February 7th, 2012

Known best for their ear-splitting guitar riffs and shoegaze-meets-punk rock sounds, Williamsburg-based indie band A Place to Bury Strangers is back with their first record in more than three years. We caught up with members Oliver Ackermann and Dion Lunadon to talk about the band’s new album and hear more about their side projects. Click through for the interview and to listen to an exclusive stream of their new EP, Onwards To The Wall

What kind of music did you guys grow up listening to?

Ackermann: Oh, lots of stuff. I guess I listened to a lot of ’60s and ’70s from my parents and then kind of got into punk rock in middle school from my brother. I think the time I got into new wave and shoe gaze music is right when I started playing guitar and so, for some reason, [that sound] has always sort of stuck with me.

Lunadon: I think when you’re a teenager and discovering music and starting to play guitar, you get heavily influenced by certain music and that affects how you play. Those teenage years are kind of formative and kind of give you your style then, hopefully, when you get older you do your own thing.

Onwards To The Wall is going to be your first album in nearly three years. What new recording techniques did you use this time around?

Ackermann: We did use a lot of new techniques, but it probably multiplied the time it took us to do this record by like, 10. You learn some really great techniques and you use them for a little bit, but then you realize maybe it wasn’t good or its not appropriate, so it can be really tough. Sometimes it’s nice not to know any of those techniques and just do it.

How does this new album differ from the last one?

Lundadon: I think it’s much more aggressive in a way…

Ackermann: Yeah, maybe it’s more honed in to what we were going for. More purposeful.

Everyone talked about that video you released for the single So Far Away. How many photos did you have to take to put that whole thing together?

Ackermann: Oh, I shot a ton of frames for that — well over a thousand photos. They date all the way back to when I had an older phone and just randomly took photos anywhere I was, whether it was on vacation or on tour with the band. It really all came about maybe 5 months or so ago, I was just importing pictures onto my computer and listening to some mixes and all of a sudden I was watching all the photos flash really quickly in front of my eyes and thought, “that would be a really cool idea for a video!”

Do you have a favorite Hipstamatic filter?

Ackermann: The 1969 film

Your Death by Audio effects pedal company is also doing quite well. How do you feel about the high profile clients who use your equipment? 

Ackermann: Yeah, definitely, it’s ridiculous! I can’t ever believe it, especially being a fan of these bands when I was younger and to have someone like that be super excited to use your equipment…that just seems mind-blowing.

Who are some of the artists that use your pedals?

Ackermann: Lou Reed, Kevin Shields, Trent Reznor, The Edge, Lady Gaga, Jeff Tweedy…

A Place To Bury Strangers is pretty notorious for your deafening live performances. Do people ever complain? Does anything crazy ever happen?

Ackermann: We’ve had people go into seizures, we had someone who was pregnant go into labor right after our show, we’ve had tons of people complain, we’ve gotten shut down places, we’ve blown the power. We played this festival in Cincinnati and we literally blew the power every four minutes. That was a good time!

Lunadon: I had some woman’s face bleeding at the end of the show, I think I hit her with a piece of my guitar. She came up to me really ecstatic about it afterwards. 

We’ve cleared out rooms, been pulled off stage, shut down…

—Adrian Brinkley


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