Southern California pop that makes Keanu Reeves green with envy

    [Part 2 of 2]

    The second part of the interview with Irving …



    Prefix Magazine:
    When did Irving officially become a band?

    Irving: Part 2:
    SS: We played a gig at an art gallery for a friend. Soon we met Shana, who’s not in the band anymore, who introduced us to Brent. Shana wasn’t working out, but Brent and Aaron had been childhood friends, so there you go.

    AB: There was a time, before I was in the band, where you guys literally went into a garage for like a year and a half and wrote songs and played no shows, right?

    SS: We had played some shows, and we had a few friends who were going to help us out. We played weird venues and we played the same songs because we really hadn’t had a chance to just really be a band ourselves. We had a few songs that we wanted to work on and expand on, so we thought, Let’s just not play any shows for three months or whatever — I think it was for a summer. We got air conditioning in the garage so we could just stay in there all day long. We made up so many songs. Most of them are on the album.

    AC: We came out of the garage at the end of that summer and had the beginnings of our album.

    SS: Our first shows out of that got us a residency at Spaceland, which is a huge thing in L.A., because suddenly it goes from your friends and your friends’ friends at these crappy little places opening up for shitty bands to having 150 people coming to see you every Monday. And if you’re good, people will become fans. We really became a band then. People were suddenly writing things about us, as opposed to some shitty band that nobody’d heard of.

    AB: Now we’re a shitty band that everyone’s heard of.

    Is a new album on the horizon?

    Irving: Part 2:
    AC: Yeah. We were piecing some things together a couple of weeks ago. We probably spent most of May working on the record, finishing it.

    AB: It’s gone in cycles: writing some material, then going in and recording it, writing more material, recording it. It’s an ongoing creative process. If you write twenty songs and then go in and record them, you’ll have the freshness of at least the first ten songs gone. We like to try and capture that. We’re also doing a more immediate recording process, where we record live as a band to tape. On our last EP, we did a lot of overdubbing, and we didn’t feel it suited the band. We wanted to capture what our live show is like.

    A lot of people say that with ProTools and the like, it’s fast and cheap, but you lose some of that spontaneity.

    Irving: Part 2:
    AB: I think all of it can sound great; it’s just a matter of how you use it. We use a combination of tape and computer. For us, it changes by song, so it’s just a matter of how you use the tools at your disposal.

    I can’t remember if it’s in the book or not, but in the movie High Fidelity, the main character Rob says, “It’s not what you’re like, but what you like.” Do you agree or disagree?

    Irving: Part 2:
    BT: I think I agree. I think you are whatever you’re like, but you’re definitely informed by what you like. You can’t really control what you’re like.

    BC: Oh, I don’t know about that. I guess generally it’s true, but I hate to make that blanket statement.

    AB: I’ve written material in songs that has been absolutely things that I don’t like, for other purposes, very contrived, for other purposes … or … sometimes I write things that should just be influenced by what I listen to, but it just comes out like crap; I don’t know where it comes from.


    Irving: Part 2:
    AB: And if that’s not proof, then I don’t know what is.

    BT: He’s just asking this question and then he’s going to paraphrase it later to make our answers sound inconsistent.

    AB: Nice try, Mike. We’re onto you!

    AC: I’m going to disagree, because there’s a lot of things that you could like and have in common with somebody else, but you wouldn’t necessarily get along with them, because what you are like is significant in that situation. I think you’d have a lot to talk about, but you wouldn’t necessarily be best friends. There are people that I like more as people that I have nothing in common with.

    AB: I think looking at me right now there’s no way you could tell I have a Dokken and Warrant tattoo on my back. And Whitesnake. Those are my influences.

    [Again, everyone looks at each other and shakes their heads.]

    You guys are from California. What do you think about our current governor?

    Irving: Part 2:
    AB: We’ve already been asked this question. Steven, shh! We love California, I want to say that right now.

    AC: I’m too self-absorbed to think about that stuff at all anyway.

    BT: Honestly, I’m too caught up in the presidential race. I’m not really paying much attention to the governor.

    AB: If there’s one message we need to get out to all your readers, it’s that we need to get everyone out to vote. Now more than ever. I mean, the issues are so dramatic. I can’t remember a time when I felt so compelled to vote. I mean, we’ve gotta keep Bush in office right?

    [Boos fill the room.]

    AB: Man, you know I’m kidding.

    AC: Brian had an idea for a “Get Out The Vote” campaign where we’d just make thousands of free T-shirts that just said “Vote,” and we’d try to get every band to wear them at their shows. We’re still mulling it over.

    That’s a great idea. I know you guys have to get going, but I have one last question: Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?

    Irving: Part 2:
    AC: Creamy.

    BT: Creamy, not sweet. Just creamy, all-natural.

    SS: Creamy.

    BC: Now I feel like I have to say creamy just to go along with everyone else.

    AB: Be your own man!

    BC: Salted creamy!

    SS: Yeah!

    AB: I do go with natural peanut butter, but I actually go both ways, Mike.