Chris Glover, better known as Penguin Prison, is a New York-based indie artist/dance producer. His music lies steeped in the four-to-the-floor beat that pulses throughout the NYC underground by night, and his lyrical dark humor shot with the side-stepping grin of fellow NYC dance luminaries Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem.
Penguin Prison was kind enough to chat for a few moments and speak with Bestnewbands.com about NYC, Occupy Wall St, and the songwriting process of his self-titled album.
CC: You shot your video for “Don’t Fuck With My Money” at the Occupy Wall Street Protests. Why?
PP: I thought some of the lyrics in the song shared the same sentiment of people who were upset with the economic trauma our country has been in.
CC: On the topic of videos, I noticed that you have some YouTube videos of you playing your songs on an acoustic guitar. Does you songwriting process normally begin in such a stripped-down-manner?
PP: The best way for me to write songs actually is in my sleep. I sleep with a tape recorder next to my bed and I wake up in the middle of the night and sometimes have melodies in my head. I record them into the tape recorder and go back to sleep. Then I wake up the next day, listen to them and try to come up with a song.
I don’t really sit with an acoustic guitar and write. I just try to come up with stuff, just melodies, and build instrumentation around that.
CC: And then how do you approach the lyrical content?
PP: I try to make my lyrics sort of a mixture of serious and funny. I always try to be a bit sarcastic with my lyrics - serious subject matter but dealt with in a funny way so people can have a laugh. I have a very dark humor way of doing it.
CC: Are there any other songwriters who have influenced this dark humor approach you have?
PP: Yeah. The Talking Heads. LCD Soundsystem. Radiohead. Radiohead always has those really sarcastic lyrics where you read them on paper and they don’t necessarily fit with the way the music sounds.
CC: Are you a sarcastic person?
PP: Yeah. I definitely have a sense of humor and I think people appreciate humor in art. Like I said always try to have a mix of humor and seriousness. I think that’s a good mix.