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25 January 2011

Interview: Perry Pelonero and Kim Welsh of Skylight,, and Morpheme.

Perry Pelonero and Kim Welsh are busy people. When they aren't writing music for their band Skylight, you can find them working on something for their band,, and if not THAT (oh yes, there's more) then the two are most likely working on their brand new project with Dean Garcia (of Curve) called Morpheme. So far, Morpheme has very recently released one single, "Infection," which has already been put on compilations and is widely celebrated as being awesome. When The Sun Hits has interviewed Dean before, so the following interview focuses on Perry and Kim (though Dean drops in for a moment to deliver a violent threat). Not only are they great musicians, but Perry and Kim are kind and thoughtful (and hilarious) (and gassy) people, and they are also our friends. When The Sun Hits is proud to present the following interview to you, which contains more weirdness, flatulence, 70s porn, Darth Vader, unicorns, syphilis, oddities, violence, songs about venereal diseases, and the word "fuck" and all of its permutations than any interview we've ever done before. Enjoy.

Can you tell us what you've been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future?

Perry: Hard to say week to week what I am working on. One of the Morpheme songs that I sent Dean ended up becoming a SPC ECO song which is cool...Of course, Morpheme is a constant mainly because the songs are flowing out with no issue what so ever. They feel good...Dean is a fantastic producer, and just makes my guitars sound like a dream with very little change. At the same time I have been writing songs for recording in the spring. I think bliss is going to change a bit. I feel like I am finally coming into my guitar playing, if that makes any sense. Technically, I only started playing guitar in 2008. I am still recording with Skylight taking over most of the singing duties once again. I find singing frustrating as fuck, honestly. But at the same time I love doing it. Somehow I convinced Dean to help me with the Skylight stuff, so you should be seeing that EP we have been promising for a year now, in 2011. I am working with Andy Moir and his band New Ghosts as well. He is a really good friend here in Chicago.

Kim: Let’s put it on the record right now—the ONLY reason I’ve sorta dropped Skylight from my list is because of time. And actually, I won’t be able to stay away—I’ll always add my backups (I call them mealy bits) to Perry’s awesome vocals. And with Bliss… we’ve gone through some growing pains. Our lineup has never been quite right, with all parts falling into place beautifully—EXCEPT with Eric D’Asto. Like, Eric is the perfect addition to our annoying control-freakedness, because he just does it right. We tried to get out there more this past summer, but it got to be where it was just this gigantic headache to coordinate our whole act. We’ve got the family and work, and… yeah. Next up with Bliss—more studio time with Eric. We still love Bliss music, we still like what we put out—but we’ve got to pare back and make sure we’re spending our time doing what makes us the happiest. We’re also going to keep up with this Morpheme project, because for one, it’s KILLER to have a professional produce our stuff. Dean has a magic touch, and he’s an excellent musician. It’s fun to let go and put our music in someone else’s hands—stuff comes out that we say, “What? Where did that come from?”

So the other thing we’re doing that we hope to expand on—we have a business called CityStyle Presentations, and we produce informational/instructional videos and presentations for businesses. We recently started messing around with some instrumental “commercial” sound sequences and bits and have been using them in our presentations. There’s a major wireless company who is about to launch a huge training program with a video that we produced with one of our songs for which I never did vocals. We think that’s kinda cool! Stop Clock.

2. Skylight is a pretty straightforward shoegaze band name, but what’s the story behind the names of your other projects - & the new project with Dean Garcia? was something that me and Kim came up with. The music was bliss to us. We have always written well together. The city came from our love of the city. Not any city in particular, just the city. East I think is because I love the east coast so much especially, New York City and Boston.

Morpheme....Fuck.. ya know.. the definition of Morpheme said it all for us. We thought, hell yeah...I have seen another band called Morpheme, as well. But until they sue us, we will stick with it :) And if they do decide to sue us, I would prefer if we met in a boxing ring to decide. You think I am joking? (We have our suspicions that he may be joking, so we've contacted the other Morpheme to try to get this fight going. We'll keep you updated.

Kim: Perry actually came up with Morpheme, and we all said… THAT’S it! I love words, and morpheme is a part that makes up a word, and we’re like three parts that make up a group, and… yeah. Cool. And here’s a bit of trivia: We came very close to calling ourselves “Red Dog”—a name Dean liked so much he gave it to a song.

Oh, and “Bliss”—that’s not really the way it went. We were trying to come up with names, and I asked Perry what words he likes, and he said, “I’ve always liked the word bliss.” Psychic.

3. Both of you are/were involved in all three of these projects. Is there a particular song or album from any them that you are especially proud of?

Perry: For Skylight it would be "Winter Lights" for me. Kim wrote that one about me. And I find the words beautiful. Nobody has ever written something like for me. I remember a night in 2009 that Kim sang that song in my ear... BLISS... .. I think "Stop Clock" is the one that strikes me most. We wrote that under duress and its none of your business why :) Eric played the lead at the end of "Stop Clock" that just kills me. Also, "Rain On". It was a very memorable moment for me, Kim and Eric. Especially filming the video for it. I cannot comment on Morpheme yet, although I can think of one song you have not heard yet that is going to be so cool..

Kim: Skylight’s "Bad Kitty" is by far my favorite. I love the guitars that Brent and Pete did. It’s poppy and peppy and a shitload of fun. "Winter Lights" had some of my favorite lyrics though. Bliss—Oh wow. "Stop Clock" has wicked personal lyrics, and Eric’s guitar solo is DOPE. "Rain On" came together beautifully. "Orange" is one of my favorites even though I don’t sing on it. And then there’s "Let it Lie"… I feel a little sad about that one. We could never get the vocals mixed right, but it sounded pretty cool live. In our studio. Whatever.

Skylight. Bad Kitty.

4. Just to get everyone up to speed on your current output – is it true that Skylight and (though still popping up on compilations here and there) are both now defunct so you both can focus on Morpheme?

Perry: Skylight has come and gone since the early 90's. It is not DEAD and I highly doubt it ever will be. The whole Skylight story could be turned into a book. One of the biggest issues with me (this is a massive down fall) is that I get bored really quickly with things. I got bored with Skylight a couple of years ago. So I started bliss with Kim. It was also to do live shows because Brent and Pete live in Boston. I fucked up doing that. Because I know for a fact I pissed them both off. But this is ME...Brent knows me like a book, so even though I am sure he was pissed off, he also understands me. I am a douche bag when it comes to this shit. So I basically lay it on the line and say if you don't like it...nothing I can do. I am NOT proud of that believe me. It just happens. I suppose you can say sort of the same thing with I got frustrated over recording, sales and I guess the general state of the music business...

But is different. First off, me and Kim started this with a massive amount of love for each other. Sounds corny, right? Fuck you! It's true! Most of our songs are about each other, it's very therapeutic and gives us a connection a lot of couples do not have. bliss, as I mentioned above, will be back in the studio this spring 2011. It's not something I am willing to give up just yet.

Kim: No way. Neither are defunct. Each has its own sound (at least we think so) and it gives us a few different outlets. (Also, Bliss feels like “mine/ours”—where with the other two, I’m just one of the actors.) Plus, like I mentioned before, we LOVE playing with Eric. He fits with us, and he’s one of our best friends.

Usually, we’ll write a song and say… “Oh wow, that’s a Skylight (or Morpheme or Bliss) song.” Truth be told, we’d like to add a fourth and fifth band…one for Southern rock (yup, we love the Allman’s and the Marshall Tucker Band) and one where we do all 70’s disco/soul/funk. And Perry keeps making noise about wanting to be in a metal band, but he’d have to stop washing out his guitar sound and I don’t think he’s ready. Orange.

5. So who would win in a fight: Perry vs. Dean? Are you willing to prove that while someone (preferably me) video tapes it?

Perry: As I told Dean in an email I sent to him about this question: I would bust his ass and tea bag him when done. By all means video tape this and get it on Youtube. But he has a different take on this... I will see if I can get him to comment… OH look, he is talking out his ass again…

Dean: I would fuck his shit up in an instant, He'd be reeling as the chunk of metal crashed into his soft mushy skull...Then while he was tumbling to the floor screaming I'd rapid fire two shot gun rounds, one directly into the front of his face and the other at point blank range straight into his motherfucking heart bitch... Done. (Wow. He has that WAY too planned out in detail to be kidding.-WTSH)

Kim: Neither would be a match for me. I’m younger, for one. And I do pilates. And I’ve had three kids. I can take pain. (Just kidding, I am very non-confrontational except when I’m driving or in Walmart.)

6. Perry, is it true that you recently compared the formation of Morpheme to a release of massive flatulence? Is that accurate on every level?

Perry: Yup. Because that is how it happened. Been friends with Dean for awhile, and we always discussed possibly doing something. One day I sent him some sounds and he sends me back this track that was just kick fucking ass. Pfffffffft... It was born... or laid.. whichever you prefer... (we prefer "laid" thanks.-WTSH)

Kim: We can turn ANYTHING into a discussion or song about bodily functions. Every day. All day long. Try us. (oh, we plan to exploit that as often as possible.-WTSH)

7. Do you feel that you guys are a part of the Shoegaze/Dream Pop scene, or any scene?

Perry: I think in the 90's we were part of that scene, no doubt. Right now, I have no fucking idea. I mean really it's up to the fans, innit? Are we? Fuck if I know...I would like to settle that in 2011 if at all possible :P

Kim: I disagree about settling it. I really hate genre labeling. I don’t like being put into anyone’s pocket, you know? What would you call Pink Floyd? On the radio they call them classic rock. They also call Foreigner classic rock. What do they have in common with Pink Floyd? A freakin’ genre label, and maybe some songs written in minor key. My point is…I like Pink Floyd AND Foreigner. I’m not wild about AC/DC, though Perry is. I love Zeppelin, Eric hates them. OK? I don’t like “Classic” “Rock”—I like bands/songs. (Um, ok. Little harsh there, Kim. I didn't make these fucking questions up. Oh wait. Fuck. Yes, I did.-WTSH)

8. What is the most important piece(s) of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps you prefer?

Perry: Marshall JCM 800. I use no distortion pedals at all anymore. I use the over drive mixed with a bit of reverb and a bit of chorus. For the spacey guitars its full on boss reverb and nothing else. In the 90's I was really into pedals and racks etc.. But now I keep it as simple as possible. I have had people email me asking how I get such a big sound and what effects I use. And when I tell them they are normally like WTF?? I love pedals and guitars, don't get me wrong. But I have no time to be fucking around with shit anymore. So simple is cool. A friend of mine, Mark Mills, just built me a fuzz pedal. Half jokingly I asked him to name it the C&NT factory...AND HE ACTUALLY DID IT!! When I get it I will post pics...It's really funny.

The only other thing would be my Squire 51, which I modified a couple of years ago. It was a very strange guitar that was only out for a short time before they stopped making it. It has a pretty big cult following now, actually. It has to be the best guitar I have ever played, aside from a '67 Fender Mustang.

Kim: I use the voice box 2000 with Charles Shaw or Captain Morgan’s lubrication.

9. One question for Dean: How do you feel about the songwriting partnership you’ve created with members of Morpheme?

Dean: I feel like if I don't do it Perry will have me clipped, so what choice do I have? Do the shit or get whacked...I'll do the shit because I'm the nice one. As it turns out I fucking loving it, he (Perry)(cunt) needs to brush up on his guitar skills as he's pretty shit at the moment, but after I've bunged his half assed guitar into the Ableton and saved its bacon it's actually quite good. (now I am gonna get clipped...)

Perry: Dick.

10. What artists (shoegaze or otherwise) have most influenced your work?

Perry: Really? (Yes.-WTSH) Seriously? (Um. Well, yes.-WTSH) Are you out of your fucking mind? (Apparently?-WTSH) Pink Floyd. 70's Disco and R&B...70's rock. 80's Rap. Loop, GodFlesh, Jesu, Echo and the Bunnymen, Killing Joke.

Kim: Pink Floyd is like…our heaven. We love them to death. We listen to them CONSTANTLY. Also, when I’m trying to get my vox on, I listen to Robert Plant sing. And Chrissie Hynde. And Madonna. There are so many more…I actually have a list of lines/lyrics that I think were sung just blazing perfectly. “Come on join the party dressed to kill…” (The Who)—that line rolled out like a strawberry Fruit Rollup. “I’m not afraid of you running away honey I get the feeling you won’t…” oh, Tom Petty, sing it boy! I’m also a gigantic fan of Ivy, probably my most shoegazey influence. I love how that chick sings her words. Simple, but the words don’t suck and you can actually hear them. Rain On.

11. When can we expect to see Morpheme release (gas) an official EP or LP? I’m really tired of waiting, and that should be reason enough to light a fire underneath your asses. Additionally, has a label picked Morpheme up, or is this going to be a self release?

Perry: Spring 2011 will be an EP. Followed by an LP later on. We have a nice stock pile of songs at the moment. Feel free to light the fire we might actually enjoy it. As far as a label, cannot comment on that at the moment. I can tell you that we do have some pretty cool people interested and we will be figuring all of that out soon.

