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The Epoxies
Interview by Alexander Laurence

I went to the LA Shakedown back in February, which was a festival of garage rock and punk. Most of the bands were okay. Then I was shocked to see something very different. I was excited and surprised by The Epoxies. I was attentive to every song. They seem to take all the best things of New Wave and punk, and with their use of imagination and duct tape, bring something new to the formula. The band members were too young to feel the impact of Devo and Berlin on fashion and music back in the late Sevenities and early Eighties, but their music brings that magical New Wave energy to the stage. The Epoxies have been described as "music at it's irresistible best: catchy, upbeat and danceable as hell." Roxy Epoxy is also one of the most explosive performers onstage now. She is like a female Andrew WK, ready to party hard, as long as there is a synth hook in the mix. Roxy is pure energy. She can do every robotic dance or kick there is. She is an inspiration to all.

The Epoxies are from Portland and were formed in 2000 and haven't looked back. Their first single "Need More Time" was an instant hit in underground clubs. LA Deejay Rodney Bingenheimer has been playing their songs all year and raving about them. The Epoxies released their debut album (Dirtnap Records) in March, 2002. It's thirty minutes of synthetic pleasure. Every song on the CD is a catchy hit and makes you want to dance.

I spoke to F. M. Static, Roxy, and Viz Spectrum in the touring camper early into their new American tour which will be hitting New York and the East Coast in April. Check them out in Williamsburg at Luxx, and at CBGB's.

Ray Cathode: DRUMS
Shock Diode: BASS
Roxy Epoxy: VOCALS
Viz Spectrum: GUITAR


AL: What did you think of the LA Shakedown? There was a lot of posing. There were all these Betty Page girls and Rockabilly guys with them. They were supposed to be really cool.

FMS: We are not so cool oursleves. But it was a beautiful forum to showcase the whole point behind the Epoxies. I liked The Fuse. They were really insulting and dangerous. They said "It looks like a Hot Topic has exploded in here." They were really funny. They said "Everyone here looks like they want to fix our car." They pushed the envelope so it was more interesting than most of the bands. If you get something out of it, then it's valid. But personally I am tired of watching other bands. There is so much of it. Once something becomes a uniform it's time to let it go.

AL: Do you think the Epoxies will change their whole style every few years like David Bowie?

FMS: We talked about it. We have to. We can't do the same thing forever. There is a real need to put labels on things. We are trying hard not to be a one trick pony. You can definitely read all of our influences, but they are all over the map.

AL: What is like living in Portland? Is there any hipster neighborhoods?

Roxy: There are portions of it. I think people now are trying to have fun with stuff. People just care less with how cool they look and they just try to have fun.

FMS: It seems like every night that there are dozens of shows that I know nothing about. I would not contemplate going to them either. It's always bands that I have heard about but have never seen. Once in a while I will stumble into one of those shows and see how there's a lot of people there.

AL: Do you have a lot of friends in bands?

Roxy: There's a lot bands who are really cool in Portland right now. The bands keep coming too. More recently there is The Minds, who are a punk group. They are trying stuff on their own and it's coming out really good.

Viz: Every time we go on tour, we come back, and there's load of new bands. Many of them are reconfigurations or previous bands. They are fabulous because they are made from other fabulous bands. There are a lot of side projects in Portland.

AL: One thing that I know about Portland is that there are more stripper bars per capita. What is up with that?

Viz: It does. I am for it.

FMS: People always ask us about that. It's dark and rainy all the time. There is nothing to do. People like indoor activities. Stripper bars make sense.

AL: What about Suicide Girls?

FMS: We played at a party for Suicide Girls in Portland. It was weird. People like to see the Suicide Girls.

Roxy: It was weird but it was crowded. They gave me this T-shirt and a free membership.

AL: Did you grow up going to art school or just listening to punk rock?

FMS: We are the opposite of art achool people. I guess we grew up listening to punk rock. It's really true. Roxy and Shock have college degrees. Shock is more educated than the rest of us. It's a computer science degree.

AL: When you started The Epoxies, did you have the songs first, then think of what types of clothes to wear?

Roxy: We just rummaged through the dumpster and whatever we came up with is what we wore.

