On their new album, Buried Wish, Brooklyn's PC Worship cheekily eschew any attempts at broad categorization, craftily and nimbly morphing their sound throughout the LP's 12 tracks. But it should come as no surprise that the band and collective, which describe themselves as "aesthetically uncommited and explorative", would thrive in such ambiguity. Their new album Buried Wish just released over the weekend via Northern Spy Records.
We spoke to bandleader Justin Frye, who is PC Worship's founder and only permanent member. We talked about the origins of PC Worship, their new LP Buried Wish, and more.
What are the origins of PC Worship as a project?
It started in 2009 when I was living at the Market Hotel in Brooklyn. In between tours with my other bands at the time I was working on a bunch of harsh solo-ish, acoustic tape recordings that I had some friends casually jam on and when the recordings were done, my buddy Matt, who ran a label at the time in Virginia, called SHDWPLY, wanted to release them (the LP was called NYC STONE AGE), so I threw the name PC Worship on it, which was a nice catalyst for the overall vibe of the project and how I wanted to make music, embodying a certain ambiguity and from there it just kept cruisin', evolving and devolving.
You come from a musical background. Your parents played in bar bands as you were growing up. How has that influenced your current musicianship?
The bar band aesthetic and influence (playing top 40/classic rock) has kept me rooted in a structure or format that I think I would have abandoned without the relentless exposure as a child.
What is your relationship to classical and jazz music? You have a long history playing the upright bass right?
Music is music, regardless of what genre, classification or level of academic infrastructure exists within it. I started learning to read and compose music when I was 9 years old through the upright bass and always played classical, jazz, whatever, etc. simultaneously as I was jamming in punk bands and have yet to stop. My attempt in PC Worship is to allow everything into the same cauldron, let it all brew and marinate together and exist in the same place.
Can you talk a little bit about the creative process for your new LP Buried Wish and how the album came together?
The creative process was all over the map. It involved long stretches of solitude/private sessions, haphazard live ensemble recordings, lots of contributors and varied mixing sessions. It was made over the course of a year and represents almost any instance you can think about making music in. A lot of it was recording in the basement of a building with a vacate order from the city, some of it was recorded on a console worth more than a house, and some of it was recorded in my bedroom.
On Buried Wish, a natural tension arises between the traditional "pop" songs on the album and the record's more open-ended, experimental soundscapes. It creates an interesting inner-dialogue as you're listening to the entire album front to back. Was that intentional?
I don't think the dichotomy or tension is intentional, probably more of a byproduct, but enabling exploration and the freedom to exorcise any ideas that happen naturally is what most intentionally informs any contrast that exists on wax. Live, it's fun to play with that contrast on these songs because everyone in the band has weird influences that can contribute to different textures. Shannon Sigley on drums has a classical percussion background and Jordan Bernstein + Arian Shafiee both have super off-kilter approaches to playing guitar that push us into weird zones.
Throughout all of your experimenation and improvisation, there seems to remain an undeterred dedication and passion for alternative rock and punk music. What is it about those forms that you find so alluring?
I think this question is directly related to growing up with parents in bar rock bands. When I was a child I would fall asleep in the garage while they were learning Patti Smith or Wings or Vertical Horizon or Steve Miller or Violent Femmes or whatever jams existed in bar band repertoire in the 90s. At a certain point when you're making music, you have to stop trying to force ideas and submit to your unescapable intuition.
Buried Wish is now available via Northern Spy Records. Stream it below.