Yes, we have.
How did you guys get together?
We just met up, stared at each other, and said let's play rock and roll.
You guys changed drummers because you had a different guy on the CD.
Yeah, just once. Actually the old drummer and the new drummer are great friends and all five of us have known each other for the whole seven years. The first drummer just couldn't tour full time so that was it.
You guys have played around the California area and up North it looks like.
Last year we played from Oakland to Detroit. Pretty much everywhere in between. It was quite a good year. 160 shows I believe or 154 shows or something.
What got you interested in music and why did you choose to be a vocalist?
I got into music the normal way by lip syncing to Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet in my mirror when I was eight years old. From there it just progressed. It went into Def Leppard's Hysteria. All of the hits on MTV in the late '80s. Then my musical tastes progressed from there. I became a singer because I couldn't do anything else and everyone else already owned an instrument. I said I guess if I want to be in a band this is what l have to do. That's really it.
You guys have a wide variety of musical tastes in the band.
Yeah, the influences range certainly.
You guys have supported acts like Mudvayne, Taproot, Kittie, and Testament. Pretty impressive.
Yeah, there's been a lot of great shows. There are still some acts that I definitely would like to open for to put on the resume. We're working towards it.
Who would you like to open for?
The two right now that I think would help our career, if we could do Marilyn Manson and Ashlee Simpson, I think we would definitely grab hold of a new group of people if we could open for those two acts.
Ashlee Simpson huh?
Tell me a little bit about your CD, Self-Titled.
It was a terrible process recording it. We laid down about 15 songs and then we took the 10 best that we could and it took way too long. There were way too many arguments over it. At the end of the day, we're all very happy about it. Excuse me, at the end of seven months, we're all very happy about it and that was really it. The songs are all fairly new. Usually bands say "well, our first record we had our whole lives to write" but all that stuff is pretty fresh material that we put down. That was really it. We all pitched in and said "hey no one is really going to sign us. We've got to make our own record and start touring if this is going to work." So that it was it. We're proud of it in that sense.
You guys have pretty much been doing all of this on your own anyway, haven't you?
Yeah, certainly the money and the touring is almost all on our own.
That can be pretty hard to do.
Yeah, but it's one that's worth it because now we're, I wouldn't say self-sufficient but we can get things done on our own as far as stay out on the road and just have a record to put out and have people listen to it.
You guys are in the middle of a tour that started in January and is going to end in March.
Well, February 28 technically. Then we have a couple of days off until a home show. I guess that counts as on the tour but we'll be home right at the beginning of March, end of February.
It definitely does help to have a CD out because sometimes that helps you get signed.
Yeah, but getting signed right now, if it happens it happens. We're moving forward and we're making fans. We're playing very, very good side shows right now for a band where we're at. This past year has been incredible. The crowds have been awesome. Just playing the whole West coast nonstop.
I think it's great you guys can hook up with bands like Kittie and Taproot and do it under your own steam without having much assistance there.
Well, thank you very, very much. I'm glad you recognize that.
I talk to enough bands. I know how tough this stuff is especially when you're trying to get somewhere with it. I've heard the stories about the bad contracts and getting ripped off. Things you have to look out for. I listened to the CD and liked it a lot. Who designed the CD cover?
It was our idea and our bass player's friend, I believe his name is Tristan but the company's Black Diamond. He physically put together the artwork. All of the pictures, we all were in the place and took them one day. We were trying to explain to him what we wanted and then he just took it back to his studio and put it all together and came back and said "is this what you guys pictured?" We're like "hey, this is absolutely right. Thank you man."
I got a kick out if. A little kid with a hatchet. What's he going to do? Kill his stuffed animals?
Yeah. Pretty much, the end result is on the back of the CD. We were deciding what direction we can go. We can either dress it all black and look really mean on the back of the cover. We decided to let it stand out. This could be something different for the genre. We decided let's just do that. It's not a huge statement but we wanted it to be an intimidating one.
I think the standing there looking mean thing has been done into the ground a little bit.
Yeah, but we will certainly do it on the next album.
You'll stand there and look really mean.
We even have devil costumes to wear. If we're going to do it, we've got to hammer it home. We have to embody Satan.
This CD has been out since October 2004.
Yeah, for about four months now.
How come it took seven months to put it together?
When you don't have a ton of money to make the record and you're getting into a studio where you take the time you can get, we had two weeks to work on it and then it's like "hey sorry guys, can't do anything for the next two and a half weeks". Two and a half weeks would go by and then we'd have two more days. It just went on like that. Then the mixing process was the same way. When it was all said and done, it was like well, that was the laborious unfun process.
