october 7, 1997
FB: Start off by giving us some back
ground on the band. You guy’s started out in
Sean: Three years ago, almost three years ago. It was probably like January of ‘95 actually. We just started playing together. Jon and Jason had a band before that and they wanted a new bass player, so basically they just started over. I learned some of their songs and we started writing new ones basically pretty much right away.
FB: So you guys have always been a trio?
FB: I have to admit the first time I heard the name of the band I thought it was kind of stupid. But luckily the music made up for it. I noticed one of your 7”s had another play on words “Kids Incarcerated”. So how did you come up with the name?
Sean: Ask Jason.
Jason: It’s just a name, it’s kind of a take off on Calvin Kline.
FB2: Do you see it misspelled a lot?
Sean: Not too much anymore. We use to all the time no one could ever get it right. It’s really not that hard to remember, I don’t think.
FB: I’ve got it wrong myself before. Compare your earlier work to the stuff on your debut album, because the last two songs on there off the 7” sound a little different. It reminded me a little bit of Guzzard in a way.
Sean: Yeah, we were a little bit more straight forward when we started, I think. We never had any like definite goals of what we want to sound like. But I just think that since we’ve been playing together for so long now songs just come together. We’re writing more like a band now. I mean I still like the songs that are on the 7” that are on the record too. I use to sing really different like things like that.
FB: Definitely you can tell there is kind of a different style. Evolution there, as far as having your own sound.
Sean: Yeah, definitely. Actually when we recorded my... OK I’m lying it was only ten months apart.
FB2: How was it working with Dave Gardner compared to Tim Mac in the studio?
Sean: Tim Mac was a freak. He’s really power hungry. He just wanted to be, have total control. I mean he was real nice to us but, he wasn’t too helpful.
Jason: I think he’s good.
Sean: I like what he did with us. I can’t complain, but Dave Gardner is really, really into us. I liked his sound better actually. Especially since we just recorded seven new songs with him. He’s real amazing.
FB2: Could you notice a lot of difference in the sound?
Sean: Between the two?
Sean: Dave’s got some more fresh ideas. I mean like Mac is a legend definitely. He’s done some of the best records like “Into The Vortex”, which is like one of the best recordings ever. Like he goes through phases where he’ll be real basses or real treble-y. He’s sort of a weirdo like that. Dave Gardner just likes to work with the band’s sound.
FB: I’ve noticed a lot of stuff with Dave sounds a little bit more lo-fi. Kind of more natural.
Sean: Yeah, I think that has a lot to do with the studio like when he got it, Mac had it set up in a really strange fashion, he basically set it up his way and didn’t really tell anybody what’s going on. Our record is like only the second thing he recorded down there and we were sort of fumbling around. Like their is no patch bay, simple things like that. Now he is really noisy.
FB: So Mac doesn't do any recording there anymore?
Jason: He does stuff around town.
Sean: He just recorded the new Supernova record, I think. But I don’t know if he finished it.
FB: The last thing I heard about him is that he walked out half way through the recording of the Gnomes Of Zurich album.
Sean: That’s when he quit in the middle of that record. That’s why the Gnomes record sounds so fucked up.
FB: I noticed that the vocals don’t seem to mix with the music.
Sean: Randy who does tour sound. Had to go down there and basically try and straighten it out. Mac has this totally way out their style like nobody knows what he’s doing so they tried to salvage what they could. That’s basically the best they could do.
FB: Brent told me that Buzz Osborne was going
to be doing the next Cows record there.
Sean: Yeah, and Dave’s going to work on him with it to. Dave is going to engineer it. Buzz as producer.
FB: So tell us about your lyric writing process since your lyrics are kind of strange and unusual I’d say.
Jason: You’d have to talk to Jon about the singing.
Sean: Basically just write like, I usually write them about a week before we record. I like to think about them a long time. I’m way more into rhythm and rhyming. Into writing stuff like when we were young. And Jon's into writing stuff like totally weird. I don’t know ask
Jon. (Jon walks up)
FB: Asking about the lyric writing process.
Sean: How do you write your lyrics?
Jon: Uhh, I don’t know.
FB: They’re definitely not the usual drinking beer type songs. I mean they are totally out there, in a number of ways.
Jon: I’d rather not give out my secrets.
Sean: He’s got a formula.
FB: To me the song “Other Jon” seems like you are watching some kind of documentary and said “hey I’m going to write a song about it”.
Jon: That ones about when you’re going to sleep, and you kind of like stop breathing or something.
FB: That’s probably my favorite song on the album.
Jon: About an insomniac or something.
FB2: So which one of you is the singer that yells more?
Jon: That’s me.
FB: So how did you guys end up on AmRep any way?
Sean: We played with like Guzzard, Chokebore, and Love 666. I don’t know if they necessarily saw us at any of those shows, I kind of doubt it actually. We got a Chokebore, Love 666 show that we played in Minneapolis that I ran into Tom and gave him a single. He called us a couple months later and started coming to the shows. That’s basically how we got on, it was basically Tom.
FB: Do you think the whole Minneapolis, AmRep sound had an influence on your sound at all?
