A Place Both Wonderful and Strange Interview
How much have your friends and families played a part in your career so far?
Laura: My Dad is a musician and cultivated a love for music in me early on. I've never dated someone who isn't a musician and all of my friends happen to be old rock and roll guys.
Russ: My friends ARE my family, and without their support/belief/love I don't know if I'd still be doing this.
When did you decide that a career in music was for you?
Russ: I've always loved DJing and telling stories, since like 2004, but it was making an ambient mix round 05 called "Music For Cats To Sleep To" https://soundcloud.com/russmarshalek/dj-russ-music-for-cats-to where i went into every track and did obsessive remixing that I realized I had a knack for sounds.
Laura: I honestly haven't yet. I'm still in my 20's, way too young to choose a career, and this shit is hard and the pay is bad. I'm considering law school.
Who are your musical inspirations and why?
Russ: Tori Amos, for her absolute and utter fearlessness. Boys for Pele is my favorite album of all time. Robyn, for her ability to write the perfectly upbeat but heartbreakingly sad lyric, a trick I'd love to learn. The Knife, for very similar reasons. Medulasa, out of the UK, if a fercious destroyer of gender and genres and is an icon to me. And my wife, Vanessa (knifesex), who manages to convey worlds in her music.
Laura:The Beastie Boys for sure, because of their sense of humor, commitment to NYC culture and deep amazing friendship.
Laurie Anderson because she is always innovating.
Killing Joke because they help me understand the brutality of nature.
Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?
Laura: I was a finalist in the Miss NY USA Pageant.
I'm a movie star and have worked with Richard Gere and Steve Coogan.
I aspire to climb Mount Everest and have a keen interest in mountaineering.
Russ: I'm really into fitness and wellness. I'm a personal trainer on the side, so it definitely informs our lives. Second, I have never seen the Lost Boys. Third, I'm 1/3 of the Brooklyn DJ collective ADVENTURE[s]---catch me (and Laura too) in the film Robyn made this year, Missing U, and our associated parties!
What song of yours best describes you and why?
Russ: IMO, it's ones we're still writing. That's a cop-out, but it's true.
Laura: A new song that is just noisy guitar and me singing shrieking crying cooing and telling stories of love lost.
What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?
Laura: My favourite gig was last tour in Saint Louis because I felt like Russ and I were really connected and the audience was so present and receptive.
Russ: Anything we do in ST Louis is always epic. Should out Crack Fox for having a vibe so thick it could be cut with a knife.
If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?
Laura: It would be at The Milestone in North Carolina because that place is a rock and roll paradise.
Russ: I would love to play at Club Silencio.
What has been your best achievement to date and what would like to achieve in the future?
Russ: The David Lynch Foundation commission, also meeting my wife. :) In the future: I'd like APBWAS to continue to move towards the perfect weird dark pop song. We're almost there.
Laura: I think my best achievement to date so far was making 12 scarecrows and recreating the "famous" music video by Kanye West on facebook live. In the future I'd like to achieve sliding down a pole upside down very slowly for the duration of Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands by Bob Dylan for facebook live.
Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?
Russ: Lost a personalized, signed framed photo Kyle McLachlan.
Laura: Listen, what we do is secret.
What do you like best about being a musician and why?
Russ: I love performing. I absolutely love it. Doing shows makes everything melt away.
Laura: I like performing best. I also like getting to travel with my best friend and staying in hotels because I get to swim and I don't have to make my own bed.
If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?
Laura: Either letting weird guys in midtown touch my feet for $300 a pop or studying linguistic anthropology and taking care of horses.
Russ: Something terrible, like advertising.
What has been the best gig you have been to as a fan and can you tell us about it?
Laura: It's a hard tie between Liz Phair playing at the Beacon Theatre a few years ago and Laurie Anderson playing accompanied by Kid Millions at Market Hotel. Both Shows were honest and invigorating. For me, a show is good when I feel inspired to create something afterward.
Russ: The Knife, Silent Shout tour 2007 at Webster Hall in NY. I have a recording of it. The emotion behind the production was flooring.
What would your ideal festival line up be and why?
Russ: I don't really dig festivals, I prefer to experience an artist's full set.
Laura: Britney Spears-Jonathan Richman-Juliana Hatfield-Pig Destroyer-Liz Phair-Beastie Boys-Nick Cave-Aimee Mann-The Replacements-Saves The Day-Son of Stan-The Regrets-Nation of Language-A Place Both Wonderful and Strange-Winkie-Knifesex
What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Russ: Say "thank you" more than you say "please"
Laura: It's nice to be important but it's important to be nice
What things make you happy and what things annoy you?
