This should get your attention: abrasive and intrusive sounds dripping with sweat like an all-night industrial dance-off. “It really just comes down to the fact that we like to f—king rock,” says Jupiter Keyes of L.A.-based band HEALTH. “But we want it to come off new and interesting at the same time.” It’s music with purpose. Each song is a storm of noise that will not let up until you’re sweating profusely or getting ticketed by the local highway patrol. —Travis Ferré
SURFING MAGAZINE: HOW DID THE FOUR OF YOU GET TOGETHER?
HEALTH: The singer, Jake, and I went to college together and moved to L.A. proper a few years ago. He started working at Guitar Center in Hollywood — which, by the way, is one of the most miserable places on earth — and while he was there he met John, our bass player. Jake was sick of working there and would sleep in the supply closet most of the time. I had a rehearsal space in downtown L.A. at the time, so the three of us started getting together there, just trying to write music.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THERE WAS SOMETHING THERE?
After three or four shows we had a friend who was going on tour that said, “Do you guys want to go on a West Coast tour with us?” We went for it. It was just one of those things, like, “F—k it, let’s just do it and see what happens.” We’d only been together for, like, three or four months at that point, but that little tour kind of just jettisoned us into being really serious about what we are doing.
THEN YOU GUYS STARTED PLAYING FOR FREE AT THE SMELL IN L.A.?
Yeah, that’s just how it starts out: You just want to get exposure, get people to hear your music. We did warehouses, underground venues…whatever we could get. If it was a cool show, we wanted to play. The whole idea of getting paid for shows was actually pretty foreign to us. We’d only heard that there were bands out there that actually lived off making music…that sounded f—king crazy to us. We had all these shitty jobs and we lived like bums. So we decided to try.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC TO SOMEONE WHO’S NEVER HEARD YOU PLAY?
It’s kind of difficult for us to do that in a way that we feel represents the sound. It’s music that uses a sonic palette of more experimental noise. It’s structured like rock music, but it uses experimental sounds. We all grew up with Sabbath and Zeppelin and stuff like that. So that’s kind of what gets us amped. We still want it to sound new, though.
WHAT CAN SOMEONE EXPECT WHEN THEY SEE YOU LIVE?Ideally, they can expect an intense experience. It’s really f—king loud, and that’s our goal. If it’s not loud, then we’re pissed.