Features Interviews Against Me!

Interviews: Against Me!

Scene Point Blank: I've been told to ask you about Best Friends Day in Richmond, Virginia... what's that all about?

Warren: I've actually never made it there myself, some of my best friends make a point of being there every year.. We've had scheduling conflicts, you know, stuff like that. But there's this like, waterpark there, that's pretty much natural, it's in this lake, and they have boats and slides and trampolines out over the water and all this crazy shit, and the punks just like.. take it over. And they usually do.. it'll end up being a couple of days, and there's activities planned, meals, people eat together, and they just run around kickin' up the town. There's usually a show involved at some point along the way.

Scene Point Blank: Myspace: you guys say you're not into it yourself, and the label made your profile, but you guys had a song on the compilation. How did that come about?

Warren: It's a really interesting thing, the relationship that everybody has with Myspace, like, I'm pretty unfamiliar with it. I know what it does and how it functions, but I've never really checked it out myself. I know that we have an official Myspace page that the label does, and then there's a dozen other unofficial ones. For me, I can see the function that it has, I think that there's some things about it, like when a band is onstage like saying "Check us out at w-w-w dot myspace dot this/that/backslash/this'n'that", it kinda cheeses me out a little bit, but I understand it's a free place where you can get to know what a band sounds like and that's important. It seems like people are quick to criticise it, but everybody has a page on there. I guess, I'm quick to criticise it, and we have a page of our own. When they asked us about the song for the comp, to be honest, it's a little.. it's one of those things where I was like "Alright, they want a song for this Myspace thing, but it's not a new song", and they asked if we'd be interested. It seemed pretty unconsequential to me, but I guess that Fox recently bought Myspace, and they're pretty... there's no real getting around the fact that Fox is this right-wing, propaganda thing, so they're strange bedfellows for sure. It's a little weird.

Scene Point Blank: What are your plans for the next release? I heard you're aiming for 2007.

Warren: That's kind of like ... so far away that you just get something out there, we didn't wanna have anybody expecting or pressuring anything from us. At the pace that we've been getting songs together, it feels really good, whenever we have a week at home even, we get together and come up with a new song out of it, so if that keeps up, we'll have too many songs and we'll just pick the ones that aren't really our favourites out of it. I'm really happy with the new stuff.

Scene Point Blank: What's the songwriting process like for you guys? Has it changed lately?

Warren: It's gotten a lot easier for us, in that just that each of us has a lot more confidence in our musical ability. It was really hard to communicate about our music sometimes. Like, as a drummer, I don't play guitar, or bass, so I don't understand even different tunings, or chord structures or what note goes here and this and that. A lot of things like that, like, I'm not even a studied musician, if you start talking about obscure time signatures then you'll lose me pretty easily. A lot of times, we'll be trying to work out a part and have to sit there and just hammer it out and hope that it'll work itself out. We've found... a lot better communicating about music and being able to explain what we hear in our heads and "if it could move a little bit like this", you kind of learn how to translate things from one instrument to another instrument. I feel like, ideally, eventually, I'd like to learn guitar, enough that I could say "Maybe play like, a C there", and that might mean something to somebody, instead of going "Na-na-na, do-doo".

Scene Point Blank: Just don't get too good, the drummer in my band plays guitar too and he's better than me, so be careful.

Warren: It's the other way for us, Andrew's actually a pretty mean drummer, he's got real quick hands and he'll sit down behind the kit sometimes and you know, start rocking out, and it's like "Hey, get outta there, you're not taking my spot". (laughs)

Scene Point Blank: When you guys signed to Sire, your site read "Submitted for your message board disapproval". Do you guys ever feel that you're battling against fans here, and you can't win?

Warren: Uhh.. I feel like.. I have felt like that before, for sure, like I've got that feeling when I've been really frustrated and it's something that... people aren't willing to give you any benefit of the doubt. A lot of times, especially maybe a couple of years ago, you'd come play at somebody's house, you would stay with them, you would feel like you had a really good interaction with them, and then before the next time you came around town again, you had done something that they disapproved of, and they would show up, like, protesting your show. In one instance somebody slashed our tires on our van, and people say "You're not welcome to stay in my house this time". I realised that we weren't friends, we just had this positive interaction, but if you're not willing to give me the benefit of the doubt, you think that I'm not an idiot, and that I have a generally well-intentioned person and that the things that I'm considering... there's reasons why we're making the decisions we are. In the end, you realise that people that are gonna be the loudest about it and the most aggressive, and that are gonna come at you with accusations or whatever, are really... those are the people that demand and are receiving all of your attention, and there's a lot of people that are appreciative of what you're doing, and they're stuck in the back of the room going like "Well, I guess I can't talk to him", while you're devoting all your energy to like, five pissed off people. I'm willing to explain myself to people, for some reason, I feel like.. I'll sit down and have a dialogue with almost anybody, if I'm not in a terrible mood or have something that I really feel like I need to be doing instead. I'm willing to engage that dialog with people. But for the most part lately, people seem to get that out of their systems on the internet, and the people that actually approach me these days are really positive. Sometimes they're curious, people can't really understand it. But to people that really and fervently support DIY music and draw really strict lines about where they'll support a band if the band does such things, that's great. You need DIY bands and they need support, and if people are devoted to them... If they decide that we're not interesting to them anymore, there's a great deal of DIY bands around...

Scene Point Blank: One of our staffers gave Searching For A Former Clarity 10/10, saying the record was "our generation's version of some of the great punk classics". This was quite controversial with the rest of the staff, who didn't agree with the rating. How do you react to that?

Warren: I find it a little bit.. I don't listen to our music recreationally, like, I'm so invested in it that I can't just relax and listen to it, I hear the process, little concerns.. The main thing is, that a few people have said that each of our albums are the best thing that we've ever done or ever will do, and to me, that's very limiting. I think that the best songs of our life are still ahead of us. I think that the best album we're gonna do is still in the future. So for me, I'm really proud of everything that we've done so far, and really satisified, I mean, I never thought this was what I was gonna do with my life, and I still pinch myself... But at the same time, the moment that I start thinking that our best years are behind us, that's it. It's flattering though, tell him thank you! (laughs)

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Words by Matt on Oct. 16, 2010, 11:09 a.m.

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Posted by Matt on Oct. 16, 2010, 11:09 a.m.

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