Rosetta Interview

Confinement Loaf: We’re on the streets sitting on the sidewalk here with two members of Rosetta and we came into Spokane to see you guys. You’re all the way in from Pennsylvania. Could you introduce yourselves for us so we can get your voices on tape and tell us what you play?

Matt Weed: My name is Matt Weed and I play guitar um, there’s not much else to say other than that. I am the dad of the band if that matters. I’m the adult here although I am not the oldest.

Michael Armine: Uh, Michael Armine, vocals and electronics, and I would be the delinquent, senile grandfather of the crew.

CL: Thank you guys. You mentioned spending 8 hours drives in your van and, it took us a couple hours drive. And on all of our road trips we’d listen to music to keep us going. One of the things we listened to was Coalesce, one of our favorites. So we were listening to music on our drives and I wondered what if any music were you listening to on your way in today to Spokane or what keeps you going on a regular basis on the road on all those long hours?

MW: Yeah, I really liked the Jakob record Solace. I think that it’s so much better than most of the rest of the sort of ambient-ish post rock that’s around right now. I remember talking to my friend Jordan Butcher who works at Tooth and Nail Records who actually introduced me to that band, and when I spun that one for the first time what struck me about it is that it was so powerful and so muscular, and it wasn’t this kind of droopy sad person music that I think a lot of the instrumental post-rock bands, although there are exceptions to that like Russian Circles for example, are kind of moving in that tinkly sad music kind of direction. And I really like that Jakob record because it has balls for lack of a better expression. But I think in the van we kind of go back and forth between stuff that is there to lighten the mood because it’s comedy, and stuff that is actually, I don’t know, like sometimes I pick music for the band based on the landscape that we’re passing through. Today we started out in the Boise Idaho area and I spun to Failure records, Magnified and Fantastic Planet, on the way out, and then when we got into the blue mountains in Oregon I sort of switched it up a little bit and we listened to The Pyramids With Nadja release that came out on the hydro head, and I don’t know, there was a lot of ambient stuff today. I really like Stars of the Lid. They’re my favorite band, so I listen to Stars of the Lid when I’m driving. But then I think we got into harsher territory and we switched over and played some Meshuggah for a little while. We really like Meshuggah, all of us like Meshuggah. It took Armine a little while to come around but we all like Meshuggah. [Laughs] He didn’t get it at first, but—

CL: I think it’s an acquired taste.

MW: It definitely is an acquired taste. But one of the things we love for and have been spinning for a long time is the Paul Stanley stage banter disc. Somebody edited together this disc and it’s all the weird stuff that Paul Stanley says in between songs. There’s no actual music on it. So it’s like 71 tracks of Paul Stanley saying things like “How many of you girls like to get licked?” and things like that.

MA: In the audience, there’s this very low “yeah,” but when he says “Hey guys, how many of you guys like to get licked?” there’s just this mammoth roar coming from the audience. I find that very humorous and it does not get old.

MW: Yeah so there’s that, and we also, I don’t know maybe I shouldn’t say this but we spin a lot of black metal for comedy’s sake. We like the low-fi old school black metal like Emporer, and we spin Anthem’s “To the Wilkin of Dust” as kind of of like a comedy trip, and that’s not to in any way, make fun of the people who sincerely enjoy that record because we understand that, but for us it’s a little bit over the top. But I think there’s a little bit of self parody and making fun of ourselves that is involved in listening to stuff like that. So it kind of runs the gambit when we’re stressed out, we need to listen to something funny, usually 80’s metal or black metal. But, just touring the U.S. you get to drive through all these insane landscapes like really that a vast majority of people who live in this country have never actually see, and so there’s an appropriate synergy that happens when you play music like the Jakob record or other things that are just sort of mediating what you’re looking at out the window and there’s something very restful about that that I think if necessary when you’re playing shows day after day.

MA: I was thinking about that today while we were driving, because the drive from Boise to here is gorgeous, and it changes very drastically, dramatically and quickly. Also about my mom, who’s never left Pennsylvania once in her life, and so she’s always seen the urban landscape of Philadelphia and then the flat suburbs. She’s never seen what I’ve seen traveling and touring, and part of me felt kind of bad for her. And then I thought about the kids that I teach and they never leave either, and they’re never going to. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but they don’t have the drive yet to go because of advances in technology. They can go here from the comfort of their own home, where we have to be out here interacting with the landscape being engaged in it and dealing with the heat and the changes that come with it. That’s what was going through my mind today. I just sat back and zoned out.

CL: When you do listen to music, as listeners and as artists, do you prefer one form or another of media, such as analog versus digital? Do you listen to records when you’re at home? Do you prefer records, or do you collect records? Do you prefer to record analog?

MA: I have a rule in my home that you can only spin vinyl when listening to music. I will not have in my house play anything off the computer because, once again, the iPod is really ruined peoples… and you can call me a hypocrite here because I have one, but the Apple has single handedly ruined the interaction with music. I mean I run into so many people and they’re like “Oh track 6 on that record,” but they don’t even know the name. They don’t know the title of the song, and that’s a trap I’ve fallen victim to many times, but I only spin vinyl at home. I’m actually in the process of buying my first home in Philadelphia and I had to sell about 8 very rare Neurosis records, but I would not sell my rare Coalesce records–

CL: –[Laughs] We won’t tell… certain people–

MA: –Well no, it was one of those things where I had to come up with a capital very quickly and I sat there and I was like “Oh my god,” like this is the only thing I have to generate this kind of income, and it broke my heart to let them go but they’re gone. And now on this trip, I just went out and bought more records so it’s ok.

CL: You’ll be happy to know that in our interview with Coalesce, Sean told us he had to sell most of his rare records to buy cribs.

MA: Oh yeah, he just had a new daughter I believe.

CL: Yeah, now he has four kids.

MA: He has four kids now. He’s the nicest guy. We met him in 2007? 2006. We got a tour of his blue-collar press, and he just hung out with us and he made us shirts. It was a lot of fun he was a great guy. It’s like polar opposite from whenever you see him play, you’re like “Holy God, he’s a monster.” But when you meet him he’s the nicest guy. But yes, I do collect and spin vinyl on a daily basis.

MW: Yeah I actually, I disagree with a lot of what he said. I don’t think Apple single handedly ruined music because I think that MP3 and digital in the sense of compressed music that isn’t stored on a compact disc is still in its infancy and I think that it has a long way to go. I mean, I work on audio gear for a living, that’s my job, mostly on guitar and bass amps and things like that. But I actually do a lot of work on high-fi equipment. So having been immersed in the science and engineering side of that, I’m very much an audio objectivist. I enjoy listening to vinyl; I have a really nice vinyl playback system. I do collect records because I like the fact that they’re physical. I enjoy the way that they sound. But I’m not under any illusions that vinyl is a technologically superior medium. I think that there’s something really interesting going on with a lot of vinyl releases because when stuff gets mastered specifically for vinyl people are treating the audio with more respect than they are treating it with on a C.D. release. In the case where it’s the same digital master going on a record and going on a C.D. I’m probably going to listen to the C.D. version. I have a home theatre P.C. I have a whole bunch of flack audio on there that streams to my stereo and that kind of thing. I like that because it’s convenient and I can set up a playlist and I can read a book for two hours and not have to get up and change the record, but it’s like, when I want to be involved physically with the music then yeah I’m going to spin the record because there is something euphonic about listening to that. But I really like buying records that have had a separate master done for the vinyl that doesn’t have the harsh, peak limiting and all this other stuff that goes on it. And that’s something that we’ve tried to do with our release is there are separate masters for the CD and the vinyl and there’s no peak limiting whatsoever applied to the vinyl release. Actually, if I’m checking out stuff that we’ve done at home and I want to go back over and listen to something, I’ll listen to a 24 bit digital version of the vinyl master because as far as I’m concerned being involved in the process of producing the audio, that’s actually the highest fidelity that I can get a hold of is the 24/48 vinyl master digital copy because I’m not dealing with the vagaries of the stylist and the turntable or whatever kinds of things. It’s just the audio is very high fidelity, but it’s also not clipped all the way through.  And I’m bummed that our CD releases are pretty loud, they’re clipped, they’re compressed just like a lot of the other stuff. Not as much so, it’s not a major level of clipping, but they have to be competitive on some level because people are going to rip them to MP3’s and all that kind of stuff. I try not to listen to things like that, but I’m definitely like a science nerd when it comes to audio, so I don’t mind digital because I think that digital is capable of the highest possible fidelity that we have access to. But by the same token, people tend to treat it poorly as a result, so, I don’t know. I like listening to classical music that’s been ripped off a CD onto flack and I’ll stream it off the computer or something like that.

