STNNNG! Mini Interview (playing Shellac's Nightmare Before Christmas) + Free MP3s

Friday 5th October, 2012

Name Of Band: STNNNG

Hometown: Minneapolis/St Paul, MN

Year Formed: 2003

Bio: STNNNG (pronounced “stunning”) are from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. No, they do not sound like any of those three Minneapolis bands you can think of from VH1 Classic oversaturation or Rolling Stone’s retro-active fawning. They sound more like a lumbering giant laughing madly while tangled up in some barbed electric fence. In other words, like heavy rock in the art-y/noisy Touch & Go vein. Think punk rock tenacity with metal power, classic rock riffage, vaudevillian showmanship and the hyper-literate lyrics of a man seemingly possessed by a full encyclopedia set of subtly deranged characters.

Since forming in 2003, STNNNG has released three full-length albums on Modern Radio Record Label, performed at over 300 shows, and basically perfected the art of turning their audiences into shit-grinning masochists. STNNNG is one of those rare bands that seems too damn good to give a fuck, but actually do reach out to grab you, make you smile, wince, heckle, and thoroughly engage as they pummel you into a lifeless purple pulp. On stage, the band’s a drunken speedboat careening off every ship in the harbor. Their five spastic bodies leap, puff, snort and wrench like the subjects of some mannerist sculptor’s wettest dream. I mean it when I say there is no better live band on this earth to photograph.

Comprised of lead vocalist Chris Besinger (ex-Death and Texas), the guitar interplay of Nate Nelson (also of Chambermaids, Pony Trash and American Cream) and Adam Burt (ex-Vets, currently of Total Fucking Blood), bassist Jesse Kwakenat (ex-Heroine Shieks, ex-Private Dancer) and drummer Ben Ivascu (also of Polica), STNNNG recently recorded their fourth full-length album with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio and will be mastering the record at Abbey Road.

Having shared bills with the likes of Shellac, The Fall, Pissed Jeans, U.S. Maple, Melt Banana, The Ex and Times New Viking, STNNNG has always had a penchant for putting on unconventional concerts, including a five-year run of epic “lunch shows” at the 7th Street Entry as well as performing live on a raft floating down the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. Over the years, the band has earned high praise from legends like Steve Albini, Bob Weston and Mike Watt, as well as acclaimed music critic, Mark Prindle.

Do your best to describe the sound of your band in one sentence:

Rock’n’roll played by & for abrasive, smart, and obnoxious people.

What are the most recent activities of your band?

Our last album came out in 2010.  We tour and play shows as much as our schedules allow.  We recorded an album with Steve Albini in this past spring, played a few shows around the Midwest USA this summer.

How excited are you to play this event?

I actually have a hard time putting that into words, this is basically it is a dream come true. I think I can safely say that everyone in the band is thrilled beyond mere words.

Do you have a connection with Shellac / an idea why you were chosen to play?

We have been friends with Bob, Steve and Todd for a few years.  We regularly see Bob when in Chicago and obviously know Todd from around Minneapolis.  We’ve played shows with them in the past and they have always had extremely nice things to say about us.

Which of your releases do you feel ATP attendees should check out first?

“Fake Fake” or “Smoke of My Will”

Is there one of your tracks you think specifically represents you best?

“Grand Island, NE” is a popular one.

Are there any other currently confirmed bands you're excited about seeing?

I’m pretty excited for all the bands, though especially Oxbow, Nina Nastasia, the Ex with Brass Unbound and Bottomless Pit, but really it is a fantastic line-up.

If you were curating, name three bands you'd want to play your event...

The Blind Shake
Mike Watt & the Missingmen
Saccharine Trust

If you could pick one record release in the last year which would you recommend?

I really like the new Killer Mike record “R.A.P. Music” and the Neneh Cherry/Thing collaboration as well.

What have your previous experiences at ATP been like? Any favourite memories?

This is my first time, Nate Nelson, the guitar player in our band went the My Bloody Valentine ATP in NY and had an excellent time.


STNNNG! play ATP's Nightmare Before Christmas festival curated by Shellac this November 30th-December 2nd. The event is sold out but interested parties can sign up to a waiting list in case of future ticket releases here.

You can grab two free STNNNG tracks on our Souncloud; here and here.

Read some previous mini interviews with bands playing this event:

Zeni Geva
Dead Rider
Three Second Kiss
Bear Claw
Mission Of Burma
Red Fang