|Interview by Christopher S. Feltner|
Two-Piece noise rock bands are NUMEROUS! That being said, Joules stand out. Largely improvisational but never repetitive. Sludgy, discordant, feedback ridden bass accompanied by varying rhythms with the occasional delay rich, looped vocal. As a bonus, Mark Hepp (bass) and Charles Ovett (drums/vocal) are complete sweethearts.
What IS "Joules?
Mark: Hahahaha well... Just two guys doing what they love. Its all our influences and tastes and throwing it all on the floor and making something happen. No egos, just a love of making sounds and having a good time.
Why don't I believe that's your REAL answer?
This isn't Spin!
Mark: We toss out ideas and just go for it whether it be shirts or a noise album or anything really. Just two friends making noise rock really.
Charles: It's true.
Mark: No egos, just handshakes and sweat. Loud amps and free jazz beats.
Mark, I met you when you played in a different two-piece last year, right?
Mark: Yessir. The upsidedown stars.
Why do you hate guitarists and/or vocalists?
Mark: No hate. That’s like asking why a painter prefers oils vs motor oil.
What about you Charles? What were you into before Joules?
Charles: Me? I was in another 2-piece called Battle Beast, and a grunge punk band called Harry Hunter. Also, solo projects called Death Rides A Horse and Prince Charles, Holyghostenema.
Mark: I was in a 3-piece called Stronghold Crvsader, then Robot vs Rabbit before that.
You guys keep busy! I have seen you perform three or four times now, and each time has been a little different. Do you guys write, improvise, or a little of both?
Mark: Yeah a little bit of both. Kinda like krautrock and jazz; we have ideas and foundations. But, it's like driving; ya take the same road every day and it will never be the same. Ask a painter to recreate his picture exactly, can he do it?
The incorporation of vocals have been off-and-on in the times I've seen Joules. Is this something you think you'll do more of?
Mark: Maybe, but at the same time ya have the possibility to make something new on an old foundation. Charles?
Charles: Yes, of course! That's the only way I'll get close to being a front man.
You guys just finished several dates collaborating with Emotron. How'd this come about?
Mark: There was a resident artist in Charlotte named Andy the Doorbum, Emotron is friends with him...
Charles: I think Mark had a big hand in that. I was all for it.
Mark: Andy was starting an art war in Charlotte. I had approached Andy about a possible collaboration, but he was busy with
Charles: I played a few shows with him before in my last band. Good times!
Mark: And, through our friendship with Kyle, we met the lovely Pants who sat in with us and Kyle with vocals and cymbal bashing. So, we four did some shows together before Kyle left and now we are evolving to use Pants as another member, another idea machine. She's done a few gigs with us now, and is openminded and bringing new ideas to the table that we never thought of. If for some reason she can't play, we just do what we do.
What all does Pants do? Vocals like Emotron? Something else?
Mark: At the moment, vocals.... Yeah ,similar but adding her own elements each time. She uses cymbals like Clang Quartet.
Various kitchen utensils with varying types of surfaces. She's big into sound textures.
Speaking of Clang Quartet... What is in the water in NC? Some of my most memorable shows have been in NC along with some of the most memorable people. There's a lot of creativity flowing through the state: Baptizer, Clang Quartet, YOU, NUSS, Three-Brained Robot, et al.
Mark: I guess its no different than any city or scene. Like minded people who enjoy everyones company merging together in rallying support.
Charles: There are a few others around that are really good. Ghost Trees is cool.
You guys have both mentioned Jazz when I've talked to you about inspiration. Any particular players?
Charles: Man, that's a loaded question. I grew up with a jazz musician that could play 13 instruments.
Who was this musician you grew up with?
Charles: His name was CC Bankhead. Awesome musician but not healthy mentally.
Mark: My inspirations were more, sounds of the world, birds trains, natural ambient sounds... I hated pop music as a child and found punk rock in high school. That music blew open my mind and I have been searching for new things almost everyday since. We just gravitated towards a jazz foundation because that seemed natural?
What do you guys have coming up for the rest of the year? Any plans to record?
Mark: The rest of the year? Yeah, get new shirts, play more gigs, just have fun and make noise that comes natural. We record as much as we can with any device we have on hand: cameras, laptops, Kyle had a field recorder. We're always looking at new/used tools. "Hey lets try this!!!" And, we go get it.
Charles: Looking forward to the noise fest in St. Petersburg.