Monday, January 28, 2013

Interview with Ben Carr of Last Year's Men

I first saw Last Year's Men at their record release show at the Duke Coffeehouse at the beginning of my junior year. They were playing with Spider Bags and I was just getting into Rock n Roll music. Last Year's Men blew my mind. They played with an intensity that was rare for a group of what were basically kids at the time, barely out of high school. Ben Carr, the lead singer, shrieked and wailed while playing his guitar as hard as anyone else I had seen. I immediately picked up their (at the time) new LP on Churchkey Records.

About a year later I saw them again with even more fervor and intensity. At the end of the show, Ben launched himself at the drummer, as the other two members grappled each other and bore themselves to the ground. These guys did not mess around. I remember going "Oh my god this is awesome!" to my friend Kyle, with whom I was. I knew that this band was something special.

I heard rumors of them working with Greg Cartwright of The Oblivians, The Reigning Sound, The Parting Gifts and other stuff - they had a split 7" single for the Scion/AV and Vice thing that I was never able to get my hands on. When I interviewed Mr. Cartwright, he confirmed this for me.

After moving to Chicago, I have tried to keep in contact with the bands that I liked and appreciated in the triangle area. Last Year's Men just put out an unreal 7" single on Sophomore Lounge that has a bit more punk and grunge influence than they're fantastic LP on Churchkey Records, which is a great straight up rock n roll record. You can learn more about them on FACEBOOK

Ben assures me that their new record is close to being done and I can't wait. He's also looking for labels to put it out. SO CHECK IT OUT AND PUT IT OUT, LABELS.

This is what Ben said to me.

Jordan: Tell me a little bit about your band? Has the lineup changed at all since you guys started? When did you start?

The Cover of the new 7"
Ben: We started off as a two-piece - it was Ian and myself. Ian is the drummer. After that, we did a short tour. We were both fairly young, only about 17. Around then, our good buddy Jeff moved back into town after living up in Boston so we asked him to join the band. We had played together in previous projects. Steve Jones who co-runs Churchkey records played bass with us for a little bit and so did Greg Levy who had played in Spider Bags. Then we got a permanent bass player named Montgomery and he has played with us for about two years and as of a couple weeks ago he let us know that he wouldn’t be touring with us - he said he was starting to get old.

Yeah, we’ve been playing for about two and a half years now and creeping up on three.

J: When did you guys first starting writing music? When you started the band did you come with ideas for songs or did it happen organically?

B: I had two or three songs written and this was right after my old pop-punk band broke up. Ian’s old band had also broken up so I called and asked if he wanted to play drums in my new project and we didn’t even have a name yet. I brought a couple songs to the table and we practiced them a bit and then we recorded three or four demos and passed them around. Churchkey got word of us and decided to go see us live and then they threw out our first record after about four or five months.

J: What’s the discography like? Sunny Down Snuff was the first official release, correct?

B: Sunny Down Snuff was our first record. I’ve personally been on a couple other records, but as Last Year’s Men that was our first proper LP. We did a demo on a CD-R before that, which we passed to friends or sold on the road when we would go out of town. Then we did a split 7” with the Reigning Sound and that came out last August. Then we got the new 7” out, which will be out in the next few weeks. We just got back from recording our full-length in Asheville. We’re finishing up the overdubs and mixing it. That should come out in the next few months, but don’t hold me to that (laughs).

J: So the brand new 7” is Clawless Paw?

B: Yeah

J: I actually already got that in the mail

B: Yeah, they did a preorder and everyone who preordered is getting their copy now. A bunch of my friends have a copy but I actually haven’t even seen it yet. They’re in the mail to me and the band currently. We’ll be bringing them out to the local stores in the next couple of weeks. I think the official release is February 19, maybe?
J: So when did you guys first go on tour? What did you guys do?

B: So Ian had just turned 17 and I was about to turn 18. I don’t remember who’s van we took. Some friend’s van they lent us for some reason. I don’t know why they would let two seventeen-year-old kids take their van out for a week. Our good buddy Matt came along with us and we did the South for a bit. Maybe seven days and four shows - a bunch of shit fell through. There was a lot of bullshit on that tour. We pretty much played to a bartender at all times. We didn’t know what we were doing and I had booked the tour, just a 17-year-old kid on the internet so I hadn’t made any friends regionally or anything. It was pretty bad but they got progressively better. They’re still not that great (laughs) but there’s a couple towns where we know some people who can get others to go out and watch us.

J: What towns?

B: I really like Atlanta. We had a really good time in Charlotte and in Oxford, Mississippi. I like going over to Memphis not necessarily to play because Memphis is a weird town in terms of getting people out, but just hanging in Memphis is one of the best things to do. We always have a really good time there.

J: So what’s the new record like? Aren’t you guys recording with Greg Cartwright?

B: Yeah, we’re recording with him. We have all the basic tracks done and most of the vocals. A lot of the guitar overdubs too. It’s a pop record. Clawless Paw is kind of a grungy-type-thing. Kind of like a psych-song. This next record is similar to Sunny Down Snuff in regards to the pop aspect but it’s more mature. There’s an acoustic song on it. It’s absolutely going to be a rock n’ roll record and not like an indie rock record at all. There is a little more pop orientation to it though.

J: Clawless Paw has a lot more punk and grunge stuff in it. Where did that come from? What was the writing process like? It seems slower and sludgier but harder too.

B: I think we all listen to a ton of different records. We don’t just sit around and listen to doo-wop records or punk records or rock n’ roll records. If you were to look at all our record collections, you’d find Hank Williams sitting next to Ty Segall. At the time, I was listening to a lot of Thee Oh Sees and a lot of that stuff. Probably a lot of grunge music too. I always find it silly when people try to pigeonhole an artist, like when someone will say that if you make a pop record then you can’t make a screaming punk song. I think it’s fun to be able to push a band in different directions and roll with what gets written.

J: I think you’re totally right. I think the best artists can do a lot of different styles of music too.

B: Yeah, there’s some modern examples. Ty Segall is a good example. He made Slaughterhouse and he also made Goodbye Bread, which are two very different records  but distinctly Ty Segall. Greg Cartwright does a good job with that too. Just look at his work with Oblivians and then compare that to the first Reigning Sound record, which is almost country. I think it’s important to not make the same thing two times.

J: What’s the ratio of songs you have written as opposed to songs that you have written, recorded and are thinking of putting out?

B: I’m always writing, but I think that I throw out more songs than I use. I’m picky. It always seems like on each record there’s a song that I’ll come up with a day or two before the recording. I’ll just say “this song has got to go on the record - it makes sense.” It happened on Sunny Down Snuff and happened on the new record.

I’m actually starting a new project as an outlet for some of the more punk oriented music I’ve been writing. Elijah from Paint Fumes and I are going to be forming a musical outlet at some point too.

J: Oh, I just interviewed Elijah for Paint Fumes.

B: Yeah, they’re all good buddies. We were down in Charlotte about three weeks ago and Elijah and I were hanging out and talking and were like “Why don’t we just make a fucking band together?” So we got pretty drunk and started coming up with band names. But I want to get North Carolina more on the map. There aren’t that many Rock n Roll bands here. It’s kind of a shame.

J: What were some of the good band names?

B: Butthole Issue, Cheap Skeet, Anal Fissure, Maxipads or something like that. We were spitting them out all night.

J: That’s rich.

B: (laughs) we’ll see which one fits the most. I was definitely digging Anal Fissure, but I like Cheap Skeet a lot. We’ll see.

J: What do you mean when you say you want to put North Carolina more on the map in regards to Rock N Roll? How would you go about doing that and what would you say needs to be done?

B: I don’t know. We were talking about this. Montgomery who plays on the new record said that people need to make zines, go out and call people from around the country and get them to play here. Give people a good show and a place to stay. Then start forming more bands and hope that each member of each Rock n Roll band starts a project with different people. Hopefully then that would grow and spiderweb off into something. I think I would also like to bridge the gap between Charlotte and the Triangle area. Charlotte has a lot of cool stuff, mostly in the lo-fi punk stuff like with Nick Goode. I think just making a ton of records and sparking interest with people who aren’t into garage rock. Hopefully that’ll spin into something.

J: What would be some of the bands you’d like to see in the Triangle?

B: A lot of them come through, but it’s just that it’s hard to get a good show. If a band comes through Chapel Hill then there’s like four or five bands that would fit. So if you have all these guys coming through and the same four or five bands play, then the incentive for people to come goes down. People will think “oh, well, I can see Last Year’s Men whenever. This is an $8 ticket and they’ll play some time around.” It’s hard. It’s difficult. I’d love to see a bunch of In The Red bands and a lot of Goner bands from Memphis come over and hang out and play some shows but we’ll see what happens.

J: What are some bands you like to play with in the Triangle Area and in Charlotte?

B: Flesh Wounds is a great band. We played with Joint Damage, which was a lot of fun. Gross Ghost is really great. Spider Bags, obviously - they’re one of my favorite bands. Paint Fumes aren’t really local anymore but they’re fun to play with.

J: What bands have been most influential to the sounds and music that you have made as Last Year’s Men singer-songwriter?

B: I basically formed the band after listening to the Reigning Sound. They really got me into garage rock. I don’t know. It’s hard to say because there are just so many records. And not just me, but all four of us are trying to find new sounds to listen to. I like older stuff and newer stuff. Going out to record stores and picking ten records and listening to them at the booth is really fun. It can go back to classics like Velvet Underground and then go to newer stuff like that first Cheap Time record. It’s hard to just pick a few influences. It’s years of trying to explore that is the best influence.

J: What jobs do you guys hold onto and how do you reconcile that with touring?

B: Jeff works at a coffee shop. Ian also works at a coffee shop. Montgomery, who is no longer touring with us works at a record store, a jewelry store, and a nightclub. I work at a fine dining restaurant and also at the Local 506 doing door stuff over there. People are generally pretty cool with it but you have to give them notice and everything when you get hired. “I do this thing. I play in this band. And I’m going to have to hit the road. And the reason that I want this job is to play in this band.” I wouldn’t assume that many people aspire to work at a coffee shop. It’s a work to live situation and not a live to work thing. They’ve always been pretty cool about letting me take off time when I need.

J: So how are you guys going to put out the record? Who’s putting it out?

B: We don’t know yet. Hopefully somebody will want to put it out. We’re gonna finish it up and pass it around to some people. If anybody’s reading this, put out our record please. Crossing our fingers.

J: What’s Greg Cartwright’s role in regards to the new record?

B: Well, we recorded it in his house. His whole family was there. We were just in this room - four scruffy rock n roll dudes playing in his house. He pretty much defined the sound of it. We had our amps and he took a look at them and he basically said “well, I also have a room full of amplifiers if you want to check them out.” It was like being a kid in a candy shop. Jeff and I had our guitars and plugged them into all these amps. He told us which drum kit to use. The way we recorded the vocals too. We didn’t even use a condenser microphone - we used a little instrument microphone that worked really well. He’s going to do most of the mixing with us. He helped with harmony parts, handclaps, and backing vocals. Really helped a lot.

J: That’s got to be a great feeling having someone that you respect a lot being hip to the record.

B: Yeah. It was really neat. It was cool. By the end of it, having him playing a guitar solo on a song I wrote. He changed the words with me to one of the choruses. Just sitting down and making it flow better. By the end, we’re both playing it on our guitars.

J: Have you guys collaborated with other artists?

B: Dan McGee from Spider Bags and I did some stuff together. He had a lot more free time a little bit ago and we would hang out and bring songs we had written and working on them and recording. I’d like to do more of that. It was fun.

J: Did you and Dan ever put out those songs?

B: No we didn’t. I think there’s only one that we did that he did some guitar work on. It’s recorded somewhere. I keep bugging him, but still no word. If I ever get my hands on it then I’ll release it in some way.

J: They’re one of my favorite bands too. I used to live in Durham. I remember I saw Spider Bags three times in one week and it was like the greatest week in my life.

B: They’re the best band. They’re awesome. That new record is really phenomenal. We got to do some backing vocals and some handclaps. That new record is seriously one of my favorite records of all time. It’s ridiculous.

J: What’s the deal with the art on the new 7”?

B: That’s our buddy Daron. He was our buddy from Chapel Hill and he recently moved away. He’s a comic artist and he just got a grant so he’s doing full-time art, which is great. He’s got the coolest style. Just go to his flickr. It’s pretty amazing.

J: Did you have any input in it?

B: We originally saw the front cover and just thought it was awesome and we said “we have to make this the record cover” and he was cool with it and then we tried to figure out what to do with the back and he sent this over to Ryan Davis who runs Sophomore Lounge. And Ryan put together the layout and sent it over and I thought it looked great so we rolled with it. I love anything Daron does.

J: How was it working with Sophomore Lounge? You guys have been on all kinds of labels.

B: Sophomore Lounge is great. Ryan has been a friend of ours for a while. I met him through Dan from Spider Bags. We always talked about doing something together and finally it kind of worked out. It took a while for us to work out and get it recorded. He’s really great. I’d love to do another record with him. Sophomore Lounge has been family for a while so it was great to work with them.

J: What do you guys have planned for the future? Are you guys just gonna make more records.

B: I don’t know. We’ll see after this full-length comes out. I feel like we’ve put in the work for a while in terms of recording so keep writing and playing and see if anyone likes the record.

J: Are you guys going to tour behind it?

B: Yeah, we’ll tour behind it. Our van just broke down unfortunately. Hopefully we’ll make it out to the West Coast at some point. That’s the goal and then hopefully Europe if we can get some help from there. We’ll be hitting the road hard after the record. Probably a couple months of touring.

J: Do you guys have plans to do SXSW?

B: Not this year. We did it last year and it was kind of a drag. We were working with an agency and we got kind of lost in the wash with them. We didn’t get a good showcase or  any day parties. It was a bust. We got to hang out and see some friends but other than that it was like constantly asking why we were even there. It seems like a big corporate scheme I feel like. There’s banners and companies everywhere like Doritos and stuff. What does it have to do with music? It’s kind of a bummer.

It’s why festivals like Hopscotch are awesome. Bands run around and play a bunch of shows everyone is there to see music. There aren’t these corporate fatcats running around. People are there to experience being at a music festival. Why would you pay $300 to go to a festival and sit around to play XBOX at the XBOX dome? It’s so lame to me.

J: How important is being local and staying true to your artist integrity?

B: It’s important. I think we need people around here that will let people stay over. People need to have places to stay. Also being local and playing locally is important. Being friends with people is the most important. There was this band that I let stay over at my house last night after just working the door - they weren’t anything like our music, but I let them. I didn’t like them or anything. We let them over and just kind of figured we could show them a good time, but they were like awful. Terrible people not trying to hang out. Except one of them - one of them was cool. The other two were just sitting there and talking about agencies and money and yadda yadda yadda. All I could think was “what the hell are you doing? hang out and listen to our records with us.”

J: I definitely think that stuff is important to music. I think a lot of the worth in music comes from making something original or not even original but internally integral to the person. Not just influenced by some sort of greed or money at the expense of the art.

B: Yeah, you know - it hits me as like what’s the point? Like, it’s funny that people don’t understand that you can’t make a living off Rock n Roll. (Laughs). It’s not gonna happen. It happens to a couple people, but for most of us it’s far off so my approach is to have fun, play music, and make records.

J: What would you say to people starting bands?

B: Start touring and make a record. That’s the only way to do it. Even some people will make a great record and won’t tour. Bands need to play with cool people. That sounds lame. But people need to play with good bands that come through the area, and not be shy. Hit the road as hard as possible.

J: Anything else you’d like to say?

B: I think that about answers everything, man.

Interview with Anthony from Radar Eyes

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Chicago-based Hozac Records - they release some of the most infectious rock n' roll based records every year, which happened once again in 2012 with releases from the Liminanas, Puffy Areolas, The People's Temple, and Radar Eyes. I listen to every record that the label puts out without exception and I have never found a dud. When I picked up the copy of Radar Eyes' debut self-titled LP, I was once again in awe of the consistency of quality in releases. Radar Eyes had a lot of influences and sounds involved in their music. A little bit of 80s punk, a little bit of Jesus & Mary Chain, and a little bit of the history of garage rock.

In September I took a job at a Beer Distributor and now have about 60 bars, restaurants, and hotels in Chicago that I call on and place orders for. One of these bars was Handlebar, a vegetarian restaurant that celebrates the cyclist lifestyle on North avenue that has some of the best french fries in the city and a great craft beer menu to boot. Turns out the manager of the restaurant, Russ, was a member of Radar Eyes. He got me in touch with Anthony, who has been in of Radar Eyes since 2007. We ended up chatting about the band's roots starting almost out of nowhere. Anthony, at the time, had been booking shows for the Cobra Lounge and was looking for an opening band. So he just assembled a new one out of a band called Night of the Hunter. Thus, Radar Eyes was born.

The members of the band Anthony, Shelley, Nithin, Russ, and Lucas all contribute different roles to the songwriting process and instrumentation of the band - Anthony says later in the interview that the band has become even more collaborative since the release of their newest LP.

The band has their own page on HOZAC'S WEBSITE and are also on FACEBOOK - I highly recommend the LP they released earlier this year. It's an atmospheric punch of rock n roll.

The band will also be releasing another album in 2013.

This is what Anthony said.

Jordan: So what’s the discography of Radar Eyes like? You said you started in 2007 but your debut LP came out in 2012 so basically what happened in between?

Anthony: Right, right - it’s a long time. It started off when I was playing in another band at the time - a band called Cococoma.

J: Oh I love that band!

A: Yeah, and Radar Eyes was sort of just a fun band so we didn’t really have a lot of aspirations to do anything with it, but as time went on and we put more effort into it, it became a more serious thing. Now it’s something that I do all the time. The first thing we put out was a tape with Plus Tapes. I met Dustin, the guy who runs it, at Pitchfork and I was talking with the guys at the Hozac table because I’m friendly with them and I saw the tape label, who had a booth next door. I told him that I had the Disappears tape and the Cave tape and how much I liked them - I still had a tape player in the car that I had at the time and it was nice to be able to play contemporary bands on the tape player (laughter). This was about when people started putting tapes out again. So I told him that I would love to put a tape out on the label - so he came to see us play and was into it. We basically recorded it live in our practice space and did a little bit of overdubbing and mixing.

Then we had a couple singles on Hozac before the LP came out. That’s the extent of it and we have a few coming up this year.

J: What do you all have in the works?

A: In the works we have another single on Hozac, a single on Agenda records, and then the guy, Chris who does the Notes and Bolts podcast, wants to put out a split flexi with us and another band. I just did the recording recently a couple weeks ago. Then we’re gonna record at Electrical Audio at the end of next month and hope to finish up a full-length.

J: So you all have analog-centric products - do you also use analog recording methods?

A: The LP, the tape, and one of the singles were all recorded on the same piece of equipment, which is an 8-channel mixing board with a quarter-inch reel to reel built in to it. It looks like a gigantic four-track, but it’s a much bigger and professional version, though it still retains a sort of home-studio feel. I did the mixing in Logic on my computer. I’m not married to analog sound. I like using it, but I like being able to mix digitally since it’s much easier.

