Every edition of this season’s Long Winter, we’re releasing a free split seven-inch, each side featuring a song from one of the night’s featured artists. To compliment the releases, we’ve issued a seven-part questionnaire to each of the artists involved, giving the subjects an inch (about 85 words) of space to answer each of our questions.
After releasing Faucet on Healing Power Records last February, Bile Sister – the swampy avant-pop band Julia Reich originally put together to perform her home recordings in live settings – has spent the past year germinating into a slightly mutated version of its former self. According to Reich, the band is transitioning into “a new era” where Reich’s home recordings are being amalgamated with new compositions by the band. This Friday, we’re releasing a split seven-inch including the first two tracks that mark that departure: “Haagen Baadz” and “Went to Walk the Shot,” the latter of which originally appeared on the Reich-curated Offerings magazine compilation CD Punk Revolution Vol. 3 in December (a track from Nick Storring, whom also appears on the compilation, is featured on the reverse). We asked Reich to fill out our 7” Survey and get us up to speed.
Long Winter: Who are you and how did Bile Sister come about?
Julie Reich: Bile Sister is Julie Reich, Dave Pat Fin, David Jones and Nick Kerr. We perform weird, abrasive, synthy, sludgy lo-fi avant-“pop” music? We came about pretty organically, but I brought these guys together to perform my home recordings in live settings. We came together real fast, like within a week the band formed.
LW: How about “Went to Walk the Shot” – what inspired that?
In terms of the instrumentation, it was inspired by the moment. I chopped and pieced together a home recording of the band, taken in my living room. Some vocals were recorded live, and other vocals we recorded later. In terms of the lyrics, this second track on the Long Winter split seven-inch, “Went To Walk The Shot,” was written in my typical free-association, word-play style. It was inspired by the theme of unseen struggles – things we take for granted.
LW: For lots of listeners, this will be their first point of access to your music. Where does this song fit into the rest of your catalog?
JR: Both our tracks on this seven-inch mark the beginning of a new era for Bile Sister recordings. These are the first recordings that feature all the band members. Also, for “Haagen Baadz” – it was our first time in a recording studio working with a recording engineer, our pal Nyles Miszczyk. Our catalog going forward is moving toward amalgamating my home recordings with new compositions by the band.
LW: Once they’re turned on to this, what releases (songs, EPs, albums, or otherwise) should people pursue as logical next steps to getting to know your music?
JR: After checking out these new Bile Sister tracks, I would recommend listening to our tracks on the Many Moods compilation put out by our good buds, Healing Power Records. Then, check out our 2014 album from Healing Power Records, called Faucet. Then, smooth your way into “Metal Church,” followed by “Baby Bio Hazard,” “Reptile Tenaka,” and the first album off Inyrdisk, Octant Brim – listen to ’em all, but maybe people would dig “Pizza Sweater,” or “Jesus House”? It’s all on the Bandcamp: bilesister.bandcamp.com.
LW: When you think of winter, what’s a memory that stands out for you?
JR: When I think of winter, a memory that stands out for me would be back when I lived in Ottawa. I moved there when I was 19 and met our Bile Sister drummer in university residence. One time in winter, we took the bus to Toronto together. At the midway stop point, Dave and I went off to smoke and almost missed our bus because we couldn’t climb back up the ice-covered hill and kept fallin’ down. We were buggin’ out hard, but it was hilarious, especially because we basically just met!
LW: How do you survive winters in Toronto?
JR: I survive winters in Toronto by zoning into music making, video making and watching a lot of shows and movies. Like many Torontonians, I feel inclined to hibernate when it's cold outside, but I try to fight the urge to become a total recluse and still get out to shows and see my friends.
LW: What are you most looking forward to for the Jan. 9 edition of Long Winter?
JR: For the Jan. 9 edition of Long Winter, we are looking forward to performing at the Great Hall! It’s a cool venue. In terms of other acts, there are so many great acts on this bill, but I definitely recommend catching Tenderness. Also, I look forward to the Heretical Objects Cooperative’s Apocalyptic Beach Rave and Henri Fabergé’s Bath Salts Dance Party. Everything looks cool to be honest, so many sweet things happening for this event!
To hear Bile Sister visit them at bilesister.bandcamp.com
By Tom Beedham