Tag Archives: interview

INTERVIEW: MINERAL

You can’t have read this blog without knowing our feelings on Mineral. From naming ‘&Serenading’ as the no.1 emo song of all time to the love letter/tribute to Mineral we published last year we have made it quite clear how much this band means. On the eve of their first ever UK tour, it is a complete honour to share with you a Q&A with Mineral drummer, Gabriel Wiley, we conducted by email.

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Is This Thing On? – Hi. On the eve of your first European tour as a band, how is everything in the Mineral camp?

Gabriel Wiley – Doing well, real excited about playing Europe.

ITTO? – I heard that Mineral reuniting was Jim from Jimmy Eat World’s idea, had you ever discussed reforming before then? When did you first start realising how much people still loved Mineral?

GW – Yes, Jim wanted to put together a show with many of the bands they toured with in the beginning of the band. We were among those asked which caused us to get together and discuss it. Due to many problems the show never happened but we had started practicing and figured we might do a show or two. A nice fella from the windish agency said he’d like to book us some show out east and so he did. Everything has grown from there. After mineral, we were all in other bands and through shows with those bands we would be asked a number of times if and when mineral was getting back together. So we had some idea of the interest yet, it is very enjoyable to see how excited people have been.

ITTO? – Have you talked as a band about why you split up when you did? Was it an amicable split at the time? And was there any awkwardness when you first got back together?

GW – No, we haven’t and it would be counter-productive. I would not call it amicable but no knives were thrown. I don’t remember much awkwardness, at least for my part.

ITTO? – You’ve already completed a lengthy tour in America, how has the reaction been?

GW– It’s been fantastic and a bit humbling. There are times when I can hear the crowd singing louder than Chris’s vocals. The band that opened the US tour, Into It-Over It is awesome and we had a surprise in NYC when Frank Turner opened. That was incredible.

ITTO? – Have you discovered anything new about these songs that you’ve not played together since the last century, some of which you never played live?

GW – No, I know it’s not a very interesting answer, but they seemed to be just as we left them. I would like to say that I had some kind of spirited re-kindling with the songs, but didn’t happen.

ITTO? – I have friends who have seen you numerous times on this tour already and they’ve all commented about how you just keep getting better every show, have you noticed a progression? Are you a better live band now than you’ve ever been?

GW – That is true. Nothing prepares you for tour like touring. I believe we are better now than when we were actually a band. It definitely hurts more now.

ITTO? – In 2012 this blog counted down the top 100 emo songs of all time and ‘&serenading’ was number 1! What’s your favourite Mineral song and has it changed since you’ve reformed?

GW – Favorite is parking lot, and no. We would be a damn fool to change any of it. But &serenading is my wife’s favorite as well.

ITTO? – Do you have anything special planned for your Euro/UK shows? Do you have any idea what to expect over here?

GW – Nothing special, we’ve added a new song, 80-37 to the list (well new to the list but not a new song, as it were). I have been over here with a couple of bands and have a rough idea as far as some cultural differences and the like. (In Germany they like to make you pay to use the toilets!). But as for how people will receive us, I try not to expect or assume how a crowd will react to us.

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ITTO? – There has been a massive resurgence in bands playing this type of music over the last few years and many bands have cited you as a major influence, do you feel part of the current ’emo’ scene? Or do you still identify yourselves as still very much a 90s band?

GW – I feel much more like a 90s rock band, but I can use the word emo in the same sentence as Mineral. As for a current emo scene, I’m not sure I know who that would be. I am 43 and listen mostly to podcasts and music recorded before 1980. I never made music with the intention of influencing anyone, but it is nice that some bands point to us as inspiration.

ITTO? – I see you’re still announcing tours/festival appearances, what else is next for Mineral? Any plans to bring back any post Mineral bands (Gloria Record/Imbroco/Pop Unknown) ?

GW – After this tour, we play a festival in Belgium and Spain in May. After that, maybe nothing, not sure. There is some talk of South America, but difficult to say. I don’t see any of my old bands doing anything, but might talk to the other fellas about their intentions.

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Sorry kids, Dad has some new babies now!

 

ITTO? – And finally. I bought my first Mineral album in 1998 when you had already split, I never dreamed that almost 17 years later I’d get to see you play live. Is there any band you would absolutely love to see reform?

GW – If I could go back to 1977 and see led Zeppelin that would be my wish. But without time travel, ummmm a Seattle band called these arms are snakes, a fantastic Seattle band. Super kick ass. See you at the show.

ITTO? – Thanks so much Gabriel

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INTERVIEW: DIKEMBE

A couple of months ago Dikembe, the band whose name I recently realised that I have no idea how to say out loud, made an emphatic return with their sophomore record, ‘Mediumship’. Their debut record, ‘Broad Shoulders’ got a lot of love from this blog and I’ve been wanting to write about how great their new record is since I first heard it. But instead of listening to me badger on for 700 words about how their subtle grunge influences coupled with the bands innate ability to write moody but very infectious melodies make for one of this years must hear records, I thought it would be a much better idea to get Dikembe to agree to an interview. As luck would have it they did, so here it is. Answering the questions is drummer David Bell.

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Is this thing on? – Hi. You have a new record out, how did you go about writing and recording this time round?

Dikembe – Our last record, Broad Shoulders, was written and recorded on the fly, so much so that there were a couple songs we had to learn to play together after the album was sent for mastering. We wanted to avoid that situation this time around. New songs were pushed into our live set as often as possible so that we could get a sense of how the tracks felt to play. If something felt weird we would bring it up during our next practice and try to make it feel better. When it came time to track the record we decided to track everything live, which saved us a lot of time and reaffirmed for ourselves how comfortable we would be to tour with these new songs.

