The Reverb Interview: Amedeo Pace of Blonde RedheadBy John Wenzel | November 26th, 2010 | 1 Comment »
Where does Blonde Redhead’s new album belong?
It’s a valid question, as the synth-heavy collection called “Penny Sparkle” signals a clear break from the band’s usual rock-oriented sound. It resists being marketed to a single demographic or lifestyle, existing as it does in the realm of impressionistic statements over manifestos.
Legendary British label 4AD released “Penny Sparkle” in September, and it sounds every bit at home next to seminal 4AD albums from Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and the Breeders.
But Blonde Redhead, the 17-year-old New York trio of Kazu Makino and twin Italian brothers Amedeo Pace and Simone Pace, has always reveled in confounding expectations. Pulsing and melodic, but too intricately rendered for the average dance club, “Penny Sparkle” is certainly an odd, beautiful and hypnotic creature.
We talked to Amedeo Pace in advance of his band’s Saturday show at the Ogden Theatre about the band’s eighth album and its occasionally difficult birth.
Q: Do you think of “Penny Sparkle” as an electronic reinvention of the band’s sound?
A: We try to reinvent ourselves every time. It’s just part of growing up and experimenting with your limitations. As individuals we are really very limited when it comes to making music, so in a way it’s been a blessing in disguise. We created something that’s stylized for us to perform and express ourselves in, but we’re also seeing how far we could get used to something and become something else.
I heard the band initially clashed with Swedish producers Van Rivers and the Subliminal Kid (who have worked with Fever Ray and remixed Massive Attack and Bat for Lashes). Is that true?
It’s funny because (brother and band drummer) Simone was the one who was most uneasy, because they did a lot with drums. They have a very specific idea in what they want with beats, even though now he’s the one who’s benefiting the most from the whole thing. He was forced to come out of his comfort zone and put himself in a humble place.
Because the beats were mostly synthetic this time around, right?
Yeah. We knew it was going to be hard and we dealt with it. And (the producers) are pretty strong-minded, so it was also getting to know their personalities. If it was softer and less opinionated, then it might have been a smoother ride.
The results are certainly a break, sonically, from your last couple of albums.
(Lead singer) Kazu is amazing because she really wanted to try this different way of making music, which maybe Simone and I were more reluctant to do. But it’s good to have different things to show for when you look at the history of a band. When you try to imitate yourself it doesn’t really work. In the past you’re really feeling certain choices in that moment, and that can’t be re-created.
John Wenzel is an executive editor of Reverb and an award-winning A&E reporter for The Denver Post. He is the author of “Mock Stars: Indie Comedy and the Dangerously Funny” (Speck Press/Fulcrum) and maintains a Twitter feed of completely random song titles and band names.