At a gigantic festival like SXSW, it is easy to lose touch due to the constant rotation of schedules all of which are subject to change at any moment of the day or night. In the case of Terry Poison I am so glad that we didn’t lose contact during the festival. Very articulate and well spoken (see part 8 of our second SXSW recap) I really enjoyed being able to nerd out with them about the interactive portion and was ecstatic that a group in electro remembered one of my original inspirations Bjork. Comprised of Anna Landesman (Electric synth guitar/keys/backup vox), Louise Kahn (Lead vox/keys) and Bruno Grife (Production/synth bass/backup vox) this was an experienced group with a crystal clear yet ever evolving vision of what they want to accomplish in the industry. Terry Poison has some really exciting things in store over the next year (including new releases, performance art and even an interactive game!) and I’m proud to include their new video teaser for “Man After Man” exclusively on EARMILK (premiere for full length music video to come later!)
EM: When did you guys arrive at SXSW? I saw that you were also involved with the interactive portion of the festival.
AL: We are Terry Poison, this is Louise, Bruno, and I am Anna. We have been here for 10 days now.
EM: Oh wow, so you’ve been here for awhile?
LK: Yes (laughs) we arrived here early because we were also involved with the interactive portion of SXSW. We had a panel and we have also been performing in the music part of the festival where we have been performing almost every other day, we have our big showcase tonight. We are very happy to have had this experience in Austin but… I also think that we have been here for a long time (laughs again).
EM: It’s madness I know.
LK: We are developing a very unique and exciting project that we have been working on for about a year. It’s a video clip that has interactive parts and the whole thing is hand crafted by us in sequence. We’ve raised money from various academic institutions and Google and have been working on it for quite some time. We actually ended up having to build the start up almost and there is a bunch of people working for us. The idea behind the clip (or the game), which is what it is, is that you watch the video (all handcrafted) and you have the fly the three of us through this world of disco… and plenty of glitter to pick up magic capsules. In the course of the video clip it all turns into a game and you have to pick up the magic capsules and the more you take the more you fly and the harder it gets. But the trick is that how many magic capsules that you’ve picked up will effect how you see the video clip. So we’ll have a hundred different types of video clips at the end of the day because everyone plays differently.
EM: Exactly, everyone has their own way of doing things.
Louise: Yes, or everybody will just play differently and all get to different levels.
EM: So you’ve been working on it for a long time and are finally bringing it into the interactive industry?
LK: Yes, it’s been a consuming project for us because we’re all very involved with the technological scene in Tel Aviv. We perform a lot there and even did the equivalent of SXSW in Europe. So we are already very much in that scene and love to explore in technology and media. You walk out into the streets of Tel Aviv and meet someone and right there is a new song and idea. We had no idea that it was going to be such a big project.
EM: Sounds like you didn’t know it was going to take off to this extent. That’s very unique that you guys participated in the interactive part.
LK: No, we didn’t. And we love it and see it as going together hand in hand. The last video clip that we released in August and it also has a very technological twist where it basically peaks into a 360 degree shot which is made up for 52 people, which presents as sort of a Matrix type scene. We wanted to do it organically, so we had people coming and doing it organically with their iPhones.
AL: Yes, those were the cameras that we used to create it.
EM: I know that’s been my camera this week, so I can relate.
AL: A lot of people couldn’t relate and that is why we only ended up with 52 people. We wanted more, but it’s tough.
LK: It also made the piece though, because we ended up with 11 cameras and built a few steel constructions so that there would be a looping effect in the whole clip, which turns into that 360 degree shot. We had so much footage that we crashed many computers because we had to edit 11 cameras.
EM: From what I’ve read, Terry Poison has major roots in the Tel Aviv underground music scene?
LK: We were in Israel in the underground party scene and then performed all over Europe and then in 2010 we really entered the mainstream in Israel with a big hit on the radio. We’ve been working a lot back home and now we are again working on a new album and our new music making clips for them and getting our new songs out there.
EM: So you’re kind of working on two different branches of media right now then to bring the interactive portion into the music?
AL: I think that it’s kind of inevitable.
EM: It’s definitely changing.
AL: At the end of the day, one will not survive without the other.
EM: By doing that some new ground is being broken in music.
BG: There is also another aspect we’re involved with, which is producing and writing our music and bringing it to the people in our live shows. We really put thought into our live shows and giving a different type of experience. So in the live show we can basically make our little dreams come true. I see TP as platforms for the audience’s fantasies come true through the interactive, exploring sound and trying things onstage and developing instruments. Each instrument has it’s own way of being modified electronically.
LK: That’s his field of expertise.
BG: I come from electronic engineering so bringing it together (because music needs to be shown) and to be heard and presented in so many other ways.
EM: So for you it’s not just one thing.
LK: No, and that’s what we love the most. I read once in an interview with a Norwegian artist and she said that being onstage is like going to the spa and I really relate to that. Because that’s what we love the most is being onstage. We perform so much.
BG: It’s creating this energy onstage because we’re all together and that combined with the crowd is amazing.
AL: Those 45 minutes we work for 24 hours a day creating games, creating shots of 360 degrees all for that one purpose to get onstage that’s the peak for us.
EM: When you take the stage it feels like you are home and that’s what you’ve been working towards.
AL: It is a catharsis!
LK: It also creates such a strong bond between us as a band because it always starts in the music and thinking about how we are going to dress up the song!
AL: How we’re going to present it and what is going to happen to it on stage!
LK: Also how we’re going to make a clip and then we just get sucked into all of it. It starts with a song, and from there on there is so much creativity. It’s exhausting almost, but we cannot live without it.
AL: It is not necessarily something that we want to do, but is something that we feel we have to do. We cannot live without it.
EM: It’s your passion and what you’ve been working towards.
LK: But it doesn’t feel like work. I’m taking a holiday in Costa Rica soon and I’ve never taken one because my life has been a holiday. It’s not work though…
AL: Because we love it!
LK: It’s such an exciting life; we travel twice a month to someplace in Europe or Russia.
AL: Also so exciting to bring this thing to a technology panel, which is combining the two worlds that we’ve been talking about. There is the music world and the technological world that we are combining for our live show. Technology involving fiber optics, so we’ll be basically kind of glowing according to the music.
BG: The music will be synchronized with the lightings and it will also be synchronized with what we play and we’ll basically breathe with it.
LK: There are a lot of things like this happening right now, and we’ve basically teamed up with the “geeks” in Tel Aviv to develop this for us, but what we really want to do with an amazing team of fashion designers to put lighting into some of the fabrics we wear onstage.
EM: I noticed that creative fashion is also a big part of what you do.
LK: Yes, we consider it a big part. We just order 5 km of fiber optics and we’re trying to develop with students to make a fur coat in fiber optics that will always change colors, kind of pearly…
AL: But not in a cheesy way. No cheap tricks (laughs).
LK: We want to kind of explore it and make it haute couture in a way, even a jacket that I could go out on the town with later.
EM: That idea of a light up jacket reminds me of the time I’ve spent in the underground. Do you think that was any of your inspiration?
AL: We refer actually more to Bjork with the fashion, more of an artistic and technological type of style. Not as underground-ish…
LK: More like futuristic.
EM: I love her, she is role model and she is the goddess.