Sounds Dec, 2003

It was, without a doubt, the most surreal and spooky concert I've attended, outside of classic Bauhaus.

It was held in a low-ceilinged dive bar that stunk of stale, cheap beer and cigarettes. The audience was perfectly balanced between leather-clad goth-punks and young, straight-laced types. Both groups seemed shocked to find the other there, as though they were intruding on each other's turf.

There were four, folding metal chairs on the stage. I swear I didn't even see them get filled. I turned my back one second, and then everyone stopped staring at each other and started applauding as four young folks were sitting on those chairs.

They were dressed in high Victorian clothing (bombazine, tophats, veils and all) and had their instruments (one cello, one violin and one flute) ready to go. It was like they'd been there the entire time, but were somehow hidden from sight.

The applause died down as if on cue, and without a word they set right into... Something. I think it was Górecki's "Piece in the Old Style 1," except that the speed wasn't constant, and the singer started whispering an eerie poem halfway through.

And the way the flute predominated - the playing of the flute itself, for that matter - was as chilling as a sea breeze from the wrong direction.

It was Górecki's piece, and yet it wasn't. The band had taken it apart and reconstructed its pieces into something new. Normally, that composition makes me misty-eyed and contemplative. This time, it scared me - scarred me - and I wasn't the only one. The combination of that scouring, scornful flute and the sweet, loving whisper was almost too much to take.

And so it went through the night. We heard the song everyone's been talking about - "The Staircase" - as well as numerous classical pieces they'd reconstructed. Sometimes I could recognize those pieces, however distorted and idiosyncratic their performance. And sometimes I was totally puzzled, wondering if I wasn't hearing two or more pieces stacked atop one another like building blocks.

But I was never less than completely enthralled. Or mystified.

What is Bone Dance playing? "Chamberpunk" is the word someone from another music magazine came up with. The band scorns the label, but it's stuck, and it's damned hard to describe their sound as anything better. What else would you call "Adagio for Strings" played with only a cello, a violin and a flute, while the girl reads the Rosenbergs' last letters to one another?

But they (or at least their violin player, who does almost all their talking) reject the label as "sloppy thinking." They say there is no punk involved; They are chamber music, through and through, only with an "explorational approach." Trying to ask what they're exploring gets no real answers, but more questions asked in return. By the end of the interview I was back where I'd started, only more confused than before.

Perhaps they aren't punk. Perhaps it's a certain other magazine's inability to see something new and different and come up with a new name for it. Perhaps it's their leatherclad fans, too.

Then again, it might just be the fault of their surly flautist.

The night of the concert, someone who came late started talking loudly by the bar, not caring that there was a relatively-quiet recital going on. The flute-player stared daggers at him for some time, and then almost got up to beat the stuffings out of the fellow. If the singer hadn't put a hand on his shoulder and calmed him down, and the bartender hadn't had the sense to tell the talker to shut up, I think I would have been an eyewitness to murder...

Gramophone Feb, 2004

Gramophone: So what would you say drives the group forward?

Jeremy: Well, that is something of a convoluted tale, as well as an intensely personal one. But suffice it to say that what drives us forward is the same thing that drives all forward. Like yourself... tell me, what drives you forward?

Gramophone: Me? Well, I suppose I want the same things everyone else wants-

Jeremy: Do forgive me, friend, but no. That is not what I mean. What drives us is not wants, but rather needs.

Gramophone: Aren't they the same thing?

Jeremy: Not really. You might not need what you want, but you will always want what you truly need-

Johnny: Jesus F***ng Christ. Will you just answer the f***ing question?

Jeremy: I thought I was. Please do leave the conversation to adults, Johnny.

Stuart: Don't argue, Johnny. It's not nice.

Johnny: Who's f***ing arguing? (Leaves, followed by Janice, who hasn't said a word this entire time)

Gramophone: Well. I'd been told you guys gave difficult interviews, but that's the first time I've been cursed at by a flute player.

Jeremy: Ah, but you see? You must have needed to have that happen, and so it has. And that is what drives the group, as a whole, forward.

Gramophone: Okay. Let's just talk about your influences. Can we do that?

Jeremy: Of course! But tell me, what are yours?

Gramophone: (sighs)

Bone Dance