Will McCall aka Will Heel aka shhhanthemum built Trixie’s Palace. That should be enough of an introduction and it should speak volumes. Will came back to the area recently and it was glorious. Cheers to more visits! Here’s a bit of a catching up.
Q1. Will – pleasure to catch up with you! Your solo set at Furry Frat on Friday, March 18 was magic. Get back to that in a minute. As you informed me – you’ve been away from Boston for a bit – living up in New York. How’d it feel to get back here and perform?
That show was a blast. Yea I’m living up in Syracuse right now. I bombed down I-90 for 5 hours blaring Merle Haggard and NBA podcasts on a whim just to play a basement show and sleep at the Furry Frat. Boston still feels like home…or like a weird second home. I get a beautiful strange feeling everytime I come back. And it was an honor sharing the bill with a legend like yourself.
Q2. Some might know you as a Trixies Palace (R.I.P Allston basement) legend or some variation of that, perhaps from your days in Healers Co. Would you mind giving a little history/timeline of your association with Trixies and Healers Co.? Did you have bands or projects that go even way(er)back? We certainly met there and I won’t forget the Healers set from the noise fest we did a few years back.
Its actually a funny story. I built Trixie’s Palace.
There was no house at first. Just a humble shack on a street corner in Brighton.
One night there was a great and terrible storm. The shack was torn apart by winds. And then a bright, blinding light.
An angel appeared to me. She told me I needed to build a house where musicians can play basement shows. I was afraid. Why me? I’m only 24..how could i possibly build a DIY show house?
She told me if you build it, you will start a band (Healers co.) that will one day have 61 likes on facebook. That was enough to convince me.
So yea I built Trixie’s Palace.
Then I told Johnny to come move in and the rest is history.
Q3. To dive into your sound a little bit – how long have you been interested in ambient/sample based music and were there any groups, individuals, or associations that knocked you on your ass or rather lit a fire under there to get you to want to contribute to this paradigm? There’s like a bigness to what you’re doing, set up against a background of glitches and weirdness. It’s awesome!
When Healers first started playing live we would usually play sets all the way through without stopping and I would play different jazz and opera tapes during transitions between songs to poke thru our noise. And then i accidentally acquired some tapes with 90s R’n’B mixes and Electronica mixes and that sent me down this wormhole of sampling and building new songs from the samples.
In terms of like “sample” based music that was influential.. I could point to a couple records that were big for me. Lost and Safe by the Books was one for sure. Person Pitch by Panda Bear. Quasimoto’s The Unseen.
Early in the pandemic I got into this electronic group called The KLF and especially this one record of theirs called Chill Out that’s like this weird ambient house album that’s filled with all these uncleared samples from Elvis and other big name oldies acts- the original album has never been officially rereleased because it’s chock full of all these uncleared samples and highly illegal to sell. They’re a kinda crazy rabbit hole to go down. But they have quite the band story…give it a google if you’re bored.
Q4. Let’s talk a little Eddy El Dorado. The Enemy of the State. This is a hidden gem. Seriously. Anything you want to put on the record regarding this? Did the CD sell on Craigslist? I’m getting Daniel Johnston teleportation / Madchester vibes – at least initially. But that’s an oversimplification. Beautiful rocque or folk oriented music. Did you have a homerecording frenzy during the pandemic?
There’s not much I can say about Eddy El Dorado. He’s a wanted man so I have to be brief.
I met him at a honky-tonk in the Adirondacks. He’s said some terrible things i can’t repeat but part of me thinks he’s a genius.
If he could talk i bet he’d say something like “Enemy of the State is streaming on apple music now”
Q5. American Tarragon Radio is the best radio show in America broadcasting on Spark Radio Syracuse. How’d this come about and what’s your mission statement?
Spark is a really cool community oriented, non-commercial institution in Syracuse that runs a radio station that broadcasts on two FM channels in Syracuse. I reached out to them last fall about hosting a show and they were kind enough to indulge me.
I have a weekly hour-long show where I play whatever has been pleasing me and each show is archived at https://www.mixcloud.com/americantarragon/. There’s a bunch of really good, eclectic music being played on their station. By far the best station in Syracuse.
Even if no one listens to the show i get off on the fact that i get to shoot my favorite songs out onto radio waves through the atmosphere and up into space. The electromagnetic spectrum is trippy, man.
Q6. Getting back to the Furry Frat show / where you are performance-wise. I get a feeling that you don’t feel limited in what you can do? For those who missed it and love details and techniques (but also mystery), can you give a little speel on what we bore witness?
I call it my karaoke set. I essentially just play Healers co. instrumental tracks with the vocals and synth lines cut out. Then I sing and play a few blips on the synth over top for my “performance.” I don’t take it too seriously. I kinda realized the more fun i have when i’m performing the more fun it is for the people in the room.
The full version of the Healers set will be hopefully coming this spring/summer. My best bud Jack is the other member of Healers.
It will be crazy if anyone will let us play their basement.
Also we’re finishing a Greatest Hits / Covers album that will hopefully be done in the not so distant future.
Q7. Alright Will – any last plugs, anything I might have forgotten, or updates on present & future journeys and endeavors?
Me and Jack have a new business we started called Eternal Clubhouse. It’s becoming one of the most successful pages on instagram (@eternalclubhouse – please follow us). It’s amazing what hard work, perseverance, and buying followers can lead to.
