Since the early 80s LA has carried with it the imprint of rock music. From the bouffant days of the CBGBS hard rock scene to the early 2000s nu-metal kids. These days the West coast sunshine is training its spotlight on a new breed of pioneers centered around a little venue tucked between the East side of the city and Beverly Hills called The Smell. A community based neon cavern where all shows, as proudly displayed on their flyers, are and all ages and all $5. It seem the DIY punk rock aesthetic is alive and well and Abe Vigoda are playing a huge part in the scene. We’re not talking about the legendary Fish from Barney Miller (although he is pretty amazing too), but the tropical punk, synth tinged rockers who make it their business to produce the type of music that coasts the fringes of At The Drive-In and early Cure. So when Abe Vigoda decided to finish off their tour of Europe by unleashing a tsuami of raddness all over East Lonon, we were lucky enough to corner front man Michael and bass man David into an aclove and fire a few questins at them. Here it is…
Hi guys. So this is the end of the tour and you’ve pretty much been to every country in Europe. How’s it been?
M: It’s been 7 weeks and we’ve been all over, even prety far East, like Romania and Poland as well as the obvious places too. It’s been great. 7 weeks on the road. I think it’s the longest tour we’ve done.
Have you guys missed LA?
M: We’re missing it now. It was going by really quick and I think now we’re close to the end it’ll be good to get back. But it’s cool to be here in London.
D: Yeah, we’ve been here a bunch of times. It’s a great place.
Do you have an affinity with London?
M: Sure. It’s nice because we always end up in the same neighbourhoods; Dalston, Shoreditch and around Hackney.
D: We’ve managed to get tons of frends out here now so it’s always a great time, no matter what.
M: Yeah, bands like Lovvers and Munch Munch. Just people we’ve met through touring and hanging out. Good people.
So how does London compare with the scene in LA? Do you feel it’s comparabe?
M: There are definitely similarities. There are people who get to know eachother through playing music, you know. There’s a community here which is cool and I think the stuff Chris (Tipton) does with Upset the Rhythm it’s got the same mind set and mentality a certain promoters in LA, like The Smell and other DIY spaces. Tonight the vibe is perfect. It feels like a show that would happen in LA.
There’s a big buzz about the secene cntered around The Smell. How important is that to you guys and the music coming out of LA right now?
M: Smell shows are always important and similar to tonight, I think. The venue’s a seedy bar, in a good way. Everything is really relaxed. When you take it to another extreem where it’s a fancy club, people just kind of feel stifled and awkward. I always prefer shows in comfortable spaces. If it’s a DIY show you’re gonna have a much more comfortable time. People connect more when it’s like that and musically that’s important. I guess we just wanna have fun as much as we can.
Ok. Your album Crush is definitely different to Skeleton and the others before it. It seem to be a bit more synth-pop influenced. Was that an intentional thing or did it just happen?
M: Oh, it was totally intentional. It was also a slow progression. We all love pop music probably first and foremost. We all respond to pop music, everyone does. If the say they don’t they’re lying (laughs).
D: It was intentional but it was natural. It’s not something that we forced ourselves to do to try and be different or make a deliberate change from what we were doing previously. After Reggie, our old drummer, quit the band, Dane joined. After we’d argued so much about the material on Skeleton, we discovered this more mature mind set towards the music in general and it came out in how we were writing songs together. It was just a little bit different to how we were doing things before but darker and kind of more pop.
Yeah, Crush has got some pretty dark undertones.
D: Lyrically it’s not much different but the way the songs have come together and the way the album came out there is a darkness that kind of pushes the lyrics forward and gives it a different vibe. You could take lyrics from all the old songs and put them over the new tracks and it (laughs) probably wouldn’t work…
M: (laughs) That could be a fun experiment.
A remix of Abe Vigoda’s last three albums into a mixtape…
M: That would be cool.
So what have you guys got coming up next?
M: I think we’re gonna have a little bit of a break. We’ve been touring this album really hard. We have some shows lined up in LA but as far as another tour goes it’ll probably be a while. We want to start writing some new material and take our time with it and just let it happen. I want to take time and write songs we’re really happy with. It would suck to force another album out. I don’t think that’s what we’re about. Were not trying to crank out albums and tour as much as possible. We want to create substantial art. There was a super productive period between 2005 to 2008.
D: Yeah, I remember we’d moved out of our parent’s houses and started working a lot more. We were hanging out and just playing together and writing a lot. Now it’s a slower process because when we write we’re all in the same room. Also jobs and life come into play. Like being in the band and trying not to be totally broke.
M: I think when we get back we’re probably not going to practice for like a month and just rely on muscle memory. But we’ll keep going at everything we do with conviction.