ITTO? – The songs are recognizably Dikembe but there seems to be a progression in the sound from your previous records, has this evolved naturally or have you made a conscious effort to change your sound?

Dikembe – I would say we made a conscious effort to go with our gut and give little to no thought on the expectations of others. We just focused on writing and recording a group of songs we knew we’d all enjoy playing live and not worry about whether or not elements fit a predetermined genre or sound.

ITTO? – I love this record but found it to be a grower. Sticking with it has paid off really well, how has the reaction been to the record? Have you been nervous about how this record will be received compared to your previous records?

Dikembe– Feedback about the album has seemed pretty positive. I don’t think we were too worried going into the release. We were just excited for people to hear the jams we were having fun with during our live sets, especially since it felt like a lifetime since we finished our first album. I think Steven was the most nervous about Mediumship’s general reception, but we were on tour when it dropped and it wasn’t too hard to distract him from the twitters and such.

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ITTO? – I’ve noticed a grunge influence to the record with some of the riffs used and the loud/quiet/loud pattern on some songs. What have you been listening to recently and what has influenced your writing this time round?

Dikembe – Steven had the sudden realization that Pearl Jam’s Ten is an amazing album about two years ago. He has also been claiming that Soundgarden’s “Fell on Black Days” is his favorite song ever. Most of the musical elements to Mediumship were developed during practices, so I think this album displays more of the group’s collective tastes than our previous releases. Randy and I grew up heavily influenced by our fathers’ CD collections, which they probably attained through some sort of Columbia House Record Club style subscription. Late 80’s, early 90’s “alternative rock” feels very familiar to our ears, and it probably seeps into our song production style.

ITTO? – Steven Gray’s voice does weird things to me, it melts my heart like an emo Eddie Vedder. What vocalists have this kind of effect on yourselves?

Dikembe – Jeff Buckley’s voice in “Hallelujah” gives me goosebumps every single time. It’s disturbing.

ITTO? – You recently put out a split with veterans the Jazz June, how did that come about? Any other bands you’d love to do splits with?

Dikembe – I believe they contacted us in some way and pitched the idea about a year ago. We were blown away by the idea that they had heard our music, let alone dug it enough to let us be part of their long-awaited return.

Randy says a split with Creepoid would be cool.

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ITTO? – Are you guys able to commit to the band full-time or do you have to fit everything in (touring/recording etc.) around your regular lives?

Dikembe – As much as we would love to commit our full-time to life on the road and in the studio, Steven has a big-boy job teaching middle school kids and Ryan just produced a real-life baby human. We practice maybe once every two or three months because Steven lives in Orlando, a two-hour drive from the rest of us in Gainesville. It’s astonishing how much we’ve been able to do and how often we’ve toured given how little time we commit to this band as a whole.

ITTO? – What would have to happen for you guys to come and tour the uk?

Dikembe – We’ve gotten close, but scheduling issues continue to kill off plans. We would need a UK band to agree to a summer tour, let us squeeze into their van, and allow us to use all of their gear every night. I don’t think we can afford to fly over, rent gear, and rent a vehicle with our own finances.

ITTO? – Bands keep getting robbed on the road, seems to be an everyday occurrence at the mo. Have you had bad experiences yourselves? Does it put you off going on the road? What security tips can you give aspiring bands?

Dikembe – Thankfully, we have not had any bad experiences on the road so far. It helps that we tour in a 2013 Dodge Caravan that features an alarm system, slightly tinted windows, and an overall look that suggests it carries a family of six around instead of hundreds of dollars in musical equipment. Nevertheless, we still are very careful about where we park it. There are only two things I can think to suggest for a band going on the road in a 15-passenger van:

Get an alarm system installed or insurance on your gear. It’s obviously an investment, but you don’t want to have to rely on internet donations if the worst happens. Plus, it would really suck to have to cut a tour short because someone popped a lock off your van door with a screw driver.

If you can’t throw down that kind of money, invest in making your van look like a difficult job. Buy a fake alarm system with a flashing LED light on the dashboard, or get some tint on the back windows so that the value of heist is less defined. Carjackers and thieves look for easy wins, not possibly complicated scenarios.

ITTO? – Since the World Cup, we’re told that America has fallen in love with football (soccer) and football (soccer) is about to surpass regular American sports, such as basketball, as the national sport. can we now expect a Dikembe football (soccer) themed EP?

Dikembe – The United States’ love for football is as transient as it’s love for the Olympics. We’re just big fans of the concept of national pride. I’ll believe soccer is reaching the hearts of Americans when I can watch an MLS game on basic cable. I think Steven and I are the only members in the band that have any interest in professional sports, and that is solely reserved for the NBA.

ITTO? – Everyone says the UK is always a year or two behind America. What is the next big thing (TV, music, fad) sweeping America we can expect here in a years time?

TV personalities taking selfies while on the air and constantly mentioning their twitter handles. Be prepared, it’s awful.

ITTO? – Sounds awful. Thanks for talking to us!

You can buy ‘Mediumship’ on vinyl in the UK from Monkey Boy Records HERE

Or you can stream/download it HERE

Thanks for reading. Get in touch: http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, @alex_itto on twitter or ittoblog@gmail.com

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INTERVIEW: HUMAN HANDS

If there is going to be one band that defines the emo underground in the UK this year it will be Human Hands, if you have just one listen to their debut full length, self titled LP you’ll know exactly why that is true. It is an incredibly beautiful and powerful record and with plenty of other releases and tours planned for this year I thought an interview with the band was well in order. So here it is! (Ps the interview was conducted just before the release of the record so a couple of the questions are slightly out of date, but don’t let that spoil your enjoyment)

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Is This Thing On? – Hello. You’re on the cusp of releasing your debut full length record, can you tell us a bit about the background to the record?

