Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes Interview: “Bring ear plugs, unless yr a glutton for pain.”

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carl sagan's skate shoes interview

Self Titled Debut Out Now Via Super Secret Records.

The noise rock group with the best band name since Butthole Surfers, Austin’s Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes have just dropped their brutal and incendiary self titled debut album. Murky and unrelenting for the majority of the record, it is also interspersed with small glimmers of light and hope which mark the album apart from many others in the noise rock milieu.

We spoke to vocalist/guitarist Steve Pike about their unusual band name, the reasons for the delay between recording and releasing their debut album, and what to expect at their live shows.

Overblown: Your latest track ‘Speak’ is about mental health and the triumph of the human spirit. Is mental health a topic that is close to your hearts? Why?

Steve Pike: The song is about processing and dealing with depression and being there for yr friends when they are going through a tough time. I wouldn’t really say that it’s a topic that we hold close to our hearts, more so of a thing we deal with on a day to day basis and acknowledging that it’s there.

O: Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes is an unusual name! Any word from the Carl Sagan estate/family? Also, Cosmos with Carl Sagan or Neil DeGrasse Tyson?

SP: Nah, we’re not that well known. If they ever contact us, then we’ll know that we’ve “made it”.

O: There is a track on your album called ‘Monahans’. Is there Irish in your heritage or is that perhaps the name of an Irish pub you love?

SP: That song was named after Monahans State Park in West Texas. You can listen to it to figure out what it’s about.

O: At times, you guys play a pretty blunt form of noise rock. However, that often gives way to periods of wonderful melodicism. Is this an intentional goal or something that happens naturally in the writing process?

SP: It’s just something that happens. The writing process for this record was very natural.

O: Bill Indelicato is your now current bass player. Indelicato is a perfect name for him as his bass sound is pretty thunderous. How does he achieve this enormous sound?

SP: Lots of large, vintage amps.

O: The album was recorded in the summer of 2015. This strikes me as quite a while between recording and releasing an album. Was there a particular reason for this?

SP: When we recorded the album a year ago, we weren’t on a label. As some bands do, we decided to shop it around to see if anyone would want to put it out on vinyl. After sending it around for several months, we finally landed on a label based out of Austin, Super Secret Records, and from there we sent it to the pressing plant. With the vinyl resurgence being the way that it is, the demand for vinyl is very high, making most pressing plants in the states backed up (thanks Jack White) and turn around times can take up to 4-8 months. In our case, it took them 8 months to make our record, which is actually a pretty average turn around. By no means was it our intention to wait a whole year to put out a record with only nine songs on it, but if you ask me, it was worth the wait.

O: This autumn you are going on a US tour. What can people expect from a Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes gig?

SP: Bring ear plugs, unless yr a glutton for pain.

O: I feel that, in place, your guitar tone is reminiscent of Shellac or Godflesh. Are those bands that are an influence on your sound?

SP: I could talk to you for hours about Shellac and guitar tone, but to save everyone some time, yes, that band has a big influence on my tone and songwriting. To be honest, I’m not that well versed in Godflesh, with the exception of what my friend David has shown me. But I like most of what I’ve heard from them.

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