Backstage with Psymon Spine
Interview by Natalie Leonard
Videography & Photography by Rachel Cabitt
Illustration by Peter Hopkins
Psymon Spine, an electro-meets-experimental-pop collective hailing from Saratoga Springs, NY, was an idea Noah Prebish and Peter Spears collectively had while touring Europe during the winter of their Freshman year of college. Since then, Psymon Spine has quickly expanded beyond Prebish (guitar/vox) and Spears (bass/vox), adding a solid core of eclectic musicians to the mix. Devon Kilburn (guitar/vox) and Mike Rudinski aka Brother Michael (keys) hopped on board next, with Ben Stolman (drums) and Katie Cuthbert (vox), among many others, coming and going throughout the last three years.
Psymon Spine has grown beyond just a band, creating a loyal entourage of friends, fans and supporters. It's gotten to the point where the band members consider their supporters as more of a family; something we fortunately witnessed when they filled Baby's All Right at our two year birthday celebration. When they took the stage, the venue filled with admirers swaying along to their half hour set.
After connecting with Graham Dickson of Crystal Fighters, the group went on to release their debut EP under Dickson's NYC-based label, Axis Mundi Records.
We sat down with the group after a show of theirs this summer at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. As a bag of candy and a bottle of tequila circled the room, they told us about the family Psymon Spine has progressively built over the last few years.
POND: When did you all start playing music?
PETER: I’ve been singing my whole life and I started guitar in the 3rd grade, then switched to bass in the 4th grade.
MIKE: I was 9 years old and I would play guitar over my Game Boy.
DEVON: I got my first guitar when I was 11 and have been playing it pretty much every show, except for this show, when I got a new guitar from my uncle which is awesome.
BEN: I was 8 years old, played classical piano, which was so fun.
NOAH: I had no real talent or interest in music until I was 15 or something, which was strange. Then something switched. I got kicked out of the school band because I poked a kid in the head with my trombone slide. And then I decided to be a cool guy and start playing guitar, and then I was like oh, I actually like music.
POND: What would people not expect to know about Psymon Spine?
PETER: We all listen to very different music and have very different personalities.
DEVON: I don’t think many people have realized how many people have been part of the Psymon Spine consortium.
NOAH: Just in terms of people who have played with us and collaborated in various ways I would say we’ve had almost 30 almost members of Psymon Spine.
POND: Tell us about your record label, Axis Mundi.
NOAH: We signed with them around 2013. Nobody who works for the label or who is on the label isn’t best friends with everyone else on the label. It really is a family. Like the label’s lawyer spins vinyl at all of our parties and stuff like that. Everybody is really really tight and it’s really beautiful.
DEVON: The other cool thing is that there’s a billion-gillion collaboration projects that go on. Every time you log into the Axis Mundi computer and you go into the .wav files there are like four new bands. And you catch Bill or Graham and you’re like “Yo! Who’s in ‘ZA’?” And it’s just people from the label who’ve come together who’ve just decided to jam for an afternoon and realize that they have very similar music tastes and are making really dope music.
POND: What's the first album you remember getting yourself?
DEVON: NOW 7.
MIKE: NOW 4, I got NOW 4!
KATIE: I think it was Boys Like Girls.
BEN: Kaya, Bob Marley.
NOAH: Black and Blue by The Backstreet Boys.
PETER: Hello Nasty by The Beastie Boys.
POND: If you could fuck, marry, kill any genre of music, what would they be?
DEVON: I would fuck some nice R&B, I’d marry, as cheesy as it sounds, Indie Alt Rock, like that’s what I grew up on, that’s where my music influences come from, and I’d probably kill the top 10 hits on Billboard.
PETER: Those are actually fucking awesome.
MIKE: Taylor is my girl.
MIKE: I would probably make love to like some good 60s rock, I’d kill SKA, I would have like so much fun killing SKA. And I would probably marry Disco.
NOAH: I’d probably fuck Bassanova, like really sexy Brazilian music. I’d probably kill…
NOAH: No, SKA has its place.
MIKE: In the dumpster.
NOAH: I would probably kill like drum and bass, I think it has it’s place but-
BEN: What the fuck?!
NOAH: I don’t mean literally the drums dude, I don’t mean the instruments (turning to Ben). I don’t know, Mike and I coming from a place, of really growing up on really cool electronic music, there came this wave, especially where we were from in upstate New York, where there was really bad, fast electronic music that totally re-contextualized what electronic music meant to people...I think I would marry 1800s Impressionist music.
DEVON: Oh, fuck off!
NOAH: Okay, I know I sound like a pretentious shit, but okay, listen. It’s so beautiful and I could wake up to that every morning. You want to choose a genre that you would wake up to every morning.
KATIE: Okay, this is really weird, but I would definitely fuck some hard core bad rap music. I would marry some really nice jazz. And I would kill pop/ country, which is the only thing my mom listens to, so I constantly hear it, so I would definitely kill it.
PETER: I’d probably fuck deep 90s inspired hip hop, like 90s mad lib realm. Marry… I don’t know, I don’t like commitment. And I’d probably kill pop punk honestly. I’m sorry Kate, and Devon, and Ben.
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