INTERVIEW: Meme, Myself, & Aye Nako

“I really appreciate when albums have interludes or skits” states Mars Ganito of Aye Nako when I ask why the band used a collection of sound bites to open their third record Silver Haze. The one minute and thirty five second track titled “We’re Different Now,” feels like a timelapse from your first day of kindergarten to your last day of elementary school: an amalgamation of sound bites sewn together to illustrate the frantic and unfiltered nature of childhood.

Silver Haze rides that frenzy and unfiltered nature from start to finish, sifting through the ups, downs, and question marks of life over the course of 37 minutes. Through the use of spicy riffs & unforgettable lyrics that’ll stick to your heart long after the record has ended, Aye Nako delivers another heartfelt album that has the ability to underscore that much needed scream you’ve been holding in and the satisfied exhale that follows.

Allston Pudding: For “We’re Different Now,” where are the sound bites from? What was it about those specific sound bites that struck you as content that needed to open the record?

Mars Ganito: It’s from my personal cassette collection from my childhood. There’s four or five of them. Starting when I was around seven, I would walk around with a tape recorder and just record everything. There are some skits, the sounds of me and some other kids wrestling in the backyard, me pretending to do a radio station; and there was once a clip of me singing the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ version of “Love Rollercoaster” shortly after seeing Beavis and Butthead Do America, but I was so embarrassed, I recorded over it.

I really appreciate when albums have interludes or skits, speaking, noise, field recordings and things like that. I chose those particular clips for this track because they are some of my favorites that aren’t too embarrassing. They are taken from the very first tape I made with my childhood best friend labeled “Momy” and another tape from when we were 11 when he was letting me borrow his Talk Boy. A lot of times, I’d record with the Talk Boy in the slow-mo mode, so in playback, our voices sounded like The Chipmunks. Originally, I wanted to have several very short interludes with sound clips throughout the album, but that seemed a bit much. Since I only made one, it only felt right to have it be the opening track.

AP: What was it about “Particle Mace” that moved you to release it as the first single?

Jade Payne: We considered a few different songs before settling on “Particle Mace” as the first release, asking a few of our friends & collaborators what they thought. The song is kind of a handful, but it seemed to have all the structural and hooky elements that make a great first single. It also tells a story that happened over a long period of time and still continues today; in that sense, it encompasses a lot of themes in my other songs on the record.

AP: Did Unleash Yourself and The Blackest Eye inform the direction of “Particle Mace” in any way?

JP: Maybe, maybe not. I joined the band after Unleash Yourself came out, so The Blackest Eye is the only other Aye Nako record I’ve written parts for. I wasn’t particularly thinking about TBE when “Particle Mace” was written. It was actually the song that took me the longest to finish, taking something like four months, piecing it together as I traveled through different time zones. All of our playing styles have definitely evolved since TBE & I think people will hear this across the entire album.

AP: “Regurgitated bullshit sayings” is such a fire lyric and immediately made me think of all the sayings or proverbs people have said to me if I’m having a hard time and like…9/10 times they didn’t make me feel any better lol. Are there any sayings, lines or proverbs folks have said to you that you’ve found really irritating?

JP: Fire is accurate! This lyric is kind of a burn on white-feminist-academics who like to test out what they learned in grad school or practice vocabulary words on you while processing. Or they treat an intimate conversation like it’s a discussion in Theory 101. Someone I had been in a relationship with used these methods often as tactics of manipulation and control to silence me. The phrase “I just want to name…” was something I heard a lot to divert attention away from whatever I was trying to express. “I’m curious about why you feel like you need…” was another one; always said in a patronizing tone, inducing my own self-doubt.

AP: The instrumentals on every song rip SEVERELY like..I’m shook, they’re all so good. Would you ever re-release Silver Haze but just the instrumentals, no vocals?

JP: Thank you! I love the idea of having an instrumental version of the record. This is actually something I wish Limp Bizkit did with Chocolate Starfish & the Hot Dog Flavored Water. More Wes Borland, less Fred Durst. I would listen to it all the time. If anyone reading this can hook up Bizkit instrumentals on Pirate Bay, hook me up.

