I recently had an interview with Metal Revolution Magazine which ended up being the most in-depth interview i've done to date. It felt good answering different questions for a change. It dives into a few things we've never touched base on in previous interviews.
(Metal Revolution is a zine from Denmark)
Read on for an idea of how the band NAME came to be, why they chose
such a name and why their latest album is called Internet Killed The
Audiostar, as I have a talk with them about these and other things.
(This interview is with, myself, Wes Fareas. Ill be labeling my answers "WF".)
MR: Let me first thank you for taking the time to do an interview, as
you are undoubtedly busy around the release of your new album - an
album I hope to understand a little better following the next hours
WF: Thank you. Hopefully I can shed light for you.
MR: So, NAME, eh? How did you end up calling your band this? And more
importantly, does it ever provide any, say, logistical problems, for
lacking a better term. I know searching for it on the net, at least,
can be a tad difficult.
WF: More often then not, we are asked what it means. But the meaning and means are closely related. First off, name is an acronym that stands for 'the new approach to martyrs expressions'. It made sense for us to name ourselves this because of how we felt about the music we make and our love for music. Names are labels. Branding if you will. I feel if you aren't careful you can limit yourself from a natural progression in art. Musicians, particularly, will always excel, subconsciously or consciously. Its inevitable. Being involved in an ebb and flow that is music, sound will change. A basis of music in itself will change. We're aware of this and applied it to the name of the band. It allows you to experience who we are through the music, not a name that implies we're "brutal" or "we're sensitive" or "I tuck my penis between my legs". Yes, its does pose a problem being an entirely un-"google-able" name. But we want the section of the bands personality to be represented from album to album. We have been very vocal about the fact we are going to make a different record everytime. For the time being, it definitely will be on an aggressive side, but doesn't mean it always has to be straight metal. But, that being said, we feel a more efficient way to find us online is putting in "Internet Killed The Audio Star" or both "name" then the album title. You'll find results more involved with the band during that time period. Trust me, its definitely easier that way. As far as telling people our name in person, I feel like we're in the Abbot and Costello joke "who's on first?".
MR: And on to your album, titled Internet Killed The Audiostar, which
I am very interested in hearing more about - other than asking why it
was named such. Right off the bat, screaming vocals and menacing tunes
assault the listener, engulfing them in the firestorm that is "Killer
Whales Man." Actually, the vocals are immensely strong throughout the
album, leaving very little wanting. How did you come from the idea of
making music to that point?
WF: We've always been absolutely head over heels in love with music for as long as the 3 of us can remember. Every aspect of it. Aggressive music stood out to me personally because I got chills when everything aligned. I say this a lot to those around me, but my body and mind react to when everything falls into place in a song. The perfect words with the perfect melody, the perfect notes over the perfect rhythm, in this case the perfect words with the perfect scream. I think based off of how we are naturally, certain things can just be said normally. When we get angry, we say hurtful things by screaming them at another person. Same thing with metal and all forms of aggressive music. A very applicable quote to us is from John Doe in the movie Se7en: "Nowadays, to get someone's attention, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to beat them over the head with a sledge hammer, then you'll fine you have their full attention"... We named the album "Internet Killed The Audio Star" because of current sordid, stagnant state of music today. It obviously is a parody of The Buggles song "Video Killed The Radio Star". When that song came out it put a title to the chapter of an ending era and the birth of a new one. MTV used to be the next evolutionary step from where radio was. Nowadays, its your myspace, or facebook, or weither or not you can buy the album on Itunes or download a torrent for free. It seems music has become more of a fashion show then the music itself anymore. So the title is a somewhat tounge-in-cheek offering to the elephant in the room. We're all aware its happening, but no one wants to talk about it.
MR: Before leaving names behind totally, I must also ask to the song
titles, for no other reason that they are wonderfully different. Where
do you guys come up with this?
WF: Well I approach song titles in usually 2 similar forms. 1, its a title reflecting the concept of the song or 2, its a sarcastic, cynical commentary to the message in the song. As random as some of them can be, it has something to do with the song in nature, no matter how unlikely it might seem. The titles are as big a deal to me as the lyrics themselves. I look at my lyrics as my main instrument, so I don't half ass anything. When I die, of course I want my music to be connected with me, but I want my lyrics to be remembered over anything else ive done.
MR: I am having a hard time drawing parallels between you guys and
previously established bands. Where do you get your inspiration from?
