photography

INVERVIEW : HERE WE GO MAGIC

MAY 15, 2012 | BRILLOBOX | PITTSBURGH, PA

PHOTOS BY MIHARU KATO

Here We Go Magic has provided the perfect soundtrack to accompany many of my most favorite adventures since their debut in 2009.  Their music has weaved itself into the fabric of my life so thickly, that hundreds of memories come flooding back to me each time I hear the first few exotic notes of “Fangela.” I can’t tell you how elated I was to get the interview confirmation the day I planned to drive to Pittsburgh to see them in concert.

Three long hours after driving through epic stretches construction through the hills of West Virginia and Eastern Pennsylvania, Miharu and I climbed out of my car and walked towards one of my favorite venues, Brillobox.  We bubbled with excitement as we sipped our beers.  Guitarist, Michael Bloch led us to the top floor of the venue.  To our delight, we found ourselves in an apartment/art studio.  Paint splattered canvases, giant toadstool statues, brushes, wire, and papier-mâché were scattered about the perimeter of the room. It was a super chill, and yet, surreal environment. How appropriate, I thought with a smile.

Peter Hale:  You guys are from Columbus right?

KP: Yep, we both drove up from Columbus today.

Peter:  Did you grow up there?

Miharu: No, I grew up in Cincinatti.

KPAnd I grew up in a small town about 40 minutes east of Cleveland.

Peter:  What part of Columbus do you live in?

MiharuClose to campus.

KPI live close to downtown.

Peter:  Ah, cool!  My dad grew up in Upper Arlington,  that’s why I asked.

KPOh, awesome!  We saw you guys when you played the Wexner Center last year.

Peter:  It was our first show on our way out to LA.

Michael Bloch: Was I there?!

Peter:  Yeah, that four show tour…?

KP That’s all it was?

Michael:  It was just a way to get out to LA to record.  We had to bring all of our gear along with us, so we played a couple shows as we drove across the country.

KPAhhh, well next time you plan on swinging through Columbus, let us know and we’ll get you in touch with some different venues.

Peter:  Definitely.

Jen Turner:  (laughs) Pete just wrote, ‘What do I do for a living?  I smoke lots of weed and say hilarious things on the internet.  Got any more stupid questions?’

Peter:  He’s my favorite person on Facebook.  Always irreverent and always funny.  That’s his perfect forum.  He’s my friend from NYC but he lives in Austin.  I never see him because he’s in a band an tours a lot.  He’s a great friend, but he can be a lot to handle in person.  But, on Facebook he puts up one update a day and they are ALWAYS really funny.  I want to compile them all. 

KPYou should!

Peter:  They all get saved, and they’re all on your profile forever.  I should compile them.  But, I guess the context of some of them could be confused… but yeah.  Really funny.

KP I saw a TED talk the other day that pretty much said, because our lives are now archived on the internet…  You know that whole hologram thing going on with TuPac and everyone?  Well,  they could actually create a hologram of you, with your voice, attitude, sentence structure, etc. that could interact with people after you die.  The program would be based on what you’ve said online.

Michael:  I wonder what my hologram would say…

Miharu:  That means HWGM could have reunion tour in 2100.

Peter:  Yeah, yeah! All of our artificially intelligent holograms going back to… play?  They’d be perfect.

Michael:  They’d be better than us.

[Laughter]

Michael:  You’d think that… dating services would getting a lot better.   I mean… are they? 

[Laugher]

Peter:  You’d think they’d have break-up services by now.

KPThat’s what they should do.

Michael:  Do you tweet sometimes?  

KPI do.  I have tweeted at you guys a couple times.

Michael:  Yeah, yeah, yeah! Thaaaat’s how we knew your name. 

KPI actually had a question prepared about one of our twitter interactions.  About a year or so ago, you and Bear in Heaven were talking about quitting smoking at the same time.  Then I decided to quit smoking a couple months later, so I thought to myself, Maybe I should check in with those guys and see how they’re doing.

Michael [to Peter]:  This was last summer when we were upstate and I tweeted that all the men in HWGM had quit smoking.

Peter:  Oh yeah.

KPYou guys responded with one of the best tweets ever.  Something like, “Since quitting, Luke’s jump shot has improved by 5 feet,” or something ridiculous.

Michael:  That was when we were getting ready to go to London.  And we were playing a lot of basketball.

KPDid you succeed in quitting? Everybody?

Michael:  Yeah.  For a while.  I think we’re all on-again-off-again.  Luke’s probably the most constant smoker.

Peter:  I try not to, but there are certain scenarious where I find it unavoidable.  But I think I actually quit.

Michael:  Well… Luke’s downstairs smoking right now.  So… I guess that says that.

[laughter]

Michael:  And, I smoked the other day when we were hanging out with that duck.

Peter:  Yeah.  That duck.  Smoking with the duck.

KPWait.  You smoked with a duck?

Michael:  We hung out with a pet duck the other day.  In Charlottesville, West Virginia.  That wears duck diapers  and is really friendly. 

Peter:  Yeah, really friendly, extremely domesticated.

KPAnd it was wearing a diaper??

Michael:  Yeah, they put a diaper on it to catch the eggs.

Peter:  No, they put a diaper on it because its a diaper.  To catch the shit. But it also catches the eggs.  Right?  It lays one everyday and they put the eggs in the nest.

[Enter Luke Temple]

Luke:  You talkin’ about my diapers?

