Bang Lime Biography
"Sixteen years of playing together and not having a closed mind to music will lead you to many different paths," says Joshua.
From the curiously titled first single/video, "The Death Of Death," an homage to their short-lived former band and bandmate in NYC to the judge-not racial sentiment in "Free White & 21," a movie title and subject of a Malcolm X speech, to the three-part, three-person, three-perspective love story, "Fly Paper," and love and war double-entendre "All Wars," Joshua and Joules have created an album that has as much depth lyrically as it does in the nuances of the music.
"To make things interesting, I don't write about single experiences," says Joshua. "I find that I'll write about three things at the same time. That's true in almost all of the songs on the album. A lot of times I do write about people that I know, but then I translate that into what I know about people in general.
"The three subjects I tend to write on are personal, such as love or friendship, and the political and the social challenges of racism. I have no space in my life for wars and racism; they are the opposite of compassion," says Joshua, who is of mixed parentage. "If you don't have empathy and compassion for other people, I don't know how you can love each other. Without those feelings, I'm very sure how you can be a racist and I'm very sure how you can start wars."
As heavy as that might sound, Joshua says he and Joules are all about having fun in Bang Lime. The name itself was literally pulled from a hat many years ago when Joshua played guerilla-style electronic music on the streets of Europe and also dabbled in a kind of poetry where he would pull words from a hat. Joules came to use the phrase as a metaphor for "let's go crazy, musically." "It's nice because it came from something that I wrote and had forgotten, but Joules kept alive," says Joshua.
The pair, who met at the University of North Texas in 1991, has played in bands together that are extremely straightforward and extremely experimental. Joshua, who is first and foremost a singer and guitar player, had always wanted to do something outside the typical band bass-guitar-drums-vocals line-up.
"We joined Metric and it started to get busy, but we still wanted to continue to play other things because I'd never played bass before, besides in Metric," Joshua explains. "The reason it became a duo is because we travel so much that it's unfair to ask anybody else to be in it because we'd come home for like a week-and-a-half and then be gone for two months."
Joshua originally was going to play bass as well in Bang Lime and switch back and forth between instruments, but he didn't want to do anything in the studio that they couldn't replicate live. There was another reason, as well. "It's a little too close to [now defunct bass and drum band] Death From Above 1979 and they are such good friends of mine, I didn't want to sound like them out of respect for them and myself."
The two found the parameters absolutely fun. "It was something that really challenged us musically because you know that there's spaces you have to fill in and that really makes you think of a new way of playing music, and a new way of playing music when it's just guitar and drums because we both come from a background where you want the music to fill up with different sonics. You want to have different dynamic changes.
"We also both talked about wanting it to be grittier," Joshua continues, " and we knew we wanted to rock a little bit harder, but still try to make the kids dance."
While the songs were written over an 18-month period while Metric was on the road, Best Friends In Love was recorded in January in a two-week session in Oakland, California at a studio called Sharkbite. Joshua and Joules self-produced and their friend, Montreal's Drew Malamud, engineered.
"We recorded to 24-track analog tape for the one purpose — we were looking for a slightly dirty sound and we wanted to limit ourselves to make sure we could do everything live," says Joshua. "It's also really interesting to have really short songs. We were looking a lot to the early 60s and 70s. You put on 'Elenor Rigby' and I think it's something like two minutes and six seconds."
Bang Lime has performed just two shows live, in San Francisco and New York, but plans an extensive North American tour in August. The two will then tour with Metric in September before recording the next Metric album in the fall and possibly winter, and picking up some more Bang Lime dates when they can.
Meanwhile, we should all go bang lime!