I interviewed American Nightmare at the Che Café at the end of September last year. They were in the middle of their second full U.S. tour of the year ... since summer. Far from seeming tired or road-weary, they seemed like there was nothing in the world that they would rather be doing than playing to a room filled with 200 sweaty, screaming kids going absolutely berserk. Wes and Tim were kind enough to chat for a couple of hours after the show. Since then, another band sued American Nightmare over the name which prompted a name change to American Nothing. Tim promised that the American Nothing site will be up soon and that a full explanation will be there if you want to know all the details.
Please state your name and instrument.
Tim: I'm Tim and I play guitar.
Wes: I'm Wes and I sing.
So I have to ask - don't you think it's kind of ironic to call this album "Background Music"?
Tim: Yeah, I guess so. We get that a lot.
Wes: Yeah. I guess it's ironic in a sense, but I also think it makes sense at the same time.
Tim: We went through a million names. We were just like, "What the hell are we going to call it?"
Wes: There's a lyric in the song "Your Arsonist" that says "Background music to a silent film" and that's kind of a metaphor for everything the record is about, lyrically. It's actually interesting that you ask that because we're typically doing interviews where people ask "How is Boston hardcore?" You know what I mean?
Get ready to talk about lyrics. I'll ask a few goofy questions, but I focus more on the music than on scenes because the music is what matters.
Wes: Yeah, definitely.
It should transcend scenes.
So "Background music to a silent film" is an interesting idea. I was looking at it from the perspective that background music is typically something innocuous. It doesn't stand out, it doesn't grab your attention and by that definition, this is not background music. "Background music to a silent film" is a pretty compelling image. I'm curious what you had in mind when you wrote that lyric.
Wes: Background music to a silent film is something that doesn't exist. A silent film doesn't have background music. I wrote in a certain frame of mind. It's basically tied to feeling insignificant and small. I don't know what else to say about it. We always get asked about lyrics and I'm way better at writing than I am at talking.
I probably got a little ahead of myself with that question so let's back up a bit. I saw the Skratch interview that Tim did and that was the only thing I could find on you. I couldn't find a bio or anything, so let me ask the standard question - how did you start?
Tim: I was in Ten Yard Fight. Basically, what happened was that when that band started going down the tubes and people didn't care, the two individuals who were really still striving to be a band and work at it were Ben, the drummer, and I. Ben and I get along probably the best out of everybody and he really ran stuff and I really looked up to him a lot as a great friend of mine. I knew after that band ended that I wanted to do another band with Ben. It wasn't even a question. We started jamming on songs that I knew weren't really Ten Yard Fight material but were still in the vein of that, just different. Basically, it wasn't really songs that wouldn't make the cut for Ten Yard Fight, it was songs that weren't that style.
Wes: But you still like Ten Yard Fight.
Tim: Yeah. I was just the last in the line of guitar players that played in that band, I played on the last 7", but it wasn't my band. I contributed very little to it. Basically what happened was Ben had just gotten out of college and was looking for a full-time job and wasn't going to be able to do a band full-time and I knew from day one that all I wanted to do was get out on the road and tour and be able to do it full-time and not have people holding me back and holding my band back, so I knew from the get go that Ben couldn't do it and that was a bumout because he was the only person that I felt strong enough to be in a band with, but I had to move on. That was the whole thing. I knew Wes was going to be the singer. Wes and I have known each other since high school and we've been through a lot of shit together. There wasn't any doubt in my mind. I knew Wes could be a frontman. Not many people in Boston really knew Wes at the time; people were probably like, "Who's this kid?", but I knew that's who I wanted to sing because we had also done bands together in the past. So we got some kids lined up to do it and for one reason or another, kids just didn't work out. We've had a revolving door lineup but now it's very solid.
Wes: It's hard to find people to live up to the work ethic that we want.
Tim: Yeah. From day one, we knew we wanted to be a band to get out there and we knew that we were going to have to climb the ladder, putting out records and touring constantly for kids to know who we are.
Wes: We've taken everything else in our lives and just thrown it away.
Wes: It's hard to find three other people to make up a band who will also take everything else in their lives and throw it away and just do a band.
It sounds like finding Sancho Panza for Don Quixote; you have to find people who are willing to go tilt at windmills for years.
