Biblioteka Talk Their New Name, Debut EP and World Takeovers
Biblioteka was a last minute fix — in their current form at least, the band tells me over happy hour drinks at Cafe Pettirosso. Three fourths of Biblioteka, vocalist/bassist Mary Robins, guitarist Hector Rodriguez and drummer Chris Glaser, comprised three quarters of their previous band, CRITTÉ. And their close knit relationship shows — throughout the interview the band finished each others sentences and rattled off inside jokes one after another.
However, when CRITTÉ were weeks away from their debut album release, Rodriguez said that they had a falling out of sorts.
“We had to explain to everyone, ‘Oh yeah we have all these shows planned, we have an album release and now we barely have a band,’” Rodriguez recounted. “Thank god I got to talk to Jacque.”
And in a barber chair at Rudy’s Barber Shop is when Biblioteka completed their current lineup, where keyboardist Jacque Treat was giving Rodriguez a haircut.
“Hector was sitting in my chair and he was freaked out,” Treat said. “I was like, ‘What's wrong? And he was like, ‘I need a keyboardist in two weeks.’ And I was like, ‘I'll try!’”
Treat was also the one to suggest a name change, where she found out that Biblioteka means library in both Spanish and Ukrainian, the heritage of Rodriguez and Robins, respectively. When she presented the idea to the band, they immediately agreed to it.
“It embodies exactly what the band is about, you know, multicultural and well read,” Rodriguez joked. “We're literate as fuck.”
Almost a year has passed since then, and Biblioteka has released their debut EP Raspberry Jelly. Recorded at in the Central District with Eric Padget over Rodriguez’s birthday weekend, the five track EP spans multiple styles in just a few minutes.
“We have a variety of different things going on so it's kind of hard to pin it down into one specific sound,” Glaser said. “There's a lot of different feels going on with the different songs and that's kind of what keeps it exciting.”
Opening track “12:34” rolls in with a synth that’s video game-esque, and explodes into a fiery, drum-heavy track. Robins’ voice hums over the melody, and creates a tune that will be stuck in your head for days. But the second track, “Cobwebs,” starts off slow and builds until Rodriguez’s blasting distorted guitar solo.
Perhaps the poppiest of them all is “Raspberry Jelly,” complete with a classic “Ooooh” section over glazed guitars and blazing drums. And while it sounds like pop perfection, Robins explained that the lyrics were inspired by the untimely death of her childhood dog.
“There's a whole verse,” Robins explained. “‘My dog is chasing cars / too bad things got miscalculated now she's sleeping in the yard.’ I kind of tend to dwell on things, like negative things that happen in the past and the song is [about] wrapping your arms around it and letting it go.”
And although “Magnolia” is entirely instrumental, it’s just as catchy and powerful as the rest of the tunes. All the songs on Raspberry Jelly have a different feel, but combine to create a cohesive set of moody and intoxicating tracks.
As for the rest of 2018, the band has its sights set on one thing: “Tour,” Rodriguez answered. “We're in the midst of booking, at least a smaller tour—”
“And then a full on takeover,” Robins finished.
Catch Biblioteka with Antonioni and Velvet Q at their album release show at Barboza on May 24. Tickets available here.