“Party Store” was a record that was never meant to happen. The idea of the Dirtbombs putting together a rock ‘n’ roll ode to classic Detroit techno had been bounced around for so long that it was becoming a running gag. And when it finally did see the light of day, it wasn’t given to the world in the way the band frontman Mick Collins expected.
“We toured non-stop in 2008,” explains Collins from his Brooklyn apartment. “When 2008 came to a close, we didn’t want to do anymore shows for a while -- but we still needed some sort of output to prove we still existed.”
Once again, the idea of a dance record was dusted off. But instead of a series of singles as originally intended, “Party Store” would become an album covering the luminaries of the techno genre like Juan Atkins and Derrick May, boasting distorted takes on Cybotron’s “Cosmic Cars” and May’s “Strings of Life.”
Synths and Drums
There was no exhausting trip to Guitar Center to attempt to recreate the “layers upon layers of synths and drum tracks” found on each song they covered. The group refused to look further than the equipment lying around their rehearsal space -- guitars, amplifiers and microphones -- to recreate the tunes. It was no easy feat.
“We wondered if these sounds could actually be recreated by the instruments we had,” says Collins. But like many great bands before them, the challenge at hand was given guidance by the omnipresence of Brian Eno.
We wondered if these sounds could actually be recreated by the instruments we had.
“On the first day of being in the studio, there was a copy of ‘Oblique Strategies,’ that card deck by Brian Eno that he uses to make records with,” recalls Collins. Each card is printed with a cryptic phrase to help stir up fresh solutions to tired problems. (If you’re imagining a self-help game for the artistically inclined, you’re on the right track.) Collins shuffled the deck and drew the card, “Humanize that which is without error.”
The Dirtbombs took it as a challenge and the electronic world embraced them for it. “Party Store” received the remix treatment by, as Collins puts it, “new Detroit guys doing remixes of our covers of these old Detroit guys,” including the likes of local phenoms Kyle Hall and Ectomorph.
At Movement, the Dirtbombs will be performed “Party Store” for the first time in its entirety. Is Collins nervous about performing in front of thousands who would (most likely) never buy a ticket to see the Dirtbombs live otherwise?
“Absolutely,” he nervously laughs. “I’m always expecting people to not like what I’m doing, but I hope they dig it.”
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