The Blow: Blasting an experiment of sound
The Blow is a Brooklyn-based electronic-pop duo with a story as unique as their music. Founding member Khaela Maricich shares her experience as an artist with roots in the northwest and tells us about The Blow’s new self titled album coming this month.
The band’s name itself is an unexpected reference to Mt. St. Helens. In 1999 Maricich started a solo project called Get The Hell Out of The Way of The Volcano, after she saw a man holding that sign in Olympia warning people of the erupting volcano. “When I wanted to shorten my band name The Blow seemed like a natural abbreviation for Get The Hell Out of The Way of The Volcano, like a volcanic blast. Because in Olympia you’re in the shadow of the volcano,” Marchich said. “Because I was so naive and didn’t care about anything outside of my own tiny range of experience I didn’t think ‘oh people might take it to mean drugs or sex’…I was just like ‘oh well, who cares about that,’ which is kind of a good state of mind.”
After relocating to Brooklyn a while back, she compares her experience as an artist there to beginnings in Washington. “The exciting thing about New York is that you can see anything all the time, and you’re exposed to everything, but that’s also the intimidation part. People are busy and don’t have time to just come on over and play on your record.”
Her dad is from Anacortes and she’s lived in Olympia and Seattle so she has a lot of history and community with this area. “It’s completely 180 degrees different here,” she said.
The Blow started out as a solo project. Maricich was joined by Jona Becholt for a couple albums and currently consists of Maricich and sound artist and installation artist Melissa Dyne as of 2007. Drawing inspiration from the free experimentation of David Bowie and Brian Eno, their new album, The Blow, is all about trying new things. “The major thing about this [new] album is that it’s the first one we’ve done together. It was kind of a big experminent, the whole thing. I had made albums in the past but it was always like a strange odyssey.”
This is Dyne’s first experience producing a record, and was responsible for all the sound engineering and mixing. They both worked on the composition together, “it was kind of a great voyage together…We made this record thinking ‘let’s see what happens when you put together the ingredients of some sound and us at other ends of the room.’”
This album was an experiment, and they get to turn it into something new with each performance. Their shows are unique because Maricich performs on the main stage and Dyne performs from her own little stage in front of the stage booth.
“We get to hug the audience between us. It’s like a petri dish every night, seeing what we can make happen when people show up. So what’s in store is we’re going to go on this 30-day tour and have that be our laboratory, and try new things every night.”