Matthew S Williams (Hell)
SPB: Are more touring bands being robbed these days or is it just better publicized? Do you do anything special to try and prevent it from happening to you?
Matthew: There may just be more opportunity for the thieves to take. There are a lot more touring bands on the road than there used to be. Bands are saving up and barely able to afford their van, which is usually old and beat up with lots of cracked windows and faulty locks.
When we were planning our first U.S. tour I had to buy a rig. I chose to get an early 2000’ Ford E-250 panel van. It was hell in there during the long drives across the plains of the U.S. in July, but we never got robbed. Maybe it was the lack of metal stickers all over the back, preserving a solemn appearance. Maybe it was the fact we drank and hung out in it all the time guarding our shit, or just not being able to see what was in there. Who knows.
Bands need to be more aware of their surroundings if they are worried about being robbed don’t park on sketchy streets. And if you do, leave someone in the van. When you get to your gig, take ALL of your stuff out of the van along with the gear. We had to do that a few times. It sucked but it could have prevented some bullshit.
Jason Schmidt (Graf Orlock)
SPB:Rank these listening formats: cd, vinyl, cassette, digital, (other?)
Jason: I would rank these in the degree to which they are both visually and aurally pleasing. I would say vinyl would be top in that it has an expandable format and has a lot of low end that an MP3 would lack, squeezing it into a format that can be packed into a phone. Although I generally dislike the resurgence of cassettes I am a child of the ‘80s and I used to walk around listening to Kill ‘Em All on my walkman trying to find out everything I could about the band I would later find out is a crew of loser dads. CDs, I was never too fond of, mostly because I scratched the living shit out of them and the physical lack of a tape you can wind back up and general helplessness of space age laser tech enrages me. Digital is difficult; it is so convenient but removes half of the experience of the tangible object and since its advent probably killed the cohesion of an entire record as much if not more than the music industry itself.
Gareth Dickson (solo, Vashti Bunyan-guitar)
SPB: Is it unusual to be considered a "cult" artist or almost semi-legendary while still recording music? What kind of pressures does that produce?
Gareth: Ha, nice question, I had to check that it was actually intended for me. I never think of myself in that way, I always feel like I'm still struggling to make any real impact. But I know that there are now people out there who listen to and get what I do and I'm grateful for that. In a way that could add an extra pressure, knowing that now when I'm writing and recording there are people who will listen to it and will have certain expectations based on the last record or whatever. In truth, though, I have always had listeners in mind to a degree when recording. I have never worried whether or not my music would find listeners straight away but I do write with the idea that over time people will listen to it.
So the pressure has always been there in a way. I've been lucky that I haven't had the additional pressure from record labels and constant touring the way a lot of artists do when they have early success, so I've been able to develop completely in my own way rather than feeling like I have to emulate what made me successful in the first place.
In the end though, there are always obstacles to overcome when trying to write music. It can be a difficult thing to do, and it's always tempting to say "I can't write because." That's something that I think most artists would relate to.
Mike Moynihan (Hollow Earth)
SPB: What is the best “song about a girl” ever written?
Mike: Led Zeppelin – “Whole Lotta Love.”
This song makes me feel like Robert Plant is going to fuck me so good, but then hold me afterwards and tell me how much he loves and cares about me. At the end all anybody wants is to feel safe and secure in Robert Plant's arms.
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