Brooklyn, the epicenter of everything cool in the Modern Age. Face it, there is no escaping that idea. North Brooklyn has been gentrified by people from all around the country settling in and making a home and name for themselves either through art or business. Brooklyn is booming.
Two hip-hop loving friends from Rhode Island, the members of Javelin, settled into the borough, and much like other dance party favorites -- LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture and Deluka -- have made their mark on the scene.
With funny references to pop culture, heavy electronic beats and hip-hop break beats, Javelin has become popular with fans of various genres, thanks in part to its various styles. The band extended its style a bit more by making a spaghetti western inspired album this year entitled Canyon Candy.
I had the chance to speak to member Thomas Van Buskirk about the band's influences, Brooklyn, their latest album and the film which inspired Canyon Candy.
SB: The band's sound is a mix of electro and hip-hop, who are some of your influences?
TVB: We have several go-to sounds, I would say... Early hip hop and boogie music from the early '80s have definitely influenced what we do. Not only the sounds, but the vibe of upbeat inclusion through dance music, the feel of a neighborhood party.
SB: How did you both come up with the idea of starting this electric induced percussion style? Did you ever think of having a full band?
TVB: Aesthetics, economy, necessity. We've toyed with the idea of live drums, but so often they sound generic in a live setting -- though they do bring crazy energy.
SB: You both seem to have so much fun on stage and in the studio, was that the mission of Javelin when starting?
TVB: Yes. For our friends and for ourselves.
SB: Early on you started out in Providence, how were you received there? Was it difficult getting noticed?
TVB: We never tried to get noticed. We didn't know what noticed was. People didn't use the internet in Providence -- we didn't read blogs, no one had any idea what was going on in New York City. It was a condensed, local scene that really only cared about other condensed, local scenes.
SB: What prompted the move to Brooklyn?
TVB: The timing worked out. I was ready to leave, having grown up there, and George's lady had an opportunity to go to school.
SB: Many of your songs deal with pop culture like "Moscow 1980," "Lindsay Brohan," "Susie Cues," Do you do this because it is easy to pay homage to what has influenced you? Or because you know the audience will recognize it and be more inclined to check it out?
TVB: Well "Moscow 1980" was written by two Finnish guys who have memories of that Olympics, when nearly all Western countries boycotted Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. (Imagine). "Lindsay Brohan" is an example of a throw-away title that sticks for some reason. There is an element of celebrity names instantly bringing a wash of memories or associations for people, so that the title becomes an image of sorts.
SB: Your latest record, Canyon Candy, see's you taking on a spaghetti western sound. Why the westward sound?
TVB: We got inspired by the landscape of the American West. We thought, "what is the sound of that canyon?" -- then we realized that this was something people had been striving for years, as evidenced by any dollar bin of records containing The Grand Canyon Suite or whatever.
SB: An interesting thing you are doing is raising funds to create a film centered around Canyon Candy, what prompted the idea?
TVB: We needed more money than anyone was willing to give us. We are lucky to have such an amazing support system out there, but it was kind of a leap of faith!
SB: What would the film be about?
TVB: It is already in production. It will tell the story of a young girl whose travel companions are slaughtered and who has to wade her way through the hallucinatory desert, aided by a spirit cowboy, culminating in a showdown scene.
SB: The both of you have toured non-stop for the last few years, does being on the road get exhausting and redundant after a while?
TVB: It's usually very exciting, albeit exhausting. We don't experience the kind of tour burnout other bands experience because we do most of the work ourselves (aside from the booking). We have to stay on our toes.
SB: What can fans expect next from Javelin?
TVB: Hula hoops? It's a secret, even to us. But it will probably involve big speakers and dancing.