We caught one of HEALTH‘s sets back in March, only to be assaulted by a wall of noise so tangible that you could actually feel the tinnitus developing not just in your ears, but in your face. Since then, the band has released a new single entitled “Die Slow” in preparation for its new album Get Color; it’s also been announced as the opener for the last two Nine Inch Nails shows ever. We caught its recent JellyNYC Pool Party show, a ferocious set that started with lead singer Jake Duzsik nonchalantly stating, “Hi, we’re HEALTH,” followed by feedback, drums, and the screams of medieval torture.
Two days later, we met with the band members and interviewed them about everything from the pitfalls of experimental music to the obstacle-course component of their upcoming release.
Flavorpill: You’re opening for Nine Inch Nails for their last shows.
John Famiglietti: It’s an incredible honor. We were hoping we could somehow get into the show, it’s pretty sweet.
FP: Pitchfork made a comment that it was “one hell of a torch pass.” Does that actually feel like a torch pass to you?
JF and Benjamin Jared Milter: No! [laughs]
JF: Yeah fucking right!
Jake Duzsik: I would love to sell twenty million records
BJ: Light that fire under my ass, I’d be excited.
JD: I think they were just trying to do a little tongue in check thing because we’re playing the last two shows, you know, saying that he’s kinda passing the baton on.
FP: Your new single “Die Slow” feels like a bit of a departure from your previous work.
JD: Yeah, that song intentionally has a traditional structure. I mean, there’s an intro, a verse, chorus, verse,
BJ: an outro.
JD: a solo.
BJ: a final chorus.
JD: I’m soloing my ass off.
JF: It’s weird, we were worried, we were all like, “Is this gonna sound like Chemical Brothers-esque, is this gonna be a total flop or something?”
JD: Just “Galvanize”!
JF: Than we listened to the Chemical Brothers, and I’m like, “This is no-fucking-thing like them, what the hell was I thinking?”
FP: So you did craft the single with the idea of it being a more traditional song?
BJ: Well, I wanted to fuck it up more, they just wouldn’t let me.
JD: It was just us kind of experimenting, especially because the bass of the track is really rhythmic, but it’s also got just a really really fucking weird sound palette. There are not really any guitars for most of the song; there are weird keyboards, and it’s really percussive and it never stops as far as what’s driving the song. Yeah, we were kinda like, “Weeeeeeeeeell what’ll happen if we try to write a single?”
JF: We had no plans for it, but we knew that the next album definitely has to have a single because that’s the way things work now. You need a hot MP3 and you need to get people excited.
JD: And we wanted to write a song that actually did those things, almost as a challenge.
FP: Can we expect the whole album to sound like that?
JF: We’ve been talking about this a lot. That song is not representative of the whole album. You”re not gonna hear all these dance tracks. That said, we don’t think it doesn’t make sense on the album. It totally fits. The arc of the album is that there’s more melody; there’s more vocals; there’s more repetition of parts. That much is borne out in that song and later repeated, but if you heard that and you’re like, “Oh! Party jam out!” Well then no that’s not what you’re gonna get.
JD: But the second single is the only other dance single on the record. You could say there are three dance songs on the record. It’s called “We are Water.” It was originally called “Party Zone” but I was vetoed. [laughs] That’s the name of my publishing company now.
Jupiter Keyes: My SESAC name is Crystal Prism. I used to play Magic. I have a sick sliver deck.
BJ: Not only does this motherfucker play Magic, all crazy and get super into it, but the reason he got into it was because he used to work at this summer camp. He would just blow all this money building this awesome deck so he could just decimate these fucking like, elementary school kids. He would be like BOOM!
JK: I made kids cry dropping slivers. I miss those days. We also had this game that was called Frisbee Wars, I don’t know how this was allowed on kids, like literally we’re working with kids from ages five to twelve. We split them up into two teams and draw a line down the middle of the field. We give them a bunch of Frisbees, like hard Frisbees, and tell them to just chuck them at each other as hard as they can. Five to twelve. I’m playing the game.
BJ: Couldn’t you just hit some kid in the eye?
JK: I’ve done it.
FP: How old were you?
JK: I was 21.
FP: You’re 21 and you’re wailing Frisbees at them?
JK: Oh yeah, as if my life depended on it. I’ve loosened teeth, I’ve given bloody noses. But the kids will cry, they’ll get off, they’ll be in the line to get back in, and they’re so fucking stoked. They just wanna kill you.
JF: We’ve gone through obstacle courses to make this album fun. There are tickets if you wait for it in stores.
FP: Is that true?
JD: It is true. There are sixty six tickets, one golden. Yeah, Willy Wonka, you know you watched it, you know you loved it.
JF: If you get that one, we’ll fly you out to LA for three days.
JD: It’s not a joke, so much work has gone into it. We’re gonna fly whoever out, and there’s another series of prizes descending from one to sixty six.
JF: Very personal prizes, like objects that belong to us and mean a lot to us.
HEALTH’s new album, Get Color is due September 8th on Lovepump United. Pre-order it here.