Conduits - 02.21.12
The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:
1. How did you get your band name?
Conduits was actually the first idea for band name that we had had. JJ and Nate were using it as the working title when they were still doing the first 2 initial demos. We spent months coming up with names, finding out they were already taken, and, inevitably, ending up back at square one. It seemed like the name was our destiny. In retrospect, nothing else could fit better. I identify with the name for various reasons. It's a dynamic name because it can carry so many different meanings. What it stands for to me may be totally different than what it stands for to someone else in the band.
2. How did this band get started?
When I met JJ in 2009, before we could even develop a friendship, I was already nudging him to work with me on music. I had had a few projects under my hat that never had seemed to get off the ground, for various reasons, and I was really ready to put something a little more serious and substantial together. At the same time, JJ and Nate had been talking for over a year about starting something up, specifically with female vocals in mind. Needless to say, we were soon in a basement together, hashing things out. JJ had been in Eagle Seagull with Mike, previously, and Mike was fairly quickly inducted in. A few weeks later, Roger asked me to come out for a drink, and I confided in him that we had put together a band and some songs, and that all we still needed was a drummer. I didn't really expect him to jump on it as fast as he did (although I was hoping that he would). I kind of expected him to be like "Hmmm, that's nice... So anyway..." He truly was a perfect fit. Half way through nailing the second song, he jumped up and said "So, can I play with you guys, or what?" It was a no brainer. Patrick joined right around the time we were recording the album.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
This is a hard question to answer. Who aren't we influenced by? I really cannot speak for everyone, so it wouldn't be fair to the music to list mine, alone. We all have very different influences. Combine all of ours together and you end up with.... Well... Us.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
My Bloody Valentine, because I feel like we would be a good fit. Radiohead, because they are legends. Cursive, because I love their music and them as people (and we will be touring with them in March-April) My wishlist could really go on forever. I actually try not to think about these kinds of things. I personally like to work hard, and aim high, but I generally am not aiming for any specific target. That way anything that is offered to us is an honor.
5. Best food to eat on tour?
Whole Foods, if possible. Obviously, you can't completely avoid the fast food, lest starve. But, if the opportunity for a healthy meal is there, we are going to take it. I feel that all of us tend to take our health pretty seriously (aside from the occasional tour drinking, which is bound to happen). It's almost unheard of for a rock band to be this healthy. I get the feeling that there is going to be a few group workouts on tour.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
Because we are a group of music snobs, trying to make music that we would listen to. If we can enjoy playing this music as much as we do, then I feel that there is a possibility that other people can connect to it, as well. Our music is like a big ark, except for not exclusive or pretentious at all. There is a lot of room for everyone to stretch out in it. I like to think that we are fairly accessible on artistic and emotional levels.
7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
Geez. Roger L. Lewis (our drummer)? He's a pretty serious athlete.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Matt Maginn of Cursive. He's been our go to guy since Day One. And, of course, my mother.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
I feel my answer isn't going to be much different than any other musicians' who answers this question. The money factor, for sure. Gas prices are insane, now, but if you want to move forward, you need to tour. If you want to tour, you have to have money. It makes it very difficult for artists to actually go out and do what they do in front of people. They may have the music, the drive, and everything else that it takes to move on to the next level, but they can't afford to drive from one city to the next to deliver the goods. Or they are too busy trying to keep a grasp on whatever job they are lucky enough to have right now. It is gradually getting worse. If I could change something, it would be to have some sort of grants given to bands who are willing to commit a certain amount of time and energy to bring art and inspiration to people. People, especially now, need inspiration, but we can't even keep art and music in schools. Society is taking us all for granted, and they and their children are losing out, as well. I think that some people out there think that music just happens, because it is so readily accessible, now. They don't realize that music often takes years of cultivating and work, and if they want it to continue to be recorded for their listening pleasure, they should be willing to donate to the cause, once and awhile. I'm not asking for anyone to donate to "my" cause, personally, or whining. Just saying, if you can, pay for your music. If you can, donate to music and the arts. If you can, encourage a child to be creative. Do whatever you can for "THE cause."
10. Memorable tour experience?
Well, we haven't done a ton, so far, but I was honored to be asked to join Bright Eyes on stage in Boulder, CO for "Road to Joy". If you had asked me two years ago if I thought I would be sharing the stage with them in the near future, I don't know if I would have believed you. The same goes with the upcoming tour with Cursive. It's been such an honor to have support from such great musicians. I think that the most memorable tour experiences have yet to come.
11. What is your favorite song to play?
This question makes me nervous. How do you tell one of your children that you love one of them more than the others? We have quite a lot of difficulty picking out which songs are going to get cut from the set. Plus, I get so sucked into the whole experience, performing these songs live, that by the time the set is done, I feel that it really is just one big body of art. Our music tends to flow, one song into the other, and without each of the puzzle pieces, a person might not be able to see the entire picture.
12. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Well, I have been all over the U.S., but never outside of it. I missed out on a couple of Europe tours with Son, Ambulance. How about anywhere outside of the country, for now, and I will answer this question again for you in about a year? So far, though, NYC and Chicago. I have only toured through San Fran and Portland, but would like to spend some more time in those cities, as well.
13. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Diana Ross. Her music is the first music that I ever remember having any sentimental attachment to. I was turned onto her probably before my toddler years. I don't even know if I would be a singer if music hadn't had such a powerful entrance into my life.
14. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
To get rid of the two-party system in our country, for starters. Poof, you are no longer polarized by the choices of only two entities. They both have their tentacles wrapped so far and deep into this "ship" that it would be nearly impossible to re-work everything without all of us going down with them. I would magically change that if I could.
15. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
What happens backstage stays backstage.
16. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
I'm also a visual artist, but haven't put much effort into that, as of late. I would like to re-focus my efforts into art someday when music doesn't carry such a strong presence in my life.
17. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
I feel that it is obviously not what it was. Needless to say, the internet does a lot of what radio used to do. However, radio still holds strong. I could see us becoming regulars on some college radio stations. I'm not really sure what our music is capable of, yet. I guess that we will just have to wait and see.
18. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Cook, eat, spend time with my dog (Yoko), spend time with friends, drink tea, work out, do yoga, go thrifting, draw pictures, watch Korean dramas on Hulu, post photos on instagram. Pretty normal things. Other than that, I feel I am pretty passionate about trying to improve myself, standing up for true humanity, and inspiring others. I'm involved in Omaha Girls Rock Camp and am about to help out with my fellow female artists and musicians in the Omaha Women's Art Collective teach workshops at Girls, Inc.
19. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
I can touch my tongue to my nose, and move my eyes independently of each other. I'm sure that there are others that I am forgetting.....