Pop Noir
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Pop Noir

Costa Mesa, California, United States | INDIE

Costa Mesa, California, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative EDM


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Dublin Castle, London review from UK industry tip sheet "Hitsheet""

"Pop Noir, like a welcome ray of Californian sunshine, take to the stage. Nineteen year-old twins Joe and Luke… tall and wiry, both with a shock of unkempt black hair and dressed in the skinniest of skinny jeans, the brothers look like something straight out of a Tim Burton movie... very Noir I suppose you could say. But it’s not just their look that’s striking, their tunes are just as stylish. Luke sings lead vocals and plays bass and keys, Joe sings and plays lead guitar, add a drum machine and you have Pop Noir; infectious bass-led indie pop that harks back to the post punk sounds of the late 70s and 80s... think Joy Division with a hint of Orange Juice for the modern indie generation. Strutting around the stage and dance floor in all their mod cool the McGarry brothers certainly leave an unforgettable impression. Sleek, stylish pop to sashay in your vintage snake-skins to, Pop Noir are far too catchy to go un-noticed. Watch this space. Log on to their MySpace www.myspace/popnoir.com and listen to single ‘Don’t Fool Yourself’ – you’ll be hooked." - www.hitsheet.co.uk

"In The City preview from Designer magazine"

The McGarry Brothers (Joe and Luke) look not dissimilar to Marc Bolan or the one in Sparks who doesnt look like Hitler, their dad used to design record sleeeves for Joy Division and Jilted John amongst others and the rich musical history is apparent. For a duo their sound is remarkably full mixing up early synth sounds, drum machines and post-punk guitars." - Designer Magazine

"In The City review from Manchester Evening News"

"As everybody gets up close and personal in the dense audience, the duo take to the stage and rip into a set louder than their limited personnel suggests. Initial opinions form as to how great they look onstage together with leather jackets and huge hair, then the music slowly starts to take hold. Shades of Depeche Mode (but nowhere near as moody) and The Rapture (but nowhere near as manic) come through in their thumping beats coated in chirpy guitar lines. Worth keeping an eye on..." - Manchester Evening News

"In The City review from Up Magazine"

"Hailing from Manchester but with more Californian drawl than we’re used to round these parts, twin duo Pop Noir are something a little different amongst a weekend of bands showcasing material. Playing One Central Street, a sexy basement venue, they are suited to the surroundings. Donning hair bouncier than David Hasslehoff striding down a Malibu beach and clad head to toe in black: black slip-on shoes, black painted-on-jeans, black tight shirts and yes, black leather jackets, the boys look every inch vintage rock stars. Imagine an American synth garage band in 1986 and then add in their English punk roots and you’ve got songs like “don’t fool yourself”. Pop Noir make quite an impression with their electro Indie that quite frankly makes you want to dance like a groupie. I refrain, instead leaving it to singer Luke. These boys have got moves that would make the smoothest boys in school weep. Can hips be wise beyond their years?" - www.upmagazine.co.uk

"Article from The Rockit - L.A.'s only Rock 'n' Roll newspaper"

"I basically had two burning questions about Pop Noir. One being why did it take me so long to become aware of this band and two—what label head is making the biggest mistake of their life by not signing them? Add them. Love them. Spread the word." - The Rockit - L.A.'s Only Rock & Roll Newspaper

"OC Weekly article"

"Teenage Reid baby brothers Pop Noir have that transatlantic lag that comes from too much astral travel between Manchester and New York City in the year 1979 (on Trans World Astral, probably) but from afar I have watched them hustle and learn to not rip off Joy Division so much. Now they are in the dance-punk DMZ—we’ve all lost friends there—but if they nudge in any direction except cool/fool/school haircut pop this is gonna work out admirably...." - OC Weekly

"Twin White Dukes"

"We live a block from the beach, but we're as white as ghosts," says Joe McGarry, twin of Luke, who together are Pop Noir, OC's most unlikely band of pasty-but-cute, sharp-featured 19-year-old twins in that kind of Gene Loves Jezebel/Edward Scissorhands kind of way. They don't surf or skate; they paint and make cartoons and animation for friends' bands (Bad Dudes, etc.) and websites and have been honored by the National Society of Cartoonists. Which isn't as cool as Mani from Stone Roses and Primal Scream buying them beers, sure, and why wouldn't he? Pop Noir's music so far—they are only 19, remember—sounds like a marginal Manchester band from 24 Hour Party People.

Dad Steve, see, is a Factory-era Manchester OG (original gurner). The senior McGarry was mates with late Joy Division manager Rob Gretton, and two drummers in his post-punk bands were A Certain Ratio's Donald Johnson and Primal Scream's Toby Tomanov. He was the graphics guy for Rabid Records (Slaughter and the Dogs fans, there ya go) and designed Joy Division's AnIdeal for Living sleeve. He downplays the Manc legend. "You had no way of knowing how mythical that whole scene would seem 30 years later. At the time, it's just some assholes next to you in a bar," he says. "But I do see my sons doing what we were doing 30 years ago."

