AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Interview: Self Against City - 04.13.07
 

Self Against City - 04.13.07

Interviewed by
Self Against City - 04.13.07I recently sent over a list of user-submitted questions to Self Against City's vocalist, Jonathan Michael. Thanks to Jonathan for taking the time off of his busy tour schedule to answer the questions, the users who submitted questions for the interview, and for Betsy at Drive-Thru Records for helping put together this interview.

Absolutepunk interviewed the band prior to the full length, Telling Secrets to Strangers, was released. How does it feel to finally have a full length out there on shelves?

It's been a year and half since we wrote the songs that would become Telling Secrets to Strangers, and it's an incredible feeling of release to finally feel like we completed the initial phase of the album cycle. Touring to support an EP (which we did on and off for nearly two years), was nowhere near as fulfilling as it has been to support the new full length album.

Has the record as far as sales and fan response exceeded the band's expectations?

Not yet.

In our previous interview, the fact that Self Against City having a few different line-ups was touched upon. With several changes occurring in a relatively short amount of time, what's the driving force that keeps the band headed forward, despite that sort of a set back?

The same 3 of us who sing and play guitar (Jack, Jeffrey and myself) and wrote songs on our Take It How You Want It EP, are also the same 3 who worked on the Telling Secrets to Strangers album. Although the drummer and bassist, who started with us at the inception of the band, were with us for two years, we didn't have a complete and fully dedicated rhythm section until December '06. The same force we had internally that brought us together almost 3 years ago is still the same force that drives us forward, only now we have 2 more great minds, in the persons of Justin Barnes and Blake Abbey, to help fuel the fire.

When some bands start out, and start gaining momentum on the road to being signed, there sometimes can be opposition from family and friends concerned about being able to make it. Was there any opposition or worries from any family/friends/significant others when the band decided to fully dedicate itself to touring and recording?

Our friends could not have been happier for us. Our families may have had their share internal apprehensions, but even so, they have been more supportive than any other entity out there. Moms say they want us to do what makes us happy, so naturally, us being on the path to finding our niche makes them nothing but proud.

If you weren't on the road and making a living as a musician, what would you see yourself doing?

I try to imagine that every time I am asked and it still leaves me in vexation, but if I had to choose something else, I might enjoy working as a captain of a giant cruise ship that sails between Hawaii and the South Pacific. Either that or I'd be a developmental psychologist.

The first single and video from Telling Secrets to Strangers is "Becoming a Monster." Who thought up the concept of the video?

Marco Delatorre, a most excellent and ambitious director/screenwriter. Marco is also from our hometown of Sacramento, and came to our CD release show in January. After our set he came to me and told me that he was interested in directing a video for us, so I got his number. A few days later we met for lunch and he presented his idea to us. We loved his idea, and we felt good about working with another aspiring artist from our area. A week later we began filming.

Your first run at headlining is a west coast run with Over It, The Higher, and Everybody Else. What are your expectations of the tour? Are there any plans of taking a headline tour and extending it to the Midwest and East Coast? What plans and tours does the band have after the headline runs is up?

I expect the tour to be a blast. I'm imagining the chorus to House of Pain's "Jump Around" playing in the background to me, my band, and the guys in The Higher on top of someone's house getting yelled at to get down, so instead of getting off the roof, we begin to get down how we do best, dancin' (jump 17x). Jokes aside, my expectations are to make new friends, have a good time with the other bands, and rock my hardest nightly. As far as taking this tour east, I don't think that is happening, but you never know. We are however, making plans to get out to the Midwest and east within the next couple months.

Touring the country for weeks and months on end can turn out some interesting stories. Are there any tour stories or fan encounters that stick out in your mind as being memorable or funny?

I like to reminisce about laying down on the highway during a blizzard to put snow chains on our van, or flying from Cali to New York to play a private show and getting toted around in a hummer limo for 3 days by a sweet driver named Uncle Lou. In the last few months we have performed with Circa Survive, Hellogoodbye, Boys Like Girls, Cobra Starship, Cute is What We Aim For, Quietdrive, The Early November, Lovedrug, Hawthorne Heights, New Atlantic, All Time Low, and The Transit War, so yes, there are stories, and yes, we video a ton of stuff, so expect to see some cool footage when we get around to making a DVD. ;)

Has there been any musical influence change from the EP to the full length? Were there any songs that didn't make it to Telling Secrets to Strangers that fans could potentially see released in the future?

I have picked up quite a few new albums since we wrote the EP back in 2004, so the answer is undoubtedly, yes. We still enjoy all the music we listened to back then, but have since expanded our tastes. I would say since writing the Telling Secrets to Strangers album a year and half ago, we have augmented and honed our creative styles to a much greater extent than we did between the EP and full length. As we mature as both musicians and as people, the depth of character we are able to infuse into our new material becomes exponentially tremendous. We only recorded 11 songs for Telling Secrets to Strangers and they are all on the album. The only other songs from that time period are demos we recorded in our rehearsal space.

In the previous interview, you had talked about the myspace blog that you posted of an outsider article about myspace dying out. While myspace is definitely changing the music scene, is there anything about the industry or scene that you'd change if you were ever given that power?

Haha, wow. I will be more than happy to discuss and share my views on this topic with anyone in person, but I doubt readers have the time to read a book right now, and the answer is about that long. I will say that this book starts and ends with music, not money, popularity, or sales figures. Changing the music scene and industry is a power that will be earned, not given.

Driving in a band for hours on end can tend to get boring and mundane. Is there anything you guys do to keep yourself entertained on long drives to each show? Are there certain tourist places that the band has to visit on each tour or any interesting stops the band has experienced?

We try to stop at every cool place we see. We bring a little Coleman camp stove out with us so we can cook up a rest stop feast anytime we please. We watch movies, put our iPods on shuffle, read books (currently, I just cracked into War and Peace for the first time), we write lyrics, work on jams with garageband, edit videos, mind boggle with sudoku, we crack inside jokes and do impersonations of each other, we utilize the ever popular text messaging, make prank phone calls to music industry "big shots", and from time to time we play the top five game. My favorite stop so far was when we stopped to check out Niagara Falls at night.

Any last statements for AP users?

Break away from your machine and come see us on the New Fashioned Jive Tour! We love you guys and truly are grateful for your continued support.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 31
09:42 PM on 04/13/07
#2
Lueda Alia
Offline
User Info.
Lueda Alia's Avatar
He sounds like a really cool guy.
10:07 PM on 04/13/07
#3
i am
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
nice little interview there. :o)
I like Jonathan. He's been a nice person since the first time I saw SAC in early 2005 and he still is to this day.
10:43 PM on 04/13/07
#4
falloutboy.
yo
Offline
User Info.
falloutboy.'s Avatar
thats a dandy interview, i cant wait to see them whenever they get their butts out to colorado.
10:45 PM on 04/13/07
#5
HCallsOkie
Offline
User Info.
HCallsOkie's Avatar
Um, strangely, I think "Uncle Lou" was the driver for our car service when me and my family took a trip to Japan. I remember on the ride to JFK, he pointed out (much to my embarassment) an Alitalia billboard with a woman with her lips around a cannoli (I'd say "eating a cannoli", but that usually involves teeth... and her teeth were retracted in this picture...ahem), looking upwards. Presumably at the sky. But it was, um, suggestive. And he pointed it out while my mom was in the car. Years of therapy have only dulled the trauma. But yeah. "Uncle Lou"... what a character. University Professor who drives for a car service on the side. Or I could be thinking of a totally different "Uncle Lou."
11:14 PM on 04/13/07
#6
Melissa Johnson
True Punk Fan
Offline
User Info.
Melissa Johnson's Avatar
Um, strangely, I think "Uncle Lou" was the driver for our car service when me and my family took a trip to Japan. I remember on the ride to JFK, he pointed out (much to my embarassment) an Alitalia billboard with a woman with her lips around a cannoli (I'd say "eating a cannoli", but that usually involves teeth... and her teeth were retracted in this picture...ahem), looking upwards. Presumably at the sky. But it was, um, suggestive. And he pointed it out while my mom was in the car. Years of therapy have only dulled the trauma. But yeah. "Uncle Lou"... what a character. University Professor who drives for a car service on the side. Or I could be thinking of a totally different "Uncle Lou."
I have no idea where this story was going, Okie, but I laughed anyway at the randomness of it.
06:41 AM on 04/14/07
#7
harryCane
Fighter of the Night Man
Offline
User Info.
harryCane's Avatar
Good interview, one of my questions made it in there... Yay!
10:47 AM on 04/14/07
#8
tommyhaych
Mayor West
Offline
User Info.
tommyhaych's Avatar
I'm sorry, but he sounded really bored haha.
11:25 AM on 04/14/07
#9
bduke13
is looking for that clearer water
Offline
User Info.
bduke13's Avatar
What is the top 5 game?
11:36 AM on 04/14/07
tragedyco
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
tragedyco's Avatar
good interview... sounds like he'd be an interesting guy to talk to.
11:43 AM on 04/14/07
0101
Offline
User Info.
0101's Avatar
he's a nice dude
12:44 PM on 04/14/07
Melissa Johnson
True Punk Fan
Offline
User Info.
Melissa Johnson's Avatar
I'm sorry, but he sounded really bored haha.
He's got a very different sense of humor. If you read Julia's interview as well, you can see it because his responses use the same tone.
02:08 PM on 04/14/07
elscorchette
current addiction: rock band
Offline
User Info.
elscorchette's Avatar
their tour with the higher, over it, and everybody else is going to be so amazing. i'm going twice :)
02:11 PM on 04/14/07
Lehcar
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
Lehcar's Avatar
their lineup changes always confuse me.

their promo pics never match the actual lineup.
03:33 PM on 04/14/07
CWeezer2
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
CWeezer2's Avatar
i really enjpy SAC. he seems like a geniune guy.

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm