This is the second in a series of musical conversations with Tyler B.. lead singer and bass player for the punk band ONE PUMP LOTUS.
RED PEN: What song led you down this path of musical discovery you’re calling Badass Acoustic?
TYLER: Just listen to this, okay? It killed me. (Tyler pulls up the following clip on his phone.)
Here’s why I was feeling this one so much: most songs, they’re overproduced, with a fat wall of sound from start to finish.
This song starts off with the singer and the guitar, boom, that’s it. Gritty and raw. Only later do they layer on other instruments, and when the drums kick in, my God, it just hits you.
RED PEN: This band is listed as country in some places, and others call them indie or folk. Why are you coming up with this other label?
TYLER: Because I don’t recognize the power of the media, or the Man, to dictate how you and I talk about music.
And I can tell you this isn’t country, while indie makes me think of politics or people doing their own thing in general–writing books, making art, whatever. Indie could be a local death metal band that doesn’t have a record deal and dresses up in dinosaur costumes. Doesn’t tell you a damned thing about the music, right?
If I tell you it’s Badass Acoustic, there’s no confusion whatsoever.
And this way, you can encompass a lot of music without pigeonholing people. When my uncle Harry passed, we found all these weird plastic things with tapes inside them, and if you shove them into this Pinto that Madison drives, a freaking relic, music still comes out, so we kept popping plastic deals in there and finding Badass Acoustic treasures like big tsunamis by Tori–wait, that’s wrong. Hold it, Little Earthquakes is the album, here we go.
I mean, that album is angry and creative and musical gold. I guess you could pigeonhole her into some kinda genre like Angry Piano Girl, but that’s limiting would things for no reason. Don’t care if it’s a piano, a guitar, or a freaking lute, if the band is mostly acoustic and has that vibe, we’re talking Badass Acoustic.
RED PEN: Why does this music appeal to you so much?
TYLER: It’s like the books and movies I like to watch versus the ones I quit after five minutes. If the whole thing is happy and perfect, or completely predictable, what’s the point?
Don’t give me your standard pop song “baby baby” lyrics or somebody rapping about how cool and successful they are and how many Lambos are in their garage. Give me something that’s interesting and tough and real. A song where somebody’s struggling to get through the day, or to live with their mistakes. A show about a villain who’s bad and can’t change, and there’s no Hollywood ending. Take me someplace that’s raw and emotional and not perfect at all.
That’s what I like about Badass Acoustic, and why we’re experimenting with a new acoustic track. Does this mean learning more than three chords? Yeah, it does. But there’s a freedom in stripping things down and putting that volume knob at three instead of eleven. The audience can hear all my words and when we do add drums, and a secret instrument I can’t talk about, the whole thing builds and builds in a special way.
RED PEN: What’s next for ONE PUMP LOTUS?
TYLER: If we make enough money in these next two gigs, we can pay for a new tranny on the van, and then we’re saving up for some serious studio time to cut the tracks, “White Coffee” and “Decaf.”