Joe (guitar, drum programming, production, good cheer) and Luke (bass, vocals, keys, brooding) never had a chance at a normal SoCal career path. "We grew up listening to New Order, Happy Mondays and A Certain Ratio because these were people my dad knew," says Joe with a sigh. "Plus, the stories made it all seem really appealing."

After dad landed a cartoon-syndication deal, the family yo-yoed between the U.K. and SoCal before settling in Huntington Beach so the twins could go to the Orange County High School of the Arts.

Pop Noir's success as an OC band is bittersweet. They draw well enough in LA at Viper Room and the Echo for a band with just a MySpace and demos. They've played the OC circuit, opening for Kinky at JC Fandango's last year, where they hosted an Anglophile monthly. It lasted just five months. "We had bands we liked, like Explogasm and Army Navy play," says Joe. "But it got harder to get LA bands to come down."

"I know it sounds conceited, but we are actually bigger in Europe," chimes in Luke. Dad helped get the twins a spot on ex-Factory honcho Tony Wilson's In the City festival in Manchester last summer. "Mani was drunk, buying us pints, and Donald Johnson [said], 'If you ever need a drummer . . . '" (They have one now: Nico.) Then they sold out a club in Paris purely on word-of-mouth.

Pop Noir's MySpace demos reveal a bluesier, sleazier take on the Franzblockillerspol neo-disco thing, more "Rapture" than The Rapture, with Laughing Stock-era Talk Talk guitars that would make Tim Friese-Green blush and Bez dance. "A lot of the bands come out of the whole Gang of Four/herky-jerky thing," Luke says. "We come at it from the groovier side.

"We either get compared to New Order or early Rolling Stones," he adds. "We can live with that." - OC Weekly

""Mutant Pop" District Weekly article"

Pop Noir got prenatal chemistries cured in the purest Mancunian solution—dad Steve graphicked album covers for Joy Division and more adorably Jilted John and then transferred via ordinary respirative function the actual air particles of Manchester primetime into the most fundamental biological processes of twin sons Joe (guitar and etc.) and Luke McGarry (vox and etc.) who could not more perfectly incarnate Brit/Cal pop/rock were they specifically engineered to do so for particular civil defense purposes. Pop Noir used to use a drum machine but now they have a man machine (Enjambre beater Nico) and the meekish post-discoism of years past gets bulldozed under big beats and reverbed guitar. Mark E. Smith would crank and gnash but Tony Wilson would clap and gurn; McGarry brother unit brain—responsible also for much of the art in this paper and in certain other clued papers—answer odd questions with good humor.

How did you get a modeling contract out of a first-round elimination in a guitar shred-off?
We’re always up for a good night out, so, for a laugh, we entered this cool contest sponsored by Paper magazine and Levi’s. Everyone who participated got a free pair of jeans, which was good enough for us! The Levi’s people saw us wearing the jeans, and next thing we knew we were doing a photoshoot with a load of hot models and being plied with free food and drinks. Now apparently they’re planning on using the images on these huge sixty-foot banners at SXSW. We’ve done a bit of modeling for a few other fashion lines—we’re working a lot with Hause of Howe right now. That’s how we get all our stage gear!

How much does guitar-shredding actually figure into Pop Noir?
Shredding doesn’t figure at all, actually, which might explain the first-round elimination! However, we do occasionally wear the Levi’s onstage.

Why is Luke the glum one and Joe the fun one?
It’s like the movies—there’s always a good twin and an evil twin.

What is the best band ever to come from your home city of Manchester?
You mean apart from Freddie and the Dreamers? There’s been loads. Our musical heritage is a great source of pride!

Why did you not say ‘the Fall’?
We might’ve said the Fall, but they pulled out of a show at the Galaxy a few years ago at the last minute, and we were thoroughly disappointed.

Who was the nicest rusty old punk person your dad ever introduced you to?
Donald Johnson from A Certain Ratio, by far. He’s even offered to work with us on some stuff—drumming and remixing! After our showcase at the In The City Festival in Manchester, we were hanging out with Donald and Mani from Stone Roses and Primal Scream, in a bar owned by Leroy, the ex-manager of the Hacienda. Leroy actually broke our dad’s collarbone in a five-a-side soccer game years ago, but they’re still pals. The Manchester underworld—ha ha!

What happened to your dad’s old records?
We’ve still got loads of them. Apparently the Joy Division EP he designed is worth $100 a pop now.When the old man kicks the bucket, we’ll be minted!

What is the most interesting part for you being in Pop Noir besides the music?
It’s all interesting. We love playing live, we love writing, we love messing about in studios, we love creating the art that accompanies it all. And then there’s all the different doors it opens up. Whether it means doing artwork for other bands and promoters, or working with fashion designers and getting some free clothes . . . it’s all good fun. If we weren’t us, we’d quite like to be us. We’ve been going to shows since we were 10 years old, going to see Lo Fidelity Allstars, the Verve, Oasis . . . We were regulars at the Troubadour from about 13 onwards. While everyone else was at Indian Guides or Cub Scouts, we’d be at Clinic or the White Stripes. We’d get our dad to drop us off at some show in Hollywood while he’d go for a beer in the Cat & Fiddle and wait for us. So this is what we’ve always wanted to do—the rest of it is just a bonus. But of all the stuff we do, Pop Noir is the first love.