CL: So why is music mastered for vinyl and for CD differently? Is it for economy?

MW: Well I think the interesting part is that it’s actually the technological limitations. It’s the inferiority of vinyl as a medium, technically speaking, that forces people to treat the audio with more respect because if you take a really harsh clipped peak limited CD master and you cut it onto vinyl it’s doing things that the needle is not designed to handle and so you end up with added layers of distortion, and most turn tables that don’t track well will play that back as this kind of nasty fuzz or hash on the top of the audio, whereas most of the time vinyl’s EQ to bring a lot of the high treble down into a lower register because the EQing that goes on vinyl emphasizes the treble and then the pre-empt on the record player will bring back the bass and lower the treble again. So a lot of cutting engineers will roll back the treble to make sure that they’re not cutting to hot a groove on the vinyl. And just in terms of the dynamics, something that’s going at maximum amplitude all the time is just going to sound terrible on vinyl. It doesn’t stop bands form putting that on there, but just in terms of the mechanical imitations, if you have this teeny tiny electromechanical stylist that’s generating enough power to create huge temperatures inside the record grooves and other kind of stuff. So an engineer who knows what they’re doing with vinyl as a medium is going to be a lot more conservative with compression they’re applying. By the same token, vinyl doesn’t even have half the dynamic range of a CD because you have to apply compression because otherwise the softest parts of the recording are going to be below the surface noise threshold of the vinyl, whereas with CD’s you have effectively 120 decibels of dynamic range. But nobody ever uses that. They use about 3 decibels of dynamic range from 0 to -3 instead of using that whole spectrum of perfect clarity that’s actually available to them, and I think that’s part of the reason that CD gets a bad reputation, is that people are just used to hearing garbage come off of CD’s where then they spin the vinyl and it sounds more pleasing to them because it’s more dynamic.

CL: Why do you think uh, I’m sure you’ve noticed the resurgence in the production of records and in particularly much younger people buying records, people who never grew up with records. I mean I grew up with records as a kid, and I grew up before there was the splintered categories, and things were just punk and metal, you know, everything was perfect [laughs]. I didn’t have to use a million words to try and describe something that doesn’t describe anything. So, I’m curious what you think. I have my theories about one of the reasons vinyl has a resurgence right now and some of the reasons it went down. Back when CD’s were first being introduced, the quality of the record was a flimsy floppy horrible thing, and record quality went down, I believe to push CD’s as a marketable commodity. Now the quality of vinyl is back up 19/650’s quality with nice thick records. What do you think about that? Why would the industry so to speak? I mean I know we’re fortunate enough to have a lot of small labels again like during the Punk era… but, could you talk about that?

MA: Yeah I used to work for Tower Records before they went under, and we saw a dramatic decrease in record and CD sales when the formula for downloading things off the Internet and Torrent became really popular and things of that nature. It was just within 3 years we weren’t selling anything. Now what we are finding, and just interacting with my students they’re just like ‘Well I just went to so-and-so’s blog and took the whole entire file and artwork and I don’t have to go out and spend the money for this CD.’ But I think what the labels and record industries are going to understand is that the people want to own something. So they’re going to put that digital download in there so you can own the LP. You never really ever have to touch the LP because you have the MP3’s to spin on your computer, on your iPod, etc. But the idea that you own it brings some sort of small euphoria to the person who is purchasing that piece of vinyl. Yesterday in Boise I bought 3 Low records, and one of them came with a digital download card, and I was stoked on that, like I could go and get it. But I think the record industry knows that. I think the people want to own the media and they also want to have the MP3’s as well, and they cannot make otherwise, what are they going to sell? I mean if you look at what Radiohead did, they put a record up for free, people downloaded it, and they made, I don’t know how much they made, but they made a killing on just donations. What I’m saying is they trumped their label and then later they gave people a product and they still sold that product whether it was on CD or vinyl format. But they’re still pushing vinyl as a way to get people to still buy a product while still giving them what they truly want which is the MP3 which is the file with the artwork and all that kind of stuff, the convenience of it, instead of sitting at home and being like I have nothing to do so I’m going to download 90 records in an hour and then I’m going to give them to 90 friends. And not only that, but I’m probably not ever truly going to listen to it. I’m going to give each song two seconds in the beginning and the middle and the end, and if I don’t like it, I’ll delete it. But they never really interact with it. They’ll never sit back and read a book and listen to it like they would.

CL: And I think some things about records is that people listen to them beginning to end and there’s something missing if you play ‘track 6’.

MA: And that’s what I like with vinyl is that you’re forced to interact with media, and people weren’t doing that when you could easily download it. We saw it in the customers that were coming to Tower, they would ask questions and they didn’t truly know what they were talking about because they never had to interact with it. That wasn’t true before we were able to download. Even with a CD, people would still be able to look through the art

CL: –The art looks better on an LP—

MA: It’s better, it’s nicer to look at, and it’s better to hold, like look at this. So I think the record industry knows that people still want to consume a product. You can do so much with vinyl now. But I don’t know if the industry wants, they know that people want to own a product and they also want to have their MP3’s as well, I think. It’s my opinion, and my observation.

MW: Yeah, I mean because music is getting more and more ethereal in terms of its transmission media, then that is going to create this sort of counter veiling desire to have this whole product. I mean I totally agree with what Armine is saying that if you want to be involved in the playback then you can’t top vinyl, end of story. And again, for reasons I’ve said before about what’s being done with the audio for different media from a lot of respects, even though from a scientific standpoint I don’t agree that vinyl is the highest fidelity medium that we have for audio. I think it’s probably the most pleasing medium that we have for audio. And like I said, if I’m going to listen to the classical I’m going to listen to something that’s digital because I know that I can get absolutely clean reproduction from way way down to way way up. But if I want to listen to a metal record, I’d actually probably rather listen to it on vinyl because it’s not going to be squashed to death. It’s like in both cases you’re introducing distortion to the original recorded sound, but in the case of what’s happening on vinyl, it’s an analog and mechanical type of distortion that’s inherent to the medium, not to the way that the audio itself has been treated. So I think from that standpoint, it’s something that’s added to the sound that activates these sort of deep memories that people have. It’s not just about what the music sounds like. It’s about what the music production sounds like and what the music reproduction sounds like. And so there’s something comforting about listening to the added sort of Euphonic distortion of vinyl, whereas when you hear clipping distortion and then data compression distortion on MP3’s and things like that, it’s harsh it’s grating, it’s frustrating, it sounds like white noise, it makes you feel tired, and it makes you want to turn it off. And so, having the additional dynamics, having that physical interaction with the medium, all that kind of stuff I think it does something to the way that people listen such that they can listen for longer periods of time, and they are hitting thresholds with vinyl that they wouldn’t hit with an MP3 on your iPod because they’re listening on better quality reproduction systems. They’re more better speakers and they’re more physically involved with the playback itself, and they’re sitting in a chair and they’re actually paying attention to what they’re hearing. It’s tickling their ears in a way that they’re not used to from ear buds and dynamically squashed recordings. Attention, attention is huge. But that returns to the whole thing about the format itself being larger and about the packaging being more beautiful and about there’s something that you want to touch, you want to hold, and you want to interact with, and with so much stuff being on the Internet, not just music but movies, books and everything else migrating to digital domain, the idea that there’s this thing that you really really want to touch is something that you really can’t get anywhere else now.

