaborator Ed Rawls.
ISP: We did the stuff with Patrick Carney in Nashville, several songs.
JB: The album was mixed by Jimmy Douglass. He has worked with Snoop Dog and Bjork. He actually won a Grammy.
Which five albums inspire you guys?
Ramones – Ramones
The Germs – (Mia) the complete anthology
The Stooges – The Stooges
The Kinks – You really got me
Los Saicos – Demolicion
Nirvana – Nevermind
We liked these guys so much, we gave them six.