A Place to Bury Sound Guys

A Place to Bury Strangers' Oliver Ackermann talks noise and provocation

A Place to Bury Strangers by Ebru Yildiz
Ebru Yildiz

"I jumped up on the monitor desk and I was saying over the microphone, trying to incite a riot or something, I said, 'Everybody go grab the liquor from the bar,'" A Place to Bury Strangers' Oliver Ackermann told me over the phone earlier this week.

Ackermann was describing one of his favorite instances of deliberate provocation, something for which his band -- often called New York City's loudest -- has developed a reputation.

"The people were complete a-------. You just kind of get this feeling of when you're getting taken advantage of," he said. 

Ackermann's knack for provocation extends far beyond jokingly inciting riots at shows and picking on grumpy sound guys (of which there are many).

"I like the way that [noise] sounds. It's an unusual sound. It's the sound of things in-between other things.... You can't quite tell what is what. It's a very pure form of a sound, but it's also very abrasive.... Maybe there is some sort of strong desire to break things apart or cut to the root of things -- but maybe not," Ackermann said.

While the noise of A Place to Bury Strangers has garnered the band a cult following, Ackermann has made a point of not compromising his punk ethos. 

"[Commercial viability] is not important at all to me. I try to stay away from that sort of thing.... It poisons ideas. If you start thinking, 'Maybe fans will enjoy this more, or this will lead to this,' then you're having to compromise what you honestly feel is really good," he said.

Their fifth album, "Pinned," came out in April, and it's clear all three band members are still doing what they honestly feel is really good.

A Place to Bury Strangers headline Casbah on Thursday, June 7.

Rutger Ansley Rosenborg has been an associate editor at NBC SoundDiego since 2016. Find out more here, or contact him here.

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