"Sunset Strip Music Fest Review from All Access Mag"

On the third and final day of the first-ever Sunset Strip Music Festival on June 28, 2008, the ex-Tower Records parking lot was transformed into “Wasted Space,� a free, outdoor show sponsored by Wasted Space, Carey Hart’s newest rock ‘n’ roll bar at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, DJ’d by Indie 103.1, and produced, hosted, decorated, and caffeine-infused by Red Bull. Beginning in the early afternoon, the typically unbearable summer SoCal sun created a sweaty and sweltering scene, but a fine band and entertainment line-up, including a Louis XIV Meet & Greet and a live “Camp Freddy� Indie 103.1 broadcast, made the day a little cooler. In between sets DJ Hapa maintained the Indie spirit and competed for the sound waves with rock hits and boisterous shouts erupting from the Guitar Hero booths. “Wasted Space� welcomed The Lieutenants, Golden State, The Dreaming, Pop Noir, Darling Stilettos, and Camp Freddy who induced the musical mood in preparation for the night time performances at the infamous Viper Room, Roxy Theater, Cat Club, House of Blues, Key Club, and Whisky a Go Go.

Sunset Strip Music FestivalOne outstanding band that enticed audiences out from the shade and accrued an ample gathering was Pop Noir who donned all-black, long sleeves, and scarves, but managed to avoid perspiring. After catching the ear of the Roxy Theater’s DJ at a previous concert, the group landed a spot at the SSMF. The trio, fronted by twin McGarry’s, Joe and Luke, and backed by Nico Saavedra (drums), was the final band before the Camp Freddy broadcast and the sunset on Sunset. After a gracious introduction, Luke McGarry, the brother that “does most of the talking,� noted that, “This is our first acoustic set…and our first time playing while the sun is still out.� Opening with “Bang the Drum,� an addictive beat surged through the audiences, and the two frontmen launched into their signature moves, a combination of marching in place, stomping to the beat, shuffling from side to side, and pedaling their arms in a forward locomotion. The unusual harmonic melodies of “Thick as Thieves� enchanted listeners with eerie overtones produced by a “melodica,� a small hand-held keyboard operated by blowing into a connected rubber tube. “Rubicon’s� electro vibrations meshed with syncopated rhythms and swelling keyboard drones to accompany the sibling’s swaying swagger and conjoined crooning. Descending rumbling guitar licks on Joe’s acoustic guitar united with Luke’s countering guitar strums and angst-filled vocals on the movement-provoking “Don’t Fool Sunset Strip Music FestivalYourself.� Pop Noir’s infectious techno rhythms continued with “Santa Ana,� a perfect song for the LA heat wave, and an ideal song for a clap-along. “DIY,� the beloved track that earned several spins on Indie 103.1’s “Check One...Two with Mr. Shovel,� kept audiences bouncing so much so that one interesting fellow from the crowd took Pop Noir’s lyrics, “I want to dance and have a party by myself,� to a whole other level. Combining yoga poses, rain-dances, and leaps, skips, and jumps into a solo performance that dominated the afternoon, he generated smiles among the press, performers, and public. The shirtless dancer, later identified as “J.J� and generously clothed by a gratis Pop Noir t-shirt, even drew Luke down from the stage to share the “dancefloor.� Since “everyone else was playing a cover,� the band chose The Rolling Stones’ classic, “Paint it Black� to finish off their set, solidifying a Woodstock vibe resurrected by J.J’s hippy hops.

Between set changes, Louis XIV slinked to the side of the stage in preparation for their “meet and greet.� The personable quartet spoke to fans and patiently autographed glossy group photos for each devotee. Next up on the “Wasted Space� stage was a live Camp Freddy broadcast, featuring its usual DJ's, minus Dave Nevarro and Chris Chaney. Donovan Leitch, Jr., whose daughter Violet donned daddy’s headphones and squirmed in his lap, Billy Morrison, and Matt Sorum poked fun at the “huge crowds." Arranged in Q and A seating, the trio encouraged, almost begged, drivers to stop by the parking lot to indulge in the taurine beverages, and even considered running into the street to Sunset Strip Music Festivalstop traffic themselves. Billy Morrison ventured off stage and pushed those present to scream and give the illusion of wild masses. Mid-broadcast, The Viper Room’s headliner Louis XIV’s Jason Hill (guitar/vocals) and Brian Karscig (guitar/vocals) sauntered up to discuss their recent experiences with the Sex Pistols in Las Vegas, the band’s newest release Slick Dog and Ponies, and their upcoming European tour. After a quick interview with Riders on the Storm’s Brett Scallions in which he revealed, “...it is an honor to wear [Jim] Morrison’s shoes,� Pop Noir were called up. “Let’s get Pinot Noir up here…Wait, no, what are they called?� laughed Morrison. “Billy, that’s an expensive wine…these guys are POP Noir!� jeered Sorum. The brothers McGarry and drummer Saavedra sat between the DJ’s, chatting about their self-released, self-titled album available only at shows, a special track, “Girls of Prey� for download at Rcrdlbl.com, and future appearances and European tour to be explored further on Myspace.com/popnoir, of course. - All Access Magazine

"Pop Noir on RCRDLBL.com"

What Interpol are to Joy Division, Pop Noir are to New Order—their new single “Girls of Prey� could be an epic cut from the Mancunians classic LP Power, Corruption and Lies, such is its sheer pop power and ‘80s throwback sheen. And when we say sheen, we do mean sheen: if “Girls of Prey� got any deliciously glossier it would be $3.99 at your local newsstand. The shiny, swelling synths are also very reminiscent of one of the more carefree scenes in a John Hughes movie. We can only imagine a 16-year-old Molly ringwald being a huge fan.

