Innerpartysystem Will “Never Be Content” With Standing Still

* Originally published at bestnewbands.com, April 23, 2011 – Read the full text here

Electronic/dance-pop heroes Innerpartysystem are not going to have a quiet 2011. Their EP, Never Be Content will be released on February 22nd, and it’s really something special. The band: Patrick Nissley, Jared Piccone and Kris Barman, are also in the process of finishing a new full-length record, which is due this year as well. Their video for the single “American Trash” debuted on Filter magazine’s website on January 25th and it’s a visually stimulating, but sardonic pop culture commentary that you can’t help but tap your feet to.

But behind the synthesizers, the remixes, the mix-tapes, the free EPs and everything else… Who ARE these guys? I talked to Kris Barman about where they’re going, the motivation for new records, and if gig will ever get old.

Kristina Villarini: Before we get going, I just want to say that on the day that everyone was talking about Lady Gaga‘s release, I got my hands on your EP (early), and it’s tremendous. I couldn’t help but want to play it for everyone and then try to shake some sense into them.

Kris Barman: (Laughs) Well, thanks!

KV: What was the motivation for that video “American Trash?”

KB: The entire video concept came from (Stephen) Penta, but I think he kinda fell into what ended up being the final cut. The first idea was doing a glossy, artistic video with a bunch of symbols like “On To The Next One” by Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz. But, as we kept going, we just realized how great the performances were. The dancers in the video, they really made it something.

KV: Is the song/video a reflection of how you guys are feeling right now?

KB: It’s an artistic statement definitely… But it’s also just that song. We have plenty of songs that are also not so blatant or critical.

KV: When you guys announced in 2009, through MySpace and Facebook that things with Island Records didn’t work out, you wrote, “There are some really amazing, overworked, underpaid, stressed out people who love music, working very hard there… and there are a handful of people who just didn’t really understand this band, and didn’t know how to react when ‘Don’t Stop’ wasn’t ‘Just Dance.’ Our bad there.” Why have you always been so open as a band?

KB: We’re always talking to fans, and we always have. We’re talking to fans after shows or before shows and it’s just a part of it. If someone hits us up, we always tried to get back to them. When everyone was using MySpace, Jared would spent hours everyday just answering the messages. I can’t really give you the ‘why’. I know it’s just kind of our personalities, and the fans just appreciate it so much.

KV: Did the label issues or the decision to start putting out records independently ever jade you as a band?

KB: There was definitely a moment where it felt like the rug was pulled out from under us. But, like a lot of bands do, we got to a point where we had to just ‘put up or shut up’. I haven’t had a real job in like six years, so I’m not really sure I could do anything else or go back to the bottom of that totem pole. So, we had to keep trying and we had to do it. As long as we still cared and our fans still cared, there was a reason to do it. When we put out “American Trash,” it was completely independently and it’s doing really well, so, you never really know.

KV: What’s the best part of this gig?

KB: I love production, and finishing a remix or a song. There’s not much of a greater satisfaction than that. But that’s on the recording side. I love touring: meeting new people and making people happy with our music. Traveling is really cool… There’s probably a lot of places I would have never seen if not for this job. I think that really the best part is seeing old friends after a couple of years or something.

KV: How did you guys ever start incorporating the remixes into the band?

KB: We were always fans of the remix world, and we just wanted to give it a stab. The first official one was with Ladyhawke, and our label in the U.K. was affiliated with her. The way that it works is it’s called “on spec,” where you do a remix when you’re not known for it. If the label or artist likes it and they use it, they’ll pay you for it and it’ll go on an EP or B-side.

Now, we almost have to turn remixes down, but we still do bootleg remixes too, just for the love of it. And there may be another one coming.

KV: Where does the mix-tape fascination come from?

KB: It suspends from a love of doing it. Jared is our mix-tape guy. He kinda had a bunch of tunes he liked and it grew from there.

KV: Obviously, doing remixes and mix-tapes and then performing your own arrangements creates a real diverse taste for music. Has this changed the way you listen to music?

KB: I feel like I’m constantly in a vortex of music. I’m getting into not over-thinking things as much. And we’re all getting to becoming more minimalist and just letting it happen. We do this because we love it. The songs and the new melodies (for the new record) are really exciting. Patrick is maturing, and I think we’re getting better.

KV: What was the motivation to move away from the punk-rock stuff or ‘heavy’ sounds to electronic or dance music?

KB: We’re just people doing what we like to do. If you’ve listen to the remixes, we’ve been making music like this for years. We did our Ladyhawke remix really early on, so it feels like it’s where we wanted to be.

KV: It feels organic for you guys.

KB: Yeah, it’s just us doing what we like to do. Some people think it’s a 180-degree turn, but I think we are doing more of a 30-degree turn.

KV: Do you think fans expect you to sound like something?

KB: Of course. It’s like the people who say they only like the first Radiohead album and hate the rest of them. I love the rest of them! I think they’re only getting better. I feel like you’re only hurting yourself and not growing with the artist. The painter cannot always paint the same things. You have to grow a little to keep doing this.

KV: With that said, what do you hope Innerpartysystem fans will get from this 30-degree turn?

KB: That’s hard to say. I hope they will back our ‘new’ direction and be supportive. We are making this music for our fans, so we want them to like it.

You can download an exclusive Never Be Content mix for free on their website, and look out for the full record on February 22. Innerpartysystem are currently on tour with Pendulum. Look out for both bands in a city near you.