When I first saw Say No! To Architecture's name I immediately thought of Montreal's finest export Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The exclamation points make for an easy comparison reference point. Roizman's intriguing blend of noise and pop that hearkens to of Montreal. I was able to ask Roizman a few questions and here is the conversation. Of course, there's always the chance that wikipedia is right and I interviewed a ghost...
Rob 1340 (RF): Hi Allen, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me. Let’s start out by asking you where the ! after No! In SN!TA, where did it come from?
Allen Roizman (AR): Hi! Thank you for having me.
I think the “!” is kind of standard with your average passive protest bumper sticker… Like Say NO! To Abortion, or Say No! To whatever else it is that you’re powerless to change. I feel like if you’re going to tell somebody what to say no to, you might as well have them yell it.
RF: What first inspired you to look outside the standard constructs of a band to make your music?
AR: Well, it mostly had to do with having completely different taste than anybody I would have been able to make music with. I remember at some point in high school one of my friends wanted me to play in his band. I wanted to use weird tape samples processed through effects but they ended up just having me play guitar & sing embarrassingly terrible songs. I can’t remember exactly what led me to experiment with tapes back then. At some point, I stole my dad’s microcassette recorder and started grabbing samples of the news off of tv and running it through one of those old Zip drive multi-trackers with weird results. I kind of gave up on trying to play in bands, even making music as a whole, but years later I started playing around with the tape noise again, and it turned into this.
RF: I read in your bio that you worked at Tower Records before it closed, and I see your current release is on wax and CD. How important is physical music to you?
AR: That’s a really good question. Whether it comes to film, music, or the written word, having a physical record of anything is the only way for it to actually exist or be remembered, and most importantly, meaningful. Anybody can create anything and throw it online, but it simply disappears into the black hole of data that is the internet. When you have no choice but to actually pay for music, to have to physically move your body to a location where you can buy it, to have to work and earn money so that you can afford to buy it, it actually becomes valuable, and not just in a monetary sense. Consciously or not, by going through those motions, you didn’t just listen to music, but you earned music. It was valuable to you because you worked to get it. Some things were so hard to come across, like rare imports or self-released things that simply trying to get them were adventures on their own. Having easy access, despite the benefits that come with it, ultimately make it worth less to you.
RF: Your Bandcamp page states that the LP version of SN!TA is “Specially designed to have breaks in between every couple of songs so that you can really consider your place in the world.” Can you please explain the thought process that went into that design?
AR: Bandcamp makes you describe whatever you’re selling in more detail than, “This album on vinyl,” and I kind of just got frustrated and put up an existential description of the record. Because of the length of the songs and the total running length of the album, it would only fit on 2 discs with the obvious gaps between sides. I’d hope that if the album were effective you would need a few seconds to gather yourself before flipping sides.
RF: What records have you been listening to lately that might surprise fans of SN!TA’s music?
AR: Madonna by Madonna, Dangerous Days by Perturbator, Big Fun by Miles Davis
RF: What are your top 5 records of all time?
AR: It is so hard to pick only five…
The GZA- Liquid Swords
David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request
Godspeed You Black Emperor – Yanqui UXO
Gang of Four – Songs of the Free
RF: If you were to take SN!TA on the road, who would you want to go on the road with?
AR: Out of everybody that I know, I would have to say Old Table or No One and the Somebodies. Of the people I still play with, I’ve probably known them the longest and have only the best things to say about them. All of those guys are the friendliest, funniest, most talented people I’ve ever met through my years of doing this.
RF: Where can people learn more about Say No! To Architecture?
AR: The best possible resource I can give would be my facebook page… I kind of have to do the whole social networking thing as much as possible, but it’s hard to keep up with the bajillion services people use, twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. so most of the ones outside of facebook end up limping along… I don’t even bother with a personal website as all of the information you would get from that is already available on 15 different websites. At least on facebook you can see my every day rants and shenanigans that would probably give you more insight into my general state of mind than any other source. I’ll usually post important updates there before I would anywhere else.
RF: Thank you very much, Allen!