Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spotlight: Estrogen Highs

Spotlight: Estrogen Highs

[Newer band picture, but Stefan has in fact cut his hair since this.]

Estrogen Highs is a rock and roll band from New Haven, CT.  Garage Rock.  Started by Stefan Christensen and now a full fledged band, Estrogen Highs has become a staple and anchor (possibly some other objects too - all meant in the most flattering way) in the Connecticut do-it-yourself punk community.  We interviewed Stefan about all his current workings (minus his gig as the live guitarist for Medication - another band you should get familiar with; oh yea, Medication are playing Thursday at Popeye's with Iceage). 

 [Stefan in some Polaroid style picture that seems to get used a lot.]

Interview with Johann Stefan Gall Christensen
(aka Stefan Christ):

Estrogen Highs started in your bedroom and got off to a rather languid start and now you've put out an LP, a 12" EP and a 7" within a matter of months.  Explain how you've gotten up to so much speed. 

I always had a lot of songs, it just took a long time to get it all together. The first few 7"s, LP, and cassette releases were recorded with a full band or by myself, playing every instrument. Either way it was pretty time consuming to get it all done. For the 2nd LP, 12", and new 7" we moved into a different recording style where we were piecing tracks together a bit at a time. This allowed us to record a whole lot of material in a relatively short period of time. Currently we are working on a new LP for Trouble in Mind Records from Chicago. This record is going to be a little different. Maybe a bit more Post Punk-ish.  Were also touring in mid August - doing 12 or 13 days out through Minneapolis and back.

[Older Band Picture]

You've also been doing a fair amount of playing out and touring.  Any fun stories?

Yes, we drove from Seattle to Minneapolis with only one day off in between. We also did this in January, so we ended up spending 37 straight hours in the van, excluding gas and food breaks. We went through mountain passes and white out blizzards. We got stuck in a parking lot in Idaho and the locals just laughed at us for about 10 or 15 minutes, until finally one of them hauled us out of there. By the time we got to Minneapolis we were completely drained and played a terrible set.

[GRAM001 - Estrogen Highs LP]

Outside of the band you've recently started up a label (Gramery Records) that you released the latest E. Highs LP on; any news on that front? Upcoming releases?

I'm pressing a band called Protomartyr to get me some recordings. They are an amazing band. Estrogen Highs have been lucky enough to play with them twice in Detroit and both times they were amazing. Unfortunately they are almost completely unknown outside of Michigan. I've heard practice recordings and they're top notch. The midwest's answer to The Fall - 30 years later. Hopefully I can get some recordings from them soon. Other than that we're working on a few noise cassette releases. We have Chemical Fruits recordings, which is 2/3s of Tiger Hatchery and hopefully we will get recordings from Dan Duglieski soon. He is in Body Morph, Uneven Universe, Cardboard Sax, and various other projects.

Beyond the band and label you also got Popeye's Garage up and running last year with a small group of friends.  You now run it with a more streamlined group.  How'd this all come about?  How are things going now and anything of the future to report?

Popeye's is now just run by me and Kryssi. It came about last spring when we decided that New Haven needed a DIY show spot, specifically for doing strange music that just doesn't work in a bar. We found the space through our friend. The owner of our building has employed a number of our friends, so we spoke to him and arranged the rental of part of it for doing shows. We "closed" last year when Yale was buying the building but the day the deal was supposed to close they backed out - not sure why. We were closed for most of the winter anyway because there is no heat in the building. Now we are back up and running. We've been doing 1 or 2 shows a week this year. It's been a bit slower but we're hoping things will start to pick back up soon.


Unknown said...

*and minus his gig as bassist for Iron Hand. How could I forget that one? 2 of their 7"s are quite literally inches from my face.

Brushback said...

Really good interview for the length, very neat and tidy

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