Pop Noir have signed a deal with RCRD LBL, thus becoming the newest addition to our extended musical family. Check this space for more tracks soon...

Download: http://rcrdlbl.com/artists/Pop_Noir/track/Girls_Of_Prey - RCRDLBL.com

"Last Night: Pop Noir at Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa"

Orange County dance rock trio Pop Noir closed their November residency at Detroit Bar with a gripping, good times performance that transformed this first-time attendee into a full-fledged fan. Singer/bassist/keyboardist Luke McGarry and twin brother guitarist Joe McGarry played precise, guitar pop while striking mighty rock god poses, strutting through the audience like posh peacocks and offering humorous in-between song banter. The band concluded their set by carpet-bombing the giddy crowd with a series of killer covers. It's highly doubtful anyone went home disappointed.

It might read like gimmickry but in person the young band's devotion to throwing a genuine rock party felt as sincere as a prayer service. The McGarry boys grew up in the music rich city of Manchester where their famous father (and band manager), cartoonist Steve McGarry, designed jacket sleeves for seminal English groups Joy Division and Slaughter & The Dogs, among others. His sons were raised around rock royalty and have showmanship coursing through their veins.

But they're not just a couple shaggy-haired kids with looks and connections. Pop Noir delivers. Augmenting their guitars and drum attack with smartly programmed computer and keyboard flourishes, the trio achieves a sleek, driving thrust clearly designed for getting asses shaking -- something rarely accomplished by a rock band.

Last night, though, the beaming audience members drank up and dropped their inhibitions. What began as mellow head bobbing eventually morphed into full-body gyrating. The physical manifestation of joy scenesters and such often shy away from became contagious.

Pop Noir started their set with rousing originals including "Santa Ana" (my personal favorite) and "DIY" (another ace number). Around midnight the band threatened to end their winning performance but after an energized round of protests the trio served up a fiery set of covers. First, came a wicked, revved-up rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black," followed by a wonderfully faithful reading of New Order's propulsive masterstroke "Temptation." Pop Noir closed with another number off the Trainspotting soundtrack, the superb chill-out song "Born Slippy" by Underworld.

The McGarry brothers are aspiring rock stars, unfettered by false modesty or the tired indie ethos of navel gazing nonchalance. I find Pop Noir's quest for global domination refreshing and smiled when Joe McGarry announced, from stage, "We're going to be the best band in Orange County, and then the world!" - OC Weekly

"Pop Noir: Interview + FREE Download"

Though twin brothers Joe and Luke McGarry have been playing together as Pop Noir for roughly five years, it wasn't until yesterday that their group, rounded out by drummer Nico Saavedra, released its first single. Those who have had the chance to catch Pop Noir at their fairly regular gigs across Los Angeles and Orange County will instantly recognize "DIY" as a staple of their sets. The song also serves as a mantra for the band: Joe and Luke not only produce their own material, but direct their videos and design all flyers, t-shirts and even the digital magazine that serves as their press kit.

We chatted with the McGarry brothers about coming of age as a band and taking the slow-and-steady route to a music career.

Pop Noir plays in-store at Origami Vinyl tonight.

DIY (FHB Extended Mix).mp3

With your background in design and animation, how much of it inspires what you do musically and vice versa?

Luke McGarry: I'm not exactly sure. It's all so tied up in each other that it gets a little confusing.

Joe McGarry: I think music doesn't affect, the music and the illustration doesn't necessarily affect each other because they're two entirely separate entities. Luke's illustration, as much as I like it, is kind of ugly, or "grotesque" is the word we use. The graphic design side is definitely influenced by our aesthetic sensibilities. The music and the graphic design are very interwoven. Our music is sort of dark and forward-thinking.

LM: And our graphic design is, oh, I don't know, we're kind of bullshitting.

When I first saw you play, you might have just turned 18. What have you learned since then?

JM: It's weird because it's a very cutthroat business. You can't just be good at what you do and affable and fun-loving. You have to go out there saying, "I am the best." You have to stay on all the time, say "This is best fucking thing in the world, pay attention."

We've been taking it very slowly. This is our debut single and, like you said, you saw us when we were 18. We haven't been going for too long before that. We're still young, we're 22, so we still have plenty of time to do it. I think we sort of spent this time learning the lessons that needed to be learned, the self-promotion aspect of it.

LM: The other thing we've learned is that it's a lot easier to be taken seriously, especially in LA, once you're 21.

JM: Even though we've been doing this since we were sixteen, we kind of had to start over once we turned 21. Not that we re-imagined the band, but it is like starting over because now that you're 21, you can actually stay inside Spaceland once you're done playing, network with people and stuff.

