"Ever been instantly impressed? We have. By Parent Teacher" is how Wilbur and Moore Records start off their description of Lo-Fi artist Parent Teacher and we happen to agree. New York City native Parent Teacher's music best describes as catchy lo-fi bedroom indie with a healthy touch of apocalyptic doom, riddled with addictive hooks. Not surprisingly, his influences range far and wide, quoting the maker himself: "I'm pulling from different places, trying to tap into the ghost of Arthur Russell, who still walks around my neighbourhood. Devo is another big inspiration, especially the earlier, angrier stuff which was simultaneously vitriolic and fun. I really relate to the post punk energy right now. Things feel sort of apocalyptic. I love the songs of Prefab Sprout, Sea & Cake, Slowdive, Elliot Smith, Ride and Blonde Redhead. Production-wise I try to tap into more electronic sounds like drum & bass and techno - folks like Squarepusher, Mouse on Mars, Ricardo Villalobos, 80's acid. And I can never forget 2000's blog house no matter how hard I try. I'd rather take tiny pieces from many different places than take a lot from one." We caught up with the man behind the project to learn more about it:
How did the band form and what does the band name mean?
The name comes from my early childhood, I feared nothing more than Parent Teacher night at school. I was a raving rascal constantly suspended, expelled and punished by teachers and scolded by the parents of other kids alike.
Previous musical projects? How'd you first get into music?
Just before being expelled from orthodox jewish summer camp I was selected to join the elite prayers club the “top gun of davening”. That same summer they found my metal albums and threw me out. Their loss…
I've been in all kinds of bands since i started hardcore punk, prog-fusion, acid house, drum & bass, goth, power pop and was even “paying the bills” djing in NY clothing stores, bar’s and bistros’ for a period of time.
First concert that you ever went to?
Greenday, they were fun but I remember my friends girlfriend almost died in a massive stampede in the mosh pit crazy stuff
What's your writing process like?
First I think about something I’d be too ashamed to post on twitter, then I make a song out of it. Once the writing is there the next step is to lock the door and keep tinkering for hours with an arrangement until it’s 100% completed. Then I pass out
What other artists or songs inspire your music?
-Arthur Russel’s ghost is still walking around my neighborhood, and look to him as a guiding musical hero.
-Pinback are one of the originators of the current bedroom sound. It all sounds so private. Like we almost shouldn't be listening to it.
-I played the Metronomy track a lot when I used to dj. Feels like a bedroom/dancefloor crossover. The best of both worlds..
-Sea & Cake make music that sounds so otherworldly and energetic without even trying too hard. Alive and effortless.
-Curfew by the Stranglers has that anarchic chaos that seems to surround me, could be the United States or just living in downtown NY, but there is a creeping sense of danger and it’s inspiring.
-Devo serves as the template for Parent Teacher if not aesthetically then in sentiment. They were able to have so much fun with the impending demise of civilization.
-The Rentals use of Moog synthesizers was a big inspiration. The synths blend with guitar so naturally complementing the catch hooks and harmony.
-Squarepusher is just a force of nature and this track always gives me a utopian vision of what emo bands are supposed to sound like when we reach the AI singularity.
-Elliot Smith was the man and I couldn't be doing what I do now without him softly whispering in your ear about deep disarray.
-Prefab just has that inspiring edge in song forms. Plus they have an aesthetic that sounds unique from anyone else still today.
What's the live experience like and your philosophy on playing live? Do you think the music live should be identical to the recorded version or should it be it's own thing?
I produced this project as if all the different types of bands I've ever played with were all jamming at once like a giant genre melt. should the live show replicate the song writing or the finalized recording? I guess that's up to the artist. For me the production is always a bit detached from the song’s written core on purpose.
Has the band tour?
Hyperfocused on writing and recording at the moment, Loving the feeling of being in a sort of detention not allowed to go play. Has been the most productive period of my life.
What's up next for the band?
Now that a lot of music has been recorded (40 songs in a year) I’m going to bottle up new musical memories like passing car stereos reverberating against buildings and capturing the drone of constant noise and chaos in my neighborhood.