Tyvek Talks Brand-Appropriating, Nipple-Flaunting Punk Rock
Punk bands don't get more punk than Tyvek.
First, the Detroit band copped its name from a registered corporate product. (Tyvek is a semi-permeable synthetic material manufactured by DuPont that--among other uses--is wrapped around buildings under construction.) Second, the six-year-old group's latest release, Nothing Fits, has a strange cover image that might depict bare breasts. And third, the band hollers and rocks like it's trying to turn each song into a concentrated, foundation-rattling blast of sound.
This Saturday, Tyvek bring their amped-up attack to Churchill's Pub. So Crossfade caught up with frontdude Kevin Boyer for a conversation involving spelling, nudity, and profanity.
New Times: As far as your band's name goes, what's the deal with "Tyvek" versus "Tyevk" and "Tyvjk"? (The second is published on the band's MySpace page and the third is floating around an old post on Brooklyn Vegan.) Which spelling is the band's proper name?
Kevin Boyer: We legally can't really discuss this. Well, we can. It's just funny because a lot of things are named after products and a lot of bands are named after common stuff. It's there. It's our name. We just have to be the fox a little bit about it. [Laughs] I don't really care [which name people use]. People can use whatever they want. When we release records or make t-shirts, we always use our proper name. But I don't care. Everyone knows what it is.
What prompted you going with the variations of the name? Was it the band's idea?
Well, we can't really talk about that. I don't want to comment on what someone else does at some other place that I'm not involved with. I don't want to quote anything
Moving on to Nothing Fits ... What the hell is going on on that cover?
Well, as far as I can tell, there's a plaster greyhound and some cool room. [Laughs] The cover's kind of a mystery, though. It's a mystery to me, at least. I don't know what the hell is going on. We had a mystery artist from Europe. This artist sent it to us. He had been emailing the guitar player Heath [Moerland] photos and stuff and we thought that they were cool, so we asked her to do an album cover shot.
I've got to ask: Is the girl actually topless or not?
You can't see? [Laughs] It's hard to tell. You've got to check out the LP.
When it comes to the press describing Tyvek's music itself, the words "raw" and "loud" are thrown around often.
It's true, we are raw and loud. It's not a bad thing. It seems like a couple of years ago, everyone was calling us "propulsive," like that was the adjective of the way. How is music not kind of propulsive? Or how is it propulsive? It is and it isn't. [Laughs]
In lieu of those words, would you prefer for any others to be used?
I guess, like, suitable for print? Um ...
You can say something unsuitable for print, too.
I'd just say, "It sounds fucked."
What attracts you to that sort of sound in the first place?
I've always liked the crazier, more messed-up, harsher punk sounds. Guitar amps sound good when they're cranked really loud. Drums sound better when they're hit really hard. It's a whole combination of things. It's not like all the music I listen to is like that. But [playing this is] the most fun when the tones are super-distorted or really loud. That's where a lot of the musicality comes from: the pure feeling of the tones and the volume levels. It takes your brain to a different place. It makes a different universe.
Considering that there's a disposable quality to Tyvek's songs based on how quickly they are made and played, how much emotional investment do you pour into them?
Songs are so weird because they're totally unnatural. Well, not totally unnatural, but they're things that pop out of nowhere. A song is there and it comes from somewhere. I don't know how it happens. I don't know how things get put together precisely in my brain. You just want to get it down when it's still in your head and coming from the original place it came from, so that you don't forget what made you start singing the song in the first place. At the same time, even though it is disposable, [what's] captured is not going anywhere. It's for the record. So for me, personally, I want to make it as sweet as possible and work on that. There's a fine line. I don't have any problems working on something for a long time either.
There's also a disparity between how your songs often sound bright with dark lyrical matter. Why go for that?
I kind of like the absurdity of it. The universe is crazy and absurd. And I can't make sense of anything. So why should this make sense? I just want to enjoy the fact that stuff doesn't make sense. It's so negative that it's positive.
Tyvek's material has been released on a variety of formats. Does that make it harder or easier to be a fan of the band?
I guess it doesn't make it easier. There's a lot of different stuff out there. But the stuff that I would really like people to have is more available. Well, I can't really say that. I think the stuff that is available is the stuff that I'm really proud of. I wish every CD-R could be well-distributed or every tape could be available for everybody. But sometimes, we're just putting this CD-R together or getting tracks ready for tour, there's a lot of stuff that's just [going to end up getting released]. Like, "Oh shit, we didn't expect to make this track for this compilation tape. But I guess we thought we should do it."
After Nothing Fits, do you hope to clean up your sound further on your next record or are you comfortable with the way it is now?
I wouldn't expect something cleaned up at all. Things are just going to go to some weird next level.
-- Reyan Ali
Tyvek with Lone Wolf, Snakehole, Fuck Yeah!, and the Ticks. Saturday, January 22. Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave. The show starts at 9 p.m. and admission costs $10 at the door. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-757-1807 or visit churchillspub.com.
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