Denton shoegaze band, Rei Clone, took some time to discuss their next album, their favorite animes, how they formed the band, and much more. Check out their bandcamp and give them a listen, or check out the Pseudo Stereo session they had with us a few months ago.
Radio: First question, what was the inspiration for making an anime-influenced shoegazing band?
*entire band laughs*
Ash: I don’t really have an amazing answer for that. It’s not very spectacular. I really liked shoegaze, I really liked anime, and anime I thought aesthetically went very well with shoegazing. As we are now, lyrically especially, has much less to do with anime. It’s more like an aesthetic for us.
Radio: And how did y’all come together?
Zach: Well, Ash and I were friends in high school. Well, no, we went to high school together, let’s put it that way.
Ash: *laughs* We weren’t friends!
Zach: We became friends later.
Ash: We ended up working together at the same place years after high school. I was in another band at that time called Good Hank, and Zach asks me if I was still doing that, or if there was a spot available, and I told him no, I’m doing this new thing with Domingo. It was just supposed to be a recording project, it wasn’t meant for shows or anything, Domingo doesn’t wanna do shows… but now we do shows.
Zach: We have three shows next month.
Ash: And then we met Charlie on OKCupid.
Zach: And you and Domingo were in another band.
Ash: Me and Domingo have been friends and in bands since I moved to Denton. Like 5, 6 years ago?
Zach: Yeah. We really did meet Charlie on OKCupid. We made a profile as a band, looking for “group stuff”, and then we found her on OKCupid.
Charlie: Yeah. At first, they asked me to join, but I lived in Dallas, an hour away from Denton, so I declined, because I had a weekend job and there was no way I was able to make the time. But then I heard their first EP, and then I contacted Ash and said “I really wished I joined your band” and then stuff happened, and they needed a new bassist, and then I joined.
Ash: You just wanted to open for Ringo Deathstarr.
Charlie: *laughs* no.
Zach: That was her first show with us. Playing for Ringo Deathstarr. That was our biggest show at the time. And it’s still one of our biggest shows, even though we’re playing with Ringo Deathstarr next month.
Radio: That actually leads to one of my next questions. How did you guys get to open for Ringo Deathstarr?
Ash: Because we knew Garrett. We were also one of the only shoegaze bands in Denton.
Zach: We’re still one of the only shoegaze bands in Denton. It’s us and Walking Misery. Us and them are really the only two.
Domingo: Joy Sores?
Ash: No, Joy Sores is no longer a band. They played a reunion show two years ago, they might do it again, but…
Zach: That’s where I first saw Ringo Deathstarr. With Joy Sores. But it’s basically a matter of shoegaze merit. *laughs* That’s really all it was.
Radio: They have surprising reach though, Ringo Deathstarr. I’m in a Discord server where I sometimes talk about music, and somebody that I know lives in Canada somehow knew about Ringo Deathstarr. I thought they were just a local thing at first.
Zach: Oh yeah, Ringo Deathstarr’s played internationally. They played in Europe and Saudi Arabia. They toured with…
Domingo: Was it Smashing Pumpkins?
Zach: They toured with Smashing Pumpkins on their first record. Yeah, they’ve been a lot of places.
Radio: How has Denton, or I guess DFW as a whole, been treating you? And do you guys have any local bands that you guys are fans of besides Ringo Deathstarr and the other shoegazing band that you mentioned?
Ash: I like Dallas.
Charlie: But I think we get better reception in Denton, cause it’s really DIY and college town so…
Zach: I think the Dallas scene… we like playing in Dallas, and we get pretty reasonable crowds there, but I think that scene likes neo-psych a lot more… just psychedelic stuff, like the Tame Impala type stuff, and bands like Acid Carousel and those types of bands. I think they like them more than they like our type of stuff. We tend to do better in Denton, not only because we started there, but because they’re more receptive to that type of thing. As far as local bands that we like…
Charlie: I like Two Knights.
Zach: Two Knights is pretty good. We’re friends with Golden Week, Golden Week’s really good.
Ash: I love Alex’s new band Born Snapped.
Zach: Yeah, Born Snapped’s such a good band.
