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07:16 PM on 09/19/06 
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Jason Tate
Jason Tate's Avatar
Portland, OR
Male - 32 Years Old
Staff Member
Here, now we aren't linking straight to their unpassworded (silly designers) page.

I know this is a "Street Team Exclusive" and all that - but the shit's already over every other fucking webzine, and I'm not going to let be the only place it's not seen. are known for being the biggest Brand New whores ever (YFW started it all) - and from what I have heard, this is the only interview the band's even doing for this album.


Hi from BrandNewStreet. We're happy to finally give you the BN street team interview! It's as exclusive as anything can be in a digital age. If it is reprinted on other boards and this angers you, well, let 'em know. And now, without further adieu...

1. What was the first record each of you ever bought?

Brian: The first CD I ever purchased by myself was Metallica ... And Justice For All. My mom took it away from me post-haste. Told me it was garbage. Also, Guns N Roses Use Your Illusion 2 on cassette. My parents read the lyrics in the booklet, and recorded over the songs they didn't like with the first song "Civil War". I never knew the song "Get In The Ring" until four years after that record came out.

Jesse: I hate Guns N Roses

Garrett: I stole Electric Larryland by Butthole Surfers from my sister. I don't know why she had that record.

J: Mine was probably Billy Joel's Greatest Hits or a Weird Al record. I listened to Billy Joel so much when I was a kid. Actually it might have been a Michael W. Smith record from the Billy Graham crusade. The Big Picture?

Vin: I don't remember the first record I bought, but I remember the first BMG record club albums I ever ordered were Pearl Jam Ten and RHCP Blood Sugar Sex Magic.

2. What would you each say your favorite song to play live is?

J: I like "Jaws Theme Swimming" every time we get to it. But right now it's "Degauzer", or another one of the newer songs.

G: I would have to say all of our new songs.

V: I'd have to say "Jaws Theme" or "Degauzer" also.

3. Does the new album have any musical influence not seen on previous Brand New records, either from a genre or a particular artist?

J: I hope so. But once again, probably not as much as we would like. Still, I think it would be ridiculous to assume that we discovered nothing new over the last three years. I've noticed with the other guys, as well as me, that it's a lot about REdiscovering. Who knows how many writers or records or--I don't know--foods or sports, whatever I was into when I was younger, that I'm realizing were pretty great then and now still are. You have to trust the taste you had when you were a more real person than you are now. When you didn't rely so much on other people to figure out what was good. For instance, Meltdown by Steven Taylor has some good tracks, you know?

V: It was probably not so much the discovery of new music but more about finding new ways to play my instrument. It's not so much any particular outside influence, but more about reevaluating the tools you already have and using them differently.

4. Now that you guys have moved on to a major label, are you afraid of anything that might come along with larger scale exposure?

G: Yeah, that we might get too big.

J: Yeah, I'm scared of the hype. I'm scared of people who never heard our band trying to sell it to people who are, you know, breathing it already.

V: Everything.

5. Did the internet leak of your demos affect the progress of the new album?

G: If it affected anything, I would say it did it in a good way 'cause so many people were curious to hear what we have been doing--and for the most part, the record tracks don't sound anything like the leaked demos.

J: For me it was different. It had me pretty down for a while. No one likes to show their creation in mid-process, and those songs weren't done. They were like blueprints. Just the plan, right? It put me in a state where I was under the impression that those songs had been wasted or something--that we had to go and write new things because those had been heard. Now, in retrospect, I want those songs to be on the album and many of them aren't, and I'm probably more to blame for that than anyone. This record already feels incomplete to me without those tracks and probably will forever.

V: I can relate to both of those sentiments. In one way it was kind of refreshing and motivating to know that people were still so interested and curious as to what we were up to in that period where we sort of disappeared. But I was also worried that it would derail the process because the four of us had created a pretty safe place where the only critics were ourselves. As much as we tried to shield ourselves from letting the leak affect us, it definitely did. There was a feeling of being robbed, after keeping everything so close to ourselves and then having it heard before it was completed. As Jesse said, I wish some of those songs were on the record. But they do exist on a certain plane, so people do know that we were working and creating.

6. In an industry where bands must constantly tour and put out new music to maintain sales and the interest of their fans, how do you think a relatively small band like yours has managed to keep such a diehard following during two years of downtime?

J: It's a mystery. I really have no idea, but we'd all like it to be known that we know how blessed we are.

G: 'Cause when it comes down to it, we are dedicated to what we do, and we aren't big-headed when it comes to our fans. We appreciate everything that has been thrown our way.

7. If you each had to pick a favorite song off the upcoming record, which one would it be and why?

J: "Degauzer", 'cause it's the only song we ever wrote spontaneously with the four of us in a room together. After that, I'd pick "Handcuffs".