Kim: Morpheme’s singer is a total pain in the ass. There’s these two prolific dudes who keep putting songs out, and she either gets a) picky or b) can’t come up with anything good enough to go with the songs. It’s usually b. There’s also a c) can’t sing her own vocal arrangements and she needs a body double.

You’ll have to be patient, dearie. We aren’t putting anything out that we don’t think is perfect. We’re old enough to know that if we don’t think it’s perfect, EVERYONE will think it blows. At least if we think it’s perfect, SOMEBODY might like it!

12. Can Kim discuss her song about Darth Vader? In my imaginary shoegaze band that I’ve created in my head (Death Star Firefly), basically all my songs are about Star Wars, so I totally get it. But why Vader, Kim? Vader fetish: true or false? Darth Vader Head.

Kim: He’s tall, dark and eeeee-ville. HOT. (Let the records show that it is true Kim Welsh does, in fact, have a Vader Fetish.-WTSH)

I’ll be in that band. I’m pretty sure we can get a pedal that would give a nice R2D2 effect. (That would be so fucking cool...I mean, wait...weren't we talking about KIM and her Vader Fetish?-WTSH)

The real story: There were foreign substances involved. There was a photo that one of our label owner’s MOM took of a Darth Vader Head hot air balloon (and later we ended up using it for our album cover!) The original name was “Basil.” (As in… Basil! On Fawlty Towers. We tend to name stuff really stupidly before they have words.) But then… listen to the song. How could ANYTHING but “Darth Vader Head… ladadada” fit? It came together in a matter of about an hour.

And oh crap. I just realized that when we were talking about our favorite songs above, I forgot to mention Signal Earth. This is probably NOBODY’s favorite but mine. In it, I make references to both Gaius Baltar (duh, Battlestar) and to The X Files. Do we see a pattern? (a familiar "nerd" pattern does seem to be emerging. We recognize our own kind.-WTSH)

13. What do you guys think of modern Shoegaze/Dream Pop artists, any favorites?

Perry: Bloody Knives. Music for Headphones and his other band, New Speedway, I think it is. That shit is amazing, hands down. Bloody Knives are from Texas; a state I despise in the summer but it seems to breed great music. Texas has snakes and other creepy shit...I hate that place...Only because it scares me. (Texas does indeed breed creepy of this blog's writers, for instance.-WTSH) When I first heard Bloody Knives I was BLOWN away. The first thing I did was send it to Dean and he also loved it.

Music for Headphones are from Philly. I like Philadelphia...The music scene in Philly seems to be really cool. Tom Lugo of Stellarscope is an amazing part of that scene and a good friend as well. Screen Vinyl Image are also one of my faves...Jake is a genius with his gear. D.C. and Philly seem to have really rock solid supportive scenes. I like that a lot. SPC ECO. I love what they do. I love Joey Levenson's guitars, Rose's voice and whatever it is Dean does to make it all sound as good as it does.

Kim: I’m going to sound like an asshole here, but here’s what happens around here - Perry and I work side-by-side all day, every day. So Perry patrols the sites and pulls up stuff and plays it. And I say either… BAD ASS! Or… ‘eh’. So I just had to ask him… “Perry, what have I liked?” Apparently, I have loved Screen Vinyl Image, Stellarscope, and Bloody Knives. I also listen to a bunch of the stuff Danny Lackey posts, because I do like to hear what others are doing in the (spitting out the word)… genre. Danny has awesome taste. (WTSH - We know!) Oh, and wait! Mark Mills (Lasermonkey) and his lovely wife Suzy have Summer Jets—and I always REALLY like their sounds. But at the end of the day… here it comes, the asshole part… I listen to Pink Floyd. You can omit this part of the interview if you want, because I seriously don’t want to sound like such an asshole. Or you can leave it all in, even the me saying you can delete it part. (we're leaving it all in, baby.-WTSH)

And I’m tired of bands that sound just like Ride or MBV. I’m sure they’re well loved and appreciated, but for me…give me something else.

14. So this shoegaze revival that seems to be happening around the world (that I fully and obviously support) – WTF? Thoughts?

Perry: Did it ever really go away? Music has gotten worse and worse over the years. I hear this god awful shit fucking fireworks song on TV all the time and think...COMPUTERS FUCKED US ALL (Fuck you, I only got to third base with computers!-WTSH). In fact, I think technology has fucked us. But that is another story...(a story of irony, to be sure.-WTSH) If this is a revival then I am all for it. I see a lot of original bands emerging from this and I see a lot of bands just trying to sound like the original shoegaze movement. You know though, whatever. Just make music and be fucking happy...

