vermutlich absolvieren die beteiligten einer teenager- schwangerschaft diese selten so unaufgeregt wie juno, die protagonistin des jüngsten films von jason reitmann, der in deutschland ende märz in die kinos kommt. erzieherische ansprüche soll dieser film auch weitestgehend nicht erfüllen: anstatt eines erhobenen zeigefingers glänzt der film mit den schauspielerischen leistungen von ellen page und michael cera, naturgetreuer darstellung zwischenmenschlicher spannungen ohne hollywoodschönschliff, bissigen dialogen und einem indie-sountrack aus zuckerguss. für mehrere songs der filmmusik hat kimya dawson ihre magische mädchenstimme gestiftet; auf vorschlag von ellen page wurde zudem 'anyone else but you' von den moldy peaches als theme-song und perfect-fitaus der plattenkiste gekramt.
unter musikjournalisten hat sich für das genre, das künstler wie beck, kimya dawson und adam green verkörpern, die bezeichnung anti-folk etabliert, auch wenn die wortschöpfung zur benennnung der bewusst kindlich-naiv geprägten klänge glücklicher hätte ausfallen können. michael und tyrel von den terrordactyls, die ebenfalls diesem genre zugeordnet werden, sehen dies ganz ähnlich: "i think it's american that people here like to make up new words for things that probably don't need them." von der aktuellen popularität des anti-folk profitieren die beiden trotzdem: ihre zusammenarbeit mit kimya dawson hat der band aus olympia einige neue fans beschert und nicht zuletzt ihre erste tour quer durch die staaten ermöglicht.
die lieder der terrordactyls sind honigsüß, schwelgen in unendlicher kindlichkeit und sind doch stellenweise zu böse, als dass sie von ambitionierten pädagogen hierzulande für den englischunterricht in der grundschuleeingesetzt werden könnten. tyrel und michael schrecken vor dem einsatz ihrer lieder in der schule nicht zurück. sie unterrichten abseits ihrer bandaktivitäten erstklässler und lassen diese sequenzen ihrer lieder im kunstunterricht mit pinsel und farbe aufs papier bringen. zum thema "stab me in the chest, i'll stab you in the chest, we'll see which one of us can stab the other in the chest the very best" den pinsel zu schwingen klingt nicht nur erfrischend - denke ich an meinen typisch deutschen kunstunterricht, der überwiegend daraus bestand dinge mit naturwissenschaftlicher akkuratesse abzuzeichnen - sondern ist vielleicht auch griffiger ansatzpunkt für gewaltprävention in der schule: kreativer umgang mit phänomenen der jugendkultur – wir malen bushidos songtexte. dies klingt mindestens so wertvoll wie "unser slum soll schöner werden", ein einblick von funny van dannen in den blumenmalunterricht von frau wagner, zu finden auf "neues von gott".
neben ihrem pädagogischen wirken in kunst & musik widmen die terrordactyls sich ihren anderen lieblingsaktivitäten – nach eigenen aussagen "inspirationalsport films and talking about our abs" – und veranworten darüber hinaus stop motion-animationsfilmchen für die eigenen songs. das video zu devices avancierte binnen kürzester zeit zu einem kleinen youtube-hit.
mehr über the terrordactyls erfahrt ihr im untenstehenden interview. genau wie juno empfehle ich es ausschließlich im englischen orginal. neben ihrer zeit dafür spendieren michael and tyrel ihre singles 'devices' und 'shipping' als mp3. das komplette album könnt ihr hier streamen und bei gefallen bei itunes erwerben.
you both attend evergreen, a liberal arts college in olympia, washington. when did you start the terrordactyls? did the creative environment of evergreen encourage you to professionalize your music?
m: we met in high school on vashon island. vashon is a small town off of the coast of seattle. you can only get there by ferry. together with all of our friends, we played music, capture the flag, four-square, and baseball. some of the other bands to come out of the same group are the pharmacy. oh yes and dashel schueler. anyway, tyrel and i initially started working on projects together in a multimedia class where we photoshopped pictures of ourselves in front of explosions and made little movies and stupid animations. t: but evergreen has been awesome for us. that school rules, and after i convinced michael to stop dropping out offancyguitar schools and transfer to evergreen, the terrordactyls became a lot more real. olympia is full of neat music, and the school has been super flexible letting us work on projects all over the country. we're even getting college credit for being in the terrorordactyls. i don't think either of us have been in an actual classroom for two years now.