MG: Heh! I’ve never thought of doing something like that even though I had some Spice Girls, Total and Jon B. cassingles from Wal-Mart back in the day and they would have the instrumental versions so you can do a karaoke version alone in your room.

AP: When I listened to Silver Haze, there were times where I’d picture a lot of fantastical movies and video games like Lord of The Rings and Legend of Zelda. Are there any fantastical movies/novels/video games, etc. that had an impact on the songwriting process for Silver Haze?

MG: Whoa. It’s interesting you say that. Did you know I’m a big gamer? I don’t know how much of that spilled over into my songwriting though.

JP: I was deep in a Tomb Raider 3 k-hole leading up to the recording of Silver Haze. It’s been one of my favorite video games since I was 12. I downloaded a Playstation 1 emulator last summer & bought some USB controllers so I could relive the memories in my adulthood. In TR3, you travel to London, Nevada, India, and Antarctica. The songs I wrote on Silver Haze were pretty much all inspired from being on tour a lot and simultaneously dealing with inner isolation. Lara Croft is the sole main character, and she’s always exploring cavernous, creepy places by herself. So I’d say there’s a good chance it impacted my songwriting process. On the other hand, if I were being completely honest, I would say video games are more of a huge distraction from both me and Mars working on music. But I’m not being honest, because we love video games!

AP: You’re making a Silver Haze themed dinner, there are three courses, appetizer, entree and dessert. What are the courses and why?

JP: silver haze, frozen pizza, & double stuffed oreos = the things that make us all happy.

MG: Spaghetti meme, band meme, New York (of I Love New York) meme = I don’t know how to do an interview without mentioning memes.

AP: Is there a certain song from Silver Haze that you’re particularly amped for people to hear live? If yes, what is it and can you elaborate on why? (if there’s more than one, feel free to name those as well!)

JP: By now, we’ve played everything live, except maybe “Sissy.” We’re excited to get that one ready for the upcoming tour. It stands out a bit more from our regular style because it’s shorter & faster. It’s got a Sonic Youth vibe to it. I really like when Sheena does the 16th note thing on the hi-hat in the chorus. I have a lot of fun playing songs where I can zero in on lead guitar & not have to worry about singing.

MG: “Particle Mace” because it’s my favorite one to play and the first line is always stuck in my head. Jade sings on it and I can kinda freak out on guitar if I want to. Also, I get to kick on this wild delay pedal (that I’m still trying to understand) at the end, and it’s just a big looping noise. I have no idea how to recreate it the same way I did on the record, but I guess it’s good to not be tied to the exact sound of the record anyway.

Silver Haze is out now on Don Giovanni Records. Keep up with Aye Nako on Facebook, and catch them live in a town near you:

4.20 – Columbus, OH @ TBA
4.22 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
4.23 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Cactus
4.24 – Minneapolis, MN @ Memory Lanes
4.25 – Minot, ND @ 62 Doors Gallery
4.28 – Seattle, WA @ Werewolf Vacation
4.29 – Vancouver, BC @ The Toast Collective
5.01 – Portland, OR @ Blackwater
5.02 – Arcata, CA @ Outer Space
5.05 – San Francisco, CA @ The Stud
5.06 – Oakland, CA @ TBA
5.07 – San Jose, CA @ Trash House
5.08 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Hi Hat
5.09 – Pomona, CA @ Acerogami
5.10 – Tijuana, MX @ Mod’s Bar
5.11 – Tucson, AZ @ Pomoro
5.12 – Albuquerque @ Corpus Arts
5.13 – El Paso, TX @ Monarch
5.14 – Austin, TX @ Cheer Up Charlie’s
5.15 – McAllen, TX @ Yerberia Cultura
5.16 – San Antonio, TX @ The Land in Between
5.17 – New Orleans, LA @ TBA
5.18 – Gainesville, FL @ TBA
5.20 – Atlanta, GA @ Mammal Gallery
5.21 – Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
5.23 – Easthampton, MA @ Flywheel
5.24 – Boston, MA @ Zone 3 (you’re welcome more details to come 🙂 )
5.25 – West Haven, CT @ Crunchy House
5.26 – Philadelphia, PA @ TBA
5.27 – Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn (NYC Record Release Show)