The Octagon

The Octagon

 New York City, New York, USA
BandAlternativeRock

We play catchy rock songs, noisy and tuneful, cutting out the fat, keeping the ingredients to the bare minimum.

Biography

Will Glass and Zachary Mexico met at boarding school in Massachusetts at the end of the twentieth century. They huddled together in dorm rooms, late at night, drinking from warm forties of St. Ides and handles of illegal Captain Morgan, listening to Motown, “Astral Weeks,” Guided by Voices, Dead Kennedys, and the Grateful Dead.

Time passed and life came calling. Will Glass went to Montreal and played with everyone in town, in the scene centered around Constellation Records and godspeed! you black emperor. Zachary Mexico moved to New York City and started a band, then got sick of the heavy post 9/11 vibes and moved to southwest China to open a bar.

In 2004, they returned to NYC and met up with bass player the Bunny. Over the next few years, they released two albums, “The Octagon” and “Nothing But Change,” played a bunch of shows, went on tour.

Then Mexico went back to China—where he still spends part of the year--to write his first book, “China Underground” (Soft Skull Press, 2009) which would later become a bestseller in Singapore. Glass went on the road as the touring drummer for the Dirty Projectors. The Bunny languished in Williamsburg, spending his days begging for money outside the Bedford Avenue L stop to support his gourmet sandwich habit.
And then in the dark winter days of February 2009, they all got back together and worked on a new batch of songs. Instead of going into a recording studio, the Octagon retreated to their dimly lit practice space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and, under the lo-fi recording expertise of drummer/producer/engineer Will Glass, spent three days laying down thirty tunes to analog cassette tape on two Tascam 4-track recorders.

They mixed the tracks down with Travis Harrison at Serious Business Records in lower Manhattan then sent along the results of the session to a few trusted friends. “We wanted to see if there were certain songs people really felt a connection to,” says Zachary Mexico. “When you’re the people writing the tunes, they are so close to you that it’s hard to tell what other people are going to dig.” With the input of this circle of colleagues, the band chose sixteen songs to make up “Warm Love and Cool Dreams Forever.” And the album sounds great: Mexico’s Fender Mustang is warm, Bunny’s bass full, and the superb jazz-inflected drumming of Will Glass sounds clean and crisp.

Mexico sings lead vocals on the tracks he wrote, and Glass on the tracks he wrote. But everyone’s singing at the same time, most of the time. The songs are concise bursts of energy – short and to the point, expressing singular musical and emotional ideas. The tunes are poppy, and the energy punky; the band blends their gift for penning simple, catchy melodies with a tendency towards noise and sonic/structural experimentation – the reinvention of the pop framework to make it something unmistakably their own.

The themes addressed on the record include: the pressures of getting older, the truth of eventually dying, the relationship between humans and nature, the beauty of life, the sadness of poverty and cruelty, the death of family, friends, and other loved ones, the perfection of the world, and that old standby, love.

Here is some stuff that people have written about the Octagon's music. (More can be found in the "press" section.")

Rough-edged local outfit the Octagon seems to have a limitless supply of memorable and crazily efficient (read: really, really short) indie-pop gems at its fingertips. Its new one, Nothing but Change—on the refreshingly unpretentious local indie Serious Business—is crammed with the kind of tunes you want to put on mixtapes for your best friends; song after song, the disc is brisk, clever, fiery and bravely poignant.

--Time out New York

The Octagon is a three piece indie band that hails from New York. This album is full of stripped down indie rock songs all clocking in for the most part under 3 mins. This is a good thing that most bands fail to realize this day in age. People think the longer the song the better it is, not the case. Every song on this record (17 in all!), is chuck full of catchy vocal melodies, driving guitar work with a nice lo-fi sound and all around great indie rock sensibility. I could see this band gaining great popularity with the current trend in the world of indie rock these days but these guys are a cut above the rest. I would like to check these guys out live they seem like a fun time.

--Get Over Yourself Brooklyn

Nothing But Change, the second album from New York's the Octagon, finds the group embracing a spare, clean, live sound that captures the emphatic emotional push of the songs while leaving some breathing room between the players. Recorded in a mere three days, Nothing But Change plays like an effort to document the way this band sounds in performance rather than create a monolithic studio sound, and the results not only succeed admirably, they suit the tenor of these

Discography

1/05/10: "Warm Love and Cool Dreams Forever" LP/CD/digital download (Serious Business Records)

10/09: "Arm Brain Heart and Liver" digital EP (Serious Business Records)

8/28/07: "Nothing But Change" CD/LP (Serious Business Records)

(charted on the CMJ top 200, heavy airplay at many college stations)

10/2006: "Love Will Turn You Around b/w Birdman" 7" (Serious Business Records)

6/2005: "The Octagon" CD (self-released)

Set List

We play for 35-40 minutes.