Thursday, January 29, 2015

Interview with Justin Hubbard of Germ House

My friend Chris DeFusco, who runs Negative Fun Records, was an early advocate for this blog, and a big help in getting this site off the ground. First and foremost, without him, I would never have been able to interview Tara from Mr. Airplane Man, a real dream come true, but I also wouldn't have been able to meet Justin Hubbard, Tara's husband. Justin's no stranger to music, as he was in the band Turpentine Brothers. He is also in Far Corners, which is currently active, and now Germ House who put out their excellent debut LP, Showing Symptoms, on Trouble in Mind.

Germ House in a live setting features Justin on vocals and guitar, Tara on drums, Sean Bond on a synth, and Joe Ayoub on bass, but the record was by and large a solo effort by Justin in his home recording studio. Showing Symptoms boasts ten garage nuggets over the course of thirty-two minutes that seem to get better with each side flip of the side.

Below, Justin talks briefly about the possibility of an upcoming West Coast tour. Until then, however, we've got a fantastic slab of wax to hold our appetites! The mailorder ltd. edition version was only pressed in an edition of 500 so order soon!

Jordan Reyes: Germ House started as a solo project, didn't it? When did you decide to add Tara to the recording process?

Justin Hubbard: It did, but I never really intended it to be a solo thing necessarily. I just wanted to get these other song ideas on tape. They weren't really fitting in with our other band and I just started doing demos of them myself. Some of the songs I couldn't pull off on the drums, believe me I tried and it sounded terrible! I guess in a way I was being stubborn, I wanted to play everything myself. 

JR: I assume most of the songs from Showing Symptoms probably started as home-recordings on your own. When did you get to the point where you knew you wanted to put out an LP with your songs?

JH: Yeah definitely, I always wanted it to be a functioning live band though. Music is weird, it's like it doesn't exist unless it's in a physical recorded format. I needed it to be out there somehow so I could move on.
JR: What do you use for home recording by the way?

JH: I record to 4 track cassette, it's a Tascam 424 MKIII. I have a Studiomaster mixing board and a few decent mics. It's a lot of fun and insanely frustrating at the same time. I have to record on a regular basis or I totally forget how to do it. I'm just barely keeping it together! My buddy Curtiss back in Boston really has helped out a lot with gear and advice. He recorded our old band a bunch. 

JR: When we did the Far Corners interview in October of 2012, you had mentioned to me that you were also in Germ House. At that time was Germ House performing live with Joe and Tara or is that a more recent thing?

JH: I think we had played a couple shows at that point.
JR: I was actually surprised when Bill told me he was putting out your full-length because I just hadn't heard anything for a while. Had you considered putting out singles or an EP first? Personally, I think it's awesome you started with an LP, but I guess I typically expect a debut to be a 7" rather than an LP.

JH: I was expecting to do some 7" at first but was really happy they wanted to do a full length. Travis at Windian was initially going to put it out, but after he died things were kind of up in the air. Really bummed I never got to meet him face to face but everyone I've talked to that knew him said he was a great person. I felt really weird even thinking about what was going to happen with our record after such a horrible thing happened to him and his family. 

JR: I know that you and Tara have been friends with the Roes for a long time. Do you remember how you guys met?

JH: I think we've known them since about 2005. I think those guys (Cococoma) wrote our old band back in the Myspace days about maybe a song we both covered or something. We wrote back and forth for a little bit and started to work out some shows together in the Midwest. I think I met Bill (and Mike from Headache City) for the first time when he was playing drums with The Latest. We played with them in New York and they were incredible. I think the next time I saw him we were all playing together with the Cheater Slicks in Columbus. That's when we first met Lisa I think. Cococoma and Headache City killed it that night and the Cheater Slicks were life changing. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I had seen them a couple times before that and they were incredible but this was like nothing I had ever seen. That was a really fun tour.
JR: I also know that you and Tara have children and I'm sure that makes touring near impossible, but have you guys ever considered doing a tour? Is it at all feasible for someone outside New Mexico to see you?

JH: Yeah we have a 4 year old now and it's great! It definitely makes some things harder. We just have to be smarter about how we plan things like out of town shows and stuff. But yes, it is definitely feasible for people outside NM to see us! I'd love to set up a west coast thing soon.
JR: Does your kid like your music? When I was your kid's age, I pretty much only listened to broadway musicals, church hymns, and the Parent Trap Soundtrack. Would you say that your child has a better taste in music than me at that age?

JH: Yeah sorry man, he's way cooler than you were. He posts on Now Playing all the time, all OG pressings of course. No, I mean, he hears what we play around the house and we're kind of all over the place. Lots of jazz, soul, dub, African and experimental stuff. He really responds to high energy music and "spooky" songs as he calls them. If you blast AC/DC or Coloured Balls or something like that he's out of control! He's got an old Fisher Price record player with his own little stack of LP's and 45's he can mess around with. "Pay You Back With Interest" by The Hollies is definitely his favorite.

JR: What are ya'll's favorite horror movies if you watch horror movies?

JH:  Definitely The Shining. Tara can't watch scary movies.
JR: Anything else you'd like to say?

JH: I'm always recording new stuff, Far Corners has a new EP coming out on Limited Appeal soon. I've got another noisy solo recording thing I do called Broodsac and Germ House has some new stuff recorded too. Hopefully this year we'll have have a bunch of new stuff coming out!

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