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Disintegration: Synth-Soaked Post-Punk for the Future

Disintegration is a Cleveland underground supergroup of sorts that's made up of Haley Himiko (Pleasure Leftists), Noah Anthony (Profligate), and Christopher Brown (Cloud Nothings). Back in March, the trio released their debut EP, Time Moves For Me, a well-oiled synthetic melting of gloomy feedback-heavy post-punk and brooding coldwave. Ahead of their show with fellow post-punks Sweeping Promises and Suitor at the Grog Shop August 16th, we caught up with the three members of Disintegration to discuss how the pursuit for something new with loads of synths and pedals formed the project, how natural the recording process came for the debut EP, and messing around with a green screen for the music video to "Make A Wish."

The minds that brought you Profligate, Pleasure Leftists, and Cloud Nothings fit each other brilliantly on Time Moves for Me, the debut EP from the Cleveland underground supergroup Disintegration. Initially released on cassette in the summer of 2022, the EP found a home on Feel It Records (Sweeping Promises, The Stools, The Drin) back in March, receiving a limited 45 RPM 12" release. Passing through a well-calculated arsenal of oversized electronic beats, thick effects, and caustic grooves, the debut EP transcends the programmed percussion-driven post-punk and minimal synth pop sounds of the past into something entirely new and futuristic. The lightning-fast opening track "Carry With You" transfers swirling synthetic beats and double-edged mechanical onslaughts throughout as singer Haley Himiko's high-pitched vocals sit on top the industrial explosion. "Hit The Face" is a fine slice of mutated synth-pop with its groovy robotic percussion and Noah Anthony's doomy, reverb-drenched vocal melodies. The title track toys with harsh elements, but underneath the intense pounding synths, grating guitar lines, and Himiko's angst-ridden vocals is an irrepressible pop sensibility. Himiko's vocals strike like a hammer across "Make A Wish," a standout track loaded with unworldly sonic textures and a brooding dose of dark dissonance.

Ahead of the band's show with fellow post-punks Sweeping Promises and Suitor at the Grog Shop August 16th, we caught up with the three members of Disintegration to discuss how the pursuit for something new with loads of synths and pedals formed the project, how natural the recording process came for the debut EP, and messing around with a green screen for the music video to "Make A Wish."

Paperface Zine: So how exactly did you three link up and form Disintegration? What was your vision when starting this project?

Noah Anthony: I wanted to start a new project since Profligate hadn't really been active since 2020 and I wanted to create something that felt fresh. I made a few song demos and hit up Chris who I had been jamming with in Out of the Blue and Profligate. The basic idea came from this sound I've had in my head for many years of processing guitar, vocals, etc. through synths and creating this really choppy effect that sounds like a really aggressive tremolo. We put a few songs together and eventually got in touch with Haley, who was really psyched on it and jumped right in.

Christopher Brown: When Noah brought up starting a new band and told me the idea for it, I was immediately game for it. The idea of processing all the instrumentation and vocals through synths and pedals was instantly intriguing, and I wasn't even quite certain how it would sound until we started playing the songs together. We were thrilled that Haley was into it, it seemed like a very natural pairing from the beginning.

PZ: This record feels right at home in Feel It's catalogue. What linked you to Sam Richardson's label for a wider release of the EP?

NA: We connected after he put out the Fashion Pimps and The Glamazons record that I added some synth to. He heard the tape and pretty much immediately hit us up, and it seemed like a great fit.

PZ: Across the EP, you're drawing from a mix of sounds that draw from the worlds of minimal synth, programmed percussion, noise rock, and pure pop melody. How did the recording session go exactly?

NA: Pretty straightforward. I recorded and mixed it in my basement. These songs were locked in quick and painlessly. Almost too easy.

Photo by Terry Metter

PZ: Were there any tracks that turned out entirely different that you had initially planned? Any favorites of yours?

NA: I like them all, but the title track is probably my favorite at this point because it's more of a collaboration between the three of us. Chris added the bridge in the song that, for me, was a real a-ha! moment because it was exactly what the song needed. I had really missed that feeling of collaboration, especially in-person where you're just jamming around and figuring a song out together. I also remember getting Haley's vocal demo email which was basically the same as the final mix and just being floored by how perfect it sounded.

Haley Himiko: It's great to hear the transformation of the songs from demos to the finished tracks. "Make a Wish" and "Time Move For Me" are favorites for me. Time was lyrically speaking a song idea that had been bouncing around in my head for a long time and it's cool not only to hear it come to life, but to remain pretty close to how it had sounded all that time in waiting. Verses and then whole production of the song with Noah and Chris' parts I could never have imagined before and it's neat that it seemed meant to be so quickly.

PZ: One of my favorite tracks on the album is the lead cut "Make a Wish." What was it like putting that one together?

NA: That was a song I wrote that had been sitting on my hard drive for a while. I initially thought it was a little too poppy for the band. It rocks. I have a version with totally different vocals I did and… that'll stay on the hard drive.

HH: The title for that song came first from an idea Noah had been playing with in the lyrics from an early version and I really liked that title and idea. I let it influence what I wanted to do. It's a fun example of sharing ideas back-and-forth.

PZ: Back in March, you also dropped an incredible music video for "Make a Wish" that was filmed by Annie Avila and Adam Klopp. What was the idea behind the making of the video?

NA: I think we were just having fun with the green screen. Adam and Annie did a great job. They filmed a ton of footage with Haley wielding a big sword. That was cool.

HH: Sadly the sword footage didn't make the cut, but it sure loosened me up that evening and it was a lot of joy to make.

CB: It was a lot of fun! I have historically been averse to making music videos but the process was smooth, and Annie and Adam did a top-rate job assembling the video.

PZ: Is this EP leading towards an upcoming album? If so, can you talk about that?

NA: No plans as of yet, but we do have a bunch of unrecorded songs that we're currently tracking and finishing up. I think they're really good! Maybe another EP next, not sure.

Photo by Terry Metter

PZ: What's your take on the current Cleveland punk circuit? Any favorites of yours?

CB: It is perpetually flowering! There's a ton of great bands, some of my current faves are Piss Me Off, Show Pink, Cruelster. Our friends Richard [Rodriguez] and Lia [Massari] recently opened a new space called Prototype Collective and they've been throwing some really cool shows.

PZ: How did your most recent show in Cincinnati go? The bill was stacked with Optic Sink, Crime of Passing, and Pretty Mean.

NA: It went great! Optic Sink is such a cool band. The Dunlaps show in Cleveland this past weekend was also nice. It was our first show with our drummer David MacCluskie and we played with three excellent bands — Rod from Lexington, Decliner from Detroit, and Patchke, a cool local band.

PZ: What's the rest of the year looking like for Disintegration?

NA: Just recording at the moment and hoping to play a few more out of town shows this fall.

Time Moves For Me is out now on Feel It Records. Purchase advanced tickets for their show with Sweeping Promises and Suitor at the Grog Shop here.


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