Jagjaguwar's Small Black set for UK shows
‘Despicable Dogs’ act expand to 4-piece - Josh Kolenik interview
Josh Kolenik has just finished lunch at Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon, where he and band Small Black are playing later that night. (‘They make these really amazing doughnuts with bacon on them’, he exhales.) In Kolenik’s head, there is a strong connection between the Pacific Northwest arts-and-music hipster hub of Portland, and Scotland. ‘It’s something to do with its temperament, and the weather,’ he explains. ‘I don’t know – I guess they’re both super-relaxed places, with down to earth people who have a good sense of humour. Being here really reminds me of Glasgow.’
It was during a three-month stay in Portland that Kolenik came up with the name Small Black for the lo-fi, mechanical, scuzzy synth-pop band he launched with a self-titled debut EP last summer. The fuzzy tracks, recorded in the attic of Kolenik’s surfer-dude uncle Matt’s house in Long Beach, New York (Matt stars in the video for their addictive summer anthem, ‘Despicable Dogs’), quickly made their way onto blogs. By February they’d been signed to Indiana indie label, Jagjaguwar, who put out their first full-length album last month.
Although the original duo of Kolenik and his friend Ryan Heyner has since expanded to include Juan Pieczanski and Jeff Curtin, the songwriting process is still basically the same. ‘I use Pro Tools software now, which is new, but the Casio keyboard – that’s still in there. That was the first keyboard I ever had, I got it when I was about 8. When I was younger I used to find those beats really dumb, but now I really love that back-to-basics sound. There’s a lot to be said for the minimalism and simplicity of them.’
Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Wed 1 Dec