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John Warne of Relient K

April 25, 2007 by  
Filed under Interviews

relientkmain..We should get jerseys, because we’d make a good team…

Relient K’s latest album Five Score And Seven Years Ago marked a new era for them.  It was their first album recorded as an official quintet (Matthew Thiessen on lead vocals, guitar and piano, Matthew Hoopes on guitar and vox, John Warne on bass and vox, Jonathan Schneck on guitar, vox, banjo and various bells and whistles, and David Douglas on drums and vox) and it also marked their first album away from producer Mark Townsend.  The band worked with famed producer Howard Benson for the first time on this release, Benson best known for his work with My Chemical Romance and The All-American Rejects.

The result would be an album that takes on the world with it’s amazing harmonies, their signature clever lyrics, and a vast array of songs that take you on a whirlwind of emotions.  The band incorporated a lot of new instruments and ideas into this album and the result is nothing less than amazing from the a capella induced craziness of the opening track Plead The Fifth to the haunting eleven minute epic ending titled Deathbed that was enough to leave even the strongest of men in a wake of tears.  I think Matt described it best when he compared the new album to Laffy Taffy: “”It’s the same flavor but we try to stretch it a little bit. It’s still melodic, it’s still rock ‘n’ roll, there are still a lot of dynamics. But at the same time, we’re trying to write a bit differently, lyrically.” How can you beat Laffy Taffy!

Relient K is currently out on tour in support of their new album with Mae and Sherwood.  Look for them to hit Europe soon!

Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | April 2007
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Stephen Christian of Anberlin

April 15, 2007 by  
Filed under Interviews

anberlinAnberlin (Stephen Christian on vocals, Joeseph Milligan on guitar, Deon Rexroat on bass, Christian McAlhaney on guitar, and Nathan Young on drums) hit the music scene with a force with their debut album Blueprints for the Black Market. Quickly amassing a loyal following and touring with the likes of My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, the stage was set. Citing the importance of pleasing their fans and not their critics, Anberlin followed up their first album with Never Take Friendship Personal. Their sophomore album was a rock n roll amalgamation of intensity and high energy, something that came quite naturally for them.

Fast forward to 2007 and their latest release – Cities. Some say the band has matured, others feel that they have just perfected what they were always good at – infectious songs with lyrics we can all relate to and the raw live chops that are primed and ready for fan-filled arenas.  And although it doesn’t always happen this way – it couldn’t happen to five more deserving guys.

Currently out on tour in support of their latest release, fans are eating them up and returning for more night after night. Lead singer Stephen Christian sat down with us to talk about the band, it’s evolution, and his personal aspirations and hopes for the future.

Interviewed by: Lexi Shapiro | April 2007
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The GoStation

April 15, 2007 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

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How did the band get together?

Our current lineup really has just cemented within the past year, year and a half or so. Our drummer Justin used to play in a band called Surefire, who we’ve been friends with for a long time, and Erik, who’s our rhythm guitar player now, we met him through mutual friends and he just kind of fell into the band, which is really cool. Things have been happening organically over the last year and a half, which has felt good, sort of how it’s supposed to be.

What’s the significance of the band’s name?

That actually came out of a little bit of a misunderstanding. I had been saying that I was thinking of “Ghost Station” as the name, but then I thought it was a little too dark-sounding, and someone misheard me and thought I was saying “GoStation.” Everybody liked that, so we kind of stuck with it. And as it turns out, the transit authority around Toronto is called the Go Transit and their train stops are called Go Stations. We didn’t know that before we named the band, but of course it will probably make things interesting when we finally make it out there.

How would you describe your sound?

Someone, it might have been Matt, said they thought we sounded like “post Brit pop,” and we just sort of liked that label, even though we don’t really know what it means. Really all of our biggest influences are those bands from the mid- to late ‘90s UK rock scene, like Oasis and The Verve and Embrace, and then further back like U2…but we also listen to a lot of contemporary stuff. And being in New York, The Strokes have had a huge impact on us.

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I understand you’ve just finished up your first full-length album. Tell me about it. What’s it called? When is the release date? When will tracks be available online?

It took us over a year to finish it, so it’s a long time coming…It’s going to be called “Passion Before Function”…We‘ve signed a deal with a label in Japan called Fabtone Records…I believe it’s coming out in July in Japan and we’d really like for it to be out here around the same time to sync everything up…The first two songs we have up (on MySpace) are both on the record…We’re getting everything completely remastered, so I’m sure they’ll sound a little bit different, but “All Together Now” and “Not Enough,” which are both up on MySpace, are respectively probably going to be the first and second singles. “C’mon” we re-recorded for the album as well, so there’s a totally new version of that.

