Monday, December 15, 2008

Local Q&A-- Fungi Girls

Out of all the new local bands I've heard this year, very few have struck a chord quicker than Fungi Girls, a Cleburne noise pop group that possesses musical taste and talent far beyond what is typical of their ages-- 14 and 15. Yes, you read that correctly. 14 and 15.

Of course, I realized that these guys were pretty young the first time I encountered their Myspace page, but I had no idea they were THIS young until I asked them a few questions for the first installment of a new feature, Local Q and A (something you'll be seeing here on a regular basis). If you head over to Fungi Girls' Myspace page and check out "Into the Cosmos" and "Crystal Roads," you'll realize just how surprising their ages really are-- the group's music calls to mind the Siltbreeze sound of bands like Psychedelic Horseshit, Times New Viking and U.S. Girls, as well as a bit of the shoegaze pop recently popularized (again) by Deerhunter, but they also pack their brief songs with a few charming touches of 90's slacker a la Dinosaur Jr., Yo La Tengo and Westing era Pavement (meaning Swell Maps by proxy), resulting in a batch of songs that are sloppy, noisy and chaotic while retaining a pleasant, poppy warmth that truly sets Fungi Girls apart from similar groups. We wanted to learn a bit more about how these dudes got to be so cool, and here is what they told us:

Could you give us some background info on the band? Names, ages, where you're from, etc.

I'm Skyler Salinas. 14. From Cleburne, Texas, although I grew up in California and Nevada half of my short life. My bandmate is Jacob Bruce. 15. Grew up in Cleburne, Texas all his life. Somehow, we've mastered the "art" of being able to play scene metal and terrible radio country songs, jokingly of course. This goes on a lot during practice. It'll even go on for hours if we feel like it.

Fungi Girls is a duo, right? I just wondered because I saw three people playing at the Muscle Beach show. If you guys are in fact a duo, what made you want to do it that way? Was it just necessity, as in you couldn't find anyone else you wanted to play with in your town, or was it a purposeful decision that less is more?

Yes, we're a duo. That third person was our ex-bassist, Barrett Green. We kicked him out due to some personal conflict between him and I, in addition to him starting to lack in dedication. After we kicked him out, we ended up being good friends again, but Jacob and I decided to stay a duo. Jacob and I are more so on the same page of what we want in our sound, and we both have nearly identical taste in music. Besides that, us two just work together much better as a two-piece.

How long have you guys been playing music? Did you play in any bands before Fungi Girls? If so, what were they like?

I've been playing music since I was 10 or 11, starting in school band. About a year after that, I started playing the drums in addition to that and it took off from there. Jacob has been playing music since he was 12 or 13, starting on guitar. I played in two bands before Fungi Girls, a punky math rock band called Lego Theory with my buddy Deryck, and then Jacob, Deryck, and I were in a improvisational noise rock band called Zooz. Neither bands played any shows nor were there any releases or anything.

Could you tell us a little bit about your songwriting process?

It usually starts with me coming up with a drum rhythm, then Jacob adds a guitar part to go along with it, we decide on the song structure, then afterwards add vocals. Very simple. Our songwriting process ends up being very slow, though, because we usually end up fucking around a lot.

Your recordings are very noisy and lo-fi and raw. Is this a stylistic or aesthetic choice, or is it just the result of recording a quick demo? Or to put it another way, are you recording the way you would if you had an actual "budget" to spend money at a studio?

It's both stylistic and aesthetic. We both love lo-fi recordings, whether they be from newer bands or older bands. We don't ever plan on changing that characteristic. But in addition to that, we are in fact on a budget. Neither of us are old enough to get jobs yet, so we have to bum money off of our parents. That's kind of out of the question if you're wanting studio time.

I enjoy pretty much every single band that you list on your influences section on your myspace page. Can you discuss some of your favorite bands and the ways that they might have inspired you to start a band and play the kind of music that you do?

Psychocandy-era Jesus And Mary Chain, Henry's Dress, Times New Viking, You're Living All Over Me-era Dinosaur Jr., and Psychedelic Horseshit are our probably our main influences. We both LOVE anything that could be considered noise pop. Whether it be melodic/harmonic noise or atonal noise and feedback, there's just something about blending noise with pop music that really gets us off.

I think its interesting that you list John Coltrane as an influence. Obviously you aren't playing jazz, but I wonder what kind of influence he has on you guys musically?

