Neon Indian is the project of Alan Palomo, who was born in Monterrey, Mexico, the son of a very famous pop star. He has lived in Texas for most of his life, with stints in San Antonio, Austin and Denton, and currently resides in New York City. He has released three albums since 2009, the most recent being VEGA INTL. Night School, his most accomplished work yet. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Martin Rev is an American musician and the instrumentalist behind the protopunk band Suicide. He has released nine solo albums for a number of labels, including ROIR and Puu. Rev’s style varies widely from release to release, from no wave to melodic pop to heavy synth-induced rock. He has written soundtracks for various works by digital video pioneer Stefan Roloff, with whom he has also collaborated on R&R, a series of audiovisual projects that use music and images like two international languages that can communicate free from translation. Rev’s website is here.
If you come out of the indie community and you make synth-based music, you owe a huge debt to an iconic duo called Suicide. In fact, if you come out of the indie community at all, you owe a huge debt to Suicide. Starting in New York’s East Village in the early ’70s, Suicide were confrontational, tough, and absolutely visionary, and they were one of the first punk rock bands. But they had no guitars: it was just Martin Rev on cheap electric keyboards and drum machines, and notorious singer Alan Vega.
This revolutionary, very DIY approach initially influenced English synth bands from Erasure to Throbbing Gristle, and went on to become a huge influence on industrial dance music, and everything from noise to ambient. Suicide has been covered by everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Savages, and their influence extends to bands like LCD Soundsystem, Liars and MIA, who sampled them on her 2010 track “Born Free.”
Neon Indian’s Alan Palomo is a big Suicide fan, and he recently commissioned Martin Rev to remix “Annie,” a track from his new album VEGA INTL. Night School. So we invited these two representatives of different, but related, musical generations to sit down for a Talkhouse Music Podcast.
They talked about all sorts of things: how you know when your music is done, the economic realities of being an artist, the evolution of New York City as an artistic capitol, creative cycles and the effect of the internet, and the birth of punk rock. Palomo knows his stuff, and Rev throws down a whole lot of hard-earned knowledge and wisdom, so listen closely.