V: For me, it's too early to tell. But I agree with Jesse on "Degauzer", and also "Handcuffs", because of the dramatic changes from its inception to completion. It ended up far more beautiful than I had hoped for. It truly exceeded my expectations.

8. Now that you've started using piano (specifically on one of the new songs you've been playing live), are there any other instruments that you would like to explore incorporating into your music?

G: Every instrument you can think of will be, or is on, the record.

J: Every instrument that has ever existed, he means. Not ones you can imagine.

G: Yeah, that's what I meant.

J: Answering this question feels like a cop-out because I don't think that the number of instruments a band incorporates says anything about their music. Especially now, with the trend in "performance bands," and the like. I think there are a lot of acts around now that should have just stuck to their guitars, or stuck to ENJOYING Elephant Six or Saddle Creek, and not trying to be it. On the other hand, I think there can be more to rock than a Mesa Boogie stack. I think the guitar is a limitless instrument and I hope I continue to explore it for the rest of my life, as well as other instruments. I DO play some okay brass.

V: As far as bands starting to explore the use of other instruments, it always seems to be a touchy subject--for both the band and audience. Both parties may feel alienated, to an extent. In the time that we had to get this record together, all four of us found a new level of comfort with the instruments we have been playing for so many years. But also in that time, we all became interested in others. Piano, Rhodes, bells, lap steel, brass, etc. I know for myself, playing other instruments always excites me to get back to my guitar. That might just be because I am better at it, but really, after playing piano or trumpet it would make me play my guitar differently due to trying to incorporate a certain skill learned from those instruments into my guitar playing. I think when we all started to get the idea that guitars might not be the only instruments on the record, we made sure to keep in mind that there still needed to be [a balance.] Otherwise, we would have sounded like a marching band. It's maintaining a balance. And it can be difficult to know when you've gone too far, especially when you are not accustomed to writing parts for other instruments, or even hearing them as a part of the music. Still though, I think we were able to achieve that. Guitars, bass, and drums remained the core of what was happening while everything else was simply used to enhance a song.

9. What is the title of the new album?

G: What do you want it to be?

J: We have a title?

10. If you had to describe the new album in one word, besides "good" or any of its synonyms, what would it be?

G: Really good.

V: Exhausting.

11. What were the best and worst parts of recording the new album?

G: (Worst) Recording it. (Best) Recording it.

J: The best, for me, was only working on it with people we consider friends. Sapone, Herring, Claudius, Rich Costey, etc. Also the Sherman/Accardi/Lacey percussion on "Millstone", and Vin and my double guitar wig out on the second half of "You Won't Know", which may or may not have made the final cut. Also, the catfish from Taylor's Grocery.

The worst was calling it finished.

V: Best- Taylor's Grocery. Spending late nights in Walmart with anyone else involved in the project who was losing their minds as much as I was at 4 am, leading us to make the most ridiculous, unnecessary purchases possible. Also, watching Jesse construct the scariest Halloween costume ever. Worst - any time I wasn't in Walmart or Taylor's Grocery.

12. Is Jesse's cousin, Derek, officially in the band now?

B: Derek has been with us throughout the making of the new record. He will be playing parts on every single song, and he will basically be playing an essential role in the future of the band. He is here for our own mental sanity, and to complete the sound on stage. He has been with us for a while now, and I easily consider him part of the band.

G: The Worm is in the band for good!

J: Let's stop calling him my cousin though. That was a joke.

B: No it wasn't

V: Sherman... now helping to sonically annihilate the world.

13. When writing the new album, did you ever feel that the pressure to progress outweighed the organic nature of your songwriting?

J: Uh…

G: Not for a second

J: Yeah, I guess not. If anything, it was the opposite. In terms of the "external forces" (quotation hand gestures) we felt more pressure to NOT progress on this album than ever before. It wasn't normal or healthy for us, and I think it played a large part in the struggle that was making this album. Left to ourselves, we probably would have been more self-indulgent and released something that wasn't financially in anyone's interest. Unfortunately, our creative decisions are no longer ours to be made alone for ourselves. We are only a small part, now, of a much larger machine that has made us completely dependent on it… but which, for all intents and purposes, can function perfectly well without us.

14. At a recent show, Jesse mentioned that he no longer agrees with many of the things he says in "Soco Amaretto Lime." How do you think the band has matured since the release of Your Favorite Weapon, and how has that affected the band both musically and individually?