I was the one that listed him and Art Blakey as our influences, as they're more so mine. Jazz drumming really influences me and makes me strive to be the best drummer I can be. But yeah, obviously we're not doing anything complex or jazzy, but I try my hardest to incorporate small amounts of jazz drumming into our songs. Usually it's just little drum rolls that are barely noticeable. Besides that, though, Jacob and I just really appreciate the brilliant musicianship of jazz and hope to show good musicianship in our songs. Although we do love the newer, noisy pop bands like Psychedelic Horseshit and Times New Viking, sometimes we get agitated with their lack of good musicianship, especially the former.

It seems like you have a knack for writing pop songs and burying them underneath everything else you do musically. Do you aim to write catchy pop tunes, or does it just come out that way?

We definitely aim to write catchy pop tunes. As stated before, we're huge on noise pop, as well as just pure pop music like The Beach Boys or The Mamas and Papas.

Who are some of your favorite local groups? What do you think of the local scene in general?

Orange Coax, Silver Shampoo, Wax Museums, Scoff, and Landon's (from Muscle Beach) drone project Glazed Glitter. I personally don't think the local scene is all that great, but it is very homey and tight knit. More particularly the Denton scene that is associated with Muscle Beach, 715 Panhandle, Bunker Hill and the like. As for Dallas and Fort Worth bands, I really don't think there's much hope for either city at the current time. I haven't heard (of) any decent bands coming out of either city in a while.

Do you feel like there are really very many limitations to starting a band in a small town like Cleburne these days? It's not as if you have to travel far to find good music anymore, so other than obvious logistical concerns with playing shows, etc., is anything else holding you back there, culturally or otherwise?

No, not really. We get uhhh...persecuted occasionally, I guess, for being quite different than the mass amounts of rednecks, Abercrombie guys and girls, and scenesters around here. But, it doesn't bother us all that much. The only big downfall of living here is we don't really have any supporting people if we want to set up a show here. We have a small group of ten friends or so that supports us, but that's about it. The rest of the kids here are into shit like Lil' Wayne, Toby Keith, and Bring Me The Horizon.

Labels:

66 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoa, can't believe this is actually good

7:01 PM  
Anonymous shane said...

this is interesting!

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, I wish I had had my shit that together at 14.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is some addictive shit.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah 6:05, somebody always says something like that until the drugs arrive on the scene. oh yeah...

and while i'm at it, nobody would repost if this shit would work properly in the first place.....................

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah 6:05, somebody always says something like that until the drugs arrive on the scene. oh yeah...

and while i'm at it, nobody would repost if this shit would work properly in the first place.....................

8:31 PM  
Anonymous chad said...

Kids say the darndest things!

8:57 PM  
Anonymous jon said...

this stuff is pretty great thanks for posting!

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude those kids probably already do drugs. i wouldnt be surprised. shroomin swiss!

11:37 PM  
Anonymous i have no talent said...

someone shoot me.

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

henry's dress rules & so do these dudes

2:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

henry's dress rules & so do these dudes

2:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought everyone was in pop punk bands when they were 12 then when your 14 it becomes hardcore then somehow idm at 18 and expirementalwhatevershit by 22. then you just work for money by 25 cause you already got two kids you never wanted and a spouse that just keeps getting fatter and fatter and to top it off that same 14 year old type kid is playing with a half stack his parents bought him right across the street from you while your trying to watch perry mason in the mid afternoon cause you tried to commit suicide at work therefor getting you laid off so you just sit there until one day you go over to that garage and bang on it till the playing ceases to only be followed by that kids mom coming out and jumping down your throatof how their little shit is talented even though you could play every fugazi song by age 12 on the piano and guitar so you ask her to calm down cause she's just really pissed cause evidently that little fucker child of hers said youve been selling it pot but of course you havent smoke pot for years cause youve been on probation for five ut she calls the cops anyways. you go to jail and that little prick grows up to e on mtv by the time theyre 17

4:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or they get a drivers licence and run over you cat

4:35 AM  
Anonymous john said...

or they start running a website called weshotjr.com

5:38 AM  
Anonymous chris hansen from nbc's dateline said...

Fungi Girl: "Come on in, I'm just in the other room laying down some new tracks on Garage Band in my bedroom. I'll be out in a minute... make yourself a glass of ice tea."

Stonedranger: "OK. I brought comdons."

A man steps through a curtain. His name is Chris Hansen.

Hansen: "How's it going? Are you the Stonedranger?"

SR: "Yes, sir. I am."

Hansen: "What are you doing here?"

SR: "I came to interview a band."

Hansen: "And you brought condoms?"

SR: "Well, she said she was really into Math Rock, so I figured we would vibe and then get it on."

Hansen: "But she's 14."

SR: "I'm 16, how old are you dude?"

Hansen: "I'm not the one cruising the internet for teenage girls."

