TAGABOW: "I AM LANCE ARMSTRONG" MUSIC VIDEO FEATURE + INTERVIEW

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WHO IS TAGABOW? TELL US ABOUT THE MUSICALLY DIVERSE MIX OF MEMBERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE BAND.

         A shitty striped sweatshirt burps up a child’s mane as the god pan plays “one hand in my pocket” by Alanis Morissette (flute). The child is wearing a backwards kangol following birth and for the first awkward years of life.

         “Don’t do that”.

         The child is 25. He decides to record songs on cassette despite literally having no idea what he’s doing. “They are gutting a body of water” is a misheard grouper lyric, and I don’t know, an apt title for the project. I later moved to Philly and befriended one IKEA man, drummer of the former slowcore project No Friends, and then Tagabow became an actual band.

          The touring band roster has changed for each tour up till now, all friends whose music I love (null, menu, sarah m, stippling, big nick, horsecops, full body, award show, kenny3) who played for that particular trip. I don’t think I ever thought this band would become something coherent and concrete, but it kind of has, and people like it, and I like it, so the plan now is to finalize a five piece band and keep it consistent. Take it seriously (?). Put out a podcast. Go green. I started this to be accepted among my ~peers~ and I have no plan on stopping.


HOW DOES HAVING A VISUAL COMPONENT CONTRIBUTE TO THE SONIC ASPECT OF THE SONG? IS THIS ADDITIONAL DIMENSION NECESSARY FOR THE SONGS YOU HAVE VIDEOS FOR?

       Initially “i am lance armstrong” was only meant to be a video piece detailing particular loss I was experiencing, completely unrelated to Tagabow. Sometimes I just wanna make shit that isn’t credited to this band or that. Considering that the video reflects loss, the additional visual dimension was necessary, in fact the visuals were the primary concern. I want the viewer to feel weird. All the earlier Tagabow videos were just visual accompaniments to the songs. However, is “lance” a proper Tagabow song? Is it a full band song that would be on a record? Not really. It’s a video piece in and of itself, the same way that “car blanket” has become. The distinction might be that they will not appear as tracks on records. In the future, there will be much more Tagabow stuff that won’t appear on records. The fact that this started out as a solo project, and also a more lackadaisical attempt at something, contributes now to what types of material I feel I can release via the moniker.

        I will continue to keep making material in whatever format makes sense, and if it comes out via Tagabow or some other thing it doesn’t really matter. Nothing matters.

        Sorry - everything matters.

       “i am lance armstrong” was the first of much extracurricular material to be released through tagabow, is what I’m saying, I guess.


DO THE VIDEOS OR SONGS COME FIRST? ARE THEY THE SAME NARRATIVE OR SIMPLY COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER?

       A bunch of friends have contributed the music videos for pre-existing songs from the records (Rachel Levin of Fred Beans, Mitch Todorov of Klozapin, Will Dayer, etc), to which I’ve always been excited for added visuals.

       Currently I’m in jersey. I’m wearing knockoff oakley shades. Did you know that you should blow out the stale smoke every time you clip a cig? Don’t smoke.

      In relation to the narratives in the earlier videos, each case is different, but I don’t think any of them follow the musical narrative.


TELL US ABOUT THE CREATION OF THE VIDEO FOR “I AM LANCE ARMSTRONG.” IT WAS FILMED ON VHS (CORRECT?) WHAT IS APPEALING TO YOU ABOUT THIS VIDEO FORMAT? WATCHING AND LISTENING TO THIS VIDEO GIVES ME AN EERIE YET NOSTALGIC FEEL, REMINISCENT OF GOOSEBUMPS OR HOME MOVIES GONE WRONG. WHAT WERE SOME INSPIRATIONS/FEELINGS YOU HAD GOIN ON AT THE TIME OF ITS CONCEPTION?

        So where I grew up, we hung out a lot in this abandoned psych center, this one abandoned tennis court behind a school, this abandoned house in my neighborhood or the woods that used to be train tracks, this beat up old church at the top of one hundred dilapidated stairs, etc. From baby age, my life was kind of sensory commanded by weird upstate NY remnants of an adult world and naïveté, abandoned shopping malls and odd faded 1970s art deco shit from the fairgrounds that once dominated the economy there. That’s pretty typical of kids I think, to hang in places like that, I’m not special, but a lot of that imagery stuck with me. I have this image still imprinted in my brain of the ash remnants of firework snakes emerging from acne. Scarred/charred asphalt like octopus legs or something. Have you ever seen firework snakes? What the fuck. I think I was just on acid and it stuck with me or something, but an affinity for visuals that make me feel weird in connection to weird life experience has also stuck with me from events like that. Actual life is really weird. Emotions are really weird. I realized in the past year that art doesn’t have to be this homogenized safe thing and that success is relatively unimportant. I want to explore the negative experience properly. Sometimes there is a genuine lack of grace in regards to pain.

       Growing up in the nineties, everything was already visual, and in a contemporary world, everything continues to be visual. The internet is solely audio/visual and we spend hours upon hours here. *waves*

       My parents were super rad and personable but of course they couldn’t pry me from the electric sexual persuasion of modern cable. My ma said once that as a little baby I was obsessed with Madonna and that’s when I first stood up on my own legs, watching “like a virgin” (mtv, 1990s). I think I just wanted to be Madonna tbh. I wasn’t on acid that time. childhood is a lot like acid though. I am Madonna.

       Growing up I loved movies and probably always will. At fourteen I got super drawn in by weirder/harsher visual work, movies or otherwise. I guess I related to stuff like Larry Clark’s “Tulsa” and David Lynch (although since then I really try to not romanticize shit like Tulsa anymore, for personal reasons). I have a massive vhs collection today and have always loved movies. So does ikea, of Tagabow, actually. His collection is sick.

      We’re planning on releasing all the videos up till this point on vhs and selling it as merch. Wow I just typed a lot.


ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT OUR READERS TO KNOW?

we r “serious” now.

I have said too much. ya

thx melted <3

WATCH “I AM LANCE ARMSTRONG” MUSIC VIDEO HERE!

al smith