1) What do you want people to hear most when they hear your music?
I would say primarily that we want them to hear solid, memorable songwriting. Speaking for myself, I’m primarily in a band for the challenge of writing a decent tune. We aren’t really pushing any boundaries in genre or sound or production or instrument virtuosity, etc., so we have to write memorable songs to make some kind of mark .
I am excited by many genres of music, but, typically, I am only moved by catchy, well-crafted tunes – But I don’t mean that to say I only like pop music because I hear plenty of catchiness in things like Pissed Jeans, Drunkdriver , Einsturzende Neubauten, the Sightings, etc.
2) Having music on Band Camp, along with other such platforms in music right now such as Sound Cloud, Spotify and others, do you feel that music is moving into a virtual age? Personally, I fully support the idea of downloading songs for free from Band Camp and then if I like them buying them on vinyl.
Sure, there’s no denying it has moved there, and it’s certainly great to be able to use the internet as a distribution method. However, like a lot of “solutions”, this virtual world of music is also a problem in that many people ascribe no monetary value to music. I’m (way) old enough to remember the thrill of getting difficult to find records and hearing music that you had literally no way to hear other than finding a copy and buying it. That thrill is gone now since practically everything can be heard with a minimum of effort. I think it’s great and I certainly use the internet to hear things I can’t easily get at just like anyone else. I would just say – hopefully when people do like what they hear, they buy it because otherwise, bands can’t really continue and progress. Unfortunately, I believe many people are happy to have their free songs and that’s it, end of “transaction.”
3) How important of a factor do you feel that record labels play in music these days when pretty much anyone can put their music on the internet as opposed to having to hand out demo tapes at shows, the distribution record labels can offer, etc. It just seems like it’s a bit easier these days to succeed as a band- and even build up a strong fan base- before a label possibly comes calling for you.
I think it depends on what level you are wanting to reach. If you want more “machinery” behind your band – e.g., distribution other than the internet and a publicist to get you interviewed and reviewed in more places, then a label still has a lot of value to you because those are things that they should bring to the table.
If those things don’t matter to you, then I would think labels are not particularly necessary - it is nice to be able to control your end product completely, if you have the time and money to do it. However, there are small labels run by intelligent people who can help an artist be better by providing an independent view on production and which songs are releasable and in what form, etc. Sort of the “life coach” approach. I think we would definitely value that sort of relationship, even if it didn’t really significantly increase public awareness of our band.
4) If you could tour with any single band or musician who would you pick and why?
While there are plenty of bands that I love that I could list here. To be honest though, my pragmatic answer is that I would like to tour with someone who has a sizeable audience of people that may not normally hear of our band, because they aren’t tuned into the “underground”, so to speak, but are still likely to dig the music. An example of this is that we opened for the Black Lips at their Houston show last year. Their audience liked us very much and, even though we were in our hometown, the vast majority of them had not heard of us before, so it was a good chance to get in front of people that wouldn’t have otherwise heard us.
This isn’t a knock at all against these artists, but bands like the Black Lips seem to have followers who aren’t entirely clued in to the best parts of the underground, yet will still likely react positively to any good band that’s put in front of them. if you’re going to bother playing anywhere you might as well play to the largest, most potentially enthusiastic audience you can find, so that’s the logic behind my answer.
5) Who is your favorite New Kid on the Block?
It’s impossible to say really. Each “kid” likely has their good and bad points. Who am I to judge, really?
6) Who would win in a musical fight: Jack Black or Jack White?
Musical battle? Jack White of course. Doesn’t Jack Black just make joke music? I almost never like joke music; though I’m sure some exceptions to that rule could be found. I guess I’m being inconsistent since I’m able to “judge” for this question whereas I claimed inability to do so for the prior one. I’m not a huge Jack White fan, but I think he’s talented and has made good music over the years. Can you get us on tour with him?