SR: "Where else am I supposed to meet them? The mall? I've already been banned from Hot Topic and Urban Outfitters."

Hansen: "It says here that you like noise. What kind of person likes noise?"

SR: "I'm just trying to be cool. I've already pimped every gimmicky genre under the sun, noise is the only thing left. Music is dead."

Hansen: "You sent this girl a text message that said, 'I like to have secks with animals'. What did you mean by that?"

SR: "Dude, who are you?"

Hansen: "I'm Chris Hansen of NBC's Dateline."

A full camera crew surrounds SR as he sips the iced tea.

SR: "Where's the girl? I have an interview to do for my blog."

Hansen: "You're free to leave."

SR: "Fuck that. I'm gonna talk to this bitch about math rock and noise, then I'm gonna fuck her right here on the kitchen table."

Hansen: "Oh, you are, are you?"

SR: "Sure am, motherfucker."

Hansen: "That girl is my daughter."

SR: "I don't give a shit. I'll fuck your wife, too."

Hansen: "I think we can arrange that. How much money do you have?"

SR: "Ten bucks."

Hansen: "Done, and done..."

Cops rush in, arrest SR and the Fungi Girl for liking math rock, and then everybody else goes home.

5:48 AM  
Anonymous stoned hermione granger said...

there's a rumor going around that Fungi Girls draw considerable influence from the punk rock marching band Mount Righteous. make sure you ask about that next time around.

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how many people from nouns group write for this shit?

7:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:48, catching a predator has been done to death on human giant and other sketch comedy shows, so your post is not only unfunny but also unoriginal.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised more of you haven't figured it out yet: Dallas Observer writer Jesse Hughey is Stonedranger. Look up his articles on the Observer's website; they are the antithesis of SR's writing. He's that clever.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

myspace.com/rockjesse <-- youre saying this guy is stonedranger and the singer from nouns group is defensive listening?

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

next your gonna be saying wanz dover is cliff notes

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

back to the band? this is pretty good stuff actually, even if the haterz just wanna talk shit

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maaan i gotta lose some fat

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a Good new feature for this blog.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

two things: If you guys knew more about music, you would be funnier.

It's been about three years with this blog, and you motherfuckers still do this guessing game shit. you are fucking embarrassing. Most of you are always wrong, and the rest of you are just pathetic. The fact that you care so much about who writes for this blog shows how little meaning your lives have. Fuck you.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought everybody knew who the we shot jr people are. Caring about that is so 2006.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous PRIMORDIAL BOOZE said...

This band is great! Their thoughts on the DFW scene are kinda...not great. But shit, I didn't even have a concept of a scene was when I was 14. I had just purchased my first screeching weasel CD around then...

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cool. having a concept of a what a scene is definitely makes you a great musician. it really matters what scene you're in, for sure. in fact, i wouldn't listen to any kind of music if i didn't know what scene it was a part of and whether or not i should be into it according to my own scene. if it weren't for scenes, i would be exposed as the filthy, lazy, talentless follower that i really am, and that wouldn't be good now, would it?

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

exactly. gotta follow the rules. if i was in a band i would assume that there ain't shit going on outside of the venues that i have personally played. i mean, how could that be? gotta see it to believe it.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the love? Love all, be loved by all....stop wanking on everybody's parade.

P.S. I thougth the Chris Hansen thing was funny. Originality is not near as important as people try to make it seem.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah, it wasn't. But the interview was good.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous offensive glistening said...

go tell your mamma that the horney toad did it

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shit fuckin sounds like a high school band... it blows my mind how this is cool... fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous preston frost said...

you guys lick fat hairy balllsack if you hate this band i know them so blowm my cock

7:28 PM  
Anonymous preston frost said...

you guys lick fat hairy balllsack if you hate this band i know them so blowm my cock

7:28 PM  
Anonymous fungi girls said...

hahahahaha ^^^

7:36 PM  
Anonymous fungi girls said...

a comment from one of our friend's 10 yr old brother on we shot jr. telling people to "lick fat hairy ballsack" was rather unexpected. especially since the kid doesn't like either of us.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Joseph Jealousy said...

