oct 4th 2003 - Café des Artistes, Toulouse
interview with Matt Safer (bass, vocals) by Barbara H and El Compila Funkistador
you : Josselin, Nicolas and www.soitditenpassant.com
BH: Hi! There was an article in a French magazine not a long time ago which said that, basically, you'd be just like any other band in nyc if you hadn't met the DFA guys...
MS: hmmm, I don't really agree with that (laughs) I think we try to be different... DFA and us grew together, it wasn't like meeting some famous producer, it was more like meeting a couple of other people who didn't really had much going on. We were sharing some interests, they became our friends... you know, it's true that we wouldn't be where we are... i think it's a statement that leads the answer in the wrong direction...
BH: What part do James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy play in the music ? Do they interfere with it ?
MS: I think that they help push us in some ways and we push them in others. Not as much with us, we are less involved now, because we're gone, touring, but there was a period of a year and a half or two years during which the DFA studio was really like an idyllic place... everybody, whoever was down there was making music, not particularly worried about who was doing what. They would do things for our record and we would do things for other DFA artists. It was a worry-free environment, it was just a bunch of friends in a basement doing things and it didn't really matter because we were just doing it for ourselves.
BH: How did you guys meet ? I heard that some of you are from the West coast ?
MS: The band, I mean, I think it's really from New York, it's where we've been as a band, at least as it is now, it has grown into what it is now in New York. But obviously it did exist on the West coast... it's not really an exciting story, how we met... it's just the way you meet friends, it's not really like how Jimi Hendrix met Jimmy Page...
BH: You chose the release the album with the help of a major, while the other dance-punk bands are mostly on indie labels. You were on Sub Pop first, did you feel it was a logical move ?
MS: It felt like the right thing to do. I can't really speak for the intentions of any other band, but I think with us we felt like we'd reached the point where the music that we wanted to try and do was... first of all it was going to be difficult to make without some money and also, the other side of it... in America in particular it's very difficult for bands that are independent to have much of a cultural impact. Also, it can be a lot more interesting than what's happening in independent music, I do think that people like Timbaland are doing far more interesting things than a lot of independent hip hop artists. you know, it's like trying to find... it's an experiment.
BH: How does it feel to be in what is very probably today's hippest band ?
MS: It has a lot of good sides... I think we're not really the "in" people, we're not trying to be rock'n'roll, we're just out there trying to be really honest... If we were going out in town, drinking everynight, being really rock'n'roll, dating supermodels... but that's not going to happen for 6 months, it's part of our strategy
BH: and then ?
MS: then it's all downhill, you don't want to hear how bad the next record is (laughs)
BH: do you know people in the other dance-punk bands, like !!! or Liars ?
MS: I think for us the movement, if we feel part of any movement, it's different bands, although we actually know !!!, but we met them as friends because we have been with them in Europe... when I think of like, our peers I think of Trevor Jackson, Black Strobe... unfortunately more like that sort of electronic artists, it's a lot harder to play with them... it's not so much people that we necessarily feel like are doing the exact same things as us, but we feel there's mutual respect, we like each other's music and are all friends... our friends are getting very European (laughs)
BH: How long do you plan on touring ?
MS: probably a lot longer that we'd necessarily like to, because we'd like to make a new record, sooner than later
BH: this one is pretty old...
MS: yes, it's pretty old, but we still like it, we found new ways to appreciate it but it'd be nice to take more time off... we'll probably be touring until like May
BH: and then you'll start recording ?
MS: hopefuly yeah... we have a couple of months here and there or not full months but there's time when we'll try and write...
ECF: On tour, do you find time to write new songs or is it just a studio process ?
MS: we work out somethings live but we really need to have a studio to develop the ideas, what we want. At the moment we have, our electronic setup, we can't really do anything live with it... but we're going to get together, going to get to a studio after the road so the songs will make some progress
ECF: do you have time to visit cities ?
MS: sometimes. it depends on what you wanna do on your spare time, if you
don't go to... i think the best thing you can do if you wanna see a city is wake
up early and to do that you have to hold back the night after the show or at the
show and not stay out very late, stay at the club like drinking at the bar...
sometimes that's good to do and sometimes it's just as fun to have a night out.
some cities are nicer than others to tour in. In London it started to get
difficult to go out, not that we got mobbed or anything, but we attracted some
amount of people who wanted to party with us... so you end up like moving with
twenty people and any way you're gonna go people will follow you, it's a really
hard group to go with, you can't go anywhere small, it takes forever to get
anywhere before everybody decide what they're gonna do. But i think that in
Toulouse it will probably be ok (laughs)
/nov 1st 2003/