Have you ever played a live gig together as Halaka? If so, where and when?
Fanch: We've played many gigs throughout the years, but none recently, I guess the last show we played was in Salisbury MD, we actually played a combo set with a band called Algebrassier. At times there were about 9 or 10 people on stage lighting things on fire and going crazy. I actually have a bootleg recording of this show taken from the audio track of a video tape. Did I mention the show was played inside a Unitarian Universalist Church? One of the other bands there was called All the Dead Pilots and I think there was one more that was pretty cool, but I can't remember their names right now. Oh, Landspeed Record! A few years ago we were kinda of asked to do a show with Black Moth Super Rainbow in PA, but interest in that faded on their end. The band has I guess gone on a sort of permanent hiatus from touring. We're mainly a studio band and all of can only get together 2 or 3 times a year, it's difficult for us to play live because we're all spread out so far. I wouldn't rule it out...maybe a dmusic convention on the east coast?
Madhog: I'd echo Fanch here and just add that I too would love to do some kind of dmusic-oriented thing. It would be interesting (to say the least) to imagine us rehearsing for such a thing. Dunno how we'd do that. And I'm not sure how I'd fit all the different pairs of pants I wear onto stage anymore.
Kingo: I'm not sure I understand the question. Isn't everything always a live gig? Here's what I'd REALLY like to do: figure out how to play a not-live gig together as Halaka. Or as anybody, really. "Not-live" could mean a lot of things in this case: dead, recorded, remote... but anyway, if we could figure out how to pull that off it'd rock. Getting people to come and see that would be a good trick.
We also have played live on the internet. Does that count? Is that live or not-live? Did that even work?
Aerotyre: Multiple questions! Okay, answers in order here are Yes definitely, No, and no again.
Maxtor!: I have played once as a live jig on Halaka. My horns were making a sound over the hamper noise from upstairs. A dog ran across the front of me while I was tweedling and I nearly ate it.
If you were not Halaka, what would you be doing today?
Fanch: I used to do some solo stuff which some people might be able to find if they look really hard. I'm sure we'd all be making music in some form or another, it just wouldn't be nearly as good. Of course we all have our regular jobs and families. I guess we'd pretty much be doing what we're doing just not together.
Aerotyre: I would have covered myself in leaves and would be lying very still, hoping to catch a possum or maybe a jaguar depending on what country I was in.
Madhog: I would not exist.
Kingo: I'm not halaka but I'm not really doing anything today. Did you want to do something?
*: Exactly the same things, only without the Halaka part. We didn't quit our day jobs.
Sacky: I would probably be the old rickety man at the door at Wal-Mart giving out smiley face stickers.
Of all of your songs, which give you the most pride?
Aerotyre: I think you'd have to ask one of the others. I haven't heard any of the songs. I have a great CD by G-Love and Special Sauce... can I nominate one of those tracks? If so, Lemonade is my favourite. The way he just repeats I LIKE COLD BEVERAGES over and over until I grow tired of my own rage and submit to the banality completely, and then the fucking thing ends and you realize you've totally deconstructed yourself in order to survive the monotony of his chanting and are now utterly incapable of navigating through life any more. That's really quite a trick to pull off.
Fanch: The songs that give me the most pride are on an album that hasn't come out yet, we've been working on it for nearly 6 years now. It's really actually in danger of becoming Halaka's Chinese Democracy. The songs are just so well put together and good. It's really completely different than anything the band's ever done and I think if it ever comes out everyone will be totally taken back at how different it is than the rest of our catalogue. Of course when it does come out it probably be a limited release of 4 cassettes anonymously mailed to various Goodwills throughout the lower 48. I'm also really proud of a song we did several years ago called 'Better Than Balloons' we wrote it and recorded it in a day and it was really a great experience for all of us.
