In a previous post, I mentioned I that I really knew nothing about this performer I called "Matthew". Well alert the media,the scoop has just been sent in!
This interview was conducted by F.I.B guest music/culture correspendent David Kaplan.
After listening to the guitar crunch of Lame Drivers and the jangly twee pop of Too Big To Fail, the crowd at The Fixers Collective party on Saturday were a little unprepared for the joyous, spastic caterwauling of DJ Tuxedo Laughing Gas. Backed by a soundtrack of synth farts and bleeps, DJ Tuxedo took the floor dressed in what looked like Kente cloth pajamas and an orange Spider-Man mask. I couldn’t make out the lyrics of the songs he was singing/rapping, though my wife, Catherine, noted, “You could tell he meant business.”
He opened his 15-minute set with a declaration – or maybe it was a song title? – “I am a DJ.” His vocal range was somewhere between David Byrne and Emo Phillips – the same could be said of his convulsive dance moves. “I didn’t know whether to applaud or present him with a tongue depressor,” Catherine said after.
We were pondering this very strange act as we waited in line for the bathroom. The act was definitely nuts. It was a little annoying. But there was something about it that commanded our attention. As we were talking about it, we turned around to see DJ Tuxedo standing behind us, so we decided to do an interview.
The actual individual behind the character – though, after speaking with him, it was hard to tell which persona was the “real” one – is named Matthew Thurber. A native of Washington State, when he’s not performing as DJ Tuxedo Laughing Gas, he’s a comic book artist and has authored a series called 1-800-MICE.
While Thurber is a creature from the Northwest, DJ Tuxedo is a pure-mongrel Brooklynite, born in the murky waters of the Gowanus, he told us as someone skipped the bathroom line ahead of us.
“It’s a highly hierarchical society, where you learn mixing at age one, and DJ skills at age two and then you are usually eaten by a bird at age three,” DJ Tuxedo said, when asked about emerging from the Gowanus ecosystem. Asked to describe his musical influences, he told us the sound is “reggae-swamp, played on lillypads with razor-sharp edges. Basically, the genre is essentially American Country-Western. I make the music of American tragedy.”