Interview Podcast with Sweet Knives by Todd Taylor

Podcast Interview with Sweet Knives by Todd Taylor photo by Mark Murrman

Alicja Trout is one of my favorite musicians. The first time I saw Lost Sounds ended up leaving an impression that’s lasted almost twenty years. Alicja pounded her synthesizer like a percussion instrument—think Screamers, not Human League—and wailed on her Flying V guitar. The band, well, they didn’t look calm and didn’t look like they were having a good time, but they were radioactive. They played like they were under a ton of internal pressure and looked like an electronic graveyard zapped to life. Band members shot slitted stares and yelled clipped shouts across the stage at one another. The inter-band tension radiated out like lightning bolts. I’d like to imagine the attentive audience members got their DNA scrambled at that show and we all took a bit of their music into the sewers of the underground like mutated rats, brains visibly pulsating when we played Lost Sounds records for years and years afterwards, emanating little mutant blinks of light all around the world.

At the core of the glowing, throbbing nucleus of Lost Sounds were Alicja Trout, Jay Reatard, and Rich Crook. Alicja and Jay each wrote half the music and shared equal creative responsibility. They were the twin brain, the conjoined creative body with a common cause. Until they suddenly weren’t. The band ended swiftly, but Alicja didn’t miss a beat forming River City Tanlines. Gone was the synth damage and out came unadulterated guitar rock’n’roll. Her productivity as a singer, songwriter, and visual artist continues to be off the charts through today. You really can’t go wrong by soaking in any of the bands she’s been involved with since the dissolution of Lost Sounds: Black Sunday, Alicja-Pop!, Mouserocket, Destruction Unit, or Fresh Flesh.

Sweet Knives began as a Lost Sounds reboot, playing Alicja’s songs. When Alicja, Rich, and John Garland got back together, they quickly realized that they didn’t want to be restricted to solely being a cover band of their old band. They still play with the arcing, tense, dirty-crackle lightning of Lost Sounds, but are also writing new songs that reflect where they are now. They’re songs that come from lives that include responsible motherhood, sustainable rural farming with Mennonite neighbors, a keyboardist who’s also in the yacht rock band Relentless Breeze, and creative resilience that bobs like a long-lasting flare on a dark and stormy sea. –Todd

Photo by Mark Murmann

Sweet Knives – from their double 7”
Intro: “I Don’t Wanna Die” (video version)
Outro: “Some People”