All the Silent Drape Runners’ Songs You Won’t Hear Anywhere Else


Silent Drape Runners

Sophie Weiner and Russ Marshalek of Silent Drape Runners are saying goodbye by releasing a digital mix of all their never-before-heard songs. Photo: SDR

When Silent Drape Runners decided to call it quits a couple weeks ago, citing creative differences, disbanding a musical act originally brought together by a mutual love of David Lynch productions and loopers, we said a silent prayer to noiseless window treatments everywhere, and wished them well. Their Robyn parties alone were enough to earn them a place in the annals of electronica. At the time their ending was announced, Russ Marshalek promised he and bandmate Sophie Weiner would put out one last digital mix of favorite tracks, as well as stuff that never made it out of the studio until now. It is an impressive 58 minutes of moody, goth-inflected lynchpop at its finest, and the commentary the two sent us sheds light on SDR‘s run from start to finish, including the song they were playing “around the time we stopped being able to be around each other,” as Marshalek put it. In addition to the digital mix, SDR is raffling off a pair of free tickets to its farewell show at The Bell House on Aug. 1 to BB readers, and if you’re already lamenting the lack of Twin-Peaks twerking music in your life; fear not, Marshalek promises plenty more lynchian-laced beats to tide your over at his first solo show at Bowery Electric on July 11.

Podcast Intro
Russ Marshalek: We made this for the podcasts we were doing. They were actually pretty funny. Kind of hilarious the sample ends with “Oh, Ed, we’re gonna be SO RICH”
Sophie Weiner: The podcasts were a really fun way to let people know what we were doing, and I think some people actually listened to them. It was cool to be able to put our friends on them too.

New Vibes
RM: This was our first real song. I think we put it out in early January 2012. The beat is something I made in like 2004 that a friend put modern dance choreography to in Philly, thusly reminding me it existed. The hits are actually the sound of Janet Jackson’s inhalation right before her quiet spoken part on Scream, no one ever caught that. Sophie whispering “wake up” at the end kinda still gives me chills.
SW: I don’t even remember making this song. Playing it live was always sort of hit or miss, and I think it worked best when I layered massive amounts of echo-y vocals near the end so it just became a cacophony. Our inspiration was new age-y stuff like Enya or Enigma, but I liked blurring that together with more experimental noise type stuff.

Allz Eye Want 4 XXXMAS Iz U
RM: This was the first thing we released. We recorded it in like an hour? All I remember is Sophie being appalled at how terrible the song’s lyrics are.
SW: One of my favorite/hardest songs to sing live. Still not very pleased with the recorded version. And yes, we only did one verse because I couldn’t deal with the lyrics.

GOTH: Æsahættr XTIANFUKY Remix
RM: I think this is a “commentary” on “tru goth” or some such. It’s really good.
SW: One of my favorite things we ever did as a band was have this really ridiculous over the top conceptual release party for this song (or “EP” though it was basically just one song). This included GOTH gift bags, goth burlesque and our friend Jacob (Weapon of Ass Destruction) doing a deranged live set, all in my not-super-big old apartment.

RM: This song was one of our oldest, one of the first things we worked out for the live show, but it never wanted to come together. If you’d told me in Jan. 2012 that we would end up releasing this song, I would have laughed and said “Oh hell no.” But then it began grinding in my mind; the piano breakdown got added; and suddenly we had something. Someone once actually cheered “Yes!” when we started to play this at Cake Shop.
SW: This song always felt a little too dense for me, and I had a hard time with the lyrics, but the breakdown with my backing vocals looping and the piano was pretty legit.

Negative Reinforcement
Demo produced by Josh Strawn
RM: Proud of this. My original version just blatantly ripped off Tori Amos’ Caught A Lite Sneeze run though some effects, and Josh [Strawn], of Azar Swan and Vaura, managed to capture the urgency of that beat–and the industrial-ness of it–without making it so obvious that we would get sued (because I’m sure Tori Amos knows Silent Drape Runners ever existed). I feel like this song kinda embodies the last few days of the band, so I’m glad to get to put it out. In another world, this song is even more ratchet.
SW: It was really fantastic to see Josh reconstruct this song, which I know was some people’s favorite of ours. It was a huge learning experience doing it live, and I wish I’d been able to let myself be even more unhinged during it. Allowing yourself to do stuff onstage that might unnerve people or might weird them out is a big deal. I’m glad I had the chance to do it.

GOTH: Courtney Cox-Arquette’s “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE” Mix
RM: This is our friend Jacob, who is an amazing rapper, linguistic artist and all-around great dude. What he does to Sophie’s vocals at the end freaks me out and makes me panic.
SW: Jacob is the best.

