Please tell us your name(s) and what you do in the band.
I'm Erik. I play guitar and sing.
Alright, first off, let's just get this question out of the way: what took you guys so long with the new record? What convinced you to finish it and come back after many referred to C I V I L W A R as punk's Chinese Democracy?
Really, time just got away from us. We got married, divorced, had kids, expanded businesses, played in other bands, and still managed to get a fair number of shows around the country and in town done. But finding a few months where we could all commit to practices without interruptions, then a few weeks to focus on recording just seemed harder and harder every year. Finally this spring and summer, it just all fell into place.
This album seems like it has a different atmosphere surrounding it. Perhaps it's partially due to the long wait - is there anything drastically new or different C I V I L W A R contains from previous records?
I wouldn't say anything drastic. Now that it's done, I think it's more heavy on the pop side than our other records. The recording is a little slicker. None of that was really intentional - it's just sorta how it came out. Although I suppose we were careful not to just try to remake one of our old records.
Did you guys take any new approaches to how you actually recorded the album?
We recorded this one more like we recorded our second one Versus God. We tracked things a little more separately than on the other ones. This was mostly due to everyone needing to record around real work schedules. We couldn't all be there at the same time every day or even on the same days sometimes.
Will this be filed under "Adult Urban Contemporary"? (I know, I know - I couldn't resist)
Okay, so how does it feel to have such a strong underground following that has grown substantially the past several years? Do you credit Fat Wreck with any of that success? Was Hopeless just not doing it for you guys, or was it just time to move on?
We've been really lucky that people have stayed interested when all we've been able to do is play locally and a festival or two every year. Fat Wreck [and their support] certainly doesn't hurt. Hopeless was moving in a different direction musically with what they were signing, and we just thought Fat could be a perfect fit. We were right.
You guys are known for your intelligent and wit-filled lyrics. Did you scrap any previous song ideas or themes to devote your focus to new material? If so, what exactly influenced your songwriting ideas on the new album as compared to your last album?
In my case, I write lyrics last, so some of the music I used on the record is older but the lyrics were written recently. I did scrap a lot of songs over the years though - or even just forgot them. Everything on the record was written in the last two years, and probably 2/3 in the past 12 months.
What songs holds the most personal meaning to you on the new record?
Probably one called "The Classical Arrangment," in which I try to make my argument for my own Atheism. It's a weird song too - kinda like a power ballad. I almost chickened out even putting it on the record.
Do you think this will be your last record or in another six years will you feel more inspired to write on the downfall of western civilization?
I think we will have multiple releases in the next couple years. We've kinda figured out a system for it now that works.
You guys have been gone for some time while the world has gone through some big changes. With that said, what are your thoughts on the 2008 presidential election?
Either vote for Obama, or choose not to vote because I can still understand that logic sometimes. But if you vote for John McCain, I will get Billy to kick you in the balls until you throw up.
Now I gotta know - viral marketing is a huge marketing ploy these days. Considering the bands doing so are not nearly as organic and intelligent as many bands of your generation and style are, what are your thoughts on this current trend?
I don't know. I don't really think about marketing stuff for music that much. I got bigger problems to worry about I guess.
You are obviously a big part of the Minneapolis punk rock scene. What do you think of the city's scene today?
It's good in many ways. There are a few good bands in pretty much every sub-genre. Lots of shows happening at different kinds of spaces.
Any up-and-coming bands you guys are stoked about that we oughta know of?
In Minneapolis, I like Off With Their Heads, The Evening Rig, In Defense!, Birthday Suits, Superhopper and a bunch more.
In this watered-down music scene today, it's difficult for many great punk bands such as yourselves to get the attention you deserve, whether it be critical or commercial. What keeps you all going in such a dizzying and always-changing scene where boy bands with guitars flood the landscape?
I dunno. People keep asking us to come places, so we go. When we get there, we always have a good time. So really, we've never talked about stopping. I don't think we really need more attention or exposure. When people stop asking us to do stuff, we won't anymore. We don't want to bore ourselves or anyone else to death with our band.
Anything new fans can expect on the NOFX tour? Or just the same old, always-entertaining, madcap craziness we normally experience at a D4 show?
Well, we really haven't done a tour like this. Bigger rooms every night and stuff. It doesn't really lend itself to madcap craziness. But I'm sure we will find a way to keep it interesting while people are screaming out for NOFX to start.
Any chance you will charge fans $150 to write "personalized" songs for them?
I think I would personally be willing to pay you guys that kind of money to write a song about me over other bands.
For you, I could make it happen for $140. Send a check to Fat.
Can you go through a typical day in the life of Paddy on the day of a show? Oh, and what is your guys' beer of choice?
Bud is me, Lane and Billy's beer of choice. Paddy's favorite beer is whiskey. He sleeps a lot - we all do. He gets to talking about various buffets he believes we might encounter and with any luck, we do.
Your thoughts on illegal downloading... what are they?
Pay for music if you want to and you can afford it. Don't if you can't. To me, it's not much different than when I was a younger and everyone just taped stuff until they could afford their own copy.
Fan Question: What the hell is up with "American Idiot" and "doublewhiskeycokenoice"?
Yeah that's weird, huh?
Fan Question: Can we expect any more represses on vinyl soon?
Both Midwestern Songs and Versus God are being repressed on colored vinyl on Suburban Home Records at this very moment. Also, the long out-of-print More Songs About Girlfriends & Bubblegum 7" was just repressed a couple weeks ago. Shouldn't be too hard to find.
Any last thoughts, words of wisdom, shout-outs to give the Absolutepunk.net audience who - for the record - loves D4 very, very much?
Thanks and stuff!
C I V I L W A R will be released October 14th on Fat Wreck Chords.