Interview - We Are The Musk Brigade

Interview - We Are The Musk Brigade

You don't get to meet bands that don't really exist every day. We Are The Musk Brigade are one of those rare phenomena that write music unlike any other band you can think of. Instead of rehearsing together in a smelly basement room, they send each other tapes by mail, thus creating music played by people who sometimes never even have met in real life.
Therefore it was high time to get those involved into answering some questions, to see how people that don't know each other will react when confronted with questions about We Are The Musk Brigade.

And the cast of characters is:

  Jesse Krakow (JK)

    Beever (B)

        Rebat (R)

            Scutopus (s)

              Wendell Edwards (WE)

                  Mike Williams (MW)

We Are The Musk Brigade

Jesse Krakow - Supervisor WATMB is not a typical band, but consists of musicians sending tapes to each other. Who came up with the idea? Who were the people initially involved?

s: Not me. Not me.
B: The idea to send tapes in the mail, in order to compose collaboratively is an old one (it has to be, right?). A few years ago I heard that Rush stopped rehearsing together entirely and just sent each other tapes in the mail... But I always thought of that as decadent and lazy, instead of groundbreaking and creative... Jesse and I came up with the idea of doing a four-track based project by mail, (I thought we would simply collaborate again from afar because I missed making music with my pal Jesse) but I hadn't counted on how far he would take it. He started inviting other people to play. At first he asked for my permission, and I told him how exciting it sounded. Pretty soon though, Jesse had taken over completely, and now I have no idea what happened to the tapes I sent him.
MW: Jesse just wanted me to illustrate a modern cartoon scene on a battlefield that resembled Rome. I don't know why I'm messing up your interview.
JK: Mike, please, not here, not now.

What is a Musk Brigade?

B: WE ARE!!!
R: In this question it might be helpful to note that according to the Wikipedia, "Musk is the name originally given to a perfume obtained from the strong-smeling substance, secreted by the testicles of the musk deer, and hence applied to other animals, and also plants, possessing a similar odor." Having never chatted with the other "members" of the "band". I have only my gut instinct to go on w/r/t figuring out what a "musk brigade" is. I think it might be a team of folks who smell pretty good when they wake up in the morning still wearing their clothes from the night before.

Beever - High School Sweetheart In a previous interview with DisAgreement, you mentioned that you wanted to release a 10-CD box of all the WATMB albums. What happened to that plan?

WE: I, Wendell Edwards, vetoed it on the grounds of not being ambitious enough.
MW: Is a man defined by his word? Is it word bond or born?

Will there be exactly 10 albums or is WATMB more of an open-ended project?

JK: Yes, there will be exactly 10 albums by We Are The Musk Brigade. After the tenth album I will resign as an active performer and take more of a behind-the-scenes role (producing, editing, nagging) with the band, which will then be known as You Are The Musk Brigade. That band can last as long as it wants to.

Why have the first two albums, "Sand Dunes + Beef Balloons" and "Let Me See Your Moo-Flomps", been released on a single CD?

JK: They were? Fuck! Always the last to know.

What is the meaning of the album titles?

s: 30 camels find an oasis, but instead of water and palm trees, it is tang and rhododendron.
JK: Right, and "moo-flomps" means, literally, "stupid ball of fluffy treats."

Rebat - Motivational Repairman "Sand Dunes + Beef Balloons" is a collaborative effort between Jesse Krakow and Nate Hayden of Friends Forever fame. Who was mostly responsible for the song writing?

MW: They write this stuff?
B: Who ever layed down the first track set the groundwork? That sort of makes "them" the writer. But you can't assign blame or royalties to WATMB like other "bands". I sent Jesse a number of ideas I thought would work great, just keyboards or keyboards and drums, and he rejected most of them. Then he ended up using a track I was least happy with, but he slowed it way down. That's what ended up being "mystery clown". Did I write that...? I think Jesse may or may not have kept detailed records of who recorded what when and in what order, but does it matter?

"Let Me See Your Moo-Flomps" seems to be more of a band project. Who are the people involved, and in what order were the performances of the different members added?

