What could one possibly expect from a band that describes its music as “penguins drinking milk or an octopus mopping hardwood floors?” My simple questions yielded not-so-standard answers.
Giddy-Up, Helicopter! is a local band with several members that attend USF. GUH consists of J. Conner (guitar/lyrics), Nikki Navarro (guitar/lyrics), Nicole Schleif (guitar/noise/banjo/lap steel), Sandi Streppone (bass/keyboard) and Ryann Slausson (drums/keyboard).
For a local band, G-U, H! has earned quite a few bragging rights, including playing with more established bands such as the Silverspun Pickups and Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s. In January, they were chosen to play in the music festival LadyFest in Atlanta (where Sleater-Kinney played just a few years earlier) with several other bands from around the country, all of whom were picked based on their music submissions.
G-U, H! was also asked to play at WMNF’s Tropical Heatwave and were named “Best Band of Tampa Bay” in 2006 by Creative Loafing. Local music magazine REAX also included them in their poll of “Best Underground Local Band,” though the results are not in yet.
G-U, H! is anticipating the release of their CD, I Am Secretary, which is due out some time in March and will be sold on their MySpace profile and Website.And now, snappy answers provided jointly by Conner and Schleif.
Chelsea McDougald: On your MySpace profile, you describe your music as “Indie/Experimental/Shoegaze.” Obviously the first two are self-explanatory, but shoegaze?
GUH: Hah. Yea, the “shoegaze” influence is mainly pulled from the guitar section. Plus, I mean, we stare at our shoes. That counts, right?
CM: You’ve come quite a long way for a band that formed less than two years ago. Where are some of your favorite places to play and who are your favorite bands to play with?
GUH: We aren’t too picky about the places that we play. We thoroughly enjoy places that are well air conditioned and loaded with alcohol. We’re really excited to be playing with Red Room Cinema on Feb. 8 at New World Brewery and Silversun Pickups on March 17 at Crowbar.
CM: Do you mean for your writing to sound so sad? Even the up-tempo ones have a depressing quality.
GUH: Yes. We are all so depressed because we’re all colorblind.
CM: What band(s) would you describe your music being similar to? Also, what band(s) or particular songs influenced all of you to come together and form a band?
GUH: We pull from a wide range of influences: Anything from Pinback, Black Heart Procession, Jesus and Mary Chain and American Analog Set. Sandi (Streppone) would say the ’80s, Slowdive, Sonic vYouth, At the Drive In and Sleater-Kinney. I (Schleif) would say that all of us have a pretty similar taste in music. No band in particular brought us together. Oh! The traditional folk song “Scarborough Fair.”
CM: How did you all meet? And whose idea was it for the name?
GUH: We all met at the Hub (go alcoholics, go!). We’ve gone through two drummers and we just found our latest, permanent drummer (Slausson) two months ago. We’re fantastically excited. About the name, I (Schleif) came up with it during a bout of insomnia and a long phone conversation; words have a way of becoming pretty funny when they turn into colors – muted colors.
CM: Does a band of mostly girls fit the clichÃ© that everyone’s thinking? Do you fight a lot or get along for the most part?
GUH: Since we’re mostly girls, we like painting our fingernails and playing Polly Pocket. The big boy of the band likes to play with monster trucks.
CM: Do you imagine your music being played on the radio at any point?
GUH: We have been played on 88.5 and 97.1’s local music program. I (Schleif) think as soon as we put our CD out – which hopefully should be by the Silversun Pickups show – we’ll get more airplay. We’ll have a finalized product to send out. We want to take over college radio stations – in the best way possible.
CM: If you were going to sign to a label, which would you choose?
GUH: I (Schleif) personally would choose SubPop, Matador or Southern … or even Kill Rock Stars. I’m not certain on which labels the others would choose.
CM: If Lester Bangs were alive today, would he thumbs up or thumbs down your music?
GUH: (Conner) He would put crackers in my shoes.
CM: If you weren’t in GUH what would you be doing otherwise?
GUH: We would be in GUH. We don’t want to do anything else. Except when we’re 56, then we might all live together in a big house with a lot of wheelchairs and sweet tea. I really hope The Price is Right is still on when we’re 56.
CM: Who writes the music?
GUH: It’s a collaborative process. Conner writes the lyrics and we’re all responsible for our instrumental sexy parts.
CM: As a band that’s at least scratched the surface of the music industry, is it as ruthless as people assume it to be?
GUH: I don’t think we have the experience to answer this, but from what we’ve seen, no.