Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Interview with The Growlers

Last week The Music Pirate blog spent the afternoon with The Growlers in their Costa Mesa studio/warehouse/party-house. The Growlers are vocalist Brooks Nielson,  guitarist Matt Taylor, bassist Scott Montoya, drummer Brian Stewart, and guitarist/keyboardist Kyle.

Welcomed into the studio by their dog Jonsey and a plate full of carrots, we spent the evening talking about Chubacabras, alter egos, which animal has the best growl and the illogical plotline for Zombieland, though Scott will admit Bill Murray's cameo was the best moment in cinema ever.

When we weren't discussing these heavy topics, we got around talking about The Growlers and their latest album release, 'Are You In or Out?' on Oct. 6.

Here is our exclusive interview with these Costa Mesa surf bums. Check it out after the jump! Also, check out a video of The Growlers performing exclusively for us in their practice space.

Lucas: You guys just had your release show for your new album "Are You In Or Out?" How was that? 

Brooks: It was good. It was fun. 

Matt: We played with some interesting groups like a haunted mansion cowboy group called Crooked Cowboy and this band The Freshwater Indians. 

Lucas: So tell us about the CD you guys are releasing. Are these new songs? 

Brooks: It's a collective, a mix CD of our previous records. We made one record when we first started and then we made eight smaller EPs. We had too many songs to release all together, so we picked songs from our previous album and EPs and made a compilation. 

Eszter: Did you rerecord any of the songs? 

Brooks: No we kept them as they are. So there is a difference between the songs. Every song is recorded differently with different equipment. They are recorded generally in the same room, but in different wherehouse spots we've been at. So all of it is different. It's pretty cool. 

Eszter: Did you get any input from anyone who was kind of like a producer figure or was it literally just picking and choosing from songs you had already recorded and placing them on one album? 

Brooks: Yeah. We're being managed right now by Everloving and JP, who is managing us. We had him come over and sat down with him and got his input on the songs we put on the album. There wasn't really much to it.  There wasn't a lot of time left to pick the songs we liked, and we were like "Fuck, we like them all" so we just put as many as we could out there as best we could.

Eszter: When you guys write songs is your objective more to create a story or to convey personal emotions and ideas? 

Brooks: They're all different. Most of the time you don't try to think at all. The more you think the more you feel like you're trying too hard. But sometimes, yeah, there's story lines, sometimes  it's just something that has been in my head. 

Lucas: What is the song writing process like in your band? Are you all involved or is there one person that usually comes with an idea that everyone then builds off of? 

Brooks:  It's always different but I'd say the majority of the time Matt comes up with a sweet riff and I think about it, and then the band all jumps in there after. 

Eszter: Do you think it's just as important to have a visual aspect to your band along with creating quality music? I've noticed some of your music videos have really interesting themes throughout them and your album artwork is really cool.

Brooks: I don't know how important it is but it's definitely something that is interesting to us and fun. We had people approach us and ask if we wanted to do a music video. It wasn't some Hollywood dude, it was just a friend of ours, and we were like "yeah we'll try" and it kind of went from there. 

Eszter: Do you have any plans to incorporate visual aspects to your live show or do you prefer to keep that simple and straight forward? 

Matt: It's always fun when you get some weird shit behind you but it's not really our goal as a band. 

Brooks: We're not really the band that's like...a band of weird art kids. 

Scott: It would be cool to eventually have a SHOW you know? Like a....thing. 

Brooks: I think we've just been trying to learn how to play well. That's been the key, so it's like, trying to get some naked grandma to do the hula hoop is not our main priority. We feel like we should learn the songs first. 

Eszter: Probably. There's definitely cool stuff you can do though. I just saw Fever Ray in concert last Tuesday and she had the most amazing light show, with lasers and fog. It was intense. 

Brooks: Yeah we can't even afford laser beams. 

Matt: We could get laser pointers. 

Brooks: We did that once! We gave out laser pointers. 

Lucas: You should do that...and maybe use some cigarrette smoke. That could look cool. 

Brooks: And then we would blind the whole room. "Yeah we gave our friends laser pointers and they shot us in the eyes."

Scott:  "We used to not see very well but now we see perfectly!" 

Lucas: That's hilarious. So you guys are playing tomorrow with Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. Do you want to tell us how that came up? 

Matt: I'm not sure how that came up. 

Brooks: I just listened to them today. They remind me of New Order...or uh, I don't know. It's weird. 

Eszter: Have you ever listened to Ima Robot? 

Brooks: No. 

