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Arts & Culture

Gary Sweeney Interviews Hyperbubble

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Gary Sweeney and Hyperbubble, trying to think of ways to rhyme "tonight" with "tonight"


A lot of our stuff is about dystopian society. “Commuter” is about mind control and a depersonalized workforce. “Pictures of Paradise” is about the gratuitous case of CCTV. “In the Movies” is about experiencing life vicariously, through movies and television. “Hyperactive” is about doping your children into oblivion rather than dealing with their issues.

But we do like to throw in an uplifting lyric every now and then. Like “UFO Beach Party,” which at first seems to be pure B-movie sci-fi fluff, is actually about equality (“This crazy little planet that we’re on is like a baby blue beach ball bouncing ’round the summer sun … and the sun will shine for everyone.”)

I guess the overall effect of the music, regardless of certain lyrics, is an optimistic one. The things is, we don’t sit down and say, “Okay, let’s write a campy, ironic song.” I mean, we actually like stuff like Xanadu and The Captain and Tennille, without a trace of irony. Our theory is that if you worry too much about being cool, then you’re going to miss out on a good time. So most of our fans turn out to be fun, friendly people, who aren’t afraid to be themselves.

What is the best piece of advice you give your art students?

JEFF: If you have an idea that makes you embarrassed, then you’re probably onto something.

JESS: Stay true to yourself, and never let anyone beat the art out of you!

San Antonio’s art scene has a huge percentage of artists who are also outstanding musicians. Why do you think that is?

JESS: Texas inspires music, and we do have a great college town for studying both with a solid art community and growing music scene. There’s a general school of thought that you have to choose either music or art, but if you go to art school, you’re inevitably going to meet people that want to form a band and create music, as it’s another creative outlet. In many ways, the art community has inspired the music [of] some of the groups that are out there, like Wolverton. It is interesting to see many visual artists that are now making more music than art.

JEFF: Music elicits a more physical response. I’ve never seen anyone stage dive to a painting.

It seems to be a truism that artists and musicians are never as appreciated in their hometown as they are elsewhere. You seem to have a rabid fan base in the U.K. How did that happen?

JEFF: A record label owner from England saw a YouTube video of us performing on KENS TV and asked if we’d like to record a CD and 7” single. BBC DJ Huw Stephens played the single on his Radio 1 show and that got us a lot of attention over there. The other bands on the label also liked our stuff and helped us set up shows in the U.K. In Scotland, the audience went crazy for the music and kept yelling, “One more ... One more!” After five encores, we started to think they were just messing with us! … After word got out about the shows, we were signed to the Scottish label Bubblegum Records.

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