LM: It's like there are two worlds. It's not like we're Miley Cyrus or anything. You can get as big as you're going to get at age 18 and then when you're 21, it's like entering a different scene, especially in Los Angeles. It skews older because everything is 21 and over.

JM: It is sort of starting over again, which is cool. You meet so many people. This is the first band that Luke and I have ever been in. You meet people who have had bands before and with their new project, things take off so much faster for them. It's sort of like that for us. You can pretend that you're a new band when you turn 21 because it's an entirely different world. It was cool to take things slowly and hone our musical identity and what we wanted to do before we turned 21. Once you turn 21, it's the starting point essentially.

Stylistically, do you see your music changing?

LM: It has a bit actually. When we first started out, we had a drum machine. It was very electronic based. Then when we got Nico, our drummer, it skewed more rock for a little while because we had never worked with a live drummer before and Nico is such a powerful drummer and comes from a rock background. We weren't making straight-up guitar rock, but we realized where it was going and we're trying to get back to electronic. We're not making techno or anything.

JM: We do everything ourselves. No joke. We do our own engineering and production, started our own record label. Just messing about on the production side of it, I've learned how to do stuff that I never would have known when we were making our first demos. I think that brings a lot to it. There's definitely a progression into interesting soundscapes and textures. I definitely think that it's gotten more interesting. It's not just two kids with guitars and a drum machine anymore. We have an entire five years now of accumulated knowledge.

You've been playing "DIY" out for three years now. How has the song changed?

JM: The production has changed. Before, it was standard kick-snare, hi-hat, a bit of guitar. Now we've got...

LM: ...a xylophone!

JM: There's a xylophone in there. It's just progressed. Playing it live for about three years, it gives you a chance to see what works and what doesn't. Essentially, we wanted to make this a really dancey track. Playing it live, you can hone it and see how people respond to it.

I've got a DVD of New Order. It's like their first show in 1980 or 1981 in New York and then a show in 1998 at Redding, I think. It's funny seeing them play "Temptation" at both shows. "Temptation" sounds terrible in 1981, the structure is completely different, then in 1998, it's the "Temptation" that you know and love.

"DIY" is an older song of ours, but we thought it would be the perfect first release because it always gets a great response at the shows and people recognize it now. We've changed the production so much that now we think it's a dance floor classic.

You've played with Donald Johnson of A Certain Ratio, yet you've managed to avoid the hype of the post-punk revival a few years back. Was that a conscious decision on your part?

JM: It was a conscious decision because when we first started, there was a huge post-punk revival and there still is to some extent. Right now, it's moved more into the '80s electro sort of stuff with La Roux and that sort of airy electronic stuff. But, it was a conscious decision to stay away. There were a lot of bands that sounded like Interpol and we didn't want to go anywhere near that.

LM: At the same time, it wasn't too conscious. When you're raised on New Order and stuff like that, which we've been listening to since we could recognize music because our parents played all that old Manchester stuff, it just kind of happened that way. It's a conscious decision not to steer too far into that, not to copy it, but it's just what happened. It's just what came out, isn't it?

JM: Yeah.

LM: We had a drum machine because there were just two of us and we were making dancey music.

JM: It's mostly an organic, natural progression of the things that interest us, but we do consciously try to avoid what other people are doing. We don't want to be a scene because fashion is cyclical. If you think of the things that have outlasted the scenes, like, U2 might not be the hippest band of all time, but I think they're doing cool stuff. I like U2. The thing is they've never really fallen into a scene. They take elements of what's popular. I think you have to to stay relevant.

LM: But people have taken elements of what they do, try to be the next U2.

JM: There's always been the next U2, but there has always been just one U2. I think that what we strive for is longevity without being fashion victims. Let's see if we can achieve that. - LA Weekly


Pop Noir grabbed the interest of French listeners because of their name and get noticed here in the States because of their similarities to New Order—and because their father designed Joy Division’s album covers. These twin musicians-slash-illustrators (seen often in L.A. RECORD) and their drummer Nico Saavedra will be releasing their single ‘DIY’ today, and they explain here about making music, bathing separately and designing websites for cartoon penises. This interview by Britt Witt.

