[sic] Magazine

Interview: Matt Korvette, Pissed Jeans

If you lurk with any persistence at the nastier ends of the Internet you’ve likely already had your ears raped by Matt Korvette ‘s blood-curdling gargle, not to mention his band mate’s weapons-grade bass work. [sic] were finally treated the Pissed Jeans live show last year and are still nursing the bruises. It was thus with some trepidation we agreed to a quick Q&A with the ferocious frontman …

By way of introduction, we at [sic] always open interviews by asking where in the world you find yourself today and what’s on the agenda.

MK: I’m currently at work, on my lunch break. It’s a dreary Monday, so I’m really just looking forward to getting home, putting on my pyjamas by about 5:30, then hanging out and laying on the couch until it’s time to fall asleep. February is probably the worst time of the year.

Formalities over however, let’s chat music. Ever since Sub Pop released the METZ album last year, there’s been a popular précis doing the rounds that they, rather than Pissed Jeans, are the first band on the label in ages that truly sound like they belong there. I would argue however in your favour. Is there any rivalry between the bands or thoughts on that oft-used critical tagline?

MK: If fuckin’ METZ ever show their faces in Philadelphia, they’ll have hell to pay. That’s OUR tag-line, and they stole it! But seriously, anyone who doesn’t think we belong on Sub Pop is stupid. We are essentially the sound of Sub Pop – the joy, the tears, the financial well-being.

Down to business. Your new record, Honeys, is great. Whilst largely sticking with a winning formula, I hear it going in two directions at once all the same. On one hand there are tracks like “Chain Worker”, which are markedly slower and creepier than most of what has gone before and, on the other, relatively attainable statements like “Vain In Costume”, which can’t but help catch the ear of a more mainstream crowd. Are Pissed Jeans conscientiously evolving or simply trying on new pants seeing what fits?

MK: Personally, I feel like either of those tracks could’ve easily fit on any of our prior albums. We’ve always tried darker, slower, meaner songs, and the same goes for riffs that have sort of a grunge bounce to them, like “Vain In Costume”. I think if anything, we haven’t really evolved or moved away (or toward) any new style, we are just continuing to sound like Pissed Jeans.

which leads on to my next question. Sludge/pigfuck/HC-punk/noise-core/outsider heavy – where, in your opinion, does the current Pissed Jeans sound sit?

MK: On a comfortable velour-tweed sofa, feet up on the antique leather ottoman. Trying to pick apart the differences between “sludge pigfuck” and “outsider heavy” is a task best left to other people… just imagining having to sit there and figure that out makes my head hurt.

Whatever your given derivative nomenclature du jour, a punk band has rarely looked so unassuming on paper. Pardon my ignorance, but how closely have the band followed straight-edge during its existence?

MK: Straight-edge? The members of Pissed Jeans have ran from prohibitionist to depressingly alcoholic, although nowadays I’d say we’re mostly moderate drinkers, if at all. I can’t help it if we look like nice guys.

Speaking of which, given the marital status of the band, its baby-making and the fact that you maintain day jobs, from where do you channel the evil yet fun noise these days? Do you still actively pursue the obscure and obnoxious?

MK: What better place to channel noise from than normal life? I always wonder how angry a band can be when they are full-time musicians – what job could be better than that? I don’t think we’ve ever purposely pursued the obnoxious; it just seems to find us.

I was lucky enough to catch one of the incendiary Pissed Jeans live shows last year at OFF festival in Poland. What percentage of the year are Pissed Jeans on the road nowadays? Will you be back on the European circuit this year?

MK: Probably about 6% of the year is on the road (no kidding, I literally just did the math). We would like to make it back to Europe in 2013, just not sure if it will happen. It really all depends on the size of the money-bag we are being offered.

Here’s hoping someone digs deep and that I’ll be able to witness some of your creepy onstage moves again soon. You seem to manage a half-dead look that is also super non-plus yet visceral, i.e. top frontman behaviour. Assuming there’s no/little conscious styling, does this black herky-jerk simply come from within?

MK: There is certainly some conscious styling. It’s a performance, not a séance, after all. I just like to let loose and have fun, which most certainly comes from within.

By the way, what’s the longest you’ve ever worn a shirt on stage?

MK: I’ve made it through entire shows, thank you! Just for that, I think the next show we play I am going to continually put on more shirts as the set progresses.

Great idea! Sounds like a music video in the making to me. Finally, given your shared bills in the past trading sludgy blows, how psyched are you for the new Mudhoney record? It’s just landed in my review pile and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

MK: I’m lucky enough to have heard it already, and it’s killer! Mudhoney are a true inspiration, in that they have kicked ass and done their own thing for such a long time and without ever compromising. I can only hope Pissed Jeans follows a similar path.

~[sic] would like to Matt Korvette for having taken the time to field our banal questions.~