L.A. band HEALTH are the perfect example of modern indie success. Buoyed by remixes by blog faves Crystal Castles and Acid Girls, branded by T-shirts showing up on the hipster elite, and landing as the opening act for Nine Inch Nails’ spring tour (and Trent’s upcoming final show at the Echoplex) the noise-craving foursome from the East Side have seemingly leapfrogged over the hundreds of musicians playing the traditional Hollywood music-biz game while self-recording their own albums of fucked-up noise in rooms with no soundproofing. But that doesn’t mean they don’t think big. On the eve of their second album, the pulverizing yet ethereal Get Color, three of the four band members (absent drummer B.J. Miller), Jacob Duzsik (vocals, guitar), John Famiglietti (bass, percussion) and Jupiter Keyes (guitar, percussion), choose the (mostly) classic albums that matter while creating their new record.
Dark Side of the Moon
Jupiter Keyes: We’re really ambitious in what we want to do, and one thing that is really a beacon for us is just how awesome Dark Side is.
John Famiglietti: It’s probably one of the most amazing albums of all time, and it was really frustrating for us because we can’t go into making a record wanting to make something that sounds that good — especially if you do your research and find out the amount of talent and work that went into recording it and making it sound that incredible.
Jacob Duzsik: It’s just, like, fucking insane, and we have no way of replicating that. We’re always listening to other records for references, like, how good it could sound. It’s a great formula for misery.
Vulgar Display of Power
Famiglietti:Vulgar Display of Power really dominated for months and months because it was not a band that we listened to before. It’s also perfect for my metal-optimized car stereo. It is a piece of shit and it only sounds good playing metal. There’s no bass, it’s just mids, and it sounds terrible. I think when I was a kid, my highbrow tastes made me think, “Yeah, that’s stupid.” But now I have a couple of redneck, white-trash neighbors, and I heard it going “omph” and them getting really amped and thinking, “This kicks fucking ass!” The first five or six tracks kick fucking ass. The rest is kinda shitty.
Duzsik:Kid A came up a lot, like, “Whoa, how can we make something that sounds so beautiful?” We didn’t make anything that sounds that beautiful.
Famiglietti: Most records that sound good today, you just kick yourself, like, “Why am I not making electronic music?” It’s very easy to make it very low-budget. A great example would be Pictureplane, who uses a computer and programming he bought at Best Buy four years ago. His songs sound fucking killer. They sound nostalgic in the right way, they sound dirty in the right way, and they sound awesome and emotional, and it’s, like, “Why are we shooting ourselves in the brain and arguing with someone over a snare sound?” To get something to sound good out of an amp is not that hard, but getting drums to sound good is pretty hard.
Timespace: The Best of Stevie Nicks
Famiglietti: Stevie Nicks crawled into the mix. It’s not in the record, but at the same time I was listening to Pantera I was listening to a lot of Stevie. On the last tour everyone was listening to Fleetwood Mac, which is definitely a band that I would never listen to before. But that’s what happens as you get older ... my 17-year-old self would say, “That’s gay.”
Famiglietti: It was hugely influential in terms of what we were trying to do on this album. Hearing our songs worked that way — using the editing process — it makes things stand out and repeatable. We don’t get a lot of input or collaborate with other bands.
Keyes: None of us have other projects. We’re pretty hermetically sealed as far as how we do everything, and I think having our music reworked, there were definitely points on that record where we’re, like, “Wow, this is more gratifying than what we do.” It definitely gave us greater insight into the band.
Duzsik: That is my absolute favorite album, ever. It’s, like, religious. I have to listen to it all the time, every couple of months, at least. That’s an album that makes us want to indulge in separation and sub-bass. If you listen to Nevermind, it sounds really dated. Whereas In Utero was just recorded drums, bass, whatever. It just doesn’t date. We didn’t accomplish that, but it would be sweet if we did.
Famiglietti: I heard it when I was 13, and I was told at the time that every rock critic in the world agreed unanimously that the Stooges’ Funhouse is the greatest recording of all time. It was the Citizen Kane of records. It was the first CD I ever bought and I was, like, “I’m listening to the greatest rock & roll record of all time.” And I believed it until I was about 18. I’d tell people, and they’d be, like, “What are you, stupid?”
MY BLOODY VALENTINE
Famiglietti: We’ve been getting a lot of comparison to My Bloody Valentine on this album, which is cool. Vocally, that was an influence. We bury the vocals a lot in the mix, which maybe we did too much on the first record. There are a lot of things we’re still figuring out. It’s an evolution. The vocals are going to become more and more present as the albums progress and we figure out how to record them properly and how to make them communicate themselves properly within the songs.
Keyes: If there’s one record in recent memory that really stands out to us, it’s Feels.
Duzsik: It sounds unique and completely new, yet it has the dynamics and changes and hallmarks of a rock record. It is very much something we respect. It’s an indie record that can stand against real records, classics in your collection, and you can say, “This is good.” It’s the one record, since we’ve been a band, that has come out and feels like it’s part of this pantheon of great records.
Get Color debuts on September 8 on Lovepump United. HEALTH headline the Troubadour on September 9. They open for Nine Inch Nails at the Wiltern on September 5, and at the Echoplex on September 6.
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