so what do you answer when someone asks you about what you are currently doing? do you see yourselves as musicians, artists, students?
m: until now, i have mostly concentrated on music. i studied the classical guitar for most of my childhood and adolescence. it is only recently that i have started branching out and doing animation and filming stuff. t: we always get all self conscious telling people we’re in a band. i don’t know what that is all about i guess we think it just sounds gross. my backgroundis in art and i've been using that to get design jobs to pay the bills, so i'd probably say artist until being in a band starts paying my rent. michael ishomelessso it makes it easy for him to be a musician.
you made your own music video for your single ‘devices’, designed a brilliant jewel case for your album and offer all kinds of self-made stuff in the band’s online store. where are you heading, artistically?
m: i mostly just draw pictures of different animals and inanimate objects with lips. it looks funny every time. t: it is true that sticking lips on things that don't have lips is a really good thing … and michael is honestly really good at it. where are we headed?? hmmm … i’m thinking a couple of our songs could be made into comics, and we've been working on a pitch for a kids craft show for some time now. right now we're just having a lot of fun experimenting with different media.
i read that brendhan bowers and scott yoder, who now form the pharmacy, left the band due to the rigorous workout regime your ‘image consultant’ requires you to do. what does your workout regime look like and is it paying off?
m: jumping jacks, hang gliding, obstacle courses, playing with seagulls on the beach, riding the subway, trying not to run into all of the other people on the streets in new york, racing horses, climbing trees etc. i probably can't run a mile without throwing up, so... it's working out really well. t: yeah, this workout routine is also usually enacted only after getting really pumped up from watching one of the rocky movies or surf ninjas or something. mostly scottie and brendhan would probably still be in the band if the pharmacy wasn’t permanently on tour. m: i think that most people see our pictures and immediately think that we are just a couple of really strong dudes with huge muscles and no heart, but we're actually very normal loving individuals.
your music, lyrics and visuals inevitably provoke associations like "cute", "charming" and "playful". does that depict your personality and are you comfortable with those buzzwords?
m: not really. t: whatever, i have no problem with being charming...and cute. take that michael.
so, is there also a wild side to you or are sarcastic lyrics like "shoot me in the face, i'll shoot you in the face, and see which one of us can shoot the other in the most accurate place" as mean as you get?
m: i wasn't really being sarcastic. t: have you seen that first video of decoration daniel? i think it’s on youtube. michael dumps beer in my eyes and throws a pizza at my face really hard. i wouldn't fuck with michael. he's a dark dude.
you received a lot of attention for 'devices', which you recorded with kimya dawson. her songs shape the soundscape of the soundtrack to juno. both the movie and its soundtrack have been very successful and drawn attention and compliments to folk music. are you benefitting from that?
t: it was a good film, and we have been oddly enough benefitting from it. it has been pretty confusing though. it seems that since devices features kimya and our cd came out around the same time as the movie, a bunch of people assumed it was on the soundtrack, which is not the case at all.
in one of your press shots you are wearing a blue spandex suit. in berlin a lot of girls are wearing these shiny american apparel spandex pants as well on the streets as to clubs. would you dig that or how do you like your audience to look like?
t: i got that suit after it was used in a tv production i was working on. it was used as a motion capture suite or something. when i found it was covered in styrofoam balls. kids wearing them on the streets though?…crazy. but i guess i wouldn't really mind if our audience all looked like super heroes!
my last question is somewhat political, if you don't mind. i lived in california during the presidential elections 2000 and the staging of candidates within media is getting crazier every time, involving more and more artists and celebrities. would you consider contributing to someone's campaign with a song or a performance?
m: as of right now, no. the presidential campaign reminds me of a huge nation-wide pep-rally. it's pretty gross. that doesn't mean that i won't vote. i will, but i don't want to endorse anyone right now. t: yeah…the whole election thing is pretty nutty over here. did you guys see that obama speech set to music by that black-eyed peas guy? i don’t think there is anybody that i feel like i need to support that much. it will be nice to get bush out of office, but nobody has me super inspired.
i think that just about wraps it up for us. any parting words, anything you'd like to add?
t&m: thanks for having us. hopefully we can make it to germany in the near future.