ALEATORY #13: Pale Young Gentlemen

This is a first.

Here at Globecat, we receive e-mails all the time -- be it publicists, readers like you, or even band members themsleves: we happily sift through all of these, but something was quite different when Pale Young Gentlemen drummer Matt Reisenauer contacted us, eagerly discussing the second disc from his band's album Black Forest (Tra La La). We followed up on the lead, and soon found Black Forest to be a tragically beautiful album of indie-folk done right: dramatic without being theatrical, touching without being self-serving. Ripe with cellos, acoustic guitars, and singer Mike Reisenauer's pointed vocals, this is the kind of disc that will sound just as good five years from now as it will when you pick it up later this month. Yes, this is the first time we've featured an artist who has contacted us instead of the other way around, but, really, this is the first band to contact us who genuinely deserves to be on our Aleatory wall. Mike R. takes this opportunity to gladly discuss re-recording radio interviews, the big spoiler he knows about wolf packs, and how Rufus Wainwright gave one of the worst concerts he ever saw ...


20. Favorite new band?

Our old bass player (Andy Brawner) left the band to work on his own stuff. He released an album called "A Sun Goes Down" as Time Since Western that is amazing.

27. Favorite chord/chord progression?

Any half-diminished chord. Most chords/chord progression have a lot of baggage- they're hard to make your own- but these things add a lot of nuance, I think, so ended up using them a lot on the new record.

30. How many languages do you speak?

One and a half. For some reason, I remember a lot of the Spanish I learned in middle and high school. Or at least I think I remember it. Or at least nobody I knows more than I do and feels alright correcting me.

32. Best thing you learned this week/month?

I saw a thing on PBS about the origin of dogs and how they split from wolves. I won't ruin it for you, but a nicely done show.

36. Lyrics first or music first?

Same time. Back and forth. Like two young boys trying to outrun each other.

39. What's something you could probably beat anyone you know at?

I'm really good at trying to be funny.

40. What was your best/worst subject in school?

Who cares?

42. What's an image that haunts you to this day?

Once I saw a dog get hit by a car as I was pumping gas, a springer- spaniel, I think. It was very dramatic from start to finish.

44. Something you've heard, know is false, but wish were true with all your heart?

That people still listen to entire albums. I wish we were limited to 8-track players sometimes. Make everyone listen to the whole side at least.

45. What's the best lie you've ever told?

My brother and I used to be clowns with my dad. We'd perform skits and tricks on the street. This is totally true. Anyway, fooling another person with a magic trick has to be the most pleasant, guilt-free lie possible.

48. Biggest moment of triumph?

I think I'm still waiting for this one...

57. Most rock star thing you've ever done?

When I was six, my mother told me to take my little garbage can up to my room. I paused and said "No you". My mom reacted in such a way that has prevented any more rock star moments.

60. What's the worst show you've ever played? What would you have done different?

Once we played a show as a three-piece that was all-the-way embarrassing. Christ, we really should have rehearsed. I still regret it.

63. Band/artist you're secretly envious of?

Anybody that's actually making a living at this.

68. Favorite interview you've ever been a part of (aside from this one, obviously)?

We did an interview once for a local radio station that was being taped for a later airing, but the interviewer forgot to press record for the first 40 mins. of it. It's not a terrible thing to lose 40 minutes, but it is weird to re-answer the same questions and try to seem genuine. We ended up with a big inside joke we couldn't share with the audience.

69. There's got to be one: who has been your craziest fan?

We had a fan in Chicago once that wanted to pay us a hundred bucks to play "Clap Your Hands" again. We didn't do it, but maybe we should have.

84. Most disappointing concert you ever attended?

I once saw Rufus Wainwright at the Barrymore Theater. I think I remember wanting him to shut up and play the songs. The whole thing seemed kinda cheesy or something.

87. Ultimately, you will want to be remembered as …

Somebody's dad who wrote some nice songs.

96. The one thing that no one knows about you (yet)?

I am a fantastic cook and I'm really great at driving cars.

97. Your label wants to do a music video for a song off your album, and have inexplicably procured $1,000,000 as a budget, then decide that you'd best direct the visual accompaniment to your own music. What song do you choose, and what will your video look like?

I'd keep the money, split it with my band, and have my dad shoot it for free. I'd probably want to do "Kettle Drum" or "She's All Mine, I Think" because I've always pictured those songs taking place on my dad's property in rural Wisconsin.


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