The power of diversity comes across in spades in the fascinating sound of Portland collective Internet Beef. Combining raw thrash-punk with psychedelic prog rock, alongside elements of Hungarian, Afro-Caribbean and Mexican musical influences, it’s safe to say that the band are open to mixing things up.
But Internet Beef is more than simply a band of varying sounds and influences – it’s a brand that, in their words, “gives legitimacy to the silliest ideas.” The result is something wild, theatrical, loud, abrupt and a bit of a free-for-all.
Our first taste of this is the release of the band’s EP Free Trial last week, from which they sent us final track Gush to have a listen to. It opens up with lively drums then a cheeky little riff that is joined by supporting guitar and pounding drums then drops into an edgy opening verse. Guitars increase in intensity under winding vocals, then a building section of “Lock the doors, Turn off the lights, Whisper in my ear, Get in my bed, I promise I won’t bite too hard” gives way to a blitzing guitar solo.
It’s an intriguing track with fairly liquid structure and big beefy guitars, then a saxophone solo with huge blasts of airhorn and wild synthy sounds bringing it to a lively ending.
We had a chat with the intriguingly named Dr. Beeflin to find out more about the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are Internet Beef?
DB: “Internet Beef is made up of a diverse group of people that collaborates in a very special, and beautiful way. The actual band has four members: Bobo Lebeef, Jamburger Helper, Chopped Libber, and Dr. Beeflin.
“Bobo is first-gen, Bay area, Hungarian-American, bilingual, power-diva and can play every instrument she touches. Jamburger is an Afro-Caribbean, Miami-native percussion powerhouse that is always the life of the party. Chopped Libber and Dr. Beeflin are the interracial, dueling-shredder, power-couple that started it all. Although each of our backgrounds is considerably different, we work, rehearse, and live like a family. Find us at your local Hooters, carbo-loading before our next sleepover.
“Internet Beef is, in its ideal state, a free-for-all art platform. A collaborative brand designed to give legitimacy to the silliest ideas in the Portland art community. It started as a social media tag group for internet arguments, sort of an Avante-Garde meme, and was even rumored for a time to be a cop trying to infiltrate the Portland music scene.
“Over the last two years, Internet Beef has collaborated with musicians, nonprofits, fashion designers, cinematographers, video game designers, painters, tattoo artists, dancers, martial artists, protesters, restaurants, museums, and anyone willing, in order to be an all-inclusive art force collaborating towards a weirder world and creating a safe space for guilty pleasures.”
You just released Gush. What should people be expecting from the song? What inspired you to write it?
DB: “Gush is inspired by the sounds made during a steamy bout of Hot Tub sex that happened at a party we were attending. In the end, the lyrics ended up being about BDSM. As far as expectations, get ready for a high-energy, in-your-face riff session with a healthy dose of silliness.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
DB: “Musically, Internet Beef has been described as ‘Nickelodeon of a Down,’ and ‘Queens of the Stone Age but better.’ Internet Beef is a prime example of the power of diversity. While listening, you’ll find spooky Hungarian scales, backed by pumping Afro-Caribbean rhythms and emotionally-charged Mexican melodies, all powered by raw thrash-punk riffs and glittered with psychedelic prog rock.
“In one word: Extra. Internet Beef shows are theatrical, sexy, loud, emotional, communal, experiential parties that give everyone a chance to participate, dance, lose control, and be a part of something sillier than themselves.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
DB: “Our music is inspired by our personalities. For us, it’s all about energy and we’re a colorful, silly, sparkly, sexy, high energy family. We write music to try and reflect all of our very different, but equally loud personalities as well as draw from our influences and guilty pleasures. Lyrically, we tend to write sexually-charged and slightly kinky songs that have more poeticism and substance than your standard party-punk fare.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
DB: “Our influences are all over the place, but we definitely have a good dose of 80’s thrash and hair bands like Metallica and Judas Priest. As well, System of a Down’s silliness and eclecticism has been a big inspiration. The melodic energy of ABBA has been a powerful influence too and our Hungarian and Latin roots definitely have an impact on our choices of rhythms, scales, and modes when we are writing music together.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
DB: “On 26 November we’ll be releasing our first official music video at the Doug Fir Lounge, also in Portland, OR. We’ve already started recording the next full-length record, which will be out sometime next year.”