What’s the songwriting process like for the band? Is everyone involved?

Yeah, everyone’s involved, but it’s not like a collaborative jam session kind of thing… Historically, Matt or I write songs at home on an acoustic guitar, and then we’ll bring them in and…we’ll just sort of deconstruct stuff from there, let people come up with their own parts…so it becomes very collaborative and people will comment on what other people are doing and make suggestions…It’s definitely not a situation where someone’s saying “here’s the song” and “here’s how it’s gonna go,” because I guess we all feel like if you want to do music that way, you might as well just play solo.

The band recently played the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival (in Austin, Texas.) On his blog, Matt described the first day of music there as “the closest I’ve ever felt to being reborn.” Did you share that sentiment?

I think it’s just really nice to be in an environment where music becomes such an important thing. It’s sort of like stepping out of reality for a week or so. The same thing really happens during CMJ (Music Marathon, in New York City), where you’re just surrounded by bands, you’re going from one place to another, and everything is music-oriented, and you kind of wish, wow, wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time?

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What’s your favorite aspect of performing live?

When we record in the studio…we’re like an everything-in-the-kitchen-sink kind of band; it’s like, let’s add piano and organ and strings, and this and that, and we’ll just throw in all these tracks and it makes everything sound really huge. We’re big fans of that, but then when we’re playing live, it’s just the five of us, and we’ve got two guitars and me doing vocals, and it’s a much more raw experience. So I guess I like people getting to see the songs in more of a stripped-down form, which they inevitably are going to be in. It’s also just good to connect with people individually – you can only do that so much online or through a record.

Where can fans buy your music right now?

The EP (the 2005 release “Quiet Zone”) is available in tons of places. You can buy it directly from us through our website (http://www.thegostation.com). On the audio page, there’s a PayPal link. You can get it on Amazon, awarestore.com, cdbaby, and iTunes. I believe it’s also up on the other major download services like Rhapsody and URGE.

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I always like to include at least one “unprofessional” question in my interviews – is that okay with you?

Oh sure.

If you had to take on the Gallagher brothers from Oasis in a fight, which band member would you bring with you?

Definitely Nick…because Nick could fight the rest of us by himself…I don’t think anyone in our band would ever want to have to fight Nick. But at the same time, I have to say if I had to fight the Gallagher brothers, something would have gone seriously wrong with my life. I would be very upset that was happening at all.

Any parting words or messages for your fans?

Well…we’ve spent so much time on this record, it’s almost hard to believe that it’s finished at this point…we’ve just been listening to these mixes ourselves, and have sort of been blown away by what we’ve created. And we really just feel like all it’s going to take for the album to do well and for it to really get out there is for people to hear it. I guess our message would just be for anyone who hears our stuff and appreciates it and likes it… that they spread the word and tell as many other people as they can…There are so many bands out there competing for airwaves and bandwidth…that would be pretty much it, spread the word.

Check out The GoStation online:

http://www.myspace.com/thegostation

http://www.thegostation.com

The Coming Weak

April 5, 2007 by  
Filed under Spotlight Bands

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Where did the name The Coming Weak come from?

Nathan – It’s a strange story actually.  It’s a play on words of sorts.  See, all the songs we write about, are about life, family, friends and everyone battling.  This is our way to come out of it.  We use our experiences to write and get away from it all.  And the name reflects that moving on.

How long has the band been together?

Johnathan – John and I have been best friends since we were freshmen in high school and played in several different bands together.  In 1998 we met Nathan and the three of us were in an awful pop-punk band.  So the three of us have known each other forever.
Nathan – Jeff was in FL in school.
Johnathan – Yeah, in the beginning it was just Nathan and I, really. I posted an ad on Cragslist for a guitar player, and when I went to see if my ad had posted, I saw an ad that Jeff had put up. He was, as Nathan said, in Florida at the time but moving back. I replied, we started talking via AIM, and when he moved up we got together. We then met Tim through a mutual acquaintance, and John joined on a month or so later.

Who are the composers and lyricists of the group?

Tim -Nathan primarily does the work, about 95% of it.  Of the five songs we’re playing tonight he wrote four of them, and John did the other.  Usually what happens is that someone will bring a theme or riff to the table, and then everyone adds to it. We’re a unit in that everyone builds on an idea and makes it more.  These songs are alive… they breathe!  Next month they could be different – they are always changing.

