Episode 39 Sickpay: Awesomely Aggressive 90’s Infused Grungy Punk Rock

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Today on the podcast we are featuring the Brooklyn-based composer, producer, and drummer/guitarist Sickpay. Learn more about him and listen to his track “Quiet as a Joke.”

Show Notes and Full Show Transcript

Just popping in to give you a heads up.  This podcast contains paid promotional content. That means we were compensated for the feature. All opinions are our own and we only choose to represent music that we truly dig. Now on with the show.

Hey everyone welcome to the Eat Sleep Breathe Music podcast. I am your host Jeanette Kimszal. For those of you just joining us, this is the podcast where I talk about different musicians and how their music affects me and then play their track for you to listen to. 

So you can check it out and form your own opinion as well. And I’d love to know what you think of the track if you’re so inclined to do so. 

And if you are interested in sharing your thoughts on this track and artist I’ll have details at the end of the show where you can leave your comments.

Today I am talking about the Brooklyn-based composer, producer, and drummer/guitarist Sickpay. So Sickpay is actually the moniker of the Brooklyn-based artist Mike Birnbaum.

And as it seems like this is his first solo punk rock project, Birnbaum seems to be a very accomplished musician. 

Before I guess starting his own thing he had a lot of roots as a punk rock musician.  Seems like he was playing in a lot of punk rock bands in high school and he said it was “this gradual descent into making my own music.

He said he’s been in rock bands since high school and his band history has gotten punkier with time. 

And he was in one band called 2 Ton Bug from 2010 to 2011. And he was asked to play drums with Juiceboxxx in 2012 until recently and that kind of led him to play with the band Wavves.

And then his girlfriend was selling merch for this band Leftover Crack and other notorious NY bands. 

He was saying he doesn’t know if it was something that he was drawn to or if it just came naturally. But just being part of this punk rock community it kind of seemed kind of natural for him to pick up a guitar and start playing punk rock music. 

I couldn’t find too much on his background or when he started. But you know regardless he’s here and he’s making music and he’s got a cool sound and it seems like it was also the pandemic that also kind of inspired this punk rock album and this album in particular.

So the track I’m going to be playing today is actually the first track off his  5 song EP and it’s called “Quiet As a Joke.” and song, excuse me the EP is entitled Pureocracy.

And that is out now via Alien Body Music. So basically, yeah, it’s available now. It came out earlier this year. 

LIke I know sometimes I’m kind of like behind with music but this is like a hobby for me and I just like to talk about things that come across my desk. So anything that like stands out or “oh!” this is interesting to me I kind of like to feature and talk about.

So forgive me if I’m late to the party with this (laughing). I’m not always on track with things. 

So yeah, you know it seems like the album Purocracy was inspired by the pandemic and it’s being referred to as having these ecstatic anthems for our era.

The album was recorded in a small Brooklyn studio. 

And I would say that the whole album is pretty impactful. I was having trouble finding just one song to pick. Because I honestly would have featured all of them but that would have been too time-consuming but I do recommend listening to other tracks than this.

The thing that is neat is that even though he has his roots kind of in punk rock it’s like there are a lot of other elements….at least to me there are a lot of other musical elements that seem to come into play.

It would be more rock than just straight-up punk in my opinion but it doesn’t like to have that heavy-hitting just punk rock you know da da da.

It got a lot of different versatility and different types of music and I would say it’s more rock.

And especially this song in particular you know “Quiet As a Joke.” 

It kind of brings to mind a lot of 90’s rock bands that I used to listen to.

There are parts of it that remind me of Weezer and there are parts that remind me of other bands. I can’t think of specific bands but its just that angsty kind of like not whiny guitar sounds but it’s just got this enticing music to me.

And the lyrics, the lyrics are serious lyrics and you know it could probably be interpreted in different ways but it almost seems like the song’s kind of about this relationship that they don’t want to let go of, and it just seems like this person is struggling with being alone and it’s very meaningful.

And it’s cool because if you just want to listen to the music you can get something out of that and if you want to listen to the lyrics you can get something more out of the lyrics. 

But yeah I do really like this artist and I think he has a lot of versatility and a lot of depth and you know just a varied sound.

And you know I think some people think about punk rock and they think it can be only one thing but I think he’s bringing a lot to the table with this music.

