Instrument: Words and Strings
Congrats on unleashing such a sonic fragmentation bomb that is Internet Killed The Audiostar. How’s the feedback from press and fans coming along? Are you satisfied on how your new album turned out?
Wes: Thank you. The feedback has been better then we originally anticipated. We knew varying groups of people would enjoy the record because we were very confident in what we had accomplished, but we never expected it to be so widely accepted and enjoyed. There is definitely something for everyone on the album, so I guess it had appeal to different groups of music fans. People on opposite sides of the spectrum. That has been ultimate success to us that so many different groups came together on some plain by wanting to understand what we were trying to do. It's incredibly humbeling.
Internet Killed The Audio Star is an obvious reference to Video Killer The Radio Star by Buggles. Can you clarify the connection here and is how does it translate into the lyrical themes on your latest album?
Wes: When "Video Killed The Radio Star" came out, it set the status for new music culture. It's undeniable that the existence of MTV (at the time when they still played music videos) was a defining cultural landmark. With "Internet Killed The Audio Star", we see it as the next evolutionary step. I'm not saying our record is the next step, we're just acknowledging the elephant in the room and saying "we're all aware the times have changed, there's no point living in the past". The title is pretty self explanatory, but the whole theme of the album is just a perspective piece. Throughout the lyrics, I use a lot of dialogue showing connectivity between different kinds of people in different situations. It allows you to adapt as if you we're watching a film, or overhearing others talk. The whole underlining theme is just talking about our disgust with the current sordid state of heavy music and the lack of a work ethic. So many bands rely on the available technologies and its making them lazy. It's one thing to use them as tools, it's another to completely depend on them.
On the Name Myspace there’s statement by Wes (vox/guitars) that the lyrics are just as important as the music. He also says the lyrics represent where he stands for. Where does he stand for and can you give some clear examples in conjuction with the band’s lyrics?
Wes: I just believe in honesty. Even if youre lying, there's a sincerity behind it. Making yourself be very honest that you're capable of these things. My lyrics will always be my number one instrument. I've always wanted people to take the time to read them in conjuction with the music. It's like making a film and this is the dialouge. The power of word is incredibly underestimated. As well as human interaction. In my songs, lyrically, I like to paint the picture of the situation and let you do the rest. I'm not one of those singers that commands you to do things through my lyrics "Fuck shit up!", "Party all night and all day", "Worship Satan", "Worship my shitty haircut.". I'm just a fucked up guy letting you into a vulnerable part of my mind. I've always been really interested in disorder and defiance of the human mind. It's incredible how many terrible things we're all capable of. I find peace in its simplicity. My lyrics are just an introspective social commentary on the ugly side of humans. The honest side. When I die, I'd like to be remembered for my words. It's all that I am and all I really have.
How does the writing process work in Name?
Wes: Well, we're all constantly writing and working with ideas that sometimes start off verbel, then we find the sounds in it. Jeremy and I usually have a riff, or Jeremy has sequences in his head, and I have some personality I want to convey in the skeleton of the songs, and Bobby helps redefine the atmosphere. Its an incredibly collaberative process. In a simple case, i'll write a song, Jeremy comes in with a few riffs he had, I find a way to organize and make them make sense. Then Bobby and I take a full front seat with arranging process. Then we all do what we do best and add those subtle traits here and there, which, at times, as completly reshaped a song. I've gone in with completed songs before and they always come out slightly different and gives a whole new personality to the song. I find that exciting. As an artist, it's the only way i'll grow; by collaberating with other like minded people.
How do you like back on the recording sessions of your latest album? What are your fondest and worst memories?
Wes: The studio is always a unique beast to deal with. You're under the microscope and no matter how big the studio might be, you still get a sense of claustrophobia. That's the case for me anyways. We also always feel like there's never enough time. That, in turn, has helped us because we work well under pressure. It makes us vulnerable; having us be impulsive and honest. It opens all doors for us. Most of the time, we aren't aware of it. We have to take a step back and see what the hell is going on. I, myself, can be a pain in the ass in the studio because the hardest part about recording for me is getting the sound I hear in my head onto the computer. We're all perfectionists in everyone sense of the word, thus why we never feel like we have enough time. Tensions can run high because of that, some bad, some incredibly funny. My fondest memories are the impulsive actions we make which make the song sound thst much better to us. We all start smiling and laughing cause it just worked so well. Those are my favorite moments. Also, talking shit through the talk back mic never gets old to me. Worst memories? Was just the lack of time we had with certain sections of the record. When we get into the studio, its all about our artistic integrity and having fun with our music. But, then the unfortunate realities of finances come into play and seriously threaten our mood. We find a way to make it work, like I said, we work well under pressure. But sometimes, it's just hilarious getting drunk in the vocal booth and laughing at hearing Bobby and our engineer fighting, hahaha.
