elena renderos and zoila garcia of the chocolate shakes caught up with marc simao of litterbug at elena's house sometime in the summer of 2005.

elena renderos: why does litterbug exist?

marc simao: litterbug exists because we need it to exist. we are such huge fans of music, that to not make music would feel strange.

zoila garcia: does the band have a position on littering and the environment in general?

ms: i think we all have our own views on the environment. as far as littering, i don't think anyone in the band actually litters. litterbug is a name that conveys a childlike put down and it's a very thoughtless thing to be a litterbug. a litterbug is someone who is too lazy to put things in the trash that belong there.

er: if the band were an ice cream dessert, what would it be?

ms: i think that we would have to be a triple scoop because there are such diverse personalities in the band. i think one of the flavours would be something along the lines of maple walnut or caramel almond. something a little more grown up. then to represent someone else in the band, who will remain nameless, we would have something like chocolate fudgy crispy sprinkles. something a kid would like more.

ms: of course then we would need a balance flavour and that would be a vanilla or french vanilla or spanish vanilla. one of the vanillas, maybe vanilla light.

zg: what is your favourite instrument and why?

ms: my favourite instrument is probably the guitar, because that was the first instrument i ever really played, unless you count the years my parents tortured me by making me play recorder. it was a bad look and didn't score me any cool points. if you want to be beaten up in school, play the recorder. luckily i was fast and you could use the recorder as a weapon. so these things work out in a way. i would have to say that i really love violins. they are beautiful sounding instruments and i really wish i could play one. they make any song sound better.

er: what motivates you and the other members of litterbug to play music?

ms: there is a need in us to want to play music. creating music is all about developing a song from the ideas of one or two people and seeing where everyone else's input takes it. sometimes the original song is vastly different from what it was initially. that's a really positive experience. for us, recording songs and the creative process is something i associate with the best feelings.

zg: polka dot ties or bunny slippers? what would the band rather play in and why?

ms: i can't speak for everyone in the band and i know some might pick the bunny slippers, however, i like to play without shoes on because that's how we practice, so i would vote for the polka dot ties, which some people might think is not a good fashion statement. but lots of bands are wearing ties again, what with the new wave thing coming back with the little skinny ties, so maybe wearing polka dot ties would be a way of saying " you guys are confreres of ours" but at the same time saying "we're very different from you" because we're not the new wave. we're not the no wave. we're not the wave.

er: what are some art forms that have shaped you or other band members?

ms: i think most of the band really likes film a lot. also art, photography, theater. i think with all art forms, 90% is pretty ordinary and you have to search for that 10% that is inspiring to you.

zg: are there any contemporary bands or musicians that inspire litterbug and its members?

ms: i don't know if you hear it in litterbug very much and i can't speak for everyone, but for myself, i really like sam coomes of quasi who writes really beautiful and soulful songs. he's got this voice that a lot of people would call strange, but i love it. i've been a big fan of his since his 80s band the donner party. i really admire a band like the dirty three, who make really beautiful sounds with guitar, drums and violin. i really enjoy cat power and think she's vying to be the bob dylan of the indie generation, but hopefully not with the baggage that comes with that. and certainly, many people from the past like jonathan richman, the velvet underground, camper van beethoven. litterbug is a reflection of all these sounds we've heard including horrible sounds. i think good and bad sounds both seep into our subconscious and what we produce is a reflection of that musical stew. a good example is that christina aguilera song "beautiful". it's just impossible not to know how it sounds and parts of it can be appealing, particularly if they were produced differently. the difference between a velvet underground song and a britney spears song, besides the lyrics, is mostly in how it was produced. songs are just the shape of noises that we make and production determines how that song will sound.

er: what dance best suits the band's latest full-length release kaiser?

ms: i see kaiser as more of a rock album than pablo was. at the same time we really shift between moods in our songs.

ms (cont): it's not just one momentum, so i see it as not just one dance but as a series of dances, sort of like a high school dance back in the 60s or early 70s, where all the boys are hanging out in the bleachers during slow dances and girls have to dance with each other but not in the way they do now. in a more innocent way.

zg: what is litterbug's response to being named a reclusive band by some journalists?

ms: it was only one journalist that said that and i don't know if it had anything to do with the fact that this one time we were actually running away from her, but we didn't realize it was her because it was halloween and she was dressed up like freddy krueger and that was a little scary because we had forgotten it was halloween and we weren't dressed up. so, you run away and suddenly it's in print that you're the most reclusive band in town. i feel we are really inclusive. we've had the open door policy for people to drop in, jam with us, join the band, give us money, things like that, which worked for a while.

er: can you name something antithetical to the band?

ms: i really dislike that big rock drum sound and those loud guitars that are actually really constrained. something i really dislike is the whole image before the music bands. we don't put our pictures on any of our albums, but prefer to put our cats on the covers, partly because they are cuter than us and partly as a tribute to them.

ms: i like the fact that you have no idea what neutral milk hotel looks like. so many bands are all about themselves and how cool they look. not to put down the strokes. i mean, just because they rip off a bunch of classic bands, i don't think you can put them down for just that because lots of people have done that, but they just seemed to be very image-conscious. we would rather focus on making the songs and the artwork and the website beautiful and not be lazy doing that. i also really hate when people in bands walk all over each other and feel the need to solo even if the song doesn't need it. for us, we have all played really simple and minor parts on songs because that's what the song needed.

zg: what inspired you to write the song serfing u.s.a.?

ms: about a year and a half ago, i came up with the title and i thought that's a really funny title. it sat around for the longest time. lately, i was thinking about the current economic situation in the u.s. and how the bush presidencies have created more of a polarization between the rich and poor. i thought that i should write a song that talks about this polarization but not in an obvious protest song way but more in the perspective of how real people would view it. the guitar riff and the martial drumming hopefully propel the listener to evoke certain images that reinforce the song's lyrics.

er: is litterbug currently working on its next album?

ms: we are going to do a radio session with cbc radio 3, for which we've written some new songs, and after that we will start sessions for our next album, which hopefully will be out sometime in 2006.

zg: are you planning on putting a cat on the album cover?

ms: we're not sure what we will do for the cover. people think there is a cat theme. maybe a cat, but not necessarily so. maybe a moose or a raccoon.

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