J: How do you guys go about recording songs? Are you the principal songwriter?

A: Well, not necessarily. Right now, I do mainly guitar playing but the songwriting process is all over. Sometimes I’ll come in with a song that’s completely done, but more often than not, especially over the last year since Lucas has joined the band, he’s brought in a lot of good ideas and we’ve made songs around those. After we finished the LP, I feel like I had done so much on that record that I was creatively friend (laughs). So Lucas really helped out with that - I didn’t even want to think about writing a song or making music. I spent a lot of hours in the basement mixing and overdubbing. I really have no training on how to do that stuff so I was kind of figuring it all out as I went. It was frustrating for a lot of it.

J: You labeled yourself earlier as a garagey punky band. I definitely think a bunch of your songs are like that, but then on songs like “I Am” you have a more ethereal, ambient vibe - soundscape-like. The lead instrumental track is so otherworldly and it’s so different. Where does it come from? Is there an influence or idea?

A: “I Am” specifically is a strange situation. We had that song completely done and I just thought that it was lacking something so the main melody line is a synthesizer and I wrote that in the studio in my basement after everything had been tracked. Even playing that song live we had never used that melody line. I had always thought the song was a little flat, but once I had written that then the song really came together.

As far as the influence, I liked the structure of that song but it never felt finished until I added all those extra layers and synthesizer. I guess I had some ideas of how I wanted it to sound, but I wasn’t thinking of those things when the song was originally written. It came together as I was putting it together in the studio, putting together the guitar, bass, and drum tracks. It ends up sounding more like My Bloody Valentine Loveless influenced or shoegaze, but I think it was out of necessity as far as what the song called for. I had something and needed to figure out what the song called for - what does it need? Those sounds and synthesizer parts were what the song called for.

J: That’s crazy - I would have thought that you had worked off the synth-line first.

A: Yeah, that was the thing that just tied it all together.

J: So what would you say has influenced your sound? What bands have influenced songwriting or production? Maybe even beyond bands - events, ideas.

A: As far as the album, the LP, I really have always liked the idea of homerecording and doing it yourself - the outsider influence in music. As an exercise in being able to communicate in a studio with an engineer, I wanted to know how to do this stuff. I wanted to know how to do it myself to be able to talk with someone. Without any actual training, I had to do it myself. This was the approach with the recording.

As far as bands who influenced me, I’ve always been into regular punk-rock bands like the Ramones, the 70s cleveland punks like the Electric Eels. There is stuff on the LP that has been influenced by bands from the 2000s - the alt-garage-rock. The ponies who were a band when Radar Eyes first started that was a big influence on me. They culminated a bunch of sounds and influences that I liked into a band. I’m a music nerd for sure - I like a wide variety of music. It’s hard to pin one thing down. In my teenage years I was into a lot of the punk at the time and a lot of Geffen records like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and those bands. 

J: If someone put a gun to your head and said what was your favorite band of all-time and if you don’t answer then the bullet goes into your brain.

A: (laughs)

J: And you only have 10 seconds.

A: Well, the first band that comes to mind is the Ramones - they were a band that played music that I could play - they started me into making music. I would listen to them and think “I could do that.” It made being in a band possible for me. And that stuff had come out 15 years before I was playing music. It made me feel like it was okay to play guitar even though I sucked. I think that’s the most important thing for me. The reasons why I started.

J: So who writes the lyrics for your band?

A: Currently I write all the lyrics. On the LP, Nathan wrote the songs that he sang, which are “Bear Bee” and “Prairie Puppies” and a couple others. But as far as lyrics now, I write all of them.

J: What do you talk about when you’re writing lyrics? Where do they come from?

A: (laughs) Well, most of the stuff on the album was personal experience. I mean, I could go down the list of songs and say what they’re about. But I’d rather have people tell me what they think the songs are about.

J: Are you a fan of poetry in general?

A: I am, but I don’t read a lot of poetry. That being said, I can definitely appreciate it. I like great lyricists, everyone from Dylan, Nick Cave, Lou Reed and a bunch of others. But that’s probably the main influence. I don’t think I’m an amazing lyricist, but it can be pretty cool to write lyrics. I get inspired by great lyricists - people who put words together well.

J: What do you think makes a great lyricist?

A: Somebody that can tell you things that have been said a hundred times, but the person does it in a way that can be new, refreshing and interesting. You can talk about love but do it in a way that doesn’t sound like it’s been said a million times. I think if you can do that, that’s pretty good.

J: What do you think about songs? Do you think it’s similar?

A: I think music and lyrics can come together. But someone who can write a great song and put chords together in an interesting way. It’s gonna be the same chords you’ve heard a thousand times but in a new way. That’s impressive to me too.

J: The same stuff in new and interesting ways. Seems like that’s kind of where we are now. There’s a lot that’s been done. I can’t even tell what we haven’t.

A: Even down to the subtleties. Just changing a little thing here and there that makes something more interesting. Paying attention to details is refreshing. Having taste or restraint in songwriting. I find that the more that I write songs, the more that I want to approach from that standpoint. You can throw anything at it, but then you have to ask yourself what is actually good. Having a bullshit detector. What’s good here and what’s not? You have to be honest and leave your ego at the door.

J: What about rhyme in lyrics? What do you think about its role? When you hear rhyme in lyrics do you think “that’s cool” or “that’s unnecessary” or “that’s cool as long as it’s not the same shit I always hear?”

A: Yeah, the latter there. It can be good if it’s used well. Like rhyming the most boring lyrics. Someone that doesn’t take any actual interest in whether the songwriting is good. People who throw it off and say that’s good enough.

J: I feel like that gets done a lot. For me it kind of pisses me off.

A: I think bad lyrics are bad lyrics and I am definitely guilty of it. Even some stuff on the album I had just tossed off because I was more concerned with other stuff at the time. But now in retrospect I take more time with them. I’m not a great lyricist and I don’t think I ever will be, but I take more time with them than I used to. I think about each word a little more. How does it fit in and what does it mean? I find language and communication interesting - how do you put an idea into another person’s head.

J: What’s the new album like? What are the song ideas like?