Chaz: It has been in the works for ages now. We hatched a plan with Andy sncl at a basement gig in Manchester over 2 and a half years ago now, so yeh, it’s taken a while, but I think it benefited from that time and space. We recorded it at the end of May 2013 at JT Soars (aka Wine Vibes)in Nottingham.
Clyde: It has had a slow gestation, but that has mostly due to me moving away and touring rather than writing whenever I was back. When we got to it, it came together pretty quickly.
Rob: I can’t add much, I reckon we practiced most of the songs when playing shows! When we’re all together I think we’d rather play gigs wherever we can, so writing sometimes takes a back seat. Although it’s taken so long to surface, I think that we’re all really happy with the end result.

ITTO? – What themes does the record tackle? Is there a running theme throughout?

Chaz: Don’t think there is a particular theme that runs throughout. Most of the lyrics are about the bullshit I see in everyday life.

ITTO? – Listening through your back catalogue there seems to have been a real progression in sound, from the urgent to the epic. Is it just a matter of circumstance that it’s taken you this long to put out a full length or was it that you wanted to wait until the band was ready, sound wise?

Chaz: Mainly a matter of circumstances I guess (Clyde now lives in Iceland), but I’m glad we took a little more time with it. I think in regards to progressions in sound, when we started I think we just wanted to make something fast and noisy. I think from the first 7” we started slowing things down a bit, and have taken that ‘sound’ from there, I guess.
Clyde: There wasn’t really too much of plan. We just started writing that way. When we started it was to do a band in the vein of Swing Kids, Assfactor 4 and The Red Scare. As a consequence we came into it initially with more aggressive material to work on…in time I think we’ve settled into something a little more natural to us.
Rob: I would say circumstance. I think that we play much more comfortably together now and the LP has benefited from maturity, distance etc.

ITTO? – The two songs off the new record you have up on bandcamp at the mo showcase a really lush, gorgeous sound. Did you spend a lot of time getting the sound right or is that more down to who you worked with?

Chaz: We recorded with our friend Phil (who has recorded everything for us except the demo and split tapes with verme and deergear). We took a fair bit of time getting sound right, and then recorded everything live. I think it’s a combination of recording in a bigger room (JT soar venue) and Phil getting better and better at recording bands, and us taking a little bit more time with stuff. That said we recorded 11 songs in 2 days.
Rob: I think because we have been consistent with who we’ve recorded most of our material with, it gets easier and improves each time.

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ITTO? – Can you tell us about the artwork for the record? I’m always wary of asking people into music if they like football because you can get some really dodgy looks but are you guys football fans?

Chaz: The cover is just a collage piece I’d been working on for ages and thought would look good as a cover. I spend far too much of my energy getting upset by football, supporting Villa and the mighty Stratford Town.
Clyde: I’m not a football fan, but anything that helps get our songs sung on the terraces is good with me….
Rob: I’m a West Brom fan and watch Stratford when I’m not at work.

ITTO? – What have you been listening to recently and has that had any influence on the album at all?

Chaz: Some records I have been enjoying recently are; Flesh World – S/T MLP, Saccharine Trust – Worldbroken LP, Can – Lost Tapes LP, No – Great Space MLP, V/A – Enjoy The Experience LP, Robbie Basho – Seal Of The Blue Lotus LP, V/A – Classroom Projects LP, Madlib – Rock Konducta LP, Peter Gutteridge – Pure 2 X LP. Can’t remember what I was playing lots when we recorded the lp, but like to think everything comes through in some way.
Clyde: I need to get that No MLP. I’ve been blasting the Party of Helicopter’s Abracadaver recently. Also, Mussorgsky – Boris Godunov, Ulver – Messe i.x–vi.x, Springsteen’s Born To Run. Eagerly awaiting the release of Carpe Noctem’s album on vinyl too. Not too many of these had an influence on the album.
Rob: I’m listening to a lot of Iron Lung, Asthenia, Grand Detour, Moloch, Jeru the Damaja, Disciples of Christ and Yaphet Kotto at the moment.

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ITTO? – I wasn’t the only one in the crowd at About Time 2 being completely blown away, how was that show for you and can you really feed off the energy of an audience even though they aren’t going nuts or screaming the lyrics in your face?

Chaz: That gig was great, and was pretty terrifying playing to that many people. I think most people watching us tend to feel tense or bored, so it was a pleasant change.
Clyde: The show was nerve-wracking for me as it was the first time I’d had to do lead vocals on a song. Overall though, it felt pretty together. It was a big crowd, but we had enough friends in the audience to make us feel comfortable. And it’s always good to know a crowd is digging.
Rob: Yeah both About Time gigs have been amazing. It was great to be asked to play again, and I think we held a crowd, which is always good.

ITTO? – It’s a real credit to the state of music in the UK that you can have an incredibly popular all dayer that is predominantly all UK bands. What do you think about the state of underground music in the uk at the moment?

Chaz: Yeh, it was a great day. UK is great at the moment for new music particularly punk and hardcore.
Clyde: Entirely. There are so many good bands out there at the moment from all across the spectrum. I think all of us have been into this music for a long time, and I’m not sure that I’ve personally ever experienced it this thriving.
Rob: I think the UK is doing awesome things at the moment. A lot of new, good bands are appearing all the time, from all over the country, which is great.

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ITTO? – What are your plans for when the record is released? Any touring plans yet?