Michael:  Oh! Luke’s back.

[Miharu and I introduce ourselves.]

Luke [to Miharu]:  That’s an awesome name.  Where are you from?

Miharu:  Well I’m actually half Japanese.

KPAnd I’m 1/4.

Michael: No way.

Luke:  We’re actually going to Japan for the first time this summer.

Miharu:  Wow, that’s so exciting!

Peter:  Have you ever been?

Miharu:  When I was five or six years old.  It was a long time ago so things are a bit fuzzy.  But, it’s still very nostalgic for me.  I’ll smell something and think, aw this reminds me of Japan.

Peter:  Wow, yeah.  Strongest memories are tied to scent.

KP I’ve never been, but I have family who live over there.  My cousin moved there a couple years ago and now he’s planning on moving to Singapore.

Luke:  Oooh! Singapore.  Wooo.  You get caned if you spit your gum out there.

KP Really?

Luke:  There was that story about the American kid they caught graffitiing a wall.  They had a public caning. 

KPWhat?! Really?  Now I hope I’m confusing my cities, maybe it’s not Singapore… uhh…

Luke:  Well apparently it is perfect.  Super clean, everyone is really well adjusted.  But it’s extremely conservative.

KPWow.

Jen:  Anyone want a beer?

[break]

KPMy friend Jimmy saw you guys in DC last night.  He told me a very enthusiastic fan ran onstage right before your encore and had you sign his shirt.  Jimmy wanted to know what you thought of it.

Luke: Well, I was down and… I was just fucking with my pedal.  All of a sudden there was just this back.  He came up and put his back to me and like, gave me a pen.  [laughter] I didn’t know how to sign it, so I just wrote ‘Here We Go Magic.’  I mean, thats cool. Feels good.  This is the first tour where we’ve played outside New York where there are people coming to shows.  It feels like theres a palpable interest all of a sudden.  People know the new stuff… and just stuff like that is just a novel, new development for us.

KPThe new album is amazing.  I noticed theres a big difference between your self-titled album and Pigeons, and now A Different Ship.  Did you record the first album by yourself?

Luke:  Yes.

KPHow did your creative process differ between this record and the others?

Luke:  I had always done a lot of demos…

[Michael starts laughing hysterically. Suddenly a we hear a beer can snap and followed by the sound of liquid hitting the floor]

Michael: Did you just SHOTGUN that?!

Stranger:  Yeap.

[Laughter]

Peter:  Oh.  That’s just our soundguy by the way.

Jen:  Did you know you were going to do that?  I didn’t get a picture!

Michael:  You could see it in his eyes.

[Laugher and break]

Luke:  So yeah.  I had always done a lot of demos on my 4track.  And then I would go and record them properly in the studio.  But, I would always go back and listen to the demos after and I felt like there was something more immediate and palpable about them.  But, I never decided to make a record that way since it was on a 4track and so lo-fi.  I figured I should just make a record with it.  It’s the thing I’m most comfortable doing.  I spend so much time doing it.  If it just sits there as demos and nobody listens to them, it’s kind of a shame.  I just did it in my room at night, after work with headphones. 

Working with the band is different for obvious reasons.  I write the bare structure of the song, and bring it to the band.  Everyone comes up with their own idiosyncrasies as to how to treat the song.  It’s become more of a… kind of like, a sound.  When I work with myself, I can go any direction I want.  When I work with the band, it’s democracy, and that’s a good thing. It sort of streamlines stuff, and a lot of the fat gets cut off.  You can’t just meander forever.  You know?  We all have to come to some sort of agreement with each other.  And that is slowly codifying the sound of our band.

Michael:  Yeah.  You start to hear each other when you start to think about things.  I know you (Luke) start to hear Peter when you start creating a song.  We all think about each other when we think about music now.  We expect us.  Which is cool.

Luke:  There is a pattern evolving. I do normally start with Pete because I think about the top line and the rhythm.  So it’s like the two ends of the spectrum first.  Then me and Mike have this polyrhythmic thing we do on guitar all the time, so I know that Mike is going to do that.  Then, Jen comes in a sort of flips the whole thing.  Because, the way Jen plays bass is pretty unorthodox.  She doesn’t normally play just certain arbitrary root notes.  She injects herself in such a way that it turns the whole thing over. 

[break]

KPHas anyone ever told you about experiences they have had while listening to your music?

Peter:  One guy said that we saved him from a salvia hole.

[Laughter]

Peter:  Another said that we helped him calm down his three very high and aggressive friends. 

Check out HWGM’s new album A Different Ship, by following the link below.