What was performing with the drummer from A Certain Ratio like?
Joe McGarry (guitar): It was really cool—we did a cover of Ratio’s classic ‘Do the Du’ and he was impressed ’cause he said we did it better than they did. He ended up recording a couple tracks with us. He stayed at our house for a week or something and we ended up riding a carousel with him. We rode a carousel with Donald Johnson! We got pictures of us riding and we’re all on the little carousel horses. I think we wanted to release a single of the stuff we recorded with Donald and that’ll be the cover. That was the highlight of our career so far I think. I think we’ve probably plateaued now.
What did you learn from him and what did he learn from you?
Joe McGarry: He learned what bars not to go to in Southern California.
What do you do to keep yourself busy?
Joe McGarry: Just draw pictures and do this. We work for a bunch of different people for illustration and we do web design. We’re working on a project right now for another cartoonist and it’s a website for his character ‘Pee Wee the Penis,’ so we have to do a website for a penis cartoon. It’ll look great in the portfolio.
Are the illustration jobs what keep you going?
Joe McGarry: Yeah, it keeps us afloat. So far we’ve avoided any real work.
Everyone knows what your father does—what does your mother do?
Joe McGarry: She’s actually the colorist on the comic strip ‘Baby Blues,’ if you’ve ever seen that. Right now she’s working at a Hallmark store just to keep busy, I guess, because she doesn’t have to take care of her babies anymore. One of her coworkers asked her what she does and she said, ‘I color in the comic strip “Baby Blues.”’ And they thought she just meant with a crayon—like she takes this job ’cause she’s a simpleton!
How long have you been living in the States?
Joe McGarry: We came out here for high school in 2001 or something. It was sort of a bit of everything. We went to the Orange County High School of the Arts so we probably wouldn’t have been out here if it hadn’t have been for that high school. I guess it was a culmination of things—parents’ work brought us out here.
Were you naturally good at art or did your classes in high school help?
Luke McGarry (vocals): It didn’t improve mine—I’m no good at figure drawing!
Joe McGarry: Just look at the figure illustrations in L.A. RECORD and you’ll get the idea!
Luke McGarry: Horrible figure illustration style!
Joe McGarry: Haha—he had to learn how to draw hands before he could learn how to undraw hands… But really he just can’t draw hands! But, I mean—it’s really cool having artists as your parents. Instead of like, ‘Oh, Mom and Dad, I really want to be in a band and draw pictures…’ They’d be mad if we got real jobs, you know!
What is the best subliminal thing you’ve ever snuck into a drawing?
Luke McGarry: I think mine might be a little too mean to point out. If you haven’t noticed it then it’s probably better I don’t tell you!
Joe McGarry: If somebody is wearing pins on their jacket he always sneaks a Pop Noir pin in there. If it’s somebody who’s consciously a punk rocker, Luke does like an Avril Lavigne pin or a Sum 41 pin. There was one I suggested but Luke thought it was too mean, which was surprising because Luke’s heart is as black and cold as a well. Luke is a horrible person.
What’s it like being twins?
Luke McGarry: I don’t know what it’s like NOT being twins!
Joe McGarry: It’s sort of weird now ’cause we only really sort of interact with each other and everybody else comes after. We’ll just hang out with each other and we’ll just sit in the house and work on music and artwork or something. We don’t feel like, ‘Oh, I need to go out and be sociable’ or something. I’m at home working with my best friend. I don’t know whether he’s actually my best friend ’cause I don’t know if I actually I like him that much…
Luke McGarry: I don’t like him!
Joe McGarry: …or whether I must be settling ’cause he’s around all the time.
Luke McGarry: It’s a lot easier than working by yourself.
Joe McGarry: Another you—like, ‘Yes, I agree with your idea.’ And it’s cool, too—you know, being brothers in the sense that if we’re working on something and I don’t like what he’s doing I can just tell him, ‘No, that’s awful, stop!’ without hurting his feelings. I know we’ll be all right later. Whereas you work with other people and you have to be tactful!
Do you do anything separately?
Luke McGarry: Eat. Bathe.
Have you ever had a case of mistaken twin identity?
Joe McGarry: No! But I have an excellent case of a mistaken manager identity. I think Luke had left the show and it was me and our dad/manager Steve. I think we were waiting to get paid or something and this guy came up to us—he sort of looked like he used to be a big guy, but he could do some damage. He says, ‘You used to work security for George Michael.’ Steve’s like, ‘No.’ ‘Yeah, you used to work security for George Michael—you and I have some unfinished business.’ He gives us his business card and he’s a fucking black belt in karate and a weapons expert and then he puts us on the phone with his girlfriend—‘Has he been drinking again?’
Do you have anything that you’re most jealous about each other?
Luke McGarry: Joe’s jealous of my insane good looks.
Joe McGarry: I’m jealous that Luke doesn’t have to play guitar on stage. He doesn’t have to worry about the effects pedal. Although he is the singer, so he might be jealous that I don’t have to sing as much. He gets ‘frontman syndrome’ where he doesn’t lift any amps or anything. Doesn’t do any work after the show. ‘That’s it, guys—I’m going to go drink and talk to girls.’
Luke McGarry: I don’t mind walking off in my sunglasses and cape. ‘Yes, I’m going to go drink now.’
Who is easier to shop for?
Joe McGarry: I think I’m a good Christmas gift buyer because if Luke says, ‘Oh, this is really cool,’ I actually make a note of it. And everybody is pleased with that. Luke never pays any attention to anything anybody says ever. ‘Oh, I think Joe likes Echo and the Bunnymen—yeah, I’ll get a DVD of that from like two years ago.’
Luke McGarry: Shit. It comes out—Joe didn’t appreciate my Christmas gift.
Joe McGarry: Now we just don’t get each other presents. ‘I’ll buy something for me and you buy something for you and we’ll pretend that we bought it for each other.’
Luke McGarry: ‘Hey, Joe, try this on—I want to see how I look in those jeans.’
What comes first—art or music?
Joe McGarry: Definitely the music—for me anyway. Probably for both of us. We grew up doing the artwork but I guess the music sort of piqued our interest. A big part of doing everything ourselves is we get to do all the posters and fliers, so it’s all a DIY operation. We screen the T-shirts in our garage so it’s pretty fun. I guess it’s all interconnected.
Do you feel any pressure from being compared to big bands and having your father be a well-known artist?
Joe McGarry: It’s sort of weird sometimes—like the obvious New Order comparison, which I think we embrace ’cause I think we feel that we do some stuff that New Order would never do. But there’s a certain vibe there. And New Order was sorta like the biggest band in the world so if we can achieve that then it’s pretty good!
What works best about having your dad as your manager?
Joe McGarry: We can trust him. We know he’s not trying to rip us off. And we figure if it was good enough for Paul Weller it was good enough for us! He’s not an industry player. I think we’re all kind of learning the trade. He’s this big scary English guy so he works as an enforcer—
Luke McGarry: Or he can sound really intelligent.
Joe McGarry: It works both ways. He can be scary or charming.
Would you be as passionate if you didn’t have your dad driving you?
Joe McGarry: Oh yeah! He only really got into it because when we started, we were 16 and he was driving us to our shows. I guess our poor managerial skills got us ripped off a couple of times. He’s sort of a reluctant manager so I think as soon as he can hand us off … but right now we just sort of want to keep him around because we can trust him and it’s not hard to get him on the phone!
Is it an entire record coming out on November 16?
Joe McGarry: It’s just a sort of a single EP thing—it’s an A-side and a B-side and two remixes and we’re doing a 7” vinyl with just an A-side and B-side. We were toying with the idea of just doing an EP and then we thought, ‘Well, let’s just do a couple of singles first just so we could do a rapid singles release so people could go, “Oh wow, these guys are just so prolific!” The album is still cool but it seems like a lot of people are trying to phase it out. A lot of bands are like, ‘We’re not going to do albums anymore.’ So we’re like, ‘How about we just never do an album?’ Because it’s our first release and for posterity and because we think it’s cool we’re doing a 7”. We’re expecting to lose money on the vinyl.
Luke McGarry: That’s what you’re supposed to do.
Joe McGarry: We’re doing it on our own label so we have to be sensible. We started specifically for this release so we could see what would happen if we did it all on our own. We’ve had offers from labels but none of them were enough where we couldn’t refuse. We’ll probably regret it! Fantastic Heat is the name of the label. It’s a joke ’cause the illustration company that we do is Fantastic Heat Brothers, and that came from some R&B soul band—a couple of white guys from Manchester.
Luke McGarry: I don’t think it was actually the band—it was the guys that fronted the band.
Joe McGarry: Oh right, the guys that did all the popping and lockings. So we’ve just appropriated that.
Luke McGarry: For all our popping and locking. - LA Record

