Band Name: Rabid Rabbit Sound: This inventive local quartet's music incorporates elements of titanium-heavy doom metal, exploratory jazz and swirling psychedelic rock. Claim to fame/need to know: The band, led by husband-wife team Mike Tsoulos (drums) and Andrea Jablonski (bass/vocals), has performed with the likes of Melt Banana, Thrones and Wolf Eyes, and recently released its second album, the massive, midnight black "Czarny Sen" (BloodLust! Records). Interviewed: Andrea Jablonski, 39, Garfield Park
The first time I listened to the song "Eclipse" I wasn't sure if you were reciting from the Necronomicon or just reading your grocery list in a foreign language.
[Laughs] It's an old Polish lullaby, actually.
You could be singing about sunshine and puppy dogs and it would still sound terrifying.
It would be terrifying to everyone except to the very large Polish community in Chicago. They call me out on it. There's always one or two in the audience that are like, "Yeah, I remember that!" It's an old Polish nursery rhyme about a little kid sitting in front of a fire at the end of the night. There's one little tiny cinder that's sparkling and he imagines it telling him a story. Then (the cinder) goes out and he never hears the end of the story. It's typical Polish dark humor. It's so not terrifying, but I'm glad it's coming across that way to everyone else.
I'm disappointed it's not secretly about "Twilight: Eclipse."
[Laughs] No it's not, because I don't want to lose my fans. But the main chorus of "Eclipse," if you really must know, has the same chords as [Bonnie Tyler's] "Total Eclipse of the Heart"... just slower and doomier. We have a sense of humor somewhere in the band, but don't tell anyone. I'll lose all my street cred!
I'm guessing you were familiar with the history behind "Gloomy Sunday" (originally penned in 1933, the mournful number has been called the Hungarian suicide song) when you incorporated it into your song "Suicide."
Absolutely. That song was part of an audio grant we received from Experimental Sound Studios, which is a really awesome studio in Chicago that tends to do a lot of insane and amazing recordings. We received a grant to rework ("Gloomy Sunday") with some of the better-known jazz musicians in Chicago. We got to work with people like Dave Rempis and Bruce Lamont, which was kind of nice.
Did you ever consider taking the song in a completely different direction by incorporating "Don't Worry Be Happy" into it instead?
[Laughs] Wow. No. We've used "Total Eclipse of the Heart," dude. That's enough.
Another song on the new album, "Goliad," is based on an 1836 Texas massacre. What attracts you to these darker elements?
I know, we're horrible. We just love death and suicide [laughs]. But we're a happy band, really.
So do you have a stash of animated Disney DVDs stowed away under your bed or something?
No, but I'm pretty light-hearted. Everybody [in the band] is. We're just not into writing songs about girls and cars, which is fine, too. I love those songs. But we've had luck writing on serious subjects—even though we don't take ourselves that seriously.
Is it a challenge being in a band with your husband?
No. This isn't the first project I've had with someone I've been involved with; I'm sure it's not the first for many people. And there are four of us, so there are two referees in there somewhere.
Does the music give you an outlet for that aggression when you do fight?
Nope. It's totally separate. Like, we don't make out in the van or anything [laughs]. We try to keep it very professional because I think it's better that way. We don't bring our fights into the practice space. That is one place where all four of us leave the world behind.
Considering how dark the music can be, I'm curious what things actually do scare you?
Whoa. I don't know. What am I afraid of? The unknown? I'm afraid of my band killing me after this [interview]. I guess I haven't really thought about it. Tidal waves, maybe? I keep having reoccurring dreams about tidal waves. Maybe I'll have to write a song about that next.