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An Interview with !!!

The New York City/Sacramento-based eight piece known as !!! has been making quite a stir in the indie circuit lately. The NME called their new single, "Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (A True Story)" "nine minutes of acid-bleeping, cowbell-tapping new groove brilliance from the most talked about band in the NME office." And Other Music swears the song will be "NYC's hip shaking anthem for the summer."

We love the record too. It's instantly infectious and we look forward to what's to come with this innovative band. We recently spoke with band guitarist Mario Andreoni.

!!! is John Pugh (drums), Nic Offer (vocals), Allan Wilson (percussion, horns), Mario Andreoni (guitar), Tyler Pope (guitar, keys), Justin Vandervolgen (bass, sound engineering tweaks), Dan Gorman (percussion, horns), and Jason Racine (percussion).

1. We've heard !!! pronounced chk chk chk, pow pow pow, and about every other possibility except yeah, yeah, yeah. What's the correct pronunciation and how'd you come up with the name anyway?

It's any 3 repetitive sounds. Any of the above, including yeah yeah yeah, would be acceptable (although there may be some lawyers that think differently). The name was inspired by the film "the gods must be crazy". 3 clicking noises of the mouth were subtitled with !!!. We took the !!! and ran with it.

2. I'd make a bad record store clerk, in what order would you file !!!, 2Pac, and that symbol thing Prince used to go by?

I'd file !!! anywhere before 'A', 2Pac in the T's, and the Prince symbol under 'P'. He never fooled me.

3. People describe !!! as being post punk, post funk, and the list goes on. How would you define what you guys are doing?

I start with "dance music" but then have to embellish as most people have very different views of what constitutes "dance"...which is totally cool. It really just depends on the person and where our lowest common denominator is.

4. Last summer the indie world's hit single was "House of Jealous Lovers." This year it looks like "Me And Giuliani Down By The School Yard (A True Story)" may take it's place. Are you surprised by all the attention?

We'll see if that is the case. I can't see our record being played as much as the Raptures. And yes, I am pleasantly surprised by the attention.

5. Has your music ever gotten you laid?

I have a lady so...yes.

6. Any plans to release a full length?

Yeah, it'll be out first part of 2004.

7. What's the most embarrassing record in your collection? The most cherished?

Not sure if it's cliche, but I'm not embarrassed by any record in my collection. Most cherished is probably a toss up between Sly Stone's "There's a Riot Goin On" or Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You." Both can kill me after one listen.

8. Most of the members of !!! used to be in punk bands. There seems to be a lot of dissension in the punk scene today as many "post-punk" bands are recording very funk-heavy music. Is recording tracks you can dance to kinda gay?

I'm sure it is to some, but they can eat a dick.

9. What would you say to someone who defined !!! as being an electroclash band?


10. Do you get fucked up before you play shows or go into the studio?

Sure. But not all the time.

11. Is there anyone in the public eye you want to say "you suck" to?

One that leaps to mind is whoever wrote that new Lynyrd Skynyrd song... the one about America or something? Celine Dion and Dodge mini-vans. Oh, and the publicity machine behind Charlie's Angels 2.

12. Is there anyone in the public eye doing everything right?

Las Vegas.

13. Do you guys ever hang out, or do you see too much of each other at practice and shows.

We actually hang out as much as possible. I've been told it's odd.

14. I was surprised to find that there are eight people in the band. Is your sound a true collective or are their more "essential" members of !!!?

It varies by song, but really, it's a collective. Everyone's opinion is taken into account.

15. You guys are based in Sacramento and New York. Does this make things complicated and is there a place !!! would consider as being home base?

Brooklyn is home base. Our situation is a difficult one, but I think we're driven enough to see where we can take our music. I want to see much more of the world. At the moment, I'm looking at you Brazil.

16. London has been quicker to embrace you than the States. Any opinion on why?

Dance culture is much more accepted there. That is the only thing I can think of.

17. The buzz seems to be out there about the band? Has the mainstream press been calling?

We've been written about here and there. The past year, it seems like the major press is more interested in 'dancerock' or "the Williamsburg scene." I mean, we get reviewed and stuff.

18. Do you have a band van?

We did have one, but the city of New York swallowed it up. It was a beautiful Ford van with many extras.

19. What's the band's connection to Out Hud and LCD Soundsystem?

Nic, Tyler, and Justin are in both !!! and Out Hud. Tyler plays live bass with LCD.

20. Where can peeps see you play this summer?

We are playing in Philly, 2 shows in NY (including Siren fest), and Boston this month (July). After that, it's hunker down for recording. Then, domination.

-- Robert Lanham

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