Q&A: Cup

Cup’s music can be paralleled to the likes of Oh Sees, Ty Segall/GØGGS, Meatbodies, and really any fuzzy garage rock artist. If you’ve been craving something new in the genre, then here you’ve found your fix.

At the end of this month, Cup will be releasing a new album, Jitter Visions. The new album contains all of the elements of fuzzy garage rock, and it is absolutely something that you do not want to slip under your radar. Jitter Visions is the eighth release (in just two years) recorded in solitude by Tim of Cup. After this release, Tim says Cup will be moving away from a one-man recording project, and into a full band.

 

Tim and I spoke about the upcoming release, his musical influences, and the story behind the recurring cup character featured on the band’s album art.

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 11.58.09 PMCup looks like it’s a one man project – is that true?

It’s a one man recording project that started a couple of years ago. But it has sort of moved to a full band situation. But the records are still just me recording.

Cool, so for live shows you just have some other people hop on?

Yeah, for the lineup right now – There’s Kelsey on drums, Freddie on Bass, and Chad on synth.

Are they going to be part of this new album?

Yeah, well they’re going to be playing the songs with me. I think the plan is to start playing and recording as a full band after this one.

That’s awesome – Do you feel like they’re contributing to the creative process as well?

Totally, yeah it’s like when we’re practicing, everyone’s really into it and we all play well together. We all just get the vibe and we’ve had a couple really great jams, which I haven’t really had up until this point. But I’m excited about it, because it’s been all me until now, and I’m excited to see what happens with other people involved as well.

It’s actually pretty amazing that over the last 2 years, you’ve put out around 8 albums.

Yeah there’s a lot! I mean the first one really, was just self-indulgent and I just wanted to make something that was more garage-rocky than what I was playing in my other bands. And I wanted to learn how to record as well – like if you end up listening to those, they don’t sound very great because it was partially a learning process on how to record myself and how to mix and stuff like that. So I kind of look at those as learning experiences. With each one, you hear the sound developing more and more.

I see a lot of garage rock acts – Oh Sees / Ty Segall / Meatbodies in your music. What’s you’re biggest inspiration, musically?

Yeah, those artists for sure. I got really into Oh Sees and Ty Segall in the last 6 or 7 years. What I grew up on was grungy stuff – like Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, Pixies. Like it’s always been there, but I remember hearing for the first time Oh Sees and I kind of went back and started listening to a lot of old garage rock that I missed out on as a kid.

I wanted Cup to be like this “messy” sounding thing, which it was, but I think it’s changing in a way that’s interesting.

Any projects before Cup?

I played drums with this guy and we had a band called Queen Giza, it was more like this psychedelic-garage rock, and he was the guy that showed me Oh Sees. We had that going for a while, and we actually put music out last year. But he was moving out of the city and we tried to keep it up as best as we could, but it sort of fizzled out on its own.

I also played drums in a couple of other projects – one of which was called Wag. That one was more math-y dreampop-y music. So very different from what I’m doing on my own.

I wanted to play in many different bands and with as many people as I could.

You’re located in New York currently, right?

Yeah, I live in Queens.

Have you always lived there?

No, I’m actually from all over the place. Because of my parents, I kind of moved a bunch as a kid. I was born in Kansas, lived in New Orleans, lived overseas briefly, and then in Houston, most recently before New York.

So you have a new album coming out on April 27th, Jitter Visions. Do you have any themes or inspiration in this album?

Well, I got an analog synthesizer and I started playing around with it. So a lot of the songs were written using that thing first. It’s interesting, it added a whole different layer to the record, I think. I’m still doing the shorter, riffy-fuzzy guitar stuff, but I think that the synth adds a bunch.

I always write about the same sort of themes, which is just stuff that’s constantly in my head – the anxiety of being a person in the world, you know?

Yeah, it’s tough sometimes.

I guess it’s not hard, it’s just weird. It’s like your life is constantly passing and it’s insane to think about, but you just roll with it and you deal with it as best as you can.

Do you have a favorite song from the new album?