Tim: I quit my job. I was working part-time retail but I had worked for the company for years and I quit. I had just gotten out of a two-year school. I timed it, I really did plan it out. We put our 7 inches out and then we'd have our record out right when I got out of school. I planned it for our record to come out right as we got out of school, right as summer hit, we get on the road and tour. We knew we had to record it by this date.
Wes: We pushed the LP out.
Tim: We pushed our asses so hard to get that shit done on time and it worked. We did everything completely last minute but it happened and we got it out on the date we wanted and everything came out awesome. Basically, that was our goal, to put that record out on EVR and we told Steve we were going to be a full-time band and I don't think he thought we were going to be.
Wes: Yeah, I don't think he thought we were serious.
Tim: I think he was just like, "All right, just another youth crew hardcore band." That record came out in June and we even timed when we started touring because we knew if we went on tour the day it came out, kids wouldn't know it so we waited like two weeks.
Wes: It was tight.
Tim: Yeah. So we did nine weeks on a full U.S. tour, came back, chilled out for a month, now six weeks and we just left in the middle of September and that brings us to here, yeah.
So this van is your home.
Wes: We're gone. I won't be back in Boston until January. We have shows up until the 22nd, basically, of December.
It sounds like you're playing any place that will have you.
Wes: We're doing this U.S. tour and hitting places we haven't been before, like Texas and places like that.
Tim: Yeah, that was the number one thing. We knew we wanted to come out and hit California right away.
Wes: We could have flown out for three California shows.
Tim: That's what we did the first time we played out here. We knew we wanted to come back through Arizona, play Texas and go through the shit that you have to go through. We don't expect those shows to be very big because we understand, if you're a new band that hasn't hit a place, that's how it works. We get it. We know we have to hit those places someday and we didn't hit them last tour so now's the time.
Wes: Besides, there's one person who will want to see us and if they don't live somewhere we play, it's worth it to go there.
Tim: We just basically go back. This tour ends on October 13th. We have 10 days off. We go to Europe for 24 days, come back, we have two days off and then we start a full U.S. tour with Converge again.
I think that covers the history pretty well. So what's the songwriting process like? How do you write a song? Does the music come first, do the lyrics come first, does it all come at the same time?
Tim: We are the most ass-backwards band ever but I think that's why we've succeeded. No, I hate to say succeeded.
Wes: It works for us.
Tim: That's why it's worked for us.
Wes: He writes all the music, basically. He gives me some sort of format, whether it's just guitar ...
Tim: It could be him sitting on my computer in my room and I say, "Listen to this," and play the songs and he's like, "Yeah, I dig it," or I record them and hand him a tape. For the LP, since we didn't have a drummer at the time, we hired our good friend to record the drums on it, Jarrod Alexander from Death By Stereo, and basically I handed him a tape and handed Wes a tape. Wes had heard the songs before, Jarrod hadn't heard much but he's the best drummer I've ever played with. It was me playing one track of guitar and a drum machine on a four-track recording. It was the worst thing you have ever heard. It was worse ... worse than our demo? Yeah. Worse than our demo, but that's really bad too. And that's how we did it. We went in with 11 songs, I had it all in my head, how it was going to go and we just went with it.
Wes: We were in the studio for maybe a month off and on.
Tim: No, we were there for 19 days.
Wes: Half the songs, I wrote in the studio.
Tim: You had a lot of lyrics.
Wes: But I didn't have them as songs.
Tim: Right. That's pretty much how we always work. We've always pulled shit together and done shit at the last minute. I hate to bum kids out, but that's the way we do it.
Wes: We work good under pressure.
Tim: Yeah, we do. I put a lot of time in my bedroom, fucking sitting there, figuring out what I want to do.
Wes: And I do too.
Tim: Yeah, we put a lot of time into it but when it comes down to crunch time, that's when we really do shit. A couple of the songs from both 7 inches were written two days before we went into the studio. We'll book studio time and we'll know we have to have X amount of songs and if I don't have them ... I'm a procrastinator, I'm the first to admit it, but it just works well for us that way.
If it works, why change it?
Tim: Exactly. We've always been in a situation where we've never had a full-time drummer so we don't write songs as a band in a practice space. I write in my bedroom and we'll end up recording them half the time before even the rest of the band has heard them. It's just how we function. It's backwards, but it works.
