IQU and USE (AKA United State of Electronica) shred the commonly held notion that positive, upbeat people can't create enduring music. On the contrary, these uplifting Seattle bands are making some of the most sweetly melodic, electronic-based songs to captivate our mind in years. Both have raised the production of instantly hummable, danceable pop to an art form. Coincidentally, both have major gigs the same week (USE's Bumbershoot debut Sept. 3; IQU's Chop Suey record release party for their Sun Q album on Sonic Boom Sept. 7). And both are poised to significantly raise their respective profiles here and nationwide with big tours that embark in September.

So it made sense to get IQU and USE together for an interview/lovefest. Their euphorically euphonious sounds deserve your whole-hearted affection, even though both have more love for their art than anyone could ever handle--and more happiness, too.

So, IQU has a manager (the estimable Frank Nieto), but how about USE? Are you also playing the industry game for bigger labels and to score better gigs?

USE guitarist Jason Holstrom: "We have booking taken care of. That's helped us a lot and gotten us crazy busy to the point where a manager would help."

Flamboyant USE keyboardist Noah Weaver: "We've pretty much done everything ourselves."

IQU multi-instrumentalist Kento Oiwa: "That really bums me out that you put out your own album."

USE guitarist Peter Sali: "We'd rather put it out ourselves, unless we could get somebody like Sub Pop or a major label to do it. We didn't want to mess with anybody else unless it was going to be something special."

USE drummer Jon e. Rock: "It's cool that we can drop off a lot of our CDs at record stores every week and we get back the entire check."

Jason: "We're about to send 300 CDs to Japan, so it's slowly leaking out beyond Seattle."

Jon: "The problem with no label is we're using duct tape and a prayer every single fuckin' show. All of our instruments are falling apart. We don't have any money to help us out in that area."

If you could get any producer to twiddle knobs for you on your next album, whom would you choose?

IQU keyboardist/singer Michiko Swiggs: "Charles Stepney." [referring to the genius arranger/producer of baroque-soul ensemble Rotary Connection]

Kento: "We'd have to bring him back to life: Arthur Russell. A lot of the people we like are dead."

Jason: "Rick Rubin."

Noah [with conviction]: "Ourselves."

But can you afford yourselves?

Jason: "Not yet."

Lest you think IQU and USE are merely squeaky-clean party bands, know that some of their material has been put to raunchy use. IQU's "Bouncing Baby Buddah" (off the fab debut, Chotto Matte a Moment!) scored a dude's orgasm in the film Better Luck Tomorrow. And five years ago Hustler magazine used Chotto as background music for its awards ceremony. As for USE, they're scoring a trilogy of straight-to-video porn flicks. The first one's called The Handjob. "It's supposedly the XXX equivalent of Office Space," says Sali. "This guy tries to pick up a chick online and she turns out to be 70 years old. He meets her at a roller-skating rink."

What's the biggest misconception about both of your bands?

Noah: "People misquote 'States' instead of 'State.'"

That bothers me a lot, too, and I'm not even in the group.

Peter: "And we're not a DJ."

Michiko: "People think Kento and I are a couple."

In the post-White Stripes world, it's not a bad marketing move to keep your relationship ambiguous. It fuels speculation in the press.

Michiko [laughing]: "I don't need that kind of reputation."

Other misconceptions?

Jon: "That we're not all total badasses."

Jason [with a cherubic smile]: "We really are."

Compared to other bands around here, USE seems most likely to inspire cultish followings and behavior. There is a Hare Krishna aura about you.

Kento: "The music makes me want to join it."

You've got crowd members going up onstage to dance; then you indoctrinate them after the show in a demonic ceremony, right?

Noah: "Exactly."

See USE perform with the Presidents of the United States of America and Death Cab for Cutie on Fri, Sept 3 at 6:30 pm on Bumbershoot's Mainstage (prices vary). IQU plays Chop Suey Fri, Sept 3 at 9 pm, with the Helio Sequence and Sloasions (free).

For Data Breaker listings, see Up & Coming, page 37.