Eats Tapes: Disco-Punk Vengabus
- Words: Ken Taylor
Wolf Blitzer: CNN anchor, or one who blitzes wolves? For San Francisco duo Eats Tapes, the newsman's name isn't just a pun that lovingly weaves its way onto the tracklist of their second full-length, Dos Mutantes (we'll get to that pun later). "That guy's name is his soul," exclaims member Marijke Jorritsma. "He's a furious techno track!"
Such latent humor is found not in Eats Tapes' lyrics (which hardly exist) but in the squiggly, warped, electro-acid beats that have propelled the pair's DIY sound out of Oakland basement parties and onto European stages. "We're totally into disassociative humor–things that don't really make sense but make, like, weird connections that are funny," explains Jorritsma. "Like Dos Mutantes: that idea of us being weird mutants in the scene," not to mention nodding to tropicália pioneers Os Mutantes.
Jorritsma and partner in crime–and rent–Greg Zifcak met while they were both working at a restaurant in Portland, OR. Zifcak was producing jungle tracks in his studio apartment as Mama Tiger; "And I was his biggest fan!" Jorritsma recounts. Her introduction to electronic music, however, was steeped in guiltier pleasures. "I was in Europe for a while, and listening to electronic music, but it was really cheesy," she notes. "I was also in Mexico, where you can go to any small-town discotheque any night of the week and rave out to Vengaboys." Perhaps not a surprise, then, that Eats Tapes recently covered the Vengaboys' anthem "We Like to Party!"
Trance horns and filter sweeps are just the tip of the iceberg for Eats Tapes. In their mélange, you'll also find plenty of techno, house, 8-bit, and homemade noise. It's referential, but don't call it ironic: "A lot of people ask us about that," says Jorritsma. "We'll play everything from an autonomous tekno–with a 'K'–anarchist space to an art gallery to, like, a proper rave, and I think people are always wondering how sincere we are. But we really are sincere."
"We're definitely liked by noise people and experimental rock hipsters," adds Zifcak. "Sometimes they're even confused by each other," Jorritsma says, swooping back in. "We played this show in Leeds with Printed Circuit, [which] was more like synth-pop, and we played with a noise band there, and then we went to Glasgow to play with these bass music guys... Two of them ended up talking on the phone later, and were really confused about why we would play the other one's show."
That they finish–and sometimes clobber–each other's sentences is just one facet of Eats Tapes' artistic and domestic partnership, and it seems obvious that there's a deeper story to be told here–a lyrical ballad waiting to emerge. What would that sound like?
"Vengaboys' 'We Like to Party!,'" replies Jorritsma, without a shred of doubt.
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