“Spinal Tap”‘s Nigel Tufnel famously observed that to get ahead in the rock arena, sometimes you’ve got to crank the amp up to 11. The “one louder” doctrine has evidently been adopted by A Place to Bury Strangers, a hardworking rock outfit often touted as New York City’s “loudest band.”
Earning a reputation for being loudest in a city as noisy as the Big Apple is certainly no easy task, but thankfully the Brooklyn-based trio of singer/guitarist Oliver Ackermann, bassist Jonathan Smith and drummer Jay Space is just as well-regarded for the music it makes ” an ear-shattering mix of shoegaze, noise pop, post-punk and spacey experimental rock.
“We’re not necessarily trying to be loud just for the sake of being loud,” Ackermann said. “That’s just the volume that we like to listen to things, and I think it’s kind of at that moment when the sounds from the guitar and the amplifiers and everything start to sound really interesting.”
The group was initially formed by Ackermann in 2003 after the dissolution of his previous band, Skywave, and his self-transplant from Virginia to New York.
“As a musician, living in New York has had a really big influence on me,” he said. “It’s a really high-pace life and it’s kind of hard to live. You just put in everything you got and push really hard to make things work out.”
SMITH AND SPACE
The lineup was completed when Smith and Space joined soon afterward, although early variations of the band can be heard throughout its eponymous debut album released last year, which was comprised primarily of songs culled from a series of EPs recorded between 2004 and 2006.
“Our album is really just a collection of demos and one-off songs,” Ackermann said. “I still think it’s a good representation of us, but each song kind of has an individual idea behind it for that moment. Right now, we’re working on recording our next record, and I think that’s going to have more of a whole idea behind it with more of a dynamic playing between the songs.”
In addition to his duties as the group’s front man, Ackermann runs his own business, Death by Audio, which creates custom effects pedals for other artists, including such big names as Wilco and U2.
“I didn’t even really necessarily want to start an effects pedal company. I just wanted to create effects that nobody else was creating,” Ackermann said. “However, the company has taken on a life of its own and it’s been really great.”
KINDRED SPIRITS AND NOISEMAKERS
Spending the last five years performing with kindred spirits and noisemakers like The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Jesus and Mary Chain around its native city at such well-known concert venues as Webster Hall, the band has gained momentum and enough followers to earn the act an opening spot for Nine Inch Nails on its current United States tour ” which includes a Friday stop at the Ford Center.
A Place to Bury Strangers will also perform Tuesday at Opolis in Norman with El Paso Hot Button, sans NIN.
“We’ve been doing a lot of stuff (to prepare for the upcoming tour), but it’s all top-secret, so I can’t tell you,” Ackermann said.
However, he did divulge a few details about what concertgoers can expect from the trio at their pair of Oklahoma shows.
“Lots of blinding lights, ear-piercing guitars, and crazy-loud drums,” he said. “It’s really loud. We try to really confuse the people as much as we can and give them as much of a show and an experience as possible.” “Lucas Ross