Scene Point Blank: First, how many Fests have you played, and what sticks out to you most about coming back each year?
J. Wang: I've personally been to every one since Fest 2 as a fan. My old band Altaira played Fest 3. Dan Padilla has played Fests 5, 6, 7 and will be playing Fest 8. I think the thing that sticks out the most to me is the great attitude everyone has every year. Each year has gotten bigger, and people still seem to stay really cool. It's pretty amazing to not have a bunch of jerks in the mix when you get five thousand people together, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Scene Point Blank: Do you still have to go through the application process every year?
J. Wang: I'm not sure about Tiltwheel, but Dan Padilla does. They usually send an email and I just fill it out.
Scene Point Blank: Who are you most excited to see play?
J. Wang: I really happy about Cheap Girls, King Friday, Panthro UK United 13, Radon, Shang A Lang, Snuff, Future Virgins, and The Thumbs!! I'm so excited about Panthro and the Thumbs. I don't think without the Fest that this would have ever happened and that's one of the best things about it. For me the Fest is one of the only times I ever get to see any of these bands and I'm really thankful for that.
Scene Point Blank: I'm excited about the Thumbs. I had no idea they were playing again. Do you know how Tony gets the reunited bands to play? Is it simply a phone call away?
J. Wang: Yeah, I would think so. I mean, all those guys still play in bands like Sick Sick Birds so, if they are playing, why not pop the question? I'm really glad they did, because I never thought I would see the Thumbs again.
Scene Point Blank: You're originally from Florida, right? Is the Fest a homecoming of sorts?
J. Wang: I would say it's more like a family reunion. I grew up in Tampa, so it's a plus to be able to see so many friends and family every year.
Scene Point Blank: Will you be touring on your way to Gainesville? Is it a financial motivation to pay for the Fest, or would you be on the road anyway?
J. Wang: I think out of the six times I've been there, I've only toured out twice. Financially for us, it is way cheaper to actually spend a long weekend playing around Florida with friends. You're talking about $200 plane ticket or a three-week obligation for tour. I like touring, but I can only do it once a year and it's usually in summertime.
Scene Point Blank: I don't think I've read an interview that didn't discuss burritos. Is there a Dan Padilla-approved burrito place in Gainesville?
J. Wang: Well that's a tough question. When we discuss burritos, we are talking directly about San Diego burritos. If I had to pick one, I would say El Indio, but not the one in town, the one out by Derron Nuhfer's studio.
Scene Point Blank: But, for the record, they still don't compare to anything in San Diego?
J. Wang: No! Not to be a jerk, but nothing compares to San Diego burritos.
Scene Point Blank: What's it like to play in multiple bands at the Fest? Is there a lot of practice in the months leading up to it?
J. Wang: It's fun to play in multiple bands. I love music. It's what keeps me going, so to play multiple shows is great. We've never practiced a lot, and we've never done anything different before Fest than we do normally. We are lucky if we even get to practice at all.
Scene Point Blank: How do you balance your creative energy between Dan Padilla and Tiltwheel?
J. Wang: There really is no balancing anything. Davey writes everything in Tiltwheel so when he writes something new we kind of just jam on it and come up with stuff. Dan Padilla is my main focus for songwriting.
Scene Point Blank: You were in Dan Padilla before Tiltwheel. How did you come to join Tiltwheel?
J. Wang: Gene and I started the band and got Davey to play bass. After Tiltwheel's original drummer quit they were kind of stuck. Paul moved to drums and I took over on bass. I was really hesitant because of how much I loved the band. Davey was also hesitant due to the fact that we were both in Dan Padilla, but everything worked out and I wouldn't change a thing.
Scene Point Blank: How often do both bands play together?
J. Wang: We've tried a couple times, but we have never actually toured together.
Scene Point Blank: How long have you been playing in bands? What's your motivation and how has it changed over the years?
J. Wang: I've been playing in what I would consider real bands for about fifteen years. Punk music has been the one consistent thing in my life. It gets me through a lot of the shitty things in life. The same thing goes for the scene. The one thing that I think has changed is how passionate the people in the scene have become. The scene grows and shrinks through the years, but people seem to mean it more as time passes. Also, there seems to be people sticking in the scene as they get older and that's never really happened on this level before. That makes me happy because I'm not planning on going any where.
Scene Point Blank: What's up with Dan Padilla right now?
J. Wang: We just did a small tour of the Westcoast. We really are trying to do a tour of England and Germany because it seems like that's where the majority of our fans live. We recorded some songs for a split with Drunken Boat that should be out by the time you read this. Little Deputy is putting out an LP of all of our out of print stuff including 7"s and other weird unreleased stuff. We are also working on a full-length that we'll probably record by the end of the year.
Scene Point Blank: Why do think you're more popular in England and Germany?
J. Wang: I have no idea. By running the label I can see the majority of orders for our band come from England and Germany. I get a lot of emails from over there too. I just think it's awesome that people over there have even heard of us.
Scene Point Blank: I can only remember one Midwest tour, with Toys That Kill several years ago. Do you tour very often, or am I just missing out?
J. Wang: We usually tour once a year, either in the States or overseas. When we put out our new record we will probably do another US tour.
Scene Point Blank: You gave away CDRs of Foosball Club at Fest 6. Was it out of print yet?
J. Wang: Yes, it was out of print. We made 200 or so for a Japanese tour and had a few left over. When we said we would do that people were so excited that we burned CDRs for it.
Scene Point Blank: I definitely enjoyed it. Is it rewarding - not only as a musician, but also running the label - to see a response like that?
J. Wang: Yeah, it's really awesome. Those are the times that you can tell that people really do care. That's the kind of stuff that always got me excited about mail-order when I was younger. It's almost like an insider "dork" thing, like a reward for paying attention.
Scene Point Blank: How did Fast Crowd get started?
J. Wang: My friend Josh Mosh and I wanted to start a label and I asked Justin from Chinese Telephones if they would do a split with my new band. They said yes. We've just tried to do records that we really love and treat the bands well. I'm really happy to say that we have actually been able to pay our bands, and that makes me proud.
Scene Point Blank: You've appeared on more than one four-way split, am I right? Were these your idea? How do you like the format of a compilation 7"?
J. Wang: I think we've been on two. I like the format because it gets people to listen to other bands they probably wouldn't normally listen to. I don't think it was a master plan, it just kind of happened. There have been a lot of people doing it, and I think it's awesome.
Scene Point Blank: How often does the name lead to miscommunication with the press or booking? Do you get mistaken for a singer-songwriter?
J. Wang: We do get mistaken for a singer-songwriter a lot. As far as everything else goes, it's not too weird. People who know who we are, know who we are. We don't really have any aspirations of anything so the whole press and booking thing doesn't matter.
Scene Point Blank: What was the real Dan Padilla's reaction to the band name? Did you tell him, or just let him find out via word of mouth?
J. Wang: I can't remember. I think he was stoked. It was out of love for him, so I think he was happy. I think we told him, but he didn't believe us.