"POP NOIR: New Kings of West Coast Indie Rock"

Manchester, England is a legendary teenage wasteland that's responsible for some of the greatest rock and roll of the last 40 years -- Joy Division, New Order, The Stone Roses, The Fall, The Smiths, The Happy Mondays... The list goes on and on. (Yes, The Happy Mondays. Greatly misunderstood band.)

And now you can hold Manchester responsible for Pop Noir as well. Brothers Joe (guitars, programming) and Luke (bass, keyboards) McGarry hail from the Northern England town, where their father Steve McGarry (now their manager) was a musician, syndicated cartoonist and award winning record cover artist for Joy Division and Slaughter & The Dogs.

These days, Joe and Luke live in Southern California, where -- along with Chilean drummer Nico Saavedra -- they've been kicking out their pounding indie electro dance-rock jams in every significant venue including such prominent staples as The Viper Room, The Knitting Factory, Club NME at Spaceland and the über-hip Cinespace.

Their determined efforts have been paying off. This past June, Pop Noir’s new song, “Girls of Prey” was released as a free download through the ultra-hip online record label, RCRDLBL.COM which was, by the way, aptly named the coolest record label in the world by Blender Magazine.

Musically, the brothers McGarry recall the dance punk minimalism of their urban roots. "DIY", a call to wannabe rock stars to "pick up the guitar / why don't you do it all yourself?", is based mainly around a straight disco beat and jangling guitar. "Don't Fool Yourself" is Public Image, Ltd-style punk-funk; the McGarrys lay down vocals that are somewhere between Neil Finn of Crowded House and Pete Burns of Dead Or Alive. And there's more than a little Franz Ferdinand about the whole affair, though Pop Noir aren't as self-consciously mannered.

When asked about their favorite venues, the answer is predictably suave -- One Central Street in Manchester and Fleche D'Or in Paris. Though the McGarry brothers are still too young to gamble when they gigged in Vegas, they're already international scenesters and soon-to-be rockstars. And the best is yet to come.

(Interview follows...) - Mojo Republik

"Pop Noir Video Prevails in MTVu Election"

Last week, the video for Pop Noir's "DIY" (above) went to battle with four other music videos on MTVu's website for the college channel's new-music show, The Freshman. Soon after, it won out in viewer votes and apparently entered TV rotation.

MTVu labeled the Costa Mesa dance-rockers' victory a late-in-the-game "comeback." That's the best kind of victory, right? So in addition to winning, Pop Noir won at how they won.