Here We Go Magic Tumblr
 

The Wildbirds | Circus | May 27, 2010 | Columbus, OH   
 Photo by   John Danner   
 Wisconsin band, The Wildbirds just look like the type of guys you’d like to party down with.  I met a few of the band members after their show in Columbus back in January, when JackinthePocket was a mere notion floating around in my brain space.  They’re all handsome brutes with tight jeans, rad shoes and Midwestern accents. They just exude casual cool.  We sat down on a picnic bench outside of quirky music venue Circus, each sipping a tall cans of PBR, short tumblers of gin and tonic, or Jack and coke, and a few of us drew long drags from our cigarettes. 
  KP :  So how was your drive down here? You drove 8 hours from  Wisconsin .  
  Nick : Yeah, it was good; it was our first out-of-state trip in our new band van. 
  Quinn : It always seems like when I drive, the weather goes to shit. 
  Nick : Yep, that’s why I always drive! 
  Quinn : Maybe its karma. 
  Nick : it was raining a lot. 
  Quinn : We drove through a storm. 
  Nick : Hugh was spraying contact solution in his eyes while he was driving. 
  Hugh : The air conditioning was drying my eyes out! 
  Nick : Quinn was sleeping on equipment in the back. 
  Quinn : I made a little nest. 
  Nick : We brought our dog along. 
  KP :  You brought a dog with you?!  
  Nick : Yeah, she’s at the hotel. 
  KP :  So, what’s it like piling into a van and driving 8 hours together to a show.  
  Quinn : Semi hilarious, semi-irritating. 
  Nick : Fiscally irresponsible (laughter) But fuck, I mean when we’re at this point in the stage when we’re writing, and recording and stuff, it’s just a break from the routine,   even if it costs us money. It’s just nice to see another city.Drink the same beer in a different city, but… 
  KP :  So, the last album came out in ‘07, right?  
  Nick : Yeah. 
  KP :  So what happened in between that time?  
  Nick : It’s a totally different line up besides Hugh and I. We just got exhausted. We ended up taking a year off, I mean, the rest of the guys, permanently off. Took a year off, and just realized we weren’t quite as happy without it. So I moved back from Portland to hang out with Hugh. We started forming all these quasi bands, and it took us about a year until we found something we were all stoked about, that was worth bringing into the studio. We just got our mixes back and we’re pretty stoked about it! I don’t know if other people will be. 
  Quinn : I’m happy! 
  Nick : I’m happy, that’s all that matters, that Quinn’s happy! 
  KP :  Do you have a projected date where you guys are going to release it?  
  Nick : July 22! 
  KP : That’s coming up! 
  Nick : 6 songs, it’s not a full length 
  Quinn : It’s been going super quick though. 
  KP :  What’s your creative process like as a collective?  
  Nick : You ask good questions. Creative process… I start, and most of the time, not always. We finish, like I get 20% of the way, and then it either like writes itself, or it just fuckin’ flops. So, We’ve kind of gotten past the stage where we try to nurse the song along that is just not wanting to be written. Most the songs that we kept have all just sort of written themselves. 
  KP :  So, the new guys, how did you guys meet? All these newbies…  
  Nick , Oh. The first addition was Quinn. He and another mutual friend, who was playing drums actually last time we played Columbus. They both kind of offered to come and jam with us coz we were just a two piece at the time. He (John) kept saying “I really wanna bring my friend Quinn by, he’s a ripper!” [Laughter] I was like yeah, fine, fucking bring the guy by, and he was a ripper. 
  Quinn : We weren’t really practicing. It was like, let’s go the bar and then at 4 in the morning. “Let’s go to the practice space!” 
  Hugh : First 6 months we did not play together sober, and we go no where because of it. 
  Nick : Now we pretty much only play sober…In the mornings… 
  Quinn :    Noon practices. 
  Nick : First time I met Quinn, he was talking about shaving his balls. 
  Quinn : I was? 
  Nick : Yeah. 
  Quinn : This is pretty good for a website! I don’t remember that, but… 
  Nick : You were saying that you wanted to.    NO! We were talking about waxing and you were asking if there was any place in town that did. 
  Quinn : Where did this happen? 
  Nick : Um, Slim’s. That was the first time I ever hung out with you. 
  KP :  Did you repress this memory?  
  Hugh : Yeah. This sounds made up 
  Quinn : I remember hanging out at Slim’s, but I don’t remember this conversation. 
  Nick : We were all drunk. It was in passing, a conversation in passing. 
  Quinn : Well, you got me all red faced! 
  Nick : You’ve never waxed your balls and… 
  Quinn : She’s going to have to edit this. 
  KP :  Ohhh no, I don’t edit!  
  Nick : Yeah, see, she doesn’t edit. 
  KP :  Oh, it’s ALL going up there!  
  Quinn : Great. 
  Nick : Let’s talk about your balls, Quinn! 
  Quinn : I’m going to email this to my mom. 
  Nick : How high are they? 
  KP :  Look mom, I’m being interviewed!  
  Quinn : Let’s um, go on to the next question, concerning the band… 
  KP :  Did you guys initiate him or something, because I know a lot of bands have initiation processes.  
  Quinn : No, no… 
  Nick : But, I thought he played too newly at first. I was at first like let’s find a bunch of cool sloppy players. 
  Hugh : Cool, young guys 
  Nick : Quinn’s a really slick guitar player, we weren’t used to it. He was just better than what I was used to, and now I can’t imagine playing without any of these dudes. 
  Hugh : Quinn and I live together and Brad and Stu live together. Brad started playing with us about the same time. I’ve known Brad for about 8 years, 9 years. We grew up together in Appleton which is a small town in the middle of no where Wisconsin. 
  KP :  What’s it like being in a band in  Wisconsin ?  
  Quinn : Cold. 
  Nick : Cold, it’s just like everything else in Wisconsin, it’s just cold. 
  Quinn : It’s hard to get things done, well, especially in Milwaukee. Anytime you go out its like, let’s just go to a bar and it’s really easy to stay idle, and drunk. That’s why we practice at noon. 
  Nick : Otherwise nothing would get done. 
  Quinn : It’s cheap and you can travel easily from Milwaukee, I think. 
  Nick : The band is a good distraction for us. Something to keep our mind on when it is boring or cold or everyone else is at the bars. It’s a reason to not be…for an hour or two. 
  KP :  So have you guys toured together, all of you, or is this your first show playing together?  
  Hugh : We haven’t really done any tours, we don’t really have a reason to tour until we have a record. But Nick and I were on the road together for about 6 months straight it was hard. Six months on the road is a long time. 
  Nick : We did it the worst of ways, but now it’s all fun in retrospect. The pictures make it look really fun, with our veggie oil bus and we’re all like, greasy, and sleepy. 
  Hugh : Sleeping on slabs of plywood. 
  Quinn : Still equipment with vegetable oil on it 
  Hugh : Fuck yeah! 
  KP :  So, in your six months on the road together, did you guys have any crazy stories, or anything completely insane?  
  Quinn : There’s so many that I’ve heard… so many! Sleeping half in the bus, and half with your feet on the side walk… 
  Nick , Oh yeah! Yeah, we had a CD release show at the Troubadour in in LA. The label opened up a bar tab for us, and multiple friends showed up, and it got really fucking stupid. We stayed up drinking like lots of shots of whisky and a lot of beers with uh, that band Hanson. 
  KP :  They’re coming through town really soon. In August.  
  Nick : Are they? 
  KP :  Yeah, I’m trying to get an interview with Rooney, they’re supposed to open.  
  Nick : Yeah. 
  Quinn : Don’t say anything bad, because Hugh is a huge proponent of Hanson. 
  Hugh : They’re nice guys. 
  KP :  No! I’ve heard really good things about them.  
  Hugh : Yeah, and they can drink, surprisingly! We had to leave in the morning, and the drummer and I were responsible for taking the bus back to Venice Beach early in the morning, which didn’t happen. Nick came by to see if we were moving. I think he was trying to text us, and we were not responding. I was sleeping in the bus and Nick walked up. He found the drummer, his torso was on the few stairs that we had, and the rest of him was out on the sidewalk and the doors were open. It’s just like a school bus with like the ratcheting door and he’s just passed out, his head resting on one step. We didn’t make our flight! 
  Nick : That happened to me too in a different show in LA. Yea, I don’t know, the city doesn’t do very good things to us. 
  Quinn : I think we all have a drinking problem! 
  Nick : These stories will pretty much just make us sound like alcoholics, so lets not talk about it. 
  KP :  Well, that’s how a lot of my interviews have gone.   
  Quinn : It’s only a problem if you admit you have a problem 
  Nick : Deny you have a problem 
  Hugh : Deny deny deny!! 
  Nick : so I dunno, what else? Theres some other pretty ridiculous ones, but they all sound something like that… We’re next right? 
  KP :  Yeah, I think you guys are up next.  
  Nick : I didn’t brush my hair yet 
  Quinn : Don’t you have to wax your mustache too before we get underway here? I mean, not wax it, but do you have your pomade with you? 
  Nick : No, I didn’t bring it. Just coz I brought up your balls doesn’t mean you have to talk about my hair. 
  Quinn : I think it looks good! 
  Nick : Thanks dude, I think your balls look good! 
   The Wildbirds   2007 release Golden Daze is   available here .   But keep and eye out for their new 6 track release due out on July 22! 
   A special thank you goes out to my friend Tracey for transcribing the audio of this interview! :)

The Wildbirds | Circus | May 27, 2010 | Columbus, OH

Photo by John Danner

Wisconsin band, The Wildbirds just look like the type of guys you’d like to party down with.  I met a few of the band members after their show in Columbus back in January, when JackinthePocket was a mere notion floating around in my brain space.  They’re all handsome brutes with tight jeans, rad shoes and Midwestern accents. They just exude casual cool.  We sat down on a picnic bench outside of quirky music venue Circus, each sipping a tall cans of PBR, short tumblers of gin and tonic, or Jack and coke, and a few of us drew long drags from our cigarettes.

KP: So how was your drive down here? You drove 8 hours from Wisconsin.

Nick: Yeah, it was good; it was our first out-of-state trip in our new band van.

Quinn: It always seems like when I drive, the weather goes to shit.

Nick: Yep, that’s why I always drive!

Quinn: Maybe its karma.

Nick: it was raining a lot.

Quinn: We drove through a storm.

Nick: Hugh was spraying contact solution in his eyes while he was driving.

Hugh: The air conditioning was drying my eyes out!

Nick: Quinn was sleeping on equipment in the back.

Quinn: I made a little nest.

Nick: We brought our dog along.

KP: You brought a dog with you?!

Nick: Yeah, she’s at the hotel.

KP: So, what’s it like piling into a van and driving 8 hours together to a show.

Quinn: Semi hilarious, semi-irritating.

Nick: Fiscally irresponsible (laughter) But fuck, I mean when we’re at this point in the stage when we’re writing, and recording and stuff, it’s just a break from the routine,
even if it costs us money. It’s just nice to see another city.Drink the same beer in a different city, but…

KP: So, the last album came out in ‘07, right?

Nick: Yeah.

KP: So what happened in between that time?

Nick: It’s a totally different line up besides Hugh and I. We just got exhausted. We ended up taking a year off, I mean, the rest of the guys, permanently off. Took a year off, and just realized we weren’t quite as happy without it. So I moved back from Portland to hang out with Hugh. We started forming all these quasi bands, and it took us about a year until we found something we were all stoked about, that was worth bringing into the studio. We just got our mixes back and we’re pretty stoked about it! I don’t know if other people will be.

