Alter egos, mad VHS skills and a rampant reissue

Walter TV: Surf-psych with Mac DeMarco’s crew
By Alex James Taylor | Music | 26 August 2014

Still from Walter TV’s video for ‘Puka Shell Necklace’

Walter TV (the alter-ego of Mac Demarco’s band members) are treating us to their own brand of excellently sloppy surf-psych via a reissue of their 2012 Appetite cassette in vinyl and CD format through Sinderlyn Records.

Being part of Demarco’s interchangeable ‘Jizz-Jazz’ collective of vagabonds (including Homeshake and Makeout Videotape) does inherently bring preconceptions. But a wealth of idiosyncrasy and rhythmic sumptuousness has tunnelled a seemingly bottomless pit (presumably previously buried by cigarette ash) of warped ideas, waiting to be unearthed. Band members Joe, Pierce and Simon have dug deep and come out covered in melodic synth-pop stylings. Adopting an essentially horizontal, laid-back aesthetic, Appetite invites the listener into the whimsical world of Walter TV via in jokes and spaced out anecdotes (which make little sense to outsiders and probably even less sense to insiders).

A lackadaisical attitude towards form and structure allows each song to maunder and evolve, bouncing between melancholy croons and manic grooves. Tremolo warbles slice through rhythm lines uniting with erratic drums in a wobbly, ‘sat out in the sun for too long’ feel. All these elements come draped in hypnotic reverb, forming waves of woozy backing which compliment Pierce McGarry’s equally lo-fi vocals.

Alex James Taylor: Makeout Videotape had a song called Walter TV, were all you guys in Makeout Videotape too?
Pierce McGarry: Joe and I played drums in that band, Joe for a lot longer. I just did a few gigs. Joe and I were huge gig men in those days. Gigging for this and gigging for that. Anything for the all mighty buck you know?

AT: That song doesn’t really give much away as to what or who Walter TV is, can you let us in on the story?
PG: One drunken night Mac told me he used our name to get hits on MySpace, or something, by affiliation. Pretty dope ass zong?!

AT: Do you have one songwriter or is it a joint effort?
PG: No one songwriter. We’re definitely a band. We all use each others ideas and make them better with sharing. Sharing is our goal! Over the last couple years because of touring with Mac and our regular bass man being up in the Yukon canoeing we’ve had a bit of a rotating cast of on-stage and recording members. For a while we were playing with two bassists, Mac and Peter [Mac DeMarco’s guitarist], and that was always a really loud and really exciting show.

AT: In the video for ‘Puka Shell Necklace’ you show off your crazy surfing skills before it all goes a bit ‘Lord of the Flies’ is this just a typical day in the life of Walter TV?
PG: That was make believe.

AT: There’s a lot of bum shots, did you consider using butt doubles?
PG: No, we all have functioning posteriors.

AT: You make the videos right? How did you first get into making videos?
PG: I started real young. Like seven or something. My dad worked at a high school and liked to take out the camera for him and I.  He was pretty good with the camera and we watched a lot of weird stuff together. Very inspiring times! Couldn’t do no wrong.

AT: How has Mac’s sudden rise to fame affected the band?
PG: I wouldn’t say it was sudden. Joe, Mac, and I have been playing in and around bands with each other for 5 years or so. 5 years of pennilessness travel and often pitiful existence is not my definition of rushed success.  The busy schedule does make things more difficult to accomplish, but life is life and we’re all doing it.

AT: You’ve just moved from Canada to Los Angeles, how are you finding it?
PG: We’re pretty transient, it’s more of a lay over.

AT: You’re reissuing Appetite on Sinderlyn records after first releasing it only on cassette, how come you chose cassette?
PG: CDs are useless, relatively ugly, and wind up on the floor of the car in the minutes following the listen. Cassettes are durable, have a great form, produce a quality of sound that is different after every listen, each one seems more like a small work of art compared to compact discs.

AT: What do your live shows look like?
PG: We like to play fast and loud and try to get everyone moving in the crowd. We try and conjure up as much emotion and natural expression as we possibly can with the hope that the audience can see that and will be effected or changed (forever?) in someway or another.

Find Walter TV on SoundCloudBandcamp and Vimeo

The reissue of Walter TV’s Appetite is out today, 26th August on Sinderlyn and is available here

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