We’re pleased to bring you the premiere of Russian Baths’ new song “Slenderman” (listen below). The track is taken from the band’s forthcoming EP Penance, which is scheduled to be released on February 23rd and can be pre-ordered here.
Comprised of Luke Koz (guitar, vox), Jess Rees (guitar, keys, vox) and joined by Evan Gill Smith (bass) and Jeff Widner (drums), Brooklyn-based noise-rockers Russian Baths first stormed out with their split single, “Ambulance / “Ghost.” Now, fresh off of signing to Good Eye Records, the band is getting ready to release their debut EP, Penance.
“Slenderman” arrests from the outset with menacing, booming drums as the jet-fuel soaked bassline meets crashing, incendiary guitars. Rees’ ethereal vocals call out from the fray setting up furious bursts of sound over-scored by a rollicking lead guitar line. It’s an exhilarating initial entry into the world of Penance.
To find out more about Russian Baths and the EP, check out the quick interview below.
How did Russian Baths first come together?
Jess Rees: I met Luke a few years ago. I had just moved to New York and we were working together. At some point we started talking about music, and realized neither of us had a band at the moment, so we decided to play. I didn’t expect it to stick.
Evan Gill Smith: I met Luke through a poet I know at a crappy bar during the NBA finals. We bonded over our love of the band Women and D’Antoni’s “seven-seconds-or-less” playbook.
It’s been just under two years since you released your debut split single. What’s changed for the band since then?
JR: Music is hard. We listen to music that inspires us and know that we can never be that good. But we try anyway.
ES: I got a couple new pedals.
The music on Penance juxtaposes a certain kind of heaviness and aggression with a dark, ethereal elegance. How did you arrive at your sound and what’s your writing process like?
Luke Koz: The process depends on the piece. A lot of the bands we like focus on a mix of atmospheres: Women, Cocteau Twins, Swirlies, Adele. You get it.
ES: Have I mentioned the pedals?
The lyrics and singing on the EP play more like poetry and textures in the overall atmosphere. Are there any connecting or overarching things on Penance?
LK: I think the title is a good summary.
What drew you to the Slenderman myth?
LK: We treat Joans of Arc differently these days, but still not in the best manner.
Have you had a chance to play “Slenderman” live? How has any of the unreleased material evolved live since recording, if at all?
JR: Our songs often change once we start playing them live. Once we understand them we are able to change them around. The tracks on the EP were written and recorded pretty quickly and recently though, so they haven’t had time to transform very much.
LK: Yeah, our songs sort of constantly change from the moment they’re written forward. For example, “Slenderman” started with mumbling and a drum machine.