Schmutz got the chance to bend the ears of Silver Cendrey and Francisco Parisi, from our favorite oxymoronic duo, Disgusting Beauty. These two manage to incorporate nearly every hyphenated genre you could fancy into their sound: desert-drone, psych-punk, blues-gaze, and string it all together with Morrison-esque vocals. The tracks on their upcoming EP from Berlin-based label, Bluecat Music, grow on you with each listen. Their depth is refreshing and stands out both lyrically and musically against their contemporary peers. The music evokes emotions of both intimacy and fury, oftentimes in the same track.
It’s always tough finding your musical soulmate. How did you meet and decide to make music?
F: We were both attending this first week at Uni, and I guess we felt we were wasting our time, so I bumped into Silver and invited him for a cigarette. We started talking about music and first thing he said was “I’m a singer”. “Ok, cool… what do you sing?” “My poems”, ha. That weekend we ended up going to this jam session at Kiki, in Wedding, and we agreed on playing The Passenger from Iggy Pop. And when I saw him dancing drunk on the stage I knew right away we had to play together.
S: Actually, this is a true story. I was hanging around since my graduation, studying here and there, writing poems and lyrics and dreaming about having a band. Playing The Passenger together was a real click, and we still play the song sometimes as an encore!
How did you arrive at your sound? Was ‘psych-punk’ a concept you had in mind, or is that just the closest genre to the sound you ended up with?
F: The genre thing is tricky… we could say we just play rock n roll, right? What is techno if not minimalist Schlager? We had no drummer, no bass players, nothing but a looper and drum machine. So the sound was the result of a necessity. And that’s the punk part, you listen to records of Talking Heads, Television, or even Brian Eno you see they had no idea what was going on, but they make it happen no matter what. And it’s that roughness and honesty that we want to have reflected in our music.
As for the psychedelia in psych-punk… yeah, I read Silver’s lyrics and I imagine the situations and then I try to “soundtrack” them”. We asked Sam, our drummer, to play heavy techno beats in The Fly while I play melodies from Os Mutantes. Or in Half of Me, we play Shoegaze-chords to a reggaeton rhythm while the groove is a Moderat-style heavy synth… There’s no frontier, we just want to see what’s beyond and do it no matter what.
S: I grew up listening to Pink Floyd, The Doors, Hendrix… It really took me a little while to realise that rock could also be non-psychedelic. This is the universe I brought with me, and that collided with Francisco’s. Punk is for the DIY, for those winter nights we spent in our freezing cellar, Francisco scratching his fingers on the guitar and me screaming with a broken voice. Punk is for those gigs where you get paid with French fries or bad drawings, and for that rage that needs to come out.
Your debut EP comes out soon. Where can we find it in Berlin? Any cool record stores we need to go check out?
F: Yeah! Come to our gigs and buy it from us! The record will be released digital and on CD, it should be available in little gems like Heisse Scheiben or 33rpm, and of course our Bandcamp site.
Kurt Cobain used to be a janitor and Jack White worked on furniture. What do you do for work when you’re not making music?
S: And Pete Doherty worked in a cemetery… I’m a bartender in a club on the weekend, midnight to 10am, ten bucks an hour (tips not included). I used to be a babysitter as well, but it wasn’t really compatible with my way of living…
F: Silver got me this gig at the same club, picking up boxes and sometimes tending the bar. It’s not much, but it pays the bills and I have time for writing music.
An angry clown bursts into Disgusting Beauty’s practice session holding a bloody knife. What do you do?
F: Ha, maybe get him to play the synths or make him stage-dive during our shows.
S: If he comes up with some nice songs, I’m fine.
I hear you’ve got some shows coming up in Berlin. Why should we go?
S: We got nothing to offer but sweat and passion, and we got a lot of that! Technology made it possible to put on a show without revealing yourself naked on stage. We don’t believe in it, we’re not hiding while on the stage… It’s a dangerous game in a way, but God damned, we love it!
We know it’s cold outside, but we invite you to crawl out of your winter caves and check them out in person. They’ve been kind enough to give you a few opportunities to do so:
Christopher Lewis has roots in the woodsy, cornfield-filled, and conservative Indiana. In Groningen, the Netherlands, he fell in love and started a bookings and management business, COK Bookings, with his now wife, Annalie. He’s rather fond of psychedelic rock and fried chicken.