Isolation Society is a three piece band from NYC. Julie Hair (3 Teens Kill 4); bass, samples and voice, Richard Hutchins (Live Skull, Art Gray Noizz Quintet, Shilpa Ray); drums, and Ian Wilson (Star Spangles); guitar and voice.
Content driven songs utilizing samples drawn from popular culture combine with lyrics about the human condition and personal politics. The sonic element draws from the diverse musical vocabulary and influences that each band member brings to the table.
Our 100 Favorite Songs of 2020
Saturation from DEAD CAT BOUNCE makes this cut!
ISOLATION SOCIETY is a three piece band from New York, made up of Julie Hair (3 Teens Kill 4): bass, samples and voice, Richard Hutchins (Live Skull, Art Gray Noizz Quintet, Shilpa Ray): drums, and Ian Wilson (Star Spangles): guitar and voice.
‘Dead Cat Bounce’ is their second offering and whilst mainlining NYC into the veins of Isolation Society it sounds from the streets of an age long gone, painting songs with broad brush strokes using samples that jar the listener and peeking around darkened corners for sure there are moments where the influences are laid bare ‘Saturation’ is an off kilt early Blondie vibe if they were jamming obscure Bauhaus songs rather than trying to be pop.
The band use samples that are everyday street sounds of obscenities and everyday urban sounds which adds to the darkness and in a strange way the beauty of the songs. the tribal drums of ‘Amusement’ along with the gothic chants and cold guitar work are fascinating and rather enjoyable it has to be said.
Utilizing samples drawn from popular culture and up to the minute moronic spoken samples from potus amidst howling feedback and sampled noise ‘Foot Fetish’ is as cold as el president’s heart and head I’d wager. Fuck me ‘Family’ is dark but once you’re in, you’re in and twisted bleak lyrics are appealing what does that say about me? Other than I know a good record when it lands on my turntable or email. ‘Drug Store’ has an early ’80s feel about it I guess dark times call for dark music and Isolation Society are dark. Saying that I’m about to contradict myself as the former Star Spangles man Ian Wilson pulls out a sparkling Johnny Marr like guitar lead on ‘Out Doors’ and its good no it’s very good.
As the record grinds to a halt ‘Moisture’ reminds me of The Cult around the time of ‘Resurrection Joe’ or even earlier incarnations of Asbury’s dream of a Death Cult. with a thick bass line courtesy of Julie Hair holding down that tempo like all those great Sisters Of Mercy songs had its a great way to see off any record. Man what a trip I thoroughly enjoyed. If you’ve ever had a hankering for a band that absorbed all the great bands from the ones I’ve referenced through my review to the Banshees and beyond then this is a record you will love a little more after every play and bringing the early ’80s right into the lockdown times of the roaring 2020s then Isolation Society is for you. Hit em up and check this out you won’t be disappointed at all.
Author: Dom Daley. RPM Online
Some Serious Business presents #FiftyQuestions to highlight folks who are creating, presenting, questioning, and critiquing. Each featured artist picks a handful of questions to answer.
What event or factor in your life has been the most pivotal in your decision to become an artist?
Richard: I wanted to play rock and roll but I didn’t feel like I had any natural ability. One day while jamming [on bass] with my friends, I sat down at a drum kit and I could actually play. I enjoyed drumming from the minute I first sat down. I never had even held a pair of drumsticks before. At that point I knew that is what I wanted and needed to do.
Julie: Going to art school because I literally couldn’t think of anything else to do. And moving to New York, I realized that space was a commodity and that visual art making takes lots of space. I decided that music was something I wanted to do, partly because it didn’t take up as much space.
What artist do you consider most influential to your ongoing development as an artist?
Julie: Georgia O’Keefe one of my favs. What she created out of nothing in the middle of the desert in New Mexico was ahead of its time. She is great example of an artist whose life was as radical as her work. I try to remember that how I live my life is always going to be my biggest artistic and political statement.
Richard: My development is always influenced by how drummers did it before me. Someone I was listening to 30 years ago may only now influence what I am working on. It runs the gamut from Hal Blaine (before I knew who he was), to Charlie Watts, Ringo, Bonham, Paul Cook (Sex Pistols) Topper Headon (Clash), and Budgie. Also hardcore drummers, and later Bob Bert (Sonic Youth etc), Dave Rat (Rat At Rat R), etc. How I approach dynamics and arranging is influenced by all the music I have listened to my entire life.
What has been the most significant challenge you’ve faced that you overcame to continue your art practice?
Ian: Addiction. And boredom
Richard: Other than realizing its not easy & I’m not that good? Addiction
What one sentence do you hope describes how your art practice will be recorded in history, and why?
Richard: Bloodyrich played well with others
What project of yours do you personally consider your most satisfying, and why – regardless of external support or accolades?
Julie: I’d have to say 3 Teens Kill 4, because of the people I got to work with, and be influenced by. I still hang onto ideas that we held, like not wanting having a front person - no cult of personality, substance trumps style, and the party line is that there is no party line.
Ian: Isolation Society. This one. This is the first time I am doing what I want musically, and not compromising.
Do you have a relationship with the distant future – in other words, are you making artwork that bears a message or impact for coming generations?
Julie: I definitely would like for our work to hold up and be looked at in the future. We’re talking about personal politics, our lives, our mental health, the way we treat each other and the way we occupy the world, We reinterpret popular culture when we take audio samples from social media, 911 calls, and mainstream television and put them into our music. This different context zooms in on an alternate point of view into life at this moment that counters the original point of view.We are writing our own history,
What unchangeable fact has been most frustrating to you as an artist?
Ian: I’m always trying to get out of the vacuum I put myself in.
Julie: Finding that the best performances are not always on stage. And realizing that a lot of people are not comfortable having conversations about creative differences during the process.
Richard: That my skill set is limited.
How would you describe your ideal relationship with other artist colleagues?
Ian: I could never be a singer/songwriter. I like discovering what people will bring to the table that I can’t.
Julie: I want to work with other people in an environment that is comfortable enough for everyone to let their hair down and take chances without being afraid of judgement. Where things happen that I can’t predict and that inspire me. Virtuosity is not as important as being good in a crisis or having a good sense of humor.
Richard: I’m an accompanist. My art is about relationships with other artists. I’m not interested in solo drumming. Beyond making music, I also like helping other artists/musicians in random ways for no good reason. And when someone does that for me.
Who or what are you speaking to or with in your current work? Who or what would you like to speak with in your art in future?
Julie: I’m doing it for the Akashic record.
Describe the greatest gift someone has given to you that invigorated your artistic expression?
Ian: My first guitar.
Richard: When my friend’s brother let me play his drums and I drummed for the first time. I later bought his drums as my first kit. Without that I do not know if or when I would have discovered playing drums.
Julie: I think for me when I was thinking about picking up an instrument for the first time in my life in my twenties. I was a visual artists and I didn’t think I could do music. A woman musician friend of mine helped me understand that it’s all the same sensibility.
Are you more interested in the universal or the individual? How important is it to you whether you express yourself as a unique person, or rather add your voice to a collective conversation?
Richard: The overlap. My expression is my individual voice into a collective, so both I guess. I know that sounds like bullshit but for me as an artist its about connecting. Every artist has their own unique vision or perspective. How do I connect?
Ian: As an individual, I like to add to the collective.
Julie: I want to add my voice to the conversation. It’s also important to me, in this thing that we’re doing; playing music, making art, and collaborating - that women’s voices are heard. The playing field is still very uneven. I’ve worked with men who think they are gender blind because their sexism is so ingrained they just can’t see it.
Isolation Society straddles two distinctively interesting worlds — their self-titled debut (coming out 10/9 via Burger Records) would be equally appropriate on a post-punk bill as it would be blasting through the speakers of flickering, fog-filled warehouse party. There’s a dreaming, transcendental feeling to their work that makes you feel as if you’re floating, but it’s contrasted by colliding samples and punctuated by clever lyrics like, “I just got to heaven, but I can’t stay long,” that bring you back to the depths of hell where you belong.
ISO Lathe Cut Sessions
ISO Live at Leesta Vall Sound Recordings
Leesta Vall Sound recordings Direct To Vinyl Shut In Sessions was launched in March 2020 on the heels of the Covid-19 Pandemic. With live shows and touring absolutely devastated, artists need sustainable means to connect with their audience.
Isolation Society Recorded 14 different takes of eight different songs. Each lathe cut single is a one of a kind, and contains a dedication to the person who ordered it.
Never Records Live at BAM
ISO recorded a one of a kind lathe cut EP at of Foot Fetish at Ted Reiderer’s installation for Never Records at BAM, The sample used for this session is unique to this live recording that was grabbed the morning of the session. We continually update the sample to reflect some aspect of the political climate as it evolves.
FOOT FETISH • Live to Lathe Cut at BAM
Dead Cat Bounce
"This record Dead Cat Bounce is a consummate ride into the present with ten discrepant tracks. Have a listen and pick your poison.”
- Cynthia Ross The B Girls, New York Junk
Music from the Quarantine
We were mixing our 2nd record in March of 2020 when social distancing went into effect in New York. In the downtime of the quarantine Rich decided to experiment with one of our tracks. This resulted in the 'Pandemic Dub' mix of Take It, a song from our upcoming record.
We were inspired by dance mixes of the 80's, and really just wanted to make a trippy part y song for our own entertainment!
This is the first ISO record to be released. It was released on Burger Records before the labels closed it's doors.
It has since been self released.