We’ve also been giving back to the community by teaching ambient musicians how to improve the quality of their music and work smarter, not harder.
Get on over to I Heart Noise and check out Will from Healers Altered Cultures Mix.
Quite a treat and not shy to bounce around from disparate styles. For fans of music discovery. It is wild and says a lot that the only song on here that I had heard before was the Mickey Bliss Band’s “Venus Dressed In Plastic Garbage”. This is a really incredible playlist. Thank you Will.
And before, or after, you listen to the mix go on over and pull up Healers visual album Healers Paradise.
We headed to Trixie’s Palace for Kids Like You and Me (KLYAM)‘s A Mouth Is A Mouth Noise Fest Part Seven. KLYAM has been putting on underground – quite literally – noise fests for a few years now so we thought we’d go check it out.
We were greeted by what appeared to be AMAM Noisefest performers sitting on the lawn outside of the house concert venue. These friendly folks informed us that there was free pizza and beer inside of the home. Somebody said that the kids putting on the show directed the bands to load in at 5 PM, but nobody actually showed up on time. Anyway, we waited around a bit for the show to start.
Soundcheck kicked things off. This band is comprised of Chris from KLYAM on vocals, Brian, who will be performing two more times tonight, on drums and G. Gordon Gritty on mini keyboard. There is a repetitive synthesizer loop in the background while the trio is playing. They played some bizarre song with the lines “I WANT A MILF” repeated and then maybe a couple of other quick songs.
Next up were Lindie and Con Tex. Two really talented guitarists playing off of the other. They might have been playing two totally different melodies, but it really worked. Picture a 10 minute long instrumental passage smack dab in the middle of a The Clean pop song. Those perfect kind of vibes. They looked at each other and decided that the set was over. We think they should play much more often in the rock ‘n roll circuit!
Next up was Brian, also known as >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>, UP UP UP,arrows, the drummer of Johnnie and the Foodmasters, the drummer of Soundcheck, the noise guitarist in G. Gordon Gritty. Among other things. Up Up Up is an innovative noise guitarist who constructs his own pedals, guitars, and peripheral accessories. He has played at other noisefests before. This time it is just him on guitar and he plays a variety of instrumental surf classics. He introduces the set by saying something like it’s summer. His style of playing is pretty percussive and the sounds very wiry, clangy, and fuzzy. He deconstructs Dale with his own signature attack, but not to the point beyond recognition. This is great!
Next up was DJ Tomorrow’s Achievements. His vocal-only set was broken into a couple of segments. Progressively depressing per the speaker. The first was a group exercise: we were to find someone we didn’t know and tell them the best thing that happened today. The exercise was to take five minutes. We didn’t participate, but most people did. After that DJ moved into throat singing. Singing or noise making. A long fart type of noise. But other noises, too. Next, he told a story of a prisoner who ate his own shit and the high costs of maintaining prisons. The atmosphere did not lighten up as everyone paid close attention to the speaker.
Lobotomizer from Pawtucket took the stage after DJ. Lobotomizer has a large speaker and a vast array of electronics perched atop a keyboard stand. Turning knobs. Glitching out. It’s hard to say if there were individual songs, but it might be safe to assume something like that. So many different sounds. Back when we were going to noisefests in the ’90s, we would see performers do stuff like Lobotomizer. Almost really really subtle dance music now that we think of it.
Next up was Healers Co. A duo with both players on electronics and tiedye projections in the background. We’ve seen them before with drums and guitar, but this set is notably scarier, more atmospheric, and more one-with-nature. The cornerstone of Healers Co. is intimacy and the open invitation to let your mind to wander. They occupy a flexible position in the weird world noise universe. We sure will keep an eye on them.
G. Gordon Gritty was next and again they were rough. A three piece this time with Brian from before on noise guitar, a gentleman named Kyle on drums, and Gritty on bass and vocals. Interestingly enough, GGG did not utilize wireless systems to execute this performance, as he had in recent times. There was a cover of Black Lips “O Katrina” and a rapid-fire out of tune/time burst of one or two lines from a half dozen or so songs before the band got all wild and switched instruments mid-jam while GGG improvised a bit “Like A Stripper In Vegas” and called it a night.
Skull Urethra , a project of VomitBitch, ended the night with a grotesque, one-of-a-kind set. There were about a half dozen members of this collective. Add to that a tarp of fake blood, partial nudity, wrestling, and haircuts. That was just the performance piece of it. The music side of it was well orchestrated and in the general pedigree of noise. The crowd seemed to be in on what was happening and some found themselves suddenly a part of the act. The people in the band, so to speak, were doing their thing in a half circle around the space. The chaos was controlled and once it was over, it was over, but we all had never seen anything like it. No amount of recorded audio could capture this. So you’d have to be there. Interesting, huh!
Healers Co. just released their latest album Healers Paradise. If you knew what was up last night, you went to comfy Trixie’s Palace to celebrate the release of the audio-visual album. Stream it below. Sound collage experimentalism and campfire acoustics, some dreamish pop. I watched/listened first thing in the morning and it worked wonders. I bet late at night would be a nice time too. Early Animal Collective, early Girls of the Gravitron. Good work dudes.
Healers play Kids Like You and Me’s A Mouth Is a Mouth Noise Fest Part 7 at Trixie’s Palace on AUGUST 17.