Photo by: Robin Laananen
It's just way too easy for me to lead with the fact that All Leather has a song called “I Don't Hate Fags, God Does,” but fuck it. Call it lazy journalism if you must, perpetually hyping the controversial and glamorizing the farcical. But you're still reading, aren't you?
Here are some other little nugs to stick in your peace pipe: All Leather is the newest project from Justin Pearson, the guy behind bands like The Locust and Some Girls, thrash-punk bands responsible for minivan family sing-alongs like “I Need Drugs“ and “Gluing Carpet to Your Genitals.”
Let's see, what else? Their EP is called Hung Like a Horse. And at a South by Southwest showcase in March, All Leather got the crowd so crunk that women were desperately trying to grab Pearson's cock, and by the time MSTRKRFT played after them, there was a mini-riot outside the venue complete with horse-mounted Austin police chasing kids around. In Pearson's words, All Leather “scared the shit out of everyone there,” and “we could have been farting in the microphone and everyone would have loved it.” Oh, and the band named themselves after a theme night at Hillcrest nightclub Rich's.
OK, so now's the part of the program that gets all PG-13, so here's hoping the wad isn't completely shot. For nearly 15 years, Pearson and guitarist Nathan Joyner have been fucking shit up in The Locust and Some Girls, freaking people out by dressing up in what appear to be weird, skintight fencing uniforms and playing angular, scream-drenched grindcore. But when Pearson sits down to talk about the more rhythmic, electro-infused All Leather, it quickly becomes clear that all pre-conceived notions are off the table.
“I had this idea of starting a band that was like Britney Spears,” he says, in between petting Gigi, his beloved cocker spaniel. “But with better lyric content and bigger, meaner distortion. I think a lot of the Britney hits are super-good.”Seriously, dude, puppy dogs and Britney Spears? What the fuckity-fuck?
Yet, when you listen to All Leather, you can see where Pearson's coming from. For him, the new band seems to be a reach for that middle ground between punk and pop. Influenced by electro artists like Mr. Oizo, with a touch of Blood Brothers and Atari Teenage Riot, the music is catchy and repetitive while at the same time remaining dirty and distorted—something that Locust fans might enjoy but could also appeal to club kids who've never listened to hardcore.
“With The Locust show, it really is almost impossible to dance to it. This is a little more traditionally beat-based. No fucked-up time signatures or absurd changes. I think people can relate to it more. It is dance music, ultimately, but it's just adding another element that's not typical.”
Another thing that might seem atypical for anyone familiar with Pearson is his decision to put All Leather's music out on Dim Mak Records, rather than his own Three One G label. The L.A.-based Dim Mak is home to big-name electro acts like Bloody Beetroots and MSTRKRFT, so if you're the type of opportunistic music fan that lives to scream “sell out” any chance you get, then now would be a good time. Except, you know, you'd be wrong and shit. Pearson has known Dim Mak's owner (super DJ Steve Aoki) for more than a decade, ever since The Locust played in his living room. Pearson says Aoki immediately got what the band was going for.
“I think his angle was our angle, too, because we could have put it out on Three One G and have the same fan base that The Locust and Some Girls have, or we could do it with someone else and broaden it.”
That broadening has begun as All Leather have a full-length LP slated for release in early July and are starting to do more local shows. They even have an opening spot on a Yeah Yeah Yeahs show in Phoenix.
So, back to that whole God hates fags business—Pearson takes music seriously, but he thinks that anyone who take song titles too seriously just doesn't get it.
“You kind of have to laugh and shit,” he says. “I mean, look at all the stuff I do. Dressing up in uniforms in The Locust. And even in All Leather, it's just catchy dance music. I mean, I have to laugh at myself. They should, too.”All Leather play the Art Around Adams street festival on Saturday, June 6. www.myspace.com/allleather.