Bahaha.

this site has some fucking douchebags that need to get their ass kicked.

thinking they're all big and bad talking shit to some kids over the internet.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what arrogant fucks, these kids don't know shit about the scene here. i didn't know they were raising such pretentious kids at that age.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous fungi girls said...

you're right. we don't know all that much about the scene here, 6:06. we know a little bit about the denton scene, but that's about it. but from what i have gathered from the bands i've heard that have came out of dallas or fort worth in the past couple of years, none of them have really appealed to me. i can only name a couple that have

so please, instead of calling us arrogant and pretentious fucks, point us to some bands from big d or fw that you are into, and help educate us a little about the scene here.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hear black tie dynasty is pretty good.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had a band at 13-14. we were a duo and we wanted to be the Brian Jonestown Massacre... haha. ignore 7:23 he/she must be joking. Fight Bite, Teenage Symphony (who I think are the Beales now), in fact any of the bands associated with Teenage Symphony, Matthew and The Arrogant Sea (especially live), RTB2 explore around with those bands...

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is too good bands out of Dallas and Fort Worth, WTF?

Akkolyte!?
Yells at Eels!?
Vorvadoss!?
Koji Kondo!?(w/ members of Orange Cokes!?)
Best Fwends!?
BACONATOR!?
Tolar 21!?
Rocket for Ethiopia!?
DINOSAUR DINOSAUR!?
Negaduck!?

I guess it really depends on your definition of a "good" band. To me, if they're got their shit down live and they make a good effort to get their shit out there, i.e. record consistently, play consistent shows, and take part in supporting the collective international music scene, then they're good. I don't know why Denton, Dallas, and Fort Worth should be looked at as different scenes. They're all relatively close, and it's basically most of the same people. Jussayin'

10:10 PM  
Anonymous fungi girls said...

will do.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't believe nobody has yet mentioned THE GREAT TYRANT, ya'll ignant

10:37 PM  
Anonymous aids said...

they got em

12:01 AM  
Anonymous potato said...

i cant believe no ones mentioned ornette coleman or flickerstick

1:12 AM  
Anonymous stonedranger said...

810, I agree that it would be ideal if Dallas, Denton and Ft. Worth could all be considered one scene, one place if you will, and I also agree that you find many of the same people running around all three cities. However, it seems that at this point, things are divided, at least in the eyes of the public, and until that perception has changed, things will stay this way. I agree with most of your bands list as well.

2:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is 7:46 pm in voot cha index? that's got the "voot" all over it.

10:53 AM  
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11:48 AM  
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11:49 AM  
Anonymous 7iqbz0p11g said...

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11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:10, which of those bands (EVEN ONE) records consistently or even plays shows still?

ps rocket for ethiopia is terrible. fucking terrible

10:50 PM  
Anonymous laura said...

i tend to focus more on the fact that, well, Dallas has a thriving economy rather than simply being a washed up college town (i.e. Denton).

pluuuuuuus, Dallas has Cool Out at the Cavern. although, 14 and 15 years old are understandably not in the know about those sorts of things.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thriving economy? what a lame ass, people like you need to die soon.

9:30 AM  
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6:07 PM  
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6:07 PM  
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6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:50

Almost all of that list are active bands.

Akkolyte has a full length coming out VERY soon and a re always playing shows.

Yells At Eels is releasing shit left and right AND with very reputable musicians.

Vorvadoss plays all the time and are preparing material to record.

Best Fwends is constantly touring... releasing.

Tolar/ Unit 21 ALWAYS playing shows. Unit 21 actually just put out a new full-length on a Japanese label.

Other notables:

Kill the Client just released Cleptocracy and it is one of the best grindcore albums of the year

Four Days to Burn just finished recording an album that is going to be amazing

The Great Tyrant has a split 12" coming out with the a really awesome band, Human Anomaly

I could actually go on, but you get the point.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:50

Almost all of that list are active bands.

Akkolyte has a full length coming out VERY soon and a re always playing shows.

Yells At Eels is releasing shit left and right AND with very reputable musicians.

Vorvadoss plays all the time and are preparing material to record.

Best Fwends is constantly touring... releasing.

Tolar/ Unit 21 ALWAYS playing shows. Unit 21 actually just put out a new full-length on a Japanese label.

Other notables:

Kill the Client just released Cleptocracy and it is one of the best grindcore albums of the year

Four Days to Burn just finished recording an album that is going to be amazing

The Great Tyrant has a split 12" coming out with the a really awesome band, Human Anomaly

I could actually go on, but you get the point.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't ever try playing outside of Denton, your shitty pretentious attitudes and cliche untalented music will only fly there.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't ever try playing outside of Denton, your shitty pretentious attitudes and cliche untalented music will only fly there.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous fungi girls said...

sure thing, bud.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fungi girls gnar kill.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous sleepy bear said...

Hey I can definitely say that at the age of 14 I was not only a jackass, but wasn't listening to new bands. Their taste is more sophisticated then most WSJR readers. Give em a break! They're naive, young and just want to be cool.

9:17 AM  

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