The return of Say No! To Architecture

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Say No! To Architecture is no stranger to the pages of Impose. Literally. The solo/sometimes-with-a-band project of Plainview, Long Island resident Allen Roizman made his Impose debut in one of our last print issues. His loop-pedal heavy bedroom recordings were synonymous with the suburban-bred harmonious drone that led to artists like US Girls, Pink Priest and Coma Cinema as well as labels like Bathetic and Baked Tapes. The heavy haze of reverb and echo masking deft subtleties of his intricate guitar-looping and effects-layering, Roizman was part Bradford Cox, part Computer Magic; his lyrics hiding despondency behind a veil of harmony. Lyrics possibly implying those dark scenes were closer to home than just words on paper. Soon after the release of his Time of the Wolf 7-inch in February of 2012, self-released on his Ghost Hunters Club Co-Op label, Roizman left his Brooklyn apartment to go back to Long Island. Shortly thereafter, he stopped playing out altogether.

Three years later, at the start of this year, Say No! To Architecture’s social media pages have started creeping back to life, with a few shows out on the Island and word of a new collection of recordings on the horizon. February brought the heavy drone of “Broward County Confidential“, and two months after that we’ve been given a taste of what Roizman says will be a double-LP of material in the way of four “un-finished” songs. The songs, simply filed under SN!TA on his bandcamp represent both old and new Say No! To Architecture, with reworkings of old material into new recordings, including two of his most recognized singles—”Weider’s Floor” and “Fall In Love At Tape Mountain”—both of which deserve immediate listens.

We caught up with Roizman to ask him a few questions; mainly: where have you been? You can stream the four demo tracks of Say No! To Architecture’s forthcoming double LP below, and read on for the very candid interview.

It’s been three years sine we’ve last heard from you, where have you been?

It sure has been a while… About three years ago, I had what some people might call a religious experience. Or a psychotic episode, depending on your belief system (I prefer the former). In that short period I managed to alienate everyone I know, and ended up isolating myself real hard, rarely leaving my house outside of working two job for seven days a week. In that time, I felt too out of it to even work on this album, and pretty much abandoned it after working on it on and off for two years. Maybe six-to-eight months ago, I quit both those jobs and with the support of a couple of friends finally got moving on the album again. In October, I was hospitalized for reasons I’d rather not go into, but after I got out, I managed to finish all the recording in a few months, and here we are.

Your Bandcamp says you’ll be doing a new double LP. I noticed the tracks you’ve posted are some you’ve been playing out for a long time, so is the new album(s) a collection of sorts? Or can we expect new material along with the new recordings of old stuff?

Yeah, these songs have been around for a while now. It’s all stuff that I’ve been wanting to release forever ago, but I kept hesitating, getting to almost OCD levels of insanity trying to get them to sound perfect. They kind of have a different format, as I wasn’t forced to use the looping station I would have to use playing live on my lonesome. Some tracks I completely overhauled while working on them again over the summer. Others I had taken a different approach from the start. “Fall in Love at Tape Mountain”, for example, is now pretty much a completely different song. Same deal for “Food Stamps” which turned into “Get Sick”, same deal for “Wieder’s Floor”, which went from almost a synth pop song into what it is now. Actually just about all of the songs went through radical changes now that I think about it, so although they might be recognizable, they changed so radically that they’re almost not like what I played live at all. I guess they’re kind of the ideal way the songs would have sounded if they only existed in a vacuum. The live songs had maybe three or four layers tops, these end up having as many as 70 layers (part of why it took so long to get down on record).

From the start I had kind of underestimated how big of an undertaking this would be, thinking I could get it done after a few weeks, but weeks turned into months, months turned into years, and so on and so on. All of the newer material I had made after starting this album had more of the quality that my older stuff had prior to recording this album, so the difference in the mood of those didn’t fit on this album much. Also, it’s so long as it is, that I think the only way to get it out would be 2xLP. I guess you could call it a collection if you wanted to, but most of the songs that I started over on have the same quality, same period of writing, so I think it might be more cohesive than a collection would be.

I’ve seen you play out in numerous variations, what does your current live performance consist of?

The current live performance is essentially what it has always been: me alone, with pedals, minimal drums and hand percussion. I had always been trying to get a band together, at least to perform these songs, as they have a different quality than I can really perform live [alone], so they end up being stripped down to the core. It’s hard to find reliable people to work with these days, if I can get enough money together I might be able to just hire a band or something on some James Brown shit.

What else can we expect from you in 2015?

2015 has been kind nuts so far. I’ve had a couple of shows out in LI that combined amounts to more than I’ve been paid in all of the NYC shows combined. I’d still like to play out in Brooklyn some more, but with all the places I ever played closed down, it’s hard to say when the next time I’ll play out there will be.

I’ve also been compiling all of the old tapes and recordings I’ve done over the last 10 years (I have a milk crate full of tapes from these periods that I haven’t listened to since I made them), so those will be trickling out shortly after I finish this record. I’ve been avoiding live shows for the most part as well as recording newer material (closer in sound to this album), in order to concentrate on finishing this album. I’d like to pull off a tour, but I’m so disorganized I might have to put that off until early 2016. I’ve also been working on a rap project with one of my friends out here, but again, holding off to concentrate on finishing this long overdue project. That stuff has been really fun to work on.