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Priests are the post-punk preachers to dance and think to

DFA Records' Jonathan Galkin selects the DC foursome channeling their post-punk influences and making them present

As part of our new summer US project States of Independence we've invited our favourite 30 American curators, magazines, creatives and institutions to takeover Dazed for a day. 

The Warm Up at MoMA PS1 takes place in the gallery’s courtyard every Saturday – but for one day only, the live outdoor music series is bringing the party to Dazed. The curators have selected their favourite music artists to come out of the US right now, and resident DJ Maria Chavez has made us an exclusive mix to bring a little MoMA magic to your speakers.

MoMA PS1 kick off their edit with the shout, thunder and thrash of your friendly neighbourhood punk provocateurs, Priests – as selected by Jonathan Galkin of legendary NY label, DFA Records.


"I have chosen the young indie band Priests. Lets start with the band as a band.  They take the post punk rhythms and jittery tension of other American greats like Pylon or Dead Kennedys and make it their own. This formula helps them tackle many topical issues, social and sexual injustice, consumerism and capitalism, and make it sorta…..danceable? groovy? And they are based out of Washington DC. What is more American than that?" 

Tell us about where you grew up – what was it like, and how did it influence you?

Daniele: I grew up mainly in Texas and Colorado, which are both states with 'big personalities', if you will. One would think that would have a heavy hand in how I was acculturated to American society, but the funny thing is I found the exact opposite to be true. American suburbs (at least the ones I grew up in) are so corporate that they're all the same. Every town I went to as a kid had a Taco Bell, a McDonalds, a Cici's Pizza, a Macaroni Grill, a Target, a Pier 1 Imports, a Barnes and Noble, a Blockbuster video, a Sam Goody. Whether I was watching a movie, reading a book, listening to music, eating a meal, or buying clothes, it was the same shit. And I found it all excruciatingly boring and didn't understand how all the saps around me were eating this shit up.

Moma PS1 takes place every Saturday all summer long. How do you warm up for the weekend?

Daniele: I work weekends as a server, so I usually "warm up" for the weekend by sadly looking back upon my past few days of leisure and wishing it wouldn't end.

How’s your summer looking? What do you have planned?

Daniele: The crystal ball is very hazy at the moment, check back in with me later.

When you make music, what other artists do you look to for inspiration?

Daniele: Townes Van Zandt, John Lydon, Tracey Thorn, Charles Westover, Sun Ra, Sheila E, Prince, The Au Pairs, Slant 6, Lee Hazlewood...oh god, this is annoying. I'm just going to stop now.

What’s your perspective on the American underground music scene right now, as you inhabit it? Where do we go from here?

Daniele: Well, it's not very underground now, is it? The only way you can really be an underground band these days is to shun the Internet or use it in cryptic, idiosyncratic ways that block the normal algorithmic functioning of Internet culture. Sometimes, I think that was what Crazy Band was doing, but other times I think they're just really cool stoners...hard to tell.

It's like a catch 22 and what-not, too; it's much harder to get people to come to a show or listen to your music unless you're willing to work with and through the Internet. I guess that's why local scenes are so important. Sometimes you just want to see people on a semi-regular basis without having to call them or even really be digital friends or close friends or whatever. Like I want to have some friends I don't make plans with, just people I usually see at shows to talk to music about, maybe politics, the weather, and that's it. Is that so wrong? It's like our world is geared to knowing everything about each other and being in contact all the goddamn time, and it sucks IMO. I like that by simply playing shows and putting up flyers and posters for those shows, I'm able to side-step the normative, internet-as-medium style relationships that dominate contemporary life. Also, I'm just a creepy internet stalker, so if the whole goddamn thing just went away tomorrow, it would be like really helpful for my sanity...Oh fuck, I'm rambling. OK, long story short: I don't know if 'underground music' is really a thing anymore, but there are small self-contained scenes like the one that I'm a part of DC, and I'm thankful for that.

Next up, RVNG's head has his say with a somewhat quieter (but no less urgent) pick.