Sean: Um, Yeah and like no. We like Guzzard, Hammerhead. It’s not like we ever tried to emulate them. It played a role somewhere in the picture.
FB: Anything you hear is going to influence your sound.
Sean: Plus three pieces.
FB: How do guys feel about a lot of critics comparing you to Unsane? I don’t even see that.
Sean: I’ve see Unsane crossed with Trench Mouth crossed with Mission of Burma. I can see where earlier on where we got the Mission Of Burma like vocals going on and like Trench Mouth, just fucked up sorta art rock. Tight like jazz core, I would never call us jazz core. I don’t know, I don’t think, Unsane, no definitely. I like playing with them and I like the guys but we don’t sound like them.
FB: What about this new term they are using for you and bands similar to you? The term “math rock”.
Sean: When I think of math rock I think of like Craw or Don Caballero, like that kind of stuff.
Jon: I wouldn’t call us math rock.
Sean: We’re not that formulated.
Jon: We’re not good at math.
FB: So you guys are going to record your album in two different places AmRep and Chicago. What’s the reasoning behind that?
Sean: We already recorded the first half. The first half is going to be bass, guitar, and drums like the first record. And the second part is going to be keyboard, guitar, and drums. We’re gonna record the keyboard with Damon from Trench Mouth and Casey Rice. I just thought that would be fun since they are going to start producing bands.
FB: When I read that I thought you were going to do five songs at one place then five at another. Doesn't that make the album seem kind of inconsistent?
Sean: It is gonna be weird.
Jon: It is gonna be vary inconsistent.
Sean: I think the vinyl will be a super cool record. Like flip it over and go a different direction. It will probably sound weird on CD, but we’ll probably do some stuff when we master it.
FB: So when do you guys plan on having that finished up and released?
Sean: March, we figure we will put it out in March, and start touring full scale again.
FB: Do you guys have a title for that?
Jon: Yeah, “Your Feeling So Attractive”.
FB: Tells about your contribution to the new Jabberjaw compilation that’s coming out. (Which by the way never came out, ED.)
Sean: We recorded seven songs with Dave Gardner, we’ll send one out to Jabberjaw. We haven’t picked it yet. I don’t know when that’s coming out.
FB: Do you know any of the other bands that will be involved with that one?
Sean: Yeah, right now the tentative list is: VSS, The Make Up, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Rocket From The Crypt, Sleater Kinney, Lowercase, just a ton of bands. Cars Get Crushed, I think Rye Coalition maybe.
FB: In my review I wrote of your album I said you guys reminded me of something that might be out of Olympia. Is that a scene that you guys are into at all?
Sean: Yeah, I totally love Olympia. They have a lot of really good bands.
FB2: We’ve been waiting for Unwound to come though.
Sean: They are doing a new record right now. I just did a article on them for the magazine I write for, Hit It Or Quit It.
FB2: Did you guys have any input on the design of the album cover or was that all Hazelmeyer?
Jon: We kinda told him to do just what ever he wanted.
Sean: I brought in the pictures. He had just whipped up that design, I was like that is fuckin’ awesome. I trust in Haze as far as design goes. He likes it better when he can just go nuts. The next record I think we are going to work with him more on it.
FB: Did you guys shoot a video?
Sean: Yeah, we shoot it, it should be done any time. I’m not really sure what the situation with that is. We did it for “Brand New Jason”.
FB: I hear there is going to be another Dope, Guns video is that going to be on that one?
Sean: Yeah, for sure. It’s basically what we did it for, I don’t think it’s gonna be going anywhere else.
FB: I’ve got all three of them. I think they’re pretty good.
Sean: I like three a lot.
FB: Do you guys maintain your own web page or is that one of your friends that takes care of that?
Sean: Our friend Dan does it.
Jon: He just does it as a favor for right now.
Sean: Basically tour dates.
Jon: The pictures he used are kind of dorky.
FB: When I asked Brent for a press photo of you guys he said he didn’t have any, that I should just take some at the show. He said “Just look for the guy that looks like Elvis Costello”.
Saen: That’s me.
FB: I was surprised read that you guys have done two national tours. Because I talk to a lot of bands that hardly tour.
Sean: I think that, there is really no reason to put out records if you’re not gonna go play
the songs. Playing live is a big thing with us.
FB2: The song “Steve Dude Versus Tarus Too” has kind of a space surf feel. Any plans to do a straight surf song?
Sean: No, we have another one that’s kinda a long the lines. Like punk rock but not traditional instruments on the next one. It’s real quiet like two guitar, a real slow song. It’s something that is totally different then everything else that we do.
FB: Who are some of the bands in Minneapolis/St. Paul are that you are into?
Sean: Freedom Fighters, they're amazing. Shadow Companion are a new band, they’re really really good, two young kids with guitar, bass and a drum machine.
FB: I just got Freedom Fighters in the mail. I thought it was pretty good.
Sean: They are even better live. Like I love there record they are the greatest guys. They have the best personality on stage too.
Jon: I like Vaz too. The two guys from Hammerhead.
Sean: They’re pretty cool.