Cool, ethereal, and blistering. Colleen Green’s fuzz-laden punk-rock is a carbonated minefield of guitar riffs and drum machines. It’s a sort of sonic hush that emblazons every fiber of her music. “Sock it to Me,” the newest opus by Green, has been heralded by critics and adored by fans. Cinema Spartan managed to catch up with the maven of rad for an interview of sorts.
In reviews, your sound has been called everything from “weird pop-punk” (AllMusic) to “grunge popper” (Pitchfork). Do you ever read an analysis of your work, and find yourself wondering where publications come up with these terms?
No, I’ve never really wondered that! I think usually they just see it somewhere else and copy paste, especially if it is a one- or two-word term that is being used to describe my entire musical catalog and personal style.
The last time I interviewed you, a few years ago, you said you were pretty nervous about playing at your friend’s wedding. How did it go?
Haha yes, I was incredibly nervous and I almost didn’t do it. But I love my friend and I knew she wanted me to, so I played a few covers and it went really well and she was so happy.
Instead of your trademark sketches, you have a photo on this record. What made you change aesthetics?
I just wanted the album cover to be really colorful. My first Hardly Art release has a great colorful photograph on it as well. I thought it was cool that both of my Hardly Art releases had photos and both Art Fag releases had drawings. And before the Hardly Art 7″, I had a CD-R with a black and white photo. I’m just doing whatever I feel. There’s really no aesthetic change taking place.
What song, on Sock it To Me, has the most emotional connection to you?
Social media seems to be such a prevalent part of a musician’s publicity. Modernly, do you think an artist could make it without the internet?
You made your first music video – Taxi Driver – for Sock it To Me. It definitely has stylistic shades of Jim Jarmusch’s “Night on Earth”. What were the visual inspirations for the video?
My friend Pat Breen made that video for me, and I think he did a wonderful job although I’m not really sure what his inspirations were. We wanted it to be like the movie “Taxi Driver”, obviously, and kinda dark and moody.
I want Hardly Art to start selling wayfarers on their site. Any chance?
I think maybe there is a chance! They’ve suggested that I make CG sunglasses before, but I just feel like it’s kind of lame and those sunglasses are never good. But maybe in the future.
What was your favorite film of 2013?
Oh man, I have no idea. Oh Wait! iSteve!
Recently, you posted a photo on Facebook, highlighting a few awkward concert-goers. How do you deal with an audience that may be reluctant to move or dance? Do you modify your set at your shows to meet the energy of a crowd?
Hahaha, I posted that picture mostly as a joke and because people love to look at pictures on Facebook. That show was really fun and a lot of people there were dancing and having a great time. I think that picture was just taken at the perfect moment. Anyway, I don’t mind if people aren’t moving or dancing when I play and I think that a band who asks or tells people to dance shouldn’t be allowed to play shows anymore. When I go to shows I prefer to stand politely and listen attentively and just enjoy the music and the band so I understand when I see people doing this. In the past I have edited set lists or chosen certain songs that I feel are more “crowd-pleasing” because I can tell that certain crowds are only at the show to drink or whatever and don’t really care about music. But I know now that that is bullshit and that I should play the songs I want to and just be me because that’s what makes me good and yes some people will not be able to appreciate it but those that can will love it that much more.
You have a great, intimate performance of ‘Darkest Eyes’ that was, according to Youtube, ‘performed in a vacant apartment in Allston.’ Have you ever considered playing an acoustic set to a live crowd at a venue?
I have never considered playing an acoustic set for anyone because I hate playing acoustic guitar. But on the Burgerama Caravan of Stars tour that we did at the end of 2013, I ended up playing a lot of the shows with just my guitar and no drum machine because we were so pressed for time. And it was really fun, a lot of people really liked it.
What’s it like having a verified Twitter account? Are Tweets more stressful to compose?
It’s fun and makes me feel kinda special. The tweeting process however remains much the same.
Finally, come back to San Diego?