Cinema Cinema is one bad-ass duo. Guitarist/vocalist Ev Gold stomps around the stage, swinging his guitar like an axe while he screams, growls, and hisses nasty things into the microphone. Meanwhile, Paul Claro, who is Gold's cousin, hits the drums so hard that they literally shimmy across the stage as he plays. It sounds sort of like heavy metal played as hardcore punk -- vicious, energetic and with a little bit of swing.
The group just released their new album A Night at the Fights and finished a really, really long tour opening for Black Flag. So, features editor John Gentile spoke to Gold about the new album, boxing, reincarnation and generally being nice to people.
You can click read more for the interview.
The album is called "A Night at the Fights." There is a track called "Raging Bull." How do boxing and Cinema Cinema intersect?
When my cousin Paul, who drums, and I step on stage, we go toe to toe with each other, facing off in attempt to elevate the room we are about to play. The intent is to shake things up, so people can remember they are alive and be in the moment with us. We both aim every bit of energy we possess directly at center stage. We play every show like itâs our last. We keep a rigorous schedule between practice and touring. We apply razor sharp focus with songwriting and recording. Itâs not unlike being some sort of crazed, insanely driven athlete. I can see a slight correlation between a boxer and an artist, the drive and guts it takes to move forward at all costs, to get up off the canvas after getting knocked down. Thereâs a common struggle coupled with an unquestionable commitment. Both share a path filled with obstacles, dead ends and little support. It takes a perseverance that not all have.
Whoâs going to win Mayweather v. Maidana II?
I have no idea. Iâm a baseball fan. I would guess whichever guy wants it more is going to take it. Hunger always wins out.
You have an unexplained reference to the year 1994 in the song "Decades." What happened in that year?
There is not a specific incident that happened in 1994 which I am referring to in "Decades."Â In song, I often use words to provoke thought and feeling in the listener rather than draw upon a linear storyline. That year happened to have some significance in my personal history. I guess that is why it became a detail in the lyric. That was the year I joined my first band, beginning the crazy and amazing musical journey that has led me to this interview, in present day. I was 15, turning 16 then. Everything was starting.
I also caught a sly reference to Bob Dylan in "2010." What does Dylan mean to you, a nasty, mean punk-metal hybrid?
Yes, I reference "Itâs Alright Ma, (Iâm Only Bleeding)" in a particularly twisted section, three quarters of the way through "2010." Dylanâs power is in his fearlessness. His work is required reading in my mind. Heâs been a cornerstone influence since day one for me. I heard "Like a Rolling Stone" when I was 10 years old and I was changed forever.
Along those lines, on "2010" you state "I can see how your story ends/it begins again." Are you believers in reincarnation? Second chances?
Yes! I have been fascinated by the idea of reincarnation since I was young. During the summer of 2011, I randomly found this book on a stoop in Brooklyn called "The Scope of Reincarnation" by William Q. Judge, from 1960. I tucked it in my backpack along with my lyric notebook. They remained neighbors for a while. When lyrical themes for A Night at the Fights began to present themselves in the ideas that I was gathering, as I rummaged and reviewed all my notes, I identified reincarnation as one. Thus, the opening song on the album, which is called "Broad Daylight," contains the lyrics: "reâ¦inâ¦carâ¦nate, right on time, never too late." The reincarnation theme re-emerges later, during "Gowanus Ghost" as well as "Minute" and the aforementioned "2010."
On the new album, you worked with famed producer Martin Bisi, who's worked with everyone from Sonic Youth to Brian Eno to Herbie Hancock! How influential was he on the releaseâs sound? What did he bring to the table?
Martin worked just as hard on this recording as Paul and me. He brings this beautifully insane amount of care and attention to the work that he is involved in. His ear and his energy are both second to none. He is special. We proudly give him "producer" credit on this recording. His vision was allowed to breathe the same air as ours and in that communion, a greater and deeper sound was found on each song. He brought details to light that would have been otherwise missed. We hope to work with him again in the future.
You recently toured with Black Flag. What did you learn from watching Greg Ginn play?
This summerâs tour opening for Black Flag was actually the sixth time that Cinema Cinema has been out on the road with a Ginn/SST project. Dating back to 2010, weâve gone out with The Taylor Texas Corrugators as well as The Royal We, both before Black Flag reunited. There arenât sufficient words for me to describe the amount of respect I have for Greg. The influence that I have been fortunate enough to absorb, being able to witness his guitar playing and approach in numerous settings, across multiple genres, is staggering. Itâs profoundly informed my playing. His work ethic, energy and kindness have also been teachers to me.
Similarly, did you get caught up in any of the Black Flag/FLAG/Ron Reyes drama?
Good to hear! Now, you are cousins. Does a blood relation conjure up a musical chemistry not found in other relationships?
So far it definitely seems so. We have a musical telepathy, I donât know where it comes from, but it is uncanny. It has to be the bloodline that we share. We both have expressed that the feeling we get when playing together is like nothing else. It feels like we are fulfilling our purpose in life. Also, being cousins as opposed to say brothers, there is NO sibling rivalry. Itâs replaced with a great shared admiration for one another. We are each otherâs biggest fans and both care deeply about the band.
A wide variety of reviews say something like, "If punk was truly meant to open possibilities, Cinema Cinema are a perfect example of just how far those explorations can go." I got that quote from "Big Takeover" magazine. This is a common theme in your reviews. Why do so many viewers see your music as breaking the "rules" of punk, but embodying the spirit?
Because punk rock is about being yourself, an expression of individuality. Cinema Cinema embodies that unique spirit, the true grit of punk… while not sounding or looking like what most of the mainstream world has come to identify as punk. The uniform idea of a look or a sound associated with punk immediately makes it into a tiny word. We have always felt "punk" was a word so large that everyone can have their own meaning! If we are breaking rules by maintaining our musical freedom, then we will never stop. When it comes to our music, rules don't exist.
I love your frantic, physical live show. Do you do some sort of warm up, or do you just go out there and tear it up?
Thanks for the kind words! We take pride in leaving a mark with our live performance. As far as a specific warm up? Nothing really, we will usually joke around while speaking in English accents a la Spinal Tap right before going onstage.
How damaged are you the next day?
If you're doing what you love, the pain is worth it.
Despite the vicious sound of your music, I get the impression that you guys are nice guys. Are you nice guys?
NO! We're not nice guys at all. [laughs] Um, donât ruin our reputation! We are mean Brooklyn assholes! Actually, we are all about the love and peace and music. We always look to treat others with the same respect that we would like to be treated with as we traverse this path.
Ah, but, then, how can such nice guys make such mean music?
Its therapy. Its exorcism. Itâs out of our hands really, thatâs just what transmits through us at the present time. There could very well be a happy sounding album that comes along one day from Cinema Cinema, that day just isnât now.
Whatâs next for Cinema Cinema?
Being that we have already done over 60 shows this year…most of those opening for Black Flag across North America between May and August. Respect and thanks to SST Records! This fall, we are looking to focus on moving onward with the collaboration we started last year, with jazz/world saxophonist Matt Darriau. We performed with him, in trio, as CCMD, a few times last fall in NYC. Itâs something completely different. We hope to record with him at some point before the end of the year, and there will be a few shows. While doing so, we are planning CCâs next touring moves and just keeping our eye on the ball.