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Pre-Show Interview With Model/Actriz!


Featured in Rolling Stone, NME and Pitchfork, The self described “Dance Noise” band,
Model/Actriz will be playing a show in Fort Collins, on Friday, October 6th at The Coast, to
promote their full length debut Dogsbody. The group is made up of guitarist Jack Wetmore,
bassist Aaron Shapiro, drummer Ruben Radlauer and singer Cole Hader. I was able to talk to
Ruben and Cole over Zoom about their origins, evolution and inspirations.
The following interview was edited for clarity.


Nico: I’ve seen your band described in many different ways, like industrial, dance and noise, but
how would you describe your band to someone who hasn’t heard it before?


Cole: Definitely dance forward, industrial maybe. I think all those parts together do describe
aspects of the music in a strictly sonic aesthetic way. However, the feeling that we want out of
the music is like… it’s not meant to be heavy music. It’s supposed to be the release of heavy
things so as to experience the joy of being alive.


Nico: I can definitely get that after listening to Dogsbody. It was kinda like getting a lot of things
flushed out of me, I kinda felt.


Cole: Yeah, purged is the operative word, maybe.


Nico: So how would you describe it, Ruben?


Ruben: To boil it down, noise band kinda works or I kinda think…


Cole: Dance noise…


Ruben: Dance noise, perhaps, yeah. I think any time people use non genre words to describe it,
I’m happy.


Nico: You like it when people use adjectives, instead of those genre words?


Ruben: Yeah, I think the more fun way to describe music is to find the way it makes you feel,
both in your body and your mind.


Cole: Like, Dogsbody’s really good for walking along a boat dock at night.


Nico: I’ve definitely listened to it this summer. I was listening to it on a walk and I’m like ‘oh my
gosh, this is the fastest i’ve ever walked’. I was like, speed walking to it.


Cole: Yeah, no accident that it felt good that way.


Nico: I’ve read a lot of the articles that have been written about you, but I wanted to go back to
the start of the band. Which is like something that was kind of covered, but something that I
wanted to get some more insight into. So, Ruben, I’ve read that you and the band’s guitarist
Jack decided to start a band before Cole and Aaron joined. What was the kind of music you
were interested in making at the time when you started that project?


Ruben: It’s hard to really pinpoint the exact thing we were going for. I was sort of 18 or 19 at the
time and kinda had only played in garage rock, shoegaze, indie rock sort of things. I hadn’t done
any heavy music or ‘loud loud’ music before. And Jack had been playing in punk bands, and I
guess like, post-hardcore, kinda metal-leaning bands as well. And I think we both, pretty quickly
got fascinated with trying to make our idea of dance music really. Just sort of listening to techno
or house tracks and thinking ‘how could we possibly make that?’.
And also, we’re trapped in a tiny little practice room with a drum kit, and Jack brought a travel
guitar amp. And we were hunched on top of each other trying not to hit each other in the face
with our instruments. But I think there was certainly a sense of claustrophobia in the early stuff.
Because you know, the first few songs started in this context where we were trapped in this tiny
room because that was the only place we could play.


Nico: And did Jack sing? Or was it just instrumental?


Ruben: It was fully instrumental, we were looking for a vocalist. Which we found when we went
to Cole’s basement show and we saw him writhing on the ground with a keytar.


Cole: It was me being 19, doing my version of performance art, with mostly other 19 year olds
also. Yeah, in a basement where yeah… just grimy. This was in Boston, so like, the DIY scene
in Boston was really really vibrant and alive.


Nico: That kind of segways me into my next question, which is for you Cole. I’ve read about your
love of musicals, pop stars and electronic music, and now seeing that there was a dance
element, with the house music that the band was starting in at first, what kind of music were you
interested in creating around the time you joined the band? And then, how did that mesh?


Cole: I was listening to… I’m trying to think of what albums came out right before. I feel like FKA
Twigs’ LP 1 came out the year before.


Nico: What year was this, around the time that you joined the band?


Cole: Oh, end of 2015, beginning of 2016… What else, like… What was I running to at that
time? I was into pop music, and like, you know, my first love in pop music was Lady Gaga. And prior
to that I listened to mostly show tunes because I did theater in my hometown. So I guess I was
drawn to just exuberant music in general. So like, I’d never been drawn to guitar music because
the colors of the emotions, especially in post-punk music or punk music felt a little


Nico: Like, are you talking in a synesthesia kind of way? Like, it made you feel those colors?

Cole: I am not a synesthetic. But yeah, in a color theory kind of way. It’s just… I love emotional
rollercoasters, maybe, and the kind of show I was trying to put on in the basement was more
like Laurie Anderson, or something like that. Or like David Byrne, Talking Heads kind of thing.
You know, just like, absurd and you know, dancing. It was just me and my friend Justin playing
guitar. It was just the two of us, it wasn’t a huge production.