Madhog: Fanch is dead on here.. we have a whole bunch of stuff that is our first effort to polish up good songs the way Halaka would do such a thing and it's something I'd really like to have out for people to hear. I'm also really proud of the FAWM thing we did this year and the most recent contest winner we had. We pulled those things off in pretty difficult circumstances. I think most people would be surprised to know that we did the entire cover of "Closer" in about 24 hours. That was setting up all the crap, getting everyone here, figuring out which song to do, mashing it up into a meat sandwich, recording drums and guitars in a way that didn't totally suck, etc.. All the overdubs.
If I answered this question a second time my answer would be "Caterwaul" which I dunno if it was ever out there on any site of ours, but it WILL be on the aforementioned album full of stuff. There are parts of that song that make me break stuff in my house when I hear them again.
Kingo: Hearing how these other guys answer this question makes me want to make sure to sabotage that one project so that no one else ever hears it again. In fact I think this question's going to break up the band. Again. "First effort to polish up good songs" makes me cringe. I'm not really proud of anything we've ever done, but there's a lot of it that I enjoy listening to, and a lot of it that I enjoyed being part of constructing, and sometimes those things are the same. "Oldman," which I've recently posted a version of at DMusic, is a good example of one of those things. "Where They Remove the Ribbons" is a good one that I can never figure out who did what on, and I like that. "Meredith" is awesome, and that one about Jesus. You know, that one. Oh, and "Maybe my Potroast is Out" is a good 'un. There's one song that's sometimes called "Walked Around Dead" that's on a half of a CD the other half of which never gets populated because it's always supposed to be populated by music from some other band and every time another band agrees to do it they subsequently implode, and that song is nice too for similar reasons -- it was a strange collaboration amongst some of us. This goddamned stuff on this other album, though, I swear I'm gonna burn down all the computers to destroy it. "Polish up good songs" my ass. "The songs are just so well put together and good." Come on. Do you guys even remember what band this is? Do you even like any of our stuff? Fuck.
I'm pretty sure I quit. Or you're all fired.
Is this thing over yet?
Madhog: I think you can see now that Kingo has actually answered that other question. He'll probably edit my answers now. I'll end up saying how much I love sucking at life or something. God. I quit. There. Happy now? You can't say anything about anything without him taking it all the way up the ass like it was a dildo on fire. Beware Your Words 'Round The Kingo Beast. I never liked this band anyway. Anyone need a guitarist who plays drums who ALWAYS breaks up the band?
Stick: I only really like that really long one we did with drums and piano and guitar that you guys never want to record the right way.
*: No one song on its own is really worth much. It's the body of work when taken as a whole that really conveys what we're trying to get across -- even if we don't know quite what that is yet.
Sacky: The thing that gives me the most pride is the fact that we can actually do anything and not kill each other in the process. I like everything we do, even the ones I'm not a part of. The one I like most is always the one we're about to do. It's the expectation and the thrill and the surprise and the waiting. You never know what it's going to be like, but you know twill be something.
Some other people have said something about some fancy project with knock-your-socks-off songs. WHAT IS THIS? WAS THIS DONE WITHOUT ME? Nobody told me about any kind of such thing. You better let me put some overdubs on it or something.
How did you get the word out about Halaka in the pre-internet days?
Fanch: Well we always tried to break into the home taping scene, but they didn't really want us, mail order catalogues wouldn't touch us. We just sort of went around and sold (read GAVE AWAY) cassettes out of cars. We would go to art shows or up to the college campus and just try to get the word out. We played some shows here and there. Even did a small tour of the east coast, where we were literally playing in friends living rooms. A friend of ours ran a zine so we were featured in that a few times. We would leave cassettes and the few 7 inches we could afford to press in the record store bins, in libraries, or at thrift shops. We got some interest from Japan after we sent some tapes to a label over there, but they couldn't fly us over and we couldn't afford it so that sorta fizzled. Then there were the BBS's in the early 90's and that helped get the word out a lot. We were able to sort of do our own mail order thing with those. Now with the internet it's really easy for a band like us to grow. Throughout our career the people that have really got the word out have been the fans. It's really weird we'd leave a tape somewhere and a year later we'd see a review in some zine we'd never heard of or we'd see letters looking for information about us. It's always been the fans that have spread the word.
