Tender Buttons and Kill Me Tomorrow are two of themany projects of San Diego musician/multimediaartists Zack Wentz and K8 Wince (they are joined byDan Wise in Kill Me Tomorrow.) Some of their otherprojects include painting, writing (they have a novelcoming out soon), and a clothing line (Blood + Guts).And both their bands tour almost constantly. So muchstuff… anyway, I caught up with Zack recently(during a brief stint at home in San Diego betweentours)…
Chain D.L.K.: Tell us what you’ve been up to lately.
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: Well, we just got back from another tour a littleless than a week ago. This time to SXSW with YearFuture. Day after that we recorded a collaborative EPwith Dance Disaster Movement for a new label calledArt Fag records. We’ve got a show with Liars, YoungPeople and Get Hustle tomorrow in L. A. I’m busyfinishing last minute details on “the Garbageman andthe Prostitute” novel for Chiasmus Press in the NW. K8’s doing a bunch of clothing stuff. Just the usualmadness, only a little more of it.
Chain D.L.K.: What are some of the concepts in your more recentwork?
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: The new record, “The Garbageman and theProstitute” ended up being kind of a concept record, I guess. All my lyrics belong to little stories. Sortof schizo, sci-fi things. The characters in thesesongs all sort of interrelate and belong together. So, like I was saying, there’s actually a novel of thesame title I wrote and K8’s illustrating that goeswith the album. Hopefully it’ll be out by November. I’ve been hearing it called a cross between JimThompson, Franz Kafka, and Philip K. Dick. I would sayadd a heavy dose of Robbe-Grillet and Faulkner andyou’ve probably got it. High-modernist pulp. A lotlike KMT, really. Everything we do sort of belongstogether and has the same kind of vibe.
Chain D.L.K.: What conditions are most conducive to working onyour music?
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: Free beer and free food and not having to do shitjobs for money in between tours.
Chain D.L.K.: Where do you find inspiration?
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: It seems to find us, I guess. We’ve got too muchstuff to work with, really. I just wish we could getit all out as it comes along. So much stuff has to getput on the back burner and all that because we justdon’t have the time and freedom to make it all happenright away. I am inspired by…free beer, free food, etc. Some young girls just wrote and told us they weregoing to come to our next show in their areapantless with Kill Me Tomorrow panties. That’spretty inspiring. K8’s going to get her picture takenwith them.
Chain D.L.K.: In all your collaborations, what would you sayyou’ve learned from working with other artists, ifanything?
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: I don’t know if I could narrow it down. Everyone isdifferent. We’ve learned to be more patient, eventhough we actually feel less patient these days. There’s a nice general thing. The collaborative EP wejust worked on with DDM was really fun. We did somereally, really weird shit.
Chain D.L.K.: Suppose there was a “heaven”, and you went there – what music would be playing there? What would beplaying in Hell?
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: I’m sure it would be different for each of us. Heaven and hell are personal places, aren’t they? Don’t they individually tailor eternity these days? Haha! Heaven is probably full of fine, vintage dub. Hell… I have a hard time with modern country music. Isuppose an eternal loop of “I Got Friends in LowPlaces” would be pretty appropriate. Either that orhorrible outtakes of our own songs.
Chain D.L.K.: What musicians or artists (in any media), contemporary or not, do you think are underrated orunderappreciated?
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: Too many to list. There are artists I think are”known”, but seem to me like they should be huge. XiuXiu is probably one of the most amazing bands in thecountry. The world, really. Get Hustle. Steve Ericksonis one of my favorite authors and I don’t know whatever happened to him. Steve Aylett. English writerwho’s funny as hell and completely brilliant. I mean, these people get their stuff out there, but it’s thekind of situation where I wonder, “Why aren’t theyfucking everywhere? ” My tastes are suspect though. IfI had my way they’d pump Skinny Puppy, Art of Noiseand Falco out of little speakers hidden on everystreet corner 24-7.
Chain D.L.K.: What do you think would surprise people about youif they knew?
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: I don’t know how to drive a car.
Chain D.L.K.: What have you been listening to lately?
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: We listened to the new Liars and Dizzee Rascalabout 300 times on this last tour. At home K8 prettymuch plays old Shadow and Sherlock Holmes radiobroadcast records ad nauseum.
Chain D.L.K.: If you didn’t do music, writing, or any other art, what would you do?
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: A lot of wrist-slashing.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s in the future for Tender Buttons?
Kill Me Tomorrow / Tender Buttons: We’ve got a new EP coming out on Pacific Rock. Twooriginal songs and a Roxy Music cover. Old recordingswe did with Muffin from the Vanishing. We’ve recordedsome amazing new things with an engineer known asFrances Miranada in L. A. , and Artifical Army is makingan insane video for one of those songs. Some peopleare interested and we’re going to shop it around. We’dlike to get some new gear and do a good tour with it. Full-length. We have more than enough songs ready, just want to do it right. Tender buttons will alwaysbe in the future though. Not a very present-mindedproject.
[interviewed by Maren] [proofreading by Maren]