Last Fast Action
How long has Last Fast Action been a band? Were you guys in bands/involved in music before that? What is the history of your musical careers?
Dan: LFA has been a band for just about two years. Before this, we were in a band called The Dog and Everything. We both majored in music in college and have been playing in bands and musical groups since high school.
You have known each other since high school? What is it like working with a best friend that you’ve known a large portion of your life?
Augie: It’s great! The key to my working relationship with Dan is that we compliment each other. In the writing phase Dan is the random, spontaneous, genius, guy, and I’m the guy that is more analytical about what chord would fit, or what we need to get a chorus to lift. In the recording/producing phase however Dan is the more analytical one, and I’m the random, Rick Rubin type guy.
Dan: Yes. Its totally awesome to work with your best friend. When you know each other for such a long period of time, you really know how the other person works and its easy to bring your ideas together into a working piece.
So, you consider yourself a two-piece? How is that different from being in a four-or five-piece band?
Augie: Well, we perform live with a full band. But, when it comes to writing its easy to work with two people. We have written in previous bands with 4 and 5 people, and the process can be fun, but very time consuming. Writing as a duo is just our niche. We both have the same vision about what a good song is and what we want this project to sound like.
The new songs on your Myspace sound very different from stuff a year or so ago. Why the new direction?
Augie: We have written all the new songs in the studio, and never thought about how we would perform the songs live. Usually when you play in an rock band you usually start out playing a song live and then go in to record it. So, we are basically doing things a little backwards. Writing in this way has been a very liberating experience. The whole idea of “how will we pull this off live?” can limit your imagination, and the scope of the sounds and textures you will use.
Dan: I wouldn’t say it’s a new direction. We try to write the best songs that we know how. And sometimes the way a song is dressed up can sound a little different but the core songs we write are the same. We have always enjoyed the freedom in which a more electronic sound brings to our music and we like to experiment and put our own twist on pop music culture.
Speaking of experimentation and writing, your new song is titled “Satellite.” What is it about?
Augie: It’s a spacey concept. Dan came up with that hook, and we thought satellite was just a really cool word. In my head I see this lonely satellite in cold orbit searching… for a friend. He had to come from somewhere, but now he is all alone. Where did he come from?? Why is he all-alone?? Come to think of it, it reminds me a bit of that Wall-E movie!
Dan: Satellite is a take on the idea of someone not wanting to be found and the “searching party” can feel like a cold and lonely place. Ie., lost in space, searching, endlessness, and the emotions you feel on that journey.
Listening to the song, I definitely pick up on the “space-y” theme. Other than being a duo, what makes you different from other bands out there?
Augie: We may sound very electronic, and non-organic these days, but the writing process could not be more organic, and real. Right down to the keyboard patches we use. Any of the new songs: ‘You Need To Know’, ‘Let Love Let Go’, “Satellite’, all use keyboard sounds I created from scratch. I think it comes from my background as a guitar player. I always wanna tweak sounds and make them what I hear in my head.
Dan: I think our blending of our influences be it rock, electronica, rap, pop. We don’t paint ourselves into a corner as far as how our music can sound. The most important thing to us is the song itself, and what its saying. As long as we keep that most important, we know everything else will fall into place sonically.
Ok, personal question time! Augie, you went from playing bass in an old band with Dan, to playing guitar in Last Fast Action, to now playing keys AND guitar. How have the experiences been different, and which has been your favorite?
Augie: I have been a guitar player my whole life, but am mostly known as a bass player because of the success of the Dog & Everything. In the beginning of Last Fast Action I was only playing guitar, and since June of ‘08 began getting on the keys. It felt like a natural progression in the song writing phase. And when the time came to take those songs to the stage that also felt like the thing to do.
And Dan, your hair is absolutely insane – any hair tips?
Dan: Sea salt, no seriously. I put sea salt in my hair. Makes it feel like I’ve been at the beach all day. And being from Chicago, any reminder of warm place is a good thing. For me it’s every time I touch my head.
Sea Salt, never would have guessed it. That’s definitely an unusual tip. And, speaking of unusual, what is the weirdest place you’ve ever played, and why?
Augie: Definitely the Upper Tap in Lexington, Illinois. The Upper Tap is this crazy little bar that pays us to come out and play as a duo!! So we get to rock out White Stripes style, just drums, guitar, and vox. And they let us play whatever we want. Something crazy always happens there.
Dan: By far one of the weirdest shows Augie and I have ever played was as the house band ringside at an amateur boxing match. That’s all I’m going to say, I can’t explain it. It was definitely a bad dream. To quote Augie at the gig, “Are we seriously here right now?”
I love the Upper Tap! You guys are seasoned performers, being in the local Chicago scene for years. If you could give a piece of advice to a new band, what would it be?
Augie: When you are starting out in a group you often sound a lot like your influences. Take time to develop what YOUR sound is going to be. Don’t get sucked in to sounding like the AP band of the month. In my experience it is the bands that sound different, and don’t fit in now, that are huge 12 months from now.
Dan: Ask yourself, what makes a good band? Then go listen to some of the great classic pop songs of the last 30 or 40 years. Figure out what made them popular and why. Then try to write the best songs you can write. Always put the song first.
Those are fantastic tips, guys. What’s in the works for the near future? What should fans be on the lookout for?
Augie: We are going to continue to write songs that inspire us, and if we are lucky, also inspires the world. If we achieve that everything else is irrelevant.
Dan: The future brings new music all the time. Instead of recording a record and touring on it for years, we want to constantly be releasing new songs every month. We just can’t get these ideas out fast enough.
Awesome! Thanks for chatting. I can’t wait to hear more from Last Fast Action!
*All photos by Tasha Schalk/Redwall Photo