the pleasure to witness a live action by Air Conditioning
at Boston's Nom D'Artiste space in Sept of 2004. They diligently
hauled their gear up several flights of stairs before making
themselves scarce over the course of five bands' opening sets.
Around 2 am or so they took the stage, quickly cleansing the
existential palette with their sheer magnitude. By the time
they closed, the Fire Marshall had arrived and I was prepared
to greet the world anew. Robert was kind enough to send me
off with a copy of their LP “I'm in the mountains, I'll
call you next year.” I recommend that anyone reading
this make the effort to know more of this excellent band.
The below interview took place via email over the past week
or so. -- Chauncey Chaumpers July 19 2005
What is on the immediate horizon for Air Conditioning?
JURGENSEN: I need to figure out what the fuck is wrong with
my guitar head that blew up in Washington DC. Then I'm gonna
be angry and depressed about it for awhile. Eventually I will
get it fixed and we'll sit around Jeff The Pigeon, or maybe
in downtown Easton and wish that we had a full-time drummer.
More optimistically, we'll do a bunch of recording and release
a full length on Hospital asap.
We tend to have equipment/money problems a lot - more than
most people I know. It's horrible. It slows us down a lot.
I started buying new speakers last year. One a month. I had
to buy 5. When I was done buying them in March, they all blew
up in mid April. Again. As far as releases are concerned,
we have a full length we are recording/putting together for
Hospital at the moment.
about your upcoming work for Hospital will distinguish it
from previous A/C offerings?
far as personnel, we will have a few different drummers on
the record. I'm not entirely sure who at the moment. Doug,
the original drummer, is already on there and our friend Josh
from Pearls and Brass. I can mention them because we already
have tracks with them recorded. Dom (Prurient) is to be coming
down to do some recording as well as Brad from Pissed Jeans.
All very talented dudes. So, you know, working with different
people, you're going to get a different sound. What that is,
I don't know. Doesn't matter. But putting it all together
should be interesting.... jesus.
a few years back I was doing this thing where I would be this
guy. As this guy, I'd go to avon parties, craft shows, soccer
games. Talk to the mothers there - and ask to come home. We'd
go wherever and I'd interview them. I'd ask them set questions
and have them talk into the mics and so on. This was going
to be used for a project I wanted to do about mom. Mother
culture. When Air Conditioning had first started I had these
tapes on me and I wanted to work on it with them. But it got
put onto the back burner. Things happened. I lost interest
until recently. These tapes are embarrassing. They are truly
answering and I'm responding as honestly as I can as well.
I feel a big sense of responsibility to these women, now that
I have their voices. Anyway, that's what the record is about
generally - domestics. Like there's a bench in my home, two
sized pillows, Land's End. Shit like that. Dad. Poor dad.
Polgardy has appeared on all of our releases thus far with
the exceptions of one track on the newish Electric Human Project
7" and the tracks on the upcoming Hospital 100 box set.
The upcoming Hospital release could be recorded with up to
6 different drummers. Most of what will distinguish this record
from previous AC offerings, musically speaking, will come
as a great surprise to ourselves. We'll have to wait and see.
I guess it should be mentioned that we are beginning the recording
of this project with a theme in mind ahead of time, as opposed
to past recordings where we sort of just took the sum of its
parts and tied things together at the end.
mentioned his previous groundwork for the release. I would
also like to mention the lifestyle of cheating truckdrivers
and real life "Desperate Housewives." A tease of
the subject matter exists in a track called "Unborn Widow,"
a track on the Hospitall 100 cassette.
guys just got back from a tour. Can you report to us on the
state of America's youth?
latest tour was a 9 day deal down to the mid-south and back.
Pissed Jeans had booked most of this one a couple of months
before hand. Some dates fell through at the last minute, but
were miraculously rebooked. As is our trademark, we did have
to cancel a couple of dates due to van trauma. I think we
are giving up on playing Lexington, KY. This was the third
time we were unable to play there for one reason or another.
If we do play it'll be a last minute unannounced thing at
the Knight Inn. I stayed there once and the sweetest lesbian
couple in the room next door got me real stoned and gave me
their straight porn periodicals. We watched a bit of a football
game and they explained in detail the phenomenon of cuckold
relationships. Both of those ladies were there long term.
They were both on disabiliity and were screwed over by their
landlord. One of them had a double digit number of concussions
from falling off horses. Really, everyone in Lexington is
awesome, whether it be noisers OR disabled lesbians. I'd play
there in a heartbeat. Someday. Also missed Nashville which
was perhaps the date I was looking forward to the most. The
bartender at the Warehouse Next Door in DC dispensed the most
amazing rum shots. It was so good to be alive that night.
Sucked that Franco didn't get sucked by a marine at the Eagle
though. I did the night lurker gimmick in DC that night, walking
and riding busses for 7 hours. I love that shit so much. I
still enjoy the ABE prowl, but it's certainly nice to do it
elsewhere... No, our breakdown had nothing to do with vegetable
oil. Dave Rosenstraus saved our whole gang a few hundred bucks
with his hippie ways... Most of the youth
I meant were either awesome or they sucked.
was plenty of good people everywhere we went. Things just
seem bored in some places. I like touring. I do. But I love
where I live. Allentown is such a depressed area. The valley
keeps it all in. The only time I see any bands or projects
anymore is when I'm playing a show or if it's at the Pigeon.
Other than that I usually never go out to see anything. It's
an odd mix here. I don't know what happened but when we started
the Pigeon 2 years ago, there was never this much reaction
coming from kids here. Now it's at the point where it's total
mayhem. It's good. But there's definitely a line you can see
where it's that kind of mayhem that's going to bring the Pigeon
down. Eventually. Probably better to stop it. But I don't
think we're going to. The people here at shows are great.
I don't even know more than half of them, but it's just all
out energy. Like what I thought punk rock shows should be.
It's what I like. If you do too. Join in. If not. Stand back
and enjoy or go away. Its ok. But now - I
remember when I was little. I would have to go to church with
my mom and dad every Sunday. I would concentrate on what the
priest was saying and his mouth. And I remember one day I
swear I could predict what words were going to come out of
his mouth. From then on it got easier to do - with anyone
I'd watch on a regular basis. If you listen hard enough to
something or someone. And watch. You can fool yourself into
believing this. I try to separate myself from all that. Fake
pretension. Funny clothes. Different contact colors. You know.
I could just be thinking I'm seeing all this.
sets AC apart from the pack? Do you have an unique philosophy
regarding music and performance?
should probably ask for a clear definition of “the pack.”
We do have friends/allies involved with music dotted around
the country/world, but when it comes to playing in Air Conditioning,
whether recorded or live, it has always been about the two
or three of us making the music we make as a result of what
we are feeling at that moment. Some outside musical influence
will always occur I suppose, and I won't deny certain musical
influences, but I am probably not familiar enough with “the
pack” to answer this question “properly.”
Personally, I enjoy a lot of harsh noise and power electronics
- Ramirez/Black Leather Jesus and related, Incapacitants,
Sutcliffe Jugend, Prurient, Con-Dom, Sickness, etc…
off the top of my head. All the nasty boys. It may not be
such an obvious thing in a lot of AC recordings thus far,
but I feel it every single time I take the stage with this
band, or at least on the good nights. I also enjoy a good
bit of black metal, scum rock and techno. I'd like to think
that Krieg, Godflesh, 7 Minutes of Nausea and Candee Jay are
a part of “the pack.” They all have a bit to do
with the music I make… To me, making this music is about
the disappointment and the let down of the every day. It's
a loved one dying in your arms and not really knowing if you
have arms to die in, the war and peace of physical isolation,
and reliving the joys of the past - humming that Seals &
Croft beautiful bullshit, “We may never pass this way
again,” as you descend from the mountains into the lights
of the megalopolis and it ALL closes in around you. It's the
surrender to addiction. But man, those moments before the
disappointment, the moments laughing with your best buds
while they give a cat an orgasm or whatever, sliding out of
control on unplowed Quebec roadways, and those seconds of
joy before regret, are what I live for… I'm not saying
we will never do otherwise, but I definitely love the improvisational
aspect of it all. It's just like riding on a ship through
the violent Bering Sea. Some nights the ship will tip over
and you drown, and some nights you keep riding and riding
and make it to the shore. Then when you make it to the shore,
a team of skunks show up to lick the velvety head of your
cock. However, on many nights the skunks turn around and spray
their disgusting stink all over you. The agony. The ecstasy…
I still consider Air Conditioning a punk band. It seems a
lot of “real punks” can't stand the noise and
improvising makes you “not a real band.” Likewise,
a lot of noisers can't handle the drums and the fact that
we've released a couple of records on “punk” labels.
