ISO50: Your new album Maniac Meat has some balls to it, i’m definitely a fan. What made you go gradually harsher and expand your sound from previous albums and projects?
TOBACCO: That’s been in there for awhile, but i used to care about not freaking people out too badly. i think sometime last year while i was on tour with black moth, i realized i was tired of all the safe music i had written for that band, and how much fun i could be having just letting all the wild shit out instead of suppressing it.
ISO50: I remember when I heard your project Black Moth Super Rainbow for the first time at the Ghostly office years ago and “I Think It Is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too” came on I knew I was going to enjoy the record, is this a sound that you’ve wanted to make since you were younger? any nostalgia tied to it? if so is there a story you can share?
TOBACCO: I feel now like all that old stuff was all i could do at the time. so i can’t say i was ever striving to make music like that, but more like that music was striving for something more. i made that song so long ago that the only real memory i have of it was it was my first or 2nd song completely made on a sampler. that was definitely a fun time.
ISO50: I always wanted to let you know that you have great track names (Sweatmother, Hairy Candy, New Juices From The Hot Tub Freaks, etc) compared to most musicians, anyone help you with those? how do they come about?
TOBACCO: Especially with this record, i came up with most of them while running to the songs at the gym or around my neighborhood. i’m usually just trying to describe the way they sound to me, rather than what they might be about – which is usually nothing too concrete to begin with.
ISO50: How did the Beck collab happen? since you went so big is there another artist you’d want to work with in the future?
TOBACCO: We asked and beck was awesome enough to say yes. it all just happened through email. you know it’s hard to say now because all 2 people on my list have been checked off, but i think at this point it would be awesome to start a band with someone like beck or aesop and really get in there and see what we could do. i’m remaking someone’s record this summer and that’ll end up being the biggest collaborative effort i’ve ever been involved with, so i’m pretty invested in that. it’s someone i never would have predicted working with, and that kind of stuff can be even crazier because it twists you in ways you weren’t expecting to go.
ISO50: For Maniac Meat, do you have a full band live? hows that setup? do you bring any synths with you?
TOBACCO: It’s always 2 of us, sometimes 3. it can be anything from a weird dj/vj show to a minimal band with a sequenced beat, depending on who’s there. on the september tour, we’re gonna try something new and have more people involved for a few songs. we do bring 1 synth around with us.
ISO50: Who does your album covers?
TOBACCO: I’ve done all the album covers. for me, that’s just as important as what’s inside.
ISO50: Something your fans might not know about you?
TOBACCO: I don’t like most of the music i get lumped in with. if you give me your cd and tell me it’s all vocoder and synths, i might not listen to it, but if you tell me you sound like Scott Weiland I might be down!
ISO50: Dream gig (location, mood, show opener or closer)?
TOBACCO: I dream of the day live shows become all digital like everything else, and we can stay at home, and just be projected like a hologram or something.
ISO50: Do you collect anything?
TOBACCO: Madballs. there are only like 12 of them, so if you space it out, it’s the most eco thing you can get into collecting.
ISO50: Favorite new band you’ve heard?
TOBACCO: He’s not a band, but Serengeti is the man
ISO50: If you weren’t working with music, where would you work?
TOBACCO: Any pizza shop
ISO50: Share a childhood memory that might relate to your music?
TOBACCO: Baby stinky was a gross baby puppet that this f*ckjob at the flea market was selling, and i wasn’t allowed to have it because it was too sick. for all these years, i put it up on a pedestal of being the ultimate taboo toy that i could never have because it was way too disturbing for my family back in 1992. i finally found an original one a few years back at a costume store and it was definitely gross, but more awesome-gross than disturbing-gross. and that’s because it was from that time. i think that kind of describes some of my musical ideas, or my album covers. yesterday’s sick shit that becomes today’s art. or something like art.