SUPERET: WE WANT TO LEAVE A MARK
photography by debi del grande
Sam KS: Especially when we’re opening for a band that’s nothing like us, the people that want to come up and give you a compliment often will say a very wrong thing.
Matt Blitzer: That’s what I was going to say. They’re coming from a good place.
Sam KS: They’re comparing it to something that they love, but that’s just absolutely not the place that we’re coming from. Someone did give Isaac a great burn after the Observatory show.
Isaac Tamburino: We’ve gotta do this now?
Sam KS: It wasn’t a musical comparison, but it was a very drunk dad. He was like, ‘This guy’s got the fucking dance moves of a dad at a rock concert in 1986.’
Isaac Tamburino: I dance a lot on stage. I like to dance. And I’ve got my one dance move. So I guess that was a good comparison.
Alex Fischel: I never told you guys this, but a friend texted me saying, ‘All in on Superet, especially ‘Who Is This Guy.’ There’re some Suburban Lawns vibes, bass line is the freaking jam. Play on, playa. Insanely rippin’ drum fills.’
Sam KS: Sick.
Matt Blitzer: I was going to mention Suburban Lawns. They’re from Cal Arts, too.
What did everyone study at Cal Arts?
Alex Fischel: Music Technology.
Sam KS: Patrick was the only bass player, I was the only drummer, and Matt was the only guitar player our year in the undergraduate jazz program. So we were immediately all forced to play music together.
Isaac Tamburino: I did the Musical Arts program which was like a really loose, performance and composition thing. I have a lot of qualms.
Alex Fischel: Who graduated? Raise your hand if you graduated.
Sam KS: I graduated! Pat finagled it.
Patrick Kelly: I graduated like, four months ago.
Sam KS: Matt did walk at graduation.
Matt Blitzer: Guys, guys, guys, guys. Come on.
Sam KS: Matt was there. End of story. Everyone walked.
Alex Fischel: And I watched you guys walk.
What records or artists have had the most influence on the sound of Superet?
Alex Fischel: We all lived together for a while so we all went through the same phases at the same time. Somebody would get into something, then we all would follow them down that rabbit hole.
Sam KS: It would be like, one record for two weeks at a time. Then we’d move on together.
Patrick Kelly: Then someone goes and buys the next album from that artist of whatever.
Alex Fischel: Most recently, I feel like we all got into Gary Numan pretty hard.
Matt Blitzer: I feel like there’s this thing that I’ve been discovering lately that there’s this weird off-branch of post-punk … like, weird disco music. Bands like ESG or Delta 5. There’s this strange disco thing we’ve been doing.
Isaac Tamburino: Like an anti-disco.
Matt Blitzer: It’s post-punk disco. Then there’s obviously Bowie, Eno, David Byrne, Roxy Music, Talking Heads.
Go-to Karaoke song.
Isaac Tamburino: ‘Born To Run.’ Springsteen.
Alex Fischel: Mine’s ‘With Or Without You.’
Sam KS: I’ll only do it if they have this very specific version—it’s a club remix of ‘My Heart Will Go On.’ It has an epic drop and it always gets the party started.
Alex Fischel: How do you know if they have it?
Sam KS: Usually the binder will say ‘My Heart Will Go On (Club Remix)’ and I know I’m good to go. You were there! We did it in Hawaii! On New Year’s!
Matt Blitzer: Mine is ‘What A Fool Believes.’ Challenging. But also really fun.
Sam KS: Challenging? What you need to know about Matt is he’s always working. [laughs] Pat, what do you got, dog?
Patrick Kelly: Karaoke? No one wants to hear me sing karaoke. Not me. The only time I’ve ever done it, my sister dragged me in at her wedding. So I couldn’t say no. It was my huge Midwest family. No one plays music, so they’re like, ‘You’re a musician! You can sing!’ And I can’t. At all. So they make me come in and sing ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe.
Sam KS: Wait! I’ve never heard this story!
Patrick Kelly: I did male and female parts, the whistling. But I can’t whistle any better than I can sing.
Alex Fischel: No way. How did you never tell us this?
Patrick Kelly: Because I was still shell-shocked.
Is it a blessing or a curse to be a band in L.A. right now?
Matt Blitzer: For us it’s a blessing. That goes into what we were just saying. We’ve taken such a left turn from what everybody else seems to be up to right now that it’s almost like we have a clear path to experiment and do whatever we want to do.
