Promising post-rock/punk act Publicist UK stormed onto the scene last year with a strong two track sampler titled Original Demo Recordings, then promptly signed on with Relapse Records to release their first full-length album due out later this year. Good news for fans of the two song teaser, the record is finished in the recording department, and we should be able to get a full taste later this year. For those who have not checked out my review for the Demo, the link is posted in the bottom of the article. We caught up with David Obuchowski, lead guitarist of the group and front man of Goes Cube.
First off thanks for the opportunity to interview you! Could you do a quick introduction and musical history for the readers?
DO: “We’re Publicist UK, and we formed in early 2014. Zachary Lipez sings. Dave Witte plays drums. Brett Bamberger plays bass. I play guitar, and my name is David Obuchowski. Our album will be out later this summer on Relapse Records.”
With all four members coming from Thrash, Death, and Hardcore genre backgrounds, does it feel refreshing to tackle post-rock/punk?
DO: “Well I think we all come from a punk background in a lot of ways. Aside from Zack and his old band, we may not be known for our accomplishments in punk, but it’s certainly something we all have a longtime love for. And I, for one, have been in a few punk bands. In a lot of ways, Publicist UK really gives us a chance to all connect with some very deep influences and roots.”
Are any past musical acts major influences on the new direction?
DO: “Sure, but they’re probably different for each one of us. I’ve got a couple, but I’d hate to just say one or two things, as there’s definitely not a single band (or two or three) or sound that’s more influential than the others.”
What are the biggest challenges you have faced with a drastic shift in genre?
DO: “Again, I don’t see this as a drastic shift in genre. Sure, we don’t sound anything like Municipal Waste, or Revocation, or Freshkills, or Goes Cube. I guess the way I think about is this: as a musician, I don’t think in terms of “genre.” It may sound like bullshit, but it’s not: there’s music that I love and music that I don’t. When I pick up my guitar and write a song, it might turn out heavy, or pretty. It might be fast or slow. Melodic or noisy. You get the idea. But those are all part of the “music I love” universe. To me, it would be very difficult to try to play a kind of music in the “music I don’t love” universe, and Publicist UK is most certainly NOT part of that.”
There is a distinct sense of tragic beauty to “Slow dancing to This Bitter Earth.” Is there any special inspiration for the track?
DO: “Thank you. I think you’ll find that we all come to the table with our own set of influences and inspirations. For me, when I wrote the guitars for that song, I was feeling the effects of having a lot of geographic distance from some old friends. I distinctly remember having the image of old radio towers, and then that turned into this abstract daydream of me trying to broadcast messages to my friends across the country. Somehow, that image/concept stuck with me as I wrote all the guitars. That said, I didn’t share that at all with the others. And since the words are all Zack’s (for that song), that bears no connection at all with the lyrics.”
“Never Gone To School” has decidedly more angst to the track. Do the lyrics come from a personal experience?
DO: “I’m not sure. Again, I wrote all the guitars for that song. Zack wrote the lyrics. For what it’s worth, I really enjoy the lyrics to that song because to me they are very much in-line with Zack’s personality, which is to say: really funny, and really angry. Also, he’s really smart. I think his words are, too, but it would be arrogant for me to just declare our lyrics to be smart. (Though, come on…they totally are.)”
“Original Demo Recordings” has a great sense of care to follow post-rock’s skeletal structure, but some instrumental elements seem a bit heavier as well. Is this trend something to look forward to on the new record?
DO: “Good ears on the heavy thing! Yes. And, again, without giving too much away, this goes back to my comments about playing music we all feel connected to. It’s not a metal record in a pure sense, but there are certainly some heavy moments. We never talked about needing heavy parts, but that’s just what happened, as that’s what comes naturally at times (even for this band).”
How is the recording process going?
DO: “It’s all done!”
Any clues as to how it will sound when it’s complete?
DO: “Yes. It sounds exactly how we wanted it to. In fact, even better.”
How was the experience of working with Dean Baltolanis as a producer?
DO: “Fantastic. Dean produced both Goes Cube albums, as well as some EPs. So I’ve worked with Dean for a long time, and he’s been one of my earliest supporters. Given the geographical challenges, I wanted to work with someone who could be flexible, creative, and all that. We all recorded with Dean separately, and he was fantastic. I think he really connected with the songs from the beginning, so we all just really felt like we were on the same page and thinking in the same directions.”
Let’s move on to touring, you have announced a live performance at SXSW in the coming weeks. Any nerves or jitters heading into such a billing?
DO: “OK, so obviously there was a bit of a lag between you writing the questions and me getting them, since we’re six weeks past SXSW. But, we ended up playing something like seven shows at SXSW over the course of four days. It was a blast. There wasn’t much nerves. We got together at my house in Colorado the week before to rehearse. We’d never played together (in fact, this was the first time our bass player and singer met). Anyways, even in the very first run-through, we recognized how well we were all clicking. We’d all done our homework ahead of time, and so playing was just completely fun, and really cathartic.”
Any thoughts heading into your first tour as band?
DO: “Personally, I’m just honored to be playing with these guys, and the four of us became fast friends and jelled as a band. That just makes us excited to do more.”
Any cities or venues that you would like to play specifically? Where have you enjoyed playing most?
DO: “We’ve all done a lot of touring, so I’m sure we all have our favorite cities. Personally, I’m so excited to get back to NYC. Strangely, Goes Cube has somehow NEVER played the Pacific Northwest, so I’m eager to play that region and very excited at the idea of going overseas. But, seriously (this isn’t just some band-guy cliche): If you put us on a stage and there are a lot of people in front of us, we’re going to be fucking stoked no matter where it is.”
After being on many tours over the years through other acts, is the process simplified by now or completely different this time around?
DO: “Hahaha, I think it’s a step up for me and Zack, and I think it’s a step down for Brett and Dave. Like, I think Brett and Dave are probably like, “wow, it’s been a while since we played a room this small!” And I think for Zack and I, it’s like “wow, they have monitors!”
Thank you once again for your time, and good luck with everything in the future!
DO: “Hey, man, thank you for your well wishes. Hope you like the album!”
Original Demo Recordings Review Link: