I just got off the phone with Oliver Ackermann, singer and guitarist for Brooklyn-based, notoriously loud, dark and hard ambient experimental rockers, A Place To Bury Strangers, who recently signed to Mute Records. In addition to leading APTBS, Oliver is a former member of Skywave and the inventor of Total Sonic Annihilation, his first effects pedal in a line that can be found at his site, Death By Audio.
LW: Hey Oliver, how’s it going?
OA: Doing great, how are you?
LW: I’m fine thanks. Lemme see, I’m not sure exactly where to start…..I was just reading up about your pedal company, Death By Audio. Did that pre-date A Place To Bury Strangers (APTBS)?
OA: Yeah, I started that company when I was living in Virginia. I was in a band called Skywave. I just started building effects pedals to create sounds I wanted that I couldn’t get anywhere else.
LW: That’s cool.
LW: I haven’t had the pleasure yet of listening to your new, upcoming record, Exploding Head. I hear you intended to make (fumbling around for the exact words), to quote, “the craziest, most fucked-up recording ever.” Do you feel you succeeded in that?
OA: (Casually) To some degree. I think it’s got a nice balance. It’s definitely the most clear stuff we’ve ever recorded. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster ride.
LW: Can you describe that – the rollercoaster ride?
OA: Well, my friend was saying it takes his head, goes over it, covers his eyes….you know, a ride. More than our 1st album, it flows from beginning to end as an album. From the get-go, it shoots off, does loop-de-loops. (Laughing) Like a rollercoaster ride.
LW: You guys were recently signed to Mute. How has that gone?
OA: Fantastic. Mute is an amazing label. They let us do what we want to do. That’s what I was afraid of, signing with a bigger label, unlike the indie labels I’ve been with. But they’ve been great. They’re like a big indie.
LW: APTBS has a reputation for being loud. Is that something you’re proud of?
OA: I don’t really care. We like a volume that’s pleasing to us. Maybe that’s louder than usual.
LW: Can you tell me about your band name? A great Pitchfork review mentions it’s linked to the Gospel of Matthew as well as Aleister Crowley. What is the meaning?
OA: It’s all a little bit of a blur. Our old drummer came up with the name. He didn’t really ever mention its origins, but I think he was just into reading Aleister Crowley. I think it’s just a cool name.
LW: Very cool. So, you’re gearing up for tour. Are you in Brooklyn now?
OW: Yeah, we’re in Brooklyn now, for 2 days. Thursday we go to France, then Belgium, then Reading and Leeds….
LW: And then back to the states…
OA: Then back to this country for a bunch of dates all over.
LW: I see you’ll be at the Echo in Los Angeles. That’s where we are. Maybe a smaller venue for you…
OA: Aw, yeah. It’s really fun to be in an intimate setting. I mean, if people come…
LW: I’m sure it’ll be full for you guys.
OA: Yeah. When things get crazy and blown up, it’s almost like you’re playing by yourself.
LW: Alright. Well, what can I expect from your show at the Echo, then?
OA: (Enthusiastically charged) You can expect it to be the most crazy, fucked-up thing you’ll ever see!
…laughs on both ends of the line….
LW: Nice to talk to you, Oliver. Thank you for your time.
OA: Oh, yeah….take it easy.
Exploding Head Tracklist:
It Is Nothing
In Your Heart
Keep Slipping Away
Smile When You Smile
Everything Always Goes Wrong
I Live My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart
CLICK HERE to continue reading the Long List of APTBS Tour Dates