|Life Size Maps
|The Oddities of Noise Pop
Jen Mergott - July 10, 2012
Brooklyn based trio, Life Size Maps,
have amped up the oddities on their new EP,”Weird Luck.”
Venturing off from their more traditional indie pop debut, “Magnifier,”
Life Size Maps’ sound has come into its own, establishing the band in
the noise pop genre. The new, three-song record shows us a band
that can employ random sounds and seamlessly incorporate them into
their music, which is also fed with impressive hooks and moderate and
occasional doses of math rock. The EP starts off with title track,
“Weird Luck”, a speed-pop tune that finds a unique balance between
synthetic cello riffs and Nintendo beep solos. In both “Wind in
the Furnace” and “Copper Mirror,” hummable melodies coexist with
frenzied noises, making the band sound like an intriguing mix of Parts
and Labor and They Might Be Giants. Though they just released
“Weird Luck” on February 12th, the band is already looking to a
full-length album in their future, complete with darker songs,
distorted effects and catchy melodies.
How did you come up with the band name?
Mike: We used to be a 6 piece mini-orchestra. Our bassoonist got high
one day and asked to see a 'life size map of the world.'
I felt like “Magnifier” was sort of an
exploration into what kind of band you wanted to be and “Weird Luck”
was the result. There was a lot of different influences on
“Magnifier” – from Punk (“It’s Leaking”) to an almost folk-y indie song
(“The Sleepy Northeast”). “Weird Luck” seems to be more of a
solid noise rock/pop album. Was this a conscience transition or
did the band just evolve naturally?
Mike: “Weird Luck” is more sleek and streamlined. The songs are simpler
but the sounds are weirder.
Jordyn: I think it also has something to do with me joining and having
a presence in the sound. Drummers make more of a difference in the
sound than people realize a certain feel, energy, and limitations or
The inclusion of the cello seems like
a bit of an unconventional choice and yet it naturally becomes a
prominent feature in a three-piece band – how did you come to the
decision to include it? How do you think it is valuable to your
music and to this album?
Rob: The only reason we still have a cello is because none of us play
Mike: It started out as a remnant of the 6 piece lineup, a vestigial
limb. It ended up sticking.
Noise pop is a difficult genre
particularly because it has to appear random without actually being
so. How do you make decisions about what kinds of
sounds/instruments you’re going to employ?
Mike: Half the time we listen to weirdo noisy music and the other half
we obsess over direct pop melodies. We can't decide which of the two
we'd rather play so we just end up doing both at the same time. For
sounds, we'll throw in anything from hit car parts to Nintendo beeps to
warped guitars. We want some songs to sound mechanical/precise and
others to sound woozy/blurred.
Jordyn: We like the hooks and simplicity that pop offers, but we love
the gritty sound that presents itself in avant-garde, hardcore, and no
What are some of your biggest musical
Mike: Anything maximalist -> My Bloody Valentine, Ligeti (his crazy
soundscapes were a big part of The Shining), Pet Sounds, Glenn Branca
Rob: Dirty Projectors, Melt Banana, Dan Deacon
Jordyn: The Bad Plus, The Microphones, Flying Lotus, Erykah Badu.
How did you all meet? Were you
pursuing other musical projects? If so, how have those influenced
Life Size Maps?
Jordyn: I moved here almost 2 years ago and was looking for more
people to play with. I had a good feeling about Mike because he liked a
lot of the same obscure bands that I do, and was down to get fries and
a shake at a diner super late at night.
Rob: I'm working on a cycle of amplified pieces. I just finished one of
them called "Freak Show." I also have a bunch of songs I wrote for a
project I'm starting later in March: robkarpay.bandcamp.com
What are the best and worst things
about being a DIY band?
Best thing: doing it yourself.
Worst thing: doing it yourself.
Where do you see the band going in the
Mike: We're taking the ideas we started with on Weird Luck and
expanding them into different directions and moods towards the goal of
a full length.
Jordyn: I sense the songs getting darker, the effects more distorted,
and the melodies being catchy as ever.
Do you have anything else to add or
that you want me to know?
Jordyn: If any shampoo companies happen to like us and want to endorse
us, it would be a good look for them and we would be down...as we all
have great hair (or so we’ve been told).
"The songs are simpler but the sounds are weirder."
Life Size Maps
Noise pop with random sounds and impressive hooks.
For those who like: Parts and Labor, They Might Be Giants