Russ: Equality, animals, love, playing shows, making music--all make me happy. The state of the world is my biggest hatred.
Laura: Creating and going on adventures make me happy. Impolite people annoy me.
What things do you like to do when you are away from music?
Russ: Exercise, cook, listen to podcasts (like The NoSleep Podcast and My Brother My Brother and Me), spend time with my wife and new kitten.
Laura: Read, Surf, hang out with Kitten and walk around listening to music.
Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry and how do you cope with using social media to build a profile in music?
Russ: It's incredibly important. Self-promotion is VITAL. I don't cope with it, it's kinda my life.
Laura:No. Social media is the most frustrating part of the music industry and an enemy to creativity. I cope by drinking.
How important do you think you look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?
Russ: There's an Iggy Pop quote about how no one wants to show up to a show and see their next door neighbor looking like their next door neighbor, and I firmly believe that.
Laura: I think I look very important and image is.
Can you tell us about any tattoos have and the significance of them to you?
Laura: I have a mermaid on my leg that I got when I was 16 and hid for 2 years and it has to do with my love of the ocean. I have an Elvis TCB tattoo because rock and roll has destroyed and elevated my life and I have a twin peaks black lodge symbol tattoo because I have been attacked by demons.
Russ: Sure, you can see one on the cover of our last album https://img.discogs.com/tXrJ7oGC3U1VI7xlHD11o9Z1B5g=/fit-in/584x816/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-10756607-1503755256-8300.jpeg.jpg. It's the ABRACADABRA alchemical symbol on my chest, done by the incomparable Tamara Santibanez http://tamarasantibanez.com/. It essentially means What I Speak I Create.
If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?
Russ: Don't get me fuuuucking started.
Laura: Free lunch, no rent, eternal protection for roe v wade, men can't talk on weekdays and the zoo is open until 11 pm or later.
What would your ideal day consist of?
Russ:Time with my wife, upstate, blissfully away from the city.
Laura: Waking up at 10 am, having sex,having breakfast with micheladas,heading to the beach to surf, getting a burger, going home, heading to the studio to make music, good coffee, heading home, getting into a costume for an abstract theme, heading out to a party where my drinks and drugs are taken care of and hold no physical consequence to my health or social standing, everyone thinks I have the best costume and keeps saying my new record is great, come home, more sex, I get to ipod dj until 3 am and smoke cigarettes, and then I fall asleep getting a backrub.
Can you tell me as much as you can about any new releases,gigs or anything you have coming up in the future?
Russ: Sure! We just put out an ep, THE CITY SMELLS LIKE CAT SPIT, and a video for it, KRISTAE http://post-punk.com/a-place-both-wonderful-and-strange-premiere-kristae-the-strawberry-girl/. We're working towards another record next year.
Laura: We have huge surprises in store including for the first time ever, a couple planned west coast tours!
If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?
Laura: Please venmo me @laura-hajek because I could really use the extra $
Russ: THANK YOU
How would you answer the questions who are A Place Both Wonderful And Strange?
Laura: We are Russ Marshalek and Laura Hajek, just two kids trying to keep it together in this wacky city.
Russ: We're a tempest.
Can you tell me one thing about each member that people might not already know?
Russ: Laura's saved my ass more times than I can remember, and she got her wisdom teeth out a day before playing a show.
Laura: Russ is married to the most amazing woman in the world and she is in a great project called Knifesex!
What was the first record or song you purchased and why?
Russ: Cyndi Lauper's 12 Deadly Cyns, it was the first one I was allowed to purchase.
Laura: First record I purchased was Get The Knack by The Knack because I was really into super long guitar solos.
What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?
Russ: Examine why you're thinking about it, and if there's any hope of money, reconsider.
Laura: Please don't, There are so many of us already.
If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?
Russ: Tori Amos. This incredible NYC band Winkie. Robyn. Karin Dreijer.
Laura: Sadly, Lou Reed is no longer with us, so I'd have to go with Nick Cave. I like his process from what I've been able to glimpse of his time in the studio and his songs are the saddest.
If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?
Laura: "We are the world" because like, every celeb sang on it.
Russ: Purple Rain.
What things make you uncomfortable?
Laura: Men touching me without consent, Men talking over me, Men trying to pay for things before me when I'm clearly in line ahead of them, Men asking to collaborate on my projects without my expressing desire to collaborate.
If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?
Laura: Probably just one of those hollowed out books with a little bit of cocaine, a lipstick and $50.
Russ: I am, actually, so stay tuned.
What has the rest of year got in store for you?
Laura: More like what has the rest of the year GOTH in store for me, am I right? ha ha ha
Russ: West coast tour for the first time!