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Post performance, I talked with the boy who started the band as well as being the lead vocalist John and we talked about everything from the writing process for the record to how the band really has been a growing process and what's coming in the future! You can find them in Fredericton tomorrow and post their time with Japandroids they will be heading out with Toro Y Moi!
You're touring a lot lately and you have the next full month with Japandroids and Toro Y Moi. It's soft but what are the three things you must have while you're out on the road?
Things you must have? A GPS, phone and deodorant. It can get nasty, you know! Yeah that's pretty much it. Usually as long as I have my phone, I'm all set. I don't really bring a computer or anything because I'm just able to do everything on my phone. It's pretty much what you have to have.
Then I know you put out your new record in April so how did the band come together?
I started it by myself and it was really just a one man band then after like a year of touring by myself, I was like man this is fucking work. I need to get some one else in here so I've known Colin since we were little and he didn't play drums before but I knew he would like the touring so he self-taught himself drums two weeks before we had to go out. So then he's been with me for like two years and now we have our second guitar player Print. He had played in bands before. The way I made the record was with two guitars so for this, I had him to play the other guitar parts and the lead guitar parts that weren't accounted for live. Yeah it's kind of been a work in progress and maybe even the next time we come around the city, it will be even kind of bigger. I kind of like being able to play with different line ups and everybody's always weirded out when they just see two guitars and no bass. That's how I made the record so it would be kind of impossible for me.
So it was a solo project? I know your myspace link even is still not Bass Drum of Death but your own name.
Yeah, yeah! I mean and it still kind of is. For the record, I wrote and recorded all the songs myself but Colin did have a big part in the arrangements. He tried songs different ways and he practiced and he played them really differently live.
Then how has it been going over? Like the first record? I mean it's only been a few months.
Yeah no it's been great. We've been super busy so that's good. With our band, it's like very wanting to get out and play. Go to as many different places as we can. You know we're not going to be like one of those blog bands that's just the one song and kids are like 'woahhhh'. We're going to actually go out and like change people's minds. We're playing a ton of shows and it's getting better as we go.
But how do you think that buzz maybe helped you? I mean I know you played a bunch of sets at South By like before the record came out. How do you think it's helped you?
I don't know I mean it's hard to say. Basically the important thing is the people who actually listen to you. You know the more you play and the more stuff that is out there available. I know this from my experience. I'll hear about a band for a long time before I ever actually listen to them you know what I mean. So I want people to listen and make up their own minds. You know it's hard to say. It certainly has helped us but it comes down to whether people actually like the songs enough.
Then how did you go about the writing of the record?
It was kind of a long process. I never set out a time to do it. I just kind of like built up a bunch of songs that I wrote and would record when I felt like it. Like when I had a song that I wanted to record, it was never really necessarily looking, trying to record an actual whole full length. It just got to that point that I had eleven songs and I listened to all the tracks together. It took about a year just kind of recording off and on but I think it worked out well and it works weird. Like kids sing along. I'll put out shit for forever. I'm going to try to get better about it because I don't want there to be three years inbetween records. I've already been working on stuff.
People are doing that all the time now. Like putting out records every six months if they have the material.
Yeah I still want it to be good but I also think that I don't want to follow the traditional cycle.
Then obviously I watched your set where you would stop for maybe two seconds and then go right into the next song. Is that how it always is? I mean the fans were clearly still into it.
Yes. Well yeah funny you say that because being out with Japandroids like Brian is really awesome about talking to the crowd and kind of making everybody in the crowd believe that he is literally like their best friend. So he's really awesome about that and we've always just been like let's play the songs. I love bands like that. I saw Jay Reatard before he passed away and he did fifteen songs in like twenty three minutes and I love that shit. So that's kind of how I've always done it. I've been a lot more conscious of it and I'm not going to talk unless there's something that needs to be said. I'm trying to get better about that and I do that but if I don't really have anything to say. I'm not a comedian. It's one of those things! I'm fine on stage like playing music but I'm deathly afraid of being in front of people talking. It's a weird thing but like I've always been like that.
Like having a conversation?
No, not having a conversation but just like being up there in front of people and having to talk. School projects and stuff like that, I hated it. I'm fine if I'm like singing or playing. Like entertaining people is a lot harder.
Well then how many songs do you normally play? I mean you played for like thirty five minutes.
We played about ten or eleven songs. Basically everything off the record.
You pretty much played like the record?
Yeah I think it was all but like one song. We have some older stuff that we used to play and we may bring that back out but Print has only been with us since June so we practiced with him and he basically learned ten songs and a couple of covers that we'll pull out on the rare occasion that we get an encore for a show. Yeah so we just kind of play those ten songs. It's usually opening so thirty minutes of it and that's kind of how I like it. Being a band that kind of leaves you wanting a little more.
Then these are obviously bringing it back a little bit to end it off. What was like the first CD or cassette or record you bought then the first concert you went to.
I actually have no idea what my first concert was. It might have been this festival in Memphis. Saw a bunch of bands like Dave Matthews.
Oh yeah! I was like eight or something. I do remember seeing George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars and that was awesome. Scratch the Dave Matthews thing.
Dave Matthews never happened.
Yeah that never happened. I saw Saliva and George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars and the first CD I ever bought was because of my mom having that deal where you do eleven CD's for a penny with Columbia House. She was like okay you get one and your brother gets one. I got No Doubt's 'Tragic Kingdom'. I had a tape before that but I'm not sure what it was. That was my first big CD.
And do you think any of those experiences influenced you at all? Like you personally or Bass Drum of Death as a group?
Probably not. I went to that festival just because I wanted to go to a music festival and I got that No Doubt album because I loved that song Spiderwebs. It was an awesome song. That record is a great record but I don't think any of that has any influence on what I do now. I was getting into like indie rock.
Then what is maybe coming up? I know you said you may be working on your new full length and you have a while to go on your current tour. What's going to be going on? Are you just going to keep on touring?
Yeah after this tour we have two weeks off then we go to Europe for five weeks.
Yeah it's crazy. Then we're off for Christmas and then I think we go to Australia.
That must be crazy. Being off your first record.
Yeah it's real cool. It's cool to be able to do that and this time last year, I had no idea like all this stuff would have been happening. My goal with this whole thing is to make good songs and see as many places as I can. So yeah we're pretty busy through January and then we probably will take some time to chill and make another record.