SH: Was it by a land-slide?
K: It was close between that and something severely emo. Like “Tears of Sadness” or “Fear and Averages”. Made for fourteen year old cutters.
SH: So how would you guys describe your sound. I read a piece where you said it was melodramatic indie/rock, does that still hold?
K: Yeah, I think so. That is what it is.
SH: So then what is the music-making process. How do you create a sound that appeals to you and to an audience, both peripheral and central.
Julie: We recently started to write all together. So it kind of comes from what we can stand to hear and what we think is catchy.
K: Most times I’ll bring a bare-bones idea, like I’ll have two notes, and then I’ll say then I want it to go, “KABLAM, Bam, BANG!” and I’ll make all these sound effects, or start meowing, and then I’ll be like, “and then you’re in a waiting room and the check comes and you’re like, “WOAH!”. Then they interpret what I’m saying.
Jim: Sometimes it’s more like a tug-of-war, like when the others aren’t looking, we try to nudge the songs a little closer into our area of expertise. Like 30 seconds of notes, hoping nobody will notice.
SH: So who would be your individual influences, since you’re all nudging into your own corners.
K: I just wanted to make loud, noisy, shitty rock. Not even rock, just noise. More along the lines of Drone, Shoegazing, but at the same time I like really great lyricists like Amanda Palmer or St. Vincent. I also studied Opera, so from my angle I take Shoegaze and then I throw crazy vocals over it. The crazier the better.
JA: I started to lose interest in rock and focus on jazz-based drummers. Hendrix is great, Mitch Mitchell, CD’s from the 50’s, and John Densmore from The Doors, is a kinda weird out-there drummer which I like.
Julie: I would say my top three favorite bands of all-time are: Smashing Pumpkins, Rush, and Fleetwood Mac. Three totally different areas of music but it all kind of pours over my style. Smashing Pumpkins is kind of like the ultimate rock band. Rush is the ultimate Prague rock band, Geddy Lee, the bassist is my inspiration and Stevie Nicks is my all-time favorite female performer. I know they’re all kind of different but they all influence the way I perform. And Warpaint, I am so into them right now. They are one of the only female rock bands out there doing what they’re doing.
SH: Has that been a barrier? Having female in the group?
K: Oh yeah. When the band started originally it was all female. I feel most comfortable singing with another female voice. Julie has been the most interesting to work with so far in our harmonies. It’s harder to find a band you want to open for that you make sense with. Not only are we female rock, we’re a little weird. We’re a little like so many different bands. Recently we got to open for Betty Serveert. Also you just aren’t taken seriously.
SH: So what do you do to counteract that?
K: Work harder. Work a lot harder. Throw parties to show people, but bills together. I’ve worked really, really, really hard over the last six years. I take it very seriously. I still have fun with it, I mean there are a lot of vagina jokes.
Jim: and imagery
K: We’ll show you that later. Not literally. You can only talk about something so much until you have to put it in your artwork. I’ve worked really hard, and there was a time period when I had to listen to my favorite female artists so I could develop my own voice, or stop playing all female bills, I had to separate myself to not get drawn into a stereotype. Even though the older I get, the more I see, that I am my own stereotype.
SH: So the band has obviously evolved over the six years, how did you all meet?
K: I’ve been in the band the whole time. I went to one of Jim’s shows. He was playing with some people that I knew. I needed a new drummer and the way he plays drums is insane, and I looked at him and I thought, “That’s going to be mine”. It was funny because the friends in the other band were like, “Kelly ‘no!’” they could tell by the look in my eyes. So I got a fill-in drummer and we ended up playing a feminist fight-club JELLO wrestling gig, and I knew then that I needed Jim. So I asked him out. I sat him down with whiskey and a CD and I was like, “So what’s your name?”
JA: I knew from my college radio days I wanted to be the drummer for this band, but it feels through, but Kelly’s band ended up opening for them, and it was a very powerful live performance so it stuck in my mind.
JR: I was at that show.
SH: That’s kind of incestuous.
Julie: It really is actually we’re together (pointing to Jim)
K: Penetration is as incestuous as it gets. Imagery. No lines crossed.