Your music is a combination of many different influences from Jazz, blues and funk to deathmetal, progrock and grindcore. Is het so important for the band to be ecclectic and how do you manage to make the compositions flow?
Wes: We all listen to so many different styles of music, so we felt why limit ourselves. If we enjoy this music and we're capable of playing it, why the hell not? I feel like we'd be cheating ourselves if we left out those parts in our songs because it would take it away from "sounding metal". We never have had to force it. I know that might sound ridiculous and slightly pretentious, but I'm dead serious. We just started doing it when we were real young and we just thought it sounded good and gave the song a unique face. It didn't alienate the 3 of us because we have such eclectic musical tastes. We've never had to go "Hey! Write a jazz part cause it'll make us look artsy", haha. We just do what we want to and that will always be the basis of this band. We just don't care.
In my review I draw comparisons with bands like Mr Bungle, Cephalic Carnage, Between The Buried And Me, Fantomas and The Dillinger Escape Plan. What do you think of the aforementioned bands and are you by any chance influenced by them?
Wes: All those bands are incredible and we very much are fans of them. We get a lot of BTBAM and Dillinger comparisons. I think it's just cause they find comfort in relation by comparison. I dont think we sound like those bands at all. I think we have incredibly similair traits because we all grew up listening to the same shit when we were young. There's been countles times where Greg (Dillinger) and I have just geeked out on bands. That helped me realize why the sounds, although unique in our own rights, are still very similair. It helped put it in perspective I suppose. Im also very glad you said Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, and Cephalic Carnage. I have always been a huge Cephalic fan, so I've always been into the chaotic side of metal; and Mr. Bungle and Fantomas are definitely major inspirations. I still listen to Mr. Bungles "California" a lot and sometimes see where we might have gotten the inspiration to making things so unpredictable in the music. There's nothing new under the sun anymore. So we take the pieces we've fallen inlove with and find the sound that best describes our personality as music appreciators. We're just channeling our youth into sound. We're evolving.
Can you tell our readers some more about your own influences and musical heroes?
Wes: Shit, that could take all day. I'm already given you a novel with my answers, haha. But, off the top of my head. Soundgarden was a major reason I wanted to be in a band. Chris Cornell has a flawless voice. Ive always been into male vocalists with higher voices. Jeff Buckley is definitely another. Robert Plant from Led Zep, Joe Anderson from Yes, Steve Brodsky from Cave In, Daniel Johns from Silverchair, Steve Perry from Journey. I'm also really into female singers. Ceu, Sade, Ella Fitzgerald, Bjork, Deborah Anderson, etc. I'm very into jazz and french bossa nova. Guys like Jean Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz. Also into a lot of ambient works like Robin Guthrie and Clint Mansell. As far as heroes growing up, I was very into Chris Cornell and Scott Weiland. As well as heavier vocalists like Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory. Growing up I was raised with a lot of 80's metal and synth pop. So Motley Crue, Scorpions, Whitesnake; David Coverdale has one of the best voices in rock and roll, hands down. Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears to Massive Attack, Portishead, Aphex Twin to Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Neurosis to Refused, Candiria, Botch to The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Tom Waits. I listen to so much music it's almost disgusting. I even listen to just ambient noise like Fennesz, Zelionople, Hammock, Christopher Willits, The Holy See. Outside of music, I'm incredibly inspired by film. I've always been a huge film guy, getting involved with small projects here and there, which I would like to get more into. Beautiful films strike up a huge spark in me. I have a condition called Synesthesia, my brother and I both do, so we find inspiration in the weirdest of places in the most unlikely situations. I'm also a very big reader. I love books like "God Is Not Great, How Religion Ruins Everything", "The God Delusion", Blindness", Jim Morrisons poetry books, and especially the philosophy of George Carlin. Even as an artist, I still find myself geeking out over a lot of music, film, art, writing. It's hard to pin point just one area that I draw from. Amidst all the shit this world is offering, there's also inspiration ready to be found.
Name is touring quite a lot lately. When can we expect your guys on a stage in Europe and how “rock n’ roll” is life on the road for the band?
