Meet…Perfume – Surf Grunge w/ harmonies


Our first go at shining the spotlight on bands from Chicago’s Maximum Pelt Records – is the garage surf of Perfume.

Lately when people ask me what I’m listening to I’m not even sure where to begin. There is so much amazing music out there right now it’s hard to keep up with it all, so when a song gets stuck in my head, I know it’s a keeper; like Shut Up by Perfume.

Perfume – a trio (Oliver-guitar, vocals / Cali -bass, vocals/ Esteban- drums) describe their music as surf grunge (with harmonies), but I also hear hints of Sonic Youth, the Pixies, and for some reason I keep coming back to Stereolab; something about Cali’s voice reminds me of Lætitia Sadier.

Perfume has a handful of single releases at the moment and because their sound seems more rooted in new wave than punk – they sure know how to write a hook. Sure it’s all crash and bash of garage drums and reverb surf guitar, but one listen to the earworm Shut Up is all it takes – that sucker has been stuck in my head for weeks now.

People say we sound like…

Oliver: Like Nirvana (all laugh)
Cali: We get X a lot and the Pixies, those are the 2 we hear the most for sure.

We are originally from…


Tell us a bit about the scene in Chicago

Oliver: The scene is run by a bunch of millennials (all laugh)
Cali: Its tight-knit and friendly
Oliver: But also very poor
Cali: I’ve seen it make life better for some and totally destroy others.

Who are some that have an influence on your sound?

Cali: Natalie Grace is a huge inspiration for me and Whitney (Toupee, Columba Fasciata)
Oliver: People like John Bellows, Liam Idiot and Rolin Hunt

The first time we all decided to get together and make some music…

Oliver: Dan Rico’s birthday karaoke party!
Cali: Me and Olly have been playing together for probably 2 years before we asked Estiban to be our drummer at a karaoke party at the Ottoman Empire.

Books we recommend …

Cali: Perfume the book if you’ve never read it, it’s by Patrick Süskind and also I have been reading Richard Hell’s biography, it’s crazy, it deals a lot with being a working musician and keeping up with the lifestyle.

What influences the band lyrically?

Cali: Honestly most of our songs are about either picking up drugs or trying to not be on drugs.
Oliver: We are a little more subtle than that though; a lot of that content is hidden in symbolism and metaphor.

Our craziest/most memorable gig ever was…

Estiban: We are still relatively new so I would say our first show, which was at Wally’s World, is probably our most memorable, but playing the Empty Bottle with Foul Tip, Lil Tits, and Ego was also a huge deal for us. It’s really great playing with a bunch of people you know and respect like that.
Cali: Yea playing with people like that makes us want to step our game up.

If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be…

Oliver: I dunno, I like making music right now
Cali: Olympia 1989!
Estiban: I think New York City in the late 70’s would be pretty bad ass

Growing up ,at home we listened to….

Oliver: Beastie Boys and the Beatles

What tunes are on heavy rotation for you…

Oliver: Tones on Tail, Bauhaus
Cali: We’ve been listening to The Wipers kinda non-stop

If you could open for any band right now who would that be and why?

Cali: I would open for Hole, I would totally open for Courtney Love, she’s like the reason I got into all this in the first place

When you are touring and have some time off , where could we find you…

Oliver: At the nearest watering hole
Cali: Well when we do go on tour we want to check out the scene in other towns and see how it stacks up to what’s going on in Chicago
Estiban: Yea definitely seek out other local underground music

The one thing we want you to remember while your listening to us…

Oliver: That we fuckin’ rock
Estiban: I’m pretty against telling people anything, just press play and listen to the song.
Oliver: I think that we’re are very relatable, yet our music can be interpreted in many different ways.

What’s up for 2015?

Cali: we’re gonna get heavier!
Estiban: we’re gonna eat a lot
Cali: We’re definitely planning on touring, at least a few small ones
Oliver: Yea we are totally getting heavier, evolving our sound; we are introducing some pedals into the mix.

Perfume – Facebook

Maximum Pelt – Perfume cassette

Maximum Pelt Records

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Domestic now, but spent early to late 80s playing drums in a hair metal band in Toronto. Since then I've lost the hair and have found new ways to scratch the rock and roll itch.

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