Chaz: Yeh, there will be a small UK tour with Carson Wells in April and then a Euro/UK tour in the summer at some point. Following the LP there will also be split 7”s with Mars to Stay and Carson Wells and a 5 way split 10” with Manku Kapak, Asthenia, Nebraska and Duct Hearts.
Clyde: Pretty much that. Maybe another UK tour later in the year if we can afford it…

ITTO? – (Corny last interview question) If you could play with any band from history, alive or defunct, who would it be and why?

Chaz: Sabbath at any point during the first four lps.
Clyde: Can’t believe the others haven’t already predicted my response. Slayer.
Rob: Minor Threat, I think.

ITTO? – Human Hands, thank you!!

To buy Human Hands self titled LP click HERE
Or to stream/download it click HERE

Thanks for reading. As always, get in touch on here or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog, on twitter @alex_itto or email ittoblog@gmail.com

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INTERVIEW: JOIE DE VIVRE

This time last year I was declaring that Joie De Vivre had taken the number 1 spot on my album of the year list. Now, these incredibly popular and dashingly good-looking young men from Rockford, Illinois are back and are on the cusp of releasing some new music. I thought this was as good a time as any to ask the band some questions, all of which they luckily agreed to answer. Here goes:

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IS THIS THING ON? – Hi, how are you? How is everything in team JDV?

JOIE DE VIVRE – Hey man! Doing good! We just finally got all of our songs done for the two splits we have coming up and we are starting to write the new record! Brandon just got married and Mark has been busy finishing records with his other bands so we kind of laid low this Fall. We aren’t too stressful of a band haha.

ITTO? I hear you have a couple of splits on the way, give us some details, who are they with/how did they come about/how are the songs sounding etc…

JDV – We have two coming out soon as of right now – we got one with our friends in Prawn and another with Empire! Empire! The Prawn split came about while we were overseas touring. We played a show in Toulouse, France, with Prawn (which ended up being the first time we ever actually met those guys) on Tony and our old drummer Stevie’s birthday. Alcohol got involved and we ended up having TOO good of a time and somewhere in that night we decided to do a split. We FINALLY have a release date for that and it will be February 11th, 2014 on Count Your Lucky Stars/Topshelf.

The Empire! Empire! split came about from Jeff over at Run For Cover Records asking us to be a part of a split series that they do every year and E! E! ended up being the other band on it. We were honored that he asked and honored to be doing it with Empire! Empire!, so we immediately jumped at the opportunity!

We are all really stoked on how the songs came out; our friend Mark Gustafson (who recorded The North End and WABTT) did the Prawn split, and our friend Matt Frank (from Their / They’re / There) recorded the RFC split. It’s definitely crazy because it’s our first split with our newer line up, and I did all of the guitar work on it. Hopefully people enjoy it – we definitely have!

ITTO? – Are they any plans for a new full length record at the moment?

JDV – Yeah we definitely have plans on another record at some point in the next year or so. We just started writing a new record and have a couple songs in their baby stages right now. We are all pretty domesticated with full time jobs and relationships so getting together to make something happen takes scheduling. Not that it’s hard; we usually just end up watching dumb YouTube videos, listening to records, or drinking. Usually all three. Somehow a record comes out of it.

ITTO? – It seems an age ago now but when I saw you play in Brighton it seemed like you were all having the best time, how was that tour for you?

JDV – Brighton was beautiful by the way, the UK in general was amazing – you guys were so amazing to us. That tour was a lifetime moment, that’s something we definitely will never forget. It was crazy to think that playing in Chicago, an hour and a half away from home, was the biggest deal when we first started. I definitely never thought getting on a plane to Europe was ever in the cards. We made a lot of incredible friends while we were there, saw amazing sights, ate and drank amazing food and beer, saw amazing bands, and the people were so nice and welcoming. It definitely didn’t feel like we were gone for a month, it flew by!

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ITTO? – Do you have plans to come back to Europe?

JDV – Oh yeah, we will be back sooner than later. We need to do some US touring though before we head back over. I know we all are itching to get back and the UK is definitely someplace we plan on hanging out in for a bit haha.

ITTO? – There is a lot of talk and arguments about the term ’emo revival’, do you ever get annoyed with labels that are attached to your band? Would it ever push you over the edge so much you end up making a dubstep metal album?

JDV – Haha I don’t think any of us really think about it. All of the articles and lists coming out right now are a bit ridiculous. I do think it’s a misuse of the word “revival”, it never really left. But we get a good laugh at it and also at ourselves being mentioned, so it’s nothing that really affects us one way or another.

ITTO? – Is it true or is it not that the only reason you split up was just so you could reform thus making you the ultimate revival band?

JDV – Damn, you nailed it 😉

Noooo, the reasons we split up for were pretty legit at the time. We all were heading different directions and couldn’t really get the motivation to do Joie as much as we really wanted to at the time. School, work, moving, women – pretty much everything Brandon sings about. I think we just needed a breather.

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ITTO? – Your jimmy eat world covers set that was put on YouTube caused a lot of excitement among us emo nerds. What band would you do next and what songs would you play?

JDV – That was a blast – we did that with our friend Marky from this band The Felix Culpa who we were all were big fans of. It was pretty cool being able to play with him and hang out as much as we did for practice.

We always talk about covers we would like to do or cover shows we’d like to do. The problem with us is historically we’ve been very bad at pulling it off live. Marky whipped us into getting it down. Otherwise if he weren’t there, we’d be watching YouTube, listening to records, or drinking, like above.

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ITTO? – It’s about time for everyone’s end of year lists to start emerging, what’s been your album of 2013 so far?