Wes: If we had it our way, we'd be on tour constantly. All year, every year. We definitely plan on hitting Europe as soon as we can. It's just a matter of finding the means being that we have no avenues of resources to do that ourselves. I guarantee it will happen though... A Name tour is incredibly "rock n' roll". We're self contained out on the road, we know what needs to get done, so we do it. Yes, our music is serious and what not, but doesn't mean we can't have fun. Actually, even in certain songs like "Killer Whales, Man", "Dave Mustaine", and "Mare" we stray away in showing the listener to not take themselves too seriously. Music is fun, you start writing songs and start a band because you have so much fun playing music with your friends. That's exactly what we're doing. When we're on the road, we just try create the most positive and fun experience for anyone around us, because we're all together for a common purpose. We laugh a lot and drink a lot. Sometimes, I feel our livers picked up, where Motley Crues left off haha. If we're gonna be dirtbags by sleeping in the hot van, driving hours upon hours with little to no money, eating shitty food if any, then might as well accentuate the positive aspects about tour. Like meeting new people, listening to good bands, partying hard with good people. I find myself being what some might call self destructive, but you know what?; I'm having the time of my life.
Do you guys have any touring rituals and can you share some funny touring stories?
Wes: No real rituals. We stretch A LOT. If you've seen a live show, you know that it's much needed. We look like we're in a yoga class but with beers or glasses of whiskey in our hands. I usually have a couple drinks before going up. Loosens me up. As far as tour stories, there are so many that would take up hours of reading time, haha. We post a lot of good stories on our blogspot (http://namefuck.blogspot.com) and a lot of good videos on our youtube (http://www.youtube.com/name). A couple good ones off the top of my head, we played New Orleans while on the road with East Of The Wall earlier this year and met some cool people. Long story short, they got us incredibly drunk. I mean just LIT. Gone, hammered, dead. We all seemed to keep our composure, so I thought, but Jeremy (bass) was so out of his fucking mind that half way through the set he grabs the mic and just loudly starts offering to "suck everyones dick" haha... Lines like "You guys are all so fucking awesome! I love you! Youre such good looking people, I'm gonna suck all your dicks!". Needless to stay it went from a awkward confusing, so just booming laughter. I sat there, walked to the bar, ordered a shot and a beer, and had both DONE before he gave me the mic back, haha. Later that night he asked me "...hey... did we play tonight?". To this day, he does not remember playing that set. He has no memory of New Orleans. Good, good night. Another one would have to be our roadie Donk saying as we roll into New Jersey: "You know what? I wanna face fuck me a Jersey girl". Turns out later that night, he accomplished his goal with a totally "down for the party" girl because they did it in front of us all, hahaha. I know we sound like dirtbags, but why lie about shit like that? Why keep it to ourselves? Its way to goddamn funny and you fucking know it.
As my final question I would like to know what you’re listening to on your I-pod/MP3-player and what bands can you recommend to our readers?
Wes: Right now, I've been listening to a lot of Mew, a lot of Blonde Redhead. We listened to Genesis' entire discography on our last tour and it was amazing. The new Oceanize record is so goddamn good it hurts my heart. I wish I wrote that thing, haha. As far as some new stuff, I'm really inlove with East of the Wall's record "Ressentiment" and Iron Thrones "The Wretched Sun". The new Tony Danza Tapdanca Extravaganza record is insane and heavy as shit. The new Deftones record knocks me on my ass, it's incredible. I always find myself coming back to Cave In atleast once a week. The new The Bled record blew my mind, their song "Breathing Room Barricades" makes me feel like my chest is caving in. Then theres other constant rotations like This Will Destroy You, A Storm of Light, and The Depreciation Guild. I recommend listen to a brazilian singer named Ceu, she has the sexiest voice i've ever heard. I recommend every band I just named, plus some others like: Helms Alee, Trap Them, Dead Weather, Sleepy Sun, Fleet Foxes, and if you want to know more, hit us up on our facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nameband. Guaranteed we will respond and we can geek out on music together. We're always wiling to give you new recomendations.
Thank you for your time and effort. Can you close this interview in style?
Wes: Thank you and those reading this. A good thing brought to my attention was this, I like any reaction I can get with my music. Just anything to get people to think. I mean if you can get a whole room full of drunk, stoned people to actually wake up and think, you're doing something. I love making music and I love sharing it with all of you. Keep in touch, don't be facsists. Hit us up on all our forms of social networking. http://www.facebook.com/nameband, http://www.twitter.com/name, http://www.myspace.com/name. We plan on playing everywhere the world will let us, and even some places that won't let us. Check out our record "Internet Killed The Audio Star" if you're interested in honest music. Read the lyrics, say hi on facebook and let me know your interpretations. I'm always incredibly interested in hearing what you get out of it. We're doing it together. All of it. We're here as a celebration of surviving in a time where true people are a dying breed. Enjoy. Indulge. Cheers.