Pure Adult Interview: “That kind of terror is an exciting terror.”

pure adult

Pure Adult’s latest single ‘Mise En Scène’ is out now.

One of the more intriguing bands that we have come across here at Overblown recently, is experimental/avant garde rock duo Pure Adult. We absolutely loved their recent single ‘Mise En Scène’ so our man Caine Hemmingway tracked them (Jeremy Snyder and Bianca Abarca) down for a casual chin wag.

Overblown: Hello nice humans. I’m Caine. Firstly, living through truly historic times, have you found this has affected the way you are going about lyrically writing a song? Is it hard to lean away from pandemic related atrocity?

J: Hello! That’s a very poignant question; It has impacted my writing but in a strange way. All of our material is and has been anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, but I’ve always preferred a more implicit, literary narrative arc over just shouting leftist rhetoric. The pandemic has allowed the popular movements on the cusp of radicalization in 2020 to bring greater awareness of economic inequality and oppression to everybody’s newsfeed – not that those issues are new, but they are more popular now than ever to openly speak about.

This constant conversation, especially with burgeoning radicals, about exploitation and oppression builds up such a deep anger in me, I find myself writing just explicit, confrontational language, which is something I don’t want to do as I feel it often falls on deaf ears.

Overblown: The disjointed recording approach for ‘Mise en Scene’ makes for a rich musical landscape. Is this something you’ll continue to experiment with?

J: Yeah for sure; our EP, as well as Mise, are intentionally assembled to follow a more surrealist experience, rather than a traditional documentarian approach. I like the idea that a listener might be ripped into a different headspace. I like to blend recordings from different days, different rooms, and different techniques to see how it melds into a new visceral experience.

Overblown: To each of you, what is your number 1, be all and end all, favourite artist, or band, of all time?

J: I don’t have a favourite, but lately I’ve been listening to the new material from grime rapper Eyez. Mez’s new stuff is great too. Oh, I also discovered Scott Walker’s Climate of Hunter, which is much less avant-garde than his later material but still more deconstructed and adventurous than his earlier pop work. This Heat’s record Deceit is a bit of a mainstay for me, as well.

B: Oof that’s tough. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to settle on an end all be all artist. My brain is constantly shifting and with it, my perspective. It’s really challenging to choose a single artist without considering the laundry list of great influences that have guided them. But throw on some Machine Gunners or Ebo Taylor at pretty much any time and I’m in.

Overblown: Obviously, COVID-19 has fucked all plans for gigs. Let’s reminisce, gather round the campfire for a minute. What’s your favourite memory of touring? A hilarious story. Or disgusting.

J: Honestly, touring is fairly placid. A lot of driving and a bunch of jokes nobody will get. Gigs and hotel rooms. I don’t know how Motley Crue did it, but that wild, destructive shit doesn’t seem sustainable hahaha.

Overblown: How did you all meet?

B: Jeremy was touring through NYC and needed a spot to crash. He knew my roommate, but she wasn’t home at the time so she passed along my number. I let him in and, two hours later, we were still talking about art and dance. I was studying at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance at the time and I was shocked at how much he knew about the industry and the history of the craft.

He moved here shortly after and we began collaborating immediately.

Overblown: Do you think the rich musical heritage of New York has shaped your sound in any way or have you pushed against that?

J: I think there are a lot of historically great artists from here – the no wave stuff like Swans, Teenage Jesus and The Jerks, Arto Lindsay as well as monumental rap artists like Biggie and Nas – but I don’t put much weight in the geography of music. It can be a nostalgic trap to think too hard about your own work in any sort of context like that.

Overblown: What’s the plans for Pure Adult in the near future?

J: We have a live stream show coming up on Oct 16th from a venue here in NYC we really like called Baby’s All Right. They have a streaming station called Baby TV.

We also have another video coming out for our next single, ‘Cam Girls’, real soon. It’s a ripper.

Overblown: A little bird told me you had plans to support some great bands, IDLEs, A Place to Bury Strangers, is that still on the cards or is that another casualty of the pandemic?

Both of those bands are friends of ours so of course, we’ve had very informal conversations about playing together but nothing substantial.

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Photo by Mitchell Wojcik.

Overblown: So, your picture on Spotify by Mitchell Wojcik, the one with all the spaghetti. Tell us all about that.

J: That was Mitch’s idea. He said he listened to the EP several times in a row and this is what he saw. We thought it was a pretty interesting idea, so we agreed to it. There’s more to that shoot that we’ll probably use in the future. I really love Mitch’s work.

Overblown: You say you want people to be terrified at a Pure Adult show. This is something that gets me very excited, as being uncomfortable or scared is a legitimate emotion in music, how do you plan to terrify the audience?

J: That kind of terror is an exciting terror. It’s the uncertainty. Unsure if you like it or if you’re allowed to like it. The uncertainty of what might happen in front of your eyes. I mean, we’re not like Rammstein or something with pyrotechnic face masks and BDSM gear or whatever. But I don’t find that terrorizing, I find it funny. The unknown and the inability to make predictions is what I find exciting and terrifying.

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