The Epoxies: Robot Talk

From the perspective of 1968 (the year Space Odyssey: 2000 was written), the formation of the Epoxies in 2000 is fitting. Their space-age, synth-driven music and their electric, slick-punk stage appearance is worlds away from the scene of their origins in present-day Portland, Ore.

For the past five years, Roxy Epoxy (vocals), FM Static (keys, vox), Ray Cathode (drums), Viz Spectrum (guitar) and Shock Diode (bass) have been infusing tired, gray cities with an edgy, upbeat pulse. Clad in shiny leather and impenetrable shades, the Epoxies have recently finished touring for their second full-length album, Stop The Future, along with fellow space-age punks the Phenomenauts and the Aquabats.

Innocent Words: What is robot garage rock?

Roxy Epoxy: I guess you heard that the Epoxies started out with that idea in mind, but we didn’t figure out what it was, so we sound like the Epoxies. For some reason I can’t shake the image of decrepit robots playing garbage cans, though. Maybe that is robot garage rock.

IW: Why do you think it’s important to have bands like the Epoxies in an era of organic hippie music?

Epoxy: Hmmm, I find us so far removed from hippie music that I never really gave it any thought. I don’t think too much about hippies in general except for the fact that they have some knowledge when it comes to natural foods and yoga. I like natural foods and yoga. I hate patchouli and stinky dreads, though. Anyhow, we aren’t sending messages of peace and love, but we do try to bring up societal points in our lyrics (although a lot of people don’t pick up on that). We started as a reaction to that state of music being what it is. We were bored. We wanted to both have fun and be ridiculous as well as vent about the way it feels to live on this planet these days, to live in this culture and be viewed as we are. It’s always important to think outside the norm and question what’s around you. It’s not purely a question about the state of music.

IW: You’ve said that this tight, synth punk sound is in a sense more “new wave” than the stereotypical guitar-driven sound. Can you explain what you meant?

Epoxy: I think “new wave” is a silly, useless term. It’s a catch-all. Perhaps it is to point out that a lot of people interpret the term to mean music that was more palatable in the mid-eighties, although I know that the Smiths were far less commercial than say the Thompson Twins who also got lumped into that category. Blondie, X, Elvis Costello, Smiths, Flock of Seagulls, Kim Wilde, Thompson Twins, Screamers, DEVO, The Cure, the Romantics are all bands that have probably been lumped under the new wave term, and they all sound pretty different. I personally don’t think there would be any validity to a “who’s more new wave than who” war. Besides, why go there? There’s enough useless “who’s punker than who” wars going on ….

IW: Being a sci-fi band, how do you think modern technology and scientific progress affects pop culture, our everyday lives and music innovation?

Epoxy: Oh, this answer could have many facets, so I’ll keep it pretty general. So many of us have watched life get more and more impersonal as technology has advanced. We don’t even need to leave our houses any more if we don’t want to. We can “talk” to people online, order food, products …whatever we need. Our entertainment is more prepackaged than ever before as so much is decided by big business and their access to surveys and other generalized information. We are no longer people, we are age groups, classes and demographics. Aside from this slide, I think this tendency is causing some factions of people to insist on experimenting more … or to go back to their roots musically or otherwise. People are making more art or speaking out more … and seeing how to get their voice out there through the underground. Things are becoming more and more split ….

IW: Where do you get ideas for costumes and stage antics?

Epoxy: We are full of idiotic ideas. We try not to censor ourselves visually, although our pockets will often do so. We get costume ideas from garbage, scraps, rope, pots and pans, whatever catches the eye. Stage antics run the gamut but often just happen on the fly. I oftentimes don’t know what I’m going to do onstage … I never know what I’m going to say. I’m pretty socially retarded sometimes, so who knows what’s going to come out. I guess that’s the point of the band, though. We want to represent the socially awkward, outcasts and such because that’s who we are.

IW: When fans attend your shows, do they ever mimic your appearance, or do they view you as the showmen?

Epoxy: Sometimes people show up dressed like us. I find it very flattering … and I think it’s always that way for bands. Kiss fans dress up like Kiss. Marilyn Manson fans dress like Manson. It’s no different for us. People dress up if they want to and we love it. If they’re involved with the show, we love it.

IW: Is there a reason for having stage names (do they maybe distance you as humans from the music)? Also, do you call each other by those names or your “real” names?

Epoxy: What do you mean by stage names? I am Roxy Epoxy and I am almost five years old.

IW: If the Epoxies were a religious cult or political regime, what would be the essence of your doctrine?

Epoxy: We’re fucked. Let’s dance.

IW: What did you enjoy most about your recent touring?

Epoxy: I *heart* the Phenomenauts so much … and the Aquabats. We always meet great people on the road, but it’s even better when you thoroughly enjoy the people you tour with. Let’s see. The synchronized swimming and the flaming cheese stand out at quick thought … and the family photo.