BY: AMY HABEN
Photo: Kirsten Kay Thoen
Listening to One Prayer One Sin erupts symbiotic visual reels of 1970’s city streets and Travis Bickle wearing a bloody smile. Watching singer Johnny Scuotto flail his arms around hysterically while taunting the audience with a devilish grin made more pronounced by bare brows as he shouts and jerks around- can only properly be described as a “psychopathic Ian Curtis” dance. A cathartic display of inner demons spill out onto the stage, dousing the audience with brutal authenticity. One Prayer One Sin is a dynamic combination of the Pop Group, Leonard Cohen, Brian Eno, and a distinct influence from Iggy Pop’s albums of 1977, The Idiot and Lust For Life.
I attended their sold out show at Union Pool in Brooklyn last Saturday night which was also the kick-off gig of avant-garde powerhouse, Kristeen Young’s American tour. I squeezed up as far as I could, pushing past the crowd to catch a glimpse of the svelte singer who looks like a cross between Peter Murphy and Lou Reed. The deep bass and screaming saxophone remind me of bands from the No Wave scene. Exactly what we need more of in this sad era of electronic dance music and weak indie bands. One Prayer One Sin may have conjured up ghosts from the past, but still manage to stay uniquely weird. I was blown away by how tight and professional the band sounded. With the engaging Pete Vogl on maracas, bass, bongos, and any other transient instrument, slick Nikki D’Agostino slayed on sax, while the electric violin player, Steven Welbourne, killed it as well. Creepy character and vocalist, Johnny Scuotto, (a short film about his murderous alter ego, Puppet Man, debuted last year and was scored by John Carpenter ) enchanted the audience with his haunting voice. I asked Johnny a few questions, including what was next for One Prayer One Sin…
Name the collective influences that inspired the creation of One Prayer One Sin?
As the concept of One Prayer One Sin was forming in my mind, I was initially drawn to create a distinct sound with a driving force heavily based off of saxophone and string arrangements. My influences are broad and range from John Cale to Iggy Pop, to the writing of Dylan Thomas, Jim Carroll, and Dennis Cooper, to the cinematic and even at times hallucinatory experiences of walking through the city’s streets. The band’s members come from a wide range of backgrounds and influences that give shape to the sound of One Prayer One Sin. Rich Hutchins (drums), Nikki D’Agostino (sax), Nicholas John Stevens (bass/synth), Pete Vogl (bass/percussion), Steven Welbourne (strings/synth), and Johnny Scuotto (vocals).
The new songs seem to be deeper and darker than the more love based beginnings of One Prayer One Sin. Can you elaborate on those new songs?
Each song is approached as the construction of a world or story conveyed through the voice of specific characters or perspectives across themes. For example, “Promise Land” evokes a subconscious urge to subvert the mind pollution of consumerism and the establishment.
What is coming up for One Prayer One Sin?
One Prayer One Sin recently released its first single Serpents, which was produced by Erin Tonkon (Tony Visonti’s protege). Currently we are continuing to focus on the development of our first full length album, which we are looking to release within a year. Also we have some interesting prospects for shows on the horizon, so stay tuned.
-One Prayer One Sin, “The Only One,” at Union Pool – 4/30/16
- You can catch One Prayer One Sin at Alphaville (140 Wilson, Brooklyn, NY) on May 20th with Bambara and Ritual Humor.
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