PMA was at Little Boots' Bowery show featuring Yes Giantess and The Plastiscines Wednesday. We got to talk to Jan Rosenfeld of Yes Giantess outside the venue standing in front of the JMZ Bowery station subway entrance. It was a short, five minute chat before the start of the show.
As you know, Yes Giantess (formerly just Giantess) are the four piece synthpop band from Boston that caught our attention after showing up in the pages of NME amid much praise. Jan's the lead vocalist and songwriter of the group. We asked him to explain a few things about the band and he obliged. Below, we discuss everything from porn to Twitter. Jan enlightens us on the band's influences, how they got hooked up with miss Boots herself, and their undying drive to get you kids dancing.
PMA: Why did you add the Yes to your band name?
Jan: Two reasons. One: a band in Canada had the same name. They're not a band anymore. Haven't been a band for years, but their label still owns the name. Secondly: because thousands of people were searching for porn and coming up with our name. It was kind of funny because people would get really pissed off.
PMA: Wow. Ok. So, was reading up on you guys, and wanted to know what you thought of being described as "the sonic equivalent of flying down the yellow brick road while its raining ecstasy and skittles"?
Jan: That was written by our label. And it has to do with them getting excited. That's something we have in common with them, is we get really excited about pop music. That was something they shared with us. But, it was kind of a joke. An exaggeration.
PMA: So how would you yourself describe what it is you produce? Who are your influences?
Jan: Prince and C & C Music Factory -
[Had to interrupt him to say that while listening to a few tracks of theirs on Hypem, specifically "You Were Young", the fact that it seemed like an earnest attempt to channel The Purple One had popped into the thought box briefly. Suspicions that this was intentional confirmed, we allow him to continue, a little more impressed.]
Jan: Yeah, we love Prince. Prince, Michael Jackson, early Mariah Carey are probably our top three influences.
PMA: Who primarily writes the songs? Is it a collaborative thing?
Jan: I write the songs. The lyrics and such. The other guys produce the music. They help produce the songs, flesh them out, etc.
PMA: Remixes. Seems like it's the thing now to announce yourself, or make your presence known by remixing someone else's song. Bloggers spreading the word by posting a remixed track and saying 'check these guys out' helps build an initial audience. How'd you come about remixing Little Boots, Passion Pit and others?
Jan: We had our three songs out on a single with Neon Gold record label. Little Boots came to us, our label, and said "I'd love for you guys to remix Every Little Earthquake." And we said yeah, ok, we'll try it out. We did it and she liked it. It just kind of worked out. It was a very nice gesture.
PMA: What's your favorite one that you've done?
Jan: Probably the Little Boots one. And we've got one that hasn't been released yet that we did with Asher Roth. That one came out really well.
PMA: How's it been playing with Little Boots so far?
Jan: Excellent. Last night's show was sold out. It was the first time we've experienced lines out the door.
PMA: Ever played the Bowery before?
Jan: Not Bowery, no. This is our first proper US Tour, so it's really exciting.
PMA: It's been going around for a little while that people don't dance anymore. You have to work extra hard to get the crowd to uncross their arms nowadays. During your shows, do people dance?
Jan: Oh yeah. When we started playing our first few months were mainly doing colleges and parties and stuff like that. The kids went fucking nuts. It's a bit more difficult now, on this tour, because some people don't know us. But we get them to dance. That's the point. We throw dance parties.
PMA: So when you play a proper venue like Bowery Ballroom vs. a packed house party you notice differences in the crowd.
Jan: Hell yeah. But we try to have every show be a dance party. If you've seen... MSTRKRFT [live], that's where we're coming from. We feed off of that so much. It's a huge part of the show.
PMA: So a lot of bands now, indie bands especially, are doing the whole social media thing. Everybody's on Facebook and Twitter. No one really does Myspace anymore, but are you on any social media networks? And how's that working out for you?
Jan: We're on Myspace and Twitter. Myspace isn't really necessary at this point. No one leaves comments; no one reads the blog entries. Literally people use Myspace to go to the page, listen to the music, and then leave again. We use it as a calender to say 'hey, we're gonna be here tonight'. That's it. Myspace isn't social anymore. Twitter is social now. It's sort of surpassed what Myspace used to be. Right now we just use Myspace as a tool.
Back inside, off the cigarette butt littered sidewalk, the French ladies of The Plastiscines rocked out like wild cats covering Nancy Sinatra and all. Though they were good, they couldn't get the crowd to do more than half-heartedly clap and yell when prompted petulantly by lead singer Katty. She threatened to hold Little Boots up with a pout unless we Americans (New Yorkers) showed her the same wild enthusiasm Plastiscines were used to back home. The Bowery gave it up in the end, and the girls were free to finish the set.
Then Yes Giantess took the stage with their three synth keys set up, personal cameraman flitting about. As soon as they dove into their set, the crowd got bigger, the enthusiasm became more intense, the folded arms came down. No longer merely content to nod their heads and tap their feet, the Bowery kids started moving around with more liberty. The boys played an awesome set, hitting hard with "You Were Young" "Tough N' Stuff" and "Can't Help It" among others.
Little Boots drop kicked people's stomach's out of their backs. She played Perez Hilton's show at the Fillmore before she headed over to our place, happy as a clam to be back in New York and humbled by the size and love in the crowd. She blew through "New In Town" "Meddle" "Stuck In Repeat" "Remedy" "Love Kills" and the like in a sparkly blue dress and five inch heels before heading over to the after party at Ella. Complete with flashing lights and crowd participation, it was a great night at the Bowery.