And now for something completely different: this week, Planet Mu release the debut album from Canadian duo Poemss. You may know Aaron Funk, one half of the experimentalist electronic duo, for his brittle, percussive output as Venetian Snares; but here, with the surrealist touch of Toronto singer-songwritiner Joanne Pollock, he’s far to the left of his comfort zone. Synths bloom and wilt under meandering melodies, the percussion is more restrained and the whole thing is as unpredictable as a sinister, wild-eyed fairground ride. Stream the album below, and we caught up with Funk and Pollock to talk about getting to know each other through music, the poetic mastery of GZA and those four-eyed cats.
Dazed Digital: What differentiates this project from the solo music you've both made before?
Joanne Pollock: Well the main difference is that, when I make music alone, I only have access to my brain, the same one I do everything with. When we make music together, we have access to two brains, one of which is novel and can think of things that the other wouldn't. Also, from my perspective, I'm in a different physical space when we make music for Poemss, since we're at Aaron’s house and not at my house.
Aaron Funk: Yes, for me as well. When I make music alone, Joanne’s brain in not there. It is just me.
DD: What was going on in your lives around the time of making this album?
Aaron Funk: For me, I was just coming out of having some studio troubles for the previous couple years. All the frequencies got sucked into a vortex. So I had just set up my studio somewhere else and was feeling pretty happy to be able to do music again. Kind of a new beginning for me. A lot of the air around this album was new beginnings. New ideas, getting to know Joanne’s musical mind, a fresh approach.
DD: Would you say there’s a core theme or concept that holds the album together? How would you describe it?
Joanne Pollock: Maybe not a theme or concept, but a feeling, and that comes from the time and place of the making of the record: in an enclosed space, with just two people, generally at night. At the time of making the first song, Aaron and I didn't know each other nearly as well as we did at the time of making the last song, so that’s in there too.
Aaron Funk: I guess to me, the theme would be the two of us getting to know each other. Surprising each other, enlightening each other, discovering each other’s perspective musically and philosophically. An adventure in the ways two people’s sensibilities can combine.
DD: Talk me through the four-eyed cats.
Aaron Funk: The cats are a painting by Casey Weldon. We’re always around cats; there’s four of them here now. I think the painting is a great representation of how we create together, having two sets of eyes to see everything through. Perspective entwined.
DD: Any favourite poems?
Joanne Pollock: One poet that I found recently that I like so much is Melissa Broder. She has a poem called 'The Youth Of My Dick' that I love. Another poem that is really special to me, because of the time in my life and location that I found it, is one called 'Behind the Mass of Green' by Farzaneh Khojandi. One that completely blows my mind every time I read it is called "Eden Tiresias" by Brian Teare.
Aaron Funk: Amongst some of my very favourites are Joanne’s. She was writing a lot when we first got to know each other. I stumbled upon a couple great Margaret Atwood poetry books a while ago – I kept finding them on the street in Toronto as though they were calling to me. 'Habit of Blues' by Judith Fitzgerald was always a favorite of mine. I grew up reading a lot of poetry, everything from Langston Hughes to Richard Brautigan. And GZA! '0% Finance' is a poetic masterpiece.
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