On Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, we arrived early for day three of LEVITATION, the established psych music fest hosted annually in Austin’s Red River District at the end of October. We arrived at Mohawk with anxious anticipation, nervously reviewing before our interview with Austin-based grunge band, DIE SPITZ, as they prepared to open for Pleasure Venom and legendary Hard Rock trailblazers, L7.
While waiting in somewhat surprisingly delightful weather outside of the venue, Ashley opened her email to discover a message from DIE SPITZ’s vocalist Ava, asking if we would mind doing the interview at their house instead. Without missing a beat, we shot up from our seats and practically skipped to the car.
Not to expose ourselves, but we’d been obsessed with DIE SPITZ’s recent EP, “The Revenge of Evangeline,” since its release last July. If our excitement to meet the band at Mohawk wasn’t enough, the opportunity to enter the infamous DIE SPITZ house had us giddy the during our short drive across downtown.
As a college student, there is something about being surrounded with creatives in your age range. When I learned of the proximity to many local musicians my age, I understood the commitment and passion these artists have, balancing school and work with a demanding music career. DIE SPITZ gladly wedged Avery and I into their tight schedules between rehearsing and recording to discuss the group’s recent rise in exposure.
A drum set centered the living room of residents and bandmates Ava, Kate, Chloe and additional roommate, Cooper, who entered through the front door holding a bike as we began our interview. Although not a member of the band, Cooper’s recognizable face was one I remembered from my photographing DIE SPITZ shows in the past. The roommates debriefed their Sundays, sharing work stories and biking adventures.
The band members met in grade school, but Chloe was introduced to the existing members only two weeks before their first show. Their first performance solidified Chloe’s belonging alongside the existing DIE SPITZ members, and her creativity fueled the creation of “The Revenge of Evangeline.” Lead vocalist Boogey explains, “it wasn’t an actual band until she joined and we played a show and we were like ‘oh, we’re a band.’”
The band unanimously attributes the naming of DIE SPITZ to, “fireball, three in the morning. ‘The Spits’ was already taken and we wanted something not English…’DIE SPITZ’ is ‘die horny’ in German – we didn’t know that, a German man told us,” explains Boogey.
DIE SPITZ categorizes themselves as grunge, resisting all attempts at labeling the band ‘punk.’ Their sound exists independent of their identities despite attempts to categorize them into a narrow genre. Many writing sessions consist of band members bringing in scraps of songs to complete together, but “The Revenge of Evangeline” prompted a cohesive vision inspired by the rage of the title character in Chloe’s favorite book, “Evangeline: A Novel” by Catherine E. Kovach.
Rather than an ekphrastic album derived explicitly from the novel, DIE SPITZ channels their own rage through the direction of Evangeline’s fictional experiences. Chloe familiarized her bandmates with the characters and plot of “Evangeline,” lighting candles in the living room and reading aloud to Ava.
DIE SPITZ further demonstrated their dedication and creative vision for “The Revenge of Evangeline” spending hours in the studio, and underwater, to compile their efforts into a bewitching thematic expression. The album cover was shot by Austin photographer, Brooke Ellisor, one of the many local efforts that aided in the making of the EP.
DIE SPITZ recently collaborated with the owner of Try Hard Coffee, where you can purchase a specially brewed coffee named after “The Revenge of Evangeline.” Try Hard Coffee donates proceeds from the sale of their coffee, in addition to their assistance with printing vinyls, CDs, and recording and producing, to DIE SPITZ themselves. DIE SPITZ is currently recording in association with Try Hard’s owner at his studio, producing an EP of tracks for the B side of “The Revenge of Evangeline” on vinyl.
The band is excited to be working with Austin Signal again, looking forward to what Boogey describes as tracks that are, “a little more produced, which I think sounds cool. Two separate albums but double sides, so one will be like a live sound, and one will be more produced which is really cool.” The vinyls will be available for purchase at Try Hard Coffee Roasters following its recording!
After finishing up our work at Casa de DIE SPITZ, Ashley and I headed back to Mohawk just in time for doors at 7:00pm. As Mohawk’s massive congregation began to absorb us, I began to take notice of the conversations – and people – surrounding us. Because L7 first started making their name for themselves in 1986, the demographic of the LEVITATION crowd that Sunday night was an assortment of drunk Gen Xer’s, teens, a sprinkle of twenty somethings – and nothing in-between.
Despite my distaste for inebriated middle-aged adults, I was still excited for the show to begin. We managed to wiggle our way to the front of the crowd, cameras in hand, ready for whatever DIE SPITZ’s set had in-store. If you’re interested in reading more on L7’s set, as well as an interview I conducted with the band’s lead guitarist, Donita Sparks, keep an eye on the KTSW blog!
Our opener’s arrival onstage would unsurprisingly ignite an uproar from the packed house as they took their places in unique, elaborate costumes. Dressed as a convincing goblin – prosthetic ears and all – bassist Kate began enthusiastically engaging with their crowd as Chloe, Ava, and Boogey completed their final preparations for the first song of the night.
Whether it was the power of music or possession by a supernatural alternative, DIE SPITZ’s explosive performance initiated a full-on frenzy in the lower-level crowd. To say the Austin-based band simply performed songs from their EP, “Revenge of Evangeline,” would be an understatement; DIE SPITZ was without a doubt one of most entertaining sets I’ve seen in the last six months.
A performance packed with memorable spontaneity and electrifying presentation, DIE SPITZ’s aptitude for executing delightfully chaotic atmospheres throughout their performances was only enhanced by the night’s spell-binding ambience. The compelling cohesiveness of the band’s stage presence is undoubtedly the consequence of longstanding childhood friendship and electrifying talent.
As always, what’s an unforgettable performance without technical malfunction? Soon after the start of their set, guitarist and vocalist Ava’s unfortunate encounter with her broken guitar strap would have ordinarily prompted a quick switch for another offstage; lucky for us, DIE SPITZ is anything but ordinary. Ava played the length of the set playing with a broken strap, not allowing the unexpected occurrence to impede on a spectacular Hallow’s Eve.
Rotating halfway through their set, Ava and drummer Chloe switched positions onstage to feature the show-stopping vocal triumph hidden behind the drum set. Chloe’s distinct voice echoed throughout the intimate venue as Ava began her own impressive display with the organized chaos of her percussion.
Boogey’s ability to cast unyielding enchantment over her audience was apparent from the moment the band stepped onstage. To put it plainly – she can wail. With a personality as big onstage as it is off, the 19-year-old’s vocals – in combination with the impassioned talent of her counterparts – undisputedly packed a punch and would set the tone for the two bands that followed.
Mohawk’s lower-level crowd moshed, danced and cheered at the passing suggestion of their adored entertainers. By the end of our opener’s set, I had forgotten all about the two bands that were to follow.
Our newfound friendship with the members of DIE SPITZ gave us a new perspective when witnessing their performance. Before hanging out in their living room, my previous experience at a DIE SPITZ show, which you can read about here, did not evoke the same exhilarating emotion that the musicians’ intimate personas provided. DIE SPITZ has only just begun, existing only in our current year of 2022. We hope to speak with DIE SPITZ again further along in their career and cannot wait to watch them grow within and without Austin. See you at the next show!
Written by: Hannah Walls
todaySeptember 22, 2023 35 4
todaySeptember 9, 2023 26 2