Eszter: Oh. I was going to say Alex Ebert, who fronts Edward Sharpe, also fronts Ima Robot. 

Scott: Yeah I saw a video of Ima Robot on Letterman and then a video of Edward Sharpe on Letterman and its weird.

Lucas: It's weird how different it is. 

Brooks:  It's cool, its like they took some acid. 

Matt:  He was like, "What am I doing? I am NOT a robot!" 


Brooks: I can't wait to see them tomorrow. 

Scott: So is his name really Edward?

Eszter: No his name is Alex Ebert and Edward Sharpe is like a stage name. 

Brooks: I always regretted not doing that, getting a stage name. 

Eszter: Brooks Nielson is a cool name though. It's not like your name is something really common. 

Matt: You could have been Trash can Sam or something. 

Brooks: Trash can Sam. 

Lucas: That should be your stage name. 

Eszter: Or you could do like...Shady Brooks. 

Scott: Shitty Brooks? 

[all laugh]

Brooks: You don't sound like a fan. 

Matt: That sounds like a retirement community. 

[all laugh] 

Brooks: Oh I thought you said shitty! 

Scott: I said shitty, but I thought that's what she said too. 

Eszter: No no no no. Alright. Why did you guys decide to stay in Orange County as opposed to moving to Los Angeles? 

Brooks: LA sucks! [laughs] We grew up on the beach so it's kind of hard to just leave it. We did move to Long Beach. But at the same time it really doesn't matter where you are. We're in a wherehouse making music and then we go play shows. 

Matt: The internet is everywhere. 

Brooks: We gotta be by the beach. We weren't playing in LA when we first started. 

Matt: It would be a little bit more convenient but yeah we like the beach. 

Brooks: LA is right there. We'll cruise up for the weekend and then come right back, where it's a little cooler. 

Eszter: Do you think the music scene can thrive in Orange County with LA so close by? 

Matt: Orange County's weird. You can't even put up a flyer without it being torn down. 

Brooks: But there's still kids that love music everywhere. Here. There. They help each other. As much as Orange County thinks LA is lame and as much as LA definitely thinks that Orange County is lame, it's like, we definitely like to drive up to LA and see rad shows and if someone does come down here from LA they can find some rad little wherehouse shows and some bars too. 

Eszter: What's one instrument the general public might not know about that you think they should discover? 

Matt: The kazoo. Everyone can have fun with the kazoo.

Brooks: Yeah, the melodica too. It's not just a toy. 

Matt: The bottle. (blows into bottle)

Brooks: Yeah the bottle's good for tapping too. 

Matt: The carrot. 

Eszter: The carrot? Can you demonstrate that? 

Scott: I'll demonstrate the carrot. (eats a carrot)

Eszter: You gotta get the bottle going at the same time. 

Brooks: Reverb is really cool. It helps you sound better and I think it can be trippy. Reverbs pretty sweet. A cave. 

Matt: Yeah he plays the cave. 

Brooks: Yeah and I play the shower. 

Scott: It's more like what you do with what you have than what the instrument is. 

Matt: It's not about the size of your penis. 

Lucas: It's how you use it. 

Eszter: Okay. What movies influenced you guys growing up?

Brooks: Stand By Me. 

Scott: A Clockwork Orange. Ghostbusters. 

Matt: Homeward Bound. 

Brooks: Yeah that was a fucking tear jerker. 

Eszter: Homeward Bound? Is that with the dogs and the cat? That was a good one. 

[all laugh]

Brooks: Oh Kids! That was a fucking cool movie. 

Lucas: That's a fucked up movie. 

Brooks: Yeah that was cool. I'm going to wear a condom. 

Lucas: Yeah. That movie scared the shit out of me. I felt gross after watching it. 

Eszter: What animal has the best growl? 

Brooks: [laughs] that's a Growlers question.  That's funny. 

Matt: I don't know. The human can take a mean shit. 

Brooks: Yeah the human. 

Matt: I don't know. A bear? Is it a bear?

Brooks: Oh, I don't think there's an answer to this is there?

Lucas: Yeah its a personal opinion

Brooks: Oh the fucking chupacabra!

Check out this video of The Growlers performing for us in their studio. Here is The Growlers with Acid Rain.

The Growlers are currently on a West Coast tour in support of their latest release 'Are You In or Out?' playing dates with Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes and BLK JKS from South Africa and Mt. St. Helen's Vietnam Band. Check out The Growlers on their MySpace page for tour dates and more information.

The Growlers MySpace.

Interview conducted by Lucas Vocos, Eszter Zimanyi and Mike Slobom.

No comments:

Post a Comment