Q & A: Oneida's Kid Millions On Thank Your Parents Having Nothing To Do With Actual Parents And This Weekend's Huge Event
Brooklyn stalwarts Oneida have been mowing down the NYC music strip for years with their scrapheap of trippy psychedelia, acoustic pluckin' and pickin', organ-splattered rock histrionics and apeshit improvisational forays. In 2006, they capped off their monumental LP Happy New Year with a seven-minute epic they called "Thank Your Parents." That provided the spark for a triptych of albums that will be celebrated with a three-day fest, beginning tonight, at Secret Project Robot in Williamsburg.
Tonight Oneida will perform the trilogy's first two installments, the Motorik groovage of Preteen Weaponry and the damaged dubscape fuckery of Rated O; Saturday they'll wake up and improvise for ten hours straight; and then, at 4-fucking-45 on Sunday morning, they will complete the triptych by performing the spanking new, all-instrumental, drumless gurgle drone Absolute II in its entirety. We spoke to Oneida drummer Kid Millions about the band closing the book on Thank Your Parents.
The Thank Your Parents trilogy has covered three years. Are you relieved it's coming to a close?
[Laughs] I don't know if that (relieved) is my feeling... I'm happy. Not because it was some kind of millstone or something. It's cool, it's done and it's great. "Relief" doesn't really come into it.
Was the lack of drums on Absolute II intentional?
We had a bunch of material that adhered to that minimal aesthetic. We pieced it together and it didn't have drums. It wasn't something explicit like, "We need to do something with no drums." When we stepped back and saw what it was we were like "Shit, alright. Cool. There's no drums."
"Thank Your Parents" was the last song off Happy New Year. Was it planned that you ended that album with that song then started the triptych under the same name?
Thank Your Parents was supposed to be the name of the triple album that Happy New Year became. We knew what Rated O and Preteen Weaponry were gonna be already and had a lot of the stuff recorded. We didn't know what the third one was going to be but we figured we had time to get there. We wanted the follow up to Happy New Year to be a triple, but we didn't think we could finish it in time to release it in that order. It made more sense to finish Preteen Weaponry, focus on that and get it done. It all worked out.
Does the music of the trilogy actually relate to parents and thanking them?
Ummmm... no. It's more like a creative framework. It's like everything that Oneida is and could be, would be contained within those albums. It's the Moby Dicknot the song, but the bookof our creative process up to that point.
So the three-day event wasn't purposefully scheduled on the weekend of Father's Day?
I think that it's a nice thing that happened but it wasn't purposeful. But it's pretty fuckin' awesome it fell that way.
Are any of your parents going to be there?
[Laughs] No. We're thanking them by not having them endure it.
Are any of you guys fathers?
Bobby [Matador] and [Hanoi] Jane both have children.
Your website says to "bring the kids."
Oh yeah, definitely. It's a matinee show on Saturday to midnight. It'll be intense and there's no guarantee the kids will be into it. But it is meant to be a good time vibe.
I have a six year-old kid, but I am not sure she'd make it through.
[Laughs] It'll be loud. My niece doesn't like loud things.
Pitchfork's review of Absolute II likened it to Suicide, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Scott Walker and Brian Eno. Did they nail it?
I think those are cool reference points. I love those artists. "Did they nail it?" I would say no, but it doesn't matter. Those are just other artists. I don't think [Absolute II] sounds like [those artists], but that's cool.
So you are going to perform Absolute II at 4:45 Sunday morning? That's pretty insane.
[Laughing] Bring your daughter to that...wake her up.
There's also going to be catering and visuals?
Yeah, we'll have food. We've worked with Secret Project Robot and they've been doing visuals for Oneida since fuckin' 2000. They've done the two Ocroplis performances with us, which are the ten-hour improv things. They really know our music intimately.
In terms of an event, it's the first we've done in New York City. There's so many elements going into it: the endurance element and the guest elements, what people bring to the table. This is a whole other side to the band; nothing has been captured on record what we do for these things.
I saw YouTube clips of Mike Watt playing with at you at The Ocropolis when it was staged at All Tomorrows Parties in the U.K.
That was awesome but those [clips] are ten minutes. We played for ten hours straight.
How mentally and physically exhausting is playing these marathon jams?
It's more of a battle of will. It's not exhausting mentally. But physically, it's tough. You have to be conditioned (as a drummer). I'm working on it.