Kim: I second that. When I first met Perry, he told me… “Our music is a thinking man’s music.” Formula is gross, in my book. And not MUSIC. (Okay, I said I like Foreigner. Whatevah.) My quibble with Perry’s statement though: technology is giving us options outside of what’s shoved down our throats, right? We don’t have to listen to the radio. Sometimes it seems to me that those that get lumped into this genre are really just those who explore sound, effects, twists on vocal styling, deviation from formulaic structure… that is, thinking man’s music. I’m all for it.

15. Please analyze the following image in a philosophical way. Shoegaze must factor into your hypothesis.

Kim: Don’t call it a fucking ponytail. I’m a fucking unicorn. Can’t you see the fucking horn? The one horn? Uni-horn? That’s why I love my fucking cat, because he never fucking calls it a fucking ponytail. I’m sick of all you fucking posers thinking you know ME—WHAT, I have to fit into your idea of what a fucking hooved animal is supposed to be? I’m smarter than that, dude. You’re not, but I am.

Perry: What Kim said...FUCK YEAH. (After consulting a psychiatrist regarding their answers, the doctor had this to say: "Kim shows signs of being greatly disturbed and angry. She is very protective of unicorns, felines, and ponytails. For no apparent reason. I think she would kill a man and eat him in front of his family to protect that unicorn. Perry's simple 'FUCK YEAH what she said' approach translates as: 'I'm a fucking dude, I'm not talking about this goddamn tranny unicorn to you or anyone. Asshole.' So, uh, you said these people are your friends??"-WTSH)

16. Tell us a little about what you two are currently into (bands, books, films, etc)? Don't hold back, guys. We'll know, if you do.

Perry: Mysteries. I like those a lot. This inspector Lynley character is awesome. Bands: Jesu. And everything he does basically. I love Adam Franklin's music, as well. It has a real beauty to it and although I do love Swervedriver, I think I like Adams stuff a lot more. TV: Californication, Board walk empire and what I have seen of The Wire so far. Classic cartoons always and, last but not least: Classic porn...Backside to the Future? Flesh Gordon?? Come on! That is so cool...

Kim: Ditto on everything Perry said. We also LOVE to cook. Probably me more than Perry, but he’s a great sous chef and we turn out some pretty awesome dinners almost every single night. We LOVE to eat. We love wine. We watch Top Chef and Chopped pretty religiously. I’m reading all the Harry Potter books because my daughter is VERY into them and I told her when everyone in the family has read all the books, we can go to Hogwarts. Those Inspector Lynley mysteries that Perry talked about? I’ve read ALL the books. We also watch a lot of Agatha Christie stuff. We love Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. And we watch a LOT of movies. And… guilty pleasure forthcoming…ghosts.

We’re also in love with our daughter. She’s a constant source of entertainment—she’s got a spitfire personality and it’s so rewarding to see how she changes each day.

17. You’ve been given an owl with a questionable demeanor as a pet. Is this awesome? y/n?

Perry: Yes. Very cool. I like Harry Potter for the owls.

Kim: There are very few animals that we wouldn’t adopt. We aren’t big on reptiles, and rodents are out of the question because we have an embarrassing number of cats. One of them reminds us of an owl, and he has a questionable demeanor, so yeah… I think we’d take the owl on with the assumption that once he got to know us, he’d be fine. Have we mentioned our parakeet room?(YES IS THE CORRECT ANSWER! It would of course be AWESOME to suddenly have a kick ass owl.-WTSH)

18. Morpheme's first single (which kicks ass) is called "Infection". Are all your songs going to be about syphilis, or just this one?

Perry: No, all of our music is going to specialize in VD. This is because all of us have VD and so what else should we sing about??? Songs include: "The Crab Shuffle", "Clappity Clap Clap" and "Doctor That Hurts."

Kim: The next single, "Burning and Oozing", has a classic shoegaze sound:

What’s that spot?
It has a little halo.

Please let it be an ingrown hair…
I think I feel an itch.
This could be a real bitch.
Don’t tell my girl Ahhhhh-ahhhhhhhhhhhh

(Cue distortion and pedal stomping)

19. What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

Perry: Love and respect to my friends and family. Feather the nest and fuck the rest.

As a side note: People stop asking me if Curve are getting back together. For one, I really do not care and I highly doubt it... and if I did know, do you think I would tell you? (We've never asked him that, but we think he's lying and does know. The only solution is an onslaught of emails asking him, over and over, that very question.-WTSH)

Kim: Love yours, don’t compromise, eat well.