That's just chaotic.
Tim: Yeah, and the amount of fill-in drummers we've had and the amount of other fill-in musicians, bass players and whatever, it's crazy. So yeah, we're backwards.
So you write all the music.
Tim: 99%. I write the guitars, the bass line, the drums.
And Wes, you handle the lyrics exclusively?
So is there input each way?
Wes: He'll ask for opinions.
Tim: To a point.
Wes: I don't ask for any opinions. He pretty much does the music and I do lyrics and it's pretty much like that.
Tim: I trust him, he trusts me.
Wes: He doesn't read my lyrics before I record them.
Tim: Yeah, I think I've done that twice. I think with the first 7", I helped you place words but by the second 7" and by the LP, he had placed everything himself. I trust that he knows exactly what he's doing and it sounds good.
It sounds fucking amazing. I am so stoked. I like hardcore, but the stuff I like is slightly more melodic and while you have melodic breakdowns, it's much more straight-forward and aggressive. I'm just totally stoked on the way it sounds.
Wes: Thanks you so much.
It's rare that an album turns me into a drooling fanboy.
Wes: Thank you. That's amazing.
Tim: It's rare for me, both of us, as well.
Wes: I think anyone who loves music is picky about it.
Tim: Yeah. I'm so picky.
Wes: He has 6 CDs he listens to. I have 6 CDs I listen to. I think that's it.
It's really tough these days because there are a lot of good bands and you can see a good show but it doesn't sound half the same on record. You actually come across at least as good on record as you do live and that's impressive because most bands are better live than they are on vinyl or CD. Why don't we go ahead and get into the lyrics? So. "I saved Latin. What did you ever do?"
Are you "Rushmore" fans?
Tim: Yes. We just watched it tonight. It's one of the 5 movies we own in the van.
Wes: Did you see the trailer for "The Royal Tenenbaums," the new movie by Wes Anderson? Bill Murray's in it, Ben Stiller's in it, it's coming out in a month or so, it looks amazing.
Are you going to have time to see it when you're on the road?
Wes: We'll make time.
Something else I picked up - and this is kind of out there - but "Friday Nights Are Killing Me." Tommy Stinson from the Replacements was in a band called Bash And Pop. Is that what it's from?
Wes: No, but I know that song. I got that song. It's like one word different.
"Friday Night Is Killing Me."
Wes: "Friday Night Is Killing Me." That's the name of the song. I got that song in 7th grade.
Shit, you're making me feel old.
Wes: It was on a Spin magazine CD. I don't know what the song sounds like. I couldn't remember it if I tried.
It's like old Replacements. I just had to ask about that because it was so close.
Wes: Yeah. It's not from that.
Tim: Subliminally, it's in the back of your head.
Wes: Yeah, it could be subliminal.
You didn't strike me as a band that sounded like you would have been especially influenced by the Replacements, but still.
Wes: I love "Sorry, Ma." It's my favorite. I have it on me.
Nice! So what other references are on the album, anything else like "I Saved Latin" thrown in as a joke for people?
Wes: There's a few, like "Your Arsonist" is a play off a Morrissey record, "Your Arsenal." "I.C. You Are Feeling Drake," I.C. stands for Ian Curtis, Drake is Nick Drake. There are a bunch of references to different locations.
So you name-checked Ian Curtis and Nick Drake in the same song.
Wes: The same title, yeah.
I never would have figured that you're Nick Drake fans.
Wes: I love Nick Drake.
A buddy of mine turned me on to his stuff - "Bryter Layter" was the one he told me to pick up first - and it just kills me. It's odd to hear you talking, since you play hardcore, about this long-dead British folk singer, but that's very cool.
Tim: It's too bad Volkswagen fucking ...
Ruined "Pink Moon."
Wes: Definitely. Great song though. I'm trying to think of other ...
Tim: "Ice age is coming ..."
Wes: "Ice age is coming." I love referencing things. There are just location references. That's about it.
So the thing that I picked up was that it sounds really depressing. Every single lyric sounds like it's incredibly depressed, regretful, sorrowful and hurt. Do you write the lyrics from personal experience, is there a kind of channel, how do you go about doing it?