I bet you guys were ready to go crazy.
Yeah, it was not fun. We had even started touring for the record before it was even done being mixed.
Here's a taste of what's going come. When you're done with your Imusicast show in March, what are your future plans after that?
We're going to do a couple of shows the first of the month. We're going to do a couple of shows in Montana and Wyoming. Colorado, Albuquerque, and that area. Then we’re going to SXSW and just hang out. We’re not playing. We just like to go down there and make it sort of a vacation.
That’s a really festival kind of thing.
We played it two years ago and we were young at the time. Not that we’re not now, but we were a little more green. We had huge expectations to go there and we went there and played and it kind of sucked. It was an awesome party. It was a great four day party so we’re going back this year just to hang out. Be with friends and people in the business we know. From there we have a package tour for April.
Sometimes SXSW is a really good boost for people and sometimes it just doesn’t quite turn out the way they want it to.
Yeah, like I said it was an awesome time. We had fun. It’s sort of a big jerk off fest for just everyone. I don’t know how to explain it. For everyone to pat each other on the back and tell each other how awesome they are. We’re going to go in our Satan costumes just to really hammer it home again. They can tell we’re evil and dark.
What were a couple of favorite songs of yours off the album?
Track one, that chorus was stuck in my head for a while before we started writing for the album. I feel like that was my baby. I thought it came out pretty good and I really liked the way it sounded. Pretty much tracks one, two, and three. Those three are my favorite tracks and ones I really got attached to when making the record. No reason in particular. Just that I liked them. I thought it was a good representation as a band of what we were doing. Just tell the listener to put it in and hear those three songs.
Do you do most of the lyrical writing?
Yes, I do.
When you sit down and write the songs, what goes through your head?
Absolutely anything. I’m totally unbiased. I let anything be influences of mine whether that’s a commercial or CNN or a crappy book I’m reading. It can be anything. That’s not always a good thing. Sometimes you come up with awful lyrics that you have to say ew, these aren‘t good. Let’s get them out of here.
CNN is definitely an interesting influence.
Oh yeah, Lou Dobbs Tonight. That hooks up the influence for the lyrics. I recommend it to all aspiring singers. You can put that in big quotes. Lou Dobbs Tonight. That show on CNN is just the secret to all lyrical influence.
Are you guys starting to work on your next CD or are you putting that off for a while?
I guess technically we are. We have about 15 or 18 songs. King James our guitarist and I sit in the van and we work on new songs. Structures, lyrics, and melodies. We’ve been able to lay down seven of the tracks. We were able to get two days of studio time and just bust out seven songs right after the New Year. We are. We’re taking our time to develop them while we’re still on the road and spend the whole year getting all the pre-production done for album two. When it’s time to record it, we can just drop by the studio and get it done.
You’re not going to take seven months?
No, we want the exact opposite. That’s the goal. We’re happy with how things have come along as far as writing for the second record. We’re not stuck. It seems like a lot of bands are like “oh, we didn’t have the time” or “it was so hard because we had so much time to write the first one.” It also helps if you’re not popular yet. There’s no pressure really to write the huge hit second record if the first one wasn’t a huge hit record.
People always feel they have to outdo their previous record. Then they have to outdo the next one and the next one. There comes a time where maybe you just want to experiment and maybe go in a different direction.
Yeah, and we’re certainly not trying to outdo anything. Maybe just because of our songwriting, I just make sure we can write even better songs for people.
If you’re a really creative person, coming up with better stuff isn’t all that difficult. Depends on your creative process.
Yeah, and it helps at times when you drop acid and don’t eat for four days. You can really get out there. If worse comes to worse in the studio, we have a little box with acid and there’s a glass covering it. It says if you’re not creative, please break glass here. Just shatter it, drop a tab, and you’re ready.
If the DEA calls me, I know nothing.
Thank you for protecting our creative side.
Any other thoughts or comments?
Just if Ashlee Simpson’s dad Joe Simpson is reading this, I’m incredibly serious about having us open for her. We need that demographic. That’s really it. The only other parting words is buy the record. We’re really aiming for that fickle, uncaring, no taste in music whatsoever crowd of 13 and 14 old girls who watch MTV. That’s our strongest demographic.
You might land the opening spot for Britney Spears on her next tour.
Yeah, but we’d get kicked off in two days. There are so many statements I would love to make on that stage for that demographic. Yeah.
That would be cool. You could be the first opening band in history to get kicked off a tour in the first two days.
That would be awesome. The worst thing possible I’d do is we could reenact sex with a GWAR looking figure and a goat or something like that. But seriously, I’d love to blow the minds of those young people and let them know to enjoy the show after that.