A WECB Show Profile: Passed Out in a Denny's Bathroom
by James Ammirato
The truth is, you really never know what you’re going to find on the airwaves of WECB. Be it music from the local scene, mainstream pop, talking about books on air, or even discussing what “sad music” really means in the ever-changing music industry, you’re always going to find something interesting coming out of the station. “Passed Out in a Denny’s Bathroom” finds two freshmen exploring such lesser-known genres as post-punk, no wave, coldwave, glitch pop, and the umbrella genre of experimental. I sat down with the two DJ’s, Alex Walton and Jaden Cruz, and talked about their show, their band, and their opinion on the music of today, as well as some of their personal favorite genres, movements, and artists.
WECB: So, what kind of music do you guys play on your show?
AW: Mostly post-punk, but just all experimental pop music, weirdo outsider music, pretty much anything in that realm. Coldwave, no wave, anything with a “wave,” pretty much.
WECB: Do you find typically that when you tell people that, they know what you’re talking about?
AW: I usually just say experimental pop music, ‘cause we also play experimental pop music from the ’60s.
WECB: Where are you guys from?
AW: Bay Area, California.
JC: Central Jersey.
WECB: I don’t typically meet people that listen to no wave or a lot of other genres you guys do, so what are some of your favorites from those lesser known genres that you play on the show?
AW: I play a lot of John Maus, a lot of hypnagogic pop stuff like Ariel Pink, stuff like that. For no wave I like James Chance a lot, Contortions, Suicide, love Alan Vega.
JC: Lizzy Mercier Descloux also.
AW: Also a lot of proto-punk, like Monks, The Velvet Underground, a lot of White Light/White Heat kinda stuff.
WECB: With that in mind, what is your opinion on the state of music nowadays as opposed to when that sort of stuff was emerging?
AW: It’s still alive, just somewhat submerged. You have people like Guerilla Toss, and there’s still a lot of no wave, especially in Boston, there’s definitely a lot of art-punk stuff going on.
JC: I definitely agree with that, but then there’s also that huge group of like indie artists or bedroom pop artists that are starting to get really repetitive.
AW: I think it’s ruined the term “bedroom pop,” it’s made it an undesirable term.
WECB: Also the stuff those artists are putting out isn’t even bedroom pop, it’s just a nice name that indie kids like.
WECB: Going off of that, do you guys listen to new music, and if so what’s your favorite stuff from 2018?
AW: I really like the new Guerilla Toss record, Twisted Crystal, that one’s really good.
JC: I really like the new Earl Sweatshirt album.
AW: I know I need to listen to the new Daughters album, I don’t know how I haven’t yet.
JC: I’ve listened to a couple songs, and I liked them, but I gotta listen to the full thing.
AW: It ticks all my boxes from what I’ve heard, so I need to check it out. This year has been really weird, I can’t think of anything else, but last year I really liked the new John Maus album, and the new Ariel Pink album, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson. Can you think of anything else?
JC: I mean I liked Veteran, but that’s really nothing new.
WECB: So right now I’m looking at a Kate Bush poster which tells me you’re privy to the archetype of the experimental female pop vocalist, so do you like stuff from PC Music, Charli XCX and SOPHIE and that sort of stuff?
AW: I haven’t ever made an attempt to get into it, I’m really lazy with listening to music. Generally, when I listen to music, I only listen to [what I like] and then it’s hard for me to listen to other stuff, but from what I’ve heard it’s good, I’ve heard a song or two and I like it, I should listen to more. I tend to like a lot of the classic experimental female vocalists like Nico, Kate Bush, and Lizzy Mercier Descloux. Who else?
JC: Well, Kero Kero Bonito fits that sound pretty well, they’re good.
WECB: Do you guys see those more obscure genres coming back? Not necessarily into the mainstream, but more relevant and in more people’s favorites?
AW: I would really like a synth-punk revival. I mean, there was already one in the ’90s, ‘cause in the 70’s you had groups like Chrome and Suicide, then in the 90’s you had Six Finger Satellite and Brainiac and those guys. I think in Boston there’s a lot of people doing that stuff, it would be cool if that stuff exploded more. We have a project too that’s sort of synth-punk stuff, it’s called Semper Games 2003. But yeah, I think there should definitely be some sort of synth revival.
WECB: So for our readers that don’t know, I met you guys through a WECB open mic where you were playing in your band, Group Sounds Band. I wanna know what your biggest influences are for that, and if you wanna get big or play shows or anything, or if it’s more low-key.
AW: Well I started Group Sounds Band as kind of a vehicle, because I have an album that I’m working on that’s more rock-oriented, and I was using that as a vehicle to perform those. But I actually think it has potential. It’s really a group of (not counting me) talented people, and we all have pretty similar interests in music, and we all flow together pretty well.
JC: We haven’t even established what the group is, whether it’s officially a band or anything like that.
AW: Yeah we haven’t had that talk yet. But a lot of our influences are like Les Rallizes Dénudés, Velvet Underground type stuff. Also DNA and Arto Lindsay. I don’t know, it kind of falls into a genre of music that doesn’t really have a name, like Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer,” like slow, two, three, four chord songs, rambling guitar leads…
WECB: It’s kind of reminiscent of krautrock.
AW: Yeah, definitely in that same vein. Whatever that is. John Cale did it a lot too. I don’t know what it is, but I was trying to take it in that direction. We were gonna do “Sister Ray” live, but we didn’t have enough time. We might be able to at the next open mic.
WECB: Awesome. Well, I think that about wraps it up, thank you guys for taking the time to do this.
AW: Of course man, thanks for having us.
“Passed Out in a Denny’s Bathroom” airs every Saturday night from 10-11. Tune in to hear DJ’s Alex Walton and Jaden Cruz discuss the music that we discussed in the interview, and stay tuned for a release from their projects, Group Sounds Band (alongside Josh Merkin and Teddy Holcomb) and Semper Games 2003.