Mike Polizze, who records as Purling Hiss, continues the legacy of a fuzzed-out circuit that has delivered us such solo-fronted bands as LiveFastDie and The Reatards. With pop tunes drenched in reverb pushed into the red, Purling Hiss started as a one-man project before fully realizing itself as a touring band, culminating in 2014’s “tighter and clearer sounding” Weirdon. Two years later, he’s stripped the Hiss back to its roots with a collection of self-recorded tracks for a new EP.
The fuzz is deep on Purling Hiss’ forthcoming Something 7-inch, even if the layers are not. Recorded on a 4 track at his home in Philadelphia, Polizze helms all the instrumentation, making way for a rawer sound that harkens back to his Lounge Lizards days. The EP’s opener, “My, My, My”, is a classic four-four power pop ballad, bringing to mind The Ramones as he starts “Suzie wants to be my friend,” before evolving into a minor-chord laden chorus that highlights his under-appreciated guitar skills.
We spoke with Polizze a bit about his Something EP, which will be released February 19 on black and limited edition red vinyl via Famous Class. You can stream “My, My, My” below, and scroll on to read our conversation.
Who makes up the current lineup of Purling Hiss as recorded on the 7-inch? Is it just you performing on the recordings?
I recorded the entire EP by myself at home on a 4 track recorder and I’ll be doing some solo shows in the near future, but my bandmates, when we play as the full band is Ben leaphart, also in my other Philly band Birds of Maya, and Dan Provenzano, who also plays in Writhing Squares and Spacin’.
You self-recorded the songs on the new 7-inch, is there a difference in personal approaches to recording when doing it yourself vs. with another engineer? Do you have a preference?
Most of the time when I record alone, I’m never planning on it being a release. I always try to document and capture the ideas in my head, and the way to do it is to record. So what you’re hearing is the first-take approach. And sometimes it comes out pretty good. It’s in the back of my head when I’m recording, that it might end up getting used, but I don’t usually get that far at first since I’m just trying to hear how it will sound. When it comes out good, I think there’s a off-the-cuff quality to it, where I wasn’t sure before-hand how it would come out.
It’s hard to say which I prefer when recording, because they can serve two different purposes (home vs studio). When I go into the studio, it is nice to have an engineer to work with.
How many different guitar layers are incorporated into the songs on this 7-inch?
I don’t exactly remember but i think it’s just two guitar tracks at the most.
You’re sort of a veteran of the Philly scene, what are your thoughts on the “resurgence” the city is seeing in the independent rock world? Any comment for those who think it’s growing because it’s taking in a lot of Brooklyn ex-pats?
I don’t know anyone who has moved from Brooklyn to Philly, personally for music… i don’t think? There’s a lot of development in the city, and an influx of people for jobs, but when it comes to moving here for music, i’ve been out of the loop… lately. I tend to stay in my own little circle. It sure does seem vibrant though.
Purling Hiss plans for the rest of 2016?
With the release of the Something EP on Famous Class, I’ll be doing subsequent solo shows. More news is coming. There will definitely be more touring and more releases to hear about. Excited for this one right now!