Andrew Zukerman is one
half each of Gastric Female Reflex and Beniffer Editions. The former is
an unpredictable and absurdist experimental act that defies the simplicity
of a label like "noise." If you like your sound culled from all sources
imaginable and then siphoned through abused reel-to-reel decks and
makeshift circuit boards, GFR won't disappoint. Sonic detritus, for lack
of a less pretentious term.
Editions is the label behind the band, famed for its extensive
discography of bizarrely titled releases. In addition to GFR swag, there
are tapes, CDRs, and records by the likes of Brian Ruryk, Massaccesi,
Ignatz, and Edith Bunker's Demonized Vomit Insurance. To name a scant
To be honest, I was a
bit intimidated at the prospect of asking 20 Questions to (one half of
the) brains behind a band whose records have names like "Page Out Of
Scatophilic Locker Room Drama: 'I Consider Myself Rather Likeable...'" I
wasn't sure whether to expect serious answers or a barrage of ostensible
non-sequiturs designed to highlight the na´vetÚ of my questions.
Curiously, the results were somewhere halfway between the two poles.
Perhaps that's just where they should be...
1. What attracts you to noise?
Hardly anything. The term "noise" has been
perverted and rendered threadbare by too many talentless, thoughtless
acts that embrace abstractions because they otherwise do not have the
talent or the scrutiny to make something with intention and originality.
To call something "noise" for me is a like barefaced spank across the
milky-white buttflaps of experimental music and I would never use the
term loosely while describing any of the artists on Beniffer. But,
looking past the technicality, the evocativeness of two or more sounds
together, creating tension, sonorousness, chafing anxiety, vivid
indifference, waves of nausea, extrasensory calamity, flashbacks,
head-pounding elation, or whatnot can be just as, if not more enticing
than anything popular song (or "noise") could accomplish.
2. What do you listen to most? Do you
listen to a lot of noise and experimental music, or do you branch out
into other genres?
Right now Billy-Goat Polka is receiving
heavy rotation. Or anything ESL with "ping pong percussion". I would
scratch my chin to the bone if I was spinning French sound poetry ALL
3. What inspired the names Beniffer
Editions and Gastric Female Reflex. Was it irony and an eye for the
Gastric Female Reflex was an unfortunate
name we became stuck with around the time of our first gig in
2005. There was three of us at the time, we each autonomously picked a
word from the English language and voila... I think
Gastric, although he refuses that he would ever have picked such a
despicably anatomical word for the name of our singing group. We can
agree that the third member Taylor Flook chose female because she was in
fact a female and just as surprised about it as we were.
Beniffer Editions was another last minute
and burdensome decision on the part of me and Jacob. We came to the name
at the height of the BenJen media miscarriage outside a Swiss Chalet in
Mississauga. There is seriously no amusing story to relate here. We
really wish that we came up with the name Simply Tapes back then: simple
4. What is your record collection like?
I know that Jacob would jump at the
opportunity to tell you about his sprawling crates of 19th century
elevator soca, but I'm doing the interview here... If I was to compare
my record collection to something it would have to be a
in my loved one's arms; quaint and quietly lush - a real inspiration.
5. Is there a Beniffer release that is
particularly special to you?
We love all of our children.
6. It turns out we both live in Canada. How
do you feel about Stephen Harper?
The kid who ran away from home and fell out
of the tree, right?
7. Got any strange stories?
Yeah, but the producers of I Know What You
Did Last Summer stole it.
8. CDR vs. tape vs. vinyl. Which is better
and who would win in a fight?
I think it's safe to say that we will not
be doing any more CDRs anytime soon... I cannot purport to be an analog
purist, I just kinda like the way tapes and vinyl make me feel, you
9. Beniffer has a pretty low compilation
to full release ratio. What do you think about compilations? Is it fun
putting them together, andare the results as satisfying as a normal
I wish that we could do more compilations,
but the reality is that it is such a monumental organizational feat - I
don't think either of us has the time, patience or cerebral aptitude to
follow through with another one.
10. Tell us about the Beniffer zine.
I guess it is one of the only
releases without music. So many of the musicians/combos we like to
release are amazing artists as well, but because their art usually only
serves the music (album covers/packaging) I thought it would be a nice
idea to just curate their visual art for once.
11. Top five cheeses. Go.
12. What labels do you particularly admire,
Dutch Beer (or whatever label Lieven
Martens is doing now), Tochnit-Aleph, 777 was 666, Stomach Ache, lsd
otb, Pickwick, Maang, Vanguard, Not Not Fun, columbia, wintage, child of
microtones, pan, revenent, in yr disc, scumbag, chocolate monk, big ups
editions, simply tapes, heresee, hanson, american tapes, etc etc etc
13. What has the response been to your
label and music on a local level?
14. "Accounts for Head Gardening Tape,"
"Lovers in the Midst of Eating Fries," "Plays the Joplin Scarecrow"...
What inspires these incredibly awesome names?
Probably my propensity for homosexual
But "lovers in the midst of eating fries"
is a true story that took place at the victory cafe.
Lovers in the Midst of Eating Fries
15. Brian Random's Answering Machine
Cassette Favorites sounds amazing. Could you give us a brief rundown
of what it is and how it came together, as well, perhaps, as a
summary of some of the more notable messages?
Our friend Brian spent 10+ years compiling
the tape from various Value
Villages, Goodwills and
Salvation Armys -
"purchasing" answering machines for their cassettes. It represents what
we think is the most in-depth portrayal of Southern Ontario weirdness to
date. To outline the notable messages would be exhaustive and not worth
it since you should own it, K?
16. What makes a noise release good?
Talent and a certain level of
17. What is your favourite colour? Justify
Green-gold, the color of my festering
18. What's on the horizon for Beniffer
Editions and Gastric Female Reflex?
Matching tattoos - they'll say "keep on
fuking" but really spelled like that.
19. What is your day job? Name one
interesting thing about it.
I work in a record/book store, it interests
me because I can afford dispersing caviar encrusted moose meat to the
homeless population of toronto.
20. Which is the best contraceptive method?
conducted by Michael Tau
published July 2009
photo credit: screen captures from videos by ayal senior