Saturday, June 15, 2013

Family Matters with Brooklyn's Cinema Cinema

It's been almost a year since I originally sat down with Cinema Cinema in their dilapidated Brooklyn rehearsal space. During that storied interview I got an up close and personal look at Ev Gold and Paul Claro. That night I learned about the bands music, their family ties and what drives them to spend just about every moment of their free time on the road, in the studio and on the stage. Since that early July night I've grown closer to Ev and Paul. 
Close enough to honestly call them friends and have them consistently refer to me as family. So in the midst of a new single (A cover of PJ Harvey's "50 ft. Queenie) dropping this week on Dromedary Records, yesterdays interview with the Village Voice and an opening slot with the legendary Black Flag just hours away. It seemed like the perfect time to test that bond and it's limits by asking them for an interview. Remarkably, it worked out and I'm still getting invitations to family gatherings and ceremonial bloodletting. Here's what they had to share. 
James Damon

James: Cinema Cinema is set to open for the legendary Black Flag Saturday night.
You've spent a lot of time with Greg Ginn over the last couple of years.
Did you ever have any idea that a Black Flag reunion, however splintered, was ever a possibility?

Ev: NO. Not a word was ever mentioned of Black Flag reuniting during any of the previous five or six runs we have done with Greg and his other projects over the last few years.

Paul: It was such an unrealistic thought, it wasn't even worth dreaming about.

Ev Gold's take on the dueling Black Flag reunions; 
"One is authentic and has vital contributions to make to the cannon in a whole new way in the present day and one is a cover band that will play your event for the right price."

James: Were you at all surprised about your inclusion on the bill?

Ev: Honored and surprised.

Paul: There was some shock value, for sure. But once that wore off I was mostly,
just totally thankful.

James: You mentioned in our last interview that Greg was never one to rely heavily on his salad days. Did the announcement of these reunions catch you off guard?

Ev: 100%

Paul: Definitely wasn't sitting around waiting for that phone call, something that could never be anticipated.

James: What's your take on the politics of the different Flags being flown?

Ev: One is authentic and has vital contributions to make to the cannon in a whole new way in the present day and one is a cover band that will play your event for the right price.

Paul: What he said!

James: As time has passed the initial rush of the reunion has cooled off considerably.
My attention has turned to the fact that a couple of good friends are going to be kicking up the resume by playing the show. What do you think the kids (excuse the term) can teach their elders?
Do you think Black Flag can keep up with what Cinema Cinema has been known to deliver?

Ev: Believe me, we intend to absolutely destroy at these shows.. but i know in my heart that CC wouldn't sound like it does or work the way it does without the influence of BF and I am sure we will still be learning new lessons from the side of the stage after our set is over as the new lineup that Greg assembled for BF is the strongest one yet, in my opinion.

Paul: Absolutely. This lineup is NOT to be fucked with. I want to enter in an endurance test with their drummer.

James: In one of the oddest pairings in recent memory Cinema Cinema is teaming up with
Dromedary Records for their 20th anniversary "Covers" release. Though Al runs a stellar label, Dromedary isn't known for its heavy hitters or skull crushing acts. How did the opportunity show itself?

Ev: In such a natural and organic way that we couldn't ignore the chance to work together.
I will try to keep it brief: "big-hearted music loving NJ label head throws annual benefit show at Maxwell's for Roots and Wings foundation.
Cinema Cinema is asked to play the 2012. We made a good impression to a packed room. (somehow!Being crazy men has an appeal, who know?) After the show Al explains that he has run his label with love and care for nineteen years, keeping it alive through any and all changes in the business.
He asks us to be involved in the twentieth anniversary covers compilation for his label in 2013. The compilation, celebrating songs from 1993 (The year Dromedary started) We chose and recorded
PJ Harvey's "50 Ft. Queenie". Al's first reaction is "Holy Shit".
We thought we could stand alone as well and move forward with vinyl and digital "eye to eye D.I.Y." based deal for the cover song and one of the songs "Adult Themes" from
"Manic Children & the Slow Depression" as the B-side. In the end, everybody is happy.

James: Have you always been a fan of Harvey's work?  Was there anything specific that made you connect with that particular song?

Paul: Ev had suggested it as a possibility for our cover choice. I loved the song, but wasn't sure about it at first. But as soon as we got into the studio and fucked with it, the decision made itself.

James: Will you be playing the song at the Black Flag gig?

Ev: Anything can happen,
but I believe that we will be taking the set list that we have been touring hard and honing since last summer's release of "MANIC CHILDREN..." and deliver it to it's largest crowd yet. That set list does not include "50ft Queenie".
Why change an already proven and effective playbook when there are dozens of ears out there that have yet to hear it? "Queenie" WILL be added to the set this summer, but i doubt it will show up at the Black Flag shows.

James: We've talked about your kinship within the band in the past. But after seeing you at
Grand Victory and hearing about how busy you will continue to be in the second half of 2013 and beyond. I couldn't help but wonder about your relationships outside the band.
Does all that time away put a strain on your personal relationships? If so, how do you cope with it and how important is it as a musician or any artist to have a supportive and understanding partner?

Paul: I'm lucky enough that I get to do this with someone who is both my friend AND my family. So its not as hard to cope, but there's always going to be a certain amount of strain involved. For the most part though, our loved ones see we are on the right path. They see how hard we work to balance it all. So, I find myself becoming more grateful for the time I have with friends and family (those not named Ev Gold).

Ev: It is a dream come true to share these experiences with one of my best friends/family members. A sacred privilege. It has its demands but its rewards are priceless..especially when your not in it for the money, but rather the release it affords you. Best part is, as we go forward we learn even more how to attempt balance and moreover to respect what we do and treat others with that respect as well.

James: Last but not least, I've seen you a handful of times (maybe once or twice) and each time watching the crowds reaction is just as interesting, if not more than watching to perform. No matter the gig, the playlist or the crowd, there's always one certain.
You always close out the set with this reverb, distortion sacrifice to the gods that takes on its own ritualistic nature. When you're exorcising those demons (or perhaps welcoming them) what are you going through? Being that it's a major part of your set, how much of it is a natural release and how much of it is stage performance?

Paul: Total natural release for me. I'm always trying to put on a good show for whoever is present, but in the end...our shows have nothing to do with the audience. Its about being free to be the truest form of yourself and using that freedom to make a statement. There's a reason why it goes to that place every single time we close a set, regardless of how many people are there. We have no choice, its just what we do.

Ev: You can't just dig a grave, you gotta go through with the burial.

James:Where does Cinema Cinema go after this Black Flag gig?

Ev: Europe in November with Martin Bisi.

Paul: More hard work, day-jobs, tours, day-jobs, practice, Europe, more hard work.

Cinema Cinema  Band Site

Dromedary Records Get the new single here

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