STFU Robots: Dynamic duo

by Raleigh Davis

You may not know have heard of STFU Robot yet, but if you ever happen to stumble upon them doing what they do best it’s a performance that you’re not likely to forget. They’re a new band that is starting to make their way around Bellingham and with their trashy, dancey take on punk rock accompanied with their unconditional love of neon “bro tanks” and a never-ending supply of novelty sunglasses (sometimes being switched out during songs) it won’t be long before they find their niche and become a known name in the scene.

STFU Robot is composed of long time friends Brendan Silk (drums, keyboard, vocals) and Charlie Walentiny (bass, guitar, vocals) who are no strangers to being musical partners. The duo has been playing with each other since 2008 and despite trials and tribulations don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.

“It’s strange, we had a sort of adverse relationship to each other musically growing up,” said bassist Charlie Walentiny “…mostly Brendan wanting to practice, and myself finding ways to weasle out with our first band The Savvy Swiss.”

The band disbanded after two years of playing due to Silk and Walentiny’s move to Bellingham in 2010, and they quickly found themselves playing together again in local band The Fire Organ. But when frontman Alex Minneker moved away towards other pursuits Silk and Walentiny knew that it was time to let their long gestating solo project loose on the world.

“The name came up in high school when we were in the Savvy Swiss,” explained drummer Brendan Silk. “It became sort of the catch-all ‘joke container’, where musical ideas we had that wouldn’t gel with our more ‘serious’ musics could get thrown in. We developed a love for filthy dance punk that only grew, and once we both saw an opportunity to make it happen, we couldn’t pass it up. It represents the smashing of the robotriarchy, and the irrefutable, irresistible urge to dance.”

With that knowledge under your belt it’s not a surprise to figure out that STFU Robot isn’t a band that takes themselves very seriously. The hard hitting punk tunes are no laughing matter but with a live performance that borders on 65 percent music and 35 percent comedy routine it’s obvious that the robotic duo likes to have fun with the positions they are in. When a band goes from punk thrash to an impromptu 15-minute “Slow Ride” cover while a member is wearing both a guitar and bass, a neon “DTF” tank top and lime green sunglasses it becomes apparent that they are all about having fun without having to prove anything to anyone. STFU Robot is not a band to be pigeonholed.

“My influences range from Meat Loaf and Clutch to Lord Mantis and Carcass to Nicki Minaj and 2Chainz,” Walentiny proudly explained. “That may sound incoherent, but since we’re not really confined to a genre, it means we get to slip in all sorts of musical side notes and teases to amuse ourselves…”

Silk  added, “We draw a lot on Kenny Loggins’ older catalog, which might sound like a joke until you actually listen to it. Other than that, I’ve been most influenced by The Who, obscure (read: irrelevant?) power pop bands from Nova Scotia, and Phish. The latter is probably responsible for some of the spontaneity in our sets.”

With that, the future for STFU Robot is looking that much more interesting and unpredictable. With some awesome shows down the line and tracking for drums and bass just recently finished for their debut EP, lovingly titled Hostile Twerk Environment, the dynamic duo have a lot to look forward to.

“The EP will be four tracks with an intro by nine tracks of bass,” quipped Silk. “We’re looking forward to it. Most of the hits will be on there, so if you came on tour with us, you should recognize a lot of it. It’s a digital-only release, which hopefully will irritate some people with how much better it sounds than vinyl.”

LIVE SHOW: Check out STFU Robot on Sept. 18 at The Shakedown with Urban Fantasy. See facebook.com/STFUROBOT.

Published in the September 2014 issue of What’s Up! Magazine