“Fuck em, fuck em, fuck em, fuck em, fuck em all, I
shot my balls off in the hall.” - Sheep Squeeze
pack. There are some little cliques that make up this pack.
I can't relate to a lot of this stuff. I don't understand
and I just don't care enough. I pretty much just listen to
my friend's music, or music from people I've met playing a
show or from the Pigeon. Pearls and Brass, New Flesh, Pissed
Jeans, Mr Thirsty, Ryan - stuff I can relate to
because I know these people on some personal level. I can
see them saying these things they're singing about or whatever.
I guess this is just another clique or smaller pack now that
I think about it. But I know I have great friends in other
places of the country that I can go to and feel welcome. I
don't have much of a philosophy towards performance. Some
days I see something and react horribly to it. I can't get
it off my mind. I was just telling Robert the other day about
the digust I feel when seeing elderly women order rare steaks.
They always order them this way. I feel this bore and anger
come over me - it's weakening. I can't really plan that out
ahead of time. You put that down and you show that. You can
see these things in people's eyes anymore. I can plan a skeleton
for the sound, but to fill it in is just what comes out through
sound and action. I wonder - I'm obsessed with genuiness.
Or what I can perceive to be that. Some people are amazing
and truly are reacting without any thought as to the others
in the room. At least
that's what it seems like. Be selfish. I'd rather see it and
hear it. I already know what I'm like.
you view yourselves as artists? What brought you to sound
as a medium? Do other mediums influence your approach to working
work in a few mediums, but sound would be my main one at this
point in my life. I enjoy linguistics. Also photographs, letters,
objects I find in the street. I don't know why. I've made
some videos. I work with a lot of things. I collect bells.
Pressing flowers/recently insects - head-made letters, hair
locks, drawing, thighs, scarring, books. I'll make one sometimes.
These things do all influence how Air Conditioning sounds
for me. I tend to think visually when I'm trying to make a
sound...so this is what I can come back to.
consider myself an artist as opposed to a resort salesman
or whatever job I'm working that week, but any ham and egger
with an EtchASketch can call themselves an artist too. I do
a good bit of writing, take photos, have done some video stuff,
and in the past year have started to have a bit of fun with
spray paint in the dark, etc... They may or may not influence
sound. It's all situational, although a valid link can be
made more often than not. Sometimes I love to assume other
identities and see what kind of fun comes from it.
needs to change?
question is quadruple pediatric hepatitis. It would take 1100
years or so to serve up a complete answer. I'll keep it brief.
Pertaining to Air Conditioning
- We'd really love a drummer who'd want to play/record on
a weekly basis and do some pretty insane touring. If you think
you'd be up for trying it out, get your ass in touch.
I'd also love to see
kayfabe and a potent territorial structure make a return to
I'd like to see Deadly
Orifice become involved in politics as he feels he should,
greater availability of video for individuals with very discriminating
paraphilias, and another World Series win for the Phillies.
quality of the "adult" nowadays needs to change.
I am always surprised, as I get older, as to how most adults
I come across really act. I also need to stop repeating myself.
I got a fractured rib this morning.
--Soft Folds CS
--I'm in the Mountains, I'll Call You Next Year LP
--Big Balls split 7" with Carpenter Ant (Torn
Tendons/Peel Back the Sky)
--Weakness CD (Level-Plane)
--"All Aboa/Snake Conveyor" comp track on SLEEP
TIGHT (Under a Blanket of Psych) NO. 2 (Easy Subculture)
--Siezed Barrels of Ephedrine 7" on White Denim/White
--"Catneck"/"Frustrating Ice Princess"
7" picture disc (Electric Human Project)