Julie: I had just come to visit from D.C., and we went out to see The Cassettes, which are a broken up band. I moved up a while after that when they were right in the middle of recording and the bass-player they had at the time, Johnny, quit the band, and I offered to fill in while they finished recording. So I finished recording the album with them. . .
K: It was cute because she thought she wasn’t going to stay, but then when we were interviewing other bassists, she got jealous.
Julie: Well I had started writing songs with them, so I was actually experiencing the band from the point-of-view of sharing in the creativity instead of just playing someone else’s bass-lines. So it just meant more to me at that point.
Justin: I’m with Jim as well.
K: Hahaha I just got that.
SH: So you studied Opera, how does that come about.
K: When I was in high school it was really hip to be Renaissance. To be a dancer, play a sport, and be in choir, drama and all of that. In trying to be cool, and being a high school student, I took choir very seriously. I sang competitively. Then when I got to college, it’s very strict. I didn’t study in college, but I continued to take voice lessons. I was a musical theater minor. I have a very large voice, and a bravado I can’t get rid of. There’s a band we get compared to a lot, it’s called Sleater-Kinney, and the first time I heard Corin Tucker’s voice, she has a lot of bravado in her voice, and they call her the, “goat” or the, “sheep” because of that. When I first heard her I was like, “Yes! I can sing indie-rock”, I didn’t know I could, I thought I was too much of a parrot.
SH: What’s the general direction of the band, in say, the next year?
JR: I would say it would just be nice to really have a following who knows who we are and comes to see us. We’re all itching to quit our day jobs, so if we can get to a point where that could happen, that would be awesome.
K: All I’ve ever wanted to do is sing and dance. I dance on the side. So I want to study the craft from the inside out, which is why I work at an entertainment law firm. I’d really like to write new songs. Hole up, write new songs, tour the UK. Someone told me that, “if you play for 50 people that understand you, you win”. Fame and fortune is secondary. I like to make strange music, I don’t want to sacrifice that for a following.
SH: What do you want people out there in general to know?
Justin: Go to shows. Any band’s shows.
K: Be as honest as you can all the time.
SH: If you had to get a tattoo this instant what would it be of and why?
JR: Kelly has a giant revolver on her back.
K: I got really preoccupied with guns.
SH: Was it inspired by the band name?
K: No it wasn’t ! I cover it at shows because I’m embarrassed. I’m getting over it though, because it’s my tattoo and it’s awesome. If I had to get a tattoo right now I think I’d get the word, “fear”, just to look at it. To confront it and remind myself to grow through it. That’s why I got the gun. I’m terribly afraid of guns.
Jim: Probably like an awesomely embarrassing album cover, like a Guns N’ Roses, something so embarrassing every time I look at it. Like a Weezer album.
JR: I’m still thinking. Maybe my grandmother’s initials.
JJ: I have two. One serious and one a joke. One would be a cool cacti, with sunglasses.
SH: Is that the joke one?
JJ: No, that’s the serious one.
JJ: The joke one would be a flock of bats on my thighs. So badass.
JA: I almost wore my flock of bats boxers today.
K: Are those your Halloween panties?
JA: Uhh, I prefer the term, “man-derwear”, or, “manties”. This interview is not about my underwear though.
SH: You never know what will breed a following.
K: That’s why I keep my dresses short.
JR: That and your twirling. Uh-oh, sorry. Can of worms.
K: I used to be a baton-twirler. Not in the hippy way. In the fire-twirling way. Have you ever put Vaseline on your lips? That’s what kerosene tastes like when you fire-eat.
SH: You eat fire also?
Random stranger: You can’t swallow it though. When I was thirteen I got alcohol poisoning because m parents put the kerosene in the liquor cabinet and I drank from the wrong bottle thinking it was alcohol. I threw up blood for a day.
K: When I twirl fire and blow my nose the next day it’s all black. All the soot goes up my nose.
Random stranger: What you have to do is use Bacardi-151 because you can blow the same amount of fire.
SH: Any last comments?
K: This is Justin’s first show!
JJ: I joined last night. Just kidding. A couple months ago.
K: He photographs like a cherub.
The music that The Art of Shooting produces is composed. It's not thrown against a wall to see what sticks. Although their music making process shows how their music evolves from a simple note or concept, because they have musical training they are able to nurture their sound and create something new. Pretty stellar in my opinion.