Quinn: I’m happy!

Nick: I’m happy, that’s all that matters, that Quinn’s happy!

KP: Do you have a projected date where you guys are going to release it?

Nick: July 22!

KP: That’s coming up!

Nick: 6 songs, it’s not a full length

Quinn: It’s been going super quick though.

KP: What’s your creative process like as a collective?

Nick: You ask good questions. Creative process… I start, and most of the time, not always. We finish, like I get 20% of the way, and then it either like writes itself, or it just fuckin’ flops. So, We’ve kind of gotten past the stage where we try to nurse the song along that is just not wanting to be written. Most the songs that we kept have all just sort of written themselves.

KP: So, the new guys, how did you guys meet? All these newbies…

Nick, Oh. The first addition was Quinn. He and another mutual friend, who was playing drums actually last time we played Columbus. They both kind of offered to come and jam with us coz we were just a two piece at the time. He (John) kept saying “I really wanna bring my friend Quinn by, he’s a ripper!” [Laughter] I was like yeah, fine, fucking bring the guy by, and he was a ripper.

Quinn: We weren’t really practicing. It was like, let’s go the bar and then at 4 in the morning. “Let’s go to the practice space!”

Hugh: First 6 months we did not play together sober, and we go no where because of it.

Nick: Now we pretty much only play sober…In the mornings…

Quinn:  Noon practices.

Nick: First time I met Quinn, he was talking about shaving his balls.

Quinn: I was?

Nick: Yeah.

Quinn: This is pretty good for a website! I don’t remember that, but…

Nick: You were saying that you wanted to.  NO! We were talking about waxing and you were asking if there was any place in town that did.

Quinn: Where did this happen?

Nick: Um, Slim’s. That was the first time I ever hung out with you.

KP: Did you repress this memory?

Hugh: Yeah. This sounds made up

Quinn: I remember hanging out at Slim’s, but I don’t remember this conversation.

Nick: We were all drunk. It was in passing, a conversation in passing.

Quinn: Well, you got me all red faced!

Nick: You’ve never waxed your balls and…

Quinn: She’s going to have to edit this.

KP: Ohhh no, I don’t edit!

Nick: Yeah, see, she doesn’t edit.

KP: Oh, it’s ALL going up there!

Quinn: Great.

Nick: Let’s talk about your balls, Quinn!

Quinn: I’m going to email this to my mom.

Nick: How high are they?

KP: Look mom, I’m being interviewed!

Quinn: Let’s um, go on to the next question, concerning the band…

KP: Did you guys initiate him or something, because I know a lot of bands have initiation processes.

Quinn: No, no…

Nick: But, I thought he played too newly at first. I was at first like let’s find a bunch of cool sloppy players.

Hugh: Cool, young guys

Nick: Quinn’s a really slick guitar player, we weren’t used to it. He was just better than what I was used to, and now I can’t imagine playing without any of these dudes.

Hugh: Quinn and I live together and Brad and Stu live together. Brad started playing with us about the same time. I’ve known Brad for about 8 years, 9 years. We grew up together in Appleton which is a small town in the middle of no where Wisconsin.

KP: What’s it like being in a band in Wisconsin?

Quinn: Cold.

Nick: Cold, it’s just like everything else in Wisconsin, it’s just cold.

Quinn: It’s hard to get things done, well, especially in Milwaukee. Anytime you go out its like, let’s just go to a bar and it’s really easy to stay idle, and drunk. That’s why we practice at noon.

Nick: Otherwise nothing would get done.

Quinn: It’s cheap and you can travel easily from Milwaukee, I think.

Nick: The band is a good distraction for us. Something to keep our mind on when it is boring or cold or everyone else is at the bars. It’s a reason to not be…for an hour or two.

KP: So have you guys toured together, all of you, or is this your first show playing together?

Hugh: We haven’t really done any tours, we don’t really have a reason to tour until we have a record. But Nick and I were on the road together for about 6 months straight it was hard. Six months on the road is a long time.

Nick: We did it the worst of ways, but now it’s all fun in retrospect. The pictures make it look really fun, with our veggie oil bus and we’re all like, greasy, and sleepy.

Hugh: Sleeping on slabs of plywood.

Quinn: Still equipment with vegetable oil on it

Hugh: Fuck yeah!

KP: So, in your six months on the road together, did you guys have any crazy stories, or anything completely insane?

Quinn: There’s so many that I’ve heard… so many! Sleeping half in the bus, and half with your feet on the side walk…

Nick, Oh yeah! Yeah, we had a CD release show at the Troubadour in in LA. The label opened up a bar tab for us, and multiple friends showed up, and it got really fucking stupid. We stayed up drinking like lots of shots of whisky and a lot of beers with uh, that band Hanson.

KP: They’re coming through town really soon. In August.

Nick: Are they?

KP: Yeah, I’m trying to get an interview with Rooney, they’re supposed to open.

Nick: Yeah.

Quinn: Don’t say anything bad, because Hugh is a huge proponent of Hanson.

Hugh: They’re nice guys.

KP: No! I’ve heard really good things about them.

