The WIRE NH interviewed a few people on the NINE year anniversary for RPM!!!
The article is here:
and here is the full interview with us!
Full name: Walter Sickert & Edrie Edrie of Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys
Where are you from?
Edrie: I grew up on a farm in North Dakota and Walter grew up on a boat which traveled around the Atlantic. When the boat burned down he spent a brief period in Massachusetts before living in a barn in rural NH.
How did the band form?
Walter: Edrie and I met each other through a series of artistic misadventures which culminated in the 1st year of RPM. We were making our entries that year with our separate partners in life. Those partners got to know each other pretty well it seems, and ran off together to parts unknown. By the next RPM, Edrie and I had formed a band of Broken Toys and we’ve been doing the RPM Challenge together ever since.
Tell me about your first year in the RPM challenge; I understand you produced three albums that year, what drove you and the band to produce that many albums?
E: Walter is driven by a creative muse that just won’t shut up. There is not a minute in the day when he is not creating something music and or art related. Three albums in a month was really only the tip of the artistic iceberg for him.
What do you find the easiest about RPM challenge?
W: I find the recording process fairly easy now, we’ve done it for so many years that we have a plan in our heads on day one and the technology has gotten so much better, that really, all I have to worry about it the song writing.
What do you find most difficult about the RPM challenge?
E: TIME! We basically have 2 or 3, 2 hour long recording sessions with the band and that’s it. We always manage to get our entry done to the point where we love it and want to share it with people, but every year it’s a scheduling challenge. I think last year we only had two recording sessions.
Any huge obstacles you’ve had to overcome to complete the challenge? (kids, illness, time schedule conflicts?)
W: One year, Edrie and I were on tour the entire month of February. We ended up recording nearly all of the record in bathrooms and greenrooms and even the van all times of the day and night all over the country.
What motivates you to compete in the challenge every year?
E: RPM is really fun for us. Most of the year we’re preparing for a show or festival or recording a studio album or making a video and the band is really focused and working hard during rehearsal. But during RPM, we let ourselves wonder and play a little bit. It’s a fun time to get everyone together, creating without boundaries.
How have your albums evolved over the years?
W: Now that we have the full seven piece band, I think our music has a full, rich quality that you can only get when a large number of people are involved in something. Everyone contributes to the songs. Not all of them are my initial idea and that makes things really interesting.
How has your band evolved over the years?
E: We started out as a duo and now are a force of seven. That changes the dynamic in a big way, but we’re one huge, fun family. We love being around each other and creating with each other even though we’re all inherently really different. I mean Walter lived on the sea; I’m an accordionist in the style of Lawrence Welk. I’m even from North Dakota. Rachel is a conservatory-trained violist who conducts several orchestras; Meff writes plays (she wrote 28 Seeds) and is a mandolin player; jojo, the Burlesque Poetess, writes poetry and teaches ukulele at the Passim School of music; TJ is gravel-voiced punk and hardcore drummer who is also a scientist; and Mike Leggio has traveled more than any of us playing upright bass all over the world.
Any year in particular your favorite?
E: That’s such a hard question. One of the things we do each year is not only create music, but create massive pieces of art for each of the entries. When we did DEAR MOON, Walter created a 10 minute film short to go with the entry and we played the video on a loop through a little theatre box I created. People loved playing with it at the party. Once we did a real working ViktaGraph that played our album when you cranked it. We’ve also done a puppet theatre and a 4 foot tall glowing sculpture. We try not to make them too crazy large or heavy, since someone has to carry it back and forth to and from the WIRE office to the Music Hall for the party, but each year has been fun to plan that out. I can’t wait to show people the art from this year. I think people will have a lot of fun interacting with it! We leave the art at The WIRE offices so that they can enjoy them forever.
W: though every year tickles my fancy button. I think the year we did the radio play was a favorite. It had a life beyond RPM by becoming a musical which our mandolin player wrote the book for and we partnered with the production company Liars and Believes to do an interactive theatre experience at the Boston Center for the Arts. It sold out 3 weeks of shows and may, one day, come back in other cities around the world.
What are your plans for this year’s album?
W: I believe we are making the first ever children’s album that comes with a parental advisory.
What brings you back to Portsmouth every year to perform?
E: It’s a beautiful place to make music. We’ve started a tradition in partnering with the Music Hall and the folks from the Halloween Parade where we live score a silent movie every year. The Music Hall is so beautiful and people really come out to support the shows. Our next one is in October of this year, but you can get the other two sound tracks, recorded live on those nights, on our bandcamp (armyoftoys.bandcamp.com)
W: We just want to thank the crew over at The WIRE. This is an incredible amount of work for them and they do such a great job at keeping it together and running it year after year. We can’t wait for year 10. I hope they let us do a live performance at the party. I think it would be cool if the people that have done it all ten years were to get up and show off how they have evolved over the decade. We wouldn’t be here without The WIRE and RPM and we can’t thank them enough for inspiring us and so many others to create!