Friday, July 21, 2006

Mini-Interview: Cold War Kids

It’s hard to think of something to say about Cold War Kids that hasn’t already been said elsewhere and better: Original. Boisterous. Kinetic. Soulful. Flooring. Intelligent without pretension. Put any combination of those terms together and you’ll do a better job than I will, but believe me when I say that their bluesy rock sound is a force to be reckoned with live.

In between the recent simultaneous release of their two EPS Up In Rags and With Our Wallets Full and a momentary break in their extensive touring schedule, the guys took time to take part in an email interview with RFSL. And this is how it went.

Hey, guys.

Hello, this is Nathan of Cold War Kids. Jonnie, Maust, and I are trading off on questions in Montgomery Alabama. Here goes.

It’s been said that rock is at its best when it takes from different genres, instead of just feeding on itself. You guys would agree with that, right? Where does your sound come from? What influences it?

Certainly. Our sound comes from a lot of stuff that I don't totally know how to make sense of. We all listen to a wide variety of music and in some ways I think that we are just beginning to tap in to the influences that we have been claiming from the start. I remember being younger and hearing Fugazi and they would say that their sound was taken from reggae and I didn't totally understand that but I thought it was exciting and different, that they could be this sort of hardcore group that made you wanna move in a way you never had before. I hope that we can do some of that by taking a some Tom Waits type songs and really mashing Stevie Wonder in there. Genres are really simplified when you think about all good music is soul music. We feel that we are soulful.

How long have you all been playing together? How did you meet and start up?

We've been playing together for two years this July. Matt and Nathan sort of played a few years back in a different band, that never really went further than a few practices. Jonnie and Nathan started writing some songs and asked me (Maust) to join in on bass. Matt came a about a month later and we were off and playing.

Why release two EPs instead of an album?

The two Eps were recorded at different times, in different rooms, and with different equipment. As collections of songs they were intended to comprise a cohesive album and we think that you can hear those differences in both the recording situations and song arrangements. In another sense they together represent about six months of song writing for us. So in that way they fit together. We tried to represent that similarity in the artwork/ packaging.

What was your studio experience like for those?

Wallets Full was a bedroom pro tools direct mic experience. Jason Martin helped us and he was great. Up in Rags we got to experiment a bit more with mics around the room with vocals, guitar amps, percussion; which is really what makes a recording special. We're still green on the studio side of things, so Up in Rags and post, our writing and recording experience has been more learning and throwing out ideas that may be ridiculous and may work.

How was your tour with Tapes N Tapes? What was the best show?

The tour was really fast and loopy. The route was really wacky and I think there was only one day off. But it was great getting to know the tapes guys. It was only our 2nd tour so we're still learning the road lifestyle, but we had a blast. I think my favorite show was the one at Austin at Stubbs BBQ (although I had the veggie plate). We were really late at getting to the show, so we had to throw up our gear in a flash and play. For some reason there was a different twist to it because of our tardiness. It felt very southern too.

You guys have been touring pretty relentlessly this year. How you holding up?

Since late spring/early summer. I think we're learning to hold up as we go. We're definitely beginners. Lots of tea, water, fruit, and veggies. Learning to play the same songs over and over for months at a time is very new for us. Before we toured we just wrote new songs every week and played them the next week. Never the same. Touring has changed that some what. But we're working at it and learning to mature in those ways. We're enjoying the process.

Who designed your cd covers? Because they look fantastic.

I (Maust) do all the artwork for the band. Lately, I've really been getting into a lot of the Futurist Poetry type stuff as of lately. It's had a big influence on a lot of the artwork that I've been making lately for the band. Actually, I have an exhibit coming up in November in the SilverLake / Echo Park area in which I'll be displaying many of the art pieces which will contribute to the up and coming cwk releases.

What’s next for you?

We have been recording with a guy that we like a lot in LA and we'll be touring. We are started tour with Sound Team last night in New Orleans and ends in Chicago at Lollapalooza. Out of nowhere festivals in Norway and Iceland in the next couple months will be some fun adventures.

Last question: Who are your favorite bands in LA right now?

Easy! Richard Swift.

That’s it. Thanks for your time, guys.

Cold War Kidsare playing next on August 8th with The Editors at The Avalon and then are headlining The Troubadour on September 8th.

RELATED LINK: Band of the Week: The Cold War Kids


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