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Take 5 with Health

Submitted by RamonLP4 on October 22, 2024 – 2:02 amNo Comment
Photo Ulrike Biets (Link)

Health is a furious mix of drums, noisy guitars, and electronics. Being a band that can shift into a slow smooth groove then abruptly jump into a jittery beat or plow into a noisy hail of beats and sound, their songs have a disjointed unity in construction that makes the whole thing seem to barely hold together yet somehow they do and in this very adventurous way that leaves the audience unprepared as to where they are going next. Check out their first eponymous album to hear the band in its more raw and frenzied state but if you prefer something a bit more ass-shakin’, fear not, the band has kindly provided you with a remix album, //DISCO - allowing myself and Omar to get all fisticuffs as to which is the better album. (Mind you, Omar has far better dance moves than I so we both have our inherent biases.) Call them an ADD band if you must but one thing is for sure: theirs is a band dynamic that makes for an exiting live show. And what luck, the LA quartet is performing tonight, Wednesday Oct. 22nd, at Numbers with The McKenzies, B L A C K I E, The Wiggins, and Female Demand. Health’s John Famiglietti (Bass, Zoothorn, and Percussion) was kind enough to play five question and pass his ZZ Top Quiz with flying colors.

1 - 2) How do you approach composing these songs and how did the band evolve that sound?

JOHN: The evolution was not planned. When the band first came together we had no idea what we wanted to play we were just all very passionate about making music etc. We first began writing much more traditional songs all guitar based and really hated it. Desperate to do something new we began recklessly experimenting. Writing songs via written diagrams, and concepts, etc. Also nothing is random, we practice this shit over and over until its tight.

3) How do you see the songs differing in sound and approach when they are played live when compared to the album?

JOHN: They’re supposed to be the same. But I’m often told they’re completely different…certain production flourishes were taken with the album but the songs are the same. I think the recording sound we adopted inhibited alot of the brutality of the songs live accidentally. We wanna fix this with the next album (recording analog in a studio). Also live, songs always end up much faster, we don’t plan it, we just get amped. Also volume is the key. The album is intended to be listened to at a very high volume. Live, you cant turn it down.

4) The drums are one of the highlights if not my favorite aspect on the first album. They are the engine that frantically pushes the band of the rails on songs like say Crimewave. The remix album on the other hand entirely misses this and dumbs down that material. What is the point of the remix album when the original material was so unique and spot-on?

JOHN: Whoa. Loaded. The remixes and //DISCO as a project are supposed to exist completely separate from the original material. One of the worst things about most remixes is that they cheapen the original and detract from the album. //DISCO is its own thing, and we chose remixers that would make a new song that would live on its own on the dancefloor.*

5) Your music clearly has a limited appeal – I don’t see Zoothorns or Crimewave hitting the top 40 pop charts – yet, despite this, you guys have been very successful with your album and live shows in regards to how well it has been received by music fans and critics. Why do you think this music is so off-putting to so many other people – what are they missing?

JOHN: Its been very surprising, we never expected this warm reaction to abrasive music. We don’t want to be a niche band, were trying to be what we imagine a modern hard rock band should be. We will never lessen the intensity, but I think with certain structuring (i.e. more repetition) we can rope the unconverted. I’m sure of it. People will rock again.

Bonus ZZ Top Question: Which member of ZZ Top does not sport a beard?

Bonus: Frank Beard of course. I saw a pic of Billy Gibbons the other day and dude was SKINNY as hell!!!!!

Health perform with The McKenzies, B L A C K I E, The Wiggins, and Female Demand at Numbers $10 Doors at 8:30PM (Poster by Michael Rodriguez)

Oh and here is a video from Pitchfork TV:


*Band Camp 101: Note John didn’t get huffy but with humor and grace defended the album well. Kudos. And for the record, Omar loves Health’s //Disco.

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