JAMES SQUEAKY'S BelowPDX label is home to some of this city's best noise adventuring—and most of it his own outstanding Argumentix recordings. A big surprise came, then, last year when Squeaky put out Mattress' Eldorado, a heavy piece of weird-cabaret-dance-crazy-pop. Free of irony (and most any influences you can pin to it) Eldorado is some nightmare Tom Jones shit, full of big menacing vocals and doomy beats. Here Rex Marshall from Mattress tells us a little about himself.

MERCURY: What's your favorite thing about Portland?

REX MARSHALL: In Portland, everyone plays an instrument, is writing their first novel, or having an art show at the coffee shop down the street. The mailman is in a hardcore band and the neighbor who never talks turns out to be a nationally touring standup comedian. There are a lot of creative people in this town. I like that. It's contagious.

Is there a downside to that?

Downside... I dunno. I don't have time to dwell cause there are keyboards to play and stages all over the place. There are guitar strings to snap and drumbeats waiting to be discovered. I'm in a kind of "now or never" phase in regard to art. If you think about anything too long you lose momentum and end up at some 9 to 5 job throwing away your ambitions and dreams.

Talk about your literary background...

I like to think of myself as a writer, but I have no discipline. I've been working on a novel for almost two years. I write short stories whenever they come to me. I write poems not fit for human eyes. I recently finished a Master's in Writing. But for now I am concentrating on music. Turning words into song is the most fulfilling for me right now.

If you had to choose one...

I am trying to make both work out. I couldn't live without either of them.