Sam KS: Also a market where there are eyes. Like … we can do this [interview], which you can’t really do in a lot of other cities.
Matt Blitzer: Yeah—we don’t want to fall into a scene. We’re not looking for a scene to get into and have a certain type of audience come and see us. We’ll go play songs with DREAMCAR, where the lead singer is from AFI and the band is No Doubt. Or we’ll go and play with our friends from college—whatever. We want everybody to feel like they can come and see Superet. And not feel like they’re not fitting into a scene. We’re trying really hard to be trailblazers in that sense. Even though that’s a very ambitious thing to say for such a small band, but that’s where at least my head’s at.
Is there any way that living in L.A. has influenced either the music that you guys make? Or how you make that music?
Matt Blitzer: If anything, I think we’re kind of trying to go against the grain of what is happening in the music scene that we’re surrounded by. Not really intentionally, but it’s the way it’s ended up working out. The things that we like to do are a little bit more abrasive, a little bit more intense—performance-wise—than a lot of the things that I see happening in L.A. right now. Not to talk down on anything anyone else is doing, it’s just … I’m not really that interested in playing slide guitar and being very low-key. Not that that stuff isn’t beautiful—it’s just not what we want to do. As far as how L.A. has influenced us, maybe it’s in that way. We wanted to do something different from what we see happening.
Sam KS: One of the best ways to illustrate that is … usually when we play a show in L.A., we have this thing called ‘the L.A. gap.’ Which is like … the ten feet in front of the stage where everyone refuses to stand. It’s always like a perfect arc. If that’s there, the first thing Matt says is ‘Let’s close the L.A. gap.’
Matt Blitzer: It’s interesting because I feel like L.A.—as an audience—has a tendency to be very arms-folded, looking around, ‘I’m here to see and be seen.’ But it’s almost like the mob mentality, where if I get into the crowd or I’m making a fool of myself on stage, it frees people up to feel like they can enjoy themselves more. I see a lot of concerts at clubs in L.A. where people are so stiff and tight. All it really takes is whoever’s on stage to do something drastic or put themselves out there to make everybody in the audience feel like they’re involved in something exciting and cool.
What’s the worst thing about modern music culture?
Alex Fischel: Social media. Hands down. It’s so phony. You have to say all this stuff, and use this hashtag for this person, and everyone wants you to tweet at them, and if you’re doing this show you have to mention that or this.
Sam KS: You also need to do it.
Alex Fischel: It degrades the art. I hope that’s not pretentious.
Isaac Tamburino: It’s a distraction.
Alex Fischel: No one signed up to play music to also be tweeting, like, ‘Hey thank you for the shout-out, Nature Valley granola bars. Can’t wait to play your stage at SXSW with Doritos.’
Patrick Kelly: I read a thing recently that Trent Reznor said that I thought was so spot on. It was like, ‘Social media in music takes all the mystery out of musicians.’ You can’t have that mythical hero that’s on the poster on your wall because you know … like Alex said, that they eat whatever kind of protein bar, everything about them.
Matt Blitzer: I agree with you… But—
Alex Fischel: There it is.
Matt Blitzer: —I also think that there’s a lot of room to be able to attach an aesthetic to a band, like ourselves, that doesn’t have any play anywhere, and be able to show people things that you’re interested in image-wise. The way that you promote yourself, the way that you might campaign a song, or put something out, and the way that we’re allowing our small audience to see what we’re doing … you can create an allure. There can be a mysterious aspect to social media. I will never … I will never do a ‘Thanks for the Nature Valley.’
Alex Fischel: I love how we keep using Nature Valley.
Sam KS: This is going on the books, so you can for sure call us out in the future if we ever do this.
Matt Blitzer: I will never do that! I won’t do it. I still think that as a platform, it’s a double-edged sword. There is room to be able to do things that are interesting through social media.
Sam KS: I feel like the social media thing, as far as making music in modern times goes, and the drawbacks of it … part of the social media thing is also that people aren’t necessarily going to concerts to see music and have fun. And to let go of their everyday life. When I was a teenager and we would go to some fucking rock concert—like when we saw Dan Deacon at the Troubadour—we went and no one gave a fuck. We were going so hard and everyone was having so much fun.
Alex Fischel: I was covered in vegetable oil.
