Megapuss is the project of freak-folk troubadour Devendra Banhart, his bandmate Greg Rogove, and recently-anointed third wheel Fabrizio Moretti (of The Strokes and/or Little Joy). Born as an on-tour goof-off, Megapuss's debut disc, Surfing, shows a band built for laughs; not least in the fact that promo pics have found Banhart and Rogove standing stark naked. The day after the 2008 election, Rogove answered some questions.
And growing up in this Pennsylvanian hamlet, you dreamt of playing the tabla?
“I dreamt of being a tranny. I wanted to be a Brazilian tranny from Bahia playing Samba music.”
And you still yearn to be a tranny? Or just to play Samba?
“These days, the dream is more to be a bricklayer, or a farmer, or to run a vineyard. There’s a definite sense, among us, that there should be something more than just making music. But, not just yet. There’s still a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of ideas and projects that I’m excited to realize. There’s obviously a strong movement in our evolutionary thought, around the world, and it just happens that music gets to that very quickly.”
So, what ideas did you have at the inception of this project?
“Megapuss? This one, we were hoping to transmit fun, first and foremost. When you listen to it, hopefully it’ll be wonderful, hopefully people will feel good about themselves and good about life. One of the most enjoyable things about any piece of art, in my opinion, is when you have this strong, dramatic nature running in harmony, not discord, with this comedic side, with something light-hearted. When you have those things running simultaneously, harmoniously side-by-side, and not fighting.”
Are you really genuinely concerned about your music being misconceived?
“We weren't when we were making it, but, then, when we listened back to it, we wondered: ‘I wonder what it is that people will hear?’ And, I have to say, when talking to people, the responses I’ve gotten, it seems like it reaches them, like it works. It’s been surprisingly good! That’s been our excitement. It feels like it’s summer no matter what time of year.”
Have you found yourself talking about your genitals a lot?
“[Laughs] Yes, somehow it’s an inevitable question. I have to say: it wasn’t a prescribed aesthetic decision, it was what seemed right. And, in hindsight, looking back, it makes sense. Because that’s what we’re out to do: make sure everyone is very well represented.”
Did you think it’d become the talking point?
“No, no. It’s a drag that that’s all people want to talk about. That wasn’t our intention at all. It just seemed like the most honest thing for us to do, and we hope that people don’t skewer it to be something else.”
You authored the song titles first? That’s how the band began?
“Yes. Stylistically, it all happened before the music ever existed. After a while of tossing out these names, we started to play this game, before going on stage, where we’d pluck out, say, "Hamman" from our list, and then improvise a song in ten minutes. We ended up with a pretty nice arsenal of sketches. We came back from tour with 26 of them, and most of them were pretty silly. But then we wrote two or three beautiful ones, and that was when we actually felt like it was worth making a record."
Adam and Steve" Video
Director/Producer: Amy Jo Diaz
Editor: Buzz Pierce
Filmed at: Draw Pictures Studio
Directors of Photography: Eric Johnson/Craig Olsen
Interview: Greg Rogove of Megapuss
"I wanted to be a Brazilian tranny from Bahia playing Samba music.”
By Anthony Carew, About.com
**interview has been edited**