Madhog: We tried to get on board with that whole Jonestown thing in the 70's to spread the word to people who were hungry for musical ephedrine. But that didn't work out because we were saying relatively bad things about Jesus. The 80's were a dry spell in which we focused more on breathing in our paychecks and less on worrying about our fanbase. Since the 90's and BBSing and internet stuff it's been a lot easier to spend a few minutes here and there ensuring our grandchildren will ask awkward questions about CDs and LPs and tapes laying around their basement.
Kingo: Sometimes we used to put dogpoop in a bag and light the bag on fire and put it on peoples' front stoops and ring the bell and run away, and then when they'd step on the bag to put out the fire they'd get poop all over their shoe. And that always let everyone know that we were always out there, somewhere. Lighting shit on fire.
Madhog: I just died as if it was the pre-internet days.
*: We found the telegraph to be invaluable for marketing purposes.
Kingo: We still do some of those things, by the way. Cassettes, CDs (etc.) of our stuff can turn up in the strangest of places.
Sacky: We just played. Anything, anytime, anyplace. We gave away more records than we ever sold. We also traded stacks of 7" demos for placement in 'zines and I think somebody even gave sexual favors for some radio play.
Aerotyre: My dad was the head splicer for the Kojak location crew. Every fourth frame he'd drop in a halaka blipvert. When he told me and I asked him why he did that, he said he didn't know. I asked him what Halaka meant and he didn't know that either. I thought it was a shame to waste the publicity so I waited until 1996 for the internet to kick off and then asked these guys to join me. My dad was an MKUltra guest laboratory experiment volunteer. he did a lot of stuff like that. He once read catcher in the ripehouse and then ten years later tried to kill Vanilla Ice. This was back in the day. Mind you, who wouldn't have tried that back in the day, given the opportunity and a reasonable alibi. He didn't succeed though and the policeman come to look up his bottom. He turned informer after that.
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
Fanch: I have never met a celebrity. I guess the closest I've ever come is when Sacky used to have the big studio and we found some Gwar master tapes sitting in one of the closets.
Madhog: The first time I met Kingo. It was kind of like meeting Paris Hilton at a convenience store, only she was taller, drove a teal Pontiac, and had a lot more body hair.
Kingo: I'm always meeting celebrities. All the time. And it's usually a strange encounter, because I go up and say something like, "Hey, you're Peter Bogdonovich! I love your stuff!" And the lady'll look at me like I'm nuts and say, "What?" And I'll have to get up in her face, "Come on, don't try to deny it. I know who you are. It's not like I'm going to ask for your autograph or anything." And then Peter Bogdonovich will run away screaming. Stuck up celebrities.
*: Having Boris Yeltsin at our CD release parties was always fantastic.
Sacky: Throwing up on Elton John's tour bus.
Aerotyre: I spent four days inside Rene Zellweger and then emerged like a squinty eyed butterfly on the fifth.
Do you know anyone named Todd?
Fanch: Nope, but I know a Roger that can get you some top notch stereo equipment.
Madhog: I used to live across the street from a Todd when I was little and living in Michigan. I dunno where he ended up. His family was partially from Japan and that always made me jealous because I wanted to go to Japan.
Sacky: I have a cousin named Todd.
Aerotyre: No. we have a Tod in the band though. Tod Lobster. He's almost entirely useless. He used to have his own band, Tod Lobster and the Pincer Movement, but they got repossessed when he failed to keep up the payments. Your home is at risk if you do not keep up the payments. We don't let him near the money in Halaka though. He just stays in his special pot and does what we tell him. He's a snappy percussor but offers little else musically to the Halaka ouvre. Ouvre is french for egg. We don't have a Halaka Egg.
