What are your names?
Alex, Greg, Joe, Scott.
Tell us all about your gear this tour (instruments/pedals/amps/drum set!):
Greg: I mostly use a fender telecaster thin line reissue with a fender twin combo. Currently I use two hall of fame reverb pedals, a jekyll and hyde overdrive/distortion and a more transparent overdrive called euphoria from wampler.
Alex: Pdp drum set that I bought cheap and lacquered myself. One Zildjian 18″ ride crash, non-obnoxious Paiste hi-hats, and a loud Pearl snare.
Scott: For years I’ve played an early 2000s Fender P bass deluxe with an Orange bass terror amp through a 2×12″ Bergantino cab. It “gets low”
Greg: I don’t know, I’m not much of a gear head. All of the amps that I like apparently break all the time so I’m considering just getting rid of my amp and pedals and just going straight to board with my guitar. Fuck it.
Alex: Prob a 60s Ludwig Club Date
Scott: An old synth I wouldn’t know how to play
Tell us about your first show – first show ever ever and your first show as Protomartyr.
Greg: I know I was in 7th grade and it was at my school. I think we played a couple of originals and then covered Blink 182, MXPX, and Screeching Weasel. I remember a lot of people telling me that I was gonna be a star. “Quit and kill yourself” was how people said “baby you’re a star” in the 90’s. First official Protomartyr show was at the Lager House but we played a few unofficial shows where Joe joined Butt Babies in Scott’s basement.
Scott: The first Protomartyr show I remember playing in was at Donovan’s. My hair was shorter and the beer was cheaper.
Joe: I’m not very good at remembering things
Do you have any special rituals to prepare for a show?
Greg: Mine is to hide and sometimes vomit.
Joe: Write out the set list, have a drink, take superfluous things out of my pocket.
Joe Casey, What is your current influence/thing that is intriguing you at the moment?
The thoroughly mediocre Tigers’ season so far, the old Match Game show, books by the authors Máirtín ó Cadhain, Georges Simenon, Thomas De Quincey, and Dorothy Macardle, and current events.
Joe Casey Lyrics Writing 101: What is your best piece of advice when it comes to the art of lyrical composition?
1) Don’t write boilerplate
2) Remember it’s just a string of syllables
3) Boring lyrics are boring
4) Overwrite and then edit out most of it
Soooo what were the Butt Babies all about?
Greg: It was Alex and I (and then Scott) figuring out how to work together as a band.
BFF Fest is a festival that prioritizes the participation of those underrepresented in the music scene – namely women, people of color and LGBTQIA performers. From your own perspective, do you think that the “music scene” has evolved or not evolved when it comes to the treatment/reception/inclusion of these groups? How would you like to see the music scene change in general? How do you contribute to this change?
Greg: So much work still needs to be done to be more inclusive of the groups you’ve mentioned as well as people with disabilities. It drives me insane when men aggressively shove into other audience members. I can’t tolerate any behavior that excludes anyone that’s not a big dude from enjoying our show. Fuck that. I’m not afraid to lose those obnoxious shoving fans if I have to call them out or boot them from the show. I think actively calling out the shitheads is step one.
Does your gender identity/presentation influence your music? Has it presented any issues for you?
Greg: It doesn’t influence the music – and least on my end – but I can see how someone might find it hypocritical to see a band of four white guys calling out a lack of diversity in their audience. I used to call myself an “ally” but even that word feels a little gross to me. I don’t need a title that encourages people to congratulate me or thank me for attempting to not be a complete piece of shit.
Joe: I’ve accepted being constantly described in print as old, ugly, and a shambles. I suppose that’s a small issue.
What is your favorite song right now?
Greg: Julia Holter – Horns Surrounding Me
Alex: Maxwell – Lake By The Ocean
Joe: These last couple weeks it’s been Usha Uthup – Chhupke Kaun Aya, but everything I’ve heard from her has been good.
What’s the plan for the rest of 2016?
Scott: Write a book