It’s actually hard for you to misinterpret what Throwaway is, because it’s open to being anything. Or, it could become anything, in the middle of a given set. If it is one thing, most of all, it is about having fun. Now, that fun could be cacophonous and aggressive and rambunctious and flat-out outrageous, maybe even startling…, actually, yes, definitely startling, but fun nonetheless.
“I love absurdity in performance,” said Kirsten Carey, singer/songwriter/guitarist and the voice/face behind Throwaway. Currently based in L.A., Carey is a U-M grad who formed the band, a hybrid of art-punk/performance-art/free-jazz/indie-metal/and obscuro-noise-experimentation, while she was here in Ann Arbor. “I love bands who really know what they’re doing, who are super talented musicians, but have a great sense of humor about their music.”
Carey caught up with Current this week, as she was looking forward to what’s basically a homecoming show for her, on Feb 23rd at the Blind Pig. Below, she’s given Current the chance to premiere the music video for her new single “Milk-Song.”
If this is your first time reading about Throwaway, you’re going to want to know about that paper bag mask. However, you may recall we first checked in with Carey’s art punk project almost two years ago, here. Furthermore, if this is your first time hearing Thorwaway, you’re going to definitely pick up on some provocative/wooly/weird/rough-edged/aerodynamic-rock-grit flavors of the likes of Primus or Deerhoof. But, then again, it comes from so many influential sources, for Carey. We’ll cover all of that in some Q&A below. In the meantime, you can sample the b-side of Throwaway’s new single below, before we get in to the why’s and what’s and how’s of all things: Thorwaway…
Carey was born/raised in Chicago, went to school at U-M, lived in Ypsi for a year, and then moved to L.A. in the fall of 2015. “Yep, that’s what Los Angele looks like in October,” Carey said, referring the environs in view via greyscale for the “Milk-Song” video. Oliver Dobrian is Throwaway’s L.A. drummer, while Carey’s main collaborator back here in Ann Arbor is drummer Nicole Patrick.
Carey started on guitar at age 11, had her inspirational engines ignited by the works of Gorillaz, (particularly Demon Days), and later started getting in to blues, jazz and especially free jazz improvisations. Her first album was a free jazz song cycle about James Joyce’s 20th century tome Ulysses.
About the video, Carey said that she started with a basic concept: “Old-timey milkman comes to Throwaway’s door. Throwaway is terrified of the milkman. Chaos ensues, culminating in milk-filled squirt guns. In “Milk Song,” I’m basically just shouting “gyuunyuu ga kirai” over and over and over again, which translates to “I hate milk” in Japanese. So the video had to reflect that somehow.”
Looking back, Carey said that the video shoot “… was this weird mix of gleeful catharsis – I mean, how often do you have license to just pour a whole jug of milk on someone? Or splash it in their face like in a cartoon? – and guilt! (Ben Willis) found dried milk encrusted in his ears later on that night.”
The name (Throwaway) and the persona of the paper-bag masked character came to Carey in a spark of inspiration. “When I perform, there’s a definite Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde syndrome happening. In daily life, I’m rather shy and quiet and introverted and have a hard time speaking in crowds. I think that’s part of the reason why a lot of the time, when I’m on stage with a guitar in my hand, all hell breaks loose.”
The paper bag was a staple in the early shows, and still shows up on album covers and posters, but Carey performs these storming, riff-heavy, sing-speak-scream sessions with her face unobscured. “I think the Throwaway character probably owes a subconscious debt to Gorillaz, who are my All-Time Favorite Band. But I actually wasn’t thinking about that when I created her.”
“I just liked the idea of a persona, a character to become,” Carey said. “I have zero interest in my face being all over Throwaway’s media. I’d rather embody this character, which is kind of like the dark version of me. I’m basically using her to literally mask my own lack of confidence and subsequent self-consciousness, and morph that into this irreverent, tongue-in-cheek, short-tempered character. Like I said, Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde! I’ve actually written short scripts about her that has yet to see the light of day.”
The prevailing aspect of Throwaway’s music is energy. The guitars are ferocious, but the wildfire’s contained enough so as to thread steady punk/metal riffs, while Carey’s unbridled, throat-curdling screams and theatric sing-speak incantations often throttle out at a rhythm paced to the percussion – so as to sufficiently incite some cathartic head-banging. But even then, it’s an anything-can-happen kind of thing.
“I think what I’m getting at is that my tastes are all over the board. As long as the people I see on stage are obviously having fun – then that’s the key; I think, that makes or breaks a show to me. I certainly hope Throwaway leaves all those kinds of impressions.”
Carey reported that she hopes to be returning to the Ann Arbor / Detroit area as much as possible in the next year or two.
More info: https://therealthrowaway.bandcamp.com/