The band has two concert dates coming up: April 9 at UC San Diego, and April 10 at Long Beach's Basement Lounge. The UCSD show is with Canadian synth-masters Junior Boys. Should be dancey; we might be road trippin' for that one. - OC Weekly

"Video: Pop Noir, ‘DIY’"

“DIY,” the dance-party anthem by Pop Noir, is getting the Orange County-based trio some well-deserved notice. The song — the kind of ditty that begs for remixes — cracked the radio specialty charts last month, and now the “DIY” video is among the nominees in MTVU’s “Freshmen” contest (the same competition that the Happy Hollows won back in February, earning their “Death to Vivek Kemp” video a spot in the channel’s regular rotation). Pop Noir, fronted by U.K. born twins Luke and Joe McGarry, have been doing it for themselves for more than five years now (as visual artists as well as musicians); a summer tour is in the works. - Buzzbands LA


The extended remix of Pop Noir’s sounds like the darkest night… bass beat and synth dance around obscured processed vocals. There’s a certain amount of New Order being channeled, which is always welcome. The result is a very organic dance track from FHB, or Fantastic Heat Brothers, the moniker used by the wunderkind illustrator twins who front Pop Noir. - bigstereo.com

"Pop Noir By The Numbers"

Since 2004, people around Orange County have known of dance rock trio Pop Noir, founded by singer/bassist/keyboardist Luke McGarry and twin brother guitarist Joe McGarry (now with drummer Nico Saavedra). Audiences familiar with local music know, for example, that the McGarrys were born in the UK (in Manchester!), and are the sons of cartoonist and illustrator Steve McGarry, who had designed record sleeves for various Factory Records albums (including Joy Division's!). The twins are also award-winning designers and illustrators; in 2007, they became the youngest-ever recipients of the Silver T-Square Awards from the National Cartoonists Society. But here's more about Pop Noir beyond their press kit, courtesy of Luke McGarry.

Times the band says they're from Huntington Beach in press materials. They say they're from Costa Mesa (and sometimes Los Angeles) because "we've never actually played a show in Huntington Beach, haha," Luke said.

Animated video they're working on with A Certain Ratio, one of the seminal Factory Records bands. They toured with Joy Division/New Order and Talking Heads...Madonna opened for them once, and they're enjoying a bit of a revival recently. "We've actually recorded a song with them and we're animating a music video."

How old the McGarry twins are. "We're not quite at the lying-about-our-age stage yet, but who knows, we might stay 22 for the next five years," Luke said.

Ways the McGarrys express themselves via visual art: "We're illustrators, animators, web designers and programmers, yeah jacks of all trades...we even silkscreen our own t-shirts," Luke said. But music is definitely the priority: "The artwork is really just a means of funding our musical endeavours--that's not to say we dont enjoy the artwork."

Ways people tell the twins apart. "One of us is the handsome one," Luke said, jokingly. As identical twins who both do art--and perform in the same band, do they ever have to deal with identity issues? "Not really. We both have similar interests, but bring different aspects to the projects we work on together. It's a bit like a Venn diagram. Music wise--and this is more of a personal taste example--growing up, I was always into the more electronic stuff. Chemical brothers, Lo-Fidelity All Stars, etc. Joe was into Oasis, the Verve. So that kind of came out in our music--and thats why I can't play guitar!

Reasons why opening for Doves in Anaheim last year was the best show they'd ever played: "It was a combination of our Manchester roots, a sort of hometown show, and a massive crowd. And it gave us an excuse to cover New Order on the 10th anniversary of (New Order and Doves manager) Rob Gretton's death.

Number of times they've been asked the question, "Do you think you get certain perks because of who your dad is?" Luke was nice enough to say he didn't mind that question, and answered, "Connections help a bit, but it's not like we're Sting's kids. In the case of Doves, the only influence our dad had was being able to find the manager's phone number. Our dad's connections only lead to introductions, not special favors. And he's not that connected anymore--he's been out of the music business for 30 years. To be honest, the entire music business is connections--even on a local level, someone has to introduce you to the booker or your friend's cousin has to be in this band or that band. How does a local band get a tour with Cold War Kids? Or Local Natives? It's all friendships. As a band, you just embrace it... and then count your blessings that someone you know is in a position of influence.

Pop Noir perform Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 9 p.m., Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, FOR FREE! - OC Weekly


"Temptation" - released as Digital (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc through http://dittomusic.com/).
- "Temptation" debuted at #2 on FMQB Sub-modern singles chart.

"DIY" b/w "In Like A Lion" - debut single released as Digital (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc through http://dittomusic.com/) and limited edition 7" vinyl.
- "DIY" playlisted at 100+ radio stations
- "DIY" won mtvU Freshman of the Week, went into rotation on mtvU, Fuse, Much Music, as well as worldwide through Hard Rock Cafe and 1000s of retail stores and restaurants throught United States.

"Girls of Prey" - exclusive on www.rcrdlbl.com



Formed by British twins Joe and Luke McGarry when they were still teenage students at the Orange County High School of the Arts in Southern California, Pop Noir quickly built a following in the indie clubs of Los Angeles.

To date, the band has supported Doves, The Wombats, Robyn, Sebastien Tellier, Iglu & Hartly and Fitz & The Tantrums, and headlined shows in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, London, Manchester and Paris.