Revolver has teamed with HEALTH for a limited-edition vinyl edition of their 2020 collaborative album, Disco4 :: Part 1, on translucent red wax with red splatter — order your copy now before they're gone!
Los Angeles electronic-rock group HEALTH love a good collab — and the unique challenge each one presents.
"We have done a lot of these collaborations now," HEALTH singer/guitarist Jake Duzsik recently said, "and there can be a fair amount of awkwardness and not knowing — getting comfortable with your bandmates takes time — so you never know what it's going to be like."
HEALTH have gotten pretty good at working through these uncomfortable, unknown moments and have developed some practical techniques to help in the effort. Their latest collaboration — the industrial scorcher "Isn't Everyone" with Nine Inch Nails — provides a perfect example. When the opportunity arose for HEALTH to team with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Duzsik said they "sent [Reznor] a demo … that was very skeletal, because if you sent mostly a done track, that is not a collaboration — you are asking someone to guest on it."
The HEALTH/NIN joint is the latest in a recent string of creative partnerships with other artists. Last year HEALTH dropped Disco4 :: Part 1 — a 12-song album that featured the band collaborating with a diverse range of acts, including Full of Hell, Youth Code, Ghostemane, JPEGMAFIA, Soccer Mommy and more.
We recently connected with HEALTH to get the stories behind those songs. Below, Duzsik and bassist John Famiglietti break down each track on Disco4 — from how "Cyberpunk 2020" reflects the world's current "way less cool than Blade Runner" reality to birthing "Hard to Be a God" with a "dyed-in-the-wool weird-ass noise guy."
JOHN FAMIGLIETTI We couldn't resist calling a song "Cyberpunk 2020," because of the calendar year and the pen-and-paper RPG — also since we are living in a cyberpunk future which looks way less cool than Blade Runner. If you think this causes confusion with a different HEALTH song with a different name being on the Cyberpunk 2077 video game RPG soundtrack based on the same pen-and-paper RPG and you think the drums sounds like the Nine Inch Nails' cover of Joy Division's "Dead Souls" on The Crow soundtrack 1994 … The answer is yes.
FAMIGLIETTI The Satanic synth master Perturbator. This track is built like a brick shithouse. One of our favorites.
FAMIGLIETTI 100 gecs is the hottest shit in the music game right now. These crazy kids were very cool to do a track with us. I definitely feel this is the nu generation of the avant set. Their ancestors in the 2000s would be playing basements in Richmond, Virginia — today they're a huge act. The kids are alright.
FAMIGLIETTI The longest distance between two points is a shortcut through hell. We did this song in a day. The Yung God Ghostemane wrote his verse then went in the booth, cut it perfectly in one take, ran it back then doubled it perfectly — one take. Blew my dick off.
JAKE DUZSIK Our Los Angeles brethren. Much Love for Sara [Taylor] and Ryan [George]. This was our first attempt at doing a duet with a vocalist whose voice is hard as fuck. I sing like a little choir boy, so I wasn't accustomed to hearing someone record that aggressively. It raised my cortisol levels and made me feel like someone was mad at me — so I left the studio to collect myself.
DUZSIK You know how sometimes people talk about how much weed they smoke but at the end of the day they don't even smoke that much weed? Peggy [JPEGMAFIA, né Barrington Hendricks] smokes a lot of weed. He's also very talented.
DUZSIK I gotta be real with you, Brothel did a remix of an older song "L.A. Looks" that was so fucking good we had to put it on here — just messed with some thangs to make it less obvious. But we did leave the clue in the title for you QAnon types.
DUZSIK We started this track with our friend Corin [Roddick] from Purity Ring with no particular plan other than to screw around and make some music. The synth tone is so emotive that it felt like having the timbre of a higher voice to blend with mine would elevate the song. We were into the Soccer Mommy record that had just come out at the time so we asked [singer Sophie Allison] if she would hop on the track. It was our first foray into collaborating remotely. This is a pretty boring summary — but what can you do.
DUZSIK We have been fans of Xiu Xiu since Challenger exploded. Used to rock it off an iPod the size of a deck of cards. I've shed many a tear to [bandleader Jamie Stewart's] records in the back of stank-ass tour vans. In case you missed it, the ape in the title refers to the ape sample in the track. If you play it in reverse, it's still nonsense.
DUZSIK Even though he's younger, Sean [Engvold, a.k.a. NOLIFE] is a dyed-in-the-wool weird-ass noise guy from times of yore. They must just keep making these dudes in a factory like the T-1000. Too strange to live, too rare to die. Always fun to work on this kind of music. Creativity unhindered by convention. Only odd thing is for some reason he doesn't have eye-watering body odor.