INTERVIEW

TWO GUYS GET STONED: At Le Guess Who? festvial Daniel Dylan Wray tried to interview PCPC – a collaboration between Parquet Courts and PC Worship – so you don’t have to

PCPC

‘Like P-Funk, MinuteFlag, Ciccone Youth, Loutallica and Red House Chili Painters (bet you didn’t know about that one), PCPC is what happens when two legendary rock juggernauts join forces. In this instance, members of PC Worship and Parquet Courts have merged into a NY noise-rock confederacy, each band bringing their own sonic distinctions. Spawning from a long history of playing shows together as separate entities, PCPC is born out of an aesthetic solidarity, and a will to create something new.’

So goes the tongue-in-cheek bio to this latest collaborative project from PC Worship and the currently renamed Parkay Quarts. The project takes all four members of PC Worship – a group that has flowered from the one-man project of Justin Frye – along with Andrew Savage and Austin Brown from Parkay Quarts/Parquet Courts. Live they are a rambunctious, unpredictable six-piece melding chugging acid rock, doom drone and high-energy garage-pop. A pretty close marriage to how you may think the two groups merged would sound, yet still an exciting and challenging fusion to witness, all the same.

I sit on the steps of a canal in Utrecht after PCPC’s show at the city’s Le Guess Who? festival with Savage and Frye to discuss the birth and intentions of the new project, although both are far more concerned with sucking down the joint that they pass back and forth between them (without offering a single measly puff my way) than they are discussing much beyond jokes and goofing around. They formed a bond from playing shows and touring together, or at least so I had understood. “We’ve never actually toured together,” says Frye, with Savage countering, “Kind of, we drove across Mexico. We took a tour of the desert of Mexico on horses and ate peyote with Mexican cowboys.” It was a trip that, according to Savage, “was like no other experience I’ve ever had, for sure.”

“I think that’s where this began, because my horse and his horse really liked each other,” says Frye. “Next thing you know we’re on this 200 foot cliff, just chomping along, just wondering why the universe works the way it does.”

Parquet Courts have talked of midnight peyote trips into the Mexican desert before in previous interviews, so such a trip isn’t inconceivable, but I can’t help but think Frye may be taking liberties with the story surrounding the foundations of this group, or at least what comes later during our interview leads me to think so.

PCPC have only played a handful of shows so far, their first ever being a tour support for Thurston Moore, after Steve Shelley, someone supposedly very hard-wired into the Brooklyn music scene, tipped Moore off about them. “We wanted to do something different, especially because Parquet Courts is in a weird situation right now, where our rhythm section is MIA,” Savage tells me, referring to Sean Yeaton and Max Savage, who are otherwise preoccupied with school and fatherhood. While they’re gone, this new project is already picking up speed, despite its infancy.

“I’m really proud of PCPC and what we’ve been able to accomplish,” says Savage. “We’ve only been practising two months now. It’s not just about music too, Justin and I just released this book of our artwork,” he says, referring to a limited edition book that can be found on their merch table. It’s the same book that Savage picked up and read from only hours earlier on stage, reciting a rapid-fire spoken word piece on top of a duo of screeching guitars, slow-pound tribal drums and a wailing saxophone.

Savage says of the sound they create: “I guess it’s a marriage of the two bands. Sonically, we’re both kind of noisy bands who like to improvise a lot, but maybe with Parquet Courts it’s a bit like more stop-start, more punctuated – I guess another way of saying slightly tighter – PCPC is a marriage of the two aesthetics.”

“For me, music has always been about being a conceptual idea and PC Worship is pretty malleable in terms of its membership and anyone is welcome at any time,” says Frye. “There’s been about twenty members of that band over time, so collaboration is pretty key….”

“You guys like to call yourself the New York Polyphonic Spree, right?” says Savage.

“I think you just like to call us that,” says Frye.

Humour, it seems, is key to PCPC. “We all like goofing around, razzing each other, lollygagging,” says Savage, although they’re not always that keen to admit it when they are, it would seem. I mention the fake quotes that adorn the back of their book from RZA and footballer Robin Van Persie. “I didn’t realise those Wu Tang Clan quotes were fake.” Frye says, rather humourlessly. “Yeah, they’re real,” reaffirms Savage, again without a smile.

I bring up the fake nod to the aforementioned Red House Chili Painters outfit, jokingly querying whether the group have considered pitching it to Mark Kozeleck, 2014’s Grumpy Bastard of The Year.

“I’m sorry… what?” says Frye, with a mixture of incredulity and being extremely stoned, perhaps forgetting being involved with the group’s own bio himself. Savage steps in: “The Red House Chilli Painters, yeah? When Mark Kozeleck and Flea had that Phish-style jam band back in 2002, yeah?”

“Yeah,” Frye says.

At this stage responses slow to a stoned halt and it’s clear they’re not all that interested in discussing anything all that seriously. It’s difficult to work out if they’re attempting to joke with me or at me, but whatever the intention the end result is, well, no fun, so I call the interview to a close before we continue to bore one another any longer. Thankfully, what the duo are capable of creating on stage through the esoteric channel of PCPC – and their own separate groups – is far more engaging, authentic and entertaining than watching them smoke weed and make in-jokes with one another.

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