Punk rock and garage shows have a pretty evocative scent: spilled beer, BO and (more than) a hint of something herbal.
However, when the Black Lips head out this year in support of their upcoming record, Underneath the Rainbow, venues will apparently get an olfactory shift: Lips shows are primed to smell like myriad things, including cookies, dumpsters and the moon.
If you’re currently scratching your head in delighted confusion (cookies! the moon!) it’s basically like this: The Black Lips have commissioned a machine that manufactures synthetic smells and they’re taking it on the road with them — or so bassist and vocalist Jared Swilley says.
“A friend of ours in France actually makes machines [that] make smells and we’re working with him,” Swilley told MTV News. “And we’ve pretty much perfected the technology.”
Swilley said that he first came up with the idea a few years ago after hearing that certain factories and restaurants pump out food scents to “create moods or familiarity,” he said. The guys also recorded their record above a cookie factory, the smell of which drove the bassist to partake in his share of sweets.
Swilley was also inspired by a dimly recalled experience of watching a 3D episode of “Family Matters” back in the ’90s. “You would put on your 3D glasses during one part of the thing,” Swilley said. “And [there was] like a scratch and sniff [component].”
“We want to create a smell that will trigger a memory and they’ll think of us,” he added, speaking of the band’s tour, which kicks off this spring.
Specifically, he said, the song “Dumpster Diving,” off of their last record, Arabia Mountain, might be accompanied by a “garbage-y smell,” while “Drugs” (off of 200 Million Thousand) would get a “kind of weed scent.”
So, basically, for the majority of the show it will smell like your average punk show, anyway.
“There’s a moon scent,” Swilley added. “Which is weird because you can’t smell anything on the moon or your face would explode when you took off the helmet.”
Apparently, this isn’t the first time the guys have experimented with scent. “They have a synthetic female hormone and we pumped it out at the Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin,” Swilley said. “That one kind of made me sick, because it was too potent.”
The packaging of their seventh studio record, coming out on March 18, will also be wreathed in fragrance. “[It will have a] musky, peaty kind of smell, inspired by the group,” Swilley said.
If that smell is anything like what’s evoked in their new dark, wild video for single “Boys In The Wood,” fans best steal themselves for mayhem.
So far, only a taste (or, rather, whiff) of the upcoming record has made its way onto the Web — the aforementioned single, which seems to be a reprise of the Lips’ darker, rougher fare.
On this record, they brought in The Black Keys’ drummer, Patrick Carney, to produce — quite a change from Mark Ronson, who produced their last album.
“We come from such a different background from Mark, which is why I liked working with him, too,” Swilley said. “But Patrick — the first Black Lips record and the first Black Keys record were both on the same label.”
The result is a mix of raspy, raucous jams that fans should be itching to hear — and smell.