The Blow is the power of cocaine, sex and fistfights delivered by the gentle exhale from a mouth onto your skin. A blow can be hard, as in a punch to the gut, or soft like the breath of your lover. Khaela Maricich and Jona Bechtolt's whole damn world is "Invisible Ink" multilevel meaning. They tell stories about crushes, desire and heartbreak in such an original way that you are forced to realize you've been listening in a desert- you needed them. You just didn't know it yet. The music sounds like dance music, or electro-pop delivered by people who had something different to say. The shows are a performance, but still solid and musical. Their new album, Paper Television, is out on K Records.
How'd you two meet?
K: We were in two floating circles. He played in Wolf Colonel. I'd been looking for someone to make some beats with me for some songs. I had just finished recording The Concussive Caress. I kind of exhausted myself recording by myself — I totally didn't have a partner in it at all. I was working on the 16-track at Dub Narcotic with big, two-inch tape. I wanted to try to just work with someone else just to see what else I could make. There was this one song "Hock It" that I had a vision for.
Where you wished for a Jona before there was one?
K: Yeah. I had a vision of a beat for it and I tried a couple different people and they were so kind, but I just couldn't communicate what I meant. I was like, "No there's a part where the beat goes [singing]." Then I went down to Portland and I tried it out with Jona before we had a vision of working together, and he just totally immediately did it. And he was like, "Here let me do the keyboard and I will see if I can make a beat, and I'll send it to you over the Internet." And he did it and it was exactly right. I hadn't even left him with how many verses there were — it was like a rough sketch. And he just did it and he put in this four on the floor part of it that totally fit perfectly with the way that the lyrics went. It was crazy.
J: So she did The Concussive Caress and she was looking for someone to do that "Hock It" song. It clicked and after we did that. I always wanted to do something with her after I heard her records. I liked her two records a lot.
What did you like about them?
J: I just like the way she wrote songs. And I just liked how in The Concussive Caress I could hear these ideas when she was using drum machines and I was like, "Oh man. I like this, but it's kind of janky. I bet this would sound really good if it was tightened up."
Is collaboration a smooth process for you two?
J: We bump every once in a while. Sometimes we're like, "I have this thing that I have to do. Is it okay that it's right in the middle of our tour?" And then we'll have tofuckitupalittlebit.Andbothofusdoashitton of stuff across the board anyway — like graphic designing web junk and all that kind of stuff — so we're both always really busy. Managing time is totally a weird thing for us. We don't know how to deal with it yet. To make the record we had to just be like, "Fuck it. We're not going to do anything. We have to do this right now." I work with deadlines way better than if it's an open space.
K: Jona is a pretty good multi-tasker. One of Jona's huge strengths that he immediately does things. It's a strength of mine that I will consider things for a really long time and build it into a multi-dimensional structure in my head, but sometimes I make it so big that I can't actually get it out.
Is that because the idea takes priority over the whole thing, including practicality?
K: Yeah, 'cause I'm conceptually fascinated by what's going on. And I feel like Jona is really so good about action.
Tell a story about when that happened.
K: I wrote the song "Hey Boy", 'cause this guy dogged me and it was really hard for me and I gnawed on the idea in my head for days — I was like, "Why didn't he call me?" And finally it came out as a song, but it was a lot of effort to get that out of me. You know? And then it existed as this song and I sang it to Jona and he was like, "Okay, let's just start recording it" — and so we got to record it four days after I wrote it and seven days...