What is the significance of the "billowing cloud of stump"?
Sacky: You'd have to ask somebody else. I think it's probably got to do with Fanch.
Fanch: I think the significance of that statement is almost as important as the famous line "Good God a bag of Cheetos." Which is what you really should've asked us about. Too late now.
Madhog: It's not nearly as significant as the time when we figured out just what kind of fish we were.
Fanch: I'm responding to these questions as if we were all in the same room having a conversation about them... I thought we always knew just what kind of fish we were? Excuse me, my taste bud are flaring up again.
Kingo: If you don't know I'm not gonna tell ya. But I'll warn you: the lap dancers have fucked with P.A. again.
*: It's a metaphor.
How were you able to predict that "Pluto's not a planet anymore"?
Fanch: We have a software program.
Madhog: Good answer, Fanch. I knew we kept you supplied with fresh spandex for a reason.
Kingo: Hard to know how serious to be here. "Planet" is an arbitrary designation and it's never been very clear what it meant. There've been people saying it "isn't really a planet" for years and years. To me that's hilarious, because it doesn't make any sense. It's like saying, "blue is not really a color," because you decide to alter the definition of "color" to not include blue.
Although I'd be on board with anybody arguing that those Scion xB things aren't really cars.
Yeah, we have a pretty good software program.
Tray Getter: I am the lead developer for said software. That's mostly been my role in the band, besides also fetching trays when they're needed. I made my determination about Pluto and passed that along to the rest of the band via our communications network. We've been interested in planetary studies ever since I read that Toynbee ideas in Kubrick's 2001 resurrect dead on planet Jupiter.
*: It never was.
Sacky: Everybody who's anybody always knew that piece of shit was going to get kicked out of the solar system.
Aerotyre: Are you dumb? Pluto was NEVER a planet. We didn't predict anything, we just knew it wasn't a planet and it took the boffins much much much, way much longer to figure that out. It was so obvious to us though. The density of the gross mass is less than 3.56 over twelve of its diameter or something. A planet has to have at least 3.56 over twelve or whatever it is and any more than about 8 over 12, its a vaporous cloud kind of thing, any less than two or so and its justy a lumpy little a space bobbin. Like a space poop.
Kingo: Did A.S. just call us dumb? Who's dumb?
Now that video is so popular, are there any plans in the works for a TV series like the Monkees had?
Maxtor!: We're too busy singing.
Fanch: A tV series... we've often talked about cobbling together a movie or film, something along the lines of Friends Forever, which if you haven't seen you REALLY should, or Fugazi's Instrument. We have lots of footage, there's almost always video documentation of our recording process now-a-days. One idea we had was to shoot a movie where the camera never pans above the midsection, just legs and torsos. We do have some video on the internet if you can find it.
Madhog: The great bane of our existence is just how much crap we have recorded in every possible way. There is plenty of stuff for a bunch of videos but nobody has won the lottery yet to spend lots of time with that material.
Kingo: First of all, stop giving away shit. Now when we finish up the video with the obscured faces everyone's just going to think, "Ah, this is nothing new." Second of all, there ARE videos. There's a whole live video, I just don't know who has the master and I don't have any copies left. There are videos on Google Video, and on YouTube. There are others that haven't been posted yet.
We started working on an online TV show, too. Remember? It was all supposed to take place in a car or a van going between someplace and some other place. Nothing would ever take place outside of the vehicle on screen. The cast would just be talking about what just happened or where they were going. We even tried taping an episode once. But, as usual, our marketing skills weren't up to the task of selling it as a pilot to anyone.
Did you ever see that movie called "Head" with the Monkees in it? That shit rocks.
*: I'm not at liberty to say. Our lawyer has asked us not to confirm or deny any contractual discussions we've entered. That said, there's no way in hell.
Aerotyre: Yes, but shut up because its still very secret for now. Can we remove this question. Could I get a little more masking powder please? I have a shiny t-zone and these lights are so unforgiving.
