Upcoming Show (NYC): Madam West

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Mondays suck and there’s no better way to end a long day than with some great music. Tomorrow night Madam West, a Brooklyn-based foursome that will blow you away with their self-classified “orchestral/electronic/art/pop” jams, is taking the stage at PIANOS NYC. Show starts at 8pm, 21+. Cover is $8 and well worth it for three acts (Stranger! Danger! and St. Lenox). I snagged a few questions with leading lady, Sophie Chernin. Get to know the band before you head out to their show tomorrow night (because you know you want/have to).

Q: Describe your sound in three words that begin with a W.
A: Ween-friendly (Todd, the keyboard player and co-founder, has a dachshund, who goes by Ween most of the time. He’s never complained at practices); woebegone; winsome

Q: Your last show for a bit is coming up tomorrow. What are your plans after the show?
A: While tracks from our upcoming EP are online for now at madamwest.bandcamp.com, we’ve still got a fair amount of mixing and production work before we’re ready for the official release. We’re also getting ready to write and record a new set of material, and shoot a short film set to our music.

Q: Any story behind the band name?
A: I’ve always admired Mae West, the burlesque performer and actress. She made a living out of inserting double entendres into the national vocabulary. We love portmanteaus too (also known as the ole’ word-smush). So in the spirit of West’s wordplay, we combined Adam West, the original Batman, and Mae West and…ba da boom.

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Q: What can music fans look forward to at your show (besides awesome music)?
A: I often forget what the hell to do with my hands when I’m not playing an instrument; every so often, I get lost in a lot of crazy arm movements. Have you seen what St. Vincent and David Byrne did for their “Love This Giant” tour? All the awesome shapes and choreography? I’m going for that kind of thing lately, but I think it comes off more as a sort of Hippie Helicopter. So that’s entertaining to watch in itself. I hope.

Q: What’s the biggest lesson you guys have learned as a band so far?
A: Don’t be afraid to change things around, even if (or especially if) the song’s been around for a bit and already recorded. We’re constantly playing with the way we arrange and perform songs live.

Q: If you could play with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
A: Stevie Wonder on drums and vocoder. Because he would blow us off the damn stage, and we’d be schooled. Enormously.

Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to Madam West’s success?
A: I think we’re all losing some money on this so far, so I can’t say that we’re successful from a financial standpoint. However, I will say that in spite of that, we’re still exploring different sounds and genres in just about every tune, and not just limiting ourselves to what feels marketable.

Q: What advice do you have for other local musicians?
A: Record your rehearsals and shows. Listen to them. Send them to your bandmates, and tell them to listen before the next practice. It can be painful to listen to a rehearsal or show when you thought it went differently (I know I make myself cringe often), but it pays off. Especially if you’re paying to use a space or you have a big band that’s difficult to schedule.

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