(a more laid back interview with SMNnews.com)
Hey Wes, hope all is well. Looks like the response to Internet Killed The Audio Star has been great so far. It is such an expansive yet monstrous release. You guys must be pretty proud, huh?
W: Incredibly proud. We spent years trying to put the pieces together to make the album and when it finally fell into place, I wanted to just go on a celebratory drinking binge and smash things out of joy. We're definitely pumped about getting the record out there and especially pumped about the response its been getting. We've put so much of ourselves into this record, that every positive aspect surrounding it has been twice as rewarding.
My favorite song on Internet Killed The Audio Star is "Charmer". It's quite charming and I love the melody and its intensity. What are some of your favorites off of Internet Killed The Audio Star?
W: That's very cool that you brought that track up. "Charmer" is one of my personal favorites. Its dark and ugly, definitely the angriest song I've ever written. It was actually the last track written for the record and at that time, my frame of reference was incredibly clear and focused to the atmosphere we converged around the album. So at that point, I was incredibly disappointed in the genre/scene, so that came out lyrically. Which is funny, because that's what "Killer Whales, Man" is about as well, haha... But, as far as favorites, it's hard to choose, being that we had basically 30-40 demos and narrowed it down to the tracks we used. If I had pick some, I'd have to say I love the "Empathic" chapters. It was an incredibly fun and challenging piece to work on. Another one would have to be "Avaler l'Ocean". I had that song for YEARS and my brother just ask about it towards the end of the writing/rehearsal process. I think it showcases a direction we always toyed with but never went the complete distance with. Then theres "My Sweetheart, The Whore", "Mare", and "The Sycophant, The Saint, & The Gamefox"... Like I said, its hard to pick just one, haha.
I know this is a generic question, but how did NAME get their band name?
W: I just had the name for awhile, was writing a lot of poetry, short stories, and music under the name, but nothing big time. We didn't rush the process, we just kind of worked with the songs until a name felt right. The name "name" just made so much sense to us, we knew it was the right pick.
Who / what are some of your main influences when composing?
W: That's always a hard question to answer directly. Musically and ethically I usually refer back to the aesthetic of the late 60's, early 70's. I just respect music then because people were so open minded to the genres involved and the bands were just touring monsters. They wrote such cerebral music it blows my mind to this day. So ahead of it's time. But if I had to name bands, I'd say Led Zeppelin, Yes, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Massive Attack, Deftones, Faith No More, Napalm Death, Sepultura, Silverchair, Soundgarden, Cannibal Corpse, Tears for Fears, Depeche Mode... These are just a few of my personal influences. Every one of those bands are just burned into my mind and influenced everything from my vocals, guitar playing, lyrics, writing and composing in general.
You recently played a show on the METAL AS ART Tour with our bros in Hypno5e, Revocation, and The Binary Code. That must've been a fun one, eh?
W: It was a fucking blast to say the least! All amazing bands. It was refreshing as hell playing with like minded people. We all played large and loud and then had the after party at my place, which lead to drinking literally every last drop I had in my place, which is a lot, mind you. I always keep reserves around and it just led to loudness, punching, cougars, Michael McDonald ("she drives my rapey!"), man cuddles (Phil!), and drinking a shit load of Tapatio in their sleep (Todd!)... Goddamn that was a fun night. Homies for life, those guys.
When we come to San Francisco, where are some good places to catch a show, grab a bite to eat, party it up?
W: That's one thing I love about living in SF, there's so much to do here. It's such an amalgam of culture and art. For shows, you want to hit up Slims and Great American Music Hall. I actually worked for the company for a long time and GAMH is literally right across the street from me, so I'm never without music. Theres also Thee Parkside, Submission, Bottom of the Hill, and about 50+ other places. This whole fucking city is surrounded by it. Food, man oh man, you have the best around. Bobby and I are vegetarians, so there are so many options for us out here, which can usually be harder. Burritos, hit up Chunkys on Hyde & Ofarrell. Best goddamn burritos ever. Lahore, best Indian food in town. Shit, I could go on forever. Bars, theres my "Cheers" on Polk called Hemlock. Its a punk bar which seems to be the central hub for all musicians, tattoo artists, writers, etc. So theres always someone interesting to talk to, awesome music, cheap beer, endless whiskey, and an awesome staff. Definitely check that place out. You also got Whiskey Thieves, Nitecap, Beauty Bar, Kilowatt, and my house, haha.
So have you got some tour plans in the works?
W: We have plans in the works which we hope to announce soon. We're trying to keep as busy as possible, but it's more difficult then one would think. We just want to tour this album into the ground, so once we take off, don't expect us to stop anytime soon.
What are some guilty pleasures that one might not expect to see on your ipod?
W: I never really feel guilty about anything I listen to, but there ARE some artists people give me shit for like Sade, Justin Timberlake, Dido, Sara Mclachlan, Bjork, Inara George, my collection of vintage bossa nova, Brian Eno, etc. I love it all. I'm very into female vocalists and synth pop, so people tease me for it. Fuck 'em.
Here's a fun and tricky question. If you were to organize a dream tour, who would be on it?
W: Oh man, that is tricky. Dead bands, I'd want Yes, Led Zep, and Pink Floyd. Just cause each band could have an hour set each and still only play 3 songs. Or Soundgarden and Faith No More. Without those bands we wouldn't exist. Ooo, Sepultura. OG though, with Max and Igor. Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorious, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin. That's a goddamn tour... I could seriously go on and on. But, I won't. As a musician and a professional music appreciator, it's an endless well of unearthly possibilities.
Again, congrats on your success with Internet Killed The Audio Star so far. How does the future look for NAME?
W: The futures so bright, I gotta wear....those thing..what are they called? You put them on your face and the lens' dampen the rays of the sun. Creating a shade like effect... Eh, I can't think. But yeah, gotta wear those... Keep an eye out.