Hugh: Yeah, and they can drink, surprisingly! We had to leave in the morning, and the drummer and I were responsible for taking the bus back to Venice Beach early in the morning, which didn’t happen. Nick came by to see if we were moving. I think he was trying to text us, and we were not responding. I was sleeping in the bus and Nick walked up. He found the drummer, his torso was on the few stairs that we had, and the rest of him was out on the sidewalk and the doors were open. It’s just like a school bus with like the ratcheting door and he’s just passed out, his head resting on one step. We didn’t make our flight!

Nick: That happened to me too in a different show in LA. Yea, I don’t know, the city doesn’t do very good things to us.

Quinn: I think we all have a drinking problem!

Nick: These stories will pretty much just make us sound like alcoholics, so lets not talk about it.

KP: Well, that’s how a lot of my interviews have gone.

Quinn: It’s only a problem if you admit you have a problem

Nick: Deny you have a problem

Hugh: Deny deny deny!!

Nick: so I dunno, what else? Theres some other pretty ridiculous ones, but they all sound something like that… We’re next right?

KP: Yeah, I think you guys are up next.

Nick: I didn’t brush my hair yet

Quinn: Don’t you have to wax your mustache too before we get underway here? I mean, not wax it, but do you have your pomade with you?

Nick: No, I didn’t bring it. Just coz I brought up your balls doesn’t mean you have to talk about my hair.

Quinn: I think it looks good!

Nick: Thanks dude, I think your balls look good!

The Wildbirds 2007 release Golden Daze is available here.  But keep and eye out for their new 6 track release due out on July 22!

A special thank you goes out to my friend Tracey for transcribing the audio of this interview! :)

INTERVIEW : THE HOUNDS BELOW

    

 

 

April 24, 2010 | Skully’s Music Diner |  Columbus, OH

Photo by John Danner

This night had been in the works for months.  A joint birthday party between one of my best friends, and a rock star. Since they met back in October, and discovered they had the same birthday, Tracey and Jason Stollsteimer had been giddily planning an epic evening of red velvet cake and rock and roll.  This was Columbus debut for The Hounds Below, and even though he had played this town numerous times before with The Von Bondies, Jason admitted he was slightly nervous.  A whole new band, a whole new sound.  I sat down with him and Ben Collins in the Green Room in the upstairs of Skully’s Music Diner.

KP: Since you are fairly new, I would like to know what brought you together to start the band.

Ben: Jason started the band a couple years ago. It just started as an idea. They had played one show with totally different members.  More recently decided to do it more seriously, and he found a whole bunch of musicians from the Detroit area.  We all play in our own bands as well but we kind of took time off here and there to go play with him because…

Jason: …We tour!

Ben: Yeah, and we all really like his songs so we joined his band as well.

KP:  How did you all meet?

Ben:  I was Jason’s sound guy when he was in the Von Bondies.

Jason: And I liked his band, his other band.  It was nothing like this or anything I’ve ever done. But most music I like live is not something I’d ever play. I appreciate what I don’t do. I don’t like a lot of bands that sound anything like what I do… at all.   Not modern ones… But yeah, Molly, the bass player, I had never seen her play before in any other bands. Ben Luckett our drummer, the other Ben, I had never seen his band play either.  It was just like people recommended people and they just worked or they didn’t.  There are 4 people in the band, but we seem to have a new keyboard player every 10 shows… every 5 shows…

Ben: Every tour!

Jason: But they aren’t in the band.  They’re just friends who are normally lead singers of their own band but they like the break from the pressure of being the front guy. They just have fun playing live.

Ben: George is doing a great job.  He’s the one playing with us tonight.

 Jason: Yeah, the show last night was his first with us, and this will be his second. We practiced three times and that was it! Allison plays trombone for us.  We asked her to join the band, but she has too many others asking her to join.  … and she’s not behind you or saying anything right now.

Allison: I forgot my heels! 

Jason: You can borrow someone’s! What size do you wear?

Allison: Size 8.

Jason:  Anyone wear a size 8?

KP:  I do… but I didn’t bring an extra pair with me, sorry!

Jason: See… shoes!  That’s just like you… just like you.

Ben:  If it makes you feel better, I also forgot my heels.

Allison: I never forget anything…

Jason: You forgot them in my bedroom [Laughter]

KPHow long have you played collectively?

Jason: Seven months!

KP:  Seven months…. So what has been the greatest show you’ve played together thus far?

Jason:  It wouldn’t have been BRMC… but that would have been the biggest crowd.

Ben:  Oh yeah, I had fun at the BRMC show in Seattle though

Jason: You left!

Ben: Yeah… I left to see another band down the street.  [Laughs] But it was still good.

Jason: I would say… LA was fun.  I don’t know! We’ve been really lucky. We’re trying not to use my other band’s name.  I think this is the only show where we’ve used the name The Von Bondies to sell tickets.  We try to make it a fact that no one’s allowed to use it. We don’t want to live off of my old merit.  It’s a big thing because I don’t want people coming expecting to hear Von Bondies songs.  Which… believe me, happens when you advertise it.  And people drunkenly get pissed and say stupid things. But [The Hounds Below] have never played Columbus and the Von Bondies always did well here for some reason.  Which is weird.  Ben is a University of Michigan Alumnus.  He played in the Marching band.

Ben:  That’s right, that’s right.

KP: Uh oh!  Don’t go telling anyone that.  There’s a lot of drunk OSU fans out right now.  Today was their spring game.   Don’t get any sudden school spirit.  [Laughs]

Ben: Oh, well I never had any. [Laughs] It took me 6 years to graduate and I’m going to be in debt until I’m 60… so…. But that’s alright.

