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CANCELED: of Montreal
October 31 @ 9:00 pm
- 8PM DOORS / 9PM SHOW
- ALL AGES
- STANDING ROOM ONLY
Kevin Barnes’ Self Interview for “I Feel Safe With You, Trash”
Q – why do you feel safe with trash?
A- ‘cause trash and trashy things are underdogs and I’ve always identified with the discarded and unloved things of this world.
Q- did you steal the title from a movie?
A-…oh it’s called “1990:The Bronx Warriors”. The main character’s name is Trash, and at one point in the film the female lead tells him “I feel safe with you, Trash”. When I heard that line I knew it was significant and that I needed to use it for something.
Q- what about this line/movie resonated with you?
A- it is a sort of knockoff of “The Warriors” from around the same time, but I think it stands on it’s own as a great film. It’s very playful and awkward and it has it’s own logic. It has an energy and personality that I relate to.
Q- okay moving on, what are the musical influences on this album?
A- well I’ll just throw out a bunch of names that played some role in the inspiration of the songs…ROSALÍA, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Thundercat, The Red Krayola, Xavier Cugat, PC Music, Holger Czukay, 100 gecs, Francis Bebey, SOPHIE…
Q- was your approach to making this album different from previous albums?
A- I really wanted this album to sound unlike the past albums and for it to have a strong identity of it’s own. I created an approach to working in which I’d attempt to George Costanza all of my creative decisions.
Q- what does that mean?
A- it means to think about what you’d naturally do and then do the opposite.
Q- do you feel you were able to accomplish that?
A- it’s hard to force yourself to do something creatively that feels “wrong” or not “you”. There were many instances during the recording sessions in which I felt kind of lost and confused about where the song was going but I found that sensation to be very exciting and so I intentionally cultivated that energy as often as I could.
Q- did you labor over the songs or did it all come together quickly?
A- it was a combination of both, if that’s possible. I spent about 7 months working on it but it felt like the time went by very fast. It was great to be able to completely immerse myself in a new project because Covid completely destroyed my plans for 2020. I feel like in a lot of ways the album saved my life because I think I would have gone crazy if I didn’t have a project like that to focus my thoughts and energies on.
Q- why did you decided to self release this instead of putting it out on Polyvinyl?
A- the original plan was to have Polyvinyl release the album but when I learned that it wouldn’t come out until August 2021 at the earliest I asked them if it would be okay for me to release it on my digital label. I felt like the songs were so deeply connected to this moment in time and that if it came out in August it wouldn’t really resonate as much with
people. So much of the album deals with the alienation, depression, anxiety and dissociative feelings that arose as a result of being isolated at home because of the pandemic. It felt wrong to release it during some other phase of the moon.
Q- You recently “came out” as bisexual and non-binary, do you feel like going public with that personal information influenced this album at all?
A- I do. It felt liberating to announce it publicly and to be less guarded in the way I interface with the outside world. It sort of unlocked new voices with which I can now express myself. I used to feel like I was play acting with my different personas but now I realize that all of the aspects of my identity and self concept are equally authentic. I realized that there isn’t a “real me” and a “fake me”. Coming to terms with the fluidity of my gender/sexual identity and how it informed my work was very illuminating and inspiring. I sing on the new album “I walk alone in a body built for multitudes” and that’s how I truly feel. I’m alone in this body and I am everything in this body as well.
Q- you recorded this album in your home studio?
Q- did you have any collaborators or special guests?
A- no but I did try to pretend that I was different people so that I could make believe that other people were playing on the album
Q- what do you mean?
A- well for example, If I was going to do a guitar overdub I would pretend to be a different person and imagine how that person would play guitar. I thought that would be a good way to try and expand how I approached playing and performing on the different instruments. I didn’t want it to sound like things I’ve done in the past. I pushed myself to play outside of my abilities. Becoming new people in my mind helped me play differently. I recommend it.
Q- did those personas ever spill over into your personal life?
A- yes I realized that a certain bass player persona was a better kisser than me, so now I only kiss Christina from that persona.
A- no but yes
Q- what is your plan for 2021?
A- I don’t know, I need to make a new album this year and I’ve started writing for it. The first song is tentatively titled “Fakes Orgasms, Has A Career”. I’ve discovered Delta 8THC and I think that might influence things a little. I’d like to spend the summer being very attractive…I mean…very active. I miss traveling and having adventures and hanging out with people. I think I might get into mountain hiking. I like that it’s impossible to fall off of a mountain unless it pushes you off. It’s a nice trust exercise with the universe.
Q- any last thoughts?
A- yes, I’d like to tell everyone that, obviously, the last year has been an intensely challenging test of our abilities to function and to maintain sanity and that, if you’re reading this, you are an extremely strong and resilient human and you should feel proud of that.