JDV – Oh man, I have been listening to a lot of older records lately and polishing up on bands that I have been told to listen to. That new Foxing record is going to be one for the era man, seriously. I can’t stop gushing over it. I was actually listening to the new Into It. Over It. record today and I think that’s pretty amazing. I also really loved the new Mountains for Clouds record, “Maybe It’s Already Everywhere”.

The new My Bloody Valentine was pretty amazing, and so was the new Low and The National records. I also have to listen to the new Dismemberment Plan, Pusha T, Pearl Jam, and James Blake records, so I am not at liberty to give that trophy out yet haha.

ITTO? – And finally, tell us a secret no one else knows about another band?

JDV – Oh totally – Jamie from Prawn knows Snookie.

Andrew Stefano from Mountains for Clouds loves to play acoustic shows.

Keith Latinen from Empire! Empire! owns a mink coat that he got from “that emo money”.

Kevin Duquette of Topshelf Records has the best hair in emo.

ITTO? – Thanks!!!!!!!

For more Joie De Vivre greatness click here for their bandcamp/tumblr/facebook/twitter/Instagram

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INTERVIEW WITH DOWSING

Who doesn’t like Dowsing?? If you just raised your hand then click off this site, shut your laptop and have a long hard think about your life!! Dowsing are one of the most likeable bands currently playing music, they recently toured Europe to great acclaim. At the end of this tour they were stuck on a 15 hour layover in Helsinki which they live tweeted, towards the end of this I decided to take advantage of their good nature and pushed them for an interview. Thankfully they happily said yes and here it is, all questions were answered by Singer/Guitarist Erik.

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Is This Thing On?: It’s still pretty terrible; it’s just going to get worse. Has it got any better yet?

Erik: I don’t even care anymore.

ITTO?: ‘It’s just going to get worse’ is a compilation of demos and covers etc… How did the idea for the album come about and how did you choose what to include on the album?

Erik: We thought as a band it be cool to make a discography tape of sorts to compile our musical accomplishments thus far.  However, once our van died on the way back from Stay Sweet Fest I thought putting up some unreleased/songs without homes on a release to raise funds for the van would be more of an incentive to others to help us with the costs. We were overwhelmed with the response and help from fans, family, and friends.  We had been discussing the tape with Jacob (Keep It Together) and Keith (Count Your Lucky Stars) and once they saw the 10 “rarities” playlist they thought it be neat to expand upon that idea and make it a longer release.  The best part is that I have really weird demos and live recordings of all of our songs so we were able to make it this chronological discography tape that we had desired from the start.  The cover songs were just fun to add as hidden tracks since most have never had a proper release and the comps they were for never came to fruition.

ITTO?: I missed your recent tour of Europe, but all my emo friends thought you were awesome. How was it for you? What kind of reaction did you get?

Erik: The tour was simply amazing.  Our friend Tommy Royds, who makes a zine called Zine & Not Heard, booked us the trip of a lifetime.  The reaction was more incredible than I could have ever imagined and I can’t thank all the people involved with making our trip successful enough.  When kids you’ve never met sing along to your songs it is always a bizarre and wonderful experience, but when kids who do not speak English as their first language are screaming in your face it is a completely different ballgame.  Europe rules and we are going to come back soon.

ITTO?: What did you learn from touring Europe that you would have never found out if you weren’t in a band?

Erik: European hospitality is outstanding and unmatched.  People were far too kind to our scruffy smelly faces (sans Delia).  Can you say band lofts?

ITTO?: Did you fall in love with any of your support bands? If so, who?

Erik: One of the strangest things was that most of our shows were booked as just Annabel and us.  This was scary at first, but it turned out to be fantastic.  Kids actually came when we didn’t have support bands which I found crazy and flattering.  So my favorite support band by default would be Annabel.  They are the best band in the world if you didn’t know that.  To answer your question though I would have to say Nai Harvest and Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson without a doubt.

ITTO?: Do you have any plans to come back?

Erik: You know it! We have to get our sorry selves to the West Coast first though.

ITTO?: What plans do you have for a new studio album?

Erik: New LP is coming out August 13, 2013.

ITTO?: Hooray!!!! Can you give us some background about the new album. Where you recorded? How long it took? Who you recorded with? Etc…

Erik: I Don’t Even Care Anymore was tracked and mixed in Chicago, IL by Matt Jordan (Stay Ahead of the Weather, Cut Teeth, Lifted Bells) at Atlas Studios and the Stay Ahead House.  It took 4 days to track and 1 day of mixing.  It was our first time not going to Rockford, IL to record and our first time not recording with Chris French.

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ITTO?: Is there a theme to the new record?

Erik: The record deals with my last relationship and my inner struggles to make myself happy and finally getting over it all.

ITTO?: What process do you follow when making a new album? Do you write as a band? Do you have everything ready and complete when you enter the studio?

Erik: It is a mix of all of those things.  I usually write and demo 85% of the songs (lyrics, guitar parts, key ideas).  I then show them to the band and ask them to help me flesh it all out.  Sometimes we don’t get to the B-sides and end up finishing them in the studio.  I think it is a good mix for us.

ITTO?: There seems to be a lot of Dowsing side projects, are you all now involved in one? Is Dowsing always your priority?

Erik: Until recently I had believed Delia was not in another band but I can no longer confirm this because she posted something on tumblr about starting a keyboard band.  I play in two other bands called Kittyhawk, and Pet Symmetry.  Marcus plays in Pet Symmetry, Mountains for Clouds, and The Please & Thank Yous. Gooey and Mikey both play in a band called Per Aspera.  With all these side projects though I would say Dowsing is definitely all our top priority.