KP:  What do you guys do for other jobs, other than touring and recording with The Hounds Below?

Ben:  I do sound locally in the Detroit area and for bands. I also do web work, which is nice for the road. I can work from the car.

KP: That’s pretty cool.

Jason: I just do this…

Ben: He’s lucky enough that he doesn’t need to do anything else.

Jason:  Anytime I made money I never spent it.  So I have a tiny little house, instead of a bigger house I could have afforded at one point.   I don’t need a lot, you know?  I don’t need a three, four bedroom house when I live by myself.

KPThat’s admirable! You’re not trying to get on MTV Cribs or anything…?

Jason: No, no, no.  MTV Holes-in-the-Wall. [Laughter] No, but its funny, though. The Von Bondies, everyone kind of looked at it as a band. But, after the first two years I came to the realization and so did the guy that was managing us, that it was a solo project. I’d always end up in the studio, always by myself.  This is the first band that actually feels like a band. I know Ben kept saying it’s MY band, but he’s played more guitar in seven months than the guitarist for the Von Bondies did in seven years.   I’d always play the guitar parts because I could get it done in 5 minutes. But Ben is 10 better than I am. The drummer plays all of his parts and Molly the bass player also plays all of her parts.  This is more of a band, and we actually hang out and go out where I never went out with any one from the Von Bondies after the first year or two.  (To Ben) Maybe in a year or two we wont talk.

Ben: Hopefully! [Laughs]

Jason:  And that means we succeeded!!

KP:  What about SxSW? How was that experience for you guys?

Jason: Hot tub!  We rented a big house and got a hot tub!

KPHow many days were you there?

Jason: All of them.

Ben: We were supposed to play seven shows? Eight shows! But we only played 6.  The last day it was 40 degrees and pouring rain and lightening.  We were to play 3 outdoor shows that day, several on metal stages.

Jason: The best show was at Home Slice.  Which is a pizza place in Austin.  It’s the show I always love playing. No matter what, there are lots families there.  There were two little girls sitting right in front of me.  And I was like, “Is this too loud?”

The interview was interrupted briefly.  I had missed a payment on my credit card and Chase was calling me at 8:30 in the evening to harass me.  Jason began to explain how to make the creditors stop calling you forever…

Jason:  They had been calling Ben so, I picked up the phone and said, “What is this about?!” and they said they were a creditor trying to collect money. So I said, “I really don’t have the strength to talk…” They were like, “I’m sorry sir, is there a better time to call?” And I said, “Actually no, I have cancer.”  [Laughter] And they felt sooooo bad.  I know that’s horrible, and I’m totally going to get cancer. Everyone in my family has cancer. We all have cancer. But they never called back!!  I told them to take me off the calling list because I didn’t know how long I was going to be around.  They NEVER called back.

KP:  That’s good! I’m going to have to remember that next time they call.

Jason:  I am terrible, so terrible. But life is too short not to be. 

The Hounds Below are currently (top left to bottom right) Jason Stollsteimer, Ben Luckett, Ben Collins and Molly Jean Schoen. They will be touring with The Heavy this July. Keep an eye on their myspace for more dates to be announced. You can download three free songs off of their Last.fm page.

Lovedrug | Skullys Music Diner | Columbus, OH | February 19, 2010  
   

  

   Photo Credit:  Jamarr Michael Mays    
     

   KP:  What has been the most ridiculouly memorable thing each one of you has done while on tour together?  
  Michael:  Ohhh my god… 
  James:  We don’t have time for all of them. 
  Thomas : Let’s talk about the time that we were in Boston and I saw Jeremy mummify himself with toilet paper. 
  Jeremy:  That’s not the craziest thing…  
  James : Wait, I didn’t see that shit! 
  Jeremy:  Michael, crossed dressed in New York 
  Michael : So we stayed with a fried of  ours in NYC.  I was fairly inebriated, and these guys convinced me to dress up as a little dutch girl. 
  Jeremy : You looked really good. 
  Thomas :  I can provide pictures. 
  Michael : The best part was walking the streets, and James is standing across a cross walk and watching these dudes check me out from a couple blocks away. Like, What is this chick?! Alright!! Lets go that way!  Then watching them come closer and closer and realize… OH my GOD. THIS A DUDE.   
  James :  Bee-lined the other way. 
  Jeremy : Definitely ruined peoples lives. 
  Michael : I definitely changed some lives that night. Including my own. 
  Thomas :  That whole night was fucked from the beginning. 
  Jeremy : We can’t tell any James stories, they’re not appropriate! 
   KP :  Inappropriateness is fully allowed.  
  Thomas : Every James story involves nudity. 
  Michael : My favorite James story so far… We were in a hotel room and [Jeremy’s] directing him… Its almost as if we’re doing a porn…. 
  Jeremy : There’s gonna be a LOT of nudity in this. 
   KP : We’ll thats how thomas was initiated.  
  Thomas : It seems I get initiated quite often. 
  James : People are going to think we love to be naked together. 
  Michael : We DO love to be naked together. 
  James : The band thats naked together, stays together. 
  Jeremy : James turns into a Frat dude when hes drunk, first of all.  So he comes in and he’s all party boy. 
   KP : You pop your collar when you’re drunk?!  
  Jeremy : James wears Ed Hardy shirts when he’s drunk [laughing] ONLY when he’s drunk. 
  James :  I have them packed away… waiting. 
  Jeremy : So Thomas convinces him to jump in me and our merch guy’s bed… While he’s completely naked.  I don’t know HOW you got naked.  
  James : Because thomas said, “Take off your clothes.”  
  Jeremy : So, he was rubbin’ his stuff around my bed… 
  Thomas : WAIT, paint the full picture.  What did you say it smelled like? 
  Jeremy : Bologna.  James naked smells like bologna.  
  James : Great its gonna be published that I smell like fucking bologna.  
   KP :  Hey, you never know who’s gonna be into bologna .  
  James : People with no teeth are going to approach me and be like… 
  Michael :… “Listen, I love bologna…” 
  Jeremy : [Laughing] So James starts rubbing his bologna all over my bed… and so I tackled him. 
   KP : This sounds like something out of Borat!  
  Jeremy : Very Borat.  So there’s pictures of James on my phone with his arms up like this [motions].  It looks like child porn.   
  James : Ah come on, isn’t there a really cool story we can tell… 
  Michael : What about Thomas? 
  Thomas :  I climbed down a building at a party once. 
  Michael : It was pretty intense dude. We were hanging out w/ the bus driver of Eagles of Death Metal… swiggin some jack. I remember I was standing outside on the balcony with you and I’m wasted thinking “Thomas you shouldn’t be doing that man. But all right… thats cool!” 
  Thomas :  I remember everyone was cheering me on. Someone had dropped a pack of cigarettes down a whole bunch of floors off the balcony and I was like, fuck! I’ll go get it! 
   Thanks to  Lovedrug  for a fantastic evening and being so candid.  Make sure you check out their  music , and fan them on  facebook  to keep up with their latest. 

