Inbox: Cougar

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In this week’s edition of Inbox, Milwaukee-raised experimental electronic quintet Cougar steps into our parlor in the midst of preparations for an impending European tour. Members David Henzie-Skogen (drums, percussions, beats) and Aaron Sleator (electronics, guitars, synths) give the rundown on unfavorable impromptu high school dances, air organs and Brazilian percussion, brain implants, and working intensely with Todd Hill. Cougar’s album, Patriot, is out now on Counter/Ninja Tune.

XLR8R: What are you listening to right now?
Aaron Sleator: We’re sitting on the stoop outside David’s house, listening to people chastise their dogs in the park.

What's the weirdest story you have ever heard about yourself?
David Henzie-Skogen: We played a show and some girl thought our singer was sick. She said she thought we played quite well, considering.

In what band did you want to be when you were 15?
DHS: Eddie Palmieri’s band.
AS: Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Worst live show experience?
DHS: An undisclosed location in England, which turned out to be essentially a high school dance. There were 15-year-olds slow dancing in the front row and making out during the acoustic numbers.

Favorite city in which to play?
DHS: Ljubljana, Slovenia sticks out in recent memory. It was an old converted film house. The stage was massive, the vibe was warm (though the toilets were cold), and the audience was very receptive.

Favorite studio toy?
AS: Magnus air organ.
DHS: Pandeiro (the Brazilian drum that’s like a heavy tambourine; key to a number of snare sounds and rattle effects).

What is one thing you couldn’t live without (excluding the obvious essential, i.e. air, water, etc.)?
DHS: Practice pad.
AS: Coffee.

What is your favorite item of clothing?
DHS: Blue Hoodie.
AS: Yellow Hoodie.

If you could reduce your music to a single word, what would it be?
DHS: Oops.
AS: Midwest.

If you could come back as any animal, which would you choose?
AS/DHS: Not even going to justify with the obvious.

For what did you always get in trouble for when you were little?
DHS: Muddying up high-tops.
AS: Repeating things.

With which other artist would you most like to work with next?
AS: David Henzie-Skogen.
DHS: Aaron Sleator.

What's the last thing you read?
DHS: Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell.
AS: Modern Architecture by Kenneth Frampton.

Complete this sentence: In the future...
DHS: Getting sick in America will probably still be God’s punishment for being poor.
AS: One word: brain implants.

Stupidest thing you've done in the last 12 months?
AS: Accidentally burning "COUGAR" into the university’s laser cutter while making a stenciled design for poster screen prints.

What's next?
AS: Producing Todd Hill’s solo record, Too Cold For Lightning.
DHS: Directing Todd Hill’s first video single, “She Makes The Money.”