There is a playful element running through the speedy punk music of New York City's Butter The Children. Revealing themselves to be keenly aware of the irony all around us (as well as outright fans of classic comedy) vocalist Inna, guitarist Ray, Drummer Jordyn and bassist Jon bring an intelligent approach to an often maligned genre. The more amusing elements of our television culture serve as a catalyst for the lyrical content running through much of the bands self-titled seven song EP. Angular guitar lines snake behind straightforward progressions, proving ample sonic hooks for your ears to latch on to. Having recently signed to the prestigious Downtown Records label, expect to see the bands profile continue to expand in the coming months.
Inna: It's a family name.
Ray: It's a Jonathan Swift reference.
Jon: CHILDREN, PREPARE 2 GET BUTTERED
Jordyn: Paula Deenjk
You seem to favor quick short burst pop-punk songs, with each one on your songs clocking in under three minutes, and a few at or even under two minutes. Yet they are all relatively speaking lyrically quite dense. Is there one member of the band who writes most of these lyrics, or is there some collaboration?
Inna: I write all the lyrics.
Ray: I wrote most of the music on the self titled EP, Inna would write the vocal melodies though.
Jordyn: I love Inna's lyrics! I sometimes mishear them and then Inna's like "No you fucking dummy!"
Jon: I'm really new to the band but I certainly have seen many a live show where bands play for way too fucking long, and so we like to keep songs and sets on the short side for that reason (not to say long songs can't be pulled off, but for our type of material we feel it's better to have the audience left wanting more).
What inspired you to immortalize local legend, yet arguably fringe adult film practitioner "Robyn Byrd" in song? Perhaps the subject matter goes deeper than simply this person?
.Ray: If you were born after 1985 and checked out channel 33 after dark and a dude, then you knew that the commercials on the Robin Bird show had the best whacking off material on basic cable. The show itself was kind of terrible, but the commercials were great spank bank material for young minds.
Inna: I just really like her and thought she was someone worthy of an homage. Her show is just so bizarre. It's got this gross, unflattering lighting and everyone is a total amateur and it's almost grotesque in a sense, but then Robin will come on and, like, lick someone's nipple and then tell you to be sure to brush your teeth before bed. She's great. I hear she lives on a houseboat now. But yeah, I guess in a larger sense, the song is just about an idea I had of this person who works a shit job and feels like he can't relate to anyone around him, and then he comes home and watches Robin Byrd's show and it makes him feel less alone. Oh, and we spelled her name differently for the song so we wouldn't get sued.
"Vermin Supreme" appears laden with political commentary. Is there any effective way we can shield ourselves from the daily attempts by these flawed powers-that-be to manipulate and subjugate us?
Inna: Well, it's funny you mention that, because this song is actually about satirical presidential candidate Vermin Supreme, and I feel like that's exactly what he does, through satire, and I think that's really interesting. Sometimes things are so bad that the best you can do to not go insane is to laugh at them. Vermin does exactly that by taking the act of being a political candidate to its natural, absurd conclusion. And I guess masking the deranged nature of it all with humor is kind of a shield in itself, if that makes any sense.
Ray: Vermin is a personal buddy of mine. While I don't share his overall anarchist viewpoint, I have a deep love of political satire, & once something is satirized it's harder for it to remain able to manipulate and subjugate you.
Straightforward rocker "Prognosis Negative" has a great angular guitar line that echoes the brilliant work of Robert Quine with Richard Hell & The Voidoids. While the hard charging rager "Lupus" positions Inna's strong and forceful vocals nearer to Siouxsie Sioux on her earliest records. Are you fans of that era of music, and do you feel a sonic kinship with those artists?
Inna: I loooove that era of music. I never really got into Siouxsie Sioux but I love Richard Hell and pretty much every project he was involved in. I love Fear and the Ramones and X and Blondie. When anyone asks me what kind of music I like I usually just tell them I like stuff from the late 70s through the early 80s and the late 80s through the early 90s. That about sums it up, I think.
Ray: I pretty much just listen to Super Nintendo music, Momus, The Fall, & Captain Beefheart, but I like that other stuff too.
Jon: In addition to what Ray and Inna said, I like tons of random 70's stuff from as soft as ELO to as harsh as Throbbing Gristle, and have definitely gone through phases of listening to punk-influenced pop from that era that was more under the radar in addition to the obvious stuff like the Clash and Sex Pistols (ex: The Smirks, The Favourites, The Homosexuals).
Jordyn: I'm extremely influenced by John Peel's approach to seeking out music old and new and as diverse as possible, always trying to keep my ears open and going on long Youtube journeys, there were so many underdog rock groups that deserve wider recognition.
"Rochelle Rochelle" is an amusing title as it namechecks a classic Seinfeld episode. Are you fans of that show? Are there any other comedies or comedians that you feel are worthy of mention?
Inna: We love Seinfeld. Prognosis Negative and Flesh Wound in Ithaca are actually Seinfeld references as well, and then we have a song on our upcoming LP called Sacked Lunch. Also Seinfeld. But yeah, I love comedy in general. My favorite modern comedian is probably Louis C.K., but other than him I really like Bill Hicks.
Ray: Garry Shandling is my personal and spiritual hero/guru. I have never been able to relate to anyone on television other than Larry Sanders.
Jordyn: I wasn't in the band at the time this EP was written, but I also was obsessed with Seinfeld for a time.
Jon: I think it's safe to say Seinfeld influences us in our day-to-day more than we can ever fully realize.