JK: In order of appearance that would be Beever, Jesse Krakow, Anne Gomez, Rebat, and scutopus. It DOES seem to be more of a band project, "seem" being the operative word because of course it is not. None of these people actually exists beyond my overactive imagination.
WE: I plead the fifth.
R: Day Of Reckoning fANZiNE, Stick and Rag Village Orchestra (www.stickandrag.org), a big fan of Western Ma's Breaking World Records. I also have another transcontinental 4-track band (that predates my participation in WATMB) called Tired of Trucks that has a tape out called "Super Habitats for Metaspecies" and maybe another tape forthcoming (very much off-beat audio-collagey with found sounds and repetition and thumps and tweets). I don't know where you find that 1st one, though, you would have to ask me but I would have to dub a copy for you because I only have 1 copy left. I recently grew a moustache. On "Moo-Flomps" I think I was added last or second-to-last, I added lots of tweaks and sckreeks and yay-yapyap's. I "met" Jesse through scutopus who "my" "real" "claim to fame" is. I have known him since I was 5.
Scutopus - Funk Coordinator B: Like I said, it was all my idea to play with Jesse again after not seeing enough of his hairy head since we stopped being teenagers. That was the band, just me and Jesse. Then he went and asked all these other people to help. I don't even know who they are. I've never even gotten so much as an email from any of them, ever... I think WATMB should have a big reunion for the first time in 2010 at the geographical center of the United States, play our first show in the back of whatever Safeway or Walmart is located there, and then break up.
JK: Be quiet!!! You don't exist!!!

The first album is quirkier and more fun, the second one is darker and more melodic. How do you explain this development?

MW: I think the first one jumps around in a play-pen while the second one tries to climb out of a cubicle.
s: We asked Scott Stapp, formerly of Creed, to help us out. He is the secret member.
JK: OK, this is actually true. Everything else in this interview has been a fabrication of sorts, but the fact that Mr. Scott Stapp gleefully and willfully agreed to join the musk brigade is something I do not lie about nor take for granted. He graced us with his soul and rocked us with his roll. His spirit is a testament to the empowerment of a cosmic delight. He lead us on a journey, you know?

Wendell Edwards - College Graduate You have already assembled a whole cast of popular and semi-popular artists for future WATMB albums. Who are they and how did they come to join the band?

MW: The only name I heard was Scott Stapp.

You ask people on your homepage to send tapes where they play an instrument, to become part of WATMB. Are you already drowning in tapes by now?

JK: Actually I'm not, and I'm sorta bummed about it. I wish I was drowning in tapes but so far nothing unsolicited has showed up in my four-track. I don't think people believe me when i say that anything they send me I will make into a WATMB album. So one more time for the world: anyone who wants to make a record feel free to write me at vlietkrakow@yahoo.com and we'll take it from there. This goes for you too, Pascal. I need more friends. Friends!
B: My dream is to start a web-based version of the group. Like a wiki-band. Someone should start it for me because I'm too busy and/or dumb to do it myself. then email me at futonyessir@yahoo.com.
JK: Oh Beev, don't be so hard on yourself. You're not THAT busy.

Mike Williams - Synopsis Is any one musician (except Jesse Krakow) allowed to play on more than one WATMB album?

MW: Do they want to?
WE: I hope not.
JK: Well, they're ALLOWED to but they won't. I don't mean to come off dictatorial, but whatever I say goes, even if it is lacking in logic and laden with grammatical errors. It's not like I'm egotistical or anything, it's just that I know what you want more than you do and I always will, which means that I'm always right and you're best suited to pick the dogshit off the bottom of my shoes with your teeth, forever. We Are The Musk Brigade is a blanket of light that cloaks I and only me.

You found with MT6 Records a label for your first album. Will they also release future WATMB albums or are you looking for different distributors?

s: We are waiting for them to sign The Strokes.

At the moment WATMB don't have a homepage yet. Is something planned in that direction?

WE: If by planned you mean finished but will never see the light of day, then yes.
R: We actually do have a homepage:
www.takecommutertraintomanchesterbytheseaandlookforthetelephonepolloutsideofthedennystherewillbeayellowpostitstapledtoitwiththenameofawaitressinsidewhoifyougoinandorderacupofcoffeefromhershewilltellyouallaboutwearethemuskbrigade.com.
JK: Actually, it's .org...
B: I think future albums (after the ten cd box set is done, of course, and we make our fortunes) should be up on the web for free downloading... but Jesse Krakow is the Man and I do what he says.
JK: ...and I'm not really a man.



Places to visit:

Jesse Krakow, official website

MT6 Records, label that released the first two WATMB albums on one CD

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