Shapeshifters: The Real Lopan

Image courtesy of Myspace

Whatever comes to mind when the word ‘Lopan’ is seen or heard is probably purely based on film culture….well, at least until this Friday. 

By the musical channeling of three Milwaukeeans, this word will gain more character than being merely related to a character. On Friday, ‘Lopan’ will evolve to represent a state of mind and an attitude that music can convey through the mere influence of a word.

Lopan, a new Milwaukee three-piece is ready to demonstrate this. Christian (Mistreaters/The Asshole Two) on drums, Chris Brook (Wolf Bite/Skull Time/Killgores) on baritone guitar and Anthony Hanratty on guitar, will take up the challenge. Fan-belt’s Erin Wolf asks guitarist and vocalist Anthony Hanratty to explain the man behind their moniker.

The inevitable question — who has the fascination with Big Trouble in Little China (your name comes from character David Lo Pan, correct?)?

I do. I owned like three movies as a child, and Big Trouble was my favorite (the other two being Batman and The Garbage Pail Kids). It really appealed to me aesthetically. I liked Kurt Russell’s Mac 10 the best, for some reason. A friend of mine was sick of hearing me complain about my lack of ownership of that movie and bought it for me as a Christmas gift a few years back, and my love was rekindled. This time with a different appreciation. It’s beautifully bad. John Carpenter is amazing.

How does David Lo Pan influence your music?

He’s smart and evil. He utilizes black magic to get what he wants (a girl with green eyes). I tend to do the same. Plus, he’s creepy. Shang Tsung (a character from the Mortal Kombat video game series) was based on Lo Pan and his main power is the ability to shapeshift into other characters. I think we’re a shapeshift-y kind of band.

What’s the bigger piece of the pie in your band’s pie-chart of genres:  punk, post-rock or experimental? Any direct/indirect influences?

I try to pay little attention to that kind of stuff (genres). I like pop songs, but I also enjoy dark and confrontational music. I try to make them one in the same. But either way, people usually like a list of bands:  Brainiac, Pavement, The Fall, The Jesus and Mary Chain, early Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, LFTR PLLR, Joy Division, etc. I think we’re mostly influenced by our friends in local bands and pop culture more than anything.

Earlier this year, you recorded two songs in Minneapolis…you played all of the instruments yourself (with the exception of drums)?

A friend of mine owns a studio in the Twin Cities. He was kind enough to let me waste his time for a couple days. Christian wasn’t able to leave town, so my friend Matt Connell learned a couple tunes a few days before we left and it ended up okay. I’m not entirely happy with what we got, but captured the reality of the inexperience and urgency quite perfectly. We recorded four songs, but I only kept two on our Myspace page out of embarrassment. 

Planning to record future stuff with the full band?

I believe we are planning to record a 7″ with Shane from Call Me Lightning within the next couple months. Our songs aren’t very long, so we can probably fit four tunes on it. I really enjoy what both Chris and Christian add to the stuff I’ve been working with and would love to get it down on something asap. 

So, first show’s on Friday. What’s the attitude going into this — relaxed, etc. or do you have a checklist, set-list written, and all your gear packed up?

We are super-relaxed. Back to the genre thing, if there is anything fitting, we could be called slacker rock. I have the luxury of playing with people who’ve been doing this forever, and I have as well. The Cactus Club is like a second home to all of us — we’ve played there tons of times in our former bands, so I don’t acknowledge the inevitable butterflies that will no doubt show their ugly faces right before we play. We do have a set-list, but it’s quite short, so it’ll kind of be like pulling off a Band-Aid, quickly. 

Lopan will open for Terrior Bute, alongside Curb at 10 p.m. at The Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Avenue. 


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