David Yow Goes Behind the Creepy/Classical Influences of His "Terrifying" New Solo LP
Published Jun 26, 2013Best known for fronting demented rock bands like Scratch Acid, the Jesus Lizard and Qui, David Yow is working with the Joyful Noise imprint to release his first solo album, Tonight You Look Like a Spider, an unsettling collection of instrumental music that often sounds like pieces from a cinematic score.
"I'm kind of a fan of Angelo Badalamenti and I was listening to a lot of his stuff," Yow tells Exclaim! of the near-decade-long stretch he spent making the album, which finally arrived this week. "I think you can hear some of that in there. There's the occasional thing like, 'Oh, that sounds kind of Twin Peaks-y or something.' At the time, I wasn't really thinking of it as cinematic but, since I finished it, I'm well-aware that it could work out in a whole bunch of film-ic scenarios."
The album as a whole is a bit scary, which begs the question: is David Yow scary?
"I'm just ugly," he responds. "I scare children. I try to be nice to them but they scream and run away.
"It's funny. I didn't think it was scary and Joyful Noise was touting it as, 'the terrifying new album by David Yow' and I was like, 'Really? Terrifying?'"
It's true, Tonight You Look Like a Spider isn't going to make you puke up your popcorn, but with its modulated MIDI sounds, distorted voices, sudden screeching and stomping, and classical bent, at the very least, it conjures a very surreal atmosphere and could well come back to haunt you in your sleep.
"I'm certainly no expert on classical music," he says. "But I've always been a fan of Edvard Grieg's 'Peer Gynt Suite,' so there's a fair amount of him in there. And the 'Opening' suite is divided up into five little tunes and the fourth of the five is a complete Tchaikovsky rip-off. So, I'll just come right out and say that."
Yow goes on to explain that the first part of the "Opening" suite is called "No, Proko," and was named after he played it for a friend who said it reminded them of celebrated classical composer Sergei Prokofiev. Needless to say, Yow was floored by the comparison.
"I was going, 'Are you fucking out of your mind? I wrote something that makes you think of Prokofiev?' And he said, 'Where Prokofiev was playful, I was horror.' And I was like, 'Fuck yeah!'"
You can pick up Tonight You Look Like a Spider now on Joyful Noise.