ITTO?: The so-called emo revival is still going strong. What emo revival band do you think will be the equivalent of Jimmy Eat World and make it big? Which one will renounce emo and make a pretty awful Britpop sounding record? And which one will make two classic albums, split up, find God and then reform?

Erik: This might be my favorite question of all time.

– Modern Baseball because they will.

– Dowsing because why not.

– Old Gray because Cam.

ITTO?: I missed you on tour in the UK because my daughter, Indigo, had just been born. We were in the labour suite for 5 hours and ‘It’s still pretty terrible’ was one of the albums that sound tracked Indigo’s birth. What music would you want your baby to be born to?

Erik: ❤ I am glad we could help bring forth new life.  This has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard our band involved with.  Thank you for letting us be apart of this life changing event.  My babies will be born to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”

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ITTO?: Dowsing thank you so much!!!

Dowsing’s new record, ‘I Don’t Even Care Anymore’, will be released through Count Your Lucky Stars in August. ‘It’s just going to get worse’ is currently available to stream/download HERE

Thanks for reading, come say hi on facebook www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter @alex_itto
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Q & A WITH MOOSE BLOOD

The UK is full of some incredible new bands playing the kind of music I love to write about but one band seems to be creating the biggest amount of buzz recently. Moose Blood come from my neck of the woods and play bright, poppy indiemo and I thought now would be a good time to do a quick Q&A with the band before they get too big to answer emails from dumb blogs like this one. Eddy from the band was kind enough to answer some questions, here’s the results:
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Is this thing on? –  Quick obvious question to begin with; When/How did the band form? Have you known each other long, were you in previous bands together etc…?
Eddy – The band started with me messing around with some demos after moving back home with my folks. After I had a few songs finished, I got in touch with the rest of the boys to make it a full band. We had all played in bands together in the past so it came together pretty easily.
ITTO – You come from Canterbury, which was famous for its Hardcore scene some years ago. What is it like now? Would you say there is much of a scene?
Eddy – I’m not too sure about Canterbury so much, but there are some fantastic bands around Kent at the moment. And with people like Jay from FITA putting on so many great shows, I am sure things will pick up again.
 
ITTO –  On your song ‘Carbis Bay’ you name check American Football and Dashboard, what other bands are the biggest influences on the band? (That song, ‘Carbis Bay’, reminds me of ‘Very Emergency’ era Promise Ring btw)
Eddy – There are so many.. We all love Brand New, Tigers Jaw, Will Smith. I could carry on all day.
 ITTO – With the internet now you can build a fan base without leaving the house but you seem to be gigging a lot and on a very regular basis, have you found that you have to still have this ‘old school’ approach if you want to make anything of your band?
Eddy – I think that without the Internet we wouldn’t be anywhere. But yeah, we love playing shows. It’s always great to catch up with friends, watch new bands and play in front of a bunch of new people.
ITTO – There has much written about you guys being the next big thing. Are you aware of this? Has this affected the band or yourselves in any way? Or is it something you can just take with a bit of salt and get on with it?
Eddy – We have read a few little bits. Things like that are crazy to us, we are just a bunch of friends that play music together. It means the world to us that people like our record so much, but we are just going to take it day by day.
ITTO – What better time to be in an emo band than right now, what current bands (both locally and not so locally) are you in to right now?
Eddy – As I said before, there are so many. From around Kent there are bands like Coastline, Chewing Gum and The Reason I Failed History. And the new Daylight record is fantastic.
 
ITTO – Speaking of emo, it used to be a cardinal sin to label a band an emo band. Are you happy to be described that way?
Eddy – We are more than happy to be called an emo band. Emo is a gang after all.
ITTO – You have a new single out, what else is next for Moose Blood?
Eddy – Well the single is out at the end of this month, and then we are just going to be writing for the record. We have a few tours lined up in the summer that we are pretty excited about. And it’s looking like a couple more release before the end of the year too.
ITTO – And finally, (a question I for some reason feel the need to ask every band), if you could’ve been in any band from the 90s, who would it be and why?
Eddy – I would have loved to have been in Jimmy Eat World when they wrote Clarity. That record is incredible and to be a part of that would have been amazing. Cheers
ITTO – Thanks dude
Thanks for reading, come say hi on facebook – www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter – @alex_itto
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INTERVIEW WITH FOOTBALL, ETC.

Just over a year ago a countdown on this very blog declared ‘Safety’ by Football, etc. to be the 79th best emo song of all, this is something that I now regret… Because it should be much higher!!! Football, etc. are one of my favourite bands from the last few years, these indiemo heroes have a new album recorded and a UK tour booked so I  thought this would be a great time to catch up with Lindsay, Mercy and Ed and fire some questions in their general direction.

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Is This Thing On? – Hey!! You’ve just recorded a brand new full length, how did it go? What stage of the process are you at now?

Lindsay – We recorded it 2 weeks ago, we tracked everything in 4 and a half days and it went really well, we had a great time. Currently it’s being mixed, we’re reviewing some mixes right now and it should be mastered and sent off probably in the next month or so.

ITTO? – So, you recorded it with Ed Rose who has recorded some legendary emo bands, how did that come about? Did you seek him out? And did he have much influence on how the record sounds?

Lindsay – Some time last year our friend, his name is Andrew Mcshan and he plays in an acoustic act called Emo Side Project, he tracked a song at his studio. He lives in Kansas, quite near it and so he posted about it. I looked up Ed Rose, I actually didn’t know who he was immediately, saw what he had done, was blown away then went to his blog page and saw that 2013 is the last year that he’ll be doing records so when it came around time for us to find a studio, when we were ready to record he immediately came to mind. We contacted him, he had the time available and we went for it.

