Bill Orcutt Talks Involuntary Behaviors and Getting People To Shut the F#%@ Up

Categories: Q&A, Video
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Photo by Mike Shiflet
No one in music today can express complicated ideas through simple means with as much raw eloquence as Bill Orcutt.

The Miami expatriate (Orcutt has resided in the Bay Area for years now) and former guitarist for cult South Florida noise rock trio Harry Pussy has been on a tear since 2009, releasing a steady stream of LPs and singles packed with nothing but a four-string Kay guitar -- and occasional un-effected vocals -- pushed to the absolute limit of sound.

Every winter, Orcutt travels to Miami to celebrate the holiday season with family and friends, and perform a show in his old stomping grounds. We're at the exact halfway point from the next time we'll get to see hear him live. So to tide ourselves over we got in touch with the renowned shredder via email to get the scoop on some recent touring and a pair of recently released, extra-exclusive seven-inch records.



Crossfade: You just did a little tour of the Northern Midwest up into Canada. Was that built around Neon Marshmallow Fest?

Bill Orcutt: I was out for about a week. The tour was built around two festivals: Neon Marshmallow, and a month-long festival in Montreal called Suoni Per Il Popolo.

You've talked a lot about room acoustics and overcoming noisy audiences. How do fest performances usually fare?

Generally, the folks who come to see me play are superattentive -- if there's ever any issue with someone losing focus, I'll just tell 'em to shut the fuck up, which usually works. If there's still a problem, I always carry a taser in my case for the truly recalcitrant.

What's up with the new singles? Why so anonymous? [The records are without center labels, inserts, or any information regarding identifying the artist or track names.]

Not anonymous, just lazy. I never bother with labels 'cause they take so long to layout. No patience. Especially for tour singles. You're buying 'em from me, so I assume you can figure that shit out.

One of the pieces on the new 7''s is called "Tic Fit." Your label is called Palilalia. Do you have an interest in atypical neurological reflexes? Does that inspire your music?

Loneliness and aphasia are my primary themes, but I'm always on the lookout for new models, new ways to process my sound. Involuntary behaviors seem like a way forward.

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Two new tour-only singles by Bill Orcutt -- "Tic Fit" b/w "Bored With The Moon" (left) and "All Tongues" b/w "Tender Bottoms" (right).


You gave an interview recently where you talked about not being done with acoustic guitar. Can you elaborate on specific modes or ideas you would still like to explore?

Yeah, I'm feeling it still. I don't know if I can elaborate really, but I know there's more to be done. I'm finishing up a new record now and it feels like there's something left unsaid. So yeah, probably one more after this.

What are your plans for the rest of 2011?

Finish up the new record for release in the fall, then a tour of the UK and Europe in October.

Will you be making your usual December stop in Miami?

Wouldn't miss it.

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