A live monster

Perfume Monster brings their live translation of “dream R&B” to Radio K’s Gigawatt show.

by Austen Macalus

Perfume Monster was never meant to be a band. 
While finishing up on different music projects, lead singer Thomas “Hazen” Zimborski and drummer Kyle Steen began sharing files online without intending to perform in front of a live audience. 
But after adding Steen’s sister Alex Steen on the synth, Reggie Spanier on bass and a variety of featured musicians, the project became more serious last summer. With the band starting to play live shows, this past October they released their first EP: “A Slow Drip.”
“It was supposed to be this kind of fun thing, and it just got us a lot of opportunities,” Zimborski said. “Things started happening quickly, and we were like, ‘Oh, we are actually going to have to play some of this live.’”
Now an established band, Perfume Monster will be playing the 7th St. Entry on Saturday. They’re featured alongside Warehouse Eyes and Murder Shoes in “Gigawatt” — Radio K’s showcase of local music.
With layered R&B vibes, chilling harmonies, multi-instrumental backtracks and ambient pop, Perfume Monster’s music is self-described as “dream R&B.” 
Zimborski said he was inspired by sounds on Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange.”
“We wanted to do pop music, but we wanted to do something weird with it,” he said. “[Perfume Monster] creates these beautiful dark synth sounds, and anything I sing over it has this dreamy pop sound to it.”
A large part of this style comes from Zimborski’s songwriting, which he claims is “Wes Anderson writes R&B.”
Instead of focusing on the typical boy-meets-girl theme found in classic R&B, Zimborski’s lyrics often intertwine random thoughts and quirky occurrences.
The band relies on the ability to add or subtract instruments and sections of songs. Each performance may feature a variety of other musicians, Spanier said. 
For Perfume Monster, live songs serve as “performance remixes,” varying each song from its recorded counterpart.
Compared to the experimental sounds on their last EP, Zimborski and the band are focusing on creating music that is easier to translate to live performances. 
Zimborski said Perfume Monster’s music sounds simpler lately, specifically pointing to the song, “Bad.”
“That song was really stripped down … and it made it easier to play live,” he said. “I think there are things we learned from the first album.”
With the new release, Zimborksi will focus on “doing more with less” by cutting unnecessary additions. 
“We want to make sure anything we put on there is an important part and can be heard,” he said. “[We] will not have to worry about what works live — just thinking about what sounds cool.”
Radio K’s Gigawatt
Where 7th St. Entry, 701 N. First Ave., Minneapolis.
When 8 p.m. Saturday
Cost $7
Ages 21+