ITTO? – Is there a reason he’s stopping recording bands?

Mercy – He seemed to be just looking for a more 9 to 5 type of a job; he really wants to sell the studio that he’s at currently. I think that he just wants to move on to a job that’s a little bit more stable, I suppose, then trying to record bands all the time.

ITTO? – Empire! Empire! Are recording now with him

Mercy – Yeah in a couple of weeks

Ed – Recording with Ed Rose was my first time in an actual, professional recording studio, so I was undoubtedly nervous. He was so easy to work with and everything went so smoothly, and that made the process enjoyable for all of us. At least personally, I never felt stressed or pushing too hard to get a certain sound or certain parts absolutely perfect, so that definitely left so much room to actually enjoy the recording. The enjoyment of making a record and just having fun with all aspects of the process is probably his biggest influence.

ITTO? – Cool. Did he have any stories about when he recorded bands like Appleseed Cast/The get up kids that were pretty funny?

Lindsay – I asked him about Appleseed Cast a little bit because, you know, one day we were in the mixing room I just for some reason said “Appleseed Cast Low Level Owl Volume 1 & 2, that’s like my favourite record ever!” and he kind of chuckled. I asked, you know, how did that go? What was the deal? The only thing I remember is that he said it was recorded in 18 days which I thought was pretty cool, it was a long album

ITTO? – What both volumes recorded in 18 days?

Lindsay – Yeah

ITTO? – Wow

Lindsay – Yeah, so, that was neat. And he had good things to say about projects that he’s done and he seemed to have fun.

Mercy – Yeah, but he had some crazy stories too one was of this band that I don’t remember the name of. But it was one of those bands that were on a more major label that was kind of put together, sort of not organically. None of them really knew how to play their instruments or anything but they go in and they sign up to record with him and it’s just a total mess, the label ends up dropping the project and in exchange the band they were so angry that they stole the whole of his dvd collection that was at the studio.

ITTO? – (laughing) you didn’t do that?

Mercy – No, there was nothing left!

ITTO? – It’s been nearly 3 years since you recorded your last full length. Did you approach this record differently? Do you write songs differently now?

Lindsay – Well as far as the studio goes we wanted it to be similar as in tracking everything live other than doing vocals and a couple of extra little guitar and bass things here and there, so that process was similar. And working with Ed Rose was great. As far as writing I guess the biggest difference now is that we have a new drummer. I guess the approach hasn’t necessarily changed.

Mercy – Yeah maybe not the approach to writing songs but I think that we’ve been writing songs a lot more quickly since we started up with Ed.

ITTO? – Do you write songs as a band? Do you come to practice with an idea for a song and then flesh it out or are they pretty much written by one person and everyone just adds their own parts?

Lindsay – All of the above, some of them start with something I have written, some of them start with something Mercy has and then there’s the songs that just happen on the spot.

ITTO? – And what bands have you been listening to a lot lately and did they have any influence on how the record sounds?

(Lindsay & Mercy both laugh)

Mercy – I think we’re both laughing here because we continue to just listen to like all of our same favourites, you know, from like the past 10 years or whatever. I think I’m still spending a lot of time listening to Fugazi and stuff like that, I don’t know.

Lindsay – (laughs) I got a new car so I’ve been listening to satellite radio so I will say my favourite station is ‘90s on 9’ hits from the 90s, gosh, especially in the past couple of months writing the record, finishing that I kind of go on like a music hibernation sometimes. So I haven’t been listening to much, I know that’s a terribly boring answer.

ITTO? – No, that’s cool. How long have you had the songs for this record? Have they been written over the last few years since the first record or have they been written pretty much in the months leading up to recording?

Lindsay – All in the last year, one of them we wrote sort of in the in-between time before we found Ed and the rest of them we wrote, a couple of them we had before, but most of them we wrote with him and we even finished one at the studio so they’re all in various levels of completion leading up to recording. But, for example, there are 2 songs we wrote like a week or 2 before we went into the studio and one that Mercy and Ed wrote 2 days before we went into the studio and I wrote my part there.

ITTO? – Do you write the lyrics in advance, do you have an idea of what you’re going to sing about or are they more last minute?

Lindsay – I have a couple of journals that have stuff on the ready and once we have a song written I’ll kind of flip through and say hey, this might fit and kinda tweak it from there. Most of it I have written already.

ITTO? – Will it be coming out on both Count Your Lucky Stars and Strictly No Capital Letters again?

Lindsay – Yes.

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ITTO? – Ed is the newest member of the band, how did him joining come about? Had you know him long? Has he had any influence on the sound of the band or what direction you’re going in?

Mercy – We came in to contact with him, just like our last 2 drummers by putting up an ad on Craigslist and I think that is again a testament to like where Houston is like maybe not so heavily concentrated with people who like this type of music where we’re unable to find a drummer. I think he has changed the dynamic, he comes from more of a punk rock background than the last 2 drummers and he also likes all this kind of emo revival stuff. So I think overall he puts a lot more energy in to a lot of the songs.

Lindsay – And writing with him has been a lot of fun. It’s interesting, when we found him on Craigslist he had seen us before. We had never met him per se but he had seen us and liked our band, I thought that was really cool and we ended up having some mutual friends in Houston. He lives about an hour away right now, but it’s neat how we had kind of crossed paths.

ITTO? – You guys played the Topshelf/CYLS records showcase at SXSW, how was that? It looked like a pretty awesome line up?

Mercy – That was a fun time, it was really great to be able to see a lot of the, you know, a lot of the bands on CYLS really are our friends and we see them every time we go on tour and we see them we then come through so it was a great chance for all of us to be in one spot, we had a really good time.