Ruben: We were able to meet in the middle at Death Grips. I feel like that was the common
denominator between the three of us.


Cole: Yeah. As just being mutual fans. But I’d say part of the music being what it is, is that it’s
not one waffle, it’s a stack of pancakes.


Ruben: *chuckles


Cole: So, all of our influences aren’t all in one batter, they’re kind of all on the plate.


Nico: I can definitely even hear that, like the way the instruments are mixed. Like, nothing really
goes into the background. Sometimes, when you hear a band, the bass is so low, like And
Justice For All, by Metallica, they put the bass all the way down. Like, it feels like all the
members of the group, just even by listening to it, feel super important, and have their way with


Cole: Yeah.


Nico: You kind of already touched on it, but as the band came together, how did the music that
you listened to, or made together evolve? Like, how did you guys start meshing together?


Cole: We were really… What is it? ‘Shooting from our hip’ or ‘flying from the seat of our pants’,
for the 1st year and a half. By the time we made the No EP, we found, I think the crux of why it
felt important to play together. We found the kernel of truth at the bottom of the popcorn bag.


Nico: And I do feel like that one is a little bit grimier than Dogsbody.


Ruben: I mean, we recorded all of that in one day, together in a room playing live. Yeah, I think
most, if not all, the vocal texts were straight off the dome. We ended up using the original vocal


Cole: The end to the end of “CJ” was completely improvised with Jack in the studio. And the
only vocals I recorded separately were “Matador” vocals. And I did that just later at night, ‘cause
I didn’t have the lyrics finished in the studio.


Ruben: Yeah, that was definitely the first time, I think, that we felt like we had a mission
statement or a theory behind the band. And felt like it was the first release that was thought out
in a way that wasn’t just us, rushing to get music out so we could play shows.


Cole: Eva EP was the turning point. I mean, like, we’re only talking about three releases in this
time period. So it’s not much to work with, but we played a lot of music together in that time. And
the things we wrote for Ava was the first time that we discovered DJ mixing. It felt like a
continuous stream of music. It felt like a DJ set.


Ruben: Yeah.


Nico: I can definitely see that, because I think there’s a live picture of you with a SP 404, or
something like that.


Cole: I just use that for vocal effects.


Nico: But yeah, that way of thinking… I can kind of see the DJ part of that.


Ruben: Yeah, I think we try and think of ourselves as DJs/ whatever producers, sound
designers with just our instruments and voice. And trying to use them in a way that they would
be used in a mix or something, and just try and kind of edge as close as we can to electronic
music without using electronic production techniques.


Nico: So, who were the bands, musicians and other forms of media that influenced either the
band’s or your specific, individual sounds on your debut Dogsbody?


Ruben: It was mostly a collection of sort of, single tracks. No artists really stick out as any sort of
north star or reference moment because I think we’re pretty careful to draw from a pretty diverse
list and not dip into the same pot too much.


Cole: There’s this book. I mean, a lot of writers really influenced the lyrics. There was a book
that came out I think, in 2014, by Louise Glück’s called Faithful and Virtuous Night and it’s about
a dying artist. And, it felt like a mythical allegory about the creative process and about being a
dream maker that’s succumbing into life’s dream. And the tone of that book really struck a chord
with me, and that was maybe one of the seminal pieces that I read that informs the writing. But
it’s like, hundreds of books…


Nico: So, it was more books that influenced the vocals than it was other singers and how they


Cole: Yeah, for sure. Just I have, you know, I can’t, if I listen to music that has vocals on it while
I’m trying to write something that feels almost like…


Nico: Cheating?


Cole: I love to cheat! But it’s just, you know… I can’t listen to Bjork when I’m writing, because
that’s just too easy… to steal.


Ruben: I think we all got a lot of inspiration from Big Thief.


Cole: Yes, and Adrian’s lyrics are a lot like Luis Glück’s writing, if you care to do a literary


Nico: I was gonna say, when you were talking about the artist’s statement and what it means to
be an artist, I was just listening, before the meeting, to the beginning of Dogsbody. So, I think
that on “Donkey Show” you have some stuff about what it means to be an artist? If that’s the
correct song?


Ruben: It’s about Grindr, right?


Cole: Well, I mean… Isn’t that just the folly of man, you go on Grindr, and then you just start
thinking about what the purpose of art is. That, I mean, it’s the quintessential pacing my room or
pacing the streets at night… Like, it’s a stewing…it’s a brooding song. What’s the word? Oh,
god, It’s like a therapy term…
*everyone tries to think of the word until…
Ruminating! It’s a ruminating song, with Grindr involved.


