In a recent update from the offices of Paco Tapes—one of Nashville's newer independent imprints—a three way split brings together a cluster of bands and friends scattered across the Southern States. They just released the Best Buds Split 7″ that brings the triple threat New Orleans' Pope, Nashville's r∆chel, and Little Rock's Nouns. What everyone brings to the table provides a different glimpse into the multidimensional home-brewed offerings from the South's interstate network of buddies.
Pope conducts a mass of their own with guitar-string bursting benedictions, made by members from Donovan Wolfington. Restless animal analogies, restless thoughts, and rising above the misery to walk tall and proud, “still standing on my time.” Upon the postlude from Louisiana's power-papacy, leave it to Nouns to come at you with the spastic attack, back and neck breaking quick changes, shouts, spit, thunder, and nothing but the unexpected on, “Mac Harris”. Those Arkansas dudes close it up with naked solo-chords that sing of going to sleep, giving you the full circle of energy and motions that comprise a full day spent.
The Nashville group r∆chel contributes “placebo love” that grasps out for a chemical-free happiness through the underwater-vocal effects. On top of providing this slow and surprising monster of song, r∆chel have been putting on shows at their crib, Neuhau5 that has seen the likes of Fat History Month, Donovan Wolfington, Ex-Cult, Slonk Donkerson, and so many others. Frontman Robbie Plackemeier and Cody Stanaszek join us after the listen for a discussion on all these developments and indie congregational invitations.
We had an opportunity to talk to Robbie and Cody to discuss everything from r∆chel, Neuhau5, and all about bringing together a tighter a global DIY community by acting on a local level.
How did r∆chel first begin?
Cody: Robbie and I moved into a two bedroom after freshman year, a house we dubbed ‘deadhau5.' This is where we first started getting into hosting house shows. You might want to know that it was actually destroyed and they put eight new houses on the property once we got kicked out because it was unlivable for normal functioning humans, we were fine with it. It was a shit hole, but it was our shit hole. Plus, it’s where we found our dog, Paco, who is a pimp.
Anyways we were always jamming and Robbie was really into recording everything that was happening always at the time (in an obsessive way, like Andy Kaufman or something) so he would record our little improv jam sessions. We cut up the stuff we liked from those recordings and put out our first album (which is called ∆) from those recordings. You won’t be able to find it anywhere online currently but there are about 100 cassette copies out here in the universe with the exception of “History Is Whatever I Said It Was”, the first r∆chel song anybody liked. It’s right here, that was pretty much the beginning.
We never meant to be a real band, but it just started being really fun trying to be a real band. It was always just an art project and a release for us emotionally. I guess we’ve never lost sight of that, we just play shows a lot more now.
How did the name with the triangle for an 'a' come about?
Robbie: Because Rachel with an ‘A’ is Cody’s sisters name, we didn’t wanna be stepping on anyone’s toes.
Love that phone receiver type of filter at work on “placebo love”. Was the effect and aim to create a kind of disaffected and disconnected feel with heart?
Robbie: When I first wrote “placebo love” I was testing various pedals to effect my voice with. I wanted to focus more on the emotion of the song rather than the words themselves but still have meaningful lyrics. I wanted to move away from a song with lyrics that are literal like “I’m sad, I’m blue, you could love me, if you could only see how I feel” and instead sound like “eeeeeEEEgmmrrreyefnuecantdnsofeelsnosanyofdioneslovesdfnfrsinrsv”. I hate songs that tell you how to feel instead of show you how to feel. r∆chel aggressively shows you how to feel.
We originally did not want to have the vocals like that when recording, but I hated how it sounded unaffected and insisted on using a shitty mic I converted with a ¼ inch so I could use it through my guitar pedals, and recording it the way I originally wrote it. I wasn’t aiming on creating a feeling of, 'disaffected and disconnected feel with heart,' but that’s exactly how I felt when I wrote it, I was just trying to reproduce the sounds haunting my head.
What constitutes the best, rocking sad song?
Robbie: Songs that have actually emotion in them. Songs that when you listen your body cant help but jerk and make you feel something you never meant to feel again. Songs that are sporadic and leave you asking more questions than answering. Songs end with you feeling physically drained. Songs that are 100% real. If there is one percent of fake bullshit in a song, its all bullshit and not worth wasting your time on.
Cody: Fat History Month’s discography.
Why are sad songs more attractive than happier songs?
Robbie: It’s not that they are more attractive, but they are real, and others can relate to what is real and true.
