Story by: Sophie Boladeras, Photos by: Glen Llyod
Indie punk rockers Cancertron will ignite your curiosity with their deviant lyrics and raw sound; just don’t bring your Mom to one of their shows. Lead singer and songwriter Mandi Thompson played some of Cancertron’s eccentric music to her family in New York last Christmas. Apparently the reception was not good; her Mom left the room crying … Perhaps she was offended by the song “Fuck City,” or it could have been the images conjured up at the sound of “Oedipus’ Cock.” Whatever it was, the members of Cancertron are currently based in Korea and are belting out some eclectic tunes for your aural pleasure.
Groove Korea: How would you describe your music?
Sean Kenny: Collective soul meets at a burger joint.
Mandi Thompson: …And then listens to Raekwon while he’s cheffing.
Some of your songs have enthralling names: Unicorn Buffalo and Fuck City to name just a couple. Can you tell me about them?
Kenny: Many of the songs are named before the lyrics are made; that was the case for “Clavicle Miraculous.” There has been a long history of songwriters making song names or writing lyrics based purely on how the words sound.
What do you do here?
Thompson: We all teach English! We’ve been here a combined total of 32 years.
Jinju is a fairly small place. There’s a pretty cool crumbling castle and there is a huge croquet scene if you’re over 75 and Korean. You pretty much have to make your own fun here. We went through some long periods of heavy drinking; now we just play a lot of cards.
Where was your first gig?
Thompson: We played our first gig at a bar called Jam Bar in Jinju. We got an encore. All of our friends came! It was great! We had played before with the Gay Sexxxyyz, but after a long hiatus and with all new songs, it was exciting to make a comeback.
There is a random dialogue at the start of “Clavicle Miraculous.” What was the inspiration for that conversation?
Jaime Roth: Arnold Schwarzenegger was the inspiration — we love him. I think his comical genius is highly underappreciated. We wanted to honor his film career with a song slightly longer than a minute.
I listened to your album on Bandcamp. How do you find selling your music online?
Kenny: Not many buyers at all, just a few die-hards.
Thompson: I think my mom bought 14 copies.
Kenny: It’s hard when you don’t have a label behind you or someone helping with promotion. Sales spike a little after our shows, so that’s how we’ve been trying to do it.
Can you tell me about the creation of your LP “I Live in Your Basement!”?
Thompson: I wrote most of the songs over the past decade. My parents were going through a divorce and I had a really mean babysitter. I moved into the basement and watched a lot of Lifetime movies and daytime talk shows.
Where would you like to see Cancertron in five years?
Kenny: Alive. Not in Korea.
Thompson: We hope to make mad loot off of this album and then bask in the residuals.
Mandi Thompson, 26, singer and songwriter (U.S.)
Jaime Roth, 26, front woman and occasional singer (U.S.)
Sean Kenny, 28 (Canada)
Check Cancertron’s Facebook page for future events:
GET THEIR MUSIC
You can also listen to or download their music via their Bandcamp website, cancertron.bandcamp.com.
Cancertron are also on the lookout for a drummer, so if you’re based in or near Jinju, get in touch.