Remember Sunday morning cartoons with Bugs Bunny’s wily antics and subtly blue humour? Reminiscing about times sitting in front of the television with a bowl of Cheerios holds one unforgettable moment in cartoon history: Bugs Bunny’s one-man band. His ears holstering clashing cymbals and every limb strapped with some kind of bizarre instrument. I finally found the equivalent in reality, but his songs are eloquently written and arranged. His name is Micheal Gluki from Hipster Death Squad.
Orange Country Reverb was lucky enough to catch Micheal between writing new material and making Lite-Brite creations for an exclusive interview!
OCR: The name “Hipster Death Squad” leaves an unforgettable impression in my mind. For some reason, that I can’t accurately define, it makes me smile. What were the motivations or inspiration behind this moniker?
HDS: People in Winnipeg like to talk about what a great music community we have here. There are definitely a few really cool and creative musicians in this town, but to me it also seems like there’s this closed circle of a privileged few who seem to get a lot of breaks and an undue amount of recognition. They’re like the cool kids of our music scene, this elite, ultra-hip club. Hipster Death Squad was kind of a “f*ck you” to them. I came up with the name in a moment of frustration and resentment, which is really just petty and stupid!
OCR: After scouring the internet for all things “Hipster Death Squad,” there seems to be a shroud of mystery. Is this an intentional strategy so your music can speak for itself?
HDS: Ha, no, I’m not trying to be mysterious! However, I don’t like to talk about myself all that much, I guess. Also, I’m kind of embarrassed about doing music. I guess I feel like doing the regular band thing- creating a flashy website, posting tons of band photos and videos, etc.- would just be way too embarrassing. Putting my music out there is embarrassing enough!
OCR: Your songs are accompanied with a pseudo-album cover consisting of the band name illuminated in Lite-Brite. What is the most frustrating thing about Lite-Brite?
HDS: Ha…oh, maybe running out of a certain colour of those light things when you’re on a roll!
OCR: Canadian art has a tendency to be over-shadowed due to the high rotation of American content on Canadian media outlets. Even with CRTC regulations, radio stations op to play established Canadian artists. How do you, as an unsigned indie artist, overcome these obstacles and promote your radio-worthy wears?
HDS: Hmm, your question makes me think I should have a plan! Looking to get play on college stations is definitely a next step for me in the near future. I can’t see my stuff ever being played on commercial radio stations though. I mean, judging from what gets played on Winnipeg commercial radio stations, it’s all sh*t (nah, I’m just playin’ with you Winnipeg radio!). But no, seriously, it’s sh*t.
OCR: The song “Survivors” is a challenging and moving song. The initial listen I concluded that it was a catchy song. Afterward I sat listening to the song and wrote out the words as they were dictated. Holocaust, apartheid, genocide, murder, and rape are the themes explored. To me, this song highlights how the human spirit can overcome severe adversity and hardship. How did you go about addressing these taboo themes? Why did you use the technique of orally spelling the words? What prompted this song to be written?
HDS: You wrote out the words?!! That’s so awesome, I’m really flattered! Yeah, you pretty much hit the nail on the head, in terms of what the song’s about. It’s also about how over time oppressors are always renounced and forgotten, while victims will always be remembered and loved.
The writing of that song was very organic- I was essentially just ‘riffing’ over the track, trying to come up with some ideas. I basically free-styled the first line of the song and went from there. I guess I’m a big fan of juxtaposing apparent contradictions- in this case, singing about human atrocities to a catchy, melodic tune. I’m not sure why I chose to spell out the words. Maybe I was channeling my inner Gwen Stefani- B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
OCR: Your sound is beyond simple generic titles. It is an explosion electronic eloquence mixed with a plethora of influences. If you were to create a genre specific to your music, what would it be called?
HDS: Wow, thanks! A genre, a genre… there are so many ridiculous new genres that seem to be coined every other week… and FINALLY, someone has asked me to contribute to the list! The only name I can come up with is a bastardized version of my last name- Glückrock (and I’m totally just joking by the way!!).
OCR: What’s next for Hipster Death Squad?
HDS: Next thing for Hipster Death Squad is to put together a live show. I’m working on that right now. But also, I’ll be releasing a bunch of new tracks very soon. Rock on!
Don’t forget to mosey on over to his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/#!/hipsterdeathsquad) and follow him on Twitter (@HpstrDthSqd). Listen to Hipster Death Squad’s tunes at bandcamp (http://hipsterdeathsquad.bandcamp.com).