‘An audio diary of adventures had at various bathhouses, dark rooms, & gay clubs…Cruising dystopia, libidinal contact, anonymity & risk – rites of passage with a potent lineage’
So far everything from the family that is Special Interest has indeed been rather specail, they are one of the most exciting bands around at the moment, punk in truest of senses, a proper punk rock creative challenge.
There’s something that just hits the spot with this latest album from Ruth Mascelli, there’s some kind of secret ingredient that just makes it so so right. This first listen is on a very bright sunny Saturday afternoon in East London but it does feel like slipping in to a dark dark club and waiting for your eyes to adjust. It is essentially dance-flavoured electronic music and we do get lots and lots of experimental electronic dance music sent in here, there’s something extra to Ruth Mascell’s art though, just a little bit more depth, a little more soul. Love the throb of Sunrise, it felt like early morning before I looked to see, it does feel like Stonehenge or a more brooding Eat Static or Timeshard or just about the morning after the night before that hasn’t quite ended yet, it does sound thrilling, it has an edge, and excitement, the whole album does. Hang on, that opening track is called Sauna, it does feel like that, a dark sweaty club, pulsing people, strobing lights, bodies, energy, and yes it does feel like exploring the diffent rooms…
“The debut solo album by Ruth Mascelli of New Orleans no wave / glam / industrial group Special Interest. ‘A Night At The Baths’ is a progression from their previous work under the Psychic Hotline moniker, as well as the electronic rhythms they supply as part of Special Interest, drawing on techno, acid house and ambient music. An album as journey in the best sense, starting with the late night pulse-racing dancefloor menace of ‘Sauna’ and ending with the melancholy dawn chorus of ‘Missing Men’, with a strong narrative arc in between, told through a deft use of instrumental textures”.
Ruth Mascelli comments: “This album is an audio diary of adventures had at various bathhouses, dark rooms, and gay clubs while on tour with Special Interest and traveling on my own. It was a way of wrapping my head around my own experiences in those very specific surroundings but also an attempt to connect to the current of queer history flowing through those spaces. Cruising dystopia, libidinal contact, anonymity & risk – rites of passage with a potent lineage.
I was in a particularly dark and cavernous sex club when I heard an unstable melody crackling from down the hall. Instead of a proper sound system this place had the kind of network of tinny intercom speakers you would find in a school. The sound of a degraded pop song several rooms away getting lost amidst the chorus of heavy breathing was the starting point for this project.
I think of each individual track as it’s own room or physical space. Some may be lonely, some crowded, but I tried to leave them open enough to walk around and explore.”
of further interest:
Disciples is a contemporary archive label that has issued curated collections of music by Japanese post-punk legend Phew, Rephlex records alumni Bogdan Raczynski & Washington DC based avant-rap duo Model Home.
So far in 2021 they’ve issued a C60 cassette, ‘The Wild World Of Psychic Hotline’, compiling work by a former project of Special Interest’s Ruth Mascelli, and brought their trilogy of releases exploring the early home recordings of Warren Defever aka His Name Is Alive to a conclusion with the anthology boxset ‘A Silver Thread’.
In May 2021, the Disciples label inaugurated the R.A.T.S. series with the release of ‘Trust No Wave: The 2016 Demos’, a reissue of the debut demo tape by Special Interest. The series is delineated as being new versions of records that have already existed in some form already, whereas the main Disciples series consists of first time collections of the music in question, in the spirt of ‘Metamorphosis’, ‘The Future Crayon’ & ‘Bubblegum Perfume’.