Interview: Drew from Totally Gross National Product (With Totally Gross National Party Set Times!)
We’ve been previewing some of the bands that will be playing at the fifth installment of the Totally Gross National Party that is happening starting at 2pm at Icehouse this Saturday. To cap things off, we talked with Totally Gross National Product label head Drew Christopherson about TGNParty’s past and present, and who we should look out for at the show on Saturday. Below the interview are set times for the show, and you can purchase tickets in advance HERE.
Reviler: For those who have never been, describe the spirit you go for in pulling together this show. What kind of musical experience should someone expect if they stumble upon the Totally Gross National Party?
Drew Christopherson from Totally Gross National Product: We always try to be as diverse as possible with the lineups, and really just focus on having bands and acts that we really stand behind regardless of how popular they are. I like to think that the music is both entertaining and challenging to a certain degree. For us its about bringing people together to celebrate how different (and good!) the music from around here can be, and how it can work together even though band A might sound nothing like band B. Its mostly about celebrating music in general, and the hope that those who come to the event will be a great group of people to spend the day with. Of course, we do hope people walk away thinking that TGNP is a valuable asset to the community here, but its less about flexing on our behalf and more about flexing for the city as a whole. I hope someday we get people flying in from other cities to see how much fun we can have here in the summer time.
Reviler: There are some newer, less known bands on the bill this year. Who is a band on the bill you think people might be sleeping on who they should make sure to check out?
DC: Yes, there are a lot of new/newish acts this year, which is the real spirit of what we like to have booked. I could easily explain why every set is worth coming for, but I’ll say Leisure Birds for this answer. We just released their third album, Tetrahedron, and its easily one of the coolest records Ive heard from Minneapolis in a long time. This is the 2nd show they’ll play since its release and not to be missed. We’re hoping we can trip the place out enough with lights (and lasers?) to match their psychedelic sound but that might not be possible. Im real looking forward to their vibe just after it gets dark. Alpha
Reviler:Marijunana Deathsquads are set to play first, not the headlining spot that they’ve held down in the past. Why did you make this change? How much work goes into planning the day and making the bands, from a wide range of genres, fit together?
DC: Marijuana Deathsquads have proudly headlined every Totally Gross National Party to date, so this year we wanted to switch it up. We switched it up entirely and put them first on the bill. The band has had a concept for a brunch series called Mimosa Brunchsquads for a long time now so this seemed like a good time to try it out. Playing at 3pm is not at all in the bands nature so it felt like a cool challenge. We’ll be offering free mimosas before and during their set.
Programming the lineup order is one of the big challenges for the party every year. We really try to avoid the whole headliner vs opener plague of most musical events. Instead we try and go for what seem alike a really well curated flow. Like having more electronic / dancey / high-energy stuff happening later in the night for example. There’s also something to be said for trying to showcase artists that have had a particularly eventful year. But overall, we really just hope that people have it in themselves to come and see everybody, and that is why its so important to keep the lineup diverse and exciting.
Reviler: Allan Kingdom played late in the night last year, but seems like he might actually be “headlining” this year as he is garnering a huge amount of buzz. What has is been like seeing his profile rise so quickly over the last few months?
DC: I don’t think Ive seen anyone kick start their own enterprise as fluidly and organically as Allan has this past year. The first time I heard of him was exactly one year ago this month when Ryan said we had to add him to the lineup of last year’s party. Since then he has continued to produce his own material, drop tons of videos, and seems to be grinding every single day. Its inspiring to watch and can’t wait to see him start touring and what kind of effect that may have on his profile. We’re very happy he wanted to come back and do the party again this year.
Reviler: Any TGNP affiliated bands you wanted to play this year who couldn’t make it? Is there a dream band you would want to play (or reunite) for TGNP VI?
DC: The first band I tried to make sure could play was The Cloak Ox, as they have not yet played one of these things. But alas, it couldn’t work out. Thankfully we were able to convince Andrew Broder to play some new Fog material, which coincidentally would have been my first choice for an older act to come back and play. I once heard that Coachella always makes sure to book what they call “legacy acts”, which are older bands that come out of hiding to play their festival. Last year we had Digitata play, and hope to have Twin Cities “legacy acts” every year.
Reviler: Five years in, what is the most memorable set so far from the Totally Gross National Party concerts?
DC: So hard to say. We keep doing this because every year I get to see so many great sets from all these amazing bands that agree to play. It was real special when P.O.S debuted a bunch of new stuff two years ago as a surprise set, but I also remember the very first year we did this when Total Fucking Blood destroyed the back alley of Nick & Eddie. Spyder Baybie Raw Dog and Slapping Purses at Jager were both incredibly fun dance parties. So many great sets. Its an honor to get to host this every year.