Lovedrug | Skullys Music Diner | Columbus, OH | February 19, 2010

Photo Credit: Jamarr Michael Mays


KP: What has been the most ridiculouly memorable thing each one of you has done while on tour together?

Michael: Ohhh my god…

James: We don’t have time for all of them.

Thomas: Let’s talk about the time that we were in Boston and I saw Jeremy mummify himself with toilet paper.

Jeremy: That’s not the craziest thing… 

James: Wait, I didn’t see that shit!

Jeremy: Michael, crossed dressed in New York

Michael: So we stayed with a fried of  ours in NYC.  I was fairly inebriated, and these guys convinced me to dress up as a little dutch girl.

Jeremy: You looked really good.

Thomas:  I can provide pictures.

Michael: The best part was walking the streets, and James is standing across a cross walk and watching these dudes check me out from a couple blocks away. Like, What is this chick?! Alright!! Lets go that way!  Then watching them come closer and closer and realize… OH my GOD. THIS A DUDE.  

James:  Bee-lined the other way.

Jeremy: Definitely ruined peoples lives.

Michael: I definitely changed some lives that night. Including my own.

Thomas:  That whole night was fucked from the beginning.

Jeremy: We can’t tell any James stories, they’re not appropriate!

KP:  Inappropriateness is fully allowed.

Thomas: Every James story involves nudity.

Michael: My favorite James story so far… We were in a hotel room and [Jeremy’s] directing him… Its almost as if we’re doing a porn….

Jeremy: There’s gonna be a LOT of nudity in this.

KP: We’ll thats how thomas was initiated.

Thomas: It seems I get initiated quite often.

James: People are going to think we love to be naked together.

Michael: We DO love to be naked together.

James: The band thats naked together, stays together.

Jeremy: James turns into a Frat dude when hes drunk, first of all.  So he comes in and he’s all party boy.

KP: You pop your collar when you’re drunk?!

Jeremy: James wears Ed Hardy shirts when he’s drunk [laughing] ONLY when he’s drunk.

James:  I have them packed away… waiting.

Jeremy: So Thomas convinces him to jump in me and our merch guy’s bed… While he’s completely naked.  I don’t know HOW you got naked. 

James: Because thomas said, “Take off your clothes.” 

Jeremy: So, he was rubbin’ his stuff around my bed…

Thomas: WAIT, paint the full picture.  What did you say it smelled like?

Jeremy: Bologna.  James naked smells like bologna. 

James: Great its gonna be published that I smell like fucking bologna. 

KP:  Hey, you never know who’s gonna be into bologna .

James: People with no teeth are going to approach me and be like…

Michael:… “Listen, I love bologna…”

Jeremy: [Laughing] So James starts rubbing his bologna all over my bed… and so I tackled him.

KP: This sounds like something out of Borat!

Jeremy: Very Borat.  So there’s pictures of James on my phone with his arms up like this [motions].  It looks like child porn.  

James: Ah come on, isn’t there a really cool story we can tell…

Michael: What about Thomas?

Thomas:  I climbed down a building at a party once.

Michael: It was pretty intense dude. We were hanging out w/ the bus driver of Eagles of Death Metal… swiggin some jack. I remember I was standing outside on the balcony with you and I’m wasted thinking “Thomas you shouldn’t be doing that man. But all right… thats cool!”

Thomas:  I remember everyone was cheering me on. Someone had dropped a pack of cigarettes down a whole bunch of floors off the balcony and I was like, fuck! I’ll go get it!

Thanks to Lovedrug for a fantastic evening and being so candid.  Make sure you check out their music, and fan them on facebook to keep up with their latest.