J: It really isn't a matter of disagreeing with the lyrics of a song, which in this case wouldn't really make that much sense because the song is a story. It is more the feeling of no longer being able to relate to certain aspects of an earlier version of myself. There are certain things that you celebrate when you are young, and you do this BECAUSE you are young and so you have this built-in urge to scoff at various ideas of maturity or responsibility because you CAN. The problem lies in how unbecoming the same attitude is when you see it in someone who is only four or five years older. I don't think any of us have any Peter Pan fantasies, and I don't get down on myself for not having more foresight when I was younger, but there really is no part of me that wishes I was still there. More than anything, I was toasting youthfulness, not decadence, but I feel I used the wrong words. I am also completely fine with writing a song now, or having an idea, that someone ten years my junior can't relate to. In fact, I hope for it. I wouldn't speak for the whole band in this, but I know it happens. I saw Vin apply things to his life over the last couple of years that I am only starting to understand now, and he is five years younger than me. If changes like that in a person's real life don't reflect themselves in his art, then I think it is the audience's responsibility to ask why not. What is the appeal of someone who never learns anything or ever answers a question? Or worse, someone who never has a question? Or then what would the appeal be of someone who learns everything but never shares it? I'm not talking about disco either. People don't listen to our music cause you can dance to it. I know why people listen to our music and it has little to do with dancing.

15. How many songs have you written since the release of Deja Entendu, and how many of them are actually going to end up on the new album?

B: Around 750,000. The new record will have 11 or 12 of them.

G: About 45, about 45.

J: Forty or something. Yeah, I think 11 or 12 on the record?

16. Who have you always dreamed of touring with, that you've yet to have the chance to?

G: Grandfunk Railroad

J: I never dreamed of touring. Touring with Colour Revolt, Eisley, Hotrod Circuit... was a dream come true. People who you can spend time around and love and who love you back. Plus, they make music that you really don't grow tired of. It's a joy to witness these bands every night.

17. When will the new album be released?

G: November 21st.

J: Too soon

V: Yeah, November...of 2015. It will be in the form of the new iTunes microchip that will be directly installed into your brain. I am proud to say we will be the first band to deliver music in this format.

18. After the success of Deja Entendu and the hype surrounding its follow-up, did you ever worry that the new album might never actually be complete?

G: It almost wasn't

J: I think it still isn't

19. Why did you change your URL to

J: 'Cause we wanted people to ask us why.

G: 'Cause brandnewrock is (expletive).

20. With all the time you spend with each other, have you found yourselves taking on roles? i.e. "The Funny One" or "The Serious One"

G: That question is stupid.

V: I, too, think this is an outrageous question. I will say, however, that Brian once took the claim of "The Shy Guy." We all laughed at him.

21. What are the most difficult parts of having a career like yours--and when things get tough, where do you find the motivation and/or inspiration to keep going?

G: In other activities I enjoy, or the people I love the most.

B: The most difficult part about being in a band, for me, is being away from friends and family so much. This time around, we got to spend an ample amount of time at home in between touring and starting to make the new record, and it has helped me build new relationships and sort out old ones. It is something that is very hard to do when you are so far from home, so often. I love playing music. I love making music. That's always what balances it out. And when we play shows, the fact that people are there to see us is really what keeps me going.

22. With the titles of the new songs appearing on the set list as "Yeah," "Mamas," "Fork And Knife," and "Take Apart Your Head," has Brand New retired the practice of sentence-long titles that have nothing to do with the song?

G: Those are just abbreviations.

J: Abbreviations. I'm not so sure they have nothing to do with the song. I think "Positively 4th Street" is one of my favorite names for a song. I always wonder why it was named that.

23. Did the writing process for the new album differ from the previous albums?

G: Yeah, that's why it took two years.

J: It was the same process, essentially, of someone bringing an almost completed song to the rest of the band, and then the four of us hashing out the specifics of it: the tempo, the changes, etc. "Degauzer" and "Yeah" were unique because they happened spontaneously with three, or all four, of us in the room together. All the music and lyrics for "Handcuffs" was finished by Vin when he brought it. I suppose there were more individual songs on this album that were either written by just one of us, or, by all of us together--but the meat of the record was the same process of an idea that got worked and reworked. A lot of that happens inside the studio when we are listening to things back on tape and realizing something doesn't sound how we expected… then we go in and figure out how to make it sound like we were all hearing it in our heads. There really is no secret or trick... it's the same way ten million other bands probably work out their stuff. All very tedious and boring.

24. Any chance you'll tell us the track listing of the album?

G: Nope

J: We don't know what tracks are gonna be on the album, and if we did, they would only have names that were "abbreviations" that would give you no real insight into what song it actually was 'cause we only made them up for ourselves and various people working on the project to be able to identify them. I just got bingo. We're all playing bingo now, just so you know.