A: We have about five songs recorded for a new album. Five new recordings that haven’t been released. We’re gonna do five or six more in the next month or so. I would say that the stuff is a little darker than the last LP. It’s more of the stuff that I’ve been listening to lately. I mean, I’ve probably always listened to it, but even moreso lately. A lot of 80s minimal synth stuff and post-punk. I’ve been going through about a year and a half long new wave obsession. Stuff like Echo and the Bunnymen, the Cure, and things in that era. It’s gonna be a little darker and post-punk. It’s still two guitars and drums. The last song on the LP “Side of the Road” is similar - I’d like to write more synth-based stuff, but I don’t generally write songs on a synthesizer.

J: So you usually write on a guitar?

A: Yeah, it usually starts with guitar chords or a bassline.

J: When do you all end up working out songs?

A: In practice we will bring ideas and mull over them. Bring a basic structure and then I always record in early practices and then send those recordings to the band and have people bring suggestions to the table. There’s a lot of homework especially in the new songs. On the previous LP, a lot of the song ideas were my own. But the new stuff is very collaborative and everyone has been a huge part of the writing process. It’s awesome. I love that everyone can fit in more. The band is really great.

J: Do you or anyone do anything artistic or creative outside of music?

A: Yes. Me not so much. Music is my thing. Russ is also a visual artist and does a lot of t-shirt designs and poster designs. He makes great calendars every year for his friends and so I got an awesome screen-printed calendar. He’s really artistic in other ways. Lucas mostly does music - he’s in a bunch of bands but is also insanely prolific in songwriting. He writes a lot of music all the time. I don’t know what else he does. Shelly has a pretty creative job being a librarian. She does a summer reading program and has to bring in a lot of ideas and material for the kids.
J: How was it working with Hozac Records?

A: I really like those guys. I’ve been a fan of what they’ve been doing for over fifteen years. They used to have a zine that I started reading back in the mid 90s, maybe late 90s called Horizontal Action, which is where “Hozac” comes from. They help me to find out about a lot of music that I wouldn’t know. A lot of 70s rock n roll and garage bands and contemporary stuff. Even Jay Reatard’s first band, the Reatards. They’ve been great otherwise too. Todd and Brett are awesome dudes.

J: That’s about all the questions I have. Anything else you want to say?

A: Oh, man. Uh.

J: It’s a pretty heavy burden. Anything in the world.

A: (Laughs). I got nothing for you.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Interview with John Dawson of Thee Open Sex

Towards the end of summer I bought a cassette deck for an assortment of reasons - firstly, it meant that I could get an analog recording for one third to one half the price of a record. The second was because several bands had been mailing me cassettes and I had no way to listen to them. First, I bought a cassette walkman but I seemed to always have to deal with interference from radio lines and airwaves while walking it around, dangling off my hip like a fanny pack on the side, or like if Misty from Pokemon's side-pig-tail were on my hip and it weren't a group of hair at all but a cassette walkman. One of my earliest trips to find some good cassettes was at Permanent Records, which is my favorite Chicago record shop - has great customer service and a lot of LPs that are harder to find in other places.

At this visit, I walked towards the back to see which cassettes they had. I picked up a bunch of used ones like The Doors' first album, an X album, and Talking Heads' "Speaking in Tongues." When I looked at the new cassettes I found a metallic-looking wrapper with the words "Thee Open Sex (is not a cult.)" If that didn't suck me in, I don't know what else did. So I picked the cassette up.

I often read while I listen to music, so I popped the cassette in and began reading something (though I forget what.) Around this time, I just had started to get into drone and noise music. I had heard of Thee Open Sex before in relation to Apache Dropout but didn't expect a drone record when that was what played. I was surprised, albeit pleasantly, and listened through the whole thing. Much of their cassettes consist of these drone pieces, which are really cool to listen to and what John Dawson assures me to be a piece of their output live and recorded.

Thee Open Sex's John Dawson operates the Magnetic South record label, which puts out many bands along with Apache Dropout (though not their newest LP on Trouble in Mind) and Thee Open Sex. You can learn more about the record label HERE. You can also learn more about Thee Open Sex on their TUMBLR

The band's newest LP on Magnetic South is more indicative of traditional Rock n Roll songs and textures but still adds an unrest that makes Thee Open Sex's output slightly different than the music you have heard before - some call it psychedelia and some call it atmosphere - I guess it's both of these things, but thinking about it in terms of the familiar doesn't accomplish the novelty of the feel.

I talked to John. This is what he said.

Jordan: What is Thee Open Sex? Who is in the band and how did the band happen? How long have you been around?

John Dawson: I made my first tape as Open Sex in 2009. The first performance happened shortly after that. During the first year, performances were different almost every time. Our drummer, Tyler Damon, got involved at that point. Material on our new record started to come about after Miss Mess and I started writing songs together. Mike Anderson (from Racebannon, Rapider Than Horsepower, Medusa) started playing guitar at that point, and Will Staler (Purple 7, Landlord, Defiance: OH) started playing bass. I have been the only consistently present member, but this current lineup is pretty definitive.  Haley Fohr and Daun Door-key left a big foot print on the band.  They appear on the new record but don't play live with us at this point.

J: You guys share the same initials as Thee Oh Sees - is this on purpose?

JD: No. The group began as just "Open Sex". It came from an evangelical sermon record by Jack Van Impe, that guitarist Matt Shuff found called "Marked for Death: Can America Survive?". In it, the Dr. quotes from The White Panther Party Manifesto and recounts instances of young people stripping and engaging in public sex acts at Rock festivals. The name looked kind of like a bad joke on flyers... like naming your band "Free Beer". "Thee" was added because it makes you think about the 2 words differently as you say them. Like saying "Pink Floyd" instead of "Free Beer". In that sense, it really stems more from Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth. I associate it with that, and Billy Childish. 

J: What is your discography? When was everything released?

JD: "Open Sex on Every Street Corner" was done in 2009. Then the "Doing It Forever" series came out. "Thee Open Sex is Not a Cult" and "Thee Open Sex is Not a Put On" were made mostly from live performances from 2010. Those were all tapes.

J: How has the transition from cassettes to records been like for you guys?

JD: People are more excited about the record than the tapes - both the audience and the band.  It's really part of a bigger transition for the band and for the Magnetic South studio and label.   We released tapes for a few years that really weren't available digitally or for that matter physically anywhere besides local record stores and performances.  We were always surprised at the amount of interest in the tapes.

J: Your early output focused on more noise and drone elements, but the new LP is centered around songs and atmosphere - what made the change?

JD: We've always worked with minimal, open structures with our music.  The material on the new LP just incorporates elements people associated with Rock and Roll music more deliberately.   The lyrics and melodic focus of the vocals happened when we began writing with Miss Mess.  We just integrated that aspect into what we were already doing.