Thoughts on bringing together Pope from New Orleans and Nouns from Little Rock all together with Nashville in this Paco Tapes three-way split?
Robbie: Pope is amazing, Best Buds isn’t just a name for this split but its how I feel towards those guys. I love them sooooooo much, they are very dear to my heart. Alex’s lyrics stun me on several occasions, Matt…..shit I don’t think I need to even elaborate on how impressive he is, just go look at his resume, Atticus does not fuck around for one second he speaks nothing but the straight truth with no mercy (I love that shit). Four years ago I met these guys when they were playing a show in the backyard of their parent’s house in the suburbs of Houston. Watching them continue to play music and progress has been a huge inspiration to me and I feel as if we have all grown musically together.
Our friends in Pope were homies with Nouns and told us to check them out for the split. I listened to all their music….. and I was like FUCK YES these dudes are not playing games, they are creating crazy music that makes the dark parts in my brain twist up and spew out in uncontrollable movements of my fists. I’m not even a fan of the “screamo emo” singing style but when Nouns does it I drool. What I love about Nouns is that you have no idea what to expect from them, and they don’t have a damn thing to lose, what’s not to love about that?
Tell us about the curations of Neuhau5 where you have hosted shows featuring the likes of Fat History Month, Donovan Wolfington, Ex-Cult, Slonk Donkerson, etc. What is next for Neuhau5?
Cody: That small list is impressive but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the dope bands that have played here – The Guru, Native America, Foxing, Tiny Moving Parts, Priests, Team Spirit, Grass Is Green, Two Inch Astronaut, Woozy, Dogtooth, Meth Dad, Free Throw, Designer, Coaster, The Lonely Biscuits, Blackbear & The Surf Bums, Marmalakes, Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate), Omega Swan, Jack Topht, Sean Rowe, Cheap Time, The Act Of Estimating As Worthless and so many more. We’ve even had Ian Hamilton from ‘The Weary Weekly’ come do a stand set up and Rachel Pattycake Bell who wrote an amazing book called ‘The Islamic Takeover’ do poetry readings.
Also, I don’t know what the neuhau5 plans are, but if I can take this as a platform for requests, here are the bands I want here: Pill Friends, Alex G, Shark’s Teeth, High Pop, Teen Suicide, Speedy Ortiz, R Stevie Moore, Porches, Shaky Graves, Sun Hotel, Do$emoney, The Octopus Project, TV Girl, Nouns, Music Band, Breast Massage, Dirty Dreams, Study Hall, Churchyard, Pujol, Best Coast, DJ Rapcastle, Ultras S/C, D Watusi, Chief Keef and Frank Sinatra.
Anyways, when we first started playing out, we played at the shittiest venues in Nashville and we had to deal with venues, booking agents, people getting added to bills randomly, cutting the door money, cutting the beer money – basically all the bullshit you can possibly imagine, until eventually we just said fuck it and decided that we could do it all way better, way simpler, charge five dollars at the door to our backyard and just give all the money to the touring bands because there are literally no costs on our end. You just have to be based about these kinds of things.
After we got kicked out of deadhau5 we moved to our new house, and we had to name it, so we just called it neuhau5. The r∆chel name was getting out and we couldn’t go tour anywhere ever because we’re all students and have jobs so we just had to bring all the out of town bands we were into to our house to play. Basically everyone we would play with on tour plays at our house. We have the best touring bands of any other house show venue in Nashville. People just know that the shows here are quality and interesting every time — the other house show venues around here just can’t make that claim. We just saw this as an opportunity to throw the best shows in Nashville — and we seized it. Word has spread so fast that I am literally contacted daily about hosting bands traveling through here. It’s really hard running the best DIY venue in Nashville, but we manage.
What's the latest Nashville report from the underground scenes?
Robbie: There is so much amazing music in Nashville right now — some of my favorites are Mama Would Be Proud, R. Stevie Moore, Chloe Kat, Juliette Barns, Skoolgirl, Pujol, Plastic Visions, Peach Tea, I saw Scarlett O’Conor at the Bluebird Café once and was blown away, Bent Denim, roboslut., but nothing beats a classic Rayna Jaymes song.
On the other end of this, there are so many more self-centered and lame, 'look at how cool I am — check out my sunglasses' bands that are nothing but fake bullshit that suck up space and I cannot wait until they cease to exist and stop making/faking music that lacks real feelings and actual thought.
Cody: My only advice is to support the fuck out of neuhau5 and listen to Mama Would Be Proud, and steer clear of the skin deep shit around here.
The Best Buds Split is available now from Paco Tapes.