Who would you compare yourselves to? I found this list on your MySpace in a “If you like these guys, you’ll love us” type suggestion:  Jimmy Eat World, Taking Back Sunday, Cartel, Brand New, New Found Glory, Monty Are I, Saves the Day, Saosin and Anberlin.

Johnathan – Yeah they are definitely influences, and we might remotely resemble ALL of those bands at times, but not any one in particular.  We have elements from all of them.
Nathan – I used to play underground hip hop, so I think I bring something completely different to the table.
Johnathan – Sure, you can compare and classify us with those bands, but we don’t want to sound like any one them. We have our own unique sound.

Thoughts on the current music industry?

Nathan – I listen to old Johnny Cash.  I like music is conscious lyrics.  New bands to me all sound similar and robotic… over produced.
Johnathan – Yeah, a lot of the bands out right now sound similar.  I can think of five bands off the top of my head that, if you played me a song off one of their albums, I couldn’t tell you which band it was.  I have friends out on tour and I’ll check out the bands that they are touring with.  I don’t care if they only have four MySpace friends, I’ll give them a listen.  But, to be honest not many sound…distinct.
Nathan – We have a distinct sound, I think.
Jeff – I was talking to my friend Paul who worked for Victory Records.  Avenues for recording are much easier now.  Anyone can record and put out an EP, labels are less necessary now for merchandise, tours, etc…
Nathan – And we love MySpace!  It’s really the best outlet right now – for us and every other band out there.  It’s the best thing to happen to music in the past couple of years, I think!

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If you could choose ANY band/performer to tour with, who would it be and why?

Tim – Not to sound unoriginal, but I’d say The Beatles.
Nathan – I would say Monty Are I. We’re already friends, and I think touring with friends is just so awesome.
Jeff – Saves The Day.
John – Bad Religion. They’re my favorite, they’ve been around a while, and I’m sure they could teach us a lot!
Johnathan – Probably The Clash. Wait! Can I change my answer to the Descendents?  (Nathan reveals his Joe Strummer t-shirt beneath his hoodie)
John – Dude, combine them both. The Clashcendents!

What is your ultimate goal as a band?

Nathan – To not have to work that day job.  To tour and play music and do what we love.
Tim – Definitely. As long as I can pay my bills playing music, that’s fine with me!
Johnathan – I have a fortune taped to my mirror and I see it every morning when I wake up.  It says “Doing what you love is success, loving what you do is happiness.”

What is playing in your MP3’s/CD players right now?

Nathan – Saves the Day, Jolie Holland
Tim – Cartel, Anberlin
John – Mae
Jonathan – Rory, Mermaid Avenue, Anberlin
Jeff – Hey Mercedes, Comeback Kid

Describe each other in one word…

TIM in one word –

Jonathan: The light of my life
John: electric,
Nathan: Classic
Jeff: Nice

NATHAN in one word –

Johnathan: Nathan is a pain in the ass (laughs), he has raw talent
John: creative
Tim: extreme
Jeff: enlightening

JOHN in one word –

Johnathan: He’s my hetero-life mate!
Nathan says: he’s just a musical genius
Jeff: funny
Tim: intelligent

JOHNATHAN in one word–

John: It’s kind of hard to beat hetero life mate so I’ll just say ditto!
Nathan: Brilliant!
Jeff: solid
Tim: he is gracious

JEFF in one word –

Tim: Jeff is the brains of the operation!
Nathan: he’s the backbone of the band, we didn’t want to have this band without Jeff!
Tim: wise
Johnathan: he’s sage like

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What sets your band apart?

Nathan – We’re just better!  No don’t say that.

You can say that…

Nathan – Ok, we’re unique!  Heck if Jesus were alive he’d buy our album!  No don’t print that.

You can say what ever you want! What’s next for The Coming Weak?

Tim – More gigs, networking, recording…
Johnathan – Hopefully touring and following our business plan.

Any last words for the fans and soon to be fans?

Nathan – Come see us, and tell your friends.  We want our fans to be our friends – part of our family. That’s most important to us.  Check the music and trust us – if you love it, we’ll love you for it!

To contact The Coming Weak and hear their music:

http://www.thecomingweak.com
http://www.purevolume.com/thecomingweak
http://www.myspace.com/thecomingweak

View Live shots taken at a recent show