ITTO? – Rumour has it that Chris Simpson of Mineral was there, did you see him at all?

Lindsay – Yeah, he was there. He did a surprise acoustic set, we played with him last year, he played with Zookeeper. And actually our band Tin Kitchen, our band before this, booked a show for Zookeeper in New Brunswick in like 2006 maybe or 2007. So we’ve crossed paths with him a few times which is pretty cool.

ITTO? – Awesome. You are coming back to the UK this summer to tour again and that will be your 3rd time in 2 years, what is it you like about the UK and what keeps bringing you back to come and play for us?

Lindsay – I don’t know, I really like it over there. The shows, I don’t wanna say they’re more fun, but in a way it’s like, I don’t know, people seem really in to us and in to the shows that we play and it’s a different vibe. And after the first time, of course being in a new place and being just in awe of everything, everything’s a little more fun and a little more interesting and making those friendships and wanting to do it all again, we’ve been lucky enough to be able to just do it.

Mercy – I would just add that a lot of the bands over there are bands that I really like and so that’s really fun and exciting to play. You know, it’s different from the US because we’re covering a smaller territory, you can have dates with a band like Human Hands like a couple of days in a row even though you’re not officially touring together and that’s fun too.

ITTO? – Like you say it’s a smaller territory but do you still find a difference between playing a show down south as opposed to playing in Scotland or the Midlands etc..?

Lindsay – That I did not really think about although I will say different places have their different personalities.

Mercy – Yeah, for sure.

Lindsay – Brighton was fun, like really energetic fun. Swansea…

Mercy – Is amazing!

Lindsay – Surprisingly amazing. It really seems that they have a really cool thing developing right now and there’s this venue that looks like it used to be a restaurant and we’ve played there twice and we’re playing there again. It’s just a really cool spot; I’m excited about what’s going on there

ITTO? – Excellent. When you play ‘Safety’ and everyone sings along with the guitar melody at the beginning, is that something that only happens here or does that happen every time you play?

Mercy – I don’t think that’s ever happened when we play in the US.

Lindsay – Maybe after people saw the videos from ‘About Time’. That was a UK thing, it started in Manchester.

Mercy – Yeah, we were totally caught off guard by it but it definitely caught on.

ITTO? – The so called ‘emo’ scene is really vibrant and exciting at the moment, is that true of where you are in Texas or do you have to tour to feel a part of it.

Lindsay – I think right now there are some bands in Houston that are…

Mercy – Going for that sound or whatever…

Lindsay – yeah, that are in a nutshell a part of it but not necessarily leaving town and connecting but they’re definitely a product of it, newer bands. But it takes travelling to somewhere like Chicago or a lot of different places where like you’re ‘in’ it.  I wouldn’t say in Houston it’s a cohesive scene but its happening.

Mercy – I think it’s in the early stages right now, whereas like in other places like where we moved from, New Brunswick in New Jersey, it was already going by 2007/2008. I think here it’s just sort of beginning to develop and I’m not really sure exactly why that is but…

ITTO? – Yeah, where I live, in Margate, we had a massive scene at the end of the 90’s that my band was a part of but we don’t seem to have that now but there’s so much in other areas of the UK. It’s weird that in some places it’s really caught on and come back but now I feel I have to go online/write my blog to feel a part of it, rather than just having it locally like we used to.

Lindsay – I really think it pops up in bubbles, I mean if you think of it that somebody starts a band, they play with their friends bands and then it creates this thing. I feel like these bubbles pop up and they move and then they settle down again, you know, there are towns like you said in Margate that used to have something but just right now nothing is really happening. Yeah, I definitely think in the US it’s like that.

ITTO? – Yeah. And with ‘emo’, historically bands hate being labelled as ‘emo’ bands but that doesn’t seem to be such a problem anymore, bands seem to accept it. Do you have any objections to being called an emo band? Or does it not bother you at all?

Lindsay – It doesn’t bother me, I still feel like we are slightly, I don’t know, different.

Mercy – Yeah, I see what you mean. So, like, I don’t mind our band being called that but sometimes I don’t want anybody to be misled in to thinking it’s going to sound more like something else or whatever and I’m not talking about the Hot Topic thing, I’m talking about feeling like we’re exactly like the poster child of this whole emo revival thing. I mean, we don’t always adhere to the model.

Lindsay – And certainly if some layperson asks me what kind of music my band plays I would not say emo first because then I’d have to like give some sort of history behind that, I usually just say ‘Indie rock’. But I also feel like we’re a punk rock band at the core through just the way we do things.

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ITTO? – And finally. If you could’ve been in any band from the 90’s who would it be and why?

Lindsay – Well I would say Rainer Maria is the obvious answer as it’s my favourite band. I think through playing music I’ve really come to appreciate how much they do as a 3 piece band. It’s just cool to think about the things that they do and how that might influence me or inspire me. Also another would be Sonic Youth because it’d be really fun to, first of all, play loud in humongous places but also to do all that crazy shit with the guitars all day would be…

Mercy – Really fun!

Ed – My love for Metallica makes me want to say them, but I think I’d love to have been in No Use for A Name. I remember listening to them in ’97 in junior high and, although not really realizing what “punk rock” was, completely loving them. Melodic punk rock has always been one of my favourites. It broke my heart to hear of Tony Sly’s death this past year – we were actually on tour when it happened, and I made it a point to dedicate our set to him that night

ITTO – Football, etc. Thank you so much!!

Links:

http://footballetc.bandcamp.com/

http://footballetc.wordpress.com/

Thanks so much for reading. Get in touch here, on twitter @alex_itto or Facebook www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog/

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