This interview with Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage appears in AdHoc Issue 16.
Parquet Courts organized and play at Knock! Knock! Down! Down! at Knockdown Center on December 10 with Lee Ranaldo, Guerilla Toss, X___X, Vanity, and Flasher.
New York rock stalwarts Parquet Courts have a knack for playing in unconventional places, like their 2014 AdHoc-co-hosted event at the Sugarhill Supper Club. This year, the band has set its sights on the Knockdown Center, a revamped factory space in Maspeth, Queens that regularly plays host to forward-looking dance, music, art, and theater happenings. On December 10, AdHoc and Parquet Courts will present Knock! Knock! Down! Down!, an evening of musical performances and art installations by the band, its contemporaries,and its inspirations. While soaking in sounds from Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, legendary Ohio proto-punk band X___X , New York punk torchbearers Vanity, and DC post-punk trio Flasher [Ed.: Guerilla Toss has since been added to the bill], visitors wandering through the space will encounter films by Joey Pizza Slice, an audio-video installation by Eaters, and paintings by Parquet Courts vocalist, guitarist, and design mastermind Andrew Savage. We met up with Savage at his apartment in Brooklyn to talk about the genesis of Knock! Knock! Down! Down!, and using art and music to engage with your moment in history.
AdHoc: How did Knock! Knock! Down! Down! come about?
Andrew Savage: Parquet Courts has a tradition of playing a show in December, at the end of the year. Our first band practice was in December2010, so it’s like an anniversary. I think it’s really interesting to take advantage of all these weird and cool spaces for art that we have. Even before I lived here, I noticed that all the DIY venues in New York were a bit different. They each have their own kind of site-specific quality. I’m grateful for the chance to have played places like Palisades and Market Hotel and to be able to make something unique. It’s sad that places like Monster Island Basement and Death By Audio have gone under, but their legacy is also inspiring, because they had this really amazing life. It’s at Death By Audio where we essentially learned how to be a band and play on stage. I never wanna not have an engagement with that world. Knock! Knock! Down! Down! will be a bunch of bands that don’t sound similar but go together in an interesting way. Eaters are an electronic band on my label Dull Tools. We have important contemporaries to us, like Flasher, which is Taylor [Mulitz] from Priests’ new band. And then people who are obviously influential on Parquet Courts, like X___X, a legendary band from my favorite time in American rock music: the ’70s underground proto-punk, post-Velvets thing. Craig [Bell] from X___X was also in Mirrors, Rocket from the Tombs, and Dead Boys. He’s become a good friend and ally. Lee Ranaldo [is] obviously someone who’s been influential on Parquet Courts, and has becomea friend. Vanity [are] a great representation of how awesome the New York punk and hardcore scene is at the moment. I think it’s important for bands to have something that makes them them—some benchmark of success other than the ones that have all been tropes for a long time. In my opinion, it’s asserting who you are and where you come from, and doing it alongside people that you respect, and making a fun night for people.