WF: We more pull inspiration from the aesthetic of music itself. How its progressed (for better or for worse) over the course of time. Bad or good, it is an evolutionary progression. We also feel things come in patterns, it seems. The hair metal aesthetic seems to have come back. Big hair, guys wearing makeup, you project the illusion of success and how life is a 24 hour party. Things like that. We're big fans of the late 60's, early 70's aesthetic of making music naturally. Getting out there and making things happen. Led Zeppelin never had myspace, or couldn't burn CDs to pass out even. You went to a show, you liked it, you bought the record, you went home, showed your friends, they liked it, then came to the next show and bought the record, and so on and so forth. Of course we pull specific musical influences as well, but a lot of them aren't metal. For instance, we apply our jazz influences to our metal style. Odd progressions and meters, unpredictable changes, even jamming on certain sections of the piece. We apply 90's rock to the drums of an obvious death metal riff. Euro electro-pop vocals to the doom sections. We could name artists we're inspired by all goddamn day, but that would get tiring for the reader.
MR: Also, please tell me about you guys and when you were younger -
did you always know you'd end up playing in a band with NAME for a
name, shredding and tearing violently as the music progress into a
cascade of controlled noise? How did you come together and form the
WF: We've all been playing music for a long, long time, but when we originally came together, we were 14 years old. My brother, Jeremy (bass), and I were living in the central valley of California at the time and eventually were separated where he stayed in the valley and I moved to the bay area. I knew no one there. Bobby (drums) was literally the first person I met in the bay area and we just got to talking about music and jamming together sometime. I brought up my brother, who at the time has just picked up bass, and the rest is history. So we've basically been a family for over ten years. When we started writing music it wasn't named "name", we had a similar style then as to now, but not as... Mature, I guess is the word I could use. When "name" came into play, we were still very young. We just wrote what was natural and it ended up being aggressive and heavy, it pumped us up just to practice. But we still applied sections of jazz, bossa nova, trip hop, etc. We don't get asked about the noise sections very much though. To be 100% honest, it just felt natural to apply it to the song. It gave it a personality and we never looked at it any different. Simply put it sounded "cool" and just seemed right. Now we seem to apply that a lot into our songs. We hadn't really noticed it for this record until AFTER the record was completed. I know at times a lot of our responses could sound pretentious, but we're just being honest. We could lie and say "its just brutal, bro!" but that would go against what we believe in the first place. We don't take ourselves to seriously, either. Our music is serious, but as people, we enjoy having fun, smiling, laughing just like everyone else. That in itself is going to come off in our music, which in certain spots on the album you can hear it. But, then again, it is simpler to say we just love the music we make and love playing intense, cinematic, expansive, sarcastic, violent, honest, massive music.
MR: There can be no doubt in anyone who listens to your album that, in
concert, you guys must be quite a spectacle. How do you like playing
WF: As I've said before, we love what we do. I believe, in a band, you need to be a fan of your music or else why are you making it? What else do you have to offer? Ive also mentioned before that the songs just pump us up when we're rehearsing them. So live is a totally different beast. To be honest, that's our baby. Yes, we're proud of our record, we put a lot of ourselves and a lot of time on it. But live is our bread and butter. We are aware we're playing intense music, so if the crowd picks up on that vibe, we feed off of them and its just fucking insane. We put on the same show if we're in front of 3, 300, or 3,000 people. We just have fun up there and are just welcoming you to join that energy. We can guarantee it will be one of the most intense shows you've ever been to. We don't want you to hold back. We sure as hell don't, or else we just feel cheated. There's going to be a time when we can't physically do this anymore. Its going to catch up with us. So, until then we'll make it worth it.
MR: Who is your typical fan?
WF: We've noticed musicians have been the most vocal with their appreciation for what we're trying to do. We were once referred to by a friend/musician as a "bands band". At first, I thought of that negatively because his comment immediately following that was "but those aren't the ones that are gonna come to your shows or pick up your record". But, I realized he was wrong. Fellow musicians have been there, hanging out with us, purchasing the record and enjoying it. I think they understand that in a dying scene, we could use all the comradery we can get. We also have fans that aren't musicians, just die hard music appreciators. They've also been overwhelmingly supportive. We sincerely appreciative of every single person who has come to a show or bought the record. Being that its so easy to download the record for free and listen to it from the comfort of your home. Its nice to know that their are people out there who understand being in a band in this era is an uphill battle. Every record bought helps push the integrity of music and allows us to defend the idea that heavy music will always have a home.
MR: So what are your plans now? What can we expect from NAME in the future?
WF: We plan on touring this record into the ground. The bedlam of creating the record is now done and the next chapter is getting out there and making everyone listen. They don't have to like it, but just acknowledge that its out there... We will be around for a long, long time. Regardless to the constantly changing tide of music. We'll always do what we love and will continue to make honest music/art. Nietzche once said "we have art in order to not die from the truth.". I feel that makes more sense now then it ever has.
MR: I wish to thank you for your time and wish you the best of luck
from here on. Looking forward to hearing more from you guys.
WF: Thank you very much for taking time out of your day for this. You could of been doing anything else. It was refreshing to not have to answer the same ol', run-of-the-mill questions. Thank you again and you'll definitely be hearing a lot more from us. Weither you want to or not...