Controlled Bleeding Discusses New Album “Larva Lumps And Baby Bumps”
Controlled Bleeding is a name synonymous with experimental music that crosses any and all boundaries – if you think you know weird, get ready to redefine your definition!
The band just returned with “Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps,” released at the end of August via Artoffact Records.
With the album out now, we checked in with Paul Lemos (guitarist/co-founder) to hear more about the eclectic mix of industrial, progressive rock, jazz and heavy metal on display.
xFiruath: OK, so that’s a fabulously weird-as-fuck album title. Is there any specific meaning behind the phrase and is this a “concept album” so to speak with a connected theme across the songs?
Paul: For me there is a unity to the five pieces that make up “Larva Lumps.” Although there is no underlying concept to the music, the record provides a sort of aural journey, climaxing with the 23 minute “Perks of Being A Perv” which spirals out of into the void by the time it’s over.
xFiruath: When were these tracks for “Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps” written and what was going on in your life that inspired their construction?
Paul: The five tracks that make up the first disc were put to tape at various points during the past four years, in the aftermath of the deaths of my two long time band-mates, Joe Papa and Chris Moriarty. I was left in a musical limbo and did nothing for a few years until I picked up my guitar and stated playing with my old friend, drummer Tony Meola. We had not played together in more than 25 years, since our days at CBGB, way before the recording of “Knees And Bones” (the first C Bleeding album recorded in 1983), and I hadn’t touched a guitar in very long time. We had no intention of forming a band, and were just fucking around, jamming in a rehearsal studio.
After a couple of months, playing with a series of bass loops, we started sounding good, and invited keyboardist Mike Bazini down to fill in the sound. The results were exciting, so we decided that this would be the new incarnation of Controlled Bleeding, a pretty haphazard, premature decision. We simply went out and played, as we had in the studio, jamming to these endlessly repetitive loops. We played a bunch of gigs at DIY dumps in Brooklyn, local barbecues etc… just having some fun, but no one much enjoyed what we were doing. Finally, the project disintegrated, but the idea of playing to loops, playing our balls off just as we had years ago, survived and took shape in the recordings on “Larva Lumps.”
xFiruath: Controlled Bleeding has a long, storied history with many different collaborators – what sets this album apart musically and lyrically speaking from anything in the past? Will fans feel at home or be in for a totally different experience?
Paul: Honestly, I have worked with very few collaborators through my musical career. I have often worked alone in the studio, and I played with Joe and Chris off and on since 1983 or so. Intermittently, a few guest players like Tatsuya Yoshida, Weasel Walter and Jay D’Nofrio would help us out. In ways the new music relates to the pre-noise stuff I was doing in the late 70’s in the first serious incarnation of Controlled Bleeding (documented on the occasionally stirring, occasionally miserable “Before the Quiet” CD)… a guitar driven trio, propelled by Meola’s agile drumming. The new music, however, reaches levels of brutal intensity and is, at times, ridiculously dense and claustrophobic, thanks to the great contributions from my present band-mates, Chvad SB and Mike Bazini. I think that the music retains a lot of my signature sound, but it is hard for me to be objective.
xFiruath: In your mind, are there any particular songs or passages on “Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps” that really stand out as indicative of the album as a whole?
Paul: My favorite track, and the one that best represents what we are about is the long piece, “Perks,” which is as rigorous as anything we’ve ever put to tape. I also am very fond of “Carving Song,” a track that indicates one direction we will further explore on the next record.
xFiruath: What’s the lineup of this album look like as far as the core members and any guest musicians who make appearances?
Paul: The album consists of two cds/lps… the first is the new music, five pieces performed by the new line up featuring Chvad, Mike, me and Meola. These songs were recorded in Mike’s Long Island studio and Chvad’s studio in Brooklyn, the second disc was meant as a bonus cd/lp presenting a live set that Tony, Mike and I recorded in Martin Bisi’s Brooklyn bunker one unbelievably hot August day, five or six years ago. There were no overdubs, a lot of bum notes, and some less than perfect versions of the raw pieces we were playing live at the time. These tracks reflect the beginnings of what would evolve into the new line up of the group. The only headaches we had to endure were the rantings of an insane drummer!!
xFiruath: If I’m not mistaken, this will be the band’s first release with Artoffact Records – how did you get hooked up with the label and how is that relationship going so far?
Paul: I was put in touch with the label through my friend Brian Perera from Cleopatra records. Working with Artoffact/Storming the Base has been great. Without question, one of the very best experiences I have had in this business. The label is deeply committed to the music they release and they really value each album they put out. The packaging, promotion and presentation of their releases is second to none.
xFiruath: Who handled the bizarro artwork and how does it connect to the music?
Paul: Gregory Jacobsen, from the group Lovely Little Girls, allowed me to use these two portraits. I don’t think there is any conscious relationship between the images and the music… I just was deeply drawn to the paintings and knew that they had to grace the album cover. I find Gregory’s work aroused some strange attraction, at once repulsive and beautiful, and maybe that is what we were attempting in the sounds we made for “Larva Lumps?”
xFiruath: Will there be touring in support of this album, and if so what’s lined up so far?
Paul: It has been very tough getting the live group of five players off the ground, so shows have been delayed. I hope that we will be playing live by late fall and doing several dates come the warm weather. My real hope is to get back to Europe next summer…
xFiruath: Other than your own record, what albums are you spinning most lately and what’s coming out soon you are looking forward to?
Paul: As far as recent records, I listen to Child Abuse’s “Cut and Run” a lot. I really enjoyed the last Portal and Doomsday Student cds. I loved Zeitkratzer’s “Grand Orchestra” cd and Konk Pack’s “Doing the Splash.” I have also been listening to a lot of older records like 16-17’s classic “Gyatso”, Ice’s “Bad Blood”, Jon Hassell/Eno’s “Fourth World Vol 1”, Miles’ “On the Corner”, Stooges “Raw Power,” The Work’s “Slow Crimes”, General Echo’s “Teacher Fe Di Class”. Looking forward to the Art Zoyd box set, Jean Schwarz reissue, new Arve Henriksen recording on ECM, Vivenza resissues…
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to add?
Paul: Nothing I want to add… thank you for the thought provoking questions. I enjoyed answering them…
Interview originally published here:
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