CL: Would you guys talk, I mean on the note of albums and album covers and the sensuality interactive quality, the beauty of it, the nature of it, the world of analog. Would you—were there album covers– and as record collectors, too, you would have insight to this—were there album covers when you were kids? You know, going through record stores and fans you didn’t even know—but album covers that you just thought were the most badass cool as shit or you thought were the worst album cover ever, I mean did you make—check that out and have opinions on that?

MA: I grew up in a house where music wasn’t important, the T.V. was important, which is—so I didn’t really get into music until I was 12 or 13. You know, as where a lot of people grew up with like—from a young age inundated with Frank Zappa and Led Zeppelin LP’s, you know, because their dad was into it and this and the third, and growing up without a dad I didn’t have that. My mom was always working. So it wasn’t until I started to work for Tower when I was like—Dude, that is the dumbest looking thing I’ve ever seen, or that’s the best, look at that—and honestly, I’m really into independent hip hop, but a lot of hip hop that is being produced on a major label scale, their album covers are just fucking stupid. Like there’s a building exploding with a helicopter and this really ripped dude whether he’s white, black or Hispanic, surrounded by nine really terrifying Pitbulls with millions of dollars around them. Dude, I don’t even want to price this bullshit let alone put it out on the shelf. So I would bury it underneath, I mean I don’t want to sell that. But then you look at things like—I always thought the Isis Celestial record was really cool looking because of the typeface in it, and the lyrics were—there were no spaces in it. So I was like this is cool. And if you want to read that you have to sit and you have to kind of dissect each part, each word, and correct me if I’m wrong but did you have to look at it in a mirror, was it backwards?

CL: I don’t remember.

MA: I don’t remember either, but I always thought that that record was neat, and you look at it and you don’t really know what you’re looking at. And then one day I was somewhere and a buddy of mine was like, do you know what that image is on the cover? And I was like, it’s the guy holding a surfboard. He’s like, do you know where the image is from? And I said know. And he said, it’s from Jaws.

CL: It has a poster in it.

MA: Yeah. I was like ‘ Oh wow, that’s pretty awesome!’ like when you can think of where all these little things come from, I always thought that was kind of neat. Umm, that’s my—and that’s probably not the first record I ever that was like, whoa that cool, but that’s the first one that comes to mind.

MW: Yeah, and I have that same Celestial album, I mean and I’ll dork out for just a second here. I ordered that from escape artist on the little pre-order or whatever that was first available, and I then proceeded to take—it was the first pressing, like the most limited color or whatever, and I took it to the Isis show. They were playing a show with Eye Hate God, Anadime, and Keelhaul in Philly a couple of weeks after that, and I took the gatefold with me to the show and I asked Aaron Turner to sign it because I liked the artwork so much. And he signed it in Morse code along the bottom of the jacket and then dated it.  I don’t know how much that thing is worth now, but I’ll probably never find out now because I’ll never part with it, which is weird because I think Isis, being a band that’s meant a lot to me over the years, a lot of the other—I have a lot of the other Isis stuff on the most limited colors and all that kind of stuff, and I’m actually at a point where I’m not that into the mastering on it and I could probably sell this and use that cash for other things. But I would never get rid of that Celestial LP. I love that thing it’s so cool. It was such a dork moment for me, and that was really early on before I was doing Rosetta I guess, because that was like three years before this band even started and I was, I guess I was still in high school then. That was about ten years ago. But yeah, there was just a lot of those kinds of moments. With reference to the cover art thing—actually one of the main reasons I got into electronic music was because they had such cooler covers than the punk bands I was into at the time. I love punk rock, or I loved punk rock, past tense. I mean I don’t listen to it that much anymore. I still appreciate it. But I just always thought that a lot of punk bands had the dumbest album covers and I couldn’t understand why are you intentionally trying to make this thing ugly. And I think I have a better handle on that now, but there was definitely a time where I started—I would go to the store and I’d get kind of interested in the Boards of Canada LP or like—oh here’s this weird Aphex Twin thing and I just want to touch it, want to look at it and that kind of stuff. And I’d end up buying it, and taking it home and listening to it, and I’d be like actually this is pretty cool. But I’d be embarrassed about listening to it because all of my friends were into punk and hardcore, and they’d be like why are you listening to that stupid techno music? That’s gay, or whatever. But it’s weird because that stuff has still stuck with me. I mean I still listen to Aphex Twin and I still listen to Boards of Canada. And if it hadn’t been for electronic music I never would have gotten into stuff like Sigur Ros and some of the more poppy types of things. That was around the time where it became ok for me to listen to Radiohead.  You know, because I think everybody has that weird high school phase where you can’t listen to anything mainstream. That’s not allowed, and I definitely went through that. But there was something about albums with good artwork. And there’s still cases of that where we’re out on tour and we go into a record store and I’ll see something and I have no idea what this sounds like and I’ve never heard of this band before but I’m just going to buy it because it looks really nice, and usually it doesn’t disappoint. Usually it’s something I’m into, and you can kind of tell. I remember four years ago being in San Francisco and going to Aquarius Records, which is a fantastic shop because those guys actually listen to everything that they sell and they’ll write a little paragraph and tape it to the front. And I found a Helios record in there, and I had never actually listened to Helios at that point. I loved it man. I bought it because of the cover artwork and the little blurb that the dude at Aquarius had written about it and I loved it. I listened to it nonstop for the rest of the tour, and I still love that guy. I love everything he does. I think it’s great. So there’s a point entry there that I think is really interesting and when you take a risk on it. Sometimes it sucks, but whatever. You just pass it on to somebody else who might like it better. But every once in a while you find something that you wouldn’t have found otherwise, which is pretty cool.

CL: You mentioned that you listen to classical music. I wonder from both of you guys, what music from over 50 years ago really fascinates you?

MW: Yeah well—I think there’s a part of me that feels guilty for not being into jazz. And I’ll just put that out there that I’m not really into jazz. I should be into jazz, but I’m not. I should be into jazz—ah—but I’m not. I totally should be into that kind of stuff, and I should be into gospel, and I should be into different types of world music, but I’m not. And on some level I need to be honest about the fact that I’m a white male from an Anglo-Saxon background. I’m not going to say I’m hardwired to be into European or Eurocentric music, but there is something about my culture and my heritage that isn’t quite so crappy as the history of colonialism that’s invested in a lot of that music. And so I can’t get into Wagner because I know that he was a flaming racist and he hated Jews and I’m not into that. But at the same time, there is a lot of stuff in Mahler and Stravinsky and a lot of the late romantic and early twentieth century stuff where I hear these people in pure tones dealing with the really sorted history of white people from music. And there’s something about that music that is enormously powerful for me. So yeah, there’s a lot. It’s—I don’t know. Some of it is real obvious and some of it is like academic and that type of thing. I was never into ultra dissonant 12 tone twentieth century stuff. I couldn’t really ever get into Schoenberg and that kind of stuff. But I love Arvo Part and I can hear a lot of that kind of return in that tonality in the late twentieth century influencing a lot of the ambient music I like, like Stars of the lid. There’s actually this Bjork interview of Arvo Part that is on YouTube. I love where she’s talking to him about the power of music and he says, ‘ Well if sound can kill then there must be a sound that’s the opposite of killing. And so the classical music that I like is stuff that gets into that in some way. And so it’s the minor key moments in Mahler, it’s moments in Beethoven, it’s moments in Brahms, it’s Mendelssohn. And there are the twentieth century composers like Stravinsky. There are heights of emotion in those recordings and I’m kind of a snot about what recordings of what orchestra—and I love living in Philly because I actually get to go hear the Philly orchestra play on a regular basis which is fantastic. And for classical there’s really no substitute for a live performance. But there are heights of emotion in those things that I have never experience in popular music of any kind. And I actually remember going to a concert that had some pretty common practice period stuff like Beethoven that the Philly orchestra was doing. This was my senior year of college. But they did this flute concerto by Christopher Rouse which he had done as kind of a little bit of a programmatic concept work about—I think it was a case of two eight year old boys in England, maybe like fifteen years ago who murdered another boy, like led him away somewhere and intentionally killed him. – And he wrote this piece about that event. I was sobbing my eyes out listening to that piece. And the thing was I didn’t know that at the time, I had only found that out after I heard the piece. But it blew my mind. What was happening in there, there was something that was communicated, and I think that’s the fascination is what is being communicated without any words. Yes,  it’s a tonal idiom that came up as a result of all of these dead white guys and yes it’s hegemonic and blah blah blah blah blah. But it’s doing something to me on a heart level that I can’t really pretend doesn’t exist. Incidentally or not so incidentally, I ended up marrying the girl that I sat next to at the concert. I was kind of into her at the time, but talking to her about that experience afterwards was actually one of the important conversations that led me to be like, Ok this is a person that I can really stay with for a long time. So we’ve actually been married for two years now. But yeah, it’s that kind of stuff. Stars of the Lid almost does it for me. Maybe it doesn’t do it to the same extent, but it does it more consistently than classical and that’s part of the reason I love them so much. I got to see them live about a year ago for the first time and they played with a string trio and they actually performed “Fratres” by Arvo Part at the show. So there’s this very intentional like, Hey we’re going to do this classical thing with the right instrumentation. They had the strings playing the melody line, but instead of using cellos for the drone they used delayed electric guitars for the drones, and I was like, yes! because it was bringing together all these different kind of things that speak to me. It was a very important moment for me, I think.

MA: Pre-fusion Miles Davis is unbeatable. I remember once again working for Tower in the jazz room just putting stuff away. And I was like, what the hell am I listening to? And I just wanted to cry, and it was “Kind of Blue” that they were spinning and I bought it that night. I came back to work the next day, picked up not all of his catalog but you know, I bought like four or five other albums. I had to toss them aside because the fusion stuff is really lost on me. The guy just hits some emotional chord in ninety percent of all of his songs. Just like, goddamn this dude’s amazing. I ended up reading his autobiography. And that was a pretty interesting experience for me because it was one of the first times where I really sat back and thought of a musician, and like, this guy’s a human being and is really fucked up, and I liked that because he was really reflective in his autobiography. He was like you know, that was a really fucked up time in my life, and I can’t believe that happened, but it did, and here’s why, and this is what I learned from it. And I was like, wow that’s awesome. So he as a person and a musician has always really fascinated me and he turned out to be a really big influence electronically with what I do, especially when you listen to “Kind of Blue.” There are moments when it’s just him and his horn, with just these drug out tones that are really really really emotional and that’s what I attempt to generate sound wise, when I manipulate sounds. So he’s always been a big influence and I’m fascinated by him.

CL: Are there–I know you seek inspirations from many places. Are there any instruments you would yet like to learn? Either of you? Or instruments you would yet like to incorporate in your band? I’m curious about the Theremin and if there’s ever been a place for that in your band.

MA: There was a Theremin in my 808 that I used for a while. I’ve used it in Rosetta from time to time to generate tones but I’ve never brought it out or used it live with Rosetta. Because I have to sing, I can’t multitask. And I don’t like being confined by anything, so I don’t want to be confined by a keyboard or my computer. So I always prerecord stuff and just play it back when we play live. Again, I have the—I would like to learn how to play guitar, but I’m approaching 30. I’m pretty much past the point where I could optimally learn it and play it well. And I grew up—I’m left handed. I would pick up guitar and play it left handed and everybody would be like dude you’re playing it wrong. I didn’t find out until I was 18, you know, well it wasn’t that late, but like I didn’t figure out until I was like 12– Yeah I know but it was a long time before I was like, wow I could have– Well that sucked I really missed out. Being left handed isn’t this big crazy sin so. You know it wasn’t until I was like way later where I would’ve wanted to play when I was you know 8 or 9. You know I was like 14 or 15, and once again because I didn’t grow up in a household that was very music centered. I didn’t know that Jimi Hendrix was a left-handed guitar player. I had no idea until I was like 12, 13, 14. I was like, oh, ok I could have done that. But I was way too busy skateboarding to really pick up and try. So now I just play a computer.

MW: You know interestingly enough Armine, Kurt Cobain was also left-handed and I’m pretty sure you could learn to play guitar better than him. [sic] I actually started—I didn’t play guitar for the 1st time until I was 14 so that’s about 13 yrs ago now. I started playing violin when I was 8 and I played for about 11 years before I gave it up. I got to a point towards the end of high school where I had felt I had hit a wall technically with the violin and it was becoming mutually exclusive with practicing guitar because if I would practice one and then practice the other I would get some pretty severe pain in my wrists. So at that point I was doing the band thing, and I was about to go to college so I couldn’t stay with the private teacher that I’d been working with for a long time. So at that point it was kind of like, all right I’ve extracted the value that I’m going to extract from the violin so it’s time to just lay it aside and focus in guitar which I did. But then I actually wasn’t able to practice guitar very much through college. So it was weird because I developed very rapidly as a guitar player in high school because I was playing almost 2 hours every day and then I didn’t practice very much in college and kind of sucked for awhile. But I got out of college and since college I’ve actually been very serious and I feel like in the last 5 years or so my technique has gotten a lot better and that’s part of what I’m proud of about moving from record to record with Rosetta is that I feel there’s not just a songwriting progression but a genuine technical progression in terms of my playing and the other dudes playing that is actually audible in those recordings. That motivates me to keep practicing. I think in terms like—having played the violin, I’ve also played the mandolin, I dabbled in banjo for a while, I play the bass and the guitar. It’s all string instruments, and I think the instrument that I’m probably most attracted to or wish I could play the most is piano. Some of the reason that I haven’t gotten into that is that I didn’t want to learn to just play pop chords and bounce back and forth. I wanted to learn to actually read sheet music the way that I did with violin but do it in the grand staff and actually that kind of thing. And it’s just so much work and maybe when I get to a point where Rosetta—I mean I don’t—unlike what Armine was saying I don’t think you’re ever to old to learn a musical instrument. I remember my mom practicing piano pretty intensely when I was a kid and that was a big deal for me to actually be able to listen to her play. It is optimal when you’re younger but at the same time it’s like, well ok, so you’ve got all these years of musical training behind you and at least for me I don’t think it would be that much of a jump if I had the time to devote to practicing to actually get into piano and just start playing it. My wife has been trying to teach herself piano for a long time and she’s actually getting better overtime so that’s inspiring to me, too, like she’s not even taking lessons, like she doesn’t want to spend the money on it. But she actually practices and it pays off. She’s getting better and better so that’s cool. I think piano as an instrument expresses emotions that I’d like to get to that I cant get to with a guitar even with tons and tons of effects and weird stuff on it so it gets to my Eurocentric heritage and things like that. We’ll just start calling it the clavier.

CL: You mentioned having gone to college, Matt. And I know you did, too, mike. If they allowed you to teach high school I imagine they made you go to college first. We are volunteer DJs on college radio, actually one of the last freeform college stations in the country, and I’m curious if you guys grew up listening to college radio in the Philadelphia area as teens, as kids. I grew up in Chicago. I listened to college radio as a high school kid and it totally save my life you know getting to hear music that was not mainstream not on the commercial radio and these things. Did you guys have that similar experience or when you were in college were you ever DJs on the college station, or is that something you guys would like to do sometime?

MA: Actually, the high school that I teach at is the high school that I went to growing up and we have the oldest high school radio station. It was the first high school radio station that was ever built, WHHS. And I grew up listening to that. And it’s got such a weak system like you can only hear it from a one-mile radius of the high school. And you have to like fine tune your tuner and everything to actually hear it . But I had several radio shows DJ-ing when I was in high school in my senior year. And now that I’m teaching back there again I’m actually doing a radio show once a semester I try–

CL: What do your students think about that?

MA: They think it’s pretty awesome.

CL: What do you play? What’s your show?

MA: I’ll do a variety of stuff, it’s just whatever I’m feeling at the moment. Its just like, I’m going to go from Alteca to Ocean right now just because that’s what I feel like doing. And I’ll just sit back and grade papers. It’s kind of nice and relaxing. So they think it’s pretty sweet. They were really–because I didn’t just walk in the room and was like, Hey I would like a show. I actually applied for it because you have to apply for it, you know, that’s the process. And they were like, Wow, we’re totally excited to see your application, we’ll totally give you a show. So it’s nice and we have a really great community of kids that work really hard at maintaining that radio station, and because of that radio station those kids now actually operate a small collective that operates out of our public library where they book shows and have a bunch of–they work together to get touring bands through and make a really great evening out of it that’s drug and alcohol free and school sponsored. I hang out there just to supervise because they need just a teacher there just to you know–and help bands look year in out. It’s awesome, so because of that we’ve been able to build this little independent music community in one of the most ridiculous suburbs of Philadelphia. It’s nice, it’s nice to see. And it’s something that we did when I grew up and it’s nice to see it from the other side now. It’s nice to the kids doing it from the perspectie of a 30 yr old man instead of the perspective of a 17 or 18 year old kid whose just a fucking jackass, which is me, not my kids.

CL: What do you teach?

MA: I teach Sociology, Psychology, and American Government. It’s 12th grade. So it’s really cool, the experience working in radio.

MW: It’s weird, I actually had almost no– well really– yeah I don’t think I ever really had any meaningful experience with college radio. And part of that was that–so I grew up in Philadelphia, but I also went to college in Philadelphia. I went to the University of Pennsylvania, which has a really well known radio station, WXPN, but there is no student involvement whatsoever in the operations at WXPN, unless you are getting an internship where you’re making photocopies for somebody. XPN is essentially run as a corporation. It’s funded by the University. And they played a lot of adult contemporary. I was never into that as a kid. So I grew up listening to the classical radio station, which incidentally closed down probably some time when I was around middle school. WFLN ceased to exist because they weren’t profitable anymore. The temple university radio station in Philadelphia, which had originally been dedicated to all jazz 24 hours a day, switched their programming, hired all the FLN classical DJs, and did classical during the day and jazz at night. And they’re still doing that; and it’s still those same classical DJs as far as I know. So I guess in that respect, being able to continue to listen to classical music on the radio, we had a huge collection of classical music when I was a kid, but you’re always hearing stuff on the radio that you wouldn’t t hear other wise, and so that was meaningful to me. But then when I went to college at Pennsylvania and there was XPN, and it’s this monolithic entity that you can never possibly be involved with. There’s also a student station at Pennsylvania but it’s internet only and because the funding stream was next to nonexistent, they really couldn’t have more then ten people involved, and on a campus with 10,000 undergraduates and another 8 or 9 thousand graduate students, with 10 kids running an internet radio station, there just wasn’t enough room for someone like me to get involved with that. I did an interdisciplinary program which they call visual studies which I took classes in philosophy, but really philosophy of vision and cognition and visual neuroscience and psychology of perception, fine art and art history. My big concentration was in photograph and filmmaking. So I spent most of my time in the dark room and in the editing lab when I was in school. I’m not doing anything with that right now. I mean that’s kind of the story of a lot of our lives, that we went to school for these totally sweet things that were really awesome when we were in school, and then we graduated and didn’t even do anything with it again. And so it’s kind of like the curse of interdisciplinarity or whatever you want to call it, that you sort of, I don’t know—

CL:  Creativity, creative mind.

MW: Yeah, but I definitely have had the insecurity that I graduated as a dilettante or something. I don’t know. I definitively got bummed out with the culture of high art on the East coast, and the sort of cult of personality and the gallery scene. And just– it actually was a social class issue for me in some ways that the people that I was studying with at school came from a radically different class background than I did and had more money than I could ever imagine having and, so I’m not going to pretend that there wasn’t irrational resentment on my part about that, but then at the same time you start to get deeper and deeper into that kind of stuff, and that’s part of what’s kept me involved in music rather than being involved with visual art, because I’ve been trained in both is that it seems like. Being filthy and riding around the country in a van, I don’t know, it seems to kill off pretense a lot more effectively than a lot more of the culture that surrounds visual art. At least in the Northeast and the East coast. Because I will say that we’ve run into a lot of pretty interesting visual artists in our travels, both overseas and in the U.S., who are doing really fantastic and fascinating work, but it’s outsider and it’s never going to get any attention and that kind of thing, and I guess we kind of fit into that same category as musicians, but I never had the hang-ups about doing music that I did about doing visual art. Yeah I don’t know, I go back and forth on that

CL: If you’ve been a DJ, if you had been a DJ or were a DJ–We have the responsibility of playing music of our choice entirely, which is a huge responsibility, but then to juxtapose that music responsibly, the aim of our show, it’s a metal psychedelic show, so the aim is to, without lecturing the students, to educate them about the lineage of the music they may here that’s new today, and where that evolves. Because all of them think the radio is the greatest thing that’s been invented since the Internet. It’s a new concept. So I’m interested if you were DJs or as DJs and as members of Rosetta, if you played Rosetta on your show, if you were in our position, with what other band or music would you juxtapose Rosetta in your set list?

MW: Well it’s like that question of; do I want to put it with stuff that’s of a similar sound? Do I want to put it with stuff that somehow created the historical basis for making that sound? Do I want to just put it with other stuff that I like? That’s what’s so mind boggling about the question. But see, I think the way–and this says a lot more about me than it says about the music of Rosetta–but as I think about Rosetta, I think about the sonic textures and the sort of—There’s a harmonic palette in Rosetta that’s centered around the kind of natural minor tonality, but we try to move away from that very consciously, but we tend to fall back into that a lot of the times, and it just has to do with the way the guitar is tuned and that sort of thing. And I think about the sort of wall of sound, volume, lots of texture, lots of harmonics, and the texture that goes along with that, so I would probably throw Rosetta on with stuff that kind of lies adjacent to it in the harmonic and textural realm so as I’m thinking about it. See I’m sure Neurosis automatically comes to mind for a lot of people, but when I think of Neurosis I don’t think of Neurosis as actually being texturally similar to what we do. Like I understand that they kind of have a historical influence on what we do, and that what Neurosis did has made what we do acceptable to a wider group of people. Like without Neurosis this band wouldn’t appeal to anybody, so like I get that. But at the same time, I hear a lot of similarity texturally between our music and also of kinda like, wild doom type stuff. I don’t know, like, I like that last Khanate record. I’d actually probably put Clean Hands Go Foul on next to Rosetta, and then I think on the other side of it there’s the kind of like muscular post rock or whatever that I was describing before. So not Explosions in the Sky, maybe the first track “Malachite” off of that Jakob record might go on there. And I’d probably put one of the more eerie tape-y sounding Stars of the Lid tracks like from one of their first 2 records, maybe “Before Top Dead Center” would go on there, but I also like moving from loud to soft, so I’d frontload the really wild feedback-y heavy stuff and then try and like—I’d probably end with a Stars of the Lid song. And in the middle somewhere there’d be a kind of like instrumental rock that had the balls to it. Rosetta would probably be like the 2nd or 3rd song in and I’d probably lead it off with some crazy doom metal. I really like that Ocean Pantheon of the Lesser record, it’s like the perfect doom metal record. But it would depend on the time limits because one of those songs is 35 minutes long, so I’m not sure I could actually pull that off.

MA: I’m thinking of this question in terms of a playlist, and I like to make mix tapes for people. So if I had to put Rosetta somewhere, or anything of this style, because I don’t like talking about Rosetta because there is a certain amount of pretention that goes along with it. Just to go along with your question– I know, I know I’m so arrogant, I love myself. No. So for your questions sake I would probably, as a precursor I would put something along the lines of Scorn. Anything that’s kind of drone-y in a dub kind of sense, and then I would–in an industrial kind of sense, thank you. And then I would tail it off after Rosetta with something really gritty and dirty. Something off of the Tribes of Neurot record, preferably Adaptation and Survival, just because that is a brilliant piece of music. I love it; I love that album that they did. So just because once again I agree with Matt going from the heavy to the loud, so Scorn would in my opinion give somebody something to really get lost in where Rosetta would wake them up and then Tribes of Neurot would just lull them somewhere else you know, just lull them into a whole other spot. A whole other–just to think about what you’ve heard. You know, that kind of deal.

 

CL: Since you mentioned Tribes of Neurot, I’m curious about your—the two records to be played at the same time.

MA: Total fan boy move. Well at least on my part, at least on my part. Total fan boy move.

CL: True honesty, this is what we appreciate. Do you have anything to add Matt?

MW: I’m not as much of a Neurosis fan boy as Armine. I love Neurosis, don’t get me wrong I love them, but I’m not the kind of doting schoolgirl sort of a thing going on that Armine’s got going on about Neurosis. I think for me it was a joke. It was originally a joke. It was like, Oh wouldn’t it be funny if we recorded two discs and you could play them back simultaneously?

CL: Us DJs, we love that. [Laughs]

MW: Yeah we were like, Hahaha that’s funny. That’s funny. But then the label said, Oh yeah, if you guys want to do that that’s fine. And we were like, that’s ridiculous. We’ve never put out anything before, these guys just signed us , and they want us to put out two CDs that are synchronized. That’s really stupid. But they said we could do it, so then for me it became a curiosity thing like , is this possible, can I do this?

MA: My recollection of recording that record, because we did that record all on our own, minus the artwork of course, but we had these ambient pieces that we wanted to do, and we wanted to put ambient pieces on our record as well. And we were having a hard time distinguishing whether we should go from a song, like a full on balls of the wall song, to something mellow and ambient. If we interchanged it, it went from a typical song to an ambient piece back to a song; it’s very much along the lines of what Old Man Gloom had been doing with Seminar II. Would it lose its power? So what we ended up doing is putting all of the arrangements on the one disc and all of the ambient pieces on another, and it kind of sunk in that way.

MW: But it’s also a technical challenge in terms of–well it was fun because we recorded it ourselves, there was no money to go sit in a studio and record 2 discs worth of material for a brand new band. We had a computer, it was done digitally, and we did it at what we now call Jane Doll Studio, which was at the time our drummer’s bedroom, so it was literally recorded–The whole album was recorded in his bedroom with probably about $2500 worth of computer and mixing equipment and microphones. That definitely showed I wasn’t totally happy with the end product in terms of the CD mastering. I actually got to go back–because I did both the mixing and the mastering for that record originally, I got to go back and re-master it for vinyl and make it sound the way I wanted it to sound. But at the time, having only really done demo recordings before, its like, oh we’re not just recording an album, we’re recording two albums that are supposed to be played back simultaneously. So having to– wanting the second disc to be spontaneous and improvisational and this other kind of stuff, but at the same time needing it to actually match up with the very structured stuff in disc one, so disc one got recorded first. So it’s literally like, I’m going to sit in the studio with all these mics set up and all these amps and this kind of stuff, and I’m just going to listen to disc one and just play and see what comes out and cut what you don’t like and keep what you do like and keep adding to it and getting rid of the stuff that your not into and keeping what you’re into and just building it up until it seems like, oh this is just something I’d listen to on its own, and then you know you’re done. And that was the process for it. It took forever, it took forever. But I think at the end of it, it was a learning experience both artistically and technically, just exploring the limits of your playing and the limits of your creativity and the spontaneity of the situations but then at the same time also trying to figure out how far you can make $2500 worth of recording equipment go, and what can you do with it. And so being able to find frontiers in both of those directions I think was pretty important because it made us feel self sufficient. It made us feel resourceful. It was like a nice self esteem boost for a brand new band who was like, we didn’t know what we were at that point, that kind of thing, but also it pushed us in a new direction in terms of our playing and I just–yeah, it changed the way that I thought about making records because everything prior to that had been just like, Oh here’s a bunch of songs, you throw them on a disc, or whatever that kind of thing, so it cemented the idea of a concept album in our mind as a kind of necessity for us.

CL: Yeah. I’m curious about a couple of things that you mentioned there. One is with the concept album. When you create–We’re visual artists, and Ted’s a musician, also. But when we go to do a show at a gallery space and we want to put together a body of work, the gallery wants a body of work. And they want it to be put under a unified umbrella, so like a title or a concept or something. Well these pieces have been made over years time, and each individual piece is unique in its own inspirational source so you don’t sit down and say, I’m going to make this body of work, make at one two three, and move along in the body of work. You come through at the end before the show. You look at everything you did which had desperate inspirations at desperate times. And then you have to put it together in some kind of assemblage that makes the sense or communicates what you want to communicate as a whole. How does that process work for you as a musician and putting together an album– I mean if you’re looking at an album that way, and as a visual artists. I’m sure you could see from that point of view also.

MW: I mean it’s probably a lot more similar than most of us would like to admit. There’s a retroactive interpretation that’s going on because when we write songs it’s done democratically and we just start playing and we improvise and we jam and we see what happens and if there’s something that we like and we want to hold on to it, we focus on it and try to refine it. Usually the litmus test for writing songs is if we actually remember it next week when we come back to practice it again then it was probably pretty decent. If we’ve forgotten it then it probably sucked. But certainly like the instrumentals come before the lyrics. So I think–I mean Armine can speak to this for himself, but at least as I understand what he does there’s an act of interpretation on his part that’s going on of the instrumental structure that’s already in place. Then certainly as we’re trying to decide to structure the album and where things go in relation to each other, that’s like the whole band coming back in yet another self-interpretation. So like, yeah I don’t know. The music, I can’t pretend that it’s 100% entirely organic and that kind of stuff. There’s not really any such thing anyway. We are engaged in an act of interpretation that has multiple iterations and multiple layers that goes on over time, leading up to an interpretation by us or whoever is engineering it from a technical standpoint before it even goes out to the public and then of course when it goes out to the public. Then there’s like Manifold, other interpretations that get layered on top of that. So one of my issues is that I’m always wanting the work to speak for itself. But part of the thing that I’ve had to come to terms with over time is that, it’s been interpreted so many times through its construction process that it’s sort of stupid to try to think about it as this little egg that has a life of its own and is going to go out into the world and live this life where people are going to understand it and resonate it, and it’s made me think more critically about authorship and these other kinds of things. And working collaboratively in a band is totally different then when you’re trying to produce work on your own. Which is another one of the things that drew me away from visual art and into the music because I felt the collaboration was huge for me. But yeah, it’s trying to understand how may stages of interpretation are going on from start to wherever, because there isn’t really ever a finish on it. And then from there trying to be more conscious about making the album an open work instead of a closed work. Yeah, I’m not really sure how else to put it other than that.

CL: For any listener or visual appreciator of visual art, I think as an artist and as a viewer you have to leave a certain amount of room for the viewer or listener to find themselves in it, to bring their own emotions or their own ideas to it without having you’re work be a billboard or a jingle, you know so it allows people to interact with it.

MA: Well yeah, I get a lot of flack form people for not printing lyrics. And in this last record we did print lyrics, and that was primarily based on my experience in Europe. It was the first time ever where I had kids singing along, like stealing the mic out of my hand. I remember our first show in Poland we were playing “Wake” and the kids just started singing along and I almost cried, I was like this is ridiculous. And after the show they were all like, You know we can only understand like an eight of what you’re saying, can you write these lyrics down? So I spent an hour just scripting out that record by hand for this one kid, it was insane. And like that means the world–but I told him, I’m going to do this because you asked, but I really don’t want to. Because this now ruins, in my opinion, this entire album for you, because I don’t want you to know what it is I’m saying and what it is I’m trying to communicate. That’s for me. I want you to listen to this album and take what you think it is I’m saying and interpret it for yourself and find your own meaning in it. I mean Envy is a great example of this. They speak no English, they do not print their lyrics in English and yet I can hear English words when I listen to Envy. I want that to happen for our listeners. I had one kid, when TGS came out, write us an email and he was just like, I was two weeks–I just got your record and if I hadn’t got this album when I got the album, I would have ended my life. And it’s because of the way—he’s like there’s just something about it. In my opinion, it’s because the words aren’t there. If the words were there I think he would have read it and it would have been, All right this is what it is, whatever, and done what he would have set out to do. Because the words weren’t there, he heard the album, he took it in, he interpreted for what he needed to hear at the time. And where he is now I don’t know, but he didn’t take his life at that moment. And that’s really—I don’t really like to think about that all that often, but that’s the goal, you know. I wan people to interpret the album on their own. Me freaking out and having a temper tantrum emotionally when were writing an album, that’s for me, that’s me venting. People are like, oh what’s “Weight lift” about? And I’m like honestly; it’s about my experience dealing with parents while teaching. Parents that aren’t doing their kids any justice. Because before I was teaching 12th grade I was working with a lot of kids with mental disabilities, and their parents weren’t doing them any justice, in a lot of variety of ways. They weren’t doing the right thing. And that record is my vent about that and other people read it differently and that’s what I want them to do. I don’t want them to read the lyrics and be like; oh I get what he’s saying, and move on. I want them to mill it over and let it sink.