Ash: Bighand//Bigknife is also really good.
Domingo: And also Samebrain.
Zach: Oh yeah, Samebrain is so good! Samebrain’s amazing.
Domingo: They’re more Fort Worth, which, I’m surprised we haven’t played Fort Worth much.
Zach: We really haven’t. We only really played two or three shows. We did Lolas, and then B-side.
Ash: Fort Worth is kinda up and down.
Zach: And then we played 1919 a couple of times.
Domingo: Oh, that’s why we haven’t played in a while.
Ash: To backtrack on what Zach said, we get put on the bill with psych bands a lot, like Mother Tongues and bands like that, and we’re more of like a punk band, more of like a noisy band. I don’t think the crowd necessarily is unreceptive to that as much as they aren’t used to it, but everytime we play in a newer setting like that or to people we don’t normally play for, like the usual Denton people, there’s always at least one person that comes up to me and says “man, that was something different” or “that was something else”.
Zach: We just get put with a bunch of psych bands, even though we’re not really a psych band.
Domingo: We just kinda picked a genre that doesn’t have a lot of representation in this area. So we’re kinda always the odd band out for a lot of shows.
Ash: And as far as shoegaze goes, we do it differently.
Zach: That’s true.
Radio: I guess this is related to what I asked before, but what have y’all been listening to lately, and has it influenced your plans for your new album?
Charlie: I’ve recently started listening to Beach House’s new album 7. I like that one a lot.
Radio: Yes, it’s really good.
Zach: 7 is so good… So, Beach House.
Domingo: Oh, there’s trap.
*rest of the band laughs*
Domingo: Just miscellaneous trap, not even stuff I really like. I just like the beats and the obnoxious hi-hats.
Zach: We can agree on that.
Ash: I’ve been listening to a lot of straight-edge hardcore again. It’s not really influencing the… well, there’s that one chuggy part in… that newer song. *imitates riff* Yeah, I guess it’s been influencing it a little bit, but kinda in a pseudo sort of way. We listen to a lot of Chain of Strength and Youth of Today and Minor Threat as of late.
Domingo: The contemporaries of My Bloody Valentine.
Zach: *laughing* Yeah, right?
*rest of band laughs*
Zach: A lot of the stuff, when we were writing… we’re not writing so much anymore, we’re really trying to work out the kinks and stuff, cause most of it’s already written. When we were writing stuff, a lot of what I was listening to was New Wave stuff. Like I listen to a-ha a lot, and I listen to a lot of Gaza, I was listening to a lot of Cure, listening to a lot of Bauhaus, and… I dunno, now I listen to a lot of rap. So, I dunno, it’s kinda whatever.
Domingo: And I feel like when you’re writing something for a long enough time, you kinda get sick of listening to other stuff around it. When I was first doing this, yeah, I was only listening to shoegaze, but now it’s… I can’t. I can’t do it.
Zach: I haven’t been listening to shoegaze in a long time.
Domingo. Yeah. I can still enjoy it and I can still dissect it when I listen to it, but if I’m just chilling out or at work, I have to pick something different. Although I do wanna check out that new Beach House record. I’ve been listening since Bloom, and I love all the stuff they did.
Zach: They bought their shit back.
Radio: And now to get into the “geekier” questions, I guess. Don’t worry, there’s not that much.
Ash: Throw ‘em at us, dude. We will answer anything.
Zach: Hit me.
Domingo: No, the football team’s gonna make fun of me.
Zach: My dad’s gonna beat me up!
*band continues laughing*
Radio: … God, now I’m remembering one comic where this dad is asking “hey, are you watching those Japanese cartoons, son?” and the anime fan pretentiously says “it’s not cartoons, it’s anime. It’s a superior art form”.
Ash: Let me tell you that he’s right.
*rest of band laughs*
Ash: And you can print that.
Zach: Put that on my grave!
Ash: I want that engraved on my headstone.
Radio: First one’s obvious. Favorite anime?
Charlie: Well, I’m out of this one, since I have not watched anime.
Zack: *sarcastically* Wait, what?!
Charlie: I know!
