From Faith No More to Failure to even Coal Chamber, there are a lot of names this year making records we didn’t think we’d hear from again. Add Spylacopa to that list. Who? A revered underground side project of John LaMacchia of near legendary Brooklyn fusion metal/hardcore/hip hop/jazz collective Candiria (aka pretty much my favorite live band of all time). Spylacopa released sporadic experimental music before shifting to become a veritable cult supergroup of sorts with members of Isis (the post-metal band, you cornholes!), Dillinger Escape Plan and Ms. Julie Christmas of Made Out Of Babies/Battle Of Mice fame.
Busy schedules, a plethora of work and life events brought delays in a follow up to the band’s well received EP a few years back (time flies), but the murder of drummer Troy Young really brought things to a new place for LaMacchia. He knew after awhile on a core level that more Spylacopa music ought to reach the light of day. Thus was born Parallels.
For a full interview scoop read BELOW!!!
Hi John. thanks for doing this. i’m waking up and listening to some Run The Jewels “Crown”. Thinking back as I type this to Spylacopa’s origins as your sort of ambient side project from Candiria. Over time the project developed into something else,with the extra contributions from Jeff, Julie and everyone. Does revisiting the unfinished material for this now intended full length give you more closure with the project?
Well I don’t exactly know what Run The Jewels “Crown” is (Note: It’s a rap song, John. You’d prob dig it. ) but I am glad you asked that question because yes, it really does. Originally, this project was never intended to be anything other than what you had mentioned, a side project for me to release all of the ambient, experimental songs and musical explorations I was creating outside of Candiria. However, when someone like Jeff Caxide expresses interest in working on whatever it is you are putting together you begin to imagine things differently. Greg Puciato in particular was a huge part of the first EP and I am really grateful that we got to work on a bunch of cool music together but the issue was, it became extremely difficult to just get stuff done and I am definitely happy I have this record finished and I am extremely proud of everything on it, which is kind of rare for me. Well for most artists I would guess, actually.
The Spylacopa EP was a tease, in a way. It was short and sweet but covered a lot of ground in short order (kind of like most Candiria songs, haha).
It was short because initially the plan was to put out two EP’s in the span of one year. That quickly changed once Greg hit the road and Julie wanted to make a record and everyone else’s attention began to drift. I have absolutely no regrets though. I am very happy with just the first EP coming out when it did, then working with Julie on The Bad Wife. I am extremely proud of that record. Julie and I worked pretty hard on that one and Andrew Schneider is just like King Midas behind the board so the record just sounds incredible in my opinion.
Yeah, it was a major artistic statement. Love that album. What else have you been up to, man? I saw Rising Pulse put on a “Drones Unleashed” show at Lucky13 Saloon. What was that all about?
Well, I have been playing in another project called Morn with my buddy Joseph Milazzo. The music is very different from anything else I have ever been a part of It’s very patient music. It is melodic, dark and moody. Drones Unleashed was just some snazzy lil thing I came up with. In actuality there was not one drone band on the bill.
Do you have racing thoughts or are you more of a contemplative type,at a leisurely pace? You’ve always seemed reflective and well spoken, though I have seen you hyped up sometimes too. I ask because I feel like you’re someone who really analyzes styles, locations, culture.
I’d honestly say, considering where I am from and the people I grew up with I am a pretty reflective and contemplative person. I do get hyped up when I am going to play or I am excited about something but mainly I am a pretty mellow dude. At least that’s what I see. Maybe someone that knows me intimately may disagree with that but that’s what I think I am.
I think it is healthy you gave it some time before revisiting Spylacopa stuff after Troy’s death. Did it feel powerful finishing this Parallels record?
Powerful in some ways, quite confusing in other ways. There is some extremely sensitive subject matter surrounding this record. First and foremost, Troy’s tragic passing. When I say tragic, I mean that in every sense of the word. That kid was so alive. Not everyone that met him may have understood him or maybe he even at times may have rubbed some people the wrong way but that kid was full of life and so extremely passionate about music and soooo hungry! I met his family at the trial for the murderer who took his life. It was one of the main reasons why I wanted to get this record out. I felt obligated in a way. How could I not get this music out there? This may be the last recordings of Troy in a professional setting! The thing is though, the subject matter of these songs does not reflect the tragedy of Troy’s death. This is a Spylacopa record and Troy happened to played drums most of the songs that make up the material on it and he would have wanted this record to come out as it was intended to from the artists perspective no matter how off the wall some of the subject matter may be. For example the video for the opening track and the first song that was released, “Hexes”, really pushes the boundaries with some extremely crude and risqué imagery. My friend and director of the video Steve Perlmaster had a vision which at first, I was extremely concerned about it possibly being too offensive for even just the contributing members of the band, let alone the fact that there is this sensitive topic of Troys passing and posthumously contributing as well. So conversations took place, I expressed my concerns to Steve and he really, truly pushed himself so that he felt certain that we not only loved what he delivered but that it didn’t feel inappropriate. Well at least to us it doesn’t, ha! I am extremely proud of what he created. It is a perfect match for the song which is about a love gone into the realm of obsession and taking pleasure in your lovers pain.
Ok, the vocals on “Hexes” sounded like Jerry Cantrell in places. Great track with ton of groove. I can’t tell who is singing. It is rumored there are a lot of guests and new people involved. Can you shed a little light through a crack in the door, as much as you want to reveal? Are Julie and Greg still involved on some tracks? A lot of people miss Julie’s vocals in the scene.
Well it’s not going to be a secret for very long but the vocals on that track were done by yours truly. So far it is being pretty well received and I am happy about that. Julie has a few songs on the record and they are really some of my favorite moments on the album. She is so talented and we have remained very close friends. She’s my diamond girl. Greg on the other hand has a bunch of other stuff going on and is at this point not related to this project. He’s a pretty active guy and I am really happy for him. He has this new thing called The Black Queen which I can’t wait to hear. Down the line, you never know, maybe we’ll do something again, maybe with Spylacopa, maybe something else. If not I am extremely proud of what we did together and our friendship comes before anything else.
How does it feel to still have Rising Pulse contributing meaningful stuff to the underground? I’ve been thinking a lot about when I interviewed you guys in Candiria out back of CBGBs years ago when Candiria first played out after the van accident. My dad just died and I’ve been recalling something Michael MacIvor or you said-I forget which- about how you really should live every day like it could be your last. I mean, I don’t want to live in a state of panic or impending doom, but I really respect you or other artists who I feel have devoted so much of their lives and creative QI to enrichening the lives of others.
I am so sorry about your dad man, thats terrible. I think I remember you posting about it. I believe that was Mike who said that. Maybe I am mistaken, might have been me. I’m never going to stop making music and art. This is my life and I feel like I am just truly understanding and accepting who I am as an artist which is kind of a big deal to me. I have nearly died a few times and each time you go through a recovery process, you can’t help but think that all you have been doing was in some way, important. I am very happy I started a record label too, I really makes me happy to put out records, I hope I can continue to do that forever.
Is this quintessentially a NYC record at heart?
Strangely enough, this record has very little to do with NYC. This record, if anything, is about relationships. Love, friendship, songs of love, loss and betrayal. Julie’s songs may venture into some stranger territory but for the most part it has a similar vibe, subject matter wise as the EP. Parallels is a very fitting title because there just happened to be all of these similarities between what was happening in real life and what was happening within the context of the songs. One day I will tell the whole story of “Hexes” and I don’t think anyone will really believe how strange things turned out but lets save that for another interview. Ha!
thanks! Can’t wait to hear more!
Thank you Morgan. Thanks for always taking interest in what I am doing.