Interview
!!!

!!!

date
Wednesday 26th January, 2011 11:20AM

In between catching up with old pals in California where !!! are practising before heading our way for Laneway Festival, we caught up with front-man and short-short enthusiast Nic Offer to discuss their latest record, their live show and what makes the band tick.

Where are you guys at the moment?

In California right now, we met up here to practise for a few days to practise before we came over there.

Looking forward to it?

We’re definitely very excited, we’ve been looking forward to it – well ever since we first heard about it. The line-up and stuff of Laneway is pretty amazing.

And you’re touring the latest record Strange, Weather Isn’t It? Tell me a bit about the new record.

Well we started it a few years ago now in California, Berlin and New York –kind of like a third in each of those places. We don’t live in the same town anymore so we need to pick a place and it was kind of exciting for us to work in a place like Berlin and go out clubbing and let that vibe kind of soak into the music and you know your record just ends up being what you’re living through for those three years – a time capsule from that period. So everything we went through over that time and everything we experienced is on there.

Three years is a long period of time to take to record an album. Is it a struggle logistically to make things happen in !!!

It’s a bit harder when you don’t just live in the same town and go to practise on Monday, Wednesday and Friday like normal people but we’ve kind of just learned to make do with it, and it’s not so bad to go to Berlin and record.

You all come from different bands and different sounds too, and the !!! sound reflects that. How would you describe !!! musically?

Um, I mean if I’m trying to describe it to someone in a gas station in the Mid West and they’re like ‘what do you sound like?’ it’s very easy to say ‘hey, it’s disco punk’ you know. For me I’ve just always gravitated towards anything strange and funky so that’s how I see it. It’s also just about finding a new strange kind of music where it feels most different and weird and then it’s just about finding the one thing that the whole band can agree on musically and that’s really all we’re trying to do.

So tell me about the progression from Myth Takes to Strange Weather, Isn’t It? How did you guys change up the sound for the latest album?

I guess in a way after Myth Takes a friend of mine had complained to me that our songs were too long and jammy and you know, you’re just trying to make records for your friends really. So I felt like we focused on making these songs more concise and a bit hookier and poppier maybe. But I think pop music can be strange you know, some of my favourite artists – The Beatles and Prince – are all very strange and that’s my favourite kind of pop music. I guess we’re trying to make something like that.

Do you have a favourite part of the latest album?

Um, I don’t really because honestly we worked so hard on making every second of the record count. I’ve been asked that question a lot and each time I try to look into my heart and find the answer – which bit do I truly love? – and I can’t find it I really just like the whole thing. I can name you maybe three parts I’m slightly dissatisfied with, but they’re just like a little bridge or something but on the whole I’m really happy with the whole thing so it’s hard for me to answer.

When you guys get together, what’s the process to pen an album?

Um, the basic method we started with was we would just get together and jam and back when we started was when you would record to tape player and then we took the best parts and dubbing tapes together but now we just jam to the computer and edit it through that. Now because we don’t live in the same towns people bring something to the table and we kind of all jam on it or maybe a couple of people meet and work on stuff. We try to work as many different ways as possible and I hope that gives us a different sound.

You mentioned that your recording process has changed from when you started to now because of technology. Has technology opened up a lot of doors for !!! musically?

Oh yeah most definitely. I think it’s important to be open to anything – you should be open to a knock on the door influencing a rhythm – so with technology becoming such a big part of our lives you have to let that become a part of it too.

So tell me about the video for your latest single, ‘Jamie, my Intentions are Bass’:

Usually when you do a video a bunch of different directors send you a treatment and you go ‘Oh god, these are awful’ and you just pick the one that’s the least awful and with this treatment you could just tell there was a lot of ideas that were going to blossom into bigger ideas. When you have a loose set up that allows creativity to happen and I went down and built it and we let the ideas flow from there. It was a real blast doing it.

And it totally gets the vibe of you guys across, yes?

Yeah I think he captured something fun from it for sure.

The live show is a crucial part of !!!, yes?

Yeah for sure. Many people don’t even like our records they just like the live show and I understand that there’s something that we can do live that you’re never gonna get from a record. For us it’s just fun. This last year several people were saying they’d never seen us so good so it’s a great feeling to be a band for 14 years and be playing gigs better than you’ve ever played. It happens really naturally and it’s not contrived at all.

Do you think people’s appreciation for !!! live has anything to do with your dance moves?

Haha, it might, it might. You can’t ponder too long on these things – you just have to let them happen.

Courtney Sanders

links
myspace.com/chkchkchk
see more