Sacky: No, the Monkees suck a fat one. If we had a TV show it would be more like Moonlighting with all the bickering and the sexual tension.
Can we hear any of the Motherload stuff? Will you be releasing a CD?
Fanch: I think there was a compilation floating around, but Shank has most of that material and probably won't let it go. Kingo might know more.
Madhog: Tapes do exist somewhere.. Kingo is in charge of archival stuff like that so it's up to him to decide to re-release that material in some newfangled digital manner.
Kingo: I'm in charge of that stuff?
At any rate, we do have a cassette-only (currently) album called "Are You Best?" that was recorded in the spirit of Motherload, or at least as much "in the spirit" of that dead band as a bunch of guys can get 20 or so years later. We did it for an independent film that never got released, to the best of my knowledge. As far as releasing the real early stuff on CD, I doubt that'll happen anytime soon. Though as always people can contact Mitch (the webmaster for halaka.org) and ask for copies of stuff; he might send you something.
As far as us releasing CDs in general -- we do that and have plans to do more in the future. Somewhere in here I mentioned a split CD we're always still working on (right now we've got plans to have Flying Apparatus provide the other half of the music for that CD, so if you see those guys let 'em know to get the show on the road.) Since starting our internet presence we've re-released some of our stuff on CD-R, like "Inadequate," "God, I am the Lunatic," "Sasha," "Mazemindinsecttrap..." There are also some that we've finished and released on CD-R for the first time in that time, like "Diluted Years Concentrate," and "A Translucent Gold Statue, a Hole." And we've got tentative plans to re-release some more, including "Incidentally...," "Dime Store Bible," and "Flabbergastastrophe," as well as plans to release "Box of String," which is finished but has never been released. Finally of course there's that shit-album that's been in process for years now that these other idiots keep going on about, which will be available in some form or another at some point unless I burn the shit down, and then there are at least two others that are in process now, one of which is probably going to be called "Unabridged Discord."
*: If we were going to release a Motherload CD, we would have done it 10 years ago, when it was merely clichéd and derivative. Now, it'd be clichéd, derivative and dated. No, it will be better for everyone if that never sees the light of day.
Mitch: Who signed me up for a goddamned interview?
Sacky: I think * or Fanch or somebody just sold the rights to one of those records to a small label in India. I know it's supposed to be on a movie soundtrack, too. Look for _Princess Inderpreet goes Bananas_ coming to VHS and DVD at your local Indian grocer in a year or two.
Aerotyre: Yes, just one. We are undecided where to release it, but Dave suggests we all stand over my kitchen table and release it there. It wouldn't have far to fall and we'd know where it was in the future. That's the plan. Its like that. We think a lot about the future. It's what keeps us going really. If you stop striving for the future you start living in the past. We have this idea that one day we'll be wearing spray on suits and that whole dirty business of sex will finally be consigned to the history books. Amen.
Alstroph has reported that while he was listening to "Happy Birthday Baltimore" he was visited by a decaying, angry man who demanded he turn the music off immediately. Was that an intentional part of his listening experience?
Aerotyre: Alstroph is a well known liar. I've never even heard of him anyway. I can't answer this question. It offends my sense of proportion in ways I can't quite verbalize.
Fanch: No. It was supposed to be an old woman.
Madhog: I'd add that we also wanted to include an overpriced meal.
Eugene: Kingo, I get that you want to be all mysterious by having different people who are "in the band" answer the questions. You probably think it'll be impressive to have a bunch of names in your interview. You can't give me a real question to answer because you know I'll give a straight answer, and so you play it safe and give me this thing thinking I'll just say something stupid and you can put my name in the thing. Honestly, though, it's been a while, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't there when "Happy Birthday Baltimore" was recorded, and I stopped calling you guys really because what does all of this bullshit have to do with recording music? Frankly you guys could stand to put a little more of this creative energy into practicing actually playing your instruments. So I won't be answering your "interview" or whatever.
