A CONVERSATION WITH MICKEY VERSHBOW & LEAH WELLBAUM OF ANMLPLNET
Meet ANMLPLNET (pronounced ‘animal planet’, “we left out the vowels to avoid copyright issues” the band jokes), a new band comprised of two very talented individuals, Mickey Vershbow (drums and vocals) and Leah Wellbaum (guitars and vocals). If those names sound familiar to you it is because these two women have quite the resumes. Wellbaum is currently with the band Slothrust, while Vershbow drums with Dams of The West and Mirah K. ANMLPLNET is their new project and, in reality, is a supergroup or super duo.
Their debut album, Fall Asleep, is due for release on April 20, 2018 on Ba Da Bing Records. It is perhaps one of the most original albums issued this year and is preceded by the single “I Was Fucked By A Cloud”.
“If we had our way, we would not do singles. The whole, the album, works as one piece. That is how it was intended. One vision from start to finish, Fall Asleep tells a story. It is the same live, we don’t break between songs. But you have to issue singles, so we picked the first song on the album. No one thinks album anymore, it is a single industry,” says Wellbaum during a recent conversation I had with both members of ANMLPLNET.
Perhaps not the most commercial choice, although no one can argue the merits of the song — incredible and fascinating melody, with sharp lyrics. It is a brillant song, but the title may restrict its airtime. But what is “I Was Fucked By A Cloud” really about?
“That song came to me as abstract and surreal,” says Wellbaum during our recent conversation. “It is abstract and yet aggressive. Clouds are so soft and fluffy for the most part. Structurally it interested me, like the line “reverse cowgirl of the sky” . Mickey wrote the second verse.”
Vershbow picks up the story from there, “I use antonymic translations. This means I switch out nouns and verbs with their opposites. A lot of words do not have an obvious opposite, so it is a fun and challenging way to write.”
And ANMLPLNET is always up for a challenge. Both musicians live in opposite ends of the country.
“We are both from Boston,” reports Vershbow. “We met at a show, both of us playing in different bands. And we just did a classic jam, we were joking about a band where we did not have to take ourselves so seriously.”
Wellbaum picks up the story, “we jammed in my parent’s basement. We were giving back and forth, lyrics and such, a lot of improvising. We just really enjoyed jamming together and we thought we totally have to have a project.”
They started by playing some live shows and amassed some songs.
“We have the material, so let’s make an E.P. Initially we were just a live act and did not consider making an album. Our live show was very much experimentation live and in our live shows we have no breaks. We knew making the record was going to be very difficult, but we recorded half in New York and half in L.A. Initially it was an E.P., but the label became interested and suggested we make it a full length album. Again, we knew it would be a challenge.”
This band loves challenges.
But in listening to Fall Asleep, one is left wondering if there is an overall theme or a concept. According to Vershbow, there was no ‘theme’, but there was a goal for the album.
“No idea what type of audience will find a connection with the album. I hope it speaks to all kinds of people. Not a lot of records are perfect, and we made this album intentionally raw.
Wellbaum adds, “ It was a fun and unique project, especially compared to current pop music. We just kept thinking if the form got messed up, embrace that. That was the spirit of ANMLPLNET shows, it was a big open to see where things go.
“With this album, we want the listener to feel as though they have been temporarily taken to a different state of consciousness, transport people to live inside our planet. I will be curious to see how it does impact listeners. We were trying to create a planet and force people to temporarily live there.”
With the album finished, the question turns to touring. This may be the most challenging aspect of this project. Touring is proving difficult due to their commitments to their respective bands and other projects, but one thing is clear, they would love to come to Toronto.
“We like playing Toronto, everyone gets so excited during the shows.”
Perhaps in the future, in the meantime, you are welcome to visit ANMLPLNET. You are always welcome, and admission, the cost of an L.P.
Fall Asleep, by ANMLPLNET releases April 20, 2018 on Ba Da Bing Records.