Charlie: I mean, the only stuff that I’ve seen… I tried to watch Kill La Kill. Haven’t finished it.
Domingo: You watched Pokémon, right?
Charlie: Some Pokémon, some Dragon Ball Z, but I have yet to dwell in the animes.
Zach: That’s good. That’s a good thing.
Ash: Charlie is the only member of the band that really keeps us grounded.
Charlie: I joined for the music, not for the anime!
Ash: What’s your favorite OP (opening theme) then, if you’re in for the music?
Charlie: *confused* OP?
Zach: Angel Beats. It’s always Angel Beats. That’s the correct answer. But… I dunno, I haven’t watched a whole anime in a long time. My favorite anime of all time is Monster, personally. But I like watching a lot of different types of things. Like, I like Space Dandy, Cowboy Bebop, Madoka Magica, Lain, and all that kinda stuff, so… Monster’s my favorite, but I watch a lot of different types of anime I guess.
Ash: It’s hard for me to pinpoint what my favorite anime is, but I guess top three would be Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, and the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Special runner-up, Welcome to the NHK.
Zach: Welcome to the NHK is amazing.
Ash: But I try to keep up with current season anime, and what I like right now is Uma Musume Pretty Derby.
Zach: Oh, that’s the horse girl one?
Ash: Yeah. I also tried to watch Darling in the Franxx but I didn’t like it.
Zach: It’s too much of a rip-off of Evangelion.
Ash: I’m watching an older one right now that Scarlet turned me on to called the Disastrous Life of Saiki K. That one’s really good.
Domingo: Well, my favorite anime, the one I’ve been watching a lot and always go back to is Samurai Champloo. There’s a lot more anime I would say is better, but to me, where I can say “Oh, I can watch this again and again”, it’s always Samurai Champloo.
Zach: Yeah I really like the anachronisms of it. It’s like, there’s a lot of… there’s a graffiti of, like, baseball, and it’s supposed to be feudal Japan.
Domingo: There’s a storyline, but you can literally pick up any episode and watch it and be pretty entertained. Right now, I’ve just been in a trash heap. I’ve just been exploring the trashiest stuff. There’s this one I’ve been watching lately called Chivalry of a Failed Knight that I thought was a harem anime, but it turned into an actually pretty decent romance anime. It’s not gonna get a second season even though it deserves it. And the one I’ve been watching lately is based off a dating sim. It’s called, like… Amagami SS? And it’s interesting because every four episodes focuses on the main character courting a different girl, and then the arc ends, and then the fifth episode comes, it starts with a different girl, and the interactions are completely different, and they change the outro song for each girl too. So, it’s like “how are you gonna do a whole show on a dating sim?” and then “oh, it’s basically four or five different series under this one umbrella”. And yeah, it’s terrible, and I watch it when I’m opening at work and there’s nobody in there for an hour. Gonna watch some really awkward high schoolers flirt with each other. I feel like that’s my equivalent at yelling at a football game on TV like “you’re an idiot!”, screaming at this made-up character in this made-up situation that never happened.
Zach: That’s how I feel whenever I play Persona. Any Persona game, pretty much.
Domingo: But yeah, I’ve been meaning to watch something else, but I can’t. I’ve been wanting to watch stuff I can just turn my brain off to. I tried that with Sword Art Online, but even with my brain off, I got really mad at that show.
Radio: Rest in Peace.
Domingo: Oh yeah, I’m just watching this for pure entertainment, but halfway through I just went “ow, my brain is off, and I can’t even take this.” I just kinda not wanna watch anything right now, but I know I have to, because I don’t do anything else.
Radio: Have you guys been to any conventions?
Ash: Zach and I go to A-Kon or AnimeFest almost every year.
Zach: Yeah, pretty much every year. We tried to go to IKKiCON every year, but last year… was not good. We don’t go to Anime Matsuri or any of the other ones. It’s just AnimeFest and A-Kon.
Ash: Especially after all that stuff came out about John Leigh. I’ve never been to it and I’ll never go.
Note: John Leigh runs Anime Matsuri. Leigh has been reported by the Houston Press to have sexually harassed female attendees of his convention.
Ash: But it’s a good chance I’ll be at A-Kon or AnimeFest to see people I’d never see otherwise. I’d almost never see Travis or any of those guys ever. I know the reader doesn’t know who Travis is, but… print it.
*rest of the band laughs*
Charlie: I’ve been telling them we should try to play at a con.
Zach: Yeah. We need to learn a whole lot of OPs.
Ash: I was actually thinking about it. We can probably get into a con to play without learning OPs if we did something visually. Like have AMVs in the background or something on a projector.
Domingo: And then just play Linkin Park the whole set.
*rest of the band laughs*
Zach: Silverstein, Papa Roach. *laugh*
Radio: Bodies by Drowning Pool.
Zach: Exactly. *laugh*
Radio: I sorta touched on this in one of the previous questions, but I guess this is the most important question, so I’ll ask it again. What can you tell us about your plans for your new album? You said in your Facebook that it would kinda sound like you, but also noticeably different. Anything more you’d like to add?
Zach: Well, okay, so the important thing about this record that we have not done before is that we’re recording it ourselves. Everytime in the past, we worked with some sort of producer, which up to this point has always been Michael Briggs. He’s recorded everything that we’ve done up to this point other than the most recent single demo that we did, “Honeypop.” That was one that we recorded ourselves. But this whole record is gonna be recorded ourselves, and we’re gonna take time to do it, and I think that’s gonna be important to the way it sounds and the way it hits people, and just the way we perceive it. Because it’s gonna be this thing that we put so much more work into than any other project, not only because it’s longer, but also because it’s something that we actually did ourselves, and we didn’t just handle it off to someone else to interpret us, you know? So it’s gonna be us presenting us, not somebody presenting us. Does that make any sense?
Zach: And musically, I mean…
Ash: I like Michael, but it’s so hard working with a producer in having to… if something’s wrong, you gotta send it back, and then you gotta wait, and then they get back to you. This gives us a chance to really be hands-on with it. And Zach is really good at mixing and mastering. He knows how to do that. And… we’re in so much debt. And by we I mean mostly just Zach.
*the band laughs*
Ash: Like 3 grand in debt, so please buy this record.
Domingo: One thing that I thought was interesting when we were first playing live is that, when you listen to a classic shoegaze album, you don’t think about how they are producing it. Like, My Bloody Valentine, all those layers just hit just right. And one thing as a band that we’ve done throughout when we’re playing live is how to layer all of our volumes and make it sound good. And it’s really hard to explain that to someone else who’s recording or producing us, how we layer and level everything. Because it’s not something that we can just write down, like “oh, we gotta get this volume”. We did it by ear, so it’s kinda difficult when we’re communicating how everything’s supposed to be leveled. And so, we’re kinda just cutting the middleman, cause I feel like we knew how to level ourselves live, so recording-wise it should be more intuitive for us than to tell another person who isn’t onstage with us how to do leveling.
Ash: We have the equipment now, hence the debt. And we have the technology.
Zach: *in a slight announcer voice* We have the technology.
Ash: *also in an announcer voice* We can make it better.
Zach: As far as the actual content of the record, a lot of these songs are… we’re doing some songs that we haven’t really done before in terms of approaches to songs, I guess. Like, we have some more… We have a really lengthy song on this one that’s like seven minutes long. That’s the longest track we’ve ever done so far, and it’s kind of meandering. There’s a lot of jam stuff on this record that we’ve never really done before. There’s a lot of stuff where we’re just jamming the end of a song, or where we’re just jamming over each other and just playing off of each other, which I don’t think we’ve done on our other stuff yet. We’re gonna be doing some electronic drums and a lot of other stuff.
Ash: I feel like it’s noisier.
Zach: It’s noisier.
Ash: But it’s a little punkier
Zach: Yeah it’s noisier, it’s punkier, it’s punchier, it’s more impactful in a lot of ways. There’s not really a set sound for the whole thing, I think. A lot of the songs are pretty different from each other, but they kinda cohese in an interesting way.
Ash: One thing that we’re doing live as well as on the record is that we have these washy, dreamy interludes that go in between the songs, so it’s just one long… They bridge the songs together.
