Words by Jasmine Bourgeois
Art by Jenny Williams
The trio of Lily Konigsberg, Nina Ryser, and Ani Ivry-Block make up the eccentric and undoubtedly experimental band Palberta. Often compared to anything ranging from noise project to sludgy post-punk, anyone who listens to Palberta’s music can agree on one thing: Their songs are unlike any other band you’ve heard. The three have a coordination paralleled by few other musicians — they weave in and out of tonal arrangements, jumping from hums and hymns to heavier sludge. Even when just exploring the range of qualities in fuzzy noise, their rhythms are tight and intentional. Over the last few years of playing, Palberta’s charming peculiarity has carved out a sonic terrain that’s completely their own. Tom Tom got a chance to talk with Lily, Nina, and Ani about the band.
TTM: Names, ages & pronouns?
Lily, 25, she/her
Nina, 25, she/her
Ani, 26, she/her
TTM: How long have you all been playing together? You all swap instruments a lot, but do any of you feel like you have a particular configuration you like best?
Lily: We have been playing together for 5 years! I personally love the fact that we get to play all three instruments but my favorite is when I get to play guitar- I guess I just like playing guitar the most. Ani and Nina slay at all instruments so I guess I don’t have a favorite configuration persay.
Nina: Switching instruments feels pretty crucial to Palberta so it’s hard to choose a favorite configuration…but I think I like playing bass and drums the most!
Ani: I like all configurations.
“We crack each other up constantly, and I think our music reflects that aspect of our relationship. But I do agree with Lily that the word “silly” makes me cringe, it kind of makes me think of “cute” or “foolish” which we most certainly are NOT.” -Nina
TTM: You produce so many unique sounds and a lot of your songs are playful in such interesting, experimental ways. What’s the songwriting process like?
ALL: We write together. Usually one of us starts playing something and the other two join in. The songs can come out of nowhere seemingly. Sometimes they are painstakingly hard to finish and finalize but other times it’s a wrap almost instantly.
TTM: I feel like I hear your music described as “silly” or “playful” a lot. What are your thoughts on those descriptors?
Lily: We are just really close friends that are all very funny and make each other laugh. I don’t think our music is silly though. I don’t really like that word.
Nina: I’m down with that kind of sentiment to describe our music because it’s true that in reality. We crack each other up constantly, and I think our music reflects that aspect of our relationship. But I do agree with Lily that the word “silly” makes me cringe, it kind of makes me think of “cute” or “foolish” which we most certainly are NOT.
TTM: Palberta has been around for a while, and you’ve put out a lot of music over the last few years. How has the band evolved over the years? What sounds and styles have you been playing with?
ALL: I think we have embraced harmonies (three part) and pop melodies way more than we used to and just pop/rock music in general; but we are still weird as hell.
TTM: What’s going through your heads while performing?
Lily: For me, I’m usually just staring at people in the crowd and looking for reactions but sometimes I get really into something we are playing and zone out in a really nice way.
Nina: I never really make eye contact with people in the crowd; usually I stare at Ani and Lily. Sometimes I get into the zone and my eyes glaze over and I rock back and forth a lot.
Ani: If the songs are new, playing them correctly. Otherwise, I’m pretty relaxed. Sometimes I get distracted and start worrying about something totally unrelated. The last show we played I thought my tampon was going to fall out so that was really on my mind.
TTM: What are you up to in the coming months?
ALL: We are probably going to begin writing new music for the next release. It’s gonna take a while though! We’ll also play shows here and there. Playing a fest with Liz Phair in September and we are freaking out. Also playing with the Urinals in mid-October! And opening for the Porches/Girlpool tour in late October.