Week in Pop: Feed, The Telescopes, WEEED

Sjimon Gompers

The sonic saints of legendary majesty—Stephen Lawrie & The Telescopes; photographed by Stephen Bland.

Feed

The feeding frenzy & frontiers of noise purveyed by Seattle supergroup—Feed; press photo courtesy of the band.

You don’t have to be a regular reader/listener or genius to know that Seattle & the greater Pacific Northwest are home to some of the Northern American states’ greatest pop culture phenomenons. Legends of then to icons of now are heralded from the imprint stables of K Records, Sub Pop, Hardly Art, Halfshell Records, Hush Hush Records, Youth Riot Records & many more—but today we return to the DIY den that is Help Yourself Records who just released the debut album from a ferocious new band called Feed. Something of a supergroup in their own right, Feed is made up of members previously from Rose Windows & Ubu Roi—the trifecta of Chase Hoyt, Matt Kolhede & Pat Schowe combine powers & talents that point to the hotbed of the world’s core counter-cultural interests.

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The PNW’s hills, mountains, highlands, lowlands, forests, cities & countrysides are alive with an electric force of energy. Feed embodies this burning bush force of cathartic wonder on their self-titled that opens with the mathematical DIY doom calculations of “Burning Plate” that roars with the ferocity of a dry hedge maze set ablaze. The trends & trivial tribulations of the circuit cycle spin out into the minefield battle-zone of methods to break the mechanisms of the machines & the manufactured entities of mass influence on “Hip Scene”. Every movement of gauged guitar gears the action into a new suite of earth-scorching chords as witnessed on “Different Life”, followed by the obsessive hedonism of the scuzz bathed “Druggie” that crashes & burns in the sonic sense. Feed’s phenomenal power of grueling guitars are applied in the melodic mold on “Floating In Space”, right as the route then dives with abandon into the cavalcade of regiment rhythm regulators that rages throughout “Button Pusher”, before turning up the mod friendly garage pep of “People Are Sick”. The epic episodes illustrated expertly by Feed keep rocking & rolling along their dissonant path of destiny, as experienced on “Natural Prayer”, right before steering their audience into “What You Need” that rounds off their self-titled with expressive audio that elevates the potency of the mythic Big Muff pedal to yogi level heights.

We caught up Feed’s own Chase Hoyt to talk about the new record & more in the following interview transcription:

From the ashes of Rose Windows & Ubu Roi; describe for us how Feed was formed.

After Ubu Roi disbanded, Matt and Chase started a project called Spaced Out. The whole point of that thing was to just write and record a lot of songs, mostly with a drum machine, throw ’em on Bandcamp real quick and just continue—try and stay productive. Pat heard some of those songs, was looking for people to play with, and reached out to jam. We jammed and it was super fun.

We used a couple of those Spaced Out tunes as a jumping off point and they sounded really good live. Each of our previous bands had at least four members, so playing with just three people felt really new and exciting…so much more freedom, so much space, with a few very fundamental constraints; a good recipe for a spicy hot rock group indeed! Plus, it’s much more efficient and practical in just about every way. All of that stuff definitely informs how we play and record as Feed, accepting the limitations of the standard three-piece rock band format while trying to push that format as far as we can.

Tell us further about the year of writing, recording & making everything yourself that would become the Feed self-titled album.

We got together a lot in our practice space in Georgetown. We’d just play for a few hours a couple times a week, each of us bringing riffs or half-written songs to the group then arranging and finishing them together. Having those Spaced Out songs as a place to start was cool, it kind of set the tone in a way, and we actually re-recorded a few of them as Feed for the tape. “Druggie” was the very first Spaced Out song, so it’s cool it made it all the way through the storm of random and discarded shit.

