By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Self-described as “Henry Rollins in Erasure, but with live drums and the lyrics are all about terribly humiliating Grindr hookups,” Belted Sweater recently dropped a new single “Optimistically Relative.”
Belted Sweater is the solo project of Los Angeles-based drummer Christopher Patrick Gregory. “Optimistically Relative” and previous single “Fem Top” will be featured on the album ‘I’m Fucking Delightful,’ slated for release on Dec. 4, 2020 via Terrible Records.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Belted Sweater about the new album and more.
Music Bugle – How did you decide the name Belted Sweater?
Belted Sweater – The name comes from a Don Caballero song. They’re one of my favorite bands. Hot take sidebar – ‘For Respect’ is their best album. Damon Che’s drumming is amazing, ridiculous and inspirational. I definitely grew up trying and mostly failing to learn his parts. Also – it’s been my AIM, Club Penguin, PSN and Growlr username for years, so it just made sense.
Music Bugle – What inspired your single “Fem Top”?
Belted Sweater – The song is about using a parade of one-night stands to get over an ex and the subsequent emotional rollercoaster of app dating i.e., receiving unsolicited dick pics, getting ghosted, but making it fashion and still, perhaps foolishly, trying to remain optimistic.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Belted Sweater – My Grandma had it. Thankfully, she’s okay now, but it was definitely scary at the beginning. It’s actually been productive on a personal level. I’ve been writing new songs, because there’s not much else to do, besides finally playing every “Dark Souls” game. I’ve been lucky that my day job lets me work remotely, but it can get rough not seeing or hanging out with friends and loved ones.
Music Bugle – Overall, how would you define the year 2020?
Belted Sweater – Objectively, a shit show.
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your album?
Belted Sweater – I’ve been working on this record for about two-three years off-and-on, mostly just in my apartment messing around with synths and shouting into microphones while trying not to annoy my neighbors. I’ve been drumming in bands for years, but after a melodramatic breakup, I decided to channel gay heartbreak into sweet synth riffs and over-the-top drum fills, and thus a solo album was born.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Belted Sweater – Mr. Bungle’s ‘The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny’ Demo, Seth Bogart’s ‘Men On The Verge Of Nothing,’ Mercyful Fate’s ‘Melissa,’ Dyke Drama’s ‘Up Against The Bricks,’ King Woman’s ‘Created In The Image Of Suffering,’ Cynic’s ‘Focus,’ Oasis’ ‘The Masterplan,’ The Frumpies’ ‘Frumpie One Piece,’ Toni Braxton’s ‘The Heat’ and Dump Him’s ‘Dykes To Watch Out For.’
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a musician to stand out these days?
Belted Sweater – I feel like it’s both. It can definitely help musicians promote stuff, but everyone is like, taking online Learning Annex SEO courses on how to maximize brand synergy by scheduling their TikTok posts based on projected third quarter merch sales or what have you, so it can definitely feel a little forced.
Music Bugle – What has been your biggest memory of your music career so far?
Belted Sweater – Definitely the first show I ever played. I was in a shitty pop punk band in high school and we played the only like, three songs we knew at a house party/”battle of the bands” type thing, which we rightfully lost, but I had literally the best time.
Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Belted Sweater – I wish more people went to local shows. This should be our collective mission post-COVID. Keep small, local DIY venues alive through repeated, continued patronage.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Belted Sweater – “I would never stoop so low as to be fashionable,” by Dolly Parton.