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Next month, supreme collaborators Ryan McRyhew and Kristi Schaefer are packing up and heading to Chicago. The two — who make music as Hideous Men and run experimental cassette label Laser Palace — are starting a new life in the Midwest and leaving behind a music- and art-driven community to which they have been integral for almost a decade. We spoke with them both about the uprooting, what it means to the future of their music, and their plans for making a place for themselves in a new city.
Westword: Why did you start Hideous Men?
Ryan McRyhew: We just did it out of a desire to be creative together and push each other artistically. We didn't have any long-term goals. I never thought it would be as successful as it has been.
Kristi Schaefer: Seeing our friends like Brittany Gould [Married in Berdichev] and the people around during the early days of Rhino — it was like, "This is a really awesome community of artists, and I want to contribute." That was the goal, I think, to be a part of what we were experiencing other people doing.
More than a band, you are both active and vocal about supporting other local artists. Was that your original intention?
RM: I think it kind of just happened. Since BDRMPPL, I've been proactive in the community, and it became something we inherently involved in the process as Hideous Men. We were always making room for people that we thought were doing really radical things and making sure that everyone's music and art could be accessible to some degree. That was — and is — the whole purpose of our label, too, Laser Palace. We love our friends, and we love our community, and we love to see other people be able to experience it.
KS: We were just seeing creative people who maybe weren't getting as much attention as other people, even though they are doing amazing work. Our thought was, "Well, if people are paying attention to us, why don't we help each other out?"
What are your plans for Hideous Men and Laser Palace once you get to Chicago?
RM: As far as Hideous Men goes, we aren't ending it. Really, we're going to take six to eight months to work on a record. In Denver, we're constantly playing shows and getting sidetracked. In Chicago, we'll have the time to focus and make the record we want to make. We have tons of ideas and parts of songs everywhere. Since our laptop was stolen last summer, it has taken us a long time to record anything.
As for Laser Palace, we have a bunch of releases we've been working on getting together. We're putting out an EP by Jed, and we're doing a VHS release for Tommy Metz's new record, Blank Matter. We've also got a Sterile Garden release and one from Stoned Boys, a band from Russia. We have tons of stuff.