Photos by Clarissa Roudabush
Now that it’s Friday, I feel like I can talk about my wanna-be weekend Wednesday at Glasslands. We’ve all been there before– when its past your bedtime, but all you really wanna do is dance. Although warmed up by the musical stylings of Neon Coyote and DJ Mike Dextro (and a few vodka sodas), all I wanted in my life was some Alaska in Winter. Before I could catch my fix, a pleasant surprise named Charlie! took the stage. In the fashion of more recognizable man duos such as Chromeo, these boys summoned their inner if-Kanye-was-a-Power-Ranger-that-had-to-sit-still. Listen, if you add a 2-step to NIN’s ‘Closer’, no matter how much I think I’m going to hate it, you’ve pretty much got me sold. It just really makes me miss the days when I lived with three dorky sound engineering boys.
Finally the one man band Alaska In Winter (aka Brandon Bethancourt) appeared, and the presence of the ladies in the male dominated room became apparent. But past the fact that Alaska’s frontman looks good in fur, his artful performances are exactly that– performance art. Details such as the removal of a tie in his video orchestra to Brandon’s real time clothing removal on stage showcase some crossdisciplinary skills. Put him in a glass box and this boy could make it at P.S. 1 any day.
We caught up with Bethancourt about tex mex, deep space, and crashing at Zach Condon’s place before the show. Check out the interview, as well as some AIW wardrobe changes, after the jump…
Ok, so it seems like you head to Alaska, and we get Dance Party in the Balkans. Then off to Berlin, and you deliver Holiday. What’s the next inspiration locale?
Well, I guess lately it’s been NY.
Are the folks over in Berlin as kinky as everyone says they are?
Who says Berliners are kinky? I’m not sure, but I do know they dance party harder than any other people I’ve ever encountered.
Is a Junior album in the works?
Yeah, I’m working on it as we speak.
Tell me a little about your video orchestra. Do they ever quibble?
Yeah, sometimes. Or they spill some beer on their microchips and miss a beat on stage or something and I have to occasionally start a song over, but for the most part, they’re the best virtual band anybody could ever ask for.
Anything special planned for SXSW?
No, not really, just playing a couple of shows, a photo shoot and maybe eating some tex-mex.
Can we look forward to more collaborations with Zach Condon?
Well, it’s possible. I’ve been living at Zach’s house in Brooklyn for the past month, so hopefully, somewhere on my computer there will be some music that has come of it.
I hear you can’t read or write music. Does this prove to be difficult sometimes, being a musician and all…
Yeah, it’s true I can’t read music, but you know what, you’d be surprised how little it matters.
Where does your love of the synth sound come from?
from a laser grid somewhere in deep space.
What’s the deal with this being the last NY show?
Oh, cause I’m going on a little west coast tour in a week and then after that I’m going back to Berlin… so not the last NY show ever… just for quite a while I think.
What’s Rap all about? How is it different from what you’re doing with Alaska?
Rap was a project I did with my friend Hari (Ziznewski) when I was in New Mexico. It’s an electro/ synthpop type thing we did- more for the live show as we both played keytars and multiple synths at the same time. It was rad, but I haven’t really worked on that for a while, so maybe that’s why my recent album sounds a bit like it’s missing Rap.
Miller High LIfe is listed under your influences on the Rap Myspace page. What is it about the Champagne of Beers that’s been such an inspiration to you?
Oh dang I haven’t had a Miller High Life in so long. I don’t know how I ever got anything accomplished with all the beer drinking… but somehow it inspired me to make some sick jams.