After a particularly rough solo performance in 2018 when one of her own friends talked loudly throughout her set, Christina Schneider exited the venue and told herself, “If they’re not even going to listen, then I’m fucking done.” It wasn’t quite the feeling she’d hoped for after dedicating her life to creating subversive, genre-fluid pop music. Working under various aliases since 2014 — including CE Schneider Topical, Jepeto Solutions, Christina Schneider’s Genius Grant and now Locate S,1 — she’s explored everything from groovy garage rock to minimalist bedroom pop to Syd Barrett-style psychedelia.
But when she got home that night Schneider gave herself a little pep talk, and after some selfreflection she came away determined to begin another chapter. “I thought, I don’t really need this world to value me,” Schneider says. “The process of writing and playing is what I really love, I’m simply getting lost in this other thing that’s ruining it for me.” Buoyed by her desire to create the same “crazy, powerful feeling” she gets when she hears an ABBA or Kate Bush song, she reached again for the outer limits of pop music and recorded Personalia, her sophomore album as Locate S,1.
Named after a poem by Mary Ruefle, “Personalia,” the lead single and title track, is a retelling of that emotional night in 2018 when she nearly quit. “Almost killed myself so I went home / I just cannot take these local shows,” she sings over a gloomy, despondent bass line. “Drive through thunderlight all alone just to play while they’re looking at their phones / curse another crowd that doesn’t get it,” she later sneers. But in-between this melancholy Schneider suddenly finds her spark. “Plug in tonight when I get to my room / pretend I’m someone that I could believe in,” she sings during the songs fizzy, euphoric chorus. “I’ve shorted out but if I play long enough I’ll become the person that I wanna be again,” she cries, echoing some of Blondie’s most triumphant moments.
The song signals Schneider’s desire to center Personalia in the present. Much like the character in Mary Ruefle’s poem, Schneider spends much of the album trying to understand and expel a darkness that has come over her (and society at large) in order to live a more fulfilling life.
While she was writing and recording the album in her home studio in Athens, GA over the past year, she was thinking a lot about her own growth and self-worth as an artist, and where her constantly evolving and always experimental music fits in the digital age. Environmentalism, money, power, and modern feminism formed part of that conversation, too. Throughout Personalia Schneider seeks to address how the attention economy is plaguing us with feelings of FOMO and anxiety, and is causing many of us to abandon their progressive values.
One of the more profound statements about this topic comes via a song called “After The Final Rose,” which is based on Schneider’s observations of the final two seasons of the reality TV series The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. “At the end of the season they have this episode called “After The Final Rose,” and the Bachelor or Bachelorette meets up with all the other contestants and they yell at each other,” Schneider explains. “I thought that was a very funny and unintentionally self-reflexive title for the episode, so I borrowed it to criticize corporate feminism and its lethal effects on romance. On The Bachelorette women feel like they’re powerful because they have money and can travel all over the world. It seems like that’s replaced any kind of meaningful feminism or romance in the world, currently.”
Her partner Kevin Barnes, of the rock band of Montreal, co-produced and engineered the album, and shares a writing credit on “Even the Good Boys Are Bad,” which references a conversation she had with Barnes about his daughter beginning to date. Schneider coined the phrase “even the good boys are bad” in reference to his paternal anxiety, they then took it and it turned into the album’s biggest hook—“Even the good boys are bad / even the best ones, even the good sons.” The song reached its final form after Schneider listened obsessively to Britney Spears’ hit single “Toxic.” You can hear this influence in the charging drums, spiraling synths and the song’s enigmatic chorus.
Schneider also has a sharp sense of humor, and while it’s more obvious on stage, if you listen closely you can also hear it on Personalia. Opening track “Sanctimitus Detrimitus” is named after a phrase she misheard while watching the James Stewart movie “Made for Each Other”.
“I love songs where people completely make up words, like Steve Miller’s ‘pompatus of love’ but I thought it would be even funnier if I just made up some Latin, though ‘Sancitmitus Detrimitus’ does mean something to me now” Schneider says of the devotional, MIDIsaturated jam. “Futureless Hives of Bel Air” is an apocalyptic, anti-capitalist song about how we are killing our ecosystem, yet something about the idea of the ultra rich leaving behind their empty mansions and fleeing Earth to live in space (the idea came to Schneider in a dream) seems decidedly absurd.
At its core, Personalia is about rebuilding, not rebranding. It’s about evolving and moving forward despite knowing the world is falling apart around you. On the peppy, dance hit “Whisper 2000” Schneider fully embraces this idea: “If you cannot behold my miracle, step away from the vehicle,” she sings with a defiant spring in step.