Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Two Men Chatting with a One-Man Band: Our Interview With This is My Condition

Readers, if you've ever witnessed a performance by Craig Comstock's one-man band This is My Condition, you've no doubt said to yourself (or possibly out loud): Holy shit!!

Today we're talking to Craig about "noise rock," his globe-trotting adventures, and this Saturday's early Pizza Power show at Wonder Fair (pizza at 6, This is My Condition at 7, South Bitch Diet cassette release show afterwards...flier in the sidebar).

Check out the website for This is My Condition here and keep your eyes on the Percolator in the future: Craig is working on bringing experimental/noise rock bands to the venue for early shows, preceded by potluck dinners around five.

Richard: Although we sometimes pretend otherwise, our technical vocabulary for writing about music is pretty limited, particularly when it comes to a genre like “noise rock.” So when people ask us to describe This is My Condition, we usually just use terms like “loud” and “awesome.” But how do you describe your own sound, ideally incorporating one of those “sounds like __________ meets __________” comparisons that music critics love so well?

Craig: My own sound... Sounds like Will Oldham meets the Ruins. Sounds like Glenn Branca meets Joe Hand. Sounds like Botch meets Beat Happening. Sounds like Unsane meets Caroliner Rainbow.

Chip: Sometimes I have trouble distinguishing “noise rock” from plain old “noise.” Is there some sort of easy formula to help me out?

Craig: Rock: has a steady beat. I'd say that's about the best qualifier I can think of. Much noise has no steady beat. Though I would argue that even just a steady beat doesn't make it Rock, that could also be something like trancey-pop music or drum & bass... so the Rock part I think has to do with music that is somewhat song based: verses, choruses, breakdowns. It's a matter of a beat and overall structure that make it Rock. Much noise has almost no noticeable structure. TIMC definitely has structure to it in terms of section A followed by B, then A again, etc... ABACAB!?

Richard: Tell us about the pros and cons of being a “one-man band.”

Craig: Pros: do whatever I like whenever I like... i.e. I can play a new song the moment I think of it at a show. No rehearsal or eye winks needed. Cons: Lugging three people's worth of equipment by myself.

Richard: You’ve played shows all over, it seems. We just watched a Youtube video of you rocking out in Santiago, Chile. What’s the reception been like in these far-flung locales and can you tell us about an especially memorable gig?

Craig: Pros: Reception has been amazing pretty much everywhere: Japan, Europe, South America, England, Ireland, West Coast, East Coast, South, Midwest. There's usually at least a few people that seem to have been blown away and amazed. Most memorable gigs... The Sleeper Cellar in KC was pretty amazing with naked folks dancing in front of me... playing downtown in front of Solidarity in Lawrence on a KU Basketball winning night was crazy... folks dancing like crazy and throwing dollar bills on my drums.

Chip: I’m guessing you’ve heard some insane shit while playing gigs at the International Noise Conference. Give us a few examples.

Craig: Justice Yeldham playing and bleeding on a piece of broken glass: supremely musical. Gay Bomb plays these magnetic striped paper cards with sounds on them and kind of loops/scratches with them: also supremely musical. SWORD HEAVEN!!! NUEMENA!!! both with that fella from Ohio. Amazing. Both musically and experientially.

Richard: Aside from some tasty Pizza Power pizza, what can our readers expect from Saturday’s Wonder Fair show with South Bitch Diet and what else is on the horizon for This is My Condition in 2012 in terms of music and touring?

Craig: I'm considering playing a stripped down mini-condition though I probably won't. It's just too fun to play loud. TIMC 2012... Ideally I'll release a new album and re-release an old album in Europe as well as play shows when out-of-town friends ask for help or folks ask me to play. Just keep on keepin' on.

First photo below is taken from This is My Condition website (original photo credit: timc @ inc2012 courtesy of MP Lockwood aka nocore aka @radioshock). Head over to the No-Core photostream here for many more pics from this year's International Noise Conference.

And here's a photo courtesy of Tim von Holten in which Craig looks like a mild-mannered troubadour:

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