Ignite was able to connect with the bad through and email interview and the band was great enough to sit down and give us some insight into the band and the members. We have the full interview below…you have to check it out!!
Michael Madill – Co-producer, guitars, keyboards, editing
Sean Haezebrouck – Vocals
Robert McCarroll – Co-producer, keyboards, rhythms
Kenny Wilson – Drums
Tell us a little bit about the band and how long you have been together for some of our readers that may not know about the band?
The four of us (Michael, Sean, Robert and Kenny) are old friends from Detroit. Detroit was a blank canvas of decay and potential in the early ‘90s. We found a niche and a mutual appreciation, and our bands shared a practice space. We reconvened remotely during the course of 2020’s lockdown. We asked LA artist and impresario-in-pink Plasmic to get on the mic with Sean for the project.
What is new with the band?..New Album out? New Videos?
We’re all slowly crawling out of this quarantine. The latest release is our video for “Pop Goes The Vessel” which just came out on the COP International and can be seen on our Youtube channel here. Plasmic has been releasing her own tunes and doing a weekly livestream here. We also recently completed three remixes for several of our label mates on COP: Stoneburner is out now here and Johnny Tupolev and Black Needle Noise are in the works.
With all this madness going on with the virus…What do you think the music scene will be like in the future…and how are you prepared to make your music heard if there will not be any concerts or festivals for the year of 2020-21?
Live music is slowly coming back. People have started having house shows and finding unused spaces to safely have gigs again. Unfortunately we’ve lost so many smaller venues around the world. Streaming has definitely become more essential even though it’s obviously not the same as seeing the band in person. Since Sick Jokes is a virtual project, we haven’t considered a live version yet, though we could potentially pull something off in the future.
What got you into music and what is your earliest memory of when you told yourself… “THIS IS WHAT I WANT”?
We are all from musical families across the board, with music lessons and starting bands from a very early age. Michael and Kenny started jamming in high school, met Robert shortly thereafter, and then met Sean while gigging around Detroit. We were all playing at a pretty high level (locally) throughout our late teens and early 20s. And you know—to get girls.
Who was your first concert and what is your best memory?
Michael: I have a few. Ratt on the “Invasion of your Privacy” tour was the first big rock show I saw. I also once asked Bill Rieflin how to pronounce his last name, and Eddie Van Halen ran by me in a deserted corridor at the Pontiac Silverdome. We lost both those legends last year, yet Ratt is still around.
Sean: My first real concert was The Tubes. It was wild. It’s hard to choose a best memory but I had a “perfect moment” seeing David Gilmour live.
Robert: My first real concert was John Denver, and as a small child I was wowed. My best memory was the first Lollapolooza. I was so happy to see NIN live but more than that, there was almost everything I thought was cool all in one place, enjoyed with my best friends at the time.
Kenny: I was two-and-a-half on my dad’s shoulders on a flatbed trailer at a field party to see the MC5.
If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing right now?
Michael: Making cidre here in Normandy. And calvados eventually. I need to learn about stills.
Sean: Probably time. Or I’d be dead.
Robert: I can tell you exactly since it’s my fallback. Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (I’m a nerd by contract).
Kenny: Something mechanical. A machinist.
On a scale of 1 to 2593, How good is your newest single compared to your last single? (my attempt at humor, but please still answer)
2593 being the best or worst? Either way we’d be at 3000.
What do you feel is the best song you have released to date and why?
Michael: “The Barely Care Czar” has my favorite groove. “Ruled By Liars” for the lyrics. And I really dig our upcoming Johnny Tupolev remix.
Sean: I’m partial to “Pop Goes the Vessel” and “Ruled By Liars.”
Robert: No contest, it’s “Pop Goes the Vessel.”
Kenny: “Pop Goes the Vessel.” I like the hook.
Do you think you can get any better as a musician/singer? And if so, How would you achieve that?
Michael: Oh, yes, without question. By listening to other productions and trying to figure out how they did what they did, and sharing tricks with fellow producers. I have guitars lying around everywhere so I’m always noodling.
Sean: I’m always trying to learn new things. I’m primarily a drummer so I’m always just trying to challenge myself by watching videos and listening to all kinds of music. I love reading biographies of musicians and producers too. My current obsession is with virtual synth plug-ins. Producing music is a perpetual learning experience.