If I had to pick, I really like the opening track Runny Rummy. I think it sets the tone for how the record’s different from others. And it has this sort of menacing vibe, but I think it’s catchy. Like I sent it to the label that’s putting tons of stuff out now – it’s called Aagoo Records, and it’s this dude from Jersey named Alec – well he has these two kids and apparently one was just singing the song because he listened to it a couple times. And it’s funny, because the song is like me talking about life being strange and this video of a 6-year old singing it was just funny to get.

Just curious – where did that name come from, Runny Rummy?

Truthfully, it was a bit of nonsense. Just playing on the sound of the words, more than the meaning of them. I have no further explanation for that (laughs).

Yeah, I totally see how that sound parallels the music when you say the words out loud. I noticed that you have a few animated music videos – Who are the artists that have worked with you on these?

Yeah, that’s part of the whole project – like I want to always collaborate with artists. So the first video was done by this guy Garrett M Davis. I found out about him because he did music videos for Wand, which is easily one of my favorite bands. I just reached out via email, and he dug the song so he agreed to do a music video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also worked with a guy name Sean McAnulty who lives out in Australia and he did the claymation stop-motion music video for Apparition.

 

 

 

For this record, there are two little animated loops done by the guy who does the album artwork. His name is Etienne Puaux and he’s from France.

 

And then there’s another music video by Garrett M Davis that is forthcoming for this record.

There appears to be a recurring “Cup” character on all of your albums – is there any story behind that?

So when I started this project I didn’t know what to call it. Thinking of a band name is such a hard thing because partially, you want it to have a lot of significance – but me being who I am, I didn’t want to take it too seriously. Honestly, it was prompted from Wand. I always thought that was such a cool band name – like this object and this concept, rather than a very specific idea or thought. So I started looking at tarot terms and stuff like that, and I thought that the idea of “Cup” was funny, like I remember talking to friends and being like “wouldn’t it be funny if I called this thing Cup.”

And the more I said it, the more I thought it kind of fit. So then, I was just looking through the pantry in the apartment that I lived in with my fiance and she had these little cups, so I was just like that’s going to be the totem for this thing. And that’s how it came to be, I drew all over it in permanent marker and I didn’t realize that it was like a childhood relic. So that just became the Cup.

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Do you still have it?

Yep, still have it, it’s still in the pantry. I don’t use it really – it’s too small to be used by an adult person.

Are you expecting anymore releases in 2018 after Jitter Visions?

Yeah, I’ve already recorded a lot of another album that I have yet to title. It’s moving further in the way where I feel that Cup’s moving generally now, which is a little bit more dynamic sounding. I’m trying to do some different stuff so it’s not like the same thing over and over again. But I’m in no rush to finish it – I’m going to focus on Jitter Visions right now and playing that out the right way and playing shows and stuff. More developing the full band, as opposed to continuing to churn out records.

Nice, looking forward to it. Something that I like to do is ask artists about any other artists that are up-and-coming or really anyone they’d like to give a shout out to for my readers to check out. Do you have any that come to mind?

We’re playing a record release show at Baby’s All Right on April 30th with these three amazing bands that I really love.

This band Darkwing, which is also like Ty Segall vibes – thrashy garage rock.

And Sic Tic, that are a little more noodle-y but still in the garage spectrum.

ESSi which is like this incredible looping-guitar-drum noise-rock.

All three are such great bands. It’s incredible to live in this city and be able to play with so many really, really great bands.

(Tickets to the record release show on 4/30 are available here)

Pink Mexico is really great, they’re actually on tour right now.

Fruit & Flowers which is sort of more post-punky, also an amazing band.

Another band that’s getting ready to put out an album is this band IYEZ.

And all of the bands on Aagoo Records. There’s this band Darto, and they’re crazy. They toured with Wand and opened for them. It’s hard to pin down like one style of music they play, because there record sounds like different things. It’s Americana/Folky at times, and heavier and synthy at times. It’s an amazing record, and it was the most pleasant surprise I’ve ever had, putting on a record and not knowing anything about the band. So I highly recommend checking them out.

 

Jitter Visions will be out on April 27th. Listen to the first single, Cosmic Brain, below.

 

Stay up to date with Cup through the following social links:
Facebook || Instagram || Youtube || Soundcloud
Support the band by purchasing their music on Bandcamp.
http://aagoo.com/
https://cupisaband.com/

 

 

THIS INTERVIEW WAS EDITED AND CONDENSED FOR CLARITY

 

 

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