J: You guys share similar members with Apache Dropout - what happened? Is one a split off of the other?

JD: Lord Fyre (Apache Dropout's drummer) and I started Magnetic South as a studio and tape label with Aaron Deer (Daring Ear, Horns of Happiness, Extra Classic, Impossible Shapes, etc) in 2008 or 2009.    I guess I am basically the "technician" of the studio aspect of Magnetic South, so I have been pretty involved in most of Apache Dropout's recordings as an engineer.   Everyone in Apache Dropout has been involved with Open Sex as  musicians for recording or performances.  As each group started to become more active, we just focused on what availability allowed.  Right now, the Apache Dropout guys are more in the cast of auxiliary members of Open Sex.  Lord Fyre sits in on percussion and Nathan usually plays hurdy gurdy when we do more long form drone stuff.  I imagine you'll see Sonny popping up on guitar or bass with Open Sex in 2013.  Likewise, I'll probably be involved with whatever recording Apache Dropout does this year.  

J: What sorts of lyrical themes do you tackle in your music? How important are lyrics?

JD: My interpretation is that the lyrics deal with disenfranchisement culturally and sexually.  I think they are crucial to the record.  

J: What is the live aspect of Thee Open Sex like? What role does live music play in the role of the band?

JD: Our live performances are somewhat unpredictable.  We are pretty fluid with setlists and incorporate a significant amount of improvisation into the performances.  We also like to create venue or event specific performances, and might even write specific material with unique arrangements or instrumentation for local shows.  We generally tighten it up when we are traveling, but the spirit is still the same.  I tend to think of a live performance of having ritualistic effects on consciousness, so we try and project an exalted vibration in the moment of performance.

J: How has it been working with Magnetic South? What sort of impact have they had?

JD: Part of the conceptual framework for Magnetic South is rooted in the observation that shifts in technology and music industry paradigms in the 90's and 00's shifted resources and expertise from the actual production of recordings, and as a result, it seemed like the art of recording was suffering.  We liked the idea of a label/studio partnership that fostered the development of aesthetic continuity and creative community.  I think there is also an approach to maximizing creative energy that is rooted in a DIY approach that has been effective for Magnetic South.  I think Thee Open Sex is really an outgrowth of those ideas.

J: What do you guys see in the future for the band?

JD: We are going to tour in the Spring and Fall of this year.  We'll also be releasing some more tapes of things we have already recorded, and we'll be recording material for another full length soon.

J: Anything else you'd like to say?

JD: You can get our record and other Magnetic South releases here:
and you can get digital copies of our music from Bandcamp:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Interview with Elijah Von Cramon from Paint Fumes

Dem Boiz on the Cover of their album "Uck Life"

For a while I had seen the band Paint Fumes on different posters throughout the Triangle area - I had assumed they were from there since I used to see them play with bands like Last Year's Men, but it turns out that they are from Charlotte (Boy, am I a dolt!). They recently released a full-length record on Slovenly Records, which I just picked up based on recognizance of the band's name.

When I popped it onto my turntable I really was surprised how this band had slipped away from me during my time going to shows in the Triangle area. Fuzz to melt your brain with a singer who could melt your face (not to mention a great drummer [but we all know that drums don't melt because they pulverize instead]). I immediately found myself enjoying this record. It was a reminder of the spectrum of punk bands who could pick and choose the roots of rock history that appealed. Paint Fumes dissected this history and picked apart strains of the psychedelic while mounting that on top of a Buzzcocks-like 80s punk, while still maintaining a pungent scream from their lead singer.

You can check them out on their FACEBOOK

I got in touch with the band and Elijah, the songwriter and singer was more than happy to help out explaining the psychedelic sounds of the Paint Fumes.

Jordan: Elijah, tell me a little bit about your band. How’d it start? What kind of background did you come from? Did you guys know each other for a while?

Elijah Von Cramen: I met Bret, the lead guitarist a while ago and it’s been years and years since I wanted to start a band cause I had been going through some weird shit in the head and decided to start playing guitar and then I started writing shit. From there, Josh joined after our first drummer quit. I’d say we’ve been a band for about two years now.

J: Can you go over your release history?

E: Basically, we just have our newest LP and the 7” before that. Before that, all we had was an EP that our friend in Charlotte did. What was it called? Something like “We Don’t Know What the Fuck We’re Doing” or “What the Fuck Are We Doing?” I don’t know. Now most of the songs we have now were on that EP but they sounded way worse because we were still figuring everything out. That was probably only two or three months before Josh, our drummer, joined the band. Then Slovenly picked us up pretty fast.

J: What was it like working with Slovenly for this newest release?

E: Oh man, they’ve been great. They’re such nice dudes and we’re always in touch with them. We’re one of their few US touring bands on the current roster- most of their stuff is in Europe, but it’s nice because Joe who handles distribution lives in Pennsylvania so we can talk to him and Pete’s in Amsterdam, which makes it hard to get in touch with him, but other than that, they’ve been great and very supportive of everything.

J: How did you guys meet them?

E: Whenever we had our original drummer, we played a show with Davila 666 at Milestone Charlotte and Pete was on tour with Davila and they all came back to my house and we had a party and I talked to Pete for a while because I used to do house shows when I lived in Reno. Basically we just kept talking and made that connection. Whenever we recorded our full-length with Josh I just said “hey, we just recorded an album. let me know if you’re into it.” He wrote back about an hour later saying “Let’s make a record.” We were super excited when that happened. I’ve always loved the stuff that they put out too - it’s always really good.

J: So you all are from Charlotte - what bands do you like to play with from around there?

E: It’s kind of a weird scene, but there’s a bunch of good stuff there. We definitely love playing with anything Nick Goode does like Joint D, Brain F≠, and he’s got a new band. He’s an amazing songwriter, and an amazing punk songwriter. There’s a lot of good bands going on and I’m actually starting another band with some other people. It’s an all right scene. There are a bunch of good venues, but the scene is kind of small. Milestone is really great.

J: I actually just moved from Durham in May so I’m totally into the Sorry State bands, especially Nick Goode’s stuff. I remember always seeing you guys on bills with Last Year’s Men. Those dudes are awesome.

E: Yeah, those dudes are super nice. They’re a great band, but it’s not my favorite stuff - the straight garage like Black Lips, but they’re great at what they do. They have awesome energy.

J: See, I hate genre questions, but would you call yourselves more of a punk band than a garage band?

E: I don’t know. I think about that all the time. We cover a lot of ground based on what we like. I like garage stuff and punk stuff and psychedelic stuff. Same with Bret and Josh. I like to call us “Panic-Attack Punk.” Just feeling crazy - trying to convey the feeling of feeling crazy.

J: That’s a great name.

E: That’s the main reason I was starting a band cause I was having panic attacks all the time and I stopped doing drugs and drinking for a short period of time and felt like I was losing my fucking mind - I had to figure out something to do.

J: I never really understood how people in bands could just go full-throttle at all times. It doesn’t make sense to me, as a person who took biology in high school. How does the body even function like that?

The Gang Eating
E: Like partying all the time?

J: Yeah.

E: I know, man. I’m still wondering that myself. I went from quitting to back into full-throttle and I’m still at full-throttle and it’s totally crazy. But, I get you get used to it - it turns you into a bit of an alcoholic, which is why I’ve tried to stop drinking as much. But, you know, partying is partying. I guess it’s a matter of having self-control and realizing that when you’re on tour you can’t party every night. You have to eventually take a break a little bit. It’s just hard to sometimes actually do that.

J: What’s the feeling like when you go into a show as opposed to finishing a show? Are you super stoked or nervous to start and what’s the feeling after?

E: That depends on the show we play. We just played with King Khan & the BBQ Show and I was super nervous. I had done a bunch of Adderall that morning and drank a bunch of gin & tonics because I was so nervous and I felt terrible. I was really mad at myself but releasing all that stuff and sweating during a show is really relieving. Most of the time I’m not that nervous. Being in front of people can be hard. I’m surprisingly more nervous with playing in front of people in Charlotte than anywhere else because I have to go home and see them all the time. I feel like no one really likes us here anyways so I have to make it up and make it a good show and that always turns out weird.

J: So what do you do outside of music?

E: Well, I have a job. I pretty much play music, work, skateboard, and draw. All kinds of stuff.

J: What kinds of stuff do you draw?

E: Mostly fat, ugly people.

J: Nice.

E: Yeah, I don’t know why. I always draw really fat, weird things. I can’t not draw that kind of stuff. It’s the first thing that happens when I start drawing - I don’t even know how to describe it. Monsters. Just dumb, ugly things.

J: (laughs) Do you have any influences in drawing?

E: I don’t know. I’m sure there are a bunch of influences in my head but I’m just grabbing at straws. I can’t really think of anything now. Have you ever seen like Roky Erickson’s drawings? That stuff is cool.

J: No, I haven’t. I was actually just watching a documentary on him but I haven’t finished it yet.

E: You’re gonna miss me?

J:  Yeah, yeah.

E: Oh, man, that movie’s insane. It makes me cry every time.

J: I remember the first record I ever got was the 13th Floor Elevators’ first record, but I really don’t know much about Roky Erickson at all.

E: It’s awesome. We actually met him in Atlanta. He’s still pretty out there, but that same thing happened to me. I heard that record and it changed everything for me. You should listen to Bull of the Woods - that one is badass. It doesn’t have the jug player, but it’s still psychedelic in a totally different, weird way. It’s got horns. He’s one of my biggest heroes - just the fact that he was in an insane asylum and got crazy treatments just because he got caught with a joint. They made him go crazier than he actually was.

J: Yeah, mental illness is something interesting too because there’s been such a huge range of developments in psychopharmacology and psychotherapy since the 60s. Insane Asylums then were still super cruel back then.

E: Yeah, exactly. I don’t know how far you’ve gotten in the documentary, but it recounts all his experiences with the institution and it sounds miserable and awful. How could you possibly not go insane if you’re forced into a situation like that? That kind of stuff happens - when you’d have panic attacks and feel like your mind is about to break, but it’s not the way you go insane in a violent way, but rather become a person that is more likely to see a ghost or something. That kind of stuff happens to me. That’s how I can relate to all the Roky Erickson stuff.

J: So does the idea of balancing society and having breaking points along the way get into your music?

E: Honestly, I feel weird every day because one time I took a hallucinogen and I had a good time, but then about two months later I started feeling like I was on it all the time. That’s when I quit everything and I was feeling absolutely nuts. My vision was weird and I felt like I was messed up on drugs when I wasn’t. Sometimes I still feel that way, but now that I’ve gotten used to it, I don’t feel as crazy. It just feels like every day is weird. Maybe I’m just getting older.

J: How old are you guys?

E: I’m the youngest, I’m 23. Josh is 33 or 34 and Bret is 27.

J: That’s a big range.

E: Yeah, and they’re both married. I’m just the young guy. Bret, Josh and I all get along really well. Bret’s basically band-dad. He doesn’t get as wild as Josh and I. Josh and I are very similar in that way. Bret will be the guy at 4 in the morning saying, “no, we’re not gonna do that because we have to tour and play tomorrow.”

J: Have you guys toured the U.S.?

E: Yeah we’ve done a bunch of tours. We’ve done the West Coast and we just got done doing East Coast and West. We’ve done the East Coast a lot. We’ve basically been touring the whole time. We’ve only really had about 3 months since Josh joined the band started where we weren’t touring. We’re going to Europe in April and we’re also doing a lot of the U.S. in March.

J: For South by Southwest?

E: Yeah. We’re gonna be doing SXSW and then going to California with Bloodshot Bill. Do you know him?

J: Yeah, he played with Tandoori Knights when I was in Durham.

E: Yeah, he plays guitar in that band. So this will be our second time touring with him. We did a two-week tour with him once. We’re planning with Useless Eaters, do you know them?

J: Yeah, I’ve got a couple of their tapes.

E: Yeah, I’ve been talking with Seth and I think we’re gonna tour with them in December. Basically we’ve been touring the whole time. Basically, I feel like all you can really do in times like these when you can’t make a whole lot of money is to put yourself out there and gain exposure. The Black Lips did that. They were out forever and a lot of people hated them, but they kept touring and look at them now - they’re huge.

J: That band rocks too.

E: Yeah, exactly. A lot of people still hate them. But they definitely have the right idea about it, just pushing themselves as much as possible. It sucks being on tour all the time though and the fact that Bret and Josh are married and I have a girlfriend back home. It sucks being gone for that long, but your band becomes your job.

J: So what’s it like getting back home after a tour? What’s the feeling like that the world didn’t stop when you were gone?