It was about 6-7 months of writing and then 2-3 months of recording. We all have day jobs so it tends to take a little longer than we’d like to get things together. When we started recording, we didn’t really have any strong intention of making a complete album or whatever, it was more of just keeping track of the songs we had written and the progress we had made as a band. We recorded it ourselves on a Tascam-488 cassette machine in our practice space using all the random gear we’ve amassed over the last few years playing music in Seattle. We did it that way mostly because we just love to record music and mess around with gear, it’s really fun, and it’s super rewarding to be able to achieve good sounds, where your song can actually translate, on your own. Even though it’s lower fidelity or whatever, it feels more special.

Along with the ethics of autonomy, what do you all feel is the recipe for the perfect guitar riff?

I would say a little sweet, a little spicy, a little chunky, nice & fresh, but also a little stinky, a little nasty. It’s gotta make you say Ooohh and make a stinky face.

TRICK QUESTION; THERE IS NO PERFECT GUITAR RIFF, WE’RE ALL CONSTANTLY CHASING IT LIKE BHODI CHASING THE PERFECT 50 YEAR STORM IN POINT BREAK, EXCEPT WE’RE TALKING HEAVY RIFFS NOT HEAVY WAVES AND UTAH IS NEVER GONNA TRACK US DOWN.

Describe for us the standard of synergy that three of you all possess creatively amongst yourselves.

[laughs] What?! I’m happy to say that we all get along quite well, we love crackin’ jokes, and just hangin’ and talkin’ shop. Who doesn’t? Musically speaking, all three of us are just as into sweetly classic rock ‘n roll as we are weird, noisy out-there stuff. We all went and saw Tom Petty when he played in Seattle in August, I think he died like 6 weeks later. RIP Tom, we love you, none of us are ever gonna fuckin’ back down, god dammit. Beyond our shared love and appreciation for Tom, we all just love to play music, as cliché as that sounds, and each of us work hard to give each other a lot of space and opportunity try some far out shit, which keeps it exciting.

What’s new & awesome in Seattle right now?

That band Darto has a record that came out recently that’s really cool, they’re a very good band. The new Posse record is also really cool. Dreamdecay are the best band in Seattle probably. Clarko is a good band too. I also saw this band The Carols recently and enjoyed their set. Great Spiders are really good too and will one day release their masterpiece. This band Advertisement rocks really hard and are about to be really hot probably. Versing are also a really great band. There’s a ton of great music happening in Seattle, it seems to always be happening, which is cool.

Beyond that, I don’t know. Most of the new stuff in Seattle kinda sucks honestly. Those new bikes that you access with an app, yeah fuck that.

What’s not awesome in Seattle right now?

See above. 100% over the cranes also. Quit building shit. Also daylight savings just ended so now it’s dark AF all the time, not into it. Lastly, not sure if this is a Seattle-specific phenomenon or not, but Solo Wheels, or other motorized wheel technologies—electric skateboard most certainly included—that people use to get to and from work are disgusting. If you ride a Solo Wheel and you’re reading this right now, congratulations you played yourself and I’m sorry but you’re a dork. I award you zero points and may god have mercy on your soul.

What does that PNW need right now more than anything?

HANDS DOWN, more Del Taco locations. We need them. The one in Federal Way is just too far, it’s really runnin’ up my odometer! If there was a Del Taco in Seattle my life would legitimately be very different. I think the world in general needs more great rock bands. There are a ton in Seattle right now, but the more the merrier.

2018 hopes & wishes?

Definitely write and record new music. We’ve started working on some new tunes. We plan on having something along the lines of another album out before the summer, if all goes according to plan, working around life shit. Then we’ll probably hit the road and play down the coast. Until then, we’ll be playing as much as we can in Seattle, and we’ll probably do some weekend jaunts out here and there, get down to Portland, perhaps down to the Bay if we can.

FEED wishes a blessed 2018 to everyone out there and we hope that in the next year the world starts to get a little better.

Feed’s self-titled is available now via Help Yourself Records.

Feed’s self-titled album cover artwork & layout by J. Gallego.

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