A result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Fashion Bird Danger Danger is a collaborative project featuring John Wlaysewski (vocals, guitar, bass and drums), Matthew Milligan (bass and synths), Lisa Hammer (vocals), Olive Hui (vocals and synths), Levi Wilson (vocals and vibraphone), Joey Slater (vocals) and MC Lars (rapping vocals). Combining their different influences, the group has a Daft Punk meets The 1975 and The Flaming Lips sound. We speak with John Wlaysewski about their new album, discovering new music and much more!
What drew you to music?
My parents got my sister a guitar for Christmas, this was when I was in high school. My sister showed no interest in learning guitar and I bought the guitar from her and started taking lessons. I haven’t stopped since. It was a way for me to express myself without talking which, in high school, was definitely a good thing.
What can you tell us about your release Phanerothymes?
Phanerothymes is an experimental post-pop record made by my supergroup Fashion Bird Danger Danger. The band has members of Late Cambrian (John Wlaysewski and Olive Hui), Wheatus (Matthew Milligan and Joey Slater) and Radiana (Lisa Hammer and Levi Wilson). The songs were created by the group sending each other ideas to work on at home and send back and forth to each other. Due to the pandemic, this was the way we could stay creative and stretch what we knew about music together.
Fashion Bird Danger Danger has put out two EPs and one full-length (Phanerothymes) since April of 2020. Phanerothymes is my favourite of the three releases and draws on psychedelic influences in and outside of music.
What was the recording and writing process like?
Being locked down in NYC was pretty rough overall, but recording Fashion Bird Danger Danger kept us all sane in our respective boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx respectively). I was always excited when new material showed up in my email. It’s an interesting challenge to work with so many different headspaces. In every song, the input from the other members was always stuff I would not have come up with on my own. They all knocked it out of the park.
If you could change anything about the LP what would it be?
Maybe I would cut down the second half of ‘Pretty Fly on a White Guy’ with MC Lars, but hindsight is always 20/20.
Do you have a favourite track?
It changes daily. Currently, it’s ‘Timey Wimey Waterpark’ featuring Olive Hui – that’s a wild track. Nothing in that song is predictable and the way the song slows down and speeds up over and over is pretty amazing.
What about a least favourite?
Hmmm, it’s hard to say. I love it all pretty equally. As for songs that I’m not always in the mood for, ‘End Times Are Here’ is pretty demonic sounding. It’s definitely the most satanic sounding song I’ve ever been on. So, I love it, but I wouldn’t put it on at the beach. 😄
Can we expect any music videos?
We currently have one music video for Phanerothymes for the song ‘Hunted (Werewolves of the Astral Plane’. It’s currently working its way through the Film Festival Circuit and has won a bunch of awards! 😀
What do you think is the best way to discover new music in the current climate?
This is a tough climate to discover new music that isn’t backed by a label. I usually end up finding a song on Spotify or YouTube and seeing where the algorithm takes me.
What is your greatest musical achievement to date?
Fashion Bird Danger Danger is a relatively new project, but I am really proud of the new record. Nerdcore rapper MC Lars rapped two verses on ‘Pretty Fly on a White Guy’ from the perspective of the fly on Mike Pence’s head during the VP Debates, so I’m proud of that. We hope to put the new record on stage as a band in 2021, but let’s see where this year takes us.
Do you have future plans?
Currently devising a way to release Fashion Bird Danger Danger music as one of a kind NFT (Non-Fungible Token) Art. The world is always changing and morphing into new ways of experiencing behind human and we try to keep up and bring our weird style to the masses in unconventional ways.