With Mac Demarco slithering onto the scene as some kind of hipster anti-sweetheart, I think it's safe to say slime is in. Slime is SF three-piece Black Cobra Vipers' main jam.
Of course, there's the name. I've taken a vow to start a band called Black Cobra Viper Anacondas someday.
They've got their self-proclaimed sound, "secret art sex," which, for lack of any better pigeonhole, works as well as any other; maybe something to do with yacht rock, or jazz, or lo-fi with a keyboard or something, I don't know. Sure, why not. Secret art sex it is.
Then, there's the lead singer's propensity for treating each note like a rubber band to be stretched and snapped and messed with—more pitch bends than pitches, and just about as emotive as it gets. It's really something to be reckoned with.
They put on a feverish show, and they're currently in the process of recording something, so keep your ears and schedules open. Also, they gave me some of my favorite interview responses to date.
What brought you guys together?
The bassist Julian and I grew up in Los Angeles, and Rob in El Dorado Hills. We met in the dorms at SF state, where Julian and I would teach each other our respective tunes and flesh them out into performable material. We played a couple tunes just the two of us, until Rob walked in on a rehearsal and wanted IN. We were like, "You're IN." and he said, "Urine?" and we said "yes." Rob and Julian are students of Jazz and I a student of writing which is lame. Rob is the jazz man. Julian plays some. We enjoy Vietnamese food and driving.
Tell me a little bit about the album you're recording. Any cool unconventional details?
We've been recording at TRI studios in San Rafael owned by Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead and it has been quite the time. Being a three piece it's nice to bring in friends and pull off some arrangements we wouldn't necessarily be able to live. For instance, one of the tracks has the company of Moroccan Finger Cymbals and Sleigh Bells, which is simultaneously intriguingly peculiar, and peculiarly intriguing. We're doing the whole thing on tape and it sounds cool so far.
Where do you derive inspiration?
We derive inspiration in pretty common avenues. Individually, Rob is a jazz-freak who literally devours it. Julian digs a lot of cool Hip-Hop on top of everything else and is quite in touch with his spirituality. And Gregory—nothing in particular.
What do you value most about songwriting?
A nice part of the songwriting process is the purging of feelings and ideas. It is a way to identify blurred notions whilst getting them as far away as you possibly can from inside you. Also, it's an easy way to get people to fall in love you with you.
What's your songwriting process like?
The process is never very typical. Sometimes one of us will have a whole new tune worked out and just teach the others our ideas for arrangement, and sometimes it all just happens quickly and we say "whoa, a'ight," and then it's on.
Do you know who Steely Dan is?
Fuck Steely Dan.
...And there you have it.