Dancing On The Ceiling

December 06, 2006

Since Professor Murder will be playing our final Gen F Live of '06 this Friday at Little Radio in Los Angeles (get your RSVPs in now, slackers), we figured it'd be a good time to post up their Gen F story from F41. Click "more" to read it in full, and get ready for some BK vs LA partymania on Friday.


Professor Murder’s airhorn indie rock

By Ranjani Gopalarathinam

This past summer, Brooklyn-based band Professor Murder packed their bags and embarked on their first weeklong, self-sustained tour. It was the first time they had performed with any frequency and there were no friends in sight. “We played these really weird shows that no one came to. It was just cool to drive around and play music,” says keyboard player Jesse Cohen. The tour unwittingly underlined the band’s commitment—all four Professor Murderers have jobs and other responsibilities back home—but they are ecstatic about making the music they want to hear. Back home at a recent show at Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge, the band radiated such passion that some audience members jumped for joy—literally. “I was in a really good mood,” Cohen says in the show’s comedown aftermath.

Professor Murder basically makes music to party to—to party really hard to, in the varied spirits of the music they love from punk, disco and techno to the sounds of the dancehall bootlegs they buy off a vendor on a 14th Street corner. Last year, the four members restructured the band’s sound, forsaking a guitar for a keyboard to push their indie rock further towards dance music with driving basslines, technofied beats and samples and repetitive, post-punk inspired vocals. Their live show followed suit. At the Mercury Lounge, the percussive rainstorm on stage was accented by cowbells and wailing, mixtape-worthy airhorns. Although the audience responded ecstatically to the mainline shots of adrenaline coming from the stage, each band member was, in the grand tradition of funk and dance music, working really hard. “None of us are especially great musicians,” singer/percussionist Michael Bell-Smith explains. “Maybe I’m speaking for myself, but I need to be super focused on stage.”

This precision and dedication is evident in Professor Murder’s perfectly timed moments, ones where Cohen (dancing) drops a loop over the tail end of a bassline, or where Bell-Smith (jumping) throws his arm out to greet bobbing heads and jumping bodies like the ring leader of a downtown dancerock circus. Hard work or not, it seems like there’s nothing the members of Professor Murder would rather be doing, and the moments that result couldn’t feel better to an audience, who, in spite of their revelry—or perhaps because of it—can’t see anything else but the ceiling.

Posted: December 06, 2006
Dancing On The Ceiling