And again I do recommend listening to the whole album. There are only 5 songs and you can listen through pretty quickly because each song is less than 4 minutes long so you know put it on in the background and kind of immerse yourself into this music and how different he is.

Another interesting thing about Mike Birnbaum is that he actually has another moniker he goes by it’s called DGookin. That is D-G-O-O-K-I-N and that music is all electronica and reggae.

And it really just shows the prowess and talent and versatility and all the different things he can do.  He’s not only skilled at like writing and producing rock music but he’s also skilled at writing electronic music and I was digging into some of his stuff on his Bandcamp page and uhm I like tech…I like electronic, I like dance. 

Sometimes I’m like I like too much and I’m like “ah I just like everything!” (laughing). But you know I do think he has a cool sound and so if you’re not into punk music he also offers something else for you to listen to. 

And I think his music has gotten millions of listens on Spotify. So he is someone who is definitely doing well in the electronic music. 

It’s just really cool. This is the thing that really amazes me with musicians is how they can be so talented and do so many different types of music.

It’s just neat to see that someone can be so varied with their music and the music that they make. 

If you are curious and wondering what type of artists he would fall in line with he has said to resonate with fans of the band Drive Like Jehu. I don’t know if I’m saying that right it’s J-E-H-U. Lightning Bolt, Floor, Wavves, and Leftover Crack. It has been referred to as “straddling modern rock & lo-fi hypnagogic pop. 

Now hypnagogic pop was a genre new to me so I looked it up on Wikipedia and said it’s a genre described as “psychedelic music evoking cultural memory and nostalgia for the past. Typically the ’70s to ’90s according to Wikipedia.

Personally, I could see that with the 90’s vibe the song has to go on but I don’t know if I would classify this as psychedelic music. It doesn’t have any trippy guitar or other music melodies that would fall in of the psychedelic variety at least in my own opinion. 

I would agree it does have those elements of that past. I would say this song does have a quintessential 90’s rock vibe.

When it opens the first thing I think of is grunge and flannel shirts and I don’t know (laughing) it has this whole 90’s feel to it which is really cool.

And I also think it has these aggressive chords but also as I said before whiny guitars but everything comes together so well.  

Another thing I wanted to mention is that you can tell his musical prowess is being revered with all the features he has been getting from the blogosphere. You know?

He has gotten write-ups in Far Sighted Blog, Rock At Night, That Music Mag, Obscure Sound, Music Mayhem Magazine, Breaking & Entering, Screen Legion,  We Are YMX, Tattoo.com, Metal Centre…And I thought that it was interesting that he was being featured on a Metal site because it’s not necessarily metal that his music is but he’s getting revered for you know his talent which was cool. 

He’s also been in The Big Takeover, Infrared Magazine, and Peace Musica Love.

I will leave links in the show notes if you want to check these out.

And I will link to these in the show notes if you want to read up more about him and the features that he has been in. 

So I really enjoyed listening to his music and I would say in addition to this song check out his other music I can leave links to where you can listen in the show notes.

And if you’re someone who likes band merchandise he has this cool t-shirt. This black t-shirt with the title of this song on it. I will leave a link to check it out in the show notes.

But with that, I think I’ve talked your ear off and enough and will now play the song. So without further ado here is “Quiet As a Joke” for your listening enjoyment.

We would love to know what you think about Sickpay and his track “Quiet As A Joke” You can tell us in a comment on the podcast webpage. You can also leave an audio comment at the link in the episode summary.

For more information on Mike Birnbaum and Sickpay check his Bandcamp pages  www.SickPay.Bandcamp. That is S-I-C-K-P-A-Y DOT B-A-N-D-C-A-M-P DOT com.

He also has more music at www.DGookin.Bandcamp.com. That is D-G-O-O-K-I-N DOT B-A-N-D-C-A-M-P DOT com. 

You can also follow him on Instagram at his personal page BvgleBoi that is B-V-G-L-E-B-O-I and his music page at the handle SickPayy with two Y’s. That is S-I-C-K-P-A-Y-Y. 

If you’re a Twitter user you can follow him at the handle DGookin. That is D-G-O-O-K-I-N.

If you are looking for more new music be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you will get the latest updates on our artist features. You can also find more music features on our website at www.EatSleepBreatheMusic.com. That is E-a-t-S-l-e-e-p-B-r-e-a-t-h-e-M-u-s-i-c dot com. 

Thanks for listening and see you in the next episode!

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