Interview written and conducted by @KralTunes
While the notion of forming a band, cranking out some songs, touring the world, and making millions has invaded the dreams of literally every teenager in existence, seeing those dreams come to fruition can be quite the oddity (you could say it about as rare as cool songs about mythological Krakens and high school graduating werewolves).***listen to the album to get those two references***
Julian Maltais is one of those millions, only he took his vision about fifteen steps further. As the brains behind the cult punk of SURFIN’ MUTANTS PIZZA PARTY (SMPP), Julien not only writes all the songs, he plays every instrument on the album, and even designs the albums’ artwork, all from the comfort of is bedroom. At only 22, he has already amassed an impressive collection of material over the course of his burgeoning career. His first full length album, ‘The Death Of Cool’, was released this past May, and has garnered some international press praising his energetic performances, as well as his do-it-yourself attitude.
SMPP’s music is a punchy collection of lo-fi, indie surf rock that incorporates a variety of imagery, ranging from sci-fi flicks, comics, video games, and skateboarding. Julien’s vocals vaguely resemble a Mike Ness or a younger Billy Joe Armstrong on several tracks such as ‘Can’t See Straight’ or ‘Cocaine Lipstick’. Not only can Julien bash the listener over the head with his brand of power punk, but he shows his range by crafting some wonderful slow jams, such as the ’50’s sounding ‘I Need A Cigarette’. This album will warrant repeat listens throughout the summer.
Julian was more than gracious to answer some of my nonsensical rambling. So without further ado, here is the One Man Music Making Machine, Julien Maltais:
KralTunes: Lets get it out of the way..the name..WTF?! First thought that comes to my mind is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but that seems too obvious. Where does the name come from?
Julien Maltais: Haha! Well, there really isn’t much of an interesting story behind the name other than wanting something that looks and sounds cool to me. Typical reactions to the name are “Dude! The name’s awesome, but I forget it on my way home” or “That’s stupid”. The TMNT connection was not something I was aiming for, but I did realize it was similar at one point. Kinda similar to CHUD too.
KT: Tell us a little about yourself?
JM: I was born and raised by vampire werewolves in Russia (well not really). I don’t know, I’m 22, I enjoy video games, horror movies, skateboarding and comic books. Lately I’ve been reading these UFO books my dad had for a really long time, it’s pretty neat. I also have a college diploma in Social Science that is completely useless.
KT: Surfin’ Mutants Pizza Party appears to be a one man outfit…is this true?
JM: It is true, I record in my bedroom (vocals are recorded in the closet, ‘cause of better acoustics) and I also do the artworks. It’s practical, I don’t need a schedule to record or having to wait on someone and it’s also a lot of fun to create something from scratch and shaping it up to what you want it to sound like.
KT: Your latest release, aside from digital, is available on cassette. Is there really a contingent of people out there listening to music on crappy walkman’s? Vinyl I can buy into, but cassette, I don’t know. What do you feel about this current cassette craze?
JM: I like ‘em, and when they’re blasted through a sweet ghetto blaster they can sound pretty awesome. As far as I’m concerned, I think it’s more about owning something physical the band or artist put out to show support. Who knows, maybe 8-tracks will make a comeback or laserdisc for movies haha!
KT: To these uneducated ears, your music appears to be rooted in punk with a dash of horror and dreampop for good measure. Am i off with this assumption? How would you describe your sound?
JM: That’s a great way to describe it I’d say! There’s a whole bunch of influences from different subgenres of Punk and I always aim for catchiness. As far as Horror goes, it’s surely inspiring the visual aspect and some lyrics.
KT: You seem to have garnered a decent amount of international press lately with your music. Is this something you set out for accomplish, or did this catch you totally off guard? What do you think is the driving force that is getting your name out there in these distant lands?
JM: Caught me off guard, and it was a pleasant surprise, I’m very proud of the album and was kind of hoping to get some press for it, but I got way more than I thought and that’s sick, now I don’t want it to stop. Maybe the weird name I chose is kind of driving force, I have no clue haha!
KT: Any plans for live shows in the near future?
JM: I did a show last Saturday as a two piece (my best bud was drumming) with an awesome band from Québec called Ponctuation. I do plan on playing more shows.
KT: Typical music interview question…What are some of your biggest influences?
JM: Misfits, FIDLAR, Jay Reatard, Wire, Wipers, Descendents, Weezer, The Replacements. I’d say those are my biggest influences.
KT: What can we expect from the band in the upcoming year? (Yes, I know that you just released a new album of material this past month, but us greedy American f***s always want more).
JM: Haha, well I’ll definitely start recording some new stuff, I’d like to shoot a music video, play more shows, all that fun stuff. I’m pretty active on my Facebook page, so if people want to stay up to date that’s the place to go.
Find Surfin’ Mutants Pizza Party here: