Who would have thought a group of masked criminals from Madison, WI would fulfill all of our pop-punk dreams? Masked Intruder are currently making some of the catchiest music in the punk scene and keep proving that they are much more than a gimmick . Not only are these guys so much fun to watch (Seriously, have you seen them live?!), but they really do care about making awesome music. Scene Point Blank had a chance to sit down with Intruder Blue in a sketchy little basement venue (Don't worry though, Officer Bradford was there to supervise) and discuss prison talk, falling in love and, most importantly, how seriously they take their music. Also, prepare to laugh a lot. I know my face hurt by the end of this interview.
Scene Point Blank: I’ve never willingly asked to interview criminals before and, just so you know, I left my credit cards and anything valuable at home. But then again, I’m not really sure what you guys like to steal. What’s your favorite thing to steal?
Intruder Blue: Credit cards are good. I always like to steal video games and stuff like that ‘cause it’s just a lot of fun. I used to steal a lot of X-Box 360s and stuff, but now they have the new X-box or whatever and that’s pretty cool to steal. Also, cars are good. Money is a good one too. Cash money is good because you can use it wherever you want and you’re not so scared of getting caught. You can steal a credit card too, but you gotta be more careful with that—like you could use it at a gas station or something.
Scene Point Blank: Or you could use it online. What would you buy online?
Blue: Maybe a whole box of candy bars or something.
Scene Point Blank: Is the main goal of stealing to make money or do you just really like the act of stealing?
Blue: Well, yes and yes. You know, you do it for the money and people will tell you that crime doesn’t pay, but that’s absolute bullshit. Crime pays really good actually. So you can steal for the money and then it’s also fun to do it. It’s exhilarating. It’s like drinking a cup of coffee, you know. If it’s stolen, then you get more excited about it.
"People will tell you that crime doesn’t pay, but that’s absolute bullshit. Crime pays really good actually."
Scene Point Blank: Have you stolen a cup of coffee?
Blue: Oh yeah. Well, put it this way, I’ve never paid for one. The nice thing is usually in the morning people are making coffee in their houses and if you happen to go in after they leave for work, you got a pot of coffee already on. You basically go and get your stuff and when you’re done you have a nice cup of coffee and relax in the kitchen, and it’s beautiful with the light coming in the window.
Scene Point Blank: It’s like you’re at home.
Blue: Well, you are, it’s just not your own home.
Scene Point Blank: I know you’ve said that the more music you make the less crime you do, but do you ever miss prison at all?
Blue: Sometimes, I guess. You miss the little things like the pillow fights, the toilet wine, and the jailhouse burritos.
Scene Point Blank: You talk about jailhouse burritos a lot. Would you ever go back to prison just for them?
Blue: Well I will say that they’re not the same outside. But you can still make one anytime you want. You just need a bag, what works really good is those long, plastic bags from subway.
Scene Point Blank: The ones they put the sub in?
Blue: Yeah, if they still use those. Otherwise just use a different kind of plastic bag. Basically you just get ramen noodles and you crush them up, then you get Cheetos and crush those up—the Flamin’ Hot ones work real good. If you want to be really fancy you can tear up pieces of beef jerky in there. So this is all stuff that you can get at the cantina in the joint you understand, so that’s basically why this is called the Jailhouse Burrito.
Scene Point Blank: So wait, what holds it together?
Blue: Exactly! So you put the water in the bag with the stuff, just a enough to get around in there, then you’re gonna twist it off and you pop that under your bed. What happens is it comes together and congeals, then it’s a little bit like the shape of a burrito. It’s not a real burrito.
Scene Point Blank: It’s an impostor burrito.
Blue: Yeah, that’s right. It doesn’t taste as good, cause real burritos are actually delicious.
Scene Point Blank: You’ve just gotten used to the jailhouse ones.
Blue: That’s the thing, it’s like you grow up on boxed mac and cheese and you’re a grown up now and you can get whatever you want, but sometimes you’re still gonna have boxed mac and cheese.
Scene Point Blank: I get that. Let’s talk about your latest record. How did you get the new album to sound so catchy?
Blue: Well actually there’s an answer to that, which is we worked really hard on the songs. I start from a melodic standpoint, so usually melody will be the first thing. I’ll have a melody for the chorus or a verse or maybe a mixture of things, and then for me the way that the lyrics go with the melody is very important. So I’ll get snippets or passages of lines that sort of anchor the song and build the song around that. Then what happens is we’ll write a bunch of material. I do most of the writing.
"It’s completely consuming when we’re making a record; for months it’s basically thinking about nothing but the songs."
We get together and write the songs, and then start to demo them. We work with Matt Allison to weed out the low hanging fruit and pick the best ones. Once we go to record we start recording more songs than we end up putting on the record, so we weed out more there. So you have multiple stages of filtering out the material to make sure it’s as good as possible. Then what you do is when you’re in the studio, you’re always tweaking things from the song structure to chord progressions to the melodies and the harmonic content. The real honest answer is it’s just a lot of work and a lot of care that goes into it. It’s completely consuming when we’re making a record; for months it’s basically thinking about nothing but the songs. So that’s the reason. You’re probably like “I wish you didn’t give me that long fucking answer”
Scene Point Blank: No, I’m thinking the opposite! That was the best unexpected answer.
Blue: Yeah, you’re welcome.
Scene Point Blank: What were some major differences making this new album verses the first one? Did you feel any pressure to make this one better than the last? But at the same, time you break into people’s houses, so maybe you like a bit of pressure?
Blue: Yeah definitely, although it was mostly self-imposed because we wanted to have the album fit into a particular timeframe and fit into the year in the right way for us. So we did put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get that out at the time that we did.
The first record— you know they always say you got your whole life to write the first record. It’s hard for me to write on tour, I don’t really do it. So we had some time off. The real difference was there was just a lot more concerted, focused effort to make this one although there’s a lot of musical ideas that we’ve been saving up for a long time. With the first one we had no idea that people would be as into Masked Intruder as they were. We just put out a record—we spent a lot of time on it and we worked hard on it, but at the time it was just for fun. But this one, we felt the responsibility to make sure that it was a worthy follow-up to the first record.
Scene Point Blank: Much like everyone in the band has their own color, do you each have your own roles in the band?
Blue: Red is the wheelman most of the time, so he’ll be driving, like if we do a job or something, he’ll be getaway. Yellow is lookout because he’s constantly smoking. I believe that it’s rude to go into somebody’s house and smoke in their house.
Scene Point Blank: Right, I mean just because you’re a thief you shouldn’t be rude.
Blue: Exactly, exactly. Because there’s no call for being rude to people. So we’ll go in there and Yellow will usually stand guard. As far as the music is concerned I’m the songwriter most of the time. Green is usually good at making sandwiches and stuff, so he’s always stealing food for us and everything.
Scene Point Blank: Has anyone ever managed to steal anything from you?
Blue: Yeah, you know, mostly between the band we get a lot of stealing.
Scene Point Blank: You steal amongst each other?
Blue: Yeah, absolutely. Green will be swiping my Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and I’ll be trying to eat some Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and I’ll look over and he’ll be sucking on his big red fingers. Then I’ll be like “What are you doing? You ate my Cheetos!” and then he’ll deny it, but he can’t because he has those big red fingers. He’s caught red handed, literally.
Scene Point Blank: So what do you do?
"Maybe I’ll sneak a secret message onto a record like “Green’s a sonofabitch or something.” He wouldn’t notice, he’s not a very attentive guy."
Blue: Well you know, you gotta get him back. I’m not very good at pranks so usually I’ll just stare at him for a while and just make sure that he knows I’m mad. Maybe I’ll sneak a secret message onto a record like “Green’s a sonofabitch or something.” He wouldn’t notice, he’s not a very attentive guy. He’s pretty good at those pranks though. There was one time where Yellow had stolen something from him, so Yellow was making a batch of toilet wine and then Green did an upper decker in his toilet wine.
Scene Point Blank: What exactly is toilet wine?
Blue: Toilet wine is like when you got a toilet and you take the back off of there, you know like you were gonna do an upper decker, but you shouldn’t do that ‘cause it’s gross. It’s not a thing that I would do, but Green would do that. And he did do it, in Yellow’s toilet wine. So anyways there’s a tank of water up there, so you get your fruit and stuff in there, and then you basically let that sit there for a long time and remember not to flush your toilet because if you flush it, literally your toilet wine goes down the drain. Then you get a cup and if you have a party or whatever, you got a cup and you can reach in there and you got a nice batch of wine in the toilet. It sounds gross, but it is gross.
Scene Point Blank: So I know you’re always chasing girls, but have you gotten any girls that try to chase you?
Blue: No, I wouldn’t say they try to chase me. Sometimes a girl will seem to be interested in us. I’m like “She’s a cop, probably.” That’s one thing that would concern me with that situation.
Scene Point Blank: Clearly you’re lovers of women. Well, you know, not literal lovers because you chase girls a lot, but they don’t really seem to love you back. However, you seem to fall in love pretty easily. How many times a day would you say you fall in love?
Blue: Definitely four or five tops. Over that, it’s gonna be too much. Sometimes it’s just one. Sometimes I’ll go a whole day without feeling like I’m falling in love with a girl.
Scene Point Blank: Is that a weird feeling?
Blue: It is weird. But then maybe the next day I’ll do two to make up for it.
Scene Point Blank: What do you think about feminism?
Blue: I think it’s good. I think women shouldn’t be oppressed or subjugated to roles that are outdated, you know. So I believe that if you get married or whatever, you shouldn’t have to take your husband’s name or something like that. I think girls should do whatever they want. And hopefully one of those things is that they wanna make out with me.
"I think girls should do whatever they want. And hopefully one of those things is that they wanna make out with me."
Scene Point Blank: You know a lot of other guys try to use your songs about trying to get girls to try to get girls themselves. So I guess in a way they are using your songs to steal girls away from you…
Blue: I never thought about it that way.
Scene Point Blank: Does that bother you?
Blue: Now it does. I never thought about that. That’s like when people tell you how many spiders you swallow in your sleep or whatever, and it’s like, why’d you even tell me that? If you hadn’t told me that I would’ve been a happier person now.
Scene Point Blank: Well, now you can look out tonight for any competition at the show.
Blue: Yeah, I will not hesitate to punch a dude in the face.
Scene Point Blank: I know you all love Beyonce…
Scene Point Blank: Would you cover one of Beyonce’s songs?
Blue: It’d be hard to do one of Beyonce’s songs in our style.
Scene Point Blank: Maybe you could write her a song instead.
Blue: I definitely have written her several songs.
Scene Point Blank: What’s one that you wrote?
Blue: Well, they’re private for her. So, you know, it’s sort of a tape recorder thing and I just mail it to her, but I don’t have her address. I just put it in the post office box and just write “Beyonce” on it.
Scene Point Blank: Has she wrote back to you yet?
Blue: No, but you know kids write letters to Santa Claus, so it’s pretty much the same thing.