Super FM

“Bugged-out garage punk psych rock whatever from BK,” these self-taught musicians produce a cohesive sound that doesn’t stick to a formula. With Nolan Maloney on vocals and bass, Zach Booth on vocals and guitar, and Joe Cozza on drums, they create inventive melodies, gang vocals that pack a punch, and humorous lyrics. The chemistry is a perfect synthesis; Maloney drops catchy bass hooks, Cozza’s hyper drum beats will wear out the soles of your dancing shoes, and Booth’s fuzzy guitar alternates between rhythm and lead melodies reminiscent of Ty Segall or WAND. Their songs are gritty, unique, catchy, and I can’t help but bob my head and sing along to the hook.

They take an unpretentious approach to music making. They’re like a joke, a really good joke. They seem to encourage making fun of your problems rather hiding from them, delivering strange, raw, and unrefined messages that under any (other) circumstances would make you uncomfortable. “Like you just woke up and it’s 12:30 p.m. and your mouth tastes like you licked a lotta butt and you got work in 20 minutes,” adds Booth.

Push play on their latest release, “Fuckbird Barnacle”; unpolished, unapologetic, energetic DIY party-punk. The album was recorded and mixed by Seth Applebaum at Ghostload in Brooklyn (Seth’s bedroom) and released with King Pizza records in February of 2016 amongst other awesome tri-state area bands such as The Mad Doctors, Garbage Brain, and Stuyedeyed. They don’t have any upcoming shows to focus on writing and recording, but they are planning a mid-April tour following some new releases.

BTRtoday (BTR): Tell me your names and where you’re from?

Nolan Maloney (NM): He’s from Jersey and I’m from Indiana.

Zach Booth (ZB): Yo, don’t answer for me. Technically I’m from Jersey. Texas proper.

Joe Cozza (JC): And I’m from Philadelphia.

BTR: How do you know each other?

ZB: We met on a film set I was doing PA for some shitty short film and Nolan was a shitty camera assistant. There were a few times I was driving him around and we connected over black lips and parquet courts.

NM: And then we just started hanging out and going to shows together.

Self portrait, courtesy of the band.

BTR: Joe, when and why did you begin playing drums?

JC: I grew up around the drums. My brother, Louis, started playing at the same time I started playing guitar, around 13-14. Louis used to practice pretty much every day after school and on the weekend, so I was constantly hearing him play. I got a sense of rhythm from just being around him. I used to help him make videos for his YouTube cover channel too, so editing the songs with his playing helped a lot too. I took maybe two lessons before deciding I just like playing for fun; I think my drumming reflects how my day went, lol. Good or bad. Super FM is my first and only band where I’ll be behind the drums, but I’m happy to sit in with other groups sometimes.

BTR: When did you really become a band?

NM: I had never played music before. Ever.

ZB: We met February of ‘14 and started playing in May, but we didn’t really become a band until October. We went to a Death by Audio show to see The Lemons. I was drunkenly lamenting that I wanted a band. The next day I got a picture from Nolan of a Squire bass and a practice amp.

BTR: Did you write your own material from then on?

NM: Well I showed up at his house and we started playing, and of course it was terrible. We just tried playing and jamming around. It was a lot of work for Zach because I didn’t know anything.

ZB: I don’t think we ever covered a song until we had made an album

NM: I brought over Joe who I also knew from film. He knew how to play the drums. They would play and I would watch them and sort of figure it out from there.

BTR: What was your first song you guys I had together?

NM: “I Taste Blood”.

ZB: That was our first song we recorded. It’s the first song on the first EP we put out, “Yung Earth Demos.”

BTR: Where did you get your name?

NM: It’s a really shitty story

ZB: We had terrible ideas for the longest time, or names that have already been taken. Like Ghost Dad.

JC: The name is kind of a spin-off on something my high school friend said to me while he was drunk. He was trying to tell me he was going to schedule a mega bus to come to New York in the a.m., and ended up writing Super AM instead. The band was having a meeting at the Tradesman in Bushwick trying to land on a name; we had tried a few out but nothing was working. I remembered Super AM because I like the way it sounded. Zach and Nolan liked it, but suggested we change it to FM, since we’re not a talk radio garage band.

Live at The Gateway, photo by Anthony Disparte.

BTR: Tell me about your writing process? Do you write the songs together?

ZB: We’ve tried everything. Nothing works.

NM: We just go to the well and bring back the jam

ZB: It just depends on the songs. You can kinda tell when the songs were written by one person or the other. “Neighborhood” was the last song we wrote together where we came in with nothing. We wrote that at The Sweatshop.

BTR: Do you typically sing the songs you wrote?

ZB: For the most part. He (Nolan) wrote the words to “Sludge.”

NM: On “Sludge” he sings the verse and I sing the bridge and the chorus.

BTR: Who are your biggest influences?

JC: Butthole Surfers, Thee Oh Sees, Diamond Rugs, Sonic Youth.

BTR: What’s your favorite venue ever?

NM: Cake Shop. I moved to New York in 2008 and the first live show I saw was at Cake Shop. I’ve seen so many awesome shows there that I can’t even begin to count. We got to play there like, five times. It meant a lot.

ZB: Yeah, Cake Shop is definitely my favorite venue in NY. In Austin, TX my favorite venue was Trailer Space. It’s nowhere now, it’s gone. The sound was shit. But the mantra was “throw something at the wall and wait for something to stick.” Basically, if you wanted to play there, there was a calendar on their website and if there was an open spot you’d just click it. So he gave kids a place to play and no one else was doing that.

BTR: Can you explain the title “Fuckbird Barnacle?”

ZB: James Joyce used to write these letters to his wife, Nora Barnacle. All about how he missed the smell of her farts and stuff, and how he wanted to get real poop nasty with her and a bunch of women at once. And he used to call her fuckbird.