Wes: Everything I write, and I write all the time for mental stability, I think most of it comes from fixation, literally just being depressed, fixating on things, and bizarre thoughts come from fixation. It's all personal experiences and feeling like you're in the most miserable place in the most miserable time and that's basically it.
One of the things that really grabbed me about is that these are not standard hardcore lyrics.
I was listening to this, and the weird thing is that I had a dream about my ex-fiancée last night, and then I was listening to the album yesterday and I was looking through the lyrics and realizing that I've felt like that, I was there and I remember that feeling.
Wes: Yeah, exactly, that's what it came from, being cool to someone and, it sounds typical, getting fucked over and feeling like there's nothing.
"The blue eyes came / The brown eyes left / The rest is misery." One of my other favorite lines is "Since February '79 / I've ODed on lonesome 22 times / But who's counting?" While it sounds depressed, it's almost like there's a bitter sense of humor about it.
Wes: Yeah, sly sarcasm. Yeah, definitely. Maybe I throw that in there subconsciously to sway it from being overdramatic. I'm trying to think of other lines like that and I know one of them is from "I Saved Latin" - "Tell JC I'm dying in Mass / And if it wasn't so cold / I'd swear this is Hell." It's sarcastic, but also blunt.
And then there's "You'd think by now - you would've died / I'm sorry girls - I tried."
It gives a lot of bite to it. One of the things I'm grappling with here is that this is ostensibly a hardcore record but the themes that run through it are not typical hardcore themes. The way that you approach these themes is not the way that hardcore approaches things.
Wes: I always find that the only hardcore bands I fall in love with are hardcore bands that are into other types of music. If there's a new hardcore band and the only bands they like are Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits and Antidote and Cro-Mags, they're going to sound like those bands, their inspirations will be drawn from those bands, whereas the bands that I like are bands who listen to other types of music and draw inspiration from other types of music. I like to think we're like that.
Right. It wouldn't sound weird to have a piano breakdown on your album somewhere. It wouldn't sound out of place.
Wes: Right. We want to be able to do whatever we want and I guess as far as the sound goes, we don't have goals, but we want to sound like what we think a hardcore band should sound like in the year 2001. Do you know what I mean? We don't want to rehash anything. Yeah, I think we could pull off things some other bands maybe couldn't pull off.
In "AM/PM," you sing, "My parents fell in love / And all I got was life." That's something I've been thinking about lately because I think it's probably more true than not for people who are roughly our age. I'm guessing you're around 23, 24.
Right. I think a lot of kids around our age grew up with the feeling that we're almost afterthoughts.
Wes: Yeah, definitely.
Is that where that is coming from?
Wes: Yeah. Actually, I used to live in Portland, Maine, and I was going through all this weird stuff and I was driving around with a friend and we saw some girl walk by with a t-shirt - "My parents went to so-and-so and all I got was this lousy t-shirt," so I joked, "My parents fell in love and all I got was this lousy life." It's totally true but it's sarcastic. That's basically it.
"Your Arsonist." "Read the free form poem / To your locked door / Then I swept those fucks / Under the cement floor."
Wes: That's how I like to write. It's kind of like an overview of a certain situation. Of course it's true, but it's not like I went to a door and it was locked.
So it's not literal; it's a metaphor.
Wes: It's definitely metaphorical.
Do you tend to write literally or metaphorically?
Wes: Both. It depends.
Now, where everything else on the album seemed bitter and angry and hurt, "Farewell" seemed almost resigned.
Wes: Like a sense of hope.
Right. It seems almost forgiving in tone compared to the rest of the album. It sounds like bitter resignation to being left but it also sounds forgiving.
Wes: Definitely. People always interpret that song in different ways and it's more or less about our good friends and stuff we've all been through. A lot of people are like, "Oh, I love that song. I wrote it down for my girlfriend because this is how I feel." I don't want to bum people out and be like, "Oh, it's not about a girl." I like that people interpret things certain ways, but that's just about our group of friends.
With reader/response theory, pretty much anything can be read in any way ...
... as long as there's some sort of support for it in the text.
Wes: Exactly, and who cares as long as someone gets something from it?
Tim: That's why we never, ever want to be putting explanations of lyrics out. We have friends whose bands do that but I think it's really lame.
Wes: Why limit yourself?
Tim: What's the bigger bumout? Reading something you fall in love with and then finding out you're wrong.
Wes: Finding out it's about straight-edge.
I used to get bummed out when bands wouldn't talk about songs and what they meant because I had this idea that everything had to have a specific meaning and I hadn't gotten my mind around the concept that maybe it's more important for people to listen to a song and take it to heart and apply it to their life in a way that's positive for them.
Wes: Typically when I'm asked, I give the vaguest answers. Someone will be like, "What is this from?" I'm like, "Life." I think it's bizarre and awkward for me to explain a certain situation because it's far too personal to tell someone with a microphone or a recorder why your life sucks.
That's something you talk about in the van at 3 a.m. when someone's riding shotgun.
It just seems like it would be really difficult to talk about the songs specifically because, based on what I saw tonight, you have kids that are absolutely nuts about you and saying, "This song is about this" leaves them thinking that their interpretation was wrong - they thought it was about a girlfriend or boyfriend. It seems like a lot of the songs can be read in relatively gender-neutral ways.
Wes: Yeah, definitely.
Do you worry about that, the political messages or how someone might take something, if they think it might sexist or misogynist?
Wes: I never thought anyone would take anything as sexist. I thought about the "Sorry girls" line, but it's tongue in cheek. I like to keep it gender neutral.
I stumbled across an album lately that's bummed me out because it's really misogynist, but one of the things I liked about "Background Music" is that it's an angry album but the anger is all self-directed. That's actually a really refreshing attitude because it isn't externally oriented anger.
Wes: I agree. I don't get anything from reading a band that's like, and we got this the other day, "You fucking bitch, you fucked me up, you fucking bitch."
Wes: Exactly. I don't get anything from that. I'd rather think about myself than some person I can't figure out anyway.
This album sounds really cathartic - I think anyone who's been through any kind of bad relationship would find it really cathartic - but was it cathartic for you to make it? What did it feel like when you were making this record?
Tim: I just knew, musically, that I could only do so much as we go. We can't go too far off or kids will just hate a certain song if it's too far off. I knew we have limits and I think I know what our limits are. I wanted to make the most creative hardcore record I could do, and personally speaking, I think I did the best I could have done musically. I totally try to write things that draw influences from many different places so you don't have 10 songs and 5 of them are in the same key. Every song on that record is in a different key to give you a different feel. Every song has a different type of mosh part. There are build-ups and it's all thought out. I seriously spent so much time writing. How can I have the best part I can possibly do here? And then putting it all together ... I'm fucking psyched on it.
I have to say, I didn't have any expectations coming into this, but I didn't expect to be talking about Nick Drake and it's really refreshing to find a band that actually thinks about how they structure their music and how to put it together in a more compelling way.
Tim: I think that's why it's worked for us. I think a lot of bands out there don't do that.
Well, you're writing songs in different keys. How many bands can do that? It sounds like you have some formal musical training.
Tim: Well, yeah, but it's not that hard.
Wes: It's just how you play.
Tim: From listening to records in the past, I know that if 7 songs are in the key of E, they all mesh together and you're just like, "Blah."
Wes: The listener gets bored.
Tim: It's just the stupid hardcore song again and I knew I wanted to do totally different shit, shit that people are like, "What are they doing here? Wait, this actually might work." And if kids don't like it, that's cool.
Like I was saying to Wes while you were out of the van, it wouldn't sound out of place to have a piano breakdown on one of the songs but that would be totally out there for a hardcore record. At the same time, you're ostensibly a hardcore band but you aren't talking about hardcore in a hardcore way. You're talking about it as a form of music in which you can grow as musicians.
Wes: I look at hardcore as a type of music.
Tim: We're hardcore kids at heart, we're punk rock kids, but we listen to so much other stuff.
Wes: We love music.
Tim: We draw from so much other stuff. I think that's what shows. I'm sure I could write 5 songs tonight that are just basic straight-up youth crew hardcore songs and I don't want that to sound condescending and I don't want that to sound like some shitty, cocky thing, but any kid can do that and I'm not saying that any kid can't do what we do. Any kid can do what we do.
Wes: This is just what we want to do.
Tim: It just takes more time and it takes more effort to really sit down and fucking put the extra week into writing one song. Any kid can do that but I think kids just don't.
Wes: Some people want to write 3-chord songs.
Tim: And some kids want to do something that's a little bit more creative. That's all we're doing. I just think it's turned out good for us.
I'm kind of curious how you're dealing with the hype because it seems like there's a lot of hype. You're redefining hardcore, you're hardcore's new saviors, that sort of thing.
Wes: Whenever that happens, there's backlash. Basically, the way I look at it right now, I don't care if people want to talk shit on us because people talk shit on you no matter what you do. I don't care anymore if people leave before we play. I don't care if people don't like us. I like that people do like us and I think they like us for genuine reasons, more than like a mosh part or whatever.
Tim: I used to get really angry.
Wes: Yeah, I used to be really defensive of it. I would read message boards and be like "What the fuck? Why are they saying that?" But I don't care. We make ourselves happy.
Tim: I know, in my heart, that I'm doing what I want to do and I feel like I've put 100% effort into it and no one can take that away from me.
Wes: Everyone who runs across us knows us and knows that we're genuine about it.
Tim: Kids talk so much shit on us. I've gotten the question before and I still tend to see it from a pessimistic point of view. I still only see the kids that talk shit on us. It doesn't anger me anymore. I just laugh it off.
Wes: I don't know who this kid is, but he knows who I am.
Tim: Exactly. If I take my block off, he and I will get three IMs in 5 minutes, all trying to talk shit to us, and you'll get two kids that are really genuinely nice and how do you filter that out? And why should we have to block IMs?
Wes: People forget that we're just kids.
Tim: And that's the bottom line.
Wes: Kids talk shit on us, but if we lived in the same town as those kids, I'm sure we'd be friends because we're all punk and hardcore kids.
Tim: The shit that we get is just silly.
Wes: People forget that we're just kids trying to do a hardcore band because we like hardcore.
Tim: That's the thing. I had a conversation with a kid the night before I left for tour. The kid was trying to get a rise out of me using football metaphors, making fun of the fact that I was in Ten Yard Fight, and I go, "Dude, who are you? Every time I take my block off, you IM me and you try to talk to shit to me." I'm thinking it's either one of my friends fucking with me or it's a real loser and the kid has nothing better to do. So I go, "Let's talk about this. I'll sit here and talk to you all night about it just to get it through your head that I'm a kid just like you. I put my effort into my band and if you don't like it, that's great. That's your opinion. But why sit here and waste our time trying to fuck with me on IM?" It's just so silly. Rumors go around that we're conceited pricks and shit because we might not talk to kids or whatnot. We're shy dudes.
Wes: I'm extremely shy. He's shy. I'm extremely shy.
Tim: I said this in an interview before, but that rumor is the one thing that really bums me out and I know it bums him out because if you're a kid that goes to a hardcore show and you're around kids you don't know, what do you do? You talk to the few kids you do know.
That's how I've been all night. I knew about two people at this show.
Wes: Those are the people you cling to and talk to.
Tim: Kids will stare at you. Kids will stare at you and recognize us and it irks us.
Wes: Yeah, like someone puts us on a pedestal. We're fucking losers.
Tim: We don't fucking expect that, dude. We can just barely pay our rent. We fucking have credit card bills worse than anybody else. We have issues, just like any other kid, and kids automatically think they don't talk to kids or think they're too cool, fuck them, fuck that. Anyone who took the time to come up and say something, like "You know what, man? I love your band," to me, that's the biggest compliment.
Wes: Yeah. I'll talk someone's ear off.
Tim: It's genuine. There's no bullshit in that. The shit that we have to put up with, it's just silly.
Wes: I'm sure every band has to put up with it.
Tim: Yeah, exactly.
Like the shit Hot Water had to go through with the new album.
Tim: And I love that record. Dude, don't get me started on Hot Water Music. They're like my favorite band.
And the same thing is going on with American Steel and "Jagged Thoughts."
Wes: Who are they signed to?
Lookout!. It's just not "Rogue's March."
Tim: I've listened to that record. I heard like 4 songs on it and I like it, I want to go out and buy it actually.
Half the people love it and half the people hate it. I just don't understand why people who hate something would spend so much negative energy to talk shit about it.
