I HAVEN’T BEEN BORED IN YEARS: A Conversation with Edek Sher of the band “Boring”
Although his slight smile might make you wonder whether everything he says is a joke (and it very well could be), Edek Sher of the band “Boring” points out the seriousness of humor and having a bit of fun. Edek talks about trying to “commit to more extremes,” appreciating indulgent music, and how his music relates to his fine art practice.
“Boring” plays Estival Festival on Saturday, July 20th (get those tickets now!), and — after you read this — we recommend following his “Boring” inspiration playlist on Spotify.
How did you choose the name “Boring”?
I was in the kitchen. And it kinda just came to me, and I went and checked Bandcamp, and “boring.bandcamp.com” was not taken.
Do you write all the music yourself or is it collaborative?
It’s becoming more and more collaborative. In the beginning it was just us playing the songs pretty much how they were recorded. Mark the drummer had a lot more leeway, ‘cause I’m not a drummer, and I was programming beats that are kind of impossible for a drummer to play. Some things he would nail perfectly without me realizing it ‘til I listened back to the old demo, and I’m like “Wow, he’s doing exactly what I programmed into the drum machine!” But recently I’ve felt better just bringing three or four parts, like “let’s kind of work on it.” Not even writing a lead guitar part, ‘cause I mostly play rhythm so I can sing. Here’s the baseline; you can do whatever you want. I just released one song that’s from our EP coming out soon. I’m mixing it all myself, and I keep changing the direction of it. I’ve probably gone too far with the production, so now I’m gonna go back and make it more how the raw recording was.
Do you like other forms of art, like visual art?
Yes, I make video installations. Mostly. I guess I haven’t completed any of that in a long time — I’m more in like a big research phase, kind of exploring. I collage down footage and things like that.
Do you think that impacts what you do with “Boring” or is maybe a counterpart?
I think they go together. I’ll talk about similar themes. A year ago I made a piece with a couple friends; I had them dress up as cows, they were in my kitchen making hamburgers for the first time. None of them had made a hamburger before, which I was kinda shocked by. So they were watching Youtube tutorials, and I created some social media accounts for them to post to. I was streaming live to the RISD museum, kinda like surveillance. I’m mixing a lot of different things at once: talking about consumption, climate anxiety, surveillance, and that all kind of makes its way into the music. Like the song that just came out, “Watchdog”, it’s about the NSA [National Security Agency]. I was thinking the cover could just be NSA headquarters or something.
Musically, or even in your visual art, are there any artists or art forms that are especially influential?
In many ways, my art practice is very different than music, and I do want to bring them together. My inspiration in art is a lot more serious topics, like Walid Raad, but it’s all a joke in a way? Every piece is kind of a veiled lie, or a lie to tell the truth. I guess that is a way that “Boring” does kind of take inspiration and has some overlap with my artistic interests. Jill Magid is also so inspiring. I haven’t really thought about how that relates to “Boring.”
Maybe it’s like a performance of authenticity, or like there’s something inherent to music where it’s this expression of self and this outpouring of some creative energy, and there’s something that’s very earnest about that. I feel like in Raad’s work and Magid’s there’s this element of “I’m performing being kind of authentically or earnestly caring about this thing” or especially with Raad, like it’s such heartfelt–like the story of his childhood finding the bullet shells…
It’s immediately personal, and you feel the weight of it immediately. You step back and think about it, and you’re just like “Wait, it doesn’t make sense scaling all these buildings and finding all the bullet cases,” realizing that’s not how these corporations work anyways.
Any other musicians? What kind of music do you listen to?
I was just listening to Lomelda. Guilty pleasures is probably the most common … Blink 182. I listen to a lot of Weezer just ‘cause I’m mixing a lot so I’m thinking about how their production is so perfect in a lot of ways, and songwriting. I don’t know if they’re a guilty pleasure … yeah, they are. Should I go to the guiltiest of pleasures? I’ve recently been listening to this pop-punk band called Home Grown from my childhood. Liz Phair is not a guilty pleasure. Radiohead. Everything is good and valid; I stand by that.
And ultimately you’re gonna be judged for any choice you make. Someone will disagree and someone will have an opinion, so it doesn’t really matter.
I’ve recently been … how do I phrase this? … trying to commit to more extremes in the music. It’ll probably turn off a lot more people, but a smaller group might like it even more. I’ve also been really into finding music that I call indulgent — it’s making all the moves that in a way are just too easy, but they just sound or feel so good. Our new EP is called “Indulge Yourself.” In the mixing, in the songwriting, it was like, “How to make certain moves?” or perfect moments. Just having fun with it.