Sam KS: Yeah, we were covered in vegetable oil because that’s how we got tickets. He was like, ‘If you get vegetable oil for our bus, I’ll get you into the show.’ But we had the best time and everyone was there to have fun. No one had their phone out. That’s something we try to do at our shows that’s a struggle in this day and age. Get people to let go—keep their phone in their pocket and just have a great time.
Do you guys find that—as far as phones go at concerts—middle-aged people are the worst?
Isaac Tamburino: Yes. Because they bring their iPads, too!
Sam KS: Yes. However, it depends what you’re seeing. Like when Kanye played at FYF, there wasn’t a single person that wasn’t watching the concert through their phone. No one goes to a Kanye concert to have the experience of being at a concert. They go to get the fucking sick vid, and say, ‘Look at this, I was there.’ Which is a huge bummer.
So social media is a useful tool, but you don’t want to feel like you have to do it.
Matt Blitzer: We want to use it how we want to use it.
Alex Fischel: So many people are just looking to go viral, and are telling us, ‘You need to do something with this hashtag, because x band did it and look at how their followers blew up.’
Matt Blitzer: No, that’s bullshit.
Alex Fischel: What band—that’s not like a huge pop artist—what band became successful because of their use of a hashtag? Or like, because they had a cool Instagram? We play music—that’s what we do.
Isaac Tamburino: I think that instead of calling it a good tool to use, if we think about it as another way to make something cool … We can make an aesthetic through this, we can make it some kind of art form—well, less pretentious than that—but do something like that. It makes it more interesting to use.
Sam KS: Also, please join us at the Doritos Locos Taco Stage at Echo Park Rising [laughs].
Isaac Tamburino: Doritos X Nature Valley stage.
What’s the best thing about modern music culture?
Sam KS: Technology is at a place where people can make pretty much anything they’re hearing in their head. That’s really exciting. If you want to make something sound a certain way, there’s not a lot of limitations.
[There’s a band in the lobby. The drummer putting his kit together starts playing.]
Isaac Tamburino: Like I’m hearing drums in my head right now …
Matt Blitzer: It is pretty fucking cool. I’ve got a little studio set up at my place, he’s got a little studio set up at his place, he’s got one … I can start working on something at home, put it on a hard drive or shoot it through the internet to him, and he can do a little thing on it, and then we can take it, reload it at his place, lay down drums on it. The remote quality that we can have in the recording process is definitely something that no one’s ever had before. At least not with this much access. It is very cool. It also provides a lot of people who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing same tools.
[The drums get louder.]
Sam KS: Damn—we should play a show here.
What is the mission with Superet? What do you want for yourselves, and what do you want for people listening to the music?
Matt Blitzer: We want to leave a mark. We take ourselves very seriously. We want to make music that we’re proud of, that we can touch people with. We want to be able to play a lot of shows where people can go, and continue to have the good response like the people that have seen us play thus far. Like what we were talking about. There’s been a lot of people that have said, ‘We want more,’ and we want to give them more. This is not going to be a short blip in our musical history. We’re really passionate, and we have a lot more work to do. We’re not just here to jump into a scene. We want to be out there playing for everyone, and everyone is invited, and we have a lot of work to do. People should expect to keep hearing about us for a long time, because we are going to relentlessly be creating. There’s really nothing more than that. We just want to reach as many people as we possibly can, and we want to turn as many people as we possibly can on to what we’re doing because we love it, and we want to share everything that we’re doing.
Reach as many people as possible, while tastefully using social media.
Matt Blitzer: Right. Exactly.
Alex Fischel: Fuck Nature Valley, dude.
Patrick Kelly: Honestly, Nature Valley is great. I would be happy to get Nature Valley.
Isaac Tamburino: And I will definitely eat Doritos.
Sam KS: Just don’t expect us to give them a shout-out.
Matt Blitzer: I would love it if the headline of this article was like, ‘Superet: They’re Not Going Anywhere, But They Hate Nature Valley.’
Anything we didn’t touch on?
Patrick Kelly: We’re best friends.
Sam KS: Yeah—by the way, we’re great friends.
SUPERET IN RESIDENCY EVERY MONDAY IN NOVEMBER AT THE ECHO, 1822 SUNSET BLVD., ECHO PARK. THEECHO.COM FOR MORE INFO. SUPERET’S SELF-TITLED EP IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM SUPERET. VISIT SUPERET AT FACEBOOK.COM/SUPERETISCOMING.