Get Busy in the Venue Bathroom With Ultimate Painting
While we question at least one-third of the theorem that sex is natural, fun and best when it's one-on-one, we know that intimacy is inexorably enmeshed with most of our favorite art. In today's Late Night Dedication, we test the carnal knowledge of deceptively simple London guitar-pop duo Ultimate Painting, whose new album Dusk comes out September 30 on Trouble in Mind.
What was on the first mix you made for a crush?
Jack Cooper: I honestly don't remember the track list, but I guess I was about 13. I had a small all-in-one stereo system, which had a CD player, record deck and two cassettes. It would've been from a plastic bag of about 100 [7"s] my mom had given me ... lots of Kinks, Beach Boys and Zombies. Maybe the Stone Roses — when I was 14, they were my world. I do remember taking great care to make the gaps between songs as small as possible, and each song would have to carry on from the last: Primal Scream's "Slip Inside This House" into the 13th Floor Elevators. Trying to be clever, I guess.
James Hoare: I made a tape for a girl I went to school with, from records and tape-to- tape. I had this huge '80s boom box, which I utilized. When I was about 13 or 14. It was probably mostly Beatles/Beach Boys with a few '90s indie bands thrown in to make it look like I was vaguely up to date. She made me a tape of Kula Shaker's K in return. A fair trade, one could say
What albums can you not listen to because of a break-up?
JC: Nothing springs to mind. There's definitely things that remind me of my ex-girlfriend, but I think with the passing of time, my relationship with music I love probably transcends anything bittersweet.
JH: Arcade Fire's first record. Reminds me too much of this one period in my life and this girl.
Thoughts on PDA at a gig?
JC: During our last London show, there was a really cute couple down in the front singing along and smiling at each other. It was great. I liked that they had this shared relationship with the band.
JH: Everyone's got to do what they've got to do. It's not my scene. I have no problem with people going off to the bathroom and doing whatever they want to do in there. I won't judge, but I'd rather not having someone making out in front of me while I'm trying to watch some band play.
Is music during sex corny?
JC: An old friend of mine who I was in a band with once told me that he played our terrible music during a couple of intimate situations, and that pretty much put me off for life. I think if it's playing and something happens, then that's fine. It's a minefield, though, I guess: lyrically, but more specifically, rhythmically. People should march to the beat of their own drum.
JH: It depends on the situation, I suppose.
Does going to a show constitute a date?
JC: Hmmm ... more of a second or third date, I'd say. Similar to the movies in terms of not really being a good environment to figuring each other out.
JH: I think it does. You're going out, having a drink, etc.
What musician would you want to make out with most (dead or alive)?
JC: Elvis Presley circa "Kentucky Rain."
JH: Maybe Kathleen Hanna in the Bikini Kill days, or Nico in the Factory era. Or a young Paul McCartney. The list is endless.
Does music taste matter in a relationship?
JC: Of course, but I think people probably overstate its importance. I like the fact that my wife and I have shared musical loves, but we both have our own private relationships with bands that the other person doesn't. Saying that, I really don't like Weezer at all, but I occasionally play "Pink Triangle" when I'm away because the thought of my wife singing along to it makes everything perfect.
JH: I like to say it doesn't, but unfortunately it probably does, at least to some extent.
Would you ever date someone that was a fan of your band?
JC: I met my wife at a show my old band played; she said something really open and sweet about the music. It was at SXSW in the midst of that cynical swamp. She actually really loves my old band Mazes, and Ultimate Painting not so much, ha.
JH: I have done, I would probably do again.
Have you ever cried while listening to a song? If so, what was the last time?
JC: All the time. I was listening to "Something in the Air" just the other day. I was thinking about the weird piano break, and how when it comes back in, it sounds like pure joy; and then it came back in with the strings and that perfect chord sequence, and it felt amazing.
JH: A few years ago, I drove through Clear Lake, Iowa at 2 a.m. — the town Buddy Holly's plane crashed in — and went by the crash site. I got the tour manager to put Buddy Holly on and I thought about him with tears in my eyes.
Have you ever had to talk to somebody about a song you’ve written about them?
JC: That song of ours "Talking Central Park Blues" is about my friend Austin. There's lots of other things that creep in: a dream I had, stream of consciousness thoughts. I was thinking a lot about Yoko Ono: specifically her relationship with Central Park, but for the most part it's about Austin. The chorus is about my wife, Tsouni. Very literal.
JH: I wrote a song on our last record called "Sweet Chris" about one of my closest friends, Charlie. I talk to him quite often, but I haven't told him about the song. I also wrote a song about a girl he went out with that's on another record from another band of mine. So, I guess he's some kind of general inspiration
What musician knows the most about love?
JC: I really identify with how Ira Kaplan writes about love. I don't know. There are so many, but I always come back to that song "I Remember You" — the Nat King Cole version. The line "The angels ask me to recall the thrill of them all / then I shall tell them I remember you": I sing that to myself a lot.
JH: Barry White.
Do you like love songs or hate songs more?
JH: What kind of person would possibly like songs about hate more than love? Love is all you need, man.