E: That’s the weird thing. Charlotte doesn’t feel different. When I get back to Charlotte, nothing’s changed. I get back and do my job - my job lets me tour whenever I want. All of our tours have been a month and a half to two months every time. I don’t know how I still have a job still. I must be doing something right. I’m always relieved though when I get back. If I didn’t have a girlfriend though, I’d probably be pretty bummed out when I got back home. I’m psyched to be back home because I haven’t seen my girlfriend in like a month and a half.

J: So what’s the songwriting process like for you guys?

E: I generally write all the basic stuff and the songs and then Bret writes a lead guitar part. The one that he wrote though, which is still my favorite one was “Uck Life.” He wrote the main riff and then I went off of that. But I pretty much write everything and they fill in their part. Josh has never lived in Charlotte though. We meet up before a tour and practice for a day or two and go out. 

I still don’t really like our new record because it feels really rushed. We recorded it in four hours and there wasn’t much time to do what we wanted. But this next record we’re gonna have a lot more time to work on. We’re gonna sit down for a week where we don’t have work and write something cohesive.

I don’t want to sound like every other garage or punk band. A lot of our songs are different, especially with the way Bret plays guitar.

J: Any idea about timing for the new record? Do you all have any songs done?

E: Oh yeah, I’ve got like thirty songs already ready. We’ve got a couple new songs that we’ve been playing on tour. We’re gonna have a seven-inch out in the next couple of months. That’s going to have a couple of my favorite songs on it. And then when we’re in Europe I want to record in Greece with our friends Bazooka that we’re touring with. They were helping with the Acid Baby Jesus record.

J: Oh, I love that record.

E: Yeah, me too. It sounds really good. So I want to do it with John who’s in Bazooka and maybe that’ll work out. It just depends on timing and stuff. It’s hard with Josh being in L.A. and flights aren’t cheap to just record for a week. Hopefully that’ll be done pretty soon. I also have a few other projects that should be getting done soon.

And if we do that tour with The Useless Eaters then we’d like to do a split seven-inch in December, which is hopefully when the next LP will be out.

J: So where’d you all get the name Paint Fumes?

E: Oh, so me and the old drummer were initially in the band - his name is Marcel. He had never played drums before and I was barely playing guitar and we were both screwing around talking about figuring out a name. I was just saying how I wanted it to be about cheap kicks, like that Ramone’s song about sniffing glue. We both used to do a bunch of graffiti and thought we should do something about paint. One of us just thought “Paint Fumes.” The name kind of has that sound that makes you feel dizzy and intoxicated. Like, fucked up in the weirdest way possible, which is how I feel all the time, so it worked out perfectly. It fell together in a weird way, but I guess that’s how it was supposed to be. You don’t really think of anything when it first happens if it’s good.

J: That’s about all I have - do you have anything else?

E: No, not really. Hopefully we’ll be coming back to Chicago pretty soon.

J: That’d be awesome.

E: We’d love to go back to the Empty Bottle.

J: Yeah, thats my favorite venue.

E: Yeah, I love hanging with Matt Williams over there. He’s the shit. It’d be a blast. Hopefully on the next East Coast tour we’ll be through there.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Interview with the Peoples' Temple

The Peoples Temple at a live show
Peoples' Temple are a band from Perry, Michigan - the band is made of two sets of brothers and they play a highly-refined 60s sounding garage rock n' roll with a bit of psychedelia. They have put out two full-length records on Chicago's very on Hozac Records, an amazing label if you have not checked it out yet.

I got into the guys when I picked up their first LP "Sons of Stone," which, from the very beginning, left me awestruck - these guys have a penchant for shoving wildly anthemic hooks into a basin of garage containedness. You can check out their first record on their BANDCAMP. Their next record "More for the Masses" continues down this path while removing a bit of the psychedelia but still maintaining a pervasive energy and rock n roll sensibility.

In addition, this band is constantly touring - I don't know how many shows they have played Chicago in the last year, but it seems to be the only thing that these guys do. You can see what shows they are playing and get a good feel from the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE

Give them a spin because they rock!

I contacted Alex. We spoke. This is a transcription of what happened.

Jordan: When did you guys start the band? It's kind of cool that you're two sets of brothers - did you guys play music together a lot before the People's Temple started?

Peoples' Temple:  We started our band in 2008. William, George and I played together all the time beforehand.

J: Are there a lot of good bands coming out of Lansing? Any bands that you would recommend checking out or that you enjoy playing with?

PT: Not a lot . There are two bands Racket Ghost and Language are the best bands in lansing right now, we're all close friends and have played many shows together.

J: You guys seem to always be touring here in Chicago - do you generally tour the midwest or do you change up your tours regularly? How do you plan everything out? What kind of jobs allow you guys to tour as you do?

PT: Well yes Chicago has always been a steady place for us to play as you know HoZac is based out of Chicago. But we have a great booking agent who helps us plan out are tours and yes in the near future we plan on touring quite regularly. We all have shitty jobs that will let you take time off to tour.

J: How did you decide on the name The Peoples Temple?

PT: We really liked BJM [editor's note: Brian Jonestown Massacre] and named it partly off their name in the Jonestown aspect.

J: You all have released a bunch of music in the last few years. What is the writing process like behind making new records and putting them out?

PT: I write and arrange most of the songs, then william/spencer will come in 

And write lyrics. Or George, william, or spencer will have a song and put on the table. 

J: Were there new influences, sounds, or songwriting techniques when you were making the new album "More for the Masses?"

PT: Yes for sure. We had been listing a lot to the James Gang, more intricate Love songs like off Forever Changes, and of course the Stones( think Aftermath).  Not a lot changed from SOS except we wanted to get a little away from the psych element and try making a decently polished record.

J: How did you produce the new album? Was it all self-produced or did you have outside help?

PT:  It was produced my me and George helped out as well. I just went for semi-polished 60's sound. Using layered vocals and Phil specters wall of sound technique.

J: What are some records that you have enjoyed this past year?

PT: I would have to say - Ariel pinks haunted graffiti- mature themes & Ty segall- twins

J: What's the best mexican restaurant you've been to while you've traveled around?

PT: Some place out in New York was pretty damn good forget the name.

J: What's the weirdest reaction you've gotten from a fan at a show?

PT: Some dude said we sounded like pink Floyd which I thought was kinda funny.

J: Anything else you guys would like to say?

PT: For sure. We have a third man single coming out in January and have already recorded a ton of new material enough for a third album.

And i guess i would say We give you are hearts and we give you are souls fuck everything else lets Rock and Roll.