Chicago quartet Negative Scanner make music that is urgency personified, a perfect sonic call to arms for increasingly difficult and fucked-up times. The band recently released Nose Picker on Chicago institution Trouble in Mind, and it's a flawless snapshot of their angular, wiry, post-punk/hardcore hybrid. Negative Scanner is deeply – and happily – entrenched in the Chicago underground, with most members of the ensemble juggling side projects and DIY gig-booking duties; the emphasis is on keeping their band's progress in line with their ideals, and supporting the community that supports them.
Orlando Weekly sat down with singer-guitarist Rebecca Valeriano-Flores and guitarist Matt Revers to talk about finally playing the Sunshine State.
What brings you through Florida?
Rebecca Valeriano-Flores: Well, I have actually never been to Florida. We've done a few tours where we go through the Midwest and South, the route going through the middle of America to Texas and New Orleans. But we've never been farther east of New Orleans or Atlanta. I really like going to new places; we've been a band for five years and we've gone on that many tours. There's always a new place we could go, and instead of doing the same tour circuit we wanted to hit up places that we haven't played before.
Where did the title Nose Picker come from?
Valeriano-Flores: I like it because it's kind of funny, and on this record our sense of humor comes out a lot more than our previous record. On this record, I wanted that to come through – because we are serious people but we do love to joke around a lot.
What influenced the songs on this album?
Valeriano-Flores: With this band, I have always kept in mind a lot of '70s post-punk. When we first started writing stuff, I was kind of more into the gothy side of post-punk, Bauhaus, Suicide. For this record, I am leaning towards more the power-pop side of post-punk, like Wire, the Fall and the Buzzcocks.
What kind of shows do you usually play, DIY shows or bar shows?
Valeriano-Flores: We've always played DIY shows, but we also play bars and venues too. I think now, we play more DIY shows than bar shows. We used to play bars a lot more when we first started out, but not as much anymore. We generally only play bigger venues if it's something we are really excited about.
Matt Revers: Plus in Chicago we book DIY shows.
Has living in Chicago had an effect on Negative Scanner?
Valeriano-Flores: I'm always interested and inspired by my friends' bands. I like to think it gets into the music I write [but] I couldn't tell if it does. I go see live bands more than I listen to records. Going to shows and seeing the bands is where I am actively listening to music. I know personally, I am affected by it, but I don't know if it shows in our music.
Revers: In Chicago, music has always been a plurality. There're a lot of bands that aren't trying to sound like each other. There're a lot bands that aren't trying to fit a particular sound, and I really like that a lot.
What has you most excited about coming down to Orlando?
Revers: I like seeing new plants. The different vegetation, and how different cities look too. Florida has swamps, and that's really cool. Lizards also. We'll hopefully see some alligators. I've been to Disney as a kid before, so I'm interested to see how people live a daily life there.
Valeriano-Flores: Every time we travel to a new part of the country, I am always amazed with the drive through the state and seeing how different the terrain, architecture and the weather is in different parts of the country. I've never been to Florida before, so I am excited to see how it is.
Revers: Also, in the Midwest the DIY scene lives and dies in basements. So, I think it's cool in the South to see how in certain places that's not the case and how they work around that.