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{ELECTRIC PICNIC} -PSAPPMelissa Doran, age 23

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fter a few weeks of going around calling them Pa-Zap! and sometimes even doing the ninja punch that I just knew would have to go with it, I must admit I was a little disappointed to learn that the first P in Psapp is silent. But the spirit of what I imagined a Pa-Zap! to be is very much a part of what Galia Durant and Carim Clasman produce – it’s giddy and happy pop music, but it’s also very thoughtful and sweet. With repeated listens more and more details and textures become apparent. There’s a richness of sound with all the blips and crunches; they’ve got loads of instruments thrown in. Everything I Always Wanted is their latest release on Domino. When I speak to them on the phone, on the last night of their US tour, playing the Bowery Ballroom in New York, they are really cool and interesting. Having one of their songs as the theme tune to the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy would have gone a long way towards making them known in the US and the general TV viewing world. Pre-Psapp, Galia went to art school, and Carim made his name producing hard to pronounce experimental artists such as

Einstürzende Neubauten and Natacha Atlas. A simplified breakdown of the band: Galia writes the song lyrics and Carim does the electronic stuff - but in reality there’s a lot of overlapping and they always write everything together. “It’s exactly a combination of both,” Carim, in his strong German accent explains. “We both like song-based music - it’s not like I just like only Stockhausen or something, which I’m actually not a big fan of (Galia laughs in the background at this). We both have the side where we like experimental sound based things but also we like songs, so it’s sort of the musical marriage of the two a slightly off centre pop song or there can be not very obvious harmonies, rhythms but the song comes through…” They both live in the same building – Carim runs his studio from the ground floor and lives upstairs, Galia lives on the floor above again. “The process of meeting up and seeing what the mood of the day is and trying to make a song that fits whatever mood we’re in - that seems to work best,” continues Carim. “Playing live is for us quite separate projects although it’s the same songs.” Galia’s takes the phone to elaborate, in her oh-crikey type London accent: “I was just imagining, having been in bands before, we used to meet up at rehearsal studios once a week - that wasn’t as fun a dynamic as to sit in the studio, with two people who know each other really well and know each other’s ways of working and methods. We work so quickly together it’s sometimes like working with an extension of yourself cos it’s like ‘wow, how about we do that’ and then it’s like . . . 10 . . .

bosh!” [We’re done!]. When they play live they’ve got a six-piece band to play all the extra parts, which are done with overdubs in the studio. “We’ve set out for it to be more of a studio based project,” explains Galia, and the live thing brings something totally different to what we do…and it’s very hard to communicate all those intricate melodies and sub-melodies, plus a lot of them were played on made up instruments, which were elastic bands and bits of wood and which have long since been chucked out to make room for more boxes and elastic bands. “We’ve got a drummer who doesn’t play on a normal drum-kit and he’s really up for the fact that he plays glass jars and biscuit tins and old chains, and a bit of a moped, just like crazy random things…I think everybody has to play in the Psapp groove which isn’t necessarily an obvious way of playing things…with Psapp stuff there’s the element of messy chaos that needs to be mixed in.” Galia draws the beautiful cartoon cats that are on the album sleeves and in the videos, and Carim is the layout creator. Look on their My Space and you will see that they are obsessed with cats. Completely cat bonkers. There’s going to be an exhibition of Psapp art in Paris soon, with the fashion hot shot Agnes B, and Galia has just designed some condoms. “I’ve got these cats in their underwear looking really kinda nervous, it’s quite sweet.” Sweet + bizarre = Psapp. {-}-{-}-{-}-{-}-{-}-{-}-{-}-{-}-{-}-{-}


psapp interview from foggy notions sept/oct 2006

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