ADD N T0 (X) with Tetrezine and the UNCUT at the Tequila Lounge (794 Bathurst), Monday (November 11). $10 advance. 416-968-2001.
Whether they're fighting their way through a gang of drunken Swedish bikers in Stockholm or hurling projectile vomit at an unsuspecting dinner crowd at a swank Swiss restaurant, boisterous Brit electro-cutioners Add N to (X) don't fit the egghead stereotype of your typically sedate blip-busters.
Agent provocateurs Barry 7, Ann Shenton and Steve Claydon are much more of a rock 'n' roll band -- with all the riot-inciting attitude that entails -- than their squelchy sampledelic studio creations might suggest. Although, admittedly, they seemed morose and detached onstage the last time they played Toronto, that could've had something to do with losing their previous weeks' earnings the night before.
"That whole fucking tour was a nightmare," groans Barry 7 from New York City. "It turned out our driver and tour manager were both on heroin. They'd gotten smacked out of their heads at a warehouse in Chicago, and with no money left we had to rely on T-shirt sales to get to the Toronto gig and every show after.
"The whole tour was very scary. We got caught in this horrible rainstorm, and I can recall Ann finding a snake someplace and skinning it alive in the back of the van -- just nasty business."
Over the past six years, mainman Barry 7 has seen enough bizarre road behaviour to fill a week-long series of Behind The Music rockumentaries, yet he still gets queasy at the mention of the notorious "mustard mountain" incident.
"For some reason, we'd stolen all these industrial-sized bottles of mustard, and Ann dumped the stuff all over the table in the back of our bus and piled it into this huge mountain of mustard.
"At the top she'd stuck a nun doll and set it on fire, which filled the bus with this acrid black smoke. I got up at 3 am for a glass of water and was hit with the sickening stench of burning plastic and mustard. Ann was sitting there behind it, looking pissed, with her eyebrows shaved off and her face all red, like something out of The Exorcist.
"But, you know, that kind of shit would happen all the time."
It shouldn't be surprising that when the touring ends, the members of Add N to (X) split in different directions, with Shenton heading to Idaho, Claydon returning to England and Barry 7 ending up in Manhattan. So it made sense to record their ideas for their new album separately at their own studios.
While the approach makes their Loud Like Nature (Mute) somewhat disjointed, the songs are a bit more experimentally daring than previous releases. Barry 7 admits to being pleasantly surprised by the results of the process.
"Well, Ann always shocks me, but Pink Light? What's she on about? It's fucking crazy, but that's why it's one of my favourite tracks on the new disc."
The more Add N to (X) have developed, the further they've moved from their initial inspiration of outlandish sound-library recordings. They're not as into mining the the esoteric tweakery of Sven Libaek, Paul Bonneau and Cecil Leuter that can be found on Barry 7's Connectors (Lo Recordings) comp, which pillages the Chappell and Southern vaults.
That's not to say Barry 7 has lost interest in sound-library gems. He's just finished Connectors 2, which covers the venerable Italian Cam label. Digging is what he loves best.
"It's difficult to find the good library stuff, because a lot of it is absolutely shit. I'm more interested in a track that works as a whole piece of music rather than something with a cool drum break, so I had to go through about 2,000 tapes to find the interesting things for Connectors.
"The follow-up volume, which should be out any time now, has some of Morricone's psychedelic work, this really out-there (Giampiero) Boneschi electronic thing and an incredible Piero Piccioni proto-techno thing that's just amazing. I love the Cam label.
"Actually, the whole reason I look forward to going back on tour is the chance to find new records."