Q&A: Lexie "Mountain" Macchi On The Triwave Picogenerator, Baltimore, And Jersey Shore

lexiemountain_2012.jpg
copyright 2011 Kit Macchi // @greenshock
Baltimore's Lexie Macchi isn't so much a relentlessly inquisitive sound-shifter as she is a Renaissance Everywoman dynamo. There is, seemingly, nothing she can't do or hasn't done. The Crazy Dreams Band, which she fronted, exploded Gang Gang Dance's polygenre supernovae into something capable of setting Aiwa speakers aflame. Her eponymous Lexie Mountain Boys project fused theatricality, acapella girl power, and boisterous, giggly humor into a cross between performance art and a mass stand-up routine. (Did I mention that Macchi does real stand-up, too? She does.) Tween Omens—her newish duo with fellow Mountain Girl Amy Harmon—seems to explore the ill effects wrought by a steady intake of lead paint chips, crystal meth, and amateur European techno. Like pretty much everybody in Baltimore, she's thrown down with former Baltimorean Jason Urick. And her solo work—much of which is available in maddeningly limited-edition form—is even more open-ended, ranging from unrehearsed stream-of-thought monologues to maniacally Cubist vocal anti-studies to strategically cut-up-and-over-stitched vocal collages to garbage-trawler noise stews that recall the late, lamented Baltimore chunk-unit WZT Hearts.

Recent dispatches on Macchi's Soundcloud page are light on vocals and heavy on the kind of sustained and staggered drones that do interesting things to listeners' personal plumbing, suggesting that her muse is on the move, though the UMBC student/Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture employee doesn't have any official recordings in the pipeline at present; this seems fitting, given the crackling nature of her live performances.

Sound of the City emailed with Macchi about song-making, her earliest musical efforts, and the states of her larger projects.


Lexie Mountain, "No New Answers, Still"

In your Facebook announcement for your current mini-tour, you mentioned that you're working with new sounds and noises. Is "No New Answers, Still" indicative of where your musical muse is leading you? It strikes me as being very operatic, hypnotic, and keyboard-heavy; it's almost liturgical. Another demo, "Foam Coming," seems similarly drone-y; listening to it makes me think of you wailing up from the bottom of a very, very deep well.

Both "Foam Coming" and "No New Answers, Still" are sketches from some very recent practices in the attic of my Baltimore home. I'm learning new instruments and re-learning old instruments at the same time; in addition to an Alesis vocal processor and tape decks, I've added a shitty keyboard and a Triwave Picogenerator built by carpenter/holy man Nick Barna.

I don't think these song-chunks I've set forth are anything but steps on a road, and, ultimately, isn't that what songs are? Indicators of one's progress and interests at any given time. I'm interested in texture.

More of a journey than a destination, then.

Definitely more of a journey. A progress report.

What is your attic studio setup like? For some reason, the idea of an attic is way creepier than the idea of a basement. I'm not sure why.

Nate and I share a small-bedroom-sized zone at the top of my house for studio use. It is intimate and has a nice feeling, seeing treetops and since it is a tiny room it is very easy to fill with sound. The walls are white and slope sharply. We reorganize and rearrange constantly. Or try to. Nate's side is, at present, much tidier than mine.

Is the Nate you mention Nate Nelson, of Mouthus?

Anywhere a Nate is mentioned in this interview, it refers to Nate Nelson. Apart from being a perfect boyfriend and amazing cook and cat-dad, the solo music he makes as Afternoon Penis is remarkable. His work ethic is a constant inspiration.


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