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Force Publique

June 29, 2011

Force Publique

Back in March we went to see a show at the Larimer Lounge and were really psyched for the touring act, but had no clue about the warmup band. We were sitting at the bar at Meadowlark, chatting with the bartender, who asked us who the openers were and we had to look it up on a smartphone: “Force Publique, I think they’re local.” When the barkeep visibly brightened at the mention of their name, we polished off our malbec and headed to the Larimer earlier than planned. It was so worth it.

Force Publique are James Wayne and Cassie McNeil. James twiddles knobs and makes all sorts of noises, Cassie sings and plays bass. They’re the dynamic duo of the Denver indie scene, a lone electro outfit in a crowd of guitars. As a band, they’re relative newbies – they’ve been playing together for about a year, and the gig in March was maybe their fifth live show –  but they sound like veterans with a tight sound that gets under your skin.

As musicians, they come from different worlds. James is from the bedroom gearhead school of music, and never played in front of an audience until forming Force Publique. Cassie, on the other hand, practiced ten hours a day as a kid to be the next Jimi Hendrix, and played in classic rock and blues bands for years. They started playing together in a music class last year, and were surprised by what emerged. “It was like, ‘This is kind of weird, we should keep doing it!'” says Cassie.

This unlikely combination produces the sort of tension that enlivens the best of vocal electronic music. Cassie’s velvety alto floats above James’ glitchy soundscapes, and the warm throb of the bass holds it all together. It’s easy when writing about a young indie act to reduce them to the sum of their influences, but Force Publique are striving for something uniquely their own.

In June, Force Publique released a free eponymous EP of demos on Bandcamp, packaged with a PDF booklet with lyrics and collage images. They recently added a live drummer (Alex Anderson of MANCUB Denver’s other electronic band) for gigs, which Cassie says “really puts a new edge on our live sound. It sounds more full and professional now.”

Hear for yourselves on July 8th at 3 Kings when Force Publique opens for Hindershot.

1. What is your hometown?

We both live in Denver, but Cassie grew up in Lyons.

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?


Winston Smith in 1984.


Moses from a book called the Bible, it’s pretty underground.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.


Leonardo DiCaprio.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?


Damien Hirst’s “Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain.”


Edvard Munch “Madonna.”

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?


Currently reading Albert Camus’ “The Plague.” I would have to recommend any works of Karl Marx.


I recommend “Catcher in the Rye.”

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?


I’ve just discovered Martial Canterel, the solo project of one of the members in Xeno & Oaklander.


Doesn’t have an iPod.

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?


I’ve never cried in a movie, but I wanted to cry during “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” with Nicholas Cage.


“AI”by Steven Spielberg. (seriously)

8.  Cat person or dog person?


Animal person. But we have a cat named Kennedy.

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?


Truth. People who are too nice always have ulterior motives.

10.    How do you define sin?


Something created by human beings to contain society with fear.

11.    How do you define virtue?


Living in congruence with your own personal philosophy.



12.   Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?


I don’t want to be buried. Headstones feel egotistical to me.


I want my corpse to be in a musical called “Funeral the Musical” and Neil Diamond songs will be turned into a morbid comedy with me in a saucy dance number and sequins.

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?


Xeno & Oaklander.


David Liebe Hart.

Force Publique

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