You may not have heard of Antiparty before, but I suspect that will change sooner than you may think. Hailing from Vancouver, Antiparty are equal parts weird and wonderful, confusing yet at the same time manage to make perfect sense. Not afraid to shake things up, Kieron Rhys Lillo (bass/vocals) took the time to answer some questions, and discuss what Antiparty is actually all about, their experiment with 3D sound, plans for the future and his personal dream tour.
Can you describe what Antiparty is all about for those who have not heard of you before? To be honest, I’m a big fan and I don’t even know the band’s history!
Antiparty is not just the music, it was created in the hopes that we could stir something inside people. I had been going to a lot of shows and was getting really disheartened at the way the crowd was behaving, standing there with their arms crossed, like a sea of mannequins. I wanted to make something that would make people move, and confuse them a little at the same time. But by no means does it stop at the live show antics either. Antiparty isn’t just anti-parties (if that’s what you can even call some of these parties) it’s also anti-political parties, it’s anti-radio parties, it’s anti-beatles parties, it’s sometimes contrariwise for the sake of being contrariwise.
You had a couple of albums up on Bandcamp, which have been removed, but you do have the Binaural Experiment up there. What made you decide to experiment with 3D sound? What was it like recording that way?
I watched an Australian movie called “Bad Boy Bubby” and they had recorded the sound by attaching two lavaliers to the side of the main actor’s head, by listening to the movie through headphones you could hear what the main character was hearing from his perspective. I thought that was really neat, and decided to try an experiment with that idea in mind. So we have this gold head in the practice space, I attached two lapel mics to its ears and then we played through some songs, the result, while not radio play worthy, sounds really neat when you listen to it back on headphones. As if you can place yourself in the room with us playing.
Are you guys working on anything new at the moment?
We’re always writing new stuff. Sometimes it takes several weeks, or even months, to flush out how we want our arrangements to go, and even after all that time, if it’s not working we will chuck it, never having seen the light of an audience. But yeah, new stuff is in the pipeline. We’ve been writing a country song about our bad luck, car crash, shit flooded jam space, band members leaving, sliced fingers, hit by a car, gear stolen, you know, the usual. We also have a video in the works, for a song we haven’t even recorded yet. I won’t give too much away, but I’ll tell you that the plot of the video is loosely based on a lullaby my grandfather used to sing:
“Mary Ellen at the church turned up, her pa turned up, her ma turned up
Her old aunty Gert, her rich uncle Bert
and the parson with his long white shirt turned up
But no bridegroom with the ring turned up
Just a telegraph lad with his nose turned up
With a telegram to say
He couldn’t come today
And you’ll find him in the river with his toes turned up.”
Despite your attempts to be staunchly against parties, and party-like antics, you seem to have a lot of fun on stage. What can people expect from an Antiparty gig?
We definitely have a ton of fun on stage! Sometimes we will create a specific theme for the night to be “anti”-whatever, so we’ll create costumes and props and stories, or a cover song to accentuate what we’re trying to be against for that evening. Sometimes we just forego all that and show up and rock the house. We’ve been planning more and more intricate shows as time goes on, and will probably start incorporating a lot more visual elements to the shows. Oh and balloon drops, we like us some balloon drops!
The recordings you had up on Bandcamp were pretty rough – but I have to admit, I loved that about them. Would you consider re-recording what you had, polishing it up a bit and uploading it again, or do you think it would ruin the vibe of Antiparty?
We’re totally doing that. Tracking everything separately, getting it all so you can hear everything. Right now those recordings are really just to give venues a small idea of what we sound like so we can get shows. But we’ve always wanted to record, and have been saving all the money we get from shows and merchandise to facilitate that. It’s taken quite a while, but we’re finally ready to get ourselves properly recorded, and start pumping out an album that I think everyone will be stoked about.
You don’t sound like anything I’ve ever heard before. Often with bands you can spot their influences – particularly early in their career – but Antiparty are such a mix of different genres and sounds that I can’t see what would influence such a concoction. So, what are your influences?
The members in Antiparty come from very diverse musical backgrounds and skill levels, ranging from classically trained, to self-taught, I think it’s partially that aspect that makes our influences run the gamut from jazz greats like Gil Evans, to metal wizards like Converge, to the sound of an ice cream truck, Janis Joplin, DJ Shadow, a flat tire on a semi-truck, or sitting around a campfire playing guitar. We’ve never said: “This is the type of music we’re going to play”, we just try to say yes to everything.
Do you find the internet, and the fact that music is so readily available to most people, to be a blessing to the music industry, or a curse? I mean, sure getting your music out there is theoretically easier, but how do you make it stand out among the masses?
I think to the old record label way of thinking it’s definitely a curse, but screw those guys. The old way of releasing material is dying if not dead already. I’m not sure how to make your music stand out, there’s a lot of roads you can get to on the information superhighway, and I guess it’s just spending the time finding the ones that are worth traveling down. Most of our fans I would say have seen us live. We haven’t really had anything we’ve wanted to push too hard online as it stands. So the actual people and connections that you make with the fans after a show is really what I put my energy into. There’s always going to be people that love what you’re doing, people that hate it, and people that don’t care. The magic comes from finding the people in the first category and making a real lasting connection with THEM. That’s how I try to stand out, by creating an unforgettable show and talking to the fans afterwards.
Has there been a show that has stood out as a highlight for you?
We’ve had a lot of really fun shows, most recently marQuo’s birthday party was a total blast! We played with Kill City Kids and Hidden Towers, dressed up like freaky clowns and scarred/scared some kids that were trippin’ balls. Before that I’d have to say our End of the World show last Dec. 21st was a crazy highlight, blood wrestling clowns, a freak show, Bloody Betty, we did a cover of Weird Al’s “Christmas at Ground Zero” and had a little horn section backing us up. I was really surprised how many people knew the words to that. Our instruments were covered in blood by the time we were done playing that night. Such a blast! I must send a shout out to Kyle Haack and Snail Productions for putting together that amazing show!
If you could tour anywhere in the world, and with any band, where and who would it be?
The answer to this would probably vary greatly depending on who in the band you asked, but seeing as how I’m the one writing this, I’m going to say I would love to tour Europe, with Stolen Babies and Polka-dot Cadaver, with a little stopover in Australia to play with Vicious Hairy Mary.
A Stolen Babies and Antiparty gig would be amazing! Thanks for your time, do you have anything else you’d like to share?
Antiparty just made a video for Hidden Towers, it hasn’t been released yet, but look for it very soon! It’s for a song called “Gleaming the Cube”. I’m super proud of it, it’s funny and heart wrenching all at the same time.
[The Hidden Towers video was released the day after Kieron answered these questions. You can check it out below.]