The best way to describe the sort of music that Sophie Weiner and Russ Marshalek make is to say it’s pretty much like what you’d get if you had Portishead jamming with Bradford Cox in the Black and White Lodge. One year after coming together and naming their project after Nadine Hurley’s invention, the duo have garnered a good amount of notice both for their own recordings, and well as the “re-soundtracking” they’ve done for films like Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and a Little Mermaid electro show.
To celebrate one year of making music, Silent Drape Runners will be taking over Magic Futurebox in Sunset Park for an evening described as “a Halloween ritual to summon the presence of the ultimate evil, BOB,” and in all honesty, can you think of any better way to spend an evening that trying to summon this guy?
I asked Russ and Sophie a few questions over e-mail.
My first question has to be why of all the Twin Peaks references you could chosen, why Silent Drape Runners? Do you feel some sort of kinship with Nadine Hurley?
Sophie: Russ and I were watching the first episode in preparation for our first show and he just suggested it. But Nadine Hurley is totally insane and one of my favorite characters, so I don’t think we regret the decision at all. It’s definitely on of the more left-field plots in the first season.
Russ: It’s not so much that there’s a kinship to Nadine as there is a kinship to the oddball sticking points Lynch manages to bring up. “Silent drape runners” is a thing that rolls off the tongue well, it’s a concept that’s very, very Lynchian, and it’s sort of a nifty insider thing for us when people get the reference.
What was the initial idea behind Silent Drape Runners? Did you two just start messing around and making music and then one day decide you wanted to recreate the Twin Peaks soundtrack?
Sophie:Russ thought “he was too boring” to DJ over the first episode of Twin Peaks and was looking for a singer. One night we were drunk at
karaoke and I did some jazz covers (…and The Killers). Thus Silent Drape Runners was born.
Russ: “we were drunk this one time” I think is a good indication for how stuff with our band happens. There’s no way we would have attempted any of this otherwise. I had a DJ monthly at Veronica People’s Club in Greenpoint (RIP, BUT YO I MOVED IT TO MATCHLESS. LAST WEDNESDAYS OF EVERY MONTH.), and one month I drunkenly promised the bartender I’d do Twin Peaks for the last Weds in October. Then I realized I had to do that. I went through a LOT of concepts in my head about how I could do that, but I sort of blocked it out until the karaoke night Sophie mentions when I realized that having a vocalist would work. In the process of doing a soundtrack to four episodes in two consecutive months, we realized we had similar ideas about what we could do, musically, and the band kinda formed from that.
What’s the process for creating the “re-soundtracking” for a film? Is there a lot of improvisation, or do you watch the film a bunch of times prior to creating the sounds for specific parts?
Sophie: We usually have a pretty good idea of what we’re going to do. Russ improvises somewhat as far as DJing, but has a selection of songs he is drawing from and a mood that we’re going with. For example, The Little Mermaid resoundtracking was mosly old rave music with some newer electronica thrown in. My songs are the most planned out part, we usually decided on a scene a song would work well for and I wait
for my cue.
Russ: We have touchpoints. There are definitely places we want to get, and we know how to get there, and we can futz in-between. In Atlanta, for example, we played this massive artist commune called The Goat Farm, and everything was gorgeous and overwhelming, and we adhered to a very strict mood. The last time we did the resoundtracking, at The Bell House, the crowd was probably the best we’d ever had, in a very jovial mood, so we tried to play up the absurd humor.
What was your first experience with David Lynch’s work?
Sophie: I had to watch Eraserhead for an indie film class in college. I totally loved it/was totally terrified.
Russ: When The Gold Box first came out, I got it for my then-girlfriend for Christmas. We watched the entire thing while at her parents house for the holidays, and I never shook it off.
So in 365 days there have been a few Twin Peaks parties, the hugely successful Robyn party, the Little Mermaid party. What do you have planned for the next year?
Sophie: YOU’LL SEE. Hint: we might be planning a multi-day festival.
Russ: Our birthday party is a satanic ritual to summon Bob in a giant warehouse theater space in Sunset Park on Oct 25…so there’s that. Yo Bradford Cox call us we have a festival we want you in on.