New Science Projects

New Science Projects - May 2012

New Science Projects Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: May 10, 2012
Posting Date: May 14, 2012
Artist Hometown: Denton, TX
Links: Bandcamp, Facebook
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Iron Bars
Second Wifer
Church Curtains
ONE: Can you give us a brief history of New Science Projects?
Dale Jones: It’s like having a bad rash for seven years. Sometimes, when you scratch it, it gets warm and red and shiny like the skin of an apple on a summer picnic, and that’s nice, or the pus runs out, all toxic-waste and full of seriousness and people look at you like you’re a monster. They see the sunflower drip, yellow, bubbling up— it’s quite disgusting. Some people try to use the ointments, the topical creams, the disguises, but it doesn’t stop the itch. Somewhere, underneath all of the chemicals, you’re infected, and you’re dying, and it’s driving you nuts every day at your desk imagining yourself ripping your clothes off and jumping down a sandpaper slip-and-slide. When I started writing these songs, I was trying to lay some salve on the holes, trying to make myself a little better. Now, I can honestly say that I am something much worse. But I’m trying to keep my nails cut short, to keep from scratching.
DJ: How has your music changed now that you’re working with a band?
Dale: It sucks less. The band, thankfully, inserts a thick, hard caulk into the holes in my spotty songwriting, tacking down a carpet of sound to match the drapes I dream up. They’re the foundation for my horrible house. Throw out the moldy sofa, burn all of the family photos and trash the TV, and you’ve got solid walls, good support, and tile so tight you’d swear it was its first time. Before, I was never really trying to do a folk thing, or a blues thing, but that’s what I could play with what I had. I always wanted to be a punk rock band, but I was only one man. I didn’t have the chops to pull it off. Well, you can see I’ve got chops now, and I couldn’t have stopped shaving them without Donovan, Victor, and Scarlett.
TWO: What can we expect from your next album?
Dale: The band is on a lot of it…it’s got action, romance, suspense— It’s the answer to the question: ‘Why did my son have to be the one who died from auto-erotic asphyxiation? Why not the kid next door?’ or maybe it poses the question ‘Am I really such a complete piece of shit?’ A lot of it is marriage material…a lot about gender dysphoria and feeling sick, staring at a television, seeing all of the beautiful faces and perfect places and contrasting it to my own life, or your own life, and feeling like you come up short . It’s really an identity thing, I guess— trying to figure out what I did wrong and what they did right. Of course, they’re only fantasy, a projection of what some focus group for businesses thinks I want or wants us to want…an idealized, sanitized shade of family, a Bizzarro life. It’s a false reality, but it’s reinforced by the whole culture. There’s no getting away from those feelings. Sometimes, when it’s late and it’s dark, I’ll put my face up to the screen and tap on the glass and ask if I can come inside. I want to be the woman in the commercial with everything in front of her, the whole world open at her feet, her future stretching out forever. I want to be the man who struggles for something sincere and is ultimately vindicated and everyone goes home saved, with plenty of toys for the children and maybe something nice for the lady, too. I want to have one family Christmas where I feel like I belong to something more than myself and where I don’t feel as low and torn as the wrapping paper on the floor.
DJ: Don’t you think it’s a little naïve to believe in things like that? The world doesn’t really work that way…
Dale: Sure, and I never said I believed in it. I know it’s impossible. I know I am a sore spot on the ass of the world. I know I’m no good. But I think some part of everybody wants those things. Every day it’s in front of you, in the magazines, the movies, in the whole media: ‘We are all special.’ Like, ‘You too can be beautiful with this cream’ or ‘You too can be happy with this pill’ or ‘Your family will love you if you clean this way’ or ‘Your life will matter if you vote this way.’ It’s all a drug, a deception. On the album, I’m trying to get into the space between the lie and the truth, to the place where you see that what you have doesn’t add up with what they’ve been selling you…or maybe it’s all bullshit and I’m posing emotions I can’t relate to in an attempt to sound intellectual or poetic, or like I have something meaningful to say when all I really do is put people down and tear people down and tear ideas out of other people’s books and paste them on myself, yelling, ‘Look mommy, I made musics!’ Maybe I should realize that my parents were right all along–– that I am a joke and if possible should be ignored by everyone until I get the hint and take a walk under an avalanche.
DJ: You’re just being melodramatic. You’re not 13 anymore, you know? How do you think your new album differs from Bikini Salute?
Dale: Bikini Salute was accidentally all about suicide. Every song on the record was about suicide, though I never intended to make it conceptual. It was a lucky accident. It just happened that all of the songs that I wrote around that time were about the same thing. I must have had something on my mind. For this new record, besides the band being on it this time, I’ve been trying to stay more focused on living persons and how they deal with their issues, like I said before.
DJ: I don’t remember you saying that.
Dale: I hate talking about this stuff. Anything you want to know about me or my music is already in my songs. If only I would wipe off this make-up and straighten up and be a real man! Maybe I could join a surf rock band…Honestly, the album is not coming out for a while and no one will remember this anyway. I forgot where we were going with this…Could we just move on?
DJ: Sure…
THREE: After being voted “DFW’s Least Favorite Band” for so many years now, what motivates you to continue?
Dale: Continue what? Living? Being unpopular is not worth suicide…
DJ: I mean your music…
Dale: Fear is the major motivation, I think. Fear of getting older, fear of the inevitable endings, fear of changes…fear of sitting on my deathbed, looking back on my life, and discovering I have nothing to show for having been alive. I don’t mean big, celebrated accomplishments like blowing up other people’s countries or laying off a whole plant of employees without an incident— nothing they give you parades for. I just want to hold on to something while I can, while I’m young and able to feel things fresh. I guess I want to be able to say that I did something that was meaningful to me, that I went for something I wanted to, and as I have no other prospects, this will have to do. I don’t need to be anything to anybody as long as I get to be okay with myself in the quiet parts of the night. As of now, I like what I’ve done in NSP and I suppose I could quit doing it any time now without feeling too bad. I’d be doing all of DFW a favor, anyway.
DJ: Are you saying you’re planning to break up the band?
Dale: No!
DJ: Ah, too bad…
Dale: I just don’t feel like I want to prove anything to anyone. You don’t like NSP? Fuck you! I have always done exactly what I want with my music, without any consideration for what anyone else thinks. I am not worried about other people’s opinions. Playing music is inherently self-indulgent. It’s worse than staring in the mirror all day! There’s no other reason to do it than to please yourself, so everyone else can go hammer nails into each other’s ears. To believe that I have something new to contribute to the world, that playing rock n’ roll music is somehow an art form that people need to appreciate me for, I’d have to be extremely deluded. I hate talking to people who think like that. There are a lot of people like that around here. Music is for fun, it’s for laughs. It’s entertainment, but I do it to entertain me, not you. So, we’re ‘DFW’s Least Favorite Band’ every year for the past seven years. So what? We’ll probably get it again for the next seven years to come. I’m doing something that I love when I hate absolutely everything else in my life. NSP is my foxhole in the war of the world, and I don’t think I’ll be surrendering anytime soon. Somebody’s got to stay dug down, guns ready, waiting for those smug, smiling bastards to come skipping through like they’ve just made the musical Mona Lisa. There’s a villain in every story. Somebody’s got to be the bad guy.
– Interview and transcription by Dale Jones