.G.O.T.H. ft Ly Moula
Produced by Lyle Horowitz
RM: I don’t remember what we decided GOTH stands for, but it stands for something. Recording and releasing this was pretty stressful. Our friend Lyle, who is a great person and an amazing producer, knocked this out in an evening for us, accidentally deleted it and re-made it in 10 minutes. That should have been an indication for us as to how this was going to go. We jokingly started saying “We are #GOTH” because really who is anything? But we pissed off some goths in New Jersey who threatened to come to the release party we had for this at Sophie’s apartment.
SW: I think the vocal melody I came up with for this is pretty cool. If we learned anything from recording this song it’s don’t plan a release party for something until your done recording it.

Produced by Josh Strawn
RM: Sophie never cut vocals for this, but we did it live. I made this track in 10 minutes in 2012 to prove that I could make a ravier track than what people were playing out–it was kinda the impetus for our Little Mermaid re-soundtracking, also. Just to combine old, classic rave stuff like Sasha and Digweed with seapunk.
SW: Ravecave, which is a reference to something that Zombelle said in an interview, was one of my favorite songs to play live, and I think it usually went over pretty well. It had only a few lines of lyrics which was weird for me, but by the end, when I had them all layered on top of each other and had bit-crushed wordless vocals going over the whole thing, it could be pretty epic. People actually danced when we played it at a dive bar in Atlanta.

Fake Yoga (Live at Slapdash April 28, 2012)
RM: This became our calling card song, really, and I guess both started and answered the “are they a joke or for serious?” questions (answer: yes. no. yes. maybe. yes. no. what do you think?). We never intended on recording it because that wasn’t the point, but this live version, in a damn YOGA STUDIO, is pretty great.
SW: Learning to do this live was also a great experience for me, because it was totally improved and different every time. Actually getting laughs while doing this was pretty great. And the samples we used were awesome.

The Morning (The Weeknd cover performed live at Bowery Electric on Jan. 9, 2013)/PQM, U R SLEEPING a capella
RM: I dusted off this sample from an old prog-house track I used to love to use when we covered The Weeknd’s The Morning live. The song basically went from being Sophie singing over the track’s original music to us creating something really sparse and creepy live. I’m quite proud of how this turned out live, despite the fact that I would, quite literally, ask Sophie before each gig “Can we not do The Weeknd?” and find any excuse at all to not do it–it would literally terrify me that I’d fuck it up. Probably my favorite time we did it was opening for oOoOO at Glasslands, when Sophie had just gotten sick in the bathroom; and we were having ridiculously awful tech problems; and Sophie just belting this song out felt like a reclamation. This is by far the best-sounding time we ever did it. Originally we didn’t have this for this mix, then I got reminded (thx Deanna) that this recording existed, but I realized that most people hearing it wouldn’t know the origin of the sample and might find it cool to check out the original track I took it from.
SW: I think this cover was one of the best things we did as a band. Super creepy and was fun for me to sing these pretty misogynist lyrics while wearing weird goth-feminine stuff. I really liked The Weeknd, particularly House of Balloons, and I think it was a pretty unexpected cover for us to choose.

RM: Ugh, this recording. This was difficult, playing it live was even more so. We sometimes did a creepy as hell “doubling” act where our friend Lucy, who I’m recording with for my new project, basically a Sophie double, and Sophie would hold hands and sing it together onstage. Really that’s the only time I think the song worked. I used to try singing on it and it was just…wrong.
SW: This was very hard to play live because the slowed down tempo made it almost impossible to figure out when to come in, and there was one part of my pitched-down vocals that would always be off key. Performing it with Lucy was fun. It definitely succeeded in being creepy.

RM: We made this song differently than any of our others: in one day, in the same room. I think it’s the strongest thing we have recorded.
SW: I had been watching a lot of the Carl Sagan show Cosmos, and all the lyrics in the song are based on that. I think the production is really interesting, and it could have been a pretty interesting, weird-pop song with a little more work.

Carly Rae Jepsen: Call Me Maybe (Silent Drape Runners Maybe Call Your Girlfriend rmx)
RM: This is evidence that I was obsessed with The Weeknd’s Initiation. The music is partially a time-stretched sample of Robyn’s Call Your Girlfriend. Still really proud of this.
SW: Other than The Weeknd cover, this is the other song I thought was most interesting. Russ and I were both legitimately obsessed with Call Me Maybe, so there was nothing ironic about this cover.

RM: Our cover of Whitney Houston’s I Want To Dance With Somebody, for BBQ Films’ American Psycho party. Right around the time we stopped being able to be around each other, we were playing this live and it was really, really kinda devastating. Maybe there’s footage out there? I don’t know. The live performance at that Patrick Bateman party was insane.
SW: One of the most fun covers to perform live, even though I knew we had way too many covers at this point. I liked belting the end of each chorus. This song is really amazing in it’s original form, especially in how it convinces people it’s about being happy and carefree when it’s really pretty much the opposite–it’s about pain and desperation and trying to block out your feelings you ultimately know are going to take over. I liked to bring that desperation into the performance and singing it felt urgent and intense in a way most of our other stuff didn’t.

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