Nico: Ruben, kind of the same question. When it comes to Dogsbody, like with the drumming
techniques… Or, if it’s not specific for the album, who are the drummers that have influenced


Ruben: Mitch Mitchell, from Jimi Hendrix’s band, I really liked growing up. And who else? I
mean, they’re honestly very specific. Like, there’s this band Broncho, that I listened to a lot when
I was in high school and still revisit. And their drummer drummed in a way I really liked. It was
very specific and lyrical without being particularly busy. It was very repetitive and intentional.


Nico: Do you know Primus? Was it kind of like Tim Alexander from Primus? ‘Cause I know he’s
kind of intentional and very musical with his drumming.


Ruben: I’m not super familiar with Primus, actually, which one of these days I’ll get into? I mean,
it’s kind of in the same vein, but like Mr. Bungle was big for me. Not really, necessarily in a
drumming sense. But I feel like, at least for the half decade of my life, I feel like I’ve been really
focused on doing everything I can to sound like a drum machine, and to sound programmed.
Using a lot of like…Trying to play more things at once than I should be able to, in a sense.
Using one hand to do the hi-hat and snare and then the other hand do something else. So it
feels like layers, that you would get in a sequencer sort of thing. So that’s definitely… For this
band, trying to blend the human groove with a machine pulse.


Nico: That’s great. I just wanted to ask you about some bands that I’ve played on my show, and
if there might be similarities or if they were inspirations. Your drumming reminds me of the
drummer for Viagra boys. It’s very, very precise, and on time. And, I can see they’re also
influenced by the pace of electronic music. Is that also kind of what you’re doing? In the same
way that you’re doing your electric, acoustic, organic kind of thing?


Ruben: Absolutely! Yeah, I mean, they’re cool. I like them a lot. And I think we’re maybe
influenced by the same things. Because, I feel like their earlier stuff didn’t remind me of that so
much. And then, you know, release by release, seeing how they’ve dipped more into dance
music and like, jam, but not in a Grateful Dead sort of way. Like, krautrock.


Nico: Yeah, with their saxophone/flutist, and the keyboardist playing the bongos. It reminds me
of Can sometimes.


Ruben: Totally. Yeah, they’re great. I like them. I like their drumming a lot.


Nico: Before we go, since we haven’t really talked about Jack and Aaron, what would you say
their roles are in the band or how they fit into the band?


Cole: Aaron and Ruben a team. And, Jack and I are not in the same way a team. If we’re talking
about machine and human aspects, then, for the songs that are beat focused, that is kind of
where the division of labor falls. Jack has more freedom to dip into both sides of the sonic
landscapes. My job is to interpret and listen to the song, and once words come into it, find the
aspects of it and either amplify those things or shape it around the words to then create some
kind of, chimeric, human machine-thing, where I have a human-cyborg voice.


Nico: Yeah, I was gonna say, Jack’s guitaring is painterly, kind of like Santana. Where he’s
filling in all the different parts. But then he can also do the rhythmic things like a Gilla Band,
where the guitar kind of sounds like it could be part of the drum section. Like, especially with
those weird like reverby, surfy parts that he does. Where it’s like… *imitates guitar sound
Ruben: Totally. I think he would definitely appreciate being compared to a painter and I know
that that’s, in a lot of ways, how his brain works with the guitar is much more textural and flow


Cole: …Gestural.


Ruben: Yeah, gestural. But yeah, it feels very thoughtful, but also, sort of off the cuff as well. Me
and Aaron try and function together as one machine a lot of the time. Which then gives Jack
and Cole the freedom to go out more, I guess.


Nico: I just had one other question about Aaron. The bass sounds so rhythmic, and I’ve seen in
live videos that he has keyboards and stuff next to him. Is it like a combination between bass
and keyboards? Or is it just bass with effects? Or, how does he get his bass sound? Because I
think it sounds like a drum machine, just the kick part, but as a bass.


Cole: Those aren’t our keyboards.


Nico: Those weren’t your keyboards, that’s why I was confused, because you weren’t playing


Ruben: There’s one song that we’ve ever had a keyboard on in our whole discography. And
that’s “New face”. And the bass in “New face”, I think at the verses, is a microKORG.


Cole: I think the chorus is a detuned bass.


Ruben: But, I don’t think we’ve used a microKORG in like, four years. He just plays it on bass
now. But yeah, we love synths.
*makes an “X” with his arms
But it’s a no synth band.


Nico: And so that’s all bass? That’s amazing! It’s one of the most original bass sounds I’ve


Ruben: He’s a genius.


Cole: Yeah.


Nico: Thank you guys so much!