Wes: Yeah. If you hate something, why go out of your way to talk shit on it? It's ridiculous.
So as long as we're on the topic of rumors, is there anything else you'd like to clear up?
Wes: I don't care to talk about that shit. It's giving it too much attention.
Tim: Exactly. If we talked about kids that had false screen names, they'd be laughing about it. Why give anyone the platform? Fuck them.
Fair enough. I just like to let people clear the air about things like that. It just bothers me when people talk shit and they aren't in a position of knowledge.
Wes: Right. A lot of people just talk shit and have no idea how hard it is to get in a van and go out and do a band and deal with so much bullshit.
And the kids who seem to talk the most shit usually seem to be the ones who are least likely to be involved in punk in the future.
Wes: When I see a band sign to a fairly big label that's still punk-oriented, I get excited for them because I know now how hard it is to be in a band that wants to tour, play the kind of music you love, contribute something to the scene you love and try to take care of normal life things at the same time like rent. Hot Water Music, it's awesome.
So I've asked about all the questions I have. Is there anything you'd like to add, anything you think I left out?
Wes: I don't think so. I think it was pretty thorough.
Tim: It was one of the best interviews I've ever done.
Wes: It caught me off guard even. We're just happy to have the opportunity to do this.
Tim: We're more than happy.
Wes: You know when you get involved in hardcore, you always want to be in a band and go out and tour and we're doing that, which is amazing. I couldn't ask for anything more.
Tim: It's like a dream come true.
Wes: Yeah. I don't think I take it for granted, but we bitch to each other, like "This sucks, we're dirty," but it doesn't matter. It rules. It's the best thing ever.
Tim: Things have gone way better than I ever expected them to.
Wes: We don't really set goals. We do, but we're not like, "We want to do this, this and this." We just go out and do it, jump into things.
Tim: Like we'll have an idea in our head of what we want to do and what we want to achieve, but if I can be in a band and not be sitting ...
Wes: Not waking up for a job ...
Tim: In my living room, or if I can tour Europe or if I can tour Japan and see new places and meet new kids, that's the most important thing in my life, to meet new kids.
If you go to Japan, you'll have a blast.
Tim: We actually were talking with a kid that's staying up here with our friend about doing a record on his label but we couldn't even explain it to him because he didn't speak very much English. He's just an awesome kid and he's just like, "Tough guy, very big; youth crew, not big," and it's just like, "We're not youth crew, dude." That's what we always say.
Tim: I mean, just because it's ... [taps out a fast rhythm on his legs]
You do that remarkably well.
Wes: He does that non-stop too. That's why he writes songs.
I've been doing that since I was 13.
Wes: Who doesn't?
So I have to ask, and I think I already know what you're going to say, but why do you do this? What keeps you on the road when the van's broken down, you haven't had a shower in three days, you're eating shitty fast food ...
Wes: That is so accurate. For real. It's so accurate.
It's a blast for me. My vacation is being a roadie and that's my time off work. I just like to know why other people do it.
Wes: I love it.
Tim: It's fun.
Wes: It's fun, it's a release. It's a different type of lifestyle. It's everything you'd expect it to be.
Tim: I'm 23. I quit my job in April. My goal in life is to not work for a really long time. I'm young. I have the possibilities of playing in a band, why not take the chance and do it? I'm not going to want to do it when I'm 35, I'm probably not going to want to do it when I'm 30.
Wes: I want to do it now. It's perfect timing.
Tim: You have to do it while you're young and while you can still do it. We totally understand that a hardcore band isn't going to pay our bills a year from now.
Wes: We don't want it to. We don't expect it to.
Tim: Yeah. We just do it for fun. If we do it and we can pay our bills now, that's all we care about. And having fun.
Do you think you'll still be playing music when you're 35?
Tim: Definitely. 100%. I don't expect to be onstage or be a rock star. That's not what it's about for me. I don't want to be that. I want to do something with substance. I think I'm doing it and I want to get it out of my system. I'll definitely always be involved with music and I'll always play, but being able to tour, I know those chances don't come along.
Not as much as you guys are doing it.
Tim: We've gotten a lot of great opportunities and we're just happy to have them.
If there's nothing else, I'm done.
Wes: That's good. Thank you so much.
Thank you for taking the time.