Zach: Yeah, the whole thing’s gonna be glued together by other smaller pieces. That’s the idea at least.
Radio: Sorta like in Loveless?
Zach: Kinda like in Loveless, yeah. But it’s more like they’re vignettes, I guess? Loveless seemed like it was all morphed together into this big whole… morphous cloud. But this is kinda more like different scenes, if that makes sense. It’ll make more sense once we actually put it together, but it’s gonna be along the lines of Loveless, yes.
Radio: And was learning how to record difficult at all?
Zach: Nah, I’ve been recording my own music for like ten years. So I already know how to record a lot of stuff. The thing is that since I’m also gonna be on the record, I’m gonna have to teach them how to do it too. And that is the tough part because there are just some things you learn through years of experience that you have to drill into other people in the course of just a couple of months. It’s gonna be a process of us all kinda learning together.
Radio: And last but the most important question. Who are y’alls waifus?
Note: Don’t look up waifu. If you already know what it means, I’m so sorry for you.
Domingo: *whispering* Oh God.
*silence, then everybody gradually laughs*
Charlie: This question does not affect me.
Zach: Who’s your non-anime waifu?
Ash: Just pick anybody.
Charlie: Gerard Way.
Radio: That is a good answer.
Ash: There are plenty of fan renderings of Gerard Way and like… *as the band laughs* Rule 34.
Charlie: Oh, show me that! I’ll watch that.
Ash: I will. I’m gonna send you, with your consent, all kinds of crazy Gerard Way fan drawings.
Zach: Just some nasty, nasty stuff.
Ash: Just some weird fucking stuff, man. You want that?
Charlie: I’ll watch it.
Zach: Like big knees.
Ash: Ok good.
Domingo: *laughing* Big knees.
Charlie: I watched this Claymation called Live Freaky Die Freaky, and that’s pretty freaky. It was about Charles Manson and-
Domingo: Claymation about Charles Manson?
Charlie: Davey Havok from AFI was in there, Billie Joe from Green Day was in there.
Domingo: Christ, what?
Zach: Anyway, my waifu has always been Yui Hirasawa from K-On, because I identify with her very much as a person who started out playing guitar and was very excited about it like she is in that show. She reminds me a lot of myself, and that’s why she’s my waifu.
Ash: Oh man, this is hard for me, because I was going through my roster, and I was trying to choose one that was not a fourteen year old girl. *Zach laughs* I guess, out of all the ones that are not fourteen year old girls, it’s got to be Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell.
Charlie: Is she like 15?
*rest of the band laughs*
Ash: I don’t think it’s ever… she has an adult job, so I assume-
Zach: She’s also part cyborg, right? So in cyborg years, she’s only like two.
Domingo: I mean, I guess you can’t be part-cyborg. As soon as you have some sort of android… thing, you’re a cyborg, right?
Zach: I would think so, yeah.
Domingo: I guess for me, it would be Misato from Neon Genesis. She’s a purple haired waifu.
Zach: Best girl.
Domingo: When I was watching as a teenager, I thought she was just like, a MILF or whatever. Like, hey, she’s kinda hot. But now, I recently rewatched it and I actually paid a lot of attention to the adult characters and realized that they are some of the most realistic adult characters written in anime. She gets wasted every night, gets up hungover but goes and does her fucking job, and she basically has to play mother to these kids who are just the most stressed out kids in the entire world. And, you know that she’s in the military, but she never really does anything combat-wise until the movie where she kills three special ops soldiers in like ten seconds. And then you’re just like “oh”. So for me, I like that she’s fairly… as I got older, she got better. She became more relatable as an adult. Like, she’s still fucking up in her life, but she can do what she needs to do, you know?… And also you know, them tiddies.
*rest of the band laughs*
Domingo: All that.
Ash: Punctuate that with “them tiddies!”
Zach: Print that!
Domingo: Put my face with a thumbs-up!
Ash: Charlie has been scooting herself further into the corner.
Charlie: Nah, I’m just trying to lean.
Zach: Yeah, you stuck with us for awhile. I don’t have no fucking idea why.
Charlie: I disassociate myself.