Makeup and Vanity Set is not just another Nashville band. Matthew Pusti and Christian Williams make dreamwave, science fiction music. So if you loved the song of your favorites 80s movies you’ll be probably abduced by the MAVS. The have released the album “88:88” in 2012 and recently the new EP “7.25.2148” with a promising single “Praxis”, awesome for late clubbing.
Put the lights on and look into a mirror to see how it feels to wear on the unique Makeup and Vanity Set!
Most of your songs are based on electro arpeggios. Which are your influences by creating these compositions?
For a long time, I made music just because I liked making it. It was fun. As I get older I guess life gets into that more and more. Films are really a big influence. Seeing something can be really moving. Tumblr can be really inspiring. Arpeggiation specifically always felt right to me. Synthesizers are so interesting because they're full of knobs and switches and possibilities- arpeggiation lets you focus more of the sound rather than playing something. It evolves. I've always liked that I suppose.
Yours is not only a musical vocation but an art vocation itself: For example, you made the entire soundtrack in the short film by Joey Ciccoline “88:88”. Explain us a little bit about this experience.
The experience was good. Joey (Ciccoline) is a great director and helped me through that. I'd never worked on a film before that, so I had no idea what I was doing. The record was a reaction to the work that he did. Making records in a linear way that all relate to some sort of idea is something I've been doing since Never Let Go. I don't think I could ever go back to just making tracks at this point. It wouldn't have the same meaning anymore.
How is the rider of MAVS?
There was a point where I was playing lots of shows and some of them were great and a lot of them were just awful experiences. It's hard being the 'laptop ski mask' guy in a city full of rock bands. The thing starts to run its course and suddenly you're just dreading going on stage or you're midway through a song and you're bored out of your mind. That's a shame really because people are paying to see you play. Until I met Christian (Williams, drummer) I was really on my way out of playing shows completely. He changed my perspective completely. I don't have a rider and I'd feel really weird if I did I think. Mostly I like to stand in the back and hang out before shows. The mask gives you enough space that you can do that without people wanting to talk about gear and stuff.
At whom would you throw a Hello Kitty knickers or underpants and why?
Right now, I'm super into my friends in Infinity Shred. They have a new record coming out that is so, so good. Big Black Delta from LA is really freaking great- great songs, great live show, great visual stuff- just firing on all cylinders really. I've been listening to lots of Accelera lately too. Super great stuff.
What do you usually do after a show?
I've worked on music. I've passed out. I've broken up fist fights. I've hung out with some legit Latino gang bros in Central LA. I've slept on the bus while all of my friends eat at Punjabi in NYC without me. I've been on subways, taxis, busses and in cars. I've had hours-long conversations about all sorts of things. Most of the time I just try not to leave my sunglasses at the venue. I do that a lot.
Is E.T. your favourite VHS?
I always loved the original Batman from 1989. I remember how awesome the VHS box was for that movie. I don't even think it had the title on the front- just the giant Batman logo cut off on either side. All black. That was pretty nice design. The box for mine was falling apart but that really just added to the aesthetic of it I think. ET had the sweet green plastic VHS flap, but I have to go with Batman. Once when I was a kid I had a pizza party at this arcade and I won the Making of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze on VHS. I don't remember much about it other than it had an interview with Vanilla Ice and he was clearly drunk or high or something.
About your edition on cassette (tape) of your album.... let’s face it: It’s weird. Are you a cassette fetish? How many ways to rewind a cassette do you know? (Avoiding the universal well-known “bic” pen system rewinding).
It's not weird at all! I love that record and the tape, but every tape has to be hand-made, which means I dub them myself in real-time, which takes FOREVER if you have a bunch of orders and/or the tape company has my blank tapes on backorder for months, etc. I dunno about it. It's definitely less of a fetish than just doing something symbolic to who I am and where I come from. I grew up in the 80s and cassettes were what I had as a kid. They just have a certain feel to them. They feel more real to me than a compact disc I guess. Nobody cares about any of that now that everything is on iTunes. I recommend rewinding tapes in the tape deck at full speed so the tape gets nice and stretched out. They always sound better when they're a little warbled.
Have you ever played in Europe? Are you planning to gig in a short term?
I only gig in the short term. It works out better. The tours I've been on have been longer, but those are harder to do because of stuff I have going on outside of music. Fly me to Barcelona and I'll play in your living room. For cheap I promise.
Which drink do you recommend to drink while listening to your album?
I'm a bourbon guy myself.
We finish the interview with the song "Praxis". Why the title for this song?
Praxis means 'a process.' I named it that because things don't always work out the way we want them to. It's the first thing I had named. The records I'm working on now have a lot to do with systems. Everything we do uses some kind of technology that operates on some type of system. Our bodies work the same way but organically. Some things aren't meant to work.