D//E Interviews: A Place to Bury Strangers

Perpetually creative and prolific, A Place to Bury Strangers had a terrific year in 2021 with the release of an excellent EP, while their impending album suggest that the underground music world will be discussing more about them in the new year. It's being made evidently clear that the project's creative force, Oliver Ackermann, is constantly striving to innovate and extend his creative horizons, with his new label, Dedstrange, being the latest example of that ingenuity.

D//E discusses with Oliver the past and present of APTBS, the band's new releases and more.

Did you expect the band to grow that much and have such longevity when you joined back in 2003?

It wasn’t really a band when I joined but just an idea for a band and finally with the addition of me and my good friend Justin Avery on drums it became one. I really had no idea that it was going to last and at many times thought to dissolve it and start over with a different project but it is a nasty beast I wrestle with from time to time and it always seems to win in the end.

Like APTBS, Death By Audio reaches its 20th anniversary. What's the company's goal and current status?

Oh wow, I don’t really stop to think about things like that so it’s a funny surprise where now I’m thinking of all the fun we’ve had over the years. The goals have pretty much stayed the same forever; try to make this work, help out good people, and innovate the experience of the extreme.

Dedstrange's first year has been very impressive. What pushed you to start the new label, and what do you consider to be its mission?

I really wanted to see what would happen with A Place To Bury Strangers if we released the records ourselves. Then as I started talking about the ideas with my good friends Steven Matrick and Mitchell O’Sullivan we came up with some good plans and figured it would be really cool to do this for other bands as well. Once word got around we were starting a label it just snowballed from there and all of these incredible bands were reaching out interested in being on our label. The mission statement of the label is put out the best fucking music all the fucking time.


Fittingly, you have earned the title of New York City's loudest, and much of the band's acclaim is due to its live presence. What does live music mean to you?

Live performances are the most important and transformative moments in music for me now. I love listening to records and watching cool music video tidbits but there is nothing like having your mind blown by something magical happening right in front of you. And when you can feel it and taste it and touch it, fuck, it’s so great. I think that’s why I even prefer shows in smaller venues, there is something really great about connecting with the people making the music.

What do you believe the future of live music will be like?

Probably on some crappy facebook oculus 3d immersion with virtual scent experience. I like how these things are more inclusive but it really doesn’t have the danger. And I’ve been thinking for a while about getting my middle name changed.

The chemistry in the band's current lineup is palpable. How do you feel about the current version of APTBS?

I love it so much. It has been so great and really so much fun playing with John and Sandra. They are diamonds in the rough.

You have recently announced a series of collaborations with horror directors for your next music videos. What's your connection to horror?

I love horror movies so much. There’s something about that feeling of seeing someone getting stabbed in the eye which really makes me squirm. I love feeling something and horror definitely scratches that scab. I also think there’s a connection for sure between A Place To Bury Strangers songs and horror movies in general. Often the themes of the songs are extremely dark and scary like real life horror.

Last year you were incredibly kind to contribute a song to our digital compilation, A Growing Scarcity of Expectation. When was Fine written and recorded, and what is it about?

For sure, thank you for making the compilation. I am always in to helping out however I can. I’m not exactly sure when Fine was written and recorded, maybe 2019? but I wrote it about how messed up everything seems and yet its easy to just feel like nonconsequential jelly. It was supposed to be a call to arms to get off your ass and improve something, we could all use the help.

Hologram and See Through You feel like similar/complementary to each other records. How comparable are they, and how different was the creative process for each?

They were written all through that same period which was this real uncertainty with the band and the world and real conflict and turmoil. I feel a lot more at peace now as the band is so strong now. When these records were recorded I was doing almost everything all on my own, cooped up, recording in the wee hours of the night and having super long psychedelic mind bending recording sessions that really made these records come very naturally. It was such a surreal and strange time they both really helped me through it.

See Through You seems to have a nice balance of energy and atmospherics. Which are some of the themes it explores?

Anything extreme really. Any mediocre songs I wrote didn’t really make it on either of these records. So it’s all; I want to punch you in the face, I hate you, I love you, go to hell.


Which are your most common sources of songwriting inspiration?

Almost always it’s from real life or memories of life. Sometimes it’s me imagining being in someone else’s shoes but it's often the human experience. I guess that’s the most relatable to me since I’m human.

You've always struck as a very hands-on creator. How significant is the "do-it-yourself" approach to your art?

I love working with other people but for some reason often I am just so curious of what happens when you blur the limitations of the process that I can’t help but do it myself. I want to see the journey and have a part in it.

What do you find yourself listening to the most these days?

Lot’s of internet radio, NTS, WFMU, and recently got the tape player working so all the tapes.

What lies ahead for APTBS in the near future?

Music and mind vision machines.

See Through You will be out digitally on February 4th, and physically on March 11th, 2022 through Dedstrange.

Band photo by Ebru Yildiz

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