The Gothsicles: an interview with DarkNES

artist

“The Gothsicles? I do not want a gothic popsicle!” The Gothsicles are a Chicago-based group which made its name by infusing humour in their music, with influences ranging from video game pop culture to everyday annoyances.

First things first, how are you?

Tits.

One thing I’ve noticed about the Gothsicles is the massive amount of video game references. What would be your favorite video game system?

That would be the NES, or “original Nintendo”.

Also, regarding the topic of video games and music, there’s a scene around just that. What do think about the 8-bit and chip tune music scene?

The size of that scene blows me away. Every time I feel like checkin’ out some chip tunes or whatever, there’s just tons of people putting out some really stellar stuff and definitely I’m all for that.

There’s a sense of humor used in your music, which is a real perk, showing you don’t take yourselves too seriously, but unfortunately, because of that, some people might not take your music seriously. What are your feelings?

I mean, yeah, that goes on and it can sometimes be frustrating, sure, but I’d be dishonest if I said it wasn’t largely my own doing. If you try to sell meth to a bunch of h-fiends, most of ’em are going be all, “What the fuck is this shit?”, which is to be totally expected because they’re h-fiends.

Holy shit, that kind of went to a dark place, sorry.

Another detail about your music, DarkNES’s vocal style, reminds me a bit of Weird Al. Is that intentional?

You seriously think I sing like Weird Al? It’s like, I certainly wouldn’t deny the overarching musical influence, but I think we’re usually pretty vocally dissimilar.

What is your live set up and/or studio set up?

The Gothsicles live are me and Kat and sometimes Matt Fanale. Katja plays keyboard and Matt and I do vocals. I’ve heard that Matt is also in another band.

The Gothsicles in the studio are me and Dan Clark, also of The Dark Clan.

I use mostly Cubase 5 as a platform for the Virus TI, a Midines for the Nintendo shit and a handful of other plugins. Dan levitates naked in a sphere of white light and converts energy into sound with the power of his mind.

Having enjoyed your live shows, an element that really compliments the performance are the visuals, which are composed of lyrics and random Internet memes. What would you say is your favourite meme?

Oh, man, like, ever? I was just laughing at the Oprah “BEES!” one, but that will probably be archaic by the time this interview is published due to the speed at which the Internet moves.

Sorry, Kathleen, I know you wanted me to say “DEATHKEY”.

Matt Fanale of Caustic, known as Sega Lugosi, usually is on stage as part of the Gothsicles, but you also have a side project with him called the Causticles. Can you tell us about that project?

We made a ton of progress initially with basically me remixing aborted Caustic tracks, and then really started to get into a real cohesive interworking of new material, which has been a lot of fun. The project has gone through periods of oscillating momentum as both of us are currently trying to get new albums out the door, but we’ll finally be releasing our first official Causticles tracks on a compilation that’s coming out very soon that I don’t know if I can talk about yet.

Having played with Matt Fanale, and several others on stage or on albums, do you think working with other artists has helped you improve and in which ways?

Helpful without a doubt. It’s kind of funny ’cause Matt seems to come up in every interview I do, but it’s never anything I mind talking about because playing in Caustic specifically has taught me a lot about things like managing energy and stage presence, in addition to being just a whole lot of fun. Involvement in multiple projects with multiple people is certainly something that’s going to help anybody improve, but maybe in the electronic scene even more so, where music creation tends to be fairly insular.

Can you tell us the status of the next album from the Gothsicles?

Something got fucked up with the barcode, but Bart from WTII is working his ass off to fix it, so it’s totally gonna be out on August 9th

Finally, giving you an open soap box, do you have any last comments for our readers?

The first real concert I saw was Soundgarden in Milwaukee in I think 7th grade. I went with my friend Jesse and my dad. I didn’t really know exactly how to dress, but I knew that I wanted to look cool, so I left my glasses at home, which meant I was effectively blind. Jesse had a similar visual prescription, though, and he was a good guy, so for the rest of the show we passed his pair of glasses back at forth like two geriatric homeless people so at least one of us could see what was going on at the time. I still laugh about it today.

Relevant links

The Gothsicles
The Gothsicles Facebook Page

— interview by Kathleen Chausse with photo by Tammy Raabe Rao (June 2011)