Few psych-influenced garage-punk outfits are as productive in the studio or on tour as Madison, Wis duo the Hussy. Though they are constantly on the road, and have released records via garage-punk taste-makers such as Tic Tac Totally and Southpaw, the band has yet to appear in Atlanta. That changes on Tues., July 2, when the group's current tour supporting its third LP, Pagan Hiss, stops at the Earl. The Hussy's chord-shredding, hair slinging performance artist frontman Bobby Hussy took a few minutes to talk about writing songs with his bandmate Heather Sawyer, setting his guitar on fire, and the band's busy but bright future.
With each record, your sound gets harder, heavier, and weirder. Is this a conscious change, or is the evolution of your sound organic?
It's totally organic. It's just the songs we write, paired with any new gear we have to play with. We just record a batch of songs, and weed out what wouldn't fit on the record.
Is there a general theme to your records? You make it sound like the best new songs you've recorded just happen to fit together.
Not at all, aside from maybe the 10-inch for our recent European tour, which came out on Red Lounge Records and has a heavier sound. That's because some of the songs were originally written for another Madison band Heather and I did that just didn't work out.
You guys seem to always have a new record, be it a 7-inch or full-length album, on deck. Has writing songs for the Hussy become second nature?
It is a natural thing once we get in the practice space and jam. Lately, we've toured and played songs from the LP, so we haven't had a chance to work on new songs. I forget the exact count, but we have close to 70 unique songs on vinyl. We have a handle on fleshing out new songs together, but we have to record before we can flesh things out. We have to finish a song before we can know if it's good or not.
The band has toured consistently amid all of this songwriting and recording, yet this will be your first Atlanta appearance. Is it exciting to play a new city, especially if it's a large one with a happening scene?
We haven't had a show in Atlanta until now, though we've spent some time on the East Coast. It's cool to make a first impression when we play to people. Hopefully, some of the people seeing us for the first time will like it, come back when we return, and bring their friends.
Has there been any resistance from club owners to your ending sets by setting your guitar on fire?
I don't set my guitar on fire all the time. I usually just do it if the crowd is feeling it. Also, I'm more likely to do it in a smaller space. It doesn't have the same effect in a bigger room as it does in a basement. When I have done it, there have been people who weren't happy. And there was one time it got out of control, and we needed a fire extinguisher. I also just do it if I think I can do it safely.
Are you still recording bands and putting out records on your Kind Turkey imprint?
I still record bands sometimes, though lately I've been busy with my own band, as we just put out an LP, a 10-inch, and two 7-inches. Also, I play with another band when I'm in Madison. I've recently recorded a Lonesome Savages album, on an 8-Track machine. For the label, a TV Ghost 7-inch of the band's earliest 4-Track recordings is currently at the pressing plant. It will be on purple vinyl. I also just put out a tape of unreleased Mystery Girls recordings. The label gives me a creative outlet when I have time to focus on other peoples' bands.
What is your other Madison band called?
The other band is called Fire Retarded, and we just recorded enough songs for two 7-inches. The first one comes out in late July or early August, so they'll tour on it as a three piece without me. The band started as a three-piece, and it's the other three peoples' serious endeavor. I do it on the side. It's fun, and an excuse to jam, in a way.
What's next for the Hussy?
We're planning a split LP with Digital Leather, which is a nice, unexpected combo. Maybe Shawn (Foree, of Digital Leather) can make a guest appearance on some of our tracks. Then there will be another LP and a 7-inch on Windian Records out early next year.
The Hussy, MammaBear, and Crater play The Earl on Tues., July 2. $5. 9 p.m.
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