[Part 2 of 2]
Here is the second part of the interview with Adult. …
Prefix Magazine: Is there a theme that runs throughout your music? Is there a point you are trying to get across with each song?
Adult.: Part 2: ALM: If we have one general theme it’s social anxiety, although that’s very general. It’s anything from how people communicate to phobias. We have an old song called "Nausea" that I think a lot of people relate to. "You don’t even know how I feel …" [Quoting the song.]
PM: I really get a feeling of anxiety from your music. Anxiety Always, it’s right there.
Adult.: Part 2: ALM: We wrote this whole album called Anxiety Always that’s personal, about our own anxieties. It’s about our own anxieties about making a record and putting it out and touring. There is a lot of personal anxiety. I don’t think ten percent of the audience realizes how much a band goes through emotionally and physically. Driving through traffic, you know? At the same time it’s about right as we’re writing the album we go to war with Iraq. That’s not what we wrote it about, but it works on different levels, and that’s what we try to do.
NK: It’s something that people don’t usually like to talk about. They don’t like to admit that they have any anxiety, but a lot of people do.
ALM: It’s something that you may only talk to your close friends about, but everybody has personal issues. There is no such thing as a normal person.
PM: What kind of future does electronic music have? Do you see it merging with other forms of music to create something entirely new?
Adult.: Part 2: NK: I think it already has. I think it is doing that, and hopefully people will continue to be not so narrow-minded.
ALM: I don’t know where it’s going. I hope it’s going to where it can have a level of respect, where people take it seriously. Part of the problem is that there’s a lot of electronic crap. All that it’s doing is making a joke of the medium. And it’s frustrating. You have guitars with such a long history and you have electronics with such a short history. You have to be very careful to not make a parody of it (electronic music).
PM: Do you like making music in the studio or playing live?
Adult.: Part 2: NK: Studio.
ALM: I used to be a studio type, but it’s changing. I don’t think I’ve gotten to the point where I like it more live, but this year we’ve done the most live shows ever, over forty this year. That’s a lot for us.
NK: A lot used to be about eight.
ALM: I’m getting more comfortable with it. We’re writing songs and trying them out live, which is what a normal band would do. It’s making the live experience more fulfilling for us.
NK: When we first started writing music we didn’t know that anyone would like it enough to want to see it live. We can’t play some of our older music live because it’s not any fun; it’s so programmed.
PM: Does your preference for the studio have to do with anxiety about playing live?
Adult.: Part 2: NK: Yeah. It’s weird. You make something and then you’re suddenly expected to take it to an audience. It’s kind of personal. You’re supposed to turn yourself inside out and make it tangible.
PM: How do you like the crowd to respond? Do you like them to sing along? Do you like them to dance?
Adult.: Part 2: ALM: Yeah, as long as they respond. Some guy in Cleveland was yelling, "Computer geek punk rockers!" At least he’s watching and it made him do something. I would prefer not to be heckled, but I’m awfully used to it by now. It’s much better than some sort of New York crowd just standing there looking at you.
NK: New York crowds. Gotta love ’em!
PM: When the crowd responds, does it affect your performance?
Adult.: Part 2: NK: Yeah, it’s way more fun for us.
ALM: Our new album was written with songs to be played live. When you’re giving it your all the audience reacts much differently. The more we’ve put into ourselves live, the more the audience gives back. That’s the whole reason to play live, just for that relationship.
PM: Do you have a favorite place to play?
Adult.: Part 2: ALM: Boston! Don’t we have to say that?
NK: Industrial-type cities. We played in Barcelona and that totally sucked. It’s a beautiful city, but they’re very happy and relaxed and we’re not.
ALM: If we play in Glasgow it goes over real well, but if we play in Barcelona it’s people going, "Gee, they need a cocktail! Maybe we’ll take them to the beach tomorrow. They seem really pale and uptight."
PM: Tell me about running your own label.
Adult.: Part 2: ALM: We’ve been running Ersatz Audio for eight years. We’ve had about twenty-eight releases. It’s hard. Sometimes we wonder if it’s worth it. I’m reading this book Our Band Could Be Your Life (by Michael Azzerad), and it’s like, Oh, finally, some other people who were dumb enough to just kill themselves. It (the book) makes me not feel as alienated and that I’m not doing it wrong. I like the freedom it gives us, but in some ways it takes a lot of your life away. It’s hard when you’re in a band too because you have complete creative control but no time to explore it. It’s a balancing act, and I think we do all right.
PM: Do you spend more time on the band stuff or the label stuff?
Adult.: Part 2: ALM: We do everything in waves. From December to March we were running the label for sixteen to eighteen hours a day. Then we toured and didn’t run the label. Now we’re finishing our last shows, we’re going to rest a little bit and then we’ll hit it hard with the label again. That way we don’t ever get tired of one thing.
PM: How do you find bands to be on the label?
Adult.: Part 2: ALM: Now we have a friend policy. We’re not going to take our time to release somebody we don’t know. We’ve had very good music given to us, but if it’s not a friend and it’s just contracts and business then we should just go work at a bank.
PM: Some of your music has been featured in skateboard videos. How do you feel about skate videos as a showcase for your music?
Adult.: Part 2: ALM: Awesome. I skate so it’s just great. Two weeks ago Jeremy Klein (professional skateboarder) e-mailed us and said he wanted to use some Adult songs in his next video. I wrote back and said that I skate, and that I’m usually a hard-ass businessman, but let’s do this and get you those songs. He sent us this huge package full of new decks, so we were totally stoked.
NK: Radical. Growing up, in our youth, we can identify with that.
ALM: I was going to go pro until I blew out my PCL, so it’s very cool and very personal to me. Our music is pretty aggressive; it makes sense for skateboarding and that energetic lifestyle. It’s not music for Phish fans.
NK: Not that there’s anything wrong with Phish. I have a good friend who’s the biggest Phish fan and she’s nice.
PM: Yeah, I have a friend like that too.
Adult.: Part 2: ALM: It was really cool when Thrasher used our song. They told us there was no money in it and we said we just wanted some shirts and a subscription to the magazine.
PM: Anything else you guys wanted to comment on?
Adult.: Part 2: NK: The only thing I ever feel the need to comment on when asked is that I write half of the music, I’m not just the singer.
ALM: Male-centric journalism can sometimes get in the way of that.
NK: Not that I think you’re chauvinistic or anything …