Robert: OMG yes. Short answer is play music, A LOT. I love taking the same notes in a riff and moving them for tension or almost detuning. I use Shazam to collect new songs outside of what I normally would listen to. I love “the stereo space,” panning and movement.
Kenny: Absolutely, with a lot more work on my rudiments and chops. I’m always challenging myself.
If you could give your fans one random fact about you that you think they should (or should “not” know) about you what would that be?
Michael: Besides being “the cute one,” Sean is also an excellent drummer. In fact, his gig at SXSW with John Fryer’s Black Needle Noise project is what eventually led to Sick Jokes getting signed by COP International.
Sean: Haha! Michael is an accomplished cellist and mixes a mean Bloody Mary.
Robert: I prefer cheap controller keyboards not because I’m cheap but they are easier to play. I rarely drink, hence I have no idea what would make a good Bloody Mary.
You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Michael: #333333. Or maybe #0033FF.
Sean: Cerulean blue because I like saying “cerulean.”
Robert: H.P. Lovecraft’s “The color out of space,” a crayon of mass destruction.
Who are you inspired by Musically or in life in general?
Michael: Alex Lifeson, Jack Dangers, Geordie Walker, DJ Shadow, Massive Attack, Dino Cazares, Robert Smith, David Gilmour. And life in general in the French countryside.
Sean: Tom Waits, Tom Araya, Tom Jones, tom-toms and William S. Burroughs, who is my spirit animal.
Robert: Skippy, The Cure, MBM, Diatribe, Curve, Killing Joke, earlier NIN, Noc Barrage (Sean’s former band), Ladytron, Duran Duran, Halsey, Slipknot, Cigarettes After Sex, Pvris, Revco, Ministry, Slowdive.
Kenny: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Travis Barker, Alex Van Halen, my grandfather.
What’s an average day like one tour? and what about these days?
With the pandemic happening, there’s a lot less gear being lugged around. Also fewer miles put on vans. Tire companies must be really hurting.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans?
Michael: We’re primarily fans ourselves. We always love to gab with music people.
Sean: I recall the experiences I had meeting musicians I looked up to, and other than a brief conversation with Michael Gira, they were overwhelmingly positive.
Robert: I love them to find us, and identify! Our friend James would notice every time I’d change a riff with a different patch or play a different break/middle eight. It always made my night to have fans actually notice things anew.
Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety before, during, or after a show?
Michael: Yes. It’s all about memory anxiety now for me—wait, are there two breaks before the second chorus? Or two choruses before the second break?
Sean: Uh yes. Playing drums with John Fryer in Black Needle Noise was an honor and maybe the most stressed I’ve ever been playing a live gig. Luckily John, Anjela and Betty X (also in the project) are wonderful people and it ended up being super fun.
Robert: Yes, I’m scared shitless for the first two minutes every time I’ve hit a stage. It never went away. Once I knocked out a tooth with a patch cord just before the curtain went up. Several hundred people probably thought all the blood was some cheesy effect.
Kenny: I love performing! I have no stage fright, although I won’t go out un-rehearsed. I need to know my part! There isn’t a drug on earth that will give you the feeling of a good show!
If you could collaborate musically or artistically in any way who would it be and why?
Michael: We hit the lottery with John Fryer leading the charge at COP International. Cocteau Twins is my absolute shit. And Pretty Hate Machine boggled my mind when I was 19. Also, getting Sean back on the mic is such a pleasure. The man has the creamiest scream in the dream.
Sean: Working with John Fryer has been amazing. Working with Michael is always a blast too. If I had the chance, I’d love to collaborate with Thor Harris from SWANS, Shearwater, etc. He’s a local Austinite and really a nice dude. We could bang on all kinds of shit.
Robert: John Fryer, just a key into a dream world. His creativity defined all of us for years, sometimes without us even realizing it. I’d love to work more with Kirill Slavin aka EXT.EST, who did a great remix on our record.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Sean: Don’t follow our footsteps. Michael wears like a size 16 or some shit. Be persistent and forge your own trail.
The EP is now available for purchase in digital formats HERE.