MW: The corollary to that is that in fact the rest of the band is engaged in that same process because I’m in this band I helped write these songs and there’s plenty of places where I’m absolutely certain of what this song or this album is about, but I’m pretty sure it’s not what he was writing about in the first place. So I, as a member and performer of these particular songs, have built my own meaning into them that is not part of the meaning that was being constructed when I was writing the instrumental parts of these things. It’s retroactively done based on the lyrics as he performed them, not as they were written down. And I think with this last record we talked a lot about the content of the lyrics beforehand and so Dave and I certainly felt more involved with kind of how that concept was developing, and some of that was because of how much more personal it was. But then at the same time, as I look back on the previous album, there are moments on this album that is extraordinary meaningful for me personally but that has very little to do with what Armine was singing about at the time. It almost seems unfair to me for a kid to come up to him at a show and demand that he write down the lyrics because I’m like, you’re asking for a privilege that members of the band don’t even have like that seems ridiculous to me.

CL: I think he has a soft spot for the youth who want to know, educating the youth you do. You guys are very in favor of the DIY process in every form. Do you guys ever make your own instruments? Have you ever looked into doing that? Have you ever wanted to do that?

MW: I’ve wanted to, but it’s not–well, I probably–I like modifying guitar amps so like you hear these guitar nerds saying, tone is in the guitar, tone is in the amp and of course the biggest one is, tone is in the fingers. And I’m always saying, no, tone is in the soldering iron, because I’ve never built an instrument from scratch. I’ve never built an amplifier from scratch but every single piece of equipment that I use live on stage has been modified electrically in some way, in some cases modified mechanically. But I keep a huge technical blog on the Internet that details all the different modifications that I do and what they do and different sounds. I’m always getting kids coming up to me in shows and be like, yeah I read your blog and I’ve been waiting to hear this amplifier. And I was like, Oh well they weren’t here to see me, they were here to see the amplifier, but that’s cool, totally cool. And it’s kind of funny because it’s something I’m really into. It’s something I do for a living that kind of thing, its fun, its something that I’m going to keep doing for a long time after Rosetta is gone or whatever. So there’s that element to it like I wouldn’t be doing this for a living if I hadn’t run into that DIY necessity where it’s like your out on the road and you’re like, crap this thing blew up and I have o fix it and I only have this RadioShack down the road. So I got to figure something out. I’ve got to learn how to read a schematic and I’ve got to learn how to use a multi-meter and I was doing like academic jobs for upwards of four years after college and finally came down to a spot where I was like, I’m making more money repairing these amplifiers than I am at these real jobs or whatever that I’ve had. So maybe it’s time to actually be self employed and take this all the way . And it’s cool that my wife actually makes enough money to support us and we own a house, so there’s a certain privilege of freedom that I have to be self employed that I wouldn’t have if I were still single and that’s not lost on me, but at the same time I really do like the autonomy. I like the sense of agency about stuff and about being–it’s the opposite of an iPod, I’m always yelling about how an iPod is like the monolith from 2001. It’s this sort of blank almost pill like surface that you have to interact with in toto and there’s a huge abstraction between what you do with an iPod and how it works. But there’s something about audio equipment, which is why I got into using it where the intuition and the logic of the interior is mirrored in the intuition and logic of the exterior and so there’s something where the inners are reflected in the outer and I like that kind of mechanical honesty and I like being a person who has agency over that stuff by being invested in the outer and in the inner and the use and in the construction and that kind of stuff. That’s all over the place in Dio. I love that about doing punk and metal and that kind of stuff is that there’s tons of people who feel the same way about that kind of stuff. And it’s cool how that’s actually turned into a job for me. It’s like when you’re in high school and you’re dorking around in you’re room with that kind of stuff and you’re parents are like, Oh it’s a hobby, it will pass or whatever. It’s cool that it turned into something real.

CL: On the note of interpretation– what we were talking about with particularly Mike–what you were talking about allowing people to interpret the music and the lyrics for themselves and how important that is. Could you talk a little bit about the artwork? We talked about album cover artwork, but in terms of your band, and the importance of the artwork–the whole package of the album?

MA: Well that touches on a lot of what we talked about previously is having something that is interesting to interact with and is visually stimulating. When we did TGS, we were once again; fan boy moment. If we could pick anybody to do the artwork, who could we have do it? Aaron Turner. So what do we do? We have Aaron Turner do the artwork. Came out great. Got it all out of our system on that one record. So we sent him demos, and we were just like, look just do whatever. When you listen to this do whatever comes out. And he did, and it was great.

CL: But there are certain subjects off limits or certain imagery that is off limits on your albums?

MA: No, I think you might have a better grasp on this really.

CL: On the note of interpretation– what we were talking about with particularly Mike–what you were talking about allowing people to interpret the music and the lyrics for themselves and how important that is. Could you talk a little bit about the artwork? We talked about album cover artwork, but in terms of your band, and the importance of the artwork–the whole package of the album?

MA: Well that touches on a lot of what we talked about previously is having something that is interesting to interact with and is visually stimulating. When we did TGS, we were once again; fan boy moment. If we could pick anybody to do the artwork, who could we have do it? Aaron Turner. So what do we do? We have Aaron Turner do the artwork. Came out great. Got it all out of our system on that one record. So we sent him demos, and we were just like, look just do whatever. When you listen to this do whatever comes out. And he did, and it was great.

CL: But there are certain subjects off limits or certain imagery that is off limits on your albums?

MA: No, I think you might have a better grasp on this really.

CL: I mean the identifier to your–

MW: I would veto any cover that was either extremely graphically violent, or evidently misogynistic. I am not into naked chicks on album covers; it does not do it for me. There was a case where actually we had a really really good artist who did a really really awesome layout for a split that we did, but I had to say, I can’t, I can’t feel comfortable with this, because there was just naked female body parts all over the place and.. What?

MA: One naked lady.

MW: One naked–I mean it was just repeated all over the artwork. So he actually ended up doing something different for us, which was really cool of him to do. In retrospect, I’m kind of surprised that he agreed to that. But the bummer was that I really liked that first layout from a purely aesthetic standpoint, but in terms of the content I was like, I can’t hand this to people at a merch table at shows and feel totally comfortable with it. Because metal is so full of, not meaningful violence but just gratuitous violence for it’s own sake. And I get that some of that is subverting cultural norms in a way that’s positive, but then there’s some times where it’s just like, this is tasteless. There’s specifically a lot of stuff that I see where there’s violence that’s against women and I’m not comfortable with that. So the idea that there’s a picture of a naked woman with a bag over her head, I was like, I can’t get behind this. So I think those are the limits, and they’re not hard and fast rules, but there are things that I’m not comfortable with.

