Q&A: Frank Hoier And Moselle Spiller Of Boom Chick On Touring, Honoring The Blues, And Nirvana

Categories: Interviews

Clocking in at a scrappy 20 minutes, Show Pony—the 2010 self-released debut LP from Brooklyn's Boom Chick—brings the hangdog harangue ruckus, a snarling, hair-raising blur of raw rock primitivism and full-tilt blues grooves. The songs, from the ephedrine-juiced surf-snarl of "Nailgun" to the howling, cyclonic distortion of "Black Dress Blues" to the ignition-spark strut of "When I Don't Love My Rock & Roll," pit Frank Hoier's malleable, ceiling-less guitar heroics against Moselle Spiller's threshing-machine drumming with thrilling results; imagine the Fiery Furnaces covering "Don't Dance Her Down" in a blind, murderous fury, without modern references or keyboards or organs to hand. Hoier's upper-register lead vocals serve to warp things further still, limning the topical tropes the pair are so faithful to—romantic devotion, love gone bad, the power of rock—with a slight scrim of gender confusion. Deal in iconic Americana stage backdrops, ecstatic live shows, and the fact that this is a frills-free band mercilessly touring under its own steam—in the tradition of similarly frills-free Americana rock bands of yore—and you've got magic. 2012 will see the release of a second album and a seven-inch, plus lots of touring.

Sound of the City emailed with Boom Chick about the band's origins, Show Pony, and where they were when Kurt Cobain's death was reported.

How did the two of you come to play together?

Moselle Spiller: We lived in the same building in Bushwick, and eventually started hanging out. We shared an apartment for a year and practiced in the living room. It was such a loud crazy neighborhood that nobody ever complained. Then we moved to Red Hook and had a rehearsal space in the Ohm Speaker factory down by the big container port. That is where Boom Chick truly formed, and where we wrote Show Pony.

How did you come up with the name "Boom Chick"?

Frank Hoier: Three or so years ago, I invited Moselle to sit at a drum kit, purely because she said she never had. I showed her to tap the hi-hat and give a "boom chick, boom chick" to the taps, and she could just play immediately. Boom Chick has come to mean for me the simplicity you have to start with and pay respect to when making art. You have to start with the boom chick; it's also the most powerful beat of all.

Show Pony is probably the most aptly named debut album I've come across, a bundle of raw, immediate tunes with little muss and fuss that feels like a concise introduction to what you guys do. When you were writing and recording it, were you approaching it from that perspective?

Spiller: Yes. Show Pony was sort of a tongue-in-cheek poke at our naive confidence and unbridled energy jumping into not just our first recordings but the music scene in New York, too.

We were dressed up, made up, and hauling our instruments through bridge and tunnel to any show we could get, sometimes three to four times a week. Many will say that's a bad approach in a highly-saturated music scene like NYC, where you should play just one show a month and hype it hard to get a good draw. But who were we to do that?

I was just starting to play drums and we had this sort of philosophy like we were the Beatles from the Cavern days in Germany, putting in our dues, logging as many live performing hours as possible. We probably had some terrible shows, but we got them out of the way as fast as we could. We were "show ponies." We still are, actually; we've just become "national show ponies" since we hit the road so hard earlier this year.

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