Sacky: That's a lie. Nobody ever listened to Happy Birthday Baltimore.
Please enlighten us...what is the meaning of life?
Fanch: Life is all about recording 100's of hours of music and burying most of it in the backyard for someone's grandkids to find. Just imagine if everyone recorded something and buried it to be found later, perhaps by then all the mass produced garbage music (not that all mass produced music is garbage) will have decayed, or be stuck on unreadable cd's, or lost in some kinda corrupted data file, and we'd have all these people digging up boxes of sound in their back yards. The unrecorded recorded history of the DIY Internet age. Actually that's all a bunch of crap, a really good slice of pizza is all we're really here for.
Madhog: It's a Monty Python mov... oh. I mean it's what happens when I hear something amazing that I had some part in creating.
Kingo: What makes you think there's a meaning?
*: Don't patronize me!
Sacky: That's easy. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Get up in the morning and eat some chocolate cake. Call out from your job. Sit around all day and play your guitar. Then go outside and go down a sliding board and run around like a nut. If you have time, sit around watch some TV and go out with your friends and drink some beer. Afterwards come back home and play your guitar some more. That's pretty much what it means to be life.
Aerotyre: This is a very easy question. The meaning, in so much as there is any meaning at all, is entirely a man-founded construct. If we were to not ever consider the question of the meaning, then the concept of it having any kind of meaning would be beyond our conceptual understanding. To ask is merely to look in a mirror. if don’t look, we don't ask and in the absence of a question, an answer is not required. We only seek the meaning from a philosophical position of yearning. Spiritually we have looked in the mirror and refuse to see the barbaric automaton staring back. Surely, we reason, surely there's something of worth behind that mask that I see. We yearn to advance, to be more than we are in reality. We fear our own animal self and we yearn to be elevated. That yearning is a primitive desire to return to the source though, which is of course a paradox, But like all paradoxes its a matter of perception. Though we seek to return to the source, we do not know that. We instead seek Valhalla, Utopia, heaven, an afterlife, a world that celebrates all that we e are and glories in our own transcendence. In that sense its not a return to the source but a progression on to the next level. That is why karmic based belief systems are cyclic. They do have some grasp of the circular journey in Hinduism, in Buddhism. We seek to journey onwards, but we travel to the source. We come from nothing and are borne of labor and blood, we return to the source, which ultimately is nothing. The source, of course, is what we consider as the meaning. The reason we are here is that plain and rather uninspiring. Geologically speaking, the situation was right on this planet for the mud to become fertile, organic, and in reaching this point (like yeast in a warm climate) processes were spontaneously developed which we now like to call evolution. Mud evolved into mold, mold to microbes, microbes to bacteria, bacteria to moncellular entity, MCE's into single-celled sensitized life-forms, and on to double cells, and multicells, and some cells became light sensitive, some vibrated to frequencies of sonic resonance, some sought cooler, or warmer, or more arid, or more humid conditions, slowly, surely, and utterly randomly organisms self-organized, evolved on, multiplying, dying off, surviving, mutating, joining splicing, losing and fusing, and then we became humans, and then we asked how... and in creating the question we also created the space for an answer, then we sought an answer, and in seeking an answer we created this need that drives us, and this need searches, and we try to fill the hole in so many ways, and its like we can't see the answer even though its right there beneath out feet because the meaning, in so much as there is any such thing as a meaning, is a man-founded construct, built out of the mud that once was our mother, and now becomes our playing field, our hospital, our theatre, our grave. Its all about mud. The meaning of life is a red herring and its time to stop asking and to sit down and get to know each other. Seriously. Lets sit down together and wonder at what we are. Just be for-warned though, If you sit near me, I swear to god I'll punch your fucking neck right off. This is my patch. Go find your own. Fucking parasites.
I'm sure that clears up any questions you may have had about Halaka. Have a listen here: http://halaka.dmusic.com/