Oh No Not Stereo
So, I enjoyed reading the tour rider you presented your manager with and subsequently shared with your fans online. Any issues getting your requests fulfilled? I’m thinking the 1994 Ford Festiva may have been a challenge.
Our fake tour rider was a pretty funny joke, although I don’t think the All-American Rejects’ manager liked it too much though. One of these days we’re really gonna get a Festiva and probably end up blowing it up after the show.
How is the tour going right now?
Tour is going very well! We’re in the van right now about 30 miles from Vegas (where we’re playing tonight) and I’m suddenly having flashbacks of all the craziness that we’re experienced in that city. It probably takes three to five years off of my life every time we go there. It’s guaranteed to be a great show though because we’re playing with our good friends The Royal Heist.
Tell us about the new album, 003. Exactly how awesome is it? Can you walk us through a few of your favorite tracks?
We put blood sweat and tears into this record, and every song means a lot to us. Myk [Lee, drums] and I wrote 50 songs in Arizona last summer so we had a whole lot of candidates for the record… we put 15 songs on the record (with a secret song too- shhh…..) and are super proud of the dynamic combination of tracks that range from high-energy rock to 60’s ballad-esque songs- with no two songs sharing lyrical similarity.
The first track on the record is a radio-friendly pop rock anthem appropriately titled “Let’s Get It Started”, while “12 Years Later” is an acoustic and piano ballad telling the story about an ATV accident I was involved in when I was 11. A couple of my favorites on the record are “Miss Hard Time”, combining influences from Foo Fighters, Muse and Refused… and “Brothers”, a corky rock shuffle spilling secrets of addiction and helplessness.
What inspired the naming convention for your records (001, 002, 003)? Were you just trying to keep things nice and simple?
When we released our first record in 2005, we named it “001” in symbolism of hundreds of things to come. We self-titled our EP in 2007, yet still gave it the nickname “002”. When it came time to name the new record, we stuck to the concept- which helped draw attention to our past catalog. Even if our records in the future are properly titled, we’re sure that they’ll still carry a numeric nickname.
You wrote, recorded, and produced the record by yourselves, but I understand you worked with some pretty heavy hitters on the final tweaks – industry vets who had collaborated with bands like Fall Out Boy and Incubus. I’m wondering, was it challenging to accept outside ideas at this point in the process, or did you welcome having another perspective as you wrapped things up?
We went into the studio knowing exactly what we wanted and we were super prepared. When Jim Wirt and Neal Avron came in to the picture and gave us sonic and structural input, we were open to try just about anything. This helped a lot of last minute ‘out of the box’ ideas come together quickly; We were open minded all the little things we tracked ended up giving the record the extra spice that it needed.
You employed a string quartet in certain places on the album. Was that something you had in mind all along, during the early stages of working on these songs? What do you feel it adds to your sound?
We had several songs demoed that had synthesized strings, so when it was time to professionally record the songs we knew that we had to get the real deal in the studio. Once the quartet were in the studio with us though, we definitely utilized our time with them and put strings on almost every song. At the end of the sessions, 16 of the 20 songs that we recorded ended up having strings at some point in the song. It added a lot of timelessness and sonic beauty to our sound, which was exactly what we were going for.
How does the fact that you’re both multi-instrumentalists affect your songwriting process? Do you each have a go-to instrument that you generally work with when you’re writing, or does it vary?
Myk writes all of his songs on the guitar, I write a lot on the guitar but mostly on piano. We’re both very versatile and savvy when it comes to playing different instruments and different styles, which makes songwriting very fluent for both of us. All we have to do is get the creative ball rolling and batches of songs just come together, no matter who is playing what. We can’t keep up to how many ideas we have, especially collectively.
Since the two of you play all of the music on the album, you tour with a guitarist and bassist. Do you enjoy the experience of going from being a duo to a four-piece band when you’re on the road?
We absolutely enjoy being a four piece right now and wouldn’t have it any other way. Myk and I started the band as a duo in 2003, conceptually aimed at recording and touring with just the two of us. We did that for 18 months and then recorded our EP in 2007. By this point we realized that it would be selling our sound (and live show) short if we didn’t have that low-end from the bass guitar that was on the record, at which point we added a bassist and adapted to a trio in order to acheive the sound that we desired in our set.
The same thing happened after we finished this new record (003); By stepping up the instrumentation on this album we knew we had to add another member to our stage show.
You’ve been described as “a pair of self-contained dynamos.” Where do you get your energy from?
We have a ton of fun when we play live, and being well-rehearsed allows us to focus on interacting with the crowd and channeling every bit of energy we have into rocking out and entertaining whoever is watching. We feed off each other a lot, constantly silent-communicating with bandmates on the stage during the show is crucial so we know we are all on the same page with the vibe! (And to be honest, whiskey helps a lot too.)
Your songs have been featured on numerous MTV shows. Are there any that you’ll admit to watching?
We heard our music on Bam Margera’s show (and his new DVD too) and we saw a couple episodes of Meet The Barkers, where they played our music. It’s a great feeling hearing the response worldwide too, a lot of people recognize that they’re playing our music and send us messages on the internet.
What message would you like to leave with your fans?
We appreciate your time reading about our band! Say hi to us online, we’re very responsive to all the messages that we receive!!!! We’re all about getting our music out there too, so if you have any of our CDs- BURN THEM FOR YOUR FRIENDS! We’ll be touring relentlessly for the rest of the year, keep an eye and an ear open for Oh No Not Stereo!!! (Gobama!)