FMS: In the early days there were plenty of spur of the moment harebrained ideas that just became hallmarks of The Epoxies' look. It was two days before our first show that Viz said: "I saw this guy with duct taped pants. It looked really cool." So we decided to do that for our first show. Somehow that became a thing, which we have been trying to disown ever since. As soon as everyone in the audience comes in duct tape, we will start wearing flowing pirate shirts and full length gowns. We will grow beards and long hair. We will play sitting down.

AL: Are there a lot of Salvation Army shops in Portland?

FMS: Yeah. Although at this point because of our increasing poverty and the increasing hipness of thrift stores, I don't think that we can shop there anymore. People give us stuff and we find things in alleys and dumpsters.

Viz: We like going to an army surplus store. We talked about a uniform look but it's too much trouble. Dressing the same is not quite us.

AL: Who writes all the songs?

FMS: It varies. Some songs are really group efforts and other songs one person brings in most of a song and the rest of us finish it up from there. But everyone has input. We have written about 60 or 70 songs. We might have had ideas for about 200 songs altogether.

Roxy: We have a high number of songs and we end up throwing out the majority. We decide that they are horrible.

AL: Do you tape all the ideas for songs?

FMS: Sometimes it's lyrics and sometimes it's music. Personally I tend to write them together. Sometimes I will write just the chorus part.

AL: How did you decide what songs went on the first CD?

FMS: That was all the stuff that made it into the live show. Those were all the best songs. We did a lot of self-editing of songs even before they were performed live. We like to be as formulaic as possible. We listen to pop music on the radio and try to emulate that, figuring that would make the most money.

Viz: Some of the songs are two or three songs put together.

AL: Most of your songs are less than three minutes. But "Stop Looking At Me" is over four minutes. Why is that so long?

Viz: We had to cut it down from twelve minutes. There was a horn section in there originally which we took out. We did a lot of arrangements.

AL: There is a big drum and guitar buildup. The lead vocal doesn't drop in until a minute into the song.

FMS: Much like "I Ran" by Flock of Seagulls. To answer your question: I think that most of our songs come close to the pop standard. The radio length is a good length for a song. I don't see why our songs have to be different.

AL: Does your set end up being short? Maybe a half hour?

FMS: It depends. We try not to play too long. We don't come back on for three encores. There are not many bands that you would want to see for more than an hour. I can't sit down for any good bands, or bad bands, who play forever.

Viz: We don't want to wear out our welcome. There is a point that a band should stop so everyone can go home.

FMS: Most people are there to talk to their friends and get laid anyway.

AL: Is that true of all the Epoxies fans? They are looking to hook up with someone?

FMS: It's probably true of our fans more than most. They are desperate. We are a "hard up" type of band.

AL: What sort of things do you like to write about in your lyrics?

FMS: It's all on the album. We are often ruminating on modern society. There is a feeling of being disenfranchised. There is a feeling of "It doesn't matter anymore." I don't feel any connection to anything or anyone around me. The whole world is designed to use me up. Having recognized that, we are just marking time until we can relax in a cold, cold grave.

AL: Does your families come to your shows?

FMS: My mom comes to almost every show in Portland.

AL: Does anyone come from a musical family?

Roxy: This is the first band that I sang for. I listen to a lot of opera. Does that help? That is my main influence. My dad would play opera records all day and would wake me up.

Viz: None of us know what we are doing at all.

AL: Do you have any other hobbies?

Viz: We like to make stuff out of wire, tape and garbage.

Roxy: Kamikaze sewing, stitching, gluing, stapling, safety pinning.

FMS: I spent most of my time fixing the RV. It's very relaxing.

AL: You guys don't play video games or masturbate in here?

Roxy: We have a girl in the band. They can only do so much. We save all our sexual energy for the stage.

Vix: We have to save that for when we get home. Then it's three or four days of straight masturbation.

AL: What is it like being on the road with a bunch of guys?

Roxy: I am just as gross as the rest of them.

FMS: We are all constantly trying to have sex with her: it's terrible. "Roxy, can you pick up that thing for me." Ha!

AL: Who does this skateboard belong to?

FMS: Our roadie. Our roadie has met some of his skating idols on this trip. There's an article about us in Thrasher Magazine. So all the skaters are reading about us and going to the shows. Our roadie points them out to us because we wouldn't know them. They all seem to have good taste in music.

AL: Are there any bands that you played with recently that you like?

