THERE ARE MANY here among us who believe violence doesn't have a place in art. I'm not one of those and, as evidenced by their live show, Portland's the Better to See You With aren't either. On stage, it's a battle of moaning, shrieked vocals, grinding synth, and drums and guitar that growl and gnash around each other like two alligators wrestling in the shallows. In the end, everything blooms into a great psychedelic tapestry of intelligent brutality. Drummer Billy Holloway says, "Hi..."
How and why did BTSYW become a band?
We became obsessed with COPS. The blurring of the line between reality and art created the illusion of a subject matter so violent it could spill out of the television and yet still fit nicely into a regularly scheduled slot. This illusion became intoxicating to us. The blurred area between art and reality became the region in which we felt most comfortable making music. We wrote short and structured punk rock songs and then acted freely as individual human beings within them, creating the illusion of artifice when in fact the sounds we were making were simple renderings of our relationships to each other in context of the song.
Does the sound you have in your head, the sound you want the band to reach, match what you're playing now?
In theory, BTSYW always sounds exactly like it should. The sound of the band is outside of our heads. Sometimes the compositions begin inside of our heads, but more often than not the songs are comprised of parts that function as signifiers for specific and complex interpersonal relationships in which we engage on a daily basis. The parts, in context of each other and to the structure of the song, illustrate the change or arc in those relationships. So the band should sound like four people in a room, imitating, re-creating, or just enacting the dynamics that define the relationship that we are exploring in the composition.
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