The Bare Minimum by Justin Wright
Are you guys pleased with the new album
Anthony: Oh yeah, we're happy about
the new record. Production is great, Phil Ek is a genius. We
didn¹t have enough time.
Amazingly everything came together.
Brian: We basically worked twenty-four
hour days for the whole week
Joseph: Everyday was fourteen hours.
B: Phil realized that was all the
time we had, we didn't have enough time.
Joseph: Nine days straight, except
two days were like ten hours.
I heard a little bit of the first
album awhile ago, this one sounds more polished, the recording
is way better.
A: It's less frenetic, it's sort
of got the same craze of trickiness and a little more subtle
B: Recording-wise it''s kind of like
we can pretend like it was a big recording thing, we spent the
whole day getting drum sounds and we switched around guitar
amps a lot, where as the time before was more point and shoot
and just go basically. We actua lly didn't end up using barely
any of our stuff for equipment, well Joe used his own drums.
A: I used all my own stuff too.
B: I think I used some other peoples
A: Actually Brian and Mark faked
How's the label RX Remedy? It
seems now days that people are becoming more concerned with
what labels they're getting on and what kind of deals they're
Joseph: We don't want to say if it's
bad or good.
B: Basically they (Sub Pop) told
him to stop working and run his label. He, for instance, gave
us way less money to record, he was really earnest about it
and worked really hard making his end of the things work really
well, we would be just as happy. I don't care about the label
Persia, it seems like he should do his job.
A: It's easier with a label that
works with you than against you.
So, it's a division of Sub Pop?
Joseph: There's five divisions of
labels I think, they're all Subpop funded.
How's the music scene up in Seattle?
B: We're deferent.
J: I figured that, most people stereotype
Joseph: There are no bands that sound
similar to another band, all our friends are in bands that offspring.
It's not a good thing or a bad thing, it's just not adhesive.
B: There's definitely no scene anymore.
Even though it seemed like "grunge" was dead before
anyone ever thought it was dead or whatever, it seems that everyone
is scared of having a music "scene." People are also
really scared of heavy music, like our first record, anything
that is slightly heavy people don't want anything to do
with it because of the whole stereotypical grunge thing.
I think the first and only time
I saw you guys was the first VSS tour in Kansas City, the basement
B: I remember that, I think that
was the only show who liked us better than The VSS.
Joseph: We got in a car accident
with this girl the next day, who was actually at the show. We
merged into her and she gets out and was like, "you guys
were good last night," and we're like what? She said she
was at the show, how many people were at that show? There was
a hand full and we run into her.
I heard around the same time
as The VSS shows you played with the Foo Fighters.
A: We played like ten shows with
them, that was stellar.
Joe: And with Shutter to think.
B: Shutter was the only saving grace.
So our first show from playing to two thousand people was playing
in a basement for this kid and his sister.
A: We definitely went back to the
real deal with The VSS.
B: Two people came from a Foo Fighters
show to see us in Denver.
A: That was about the average we
had, between two and ten people were kinda into us. The rest
kinda just didn't quite get it.
B: We were playing these crazy-ass
sets of the worst rock sets you could think of, just like really
long totally dreary songs that don't go over very well.
A: The Foo Fighters were like "I
don't know what it is that you do, but you sure are good at
it!" I think that's a pretty good sign.
B: Shawny was like "these guys
are cool, but what are they doing?"
A: What did you guys think of that
Joe: The Fighters tour was kind of
silly for us to do.
B: All it ended up being was money
to get us out of debt for our breaking down right before our
Joe: But we were going on that tour,
don't say that's why we did it.
A: we went on that tour just to sort
of see a wider range of people and have them see us. The cross-section
that comes out to see the Foo Fighters probably isn't the best
wide range of people to have.
Joe: I think that the people who
were, when Shutter to Think were playing didn't have nay
idea what was playing.
A: I was actually forced to spit
at someone in Chicago because he was screaming at us.
Joe: That tour was pretty silly.
B: It was fun.
A: It was fun to pretend we were
rock starts, but no one felt we were.
Joe: I didn't think it was very appropriate.
Now it's back to basics, playing
shows for twenty people.
Joe: We'd love to play for more people.
A: Actually Quiet Riot was a good
example, they hit the top and came back down. I think we actually
do acquire several people who like us each time we tour. We
don't tour enough for that momentum to build really quickly.
B: We always seem to come back in
the hole, so it takes that much longer.
A: I'm always unemployed and homeless
by the end of tour, of course I was before the tour even starting
Joe: Man, I'm gonna start crying
if you don't have a home.
A: Why? I've managed so far. Touring
is hard without guarantee of not going into debt.
Well obviously, especially for
independent bands, who just go out on a whim and not paying
attention to the fact that they aren't going to make any money
and just kind of hoping everything will work out.
A: We've never actually had anything
to bring on tour, that's another problem with our record
label. Our stuff always comes out while we're out.
Do you think many people like
you guys in Seattle?
A: All of Joe's friends like us because
they like Joe, I have no friends because I'm a dick to everybody.
That cancels out most of his friends.
B: There are some people that really
respect us allegedly that no one knows.
A: Smart Went Crazy we could tour
with in a second, they're so into us. We played with them a
month ago, I had broken my bass and had learned all my bass
parts on the Juno and played keyboard horribly. I had played
keyboard for three days, all they talked about was how rad we
were and how we were the first real legit band they've played
with in forever. How we were down to earth and doing our own
thing and on and on. Then I talked to my friend Sara, who's
in Providence, who saw them a month later a nd they were still
talking about us. I thought they were rad, they go the whole
Discord, PC lyric problem though.
How was recording different from
A: More time, the first time we recorded
it seemed like we were trying to get the record done and we
finished making the last song in the studio, we were completely
rushed. It was a lot of pretty cool ideas that we sloped together
to make songs fo r it, to get these ideas down for what ever
posterity. This time we've had so long between that record and
this one, we did an EP, but it was only one new song on it.
We've been playing these songs for a really long time, so they're
evolved on their own . Plus we had time to sit down and rerecord
everything on four-track and listened to it and tried to figure
out keyboards and add things and figure out transitions. So
we went in a lot more well prepared, plus having more time and
Phil Ek is a lot more adventures that the guy we recorded with
Joe: Phil put a lot more effort into
it and we probably paid more, but he seemed to like the band.
When I listened to the new record,
it doesn't sound like too much that is out there right now,
but on one song you had a special guest.
A: Jeremy Engnik sings on one song,
that was basically written for him to sing.
Joe: Initially for him to play piano.
A: We talked about him using his
voice as an instrument and not as much as using it to sing words.
Joe: Because he says nothing on that
A: He sings, but doesn't actually
Joe: He was in the studio for an
He just kind of harmonized with
Joe: He had listened to an idea of
a tape a few times, not too much as far as we could tell. Then
we went and picked him up, he lives by the studio, with his
piano and we drove him and he listened to it and then he played
a track a said do you wan t me to do something like this? So
he did a piano line and then he repeated it and kept it, then
he did the vocals. I can't remember what the actual lyrics are,
they have a theme some what.
A: At the time he came in I was talking
to him before hand and we were talking about vocalists and certain
instrumental singing and he had just gotten into more Eastern
and Indian music. People seemed to do much more tonal singing
where as a non-prete ntious sound turns out that way. So he
laid the piano part down then eased his voice through to what
was going on, if you listen to it you definitely hear he vocally
follows the piano. I think quite impressively and other than
how distinctive his voice is, it completely escapes and you
hear the voice and know it's him. I think he's perfect
choice for someone to use a voice as an instrument. If you listen
to what's going on besides the voice and piano it's just us
setting off a tone that's pretty much one chord with enough
echo centered to spread out, but it was definitely left open
for him. Hopefully it doesn't sound like Sunny Day Real Estate
or Jeremy Engnik songs.
Brian, you had envisioned this
whole Jeremy thing before hand right?
B: I had envisioned this idea of
a song with Jeremy singing and playing piano on it, so we kind
of just made that up in the studio. I really wanted to come
up with a good name for it and I couldn't think anything.
Then I had a dream one night, du ring that dream I was trying
to figure out, for some reason how to make animals talk. Some
one told me that if you take the most beautiful thing that you
could find and crossed it with the sound that the animal makes,
that you could make the animal talk. I found the most beautiful
animal in the world, which was called Ludwo and crossed it with
the sound that a chicken makes, which is "cluck" I
guess. So I came up with Luchuck, I guess Ludwo would have been
the second choice, I think I kinda wanted to k eep Ludwo.
Joe: The kids probably like Lungchuck
B: That's true, I guess.
A: How are the kids going to define
the difference between Ludwo and Luchuck?
Joe: Kids have intentions sometimes.
A: That's the problem with them,
some one should shut the kids up. I was just kidding, don't
Joe: I just want to make enough money
to slap some hoes and buy some gold.
Did you guys walk away from the
studio feeling as if you really accomplished something with
the band that you can think back to?
B: I thought it was the best we could
do, we had a lot more fun in the studio like we made up Luchuck
pretty much five days before we came to the studio. We kind
of perfected it one night really late, we basically fell asleep
playing it. It got r eally hypnotic, that was really fun. Joe:
We kept the first take too, it was the best.
A: Out of both the full-lengths we've
done, I actually like the first one. Just kind of conceptually,
but it was definitely not a CD that I would listen to I don't
think. If I wasn't in the band, I probably wouldn't
listen to this one, which is impre ssive since I have real archaic
music tastes ever.
B: I also thing that recording with
Bill was a lot more peaceful, he almost would make fun of me
when I would want to put too many things into a song, I forgot
a few things on this record, but more so on the first, but I
felt more comfortable with it. The songs sounded better naked,
pretty dry compared to the first record, the recording I wasn't
too super happy with. I just kept thinking if I just piled more
crap on it, it just might sound better. On this one I thought
the songs would go over good p retty cut and dry basically.
I figured it would give the audience a little more of a chance
of liking it maybe because the first album definitely didn't
go over very well.
Joe: It wasn't John or anything who
recorded it, it was just bad timing for both of us/each side.
That was the first time that some one else had anything to do
with our music besides us.
B: He did a little direction and
more of the producing role. That kind of made me feel more secure,
it was just easier to relax. That first record got reviewed
in Option and they said it was like thrash-metal or something,
I can't remember.
A: Heavy metal with out the sense
of humor or the sexy lyrics.
B: The people recording it just didn't
quite see eye to eye I guess. This one had a little bit more
of a pop sensibility.