Chris C and Matthew Conzett. who are two-thirds of the punk band PRC. are already inside Hybrid Moments looking at records when I arrive. The record store located in Corktown is probably the best place to get new and used hardcore, punk, and noise records in Detroit. This also happens to be the spot where PRC will be having their record release this Saturday, Nov. 26 at Hybrid Moments, over at 2144 Bagley Ave. Also on the bill is Traag, the Vitas, Weeping Iniquity and DJ Soren.
Playing at Hybrid Moments makes sense extra sense, since PRC has shades of all three genres in their music. Dark, heavy and brooding PRC is aggressive in what it doesn’t do. There is this feeling of restraint in their music, like they’re holding something back but it doesn’t stay dismissive it feels charged and at moments it’s released but not completely extinguished so it will return again and again.
Chris is holding Hawkwind’s debut album while Matthew is looking for an old Black Cat 13 45 he sold a few years ago. “I never should have sold it.” Chris buys the record and we walk to where the band practices nearby. Chris burns some incense and we sit down and talk about the band, and their new record. PRC’s new 45 will be released on Matthew’s noise label Irrational Tenant. It is their 4th release and their first on vinyl.
Metro Times: How did you guys start?
Matthew: I took a trip to South America and came back and quit all the bands I was in. I was living at my parents house, didn’t have a car so I started looking for a job and found one hosting at a restaurant which is where I met Chris.
Chris: I was serving.
Matthew: We realized that we had some similar friends and we’re both into weird music. Chris told me right off, “that I’m really flakey.” I was like, cool. (laughter)
Chris: I don’t remember that.
Matthew: And we met under the premise that we just wanted to jam. So that’s when it kinda started happening from there.
MT: What year was that?
Chris: Late 2011
MT: PRC didn’t have drums for a while?
Chris: Yeah it was just bass and guitar for the first two years. It was cool, half the time.
MT: I saw you at the Garden Bowl when it was just the two of you….
Matthew: That was our first gig! It was a Something Cold gig. With Bad News which was a group that had one of the members of Sixteen Bitch Pile-Up, a pretty prolific noise group.
MT: What made you want to play without a drummer?
Chris: I don’t think it was really that conscious. We wanted to try it but, I don’t know why, I just think we didn’t really care.
Matthew: It was just hard enough for us to get together. And we wanted to build something between the two of us first. Build a sound and getting drums was never really high on the list.
Chris: And we got really into that Ramleh record. What’s the name of that record? Matthew: It’s called Grudge For Life. It’s just guitar bass and vocals and it isn’t sludgy or anything it’s pretty driving. We got into all that Broken Flag label stuff.
MT: And at what point did you make the decision to get a drummer?
Chris: We talked about it for a minute and we were like let’s get a drummer. It’ll be easier to keep time.
Matthew: It was also just finding the right person. We didn’t want to get a drummer that was a drummer. We talked to Bill(Billy Lennox drummer of PRC) and he said he was down.
MT: So Billy’s the first drummer? How do you think your sound has changed now that you have a drummer?
Chris: Probably a little more held together.
Matthew: Tangible. Definitely more tangible.
Chris: For better or worse.
MT: Was that the goal? That type of progression?
Matthew: Not necessarily. Drums comes with such a defined rhythm. It’s something that people can hold onto. It’s hard for people to grasp sometimes what is essentially just feedback
Chris: We played our second show with Tyvek and Protomartyr at Jumbo’s and we didn’t have a drummer and I was standing outside smoking after we played and this dude was like “Man, they were like making this noise and there was no drummer, oh they’re sound checking. Then I realized it was just their set so I had to get the fuck out of there.” I was like oh, cool. (laughter)
MT: It’s funny that the one instrument that doesn’t make people wanna “get the fuck out of there” is drums.
Matthew: I think if we were using different instruments people wouldn’t think that but since it’s guitar and drums then people automatically assign drums to it.
Chris: Other than the Ramleh we were both really into Spacemen 3 which is probably why we wanted a drummer.
MT: How many releases do you have?
Chris: Two or three tapes
Matthew: Three tapes. A four song demo of just the two of us. We put it out but it was rereleased on Nostilevo. A tape we did for the Protomartyr show, still just Chris and I, maybe six songs. And another tape with Bill that was right before we played our first show with him.
Chris: I think we recorded that with all tape recorders.
MT: Wait, what?
Matthew: Yeah if you put a tape in a handheld tape recorder and put it into a mixer it just acts like a microphone. It really fucking amps up the sound. We used like three tape recorders. That’s why it sounds so destroyed.
MT: Tell me about your new 45.
Matthew: We recorded that with Derek Stanton in Southwest Detroit. It’s a night and day difference from our previous recordings. Three of the four songs are our newest songs.
MT: What are you trying to do differently on this recording?
Matthew: I think Bill really….
Chris: Billy just helps open it up a lot. And it gives us a chance to do more.
Matthew: The dynamic isn’t as blown out as it was. When he plays he isn’t hammering on everything, he’s very restrained very minimal. When he first started playing he asked what he should do and we told him just do what a drum machine would do.
MT: So the record is on your label Irrational Tenant, you’ve been putting out a lot of releases lately correct? How many releases do you have total?
Matthew: I have like 35 40 releases. Yeah, I have been putting out a lot of releases because a lot of artist in the experimental/noise community have moved away so instead of always having someone else booking the shows and putting out tapes for me or my friends I thought that maybe I should start doing that for other people. Make stuff that I wanna see happen happen if I can.
MT: Why are you guys called PRC?
Matthew: Initially it was going to be called People’s Republic of China but I would never refer to it like that. Now the joke is that since we have such super refined tastes it means Pinot Riesling Chardonnay.