22 September 2007

Mission Accomplished

A few weeks ago I was supposed to see Oliver Future in NY, but through a series of unfortunate events, I was unable to. How soul-crushing! Fortunately, I was able to give their guitarist/lead singer Noah Lit a jingle the other day intending to chat about their music. We also talked about strangling, politics in music and how to find a good BBQ joint in Austin:

What's it feel like to be back in Austin, as opposed to LA?
Austin is our old hometown; our new town is LA.

Why did you move?
Everything just aligned. We decided to do something bold. The timing was right. The label paid for the first three months, and we ended up staying. We all live together now in a house in Echo Park, in a rad neighborhood.

Wait, you all live together? And you work together? How do you keep from strangling each other?
We do strangle each other! Everyone strangles each other once a night. It's a good tension releaser. You've got to have that. Hah, sorry, I've had a lot of coffee today.

That makes two of us! So you're strangling each other. How'd you get together in the first place then?
Jess & I played together a while ago, and we decided to take it on our own terms. Sam is from Fort Worth. He was the drummer for our first high school band. He traded it for a guitar. I put a keyboard in front of [my brother] Josh and said, "Here, learn this!" And he did! He picked it up amazingly fast. I was so impressed.

We had this drummer at the time...he was OK. We were playing a show and this guy [Jordan] comes up to us afterwards and says, "Uh, I can do better than that. Can I come over and just jam with you guys?" So he did the next day and we were just jamming together and it worked out really well.

So, you're living in Texas right now... but there's so many political songs on the album... how does that, ah, mesh? I mean, are there political motivations in your lyrics?
You know, Austin is a blue dot in the middle of a red state. It's a really civic-minded city. There's UT-Austin. We have some radical professors. And politics seem so trendy right now. While others theorize of political takeovers, we live it. Our politics speak for themselves. You can trust us; we're reporting from the belly of the beast.

I guess what I'm asking here is about your songwriting process. How do you write your stuff?
There's the emo thing. It's so selfish. We had this one review that said our music was too trendy. "Love and loss is timeless," he said, "write more of that. That's what people want to hear. Politics are a fad."

...But ironically, there is a lot of love and loss on the album...
There is, and I don't want to dissuade people from writing it. But you can write about politics. You don't need to be Rage Against The Machine to be political--even though they're great, and we need that. There's plenty going on. There are so many things to write about. You can be a little more metaphorcal. We wrote "Drowning Parade" exactly one year to the day after Katrina hit, but that's wasn't the point. You'll have to excuse me if you hear some other noises. We're getting into the car and getting some lunch.

Oh? What kind?

Where are you going? Can you recommend a good place?
No, we're going somewhere new. I'm not sure what it's called. It's about culinary excitement here.

Ah. So, one of the things I noticed about this album is that it's so cohesive-sounding. Did you intend to write an album like that, or...?
Yes, we did! We just thought we were going to do it the way they used to: not just a collection of songs you slap together, but an album. We did that and afterward people were all, "Whoa, you wrote a *record!* A RECORD-record, like Abbey Road!" And we'd say, "Yeah, isn't that what we were supposed to do?" People are so shocked by it. It's so different these days.

What's your favorite song on the album, or that you're playing live right now?
Ah, it's so hard to say. We used to do a cover of [Faith No More's] "Easy Like Sunday Morning." Really, it's more like, there's a part of every song that I just go, "Oh man, this is my favorite part of the whole album!" There are so many great parts like that. But I really can't pick songs.

Any other covers?
We've gotten lazy about covers. We used to do "A Day in The Life" but not anymore. It was really challenging to try and take that whole orchestral song and just play it with us 5 guys.

But you did it?
We did!

What's next on your tour plans? I guess, to be selfish, I'm curious the next time you might come though the Northwest...
Definately! We're finishing up a tour here in Texas, and then heading home. We'd like to go up north. We went to Sacramento recently...

That's too far south!
...Yeah, we'd like to hit up some places up there. Maybe by November, or December. The holidays kind of kill tours, you notice that? You either got to do it between Thanksgiving and Christmas, or before Thanksgiving. But soon.

Pax Futura is out now.

No comments: