Friday, October 24, 2014

'Bike. Barista. Bullshit.' This is Terrible Music

This is a mashup! Download your free copy on Bandcamp today.

Terrible (AKA Max Schaffer) worked as bike messenger for the summer. He drank a lot of coffee. He talked to a lot of baristas. He tried to weed out the bullshit from what he had learned in college. But mostly he just made this album for his friends to dance to.

Like most things, Terrible Music started for shits and giggles and eventually grew into Bike. Barista. Bullshit. (2014), the debut LP featuring 166 sample sources in 50 minutes, all at 130 beats per minute. A project that took 19 years of listening, three months of using (and crashing) Logic, and from what we can tell, a lot of caffeine.

“It's an experiment in turning all songs into party songs. It's a departure from emotional guitar music, pretension, and hands-in-pockets. It's a celebration of fun and derivative sounds, and liking music because it sounds good - even if it doesn't have a fucking point. It’s my brain spilled out all over the place, all at once. And I think that’s really beautiful.”

“There’s a time and a place for emotional songs, for people nodding their heads with their hands in their pockets, but I honestly was never confident that the rest of the music reached the audience." As a musician, Max Schaffer was in a band, went to shows, liked his scene, but felt something was missing.

"People relate music with memories, and Terrible (or just mashups in general) hits multiple memories at once. I think that’s the strongest part about the genre,” Schaffer tells Bishop And Rook.

Over one hundred musicians and bands including Gogol Bordello, M.I.A, Weezer, Nirvana (which actually might be sacrilege, we’re still feeling that one out) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs appear in the 10-track mashup that spans genres like someone scanning through radio frequencies.

“In terms of universality—I think that’s probably the most important part of Terrible, because it’s the reason I really decided to do it. I take a lot of joy in combining music people probably have never heard of, with songs that everyone has heard too many times. It’s the beauty of the project for me, and it means that I can get people listening to Lightning Bolt under the disguise of Outkast, which is the coolest thing in the world to me."

But making an entertaining live performance out of a mashup project is tough. "I’m in an awkward place between a DJ and a band because of the genres I use. Obviously, I could just show up with my laptop and play with loops and screw around with a low pass filter, then jump around a bunch while people dance, but I don’t think it would be super interesting for me nor anyone there.” Schaffer says he rather incorporate live music and into his act, returning to his roots as a dude in a band from NYC, basically capturing the visual importance of live musicians with the energetic dance party atmosphere of a DJ set.

"The show is all about the audience, not the musician getting to feel like his technique was incredibly on point and shown off." 

And how does Terrible defend a mashup musician's talents when confronted with the ideology that a computer is not an instrument?

“I usually just don’t because I think it’s a really ignorant argument considering how much computing is involved with all music nowadays.” Oh snap. “It’s insane, and frankly very limiting to musicians to shun [a computer] as an instrument. Not to mention, anything can be an instrument, whether you make mashups or play the washboard, who really cares?

You’ve also got artists like Girl Talk—Greg Gillis may only have a laptop on stage, but he also triggers every single sample in his set live. Unfortunately, nobody knows what he’s doing on his laptop during the show unless they read about him. So I’m not convinced that, to people in the audience, the experience is all that “live” sounding.

I’m trying really hard to fight that image problem while developing my live show by having live instruments visible, and on stage. But at the same time, if the audience experience is going to be better with more pre-recorded material, then why fight it? In my brain, the show is all about the audience, not the musician getting to feel like his technique was incredibly on point and shown off.

In all honestly, if music sounds good and it affects the audience, why the hell should people snobbishly insult it just because they feel superior as more classically defined musicians?”

That’s a good point. So we put on our thinking caps and suggested WHAT IF Terrible produced a local music mashup…??? You know, a drop of Goddamn Draculas, an ounce of Shambles, a smidge of Sidewalk Driver, we could feel that. “That is an amazingly awesome idea. I would love to throw some local verses on top of [bands] llike Free Pizza and Sneeze. That would be dope.” See that?! DOPE. He loves it. We love it. We’ll talk offline.

When Terrible isn’t producing tracks, he’s Max Shaffer, studying nerd stuffs in Cambridge, and when Max isn’t hitting the books, he’s spinning the records in the underground rock department, The Record Hospital on WHRB 95.3 FM (Harvard Radio Broadcasting).

You can download Bike. Barista. Bullshit. fo' free (with a name your price suggested donation) on Bandcamp today. Follow Terrible Music on Facebook for additional release information.

And if you use Bike. Barista. Bullshit. as your house music for the night, .

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