Local Frequency: Q&A with Judgment Day

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Brothers Anton and Lewis Patzner of Judgment Day got their start playing together on the streets of Oakland back in 2002. Highlighting heavily the fact that there are no guitars in Judgment Day, they are a trio of violin (Anton), cello (Lewis) and drummer John Bush. Playing what they call "string metal," referring to their classical background, theirs is a fast and heavy combination of staccato violins and thumping drums. Their music has a cinematic quality that could be the perfect soundtrack to the next George Lucas film. They debuted in 2004 with an in-your-face album Dark Opus, and their new album Peacocks/Pink Monsters is due April 13th. Keeping true to the last album, the opening track "Cobra Strike" is a manic three minutes that takes you up and down. Peacocks/Pink Monsters is a departure that switches between breakneck speeds and ambient melodies, an effort that Anton notes was the work of a lot of post-production, unlike their past releases. The brothers Patzner met up with Local Frequency at Pops to chat about archery, Beethoven and Luxembourg.

If you could describe your sound as a neighborhood, what would it be and why?
Lewis Patzner: Emeryville, because it's rough but it's technical.
Anton Patzner: Technical? Like the industrial parts of Emeryville?
LP: Yes, like the warehouse parts of Emeryville.
AP: Oakland is too polarized, either too hardcore or too polarized.

What's a song that's been stuck in your head lately?
AP:I just got finished playing with this artist Sonya Cotton; she has this song "Red River."
LP: I've been listening to all of the Beethoven violin sonatas in the last few days. "Opus 30, #1," the violin sonata, I think is really underrated.

What are some local artists you're listening to?
LP:What did I just put on the other day? Oh yeah, Definite Articles.
AP: With me, when I like a local band, I just join a band. So, Devotional, Foxtail Brigades, also Sonya Cotton. Our little brother Graham plays in a band; he just put out a record that's really good. It's called The Wolfskin Traders.
LP:.It's just three piece. I play bass, he plays guitar and sings, and there's a drummer.
AP: Earlier this evening I just played with Matt Lucas at Yoshi's. It's so awesome. I've never played there before.

What are you reading now?
AP: I'm reading Zen and the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel. It's more about Zen and how you really have to have a spiritual approach to archery. I believe that's similar to music, especially in a physical instrument like the violin. You have to have that approach. You have to know how to breathe. It's kind of like The Empire Strikes Back except with Yoda teaching the guy about archery.
LP: I'm reading Bygmester Solness [The Master Builder] by Henri Isben.

If you could DJ your own funeral, what songs would you pick?
LP: Beethoven quartets; he's the best. I realized this is the 2nd time I mentioned this.
AP: I would prefer to have someone else DJ for me. I'm not a very good DJ. I love when I go to someone's house-- who has a huge iPod-- and listen to music all day long. I would much rather they pick the music; there's so much stuff I don't always get to hear because I'm always working on music. I don't get to search the massive world of music.

What's your favorite tiny country?
LP: Luxembourg. We played there. It was a good show, I think; up until then it was our best show.
AP: The first thing that popped into my mind was Tuvalu. They may disappear soon into the water because of global warming. I'd just like to give them my vote of support. I have a friend that's going to go make a documentary about it, the guy who did the Nepal documentary [Christoph Krahl]. It's called Namaste Nepal; a bunch of kids from Menlo Park, went to Nepal and hiked through the mountains for a week, interacted with the locals there, and had a cross cultural experience. Got me interested in Buddhism.

Where are you two hanging out around town?
AP: I used to go to Amber, but now it's gone. I'm not really into the décor there, but there's a place in Oakland called The Layover. Every Tuesday night, when my friend Steve is not on tour with Rogue Wave, he does Tuesday night jam sessions there and gets great musicians. He's on tour now, so it's on hiatus.
LP: Right now, it's the BevMo five cents sale.
AP: The five cents sale?
LP: Yes. That's just what I got into. Buy one bottle of wine, and get another for only five cents.

What events are you going to be playing at SXSW?
LP: We're playing at this place called Dominican Joes and also, we're going to be playing on the street. It's going to be us with the violin, bass and our drummer on buckets. We have a couple of people on tour with us so they're gonna be passing out flyers to our shows, meanwhile all the journalists, record execs, and hipsters walking down the street will see this crazy string band playing with buckets on the street.

Where can we see you next?
April 17th at Bottom of the Hill. It's our record release show.

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