FMS: We played with The Phenonmenauts. They are great. We like The Spits, The Briefs, The Fliptops, The Minds, The Exploding Hearts, The Hunches, The Diskords.

Roxy: Manda and The Marbles. We like playing with punk groups.

AL: What is the average age for the band?

FMS: Our drummer is a clone. He's about a year old now. That really pulls the average down. We don't know how long Roxy's andro body is capable of lasting. It was supposedly created in the late 1970s during some Soviet super soldier program. The rest of us are regular normal young men. If I would guess that would put it around ten years.

AL: Let me ask you a few questions from The Hipster Handbook. Which of the following artists would you buy a recording of: Insane Clown Posse, Korn, Wilco, Kool Keith, or The Strokes?

Viz: I would say Kool Keith.

Roxy: I have heard some good things about Kool Keith.

FMS: I would not mind buying some of those other records and destroying them. We are not satanic as much as we just like Judas Priest.

AL: You would like your armpits to smell like: powdery, naturally musky, unscented, sporty, or like pork?

Roxy: Pork? I would like my armpits to smell like that, but I don't think it's possible. Talcum powder? I don't want to smell like a baby's ass. I don't want to have kids. I have seen other people do it: that's good enough for me. I wouldn't be a good baby-sitter. I was watching some plants and I killed a plant in a week recently.

AL: When buying new shoes, you are likely to buy which brand: New Balance, Rockport, Adidas, Puma, Birkenstock?

FMS: I would say Puma. They have nice stripes. I don't wear any shoes like those.

AL: Your dream car is: an SUV, a 1970s Mustang, a PT Cruiser, a vintage Volkswagen Bug, or a hummer?

Roxy: A big wheel and an engine.

FMS: I would go for the Bug.

Viz: Whatever is the most expensive. Whatever I could sell for the most money.

AL: You go to a bar. You are offered the following selection....

Viz: Pabst's.

AL: What about out of Coors Light, Tequiza, Guinness, Anchor Steam, or Ice?

FMS: I think all these questions reflect choices we wouldn't make in real life.

AL: The first Epoxies record is perfect as it is. How would you top it with the next one?

FMS: We are just trying to manufacture the best product we can for the listening audience. We are trying to refine our style to what they demand. We want to reach that lowest common denominator. For me it has nothing to do with content. It's all about sales. We want to attract the most dollars. So far it's been a failure. I realize that we aren't really writing pop songs and are making pop culture. Instead I am trying to figure out how mass media and mind control works. I think that people can be lead to believe whatever you want them to believe. So I am giving up on the whole "art" and so-called "musician" thing. I am more interested in taking whatever crappy songs we happen to have, and changing people so that's the sort of music they happen to like.

AL: Since you believe that we are in a constant state of now, and time is illusory, and that your work till you die, do you think that there is a remedy?

FMS: How to make ourselves feel better? I think it's all about trying to lower your expectations. You have to get to a place where you don't expect anything because that is what you are going to get. If you lower them low enough, surprises happen all the time. You achieve your ambitions.

AL: How does a fantasy life help a person's real life?

FMS: We operate on a bunch of principles that are complete fallacies. Yet they aren't. We never know where the truth and lies about this band separate. Sometimes we make big band decisions based on the way thing should be. It's unfortunate to let yourself succumb to the real world.

AL: On this tour, what is the setlist like?

FMS: For the most part we are still playing this album. We have two new songs that we slip in occassionally. We have enough new material for half of the next album. We will probably start recording the new songs this summer. But for the most part we are doing songs that people know and want to hear.

AL: I heard that you met Seymour Stein? What happened there?

FMS: Seymour did come and see us play. He did express interest. Sire Records may or may nor be mulling it over. We don't know. It was fun to meet him. He loves the album. That means a lot to me, having the guy who signed the Ramones liking what we do. That's all the praise I need. We are getting better and better as musicians. We are all having fun. I am more excited on stage. I was surprised to go places and people knew all the songs.

AL: Who does your website?

Roxy: I do. The other day we got a thousand hits. That was a fluke.

Website: http://www.the-epoxies.com

April 2003 tour
Thu 04/03/03 Brooklyn, NY Luxx (Williamsburg)
Fri 04/04/03 New York, NY C.B.G.B.

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