Q&A with Ev Gold & Paul Claro of CINEMA CINEMA, a New York experimental art punk duo with no rules

"I want people to recognize that music is a universal language that we are blessed to share. It breaks barriers and brings strangers together, all around the world."

CINEMA CINEMA: Art Punk ...and Beyond

New York experimental art punk duo CINEMA CINEMA continues their partnership with Nefarious Industries for the upcoming August 20 release of their new album, CCXMDII. CCXMDII was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Vin Cin at Electric Plant Studios in Brooklyn, New York, with artwork, design, and layout by Lauren A. Kelley. CINEMA CINEMA‘s sixth full-length, CCXMDII serves as companion and conclusion to 2019's CCXMD. Woodwind expert Matt Darriau returns, bringing along more tools from his repertoire as the trio submerge themselves in the strange beauty of chaotic sound, found together in the moment. This collection of material is the conclusion to sessions that yielded 2019's CCXMD, an album described as "no-holds-barred punk-jazz" by Brooklyn Rail and "as intelligent as it is unintelligible" by Invisible Oranges. CINEMA CINEMA was established in 2008 by Brooklyn-born cousins, vocalist/guitarist Ev Gold and drummer Paul Claro.                           (CINEMA CINEMA / Photo by Alex Bershaw)

CINEMA CINEMA appears in and has contributed music to the critically acclaimed 2014 documentary Sound And Chaos: The Story Of BC Studio. The band was also included on BC35, a celebration of the 35th anniversary of BC Studio – alongside members of Swans, Sonic Youth and other studio alumni; released via Bronson Recordings in 2018. In 2019, the duo joined with Nefarious Industries to release their fifth album, CCXMD. Taking a stylistic left turn from any previously recorded output, they found themselves delving into ambient and atmospheric free-jazz territories. CINEMA CINEMA invited reed aficionado Matt Darriau – best known for his work with Grammy award-winning world-music ensemble The Klezmatics – to join the group for the collaborative, entirely improvised affair.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Jazz and Rock n' Roll Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you've taken?

 Ev Gold: Broadening my vision of what can be done musically and also what can be achieved when the counterculture comes together (i.e. diy touring networks etc), it has helped to establish an open mindedness of intrinsic value.

Paul Claro: So many of my most memorable experiences have come from exploring counterculture through the path we’ve laid as a band. Making this music has connected us to so many like minded people which has truly helped to shape my world views and think past what’s presented to us in society as the “safe path”.

How do you describe CINEMA CINEMA's sound and music philosophy? Where does your creative drive come from?

EG: Our sonic philosophy is 'anything goes' also known as 'no rules'. The sound we make was likely best described by Village Voice a few years back, when they referred to us as "experi-metal punk". More recently, Brooklyn Rail called us "no-holds-barred punk jazz". I think our drive is based in how much joy my cousin (Paul) and I get from playing in the band together.

PC: Pure and untethered expression. Stream of conscience creativity. True freedom. It’s something we can only experience when we play this music together. And as my cuz said, the joy and fulfillment we feel from doing that is a main driving factor.

"I miss the reverence once shown to great musicians. It feels like now there’s so many hats in the ring and everyone has the ability to make a page or sell themselves as an artist, up and comers aren’t shown the respect for pursuing the craft that they once were. It’s scary to think of that continuing and what the landscape for artists might be like over the next few decades because of it.(Photo by Alex Bershaw)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you'd like to share with us?

EG: Recording at Inner Ear Studio with Don Zientara, early on in our career. That is something I look back on with reverence for the growth spurt we incurred during that time period. Don helped to show us that the secret is to be yourself. Also, particularly fond of the recording sessions that produced our new album, CCXMDII. That was the first time we’ve ever gone in with a full intention to improvise for the entire record. Also, it was recorded at the now defunct Electric Plant Studios, in Brooklyn NY. We loved that place.

PC: I remember fondly the first time we played in Switzerland. Our first gig there came after driving hours through the night on winding mountain roads. It took place in a beautiful small town that had never put on a rock show before. The kindness we were shown and the support the people there expressed toward our music is something I’ll never forget.

 What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

EG: I miss the mystique. I liked finding a band and digging into their catalogue, like a project. Now, it is an instant process. All info is findable via search engine. Also, social media is its own baked-in nightmare part of the artist experience. Hopes for the future would be less about "Like's" and "Subscribe's" and more about art that actually moves people finding its loudest platform.

PC: I miss the reverence once shown to great musicians. It feels like now there’s so many hats in the ring and everyone has the ability to make a page or sell themselves as an artist, up and comers aren’t shown the respect for pursuing the craft that they once were. It’s scary to think of that continuing and what the landscape for artists might be like over the next few decades because of it.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

EG: That artists could and would be fairly compensated for their work.

PC: I wish that all the hard touring bands would get their due. I wish people would be more willing to go out and see a live show of a band they’ve never heard of rather than swipe through the next post in their feed.           (CINEMA CINEMA / Photo by Alex Bershaw)

"I miss the mystique. I liked finding a band and digging into their catalogue, like a project. Now, it is an instant process. All info is findable via search engine. Also, social media is its own baked-in nightmare part of the artist experience. Hopes for the future would be less about "Like's" and "Subscribe's" and more about art that actually moves people finding its loudest platform."

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

EG: Stay humble. Eschew expectations.

PC: Be kind and respectful to every single person you meet. Learn the sound persons name. And bring a fresh package of socks and underwear on tour!

 What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

EG: I want people to recognize that music is a universal language that we are blessed to share. It breaks barriers and brings strangers together, all around the world.

PC: To echo what Ev said - we’ve been fortunate enough to witness firsthand the communicative power of music. From playing in rooms where most in attendance spoke a different language to rooms where we definitely weren’t the band that those in attendance planned to see. We’ve seen how music can break down all different barriers, for sure. I want music to open people up to something new.

Let's take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

EG: Lollapalooza 91, with Rollins Band opening the day, Living Color playing mid-card, and Jane's Addiction headlining!

PC: I’d love to go back to somewhere in the late 40s/early 50s to when rock was really being invented and honed. I’d really love to experience the urgency and danger that the music held back then.

Cinema Cinema - Home

(CINEMA CINEMA / Photo by Alex Bershaw)

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