MA: Yeah, There is definitely certain imagery that I’m not comfortable with either, but I happen to be a fan of liking someone’s art and going to them like, hey, you should work on this because we really have a lot of respect for you. And that’s how we came to work with Paul Romano. We said to him, we want a record that looks nothing like metal. We want it to look like an electronic record, and he did it, and it was beautiful. And we really fell in love with this guy. And like Walberg, who is a Philadelphia artist–we were just like–we really like all of his stuff and we were just like, Here, go to town, here are the ideas and the concepts that we’ve come up with. And he ended up listening to the record, interpreting it for himself, and hearing certain phrases. And that’s where if you look in the very detail of the record, there are these big hands way back that he’s blended in, that he’s sketched in because I make several references to hands on that record. But no one asked him to do it.  He did that all on his own. And I think that’s what I really like about, you know–there’s a whole story behind cover arts. There’s an interaction that takes place between people. It’s not just like–at least here, in the DIY realm with what Rosetta does. But once again, it’s like I was saying working at Tower, what interaction took place to get some dude to put a real stupid looking image on a hip hop record of him burning down a building with a car, with like rims and nastified pimples on there. I don’t understand it. Weird.

CL: I’m curious in terms of the response of your music geographically, I mean coming out here versus being on the east coast. Do you guys feel you have a pretty strong following in one part of the country or another?

MA: It’s nothing that you can quantify in numbers. It’s the interactions that you have with people. Oddly enough, when we first toured the states, there was no one there, and no one cared. We go to Australia; we’re playing for three times the amount of people that we’ll play for here. And people are like, man we are so thankful that you’re here. I’m like, Ok, it’s because we’re touring overseas. Then we go to Europe, and people–they just want to talk to us and they’re so appreciative that we’re there and we’re playing for like 300 or 400 people a night who all know the words, and who come up to me and are all like, Hi Mike. And I’ve never met them before ever. And then, so yeah I have my ticket stub. I had one girl on our last show be like, Give me something, give me anything. And all I had was my plane ticket stub, and I was like, this is all I have to offer you and she took it and she was the happiest little girl ever. We come back to the U.S., we’re playing for ten kids, our first show we played back in the states we played for ten kids who really couldn’t have cared less that we were there. And that’s been the case up and down when we’re in the Northeast playing. People are like, eh it’s Rosetta, they’re good, we’re here, all right. It’s Rosetta. We come out West and people want autographs, once again, they’re like, thank you so much for coming, and this that and the third. And it’s a very different feel than what I’ve gotten because we didn’t want to come out west, we didn’t want to tour the states again because it’s just got this stigma and because of what our previous experiences have been. This trip has been completely different. Once again, not in numbers, but in how they’re interacting with us, they’re just more appreciative now that we’re back around. So geographically, yeah, we’re still playing for not that many people, but — and the numbers have obviously increased but we’e not playing for a striking amount of people, but the interactions we’re having are more intense or more enthusiastic and for me more fulfilling.

MW:  Yeah I mean to be honest, 2006 and 2007 when we got out to the West coast it was pretty bad, pretty not fun. Especially in 2006, because in 2007 the only real live West coast show we played was in LA. Well I guess we did Salt Lake on that tour, and we did Denver on that tour, we did Phoenix, and we did Tucson on that tour. But as far as actually West Coast coast, it was just LA. Whereas the year before in 2006, we had done LA. We did San Francisco. We did Portland. Our Seattle show got canceled. We had to do a drive from Portland to Jackson Wyoming and Armine was sick and it was a disaster. Nobody came to those shows and promoters were deliberately not paying us, just skipping out and not giving us anything. Nobody was there to see us, and it was a huge bummer. So I think, by that measure back then I was kind of like, well this is dumb. I don’t want to come out here again, because at least when we play on the East Coast it’s cheaper, the drives aren’t as long, and we can get 25 people to show up. Nowadays, it’s definitely that people will appreciate something that they don’t have as much of. So part of the reason that our East coast shows aren’t that great is because since we can only tour during the summer it means that we’re doing tons and tons of weekends through the Northeast during the school year. People who live in New York can see us 6 times a year if they want to. Personally, I hate New York City. I think it’s disgusting and I would never want to live there in a million years. I love Philadelphia, but honestly our New York shows are way better than our Philly shows. And the same people come out to see us all the time, so it’s really more like our friends come out to see us on the East coast, and that’s that. And there’s rarely more than 25 people at any of the shows we play on the east coast. Although, since we don’t get down South very much–we went down and played in Greensboro back in January over MLK weekend, and a whole bunch of people were there. It was cool. We played in Richmond, and Randy from Lamb of God showed up, and that was like–that blew our mind, and he bought us a pizza and hung out for a while afterwards. And we stayed with the touring bass player of Moby and it was totally ridiculous. But yeah, I think there is an appreciation that comes with people understanding that unlike a lot of other bands in the same genre, we really can’t tour that much. We can’t be on the road nine months out of the year. We have these complicated home lives and really like a month out of the year is about as good as its going to get for anywhere outside of the East coast. That means when we do go outside of the east coast then people are really stoked about it, and that’s really fun actually.

MA: On this tour I’ve had several moments where I’m just with people that won’t really let me leave. They back me into a corner and they’re just like, I just want to let you know that it means the world to me that you’re here. And I’ve never really gotten that before anywhere other than outside of the US. Once again, we’re not playing for these extravagant numbers; we’re not looking into a club that’s full of people. But the interactions that were having are more positive and more meaningful and just the level of enthusiasm has been blowing my mind. So it’s made it a whole lot more worthwhile this time around.

MW: People don’t really feel halfhearted about us. Like the people who like us really really really like us. And yeah, they punish us to death [laughs]. But yeah not that many people like us. It’s probably not going to change. And I think we alienated a lot of people with this last record. But it seems like the people who like us, really really really really like us, and that’s — yeah, that makes me feel good.

MA: And I think Matt can back me up here. If you juxtapose shows that were going on 10 or 12 years ago in Philadelphia as opposed to the shows that are going on now in Philadelphia, it’s gone from really excellent independent bands to real half hearted money makers, and kids are buying into it. I mean we played with–it was a great show, it was with Race Bannon and Gospel and we played for maybe no more than 50 kids. Such a good show. Two nights later at a much larger venue, you’re going to get some bullshit Dillinger escape plan spinoff hair metal band that just looks, cool and people are really buying into that. There’s a couple–and this is just my view of it—there’s a couple guys in Philly, who are really dedicated to that DIY stuff, and then there’s just the run of the mill tour packages that are coming through that are making people a lot of money. It’s just not–once again, people aren’t talking about things like, yo that band is so fucking heavy. They’re just like that band is good, or bad. It’s not heavy and fucked up and amazing and intense. It’s that band is good or that band is bad. And one of the things that I know isn’t happening is that people aren’t going out just to see live music. They’re going to see bands that they already know they like. They’re not going to shows for the sake of going to shows and trying to learn about music. We had a place in Philly called Sollick 13, which was an abandoned warehouse in west Philly where bands would come to play. And I went; I would go to these shows. I didn’t care who was playing. I just went. I went because I was dying for something good. I went on one–I’ll never forget it– it was a frigid winter night. It was Isis and Disembody and it changed my fucking life. But it’s very rare when people are like, that looks interesting we’re going to go. It’s just; I don’t know any of those bands, fuck’em. And that’s killing a lot of bands, a lot of great bands all over the place.

MW: Yeah well, I think Armine’s read of it is pretty nostalgic and mine is not so much. Like I have trouble talking about the East coast music scene because it almost seems like there just isn’t one. There’s just tour packages coming through big cities playing in a venue. In Philly it’s really tough to do mid sized all ages shows. There’s teeny tiny little bars and they’re basically all 21 plus. And there’s the giant venues. But you know there’s one dude and he’s been doing shows in a church basement for about 15 years now and he’s still doing it and it’s cool but he’s got to meet a bottom line, too, which is understandable. So he picks up a lot of packages and a lot of times those packages come with contract terms that say no you can’t throw a local on that show, and that’s a bummer, and that hurts people. It’s weird though, because where Armine’s talking about people saying a band is good or a band is bad, and it’s just being a case of what do they listen to anyway, and not checking them out at shows. I hear that and I think well I don’t hear people saying this is good or this is bad. I hear people throwing 18 prefixes in front of something that wasn’t a genre to begin. It’s proto symphonic post murder core, or something like that. And you’re just like; I have no idea what you—are you talking about music? Because it doesn’t sound like it. So there’s