Thanks to Justin of The Number 12 Looks Like You and Derek at Solid PR for helping get this out to you, the AP.net users and fans. Mongrel is out now on Eyeball Records.
First of all, can you please tell me your name and what you play in the band.
Justin: My name is Justin and I am one of the two vocalists in the band.
Let's go through the basics. How did The Number 12 Looks Like You begin?
Justin: The Number 12 Looks Like You began somewhere in late 2000 early 2001. Jase (vocalist), Chree (old drummer) and I had all met through a mutual friend who was looking to start a band for lack of anything better to do. The mutual friend ended up abandoning his project and three of us remained to play music together as a way of getting through life and as an outlet... Between the three of us we wrangled up the other three members in the band, and became a "metal-core" or "screamo" band if you will, called And Ever... Sometime after we changed our sound and wanted to approach this new sound with a new name, thus the beginning of The #12.
So we know that #12LLY comes from an episode of The Twilight Zone. Why that episode? Is there a special meaning behind the name or did it just sound neat?
Justin: It was a little bit of both... We had originally just heard the name and thought it sounded interesting and out there, so we went with it... After committing to this new name we actually saw the episode and realized we had made a good choice.. This particular episode dealt with identity and the desire to not conform and stay original, which is ultimately what I think we are trying to accomplish as a band.
Band names can be hilarious, lame, provocative, etc. What are some of your favorite band names you've heard? For example, I found this one experimental band - I Seriously Doubt Your Commitment To Sparkle Motion - and it makes me chuckle every time.
Justin: I do get a kick out of "Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin," and I also enjoy "The Peanut Butter and the Jelly's" with their album No Crunchy and of course "Dyin' to Live"
And how did your deal with Eyeball Records come to be? It seems like an odd match if you check out the rest of the label's roster. What was it about the label that helped you decide it would be a good match?
Justin: Jase had known Alex Eyeball for sometime and we had an ongoing relationship with him that was being established while we were looking for someone to put out our record... One day Alex just said "I'll put it out.." We had gotten another offer, but it was from a label we thought we might have gotten lost on, in that there were a lot of heavy bands on it. Eyeball felt right to us because we knew we'd stand out among the other bands on their roster.
This summer you toured with Gwar on the Sounds of the Underground Tour. Not many bands can add this to their resume. Please tell me about this experience.
Justin: Touring with Gwar was certainly one of the highlights of my time with The #12. Seeing them every night was a pleasure, and talking to them was an even bigger one.. We are very lucky to have toured with that band, and it certainly is great being able to tell that to people after they gloat and brag about how great their job it.... "WELL HAVE YOU TOURED WITH GWAR?!" I would say...
I've read that you had some good and bad days on SOTU. How do you deal with negative crowds?
Justin: You are certainly correct there... We had some good and bad days... We had days where the crowd seemed pleased and others where we would get cups of beer thrown at us (that only happened once)... I mean come on though, whoever would waste half of an $8.00 beer to throw at a band isn't worth my time anyway... Dealing with negative crowds was as simple as ignoring it and just playing for us.. We started making music for us, and we still do, so when the crowd doesn't want to have fun with us, we focus more on playing for ourselves , which completely blocks out angry people waiting for Gwar... I also think to myself, well, this guy who is giving me the finger.. His band never toured with Gwar.. Maybe next year, dude.... I mean... an $8.00 beer.. Jeez.
Let's talk about Mongrel. How is the album different than your previous releases?
Justin:Mongrel right off the bat was different in that it has been the most focused... We had a little line-up change and seemingly felt comfortable all around immediately and ready to write a record.. The process of Mongrel was also different because this was the first record where we had no other obligations (except for Alex, who is a real fuckin trooper and was going to school at the time) We only used our time to focus on writing the music, arranging the music, lyrics, etc. A lot of people put in a lot of hard work to make this record happen, and for that we are truly lucky.
The theme for Mongrel is very interesting - and intense. Can you put it in your own words for us?
Justin: The statement on Mongrel, I think puts it best saying "The Mongrel has a fucking headache." The Mongrel is referring to a single entity, a schizophrenic if you will, and the record carries you on waves from beginning to end as it rises and plummets to shore. The record has multiple personality disorder and OCD. It's a culmination of a lot of feelings and thoughts from six different people. I feel as if all the music we have written has taken on similar characteristics... Ever changing... But with this record, we really honed in on it.
Did you have an idea of this concept when you went in to record the album, or did it unfold as you were in the studio?
Justin: I think we all knew of this concept as an unspoken thing, that came out later on...
New fans and old, what's the reaction been for Mongrel?
Justin: I mean, I guess it's hard to tell. Fans to seem pumped when we play some new songs, so that is a hint in a good direction... We have gotten great feedback from fans, so I hope they are as excited as we are.
I know it may be like picking your favorite child, but are there any songs off of Mongrel that get you more pumped or excited to play live? What about for your entire discography - what songs do you never get tired of playing?
Justin: From Mongrel, I would definitely say "Jay Walking Backwards" is my favorite song to play because of the energy that is built up in the introduction of the song.. By the time the song kicks in, I am full-on ready to play a whole set with full energy! And I think "Civeta Dei" is a song I will never get tired of playing... We wrote that song a long time ago, and it has followed us as being one of those staples that pops up almost every tour.. It's an emotional song and it nice to be able to vent and get things out in front of people, and with fans.
Favorite band to tour with so far?
Justin: The Blackout Pact from Denver. We toured with them a few years back and have been in close contact with them ever since. They have since broken up, but all great tour stories I tell always start off with "So we are in (insert city here) with Blackout and....."
We're coming closer to the end of 2007. What are some of the best albums you've heard that were released this year?
Justin: I really enjoy The new Wilhelm Scream record, and the new Iron and Wine record.... The only album I really have been listening to all year though is "The Sunset Tree" by the Mountain Goats, but that came out in '05.
For those that are listening to your music for the first time, how would you describe your sound to pull them in and get them interested?
Justin: It's an emotional roller coaster that I hope could get you through thick and thin... Talk to me, kid...
Nah, I mean... I could see how someone could find that offensive, but it's just a way to introduce the band member to the reader ya know?
Excellent review, Julia.
I was getting ready to go to bed, then I saw you posted this up and I just had to go make some popcorn and read this.
I think the whole, introducing the interviewee to the reader is best handled by a short foreword before the interview — like "Here's our interview with The Number 12 Looks Like You vocalist, Justin."
If I'm in a band I'm thinking "man, this girl must not have done her homework." Of course, the rest of the interview was really well-done, so that fear would be quickly alleviated, but that whole "state your name thing" has just always really irked me.
Is it just me or do you find it really offensive when an interviewer asks someone to "state [their] name and what [they] do in the band."
This was an email interview. I wasn't sure who was going to write up responses so I had to ask a question like this. When I ask a question like this in a phone or in-person interview, it's more of a journalistic formality than anything else ... kind of like saying "for the record." For someone that doesn't know much about #12LLY, now they know that Justin is a vocalist. And if I am interviewing more than one band member, asking a question like this helps me differentiate between their voices for when I am transcribing. This has saved me a bunch of times in the past.
I've heard that from lots of other people. I'm intrigued. I feel like it would be one of those shows that I walk away from half-scared and totally pumped up.
ive seen them 7 times. when it gets to twelve im stopping for obvious reasons. they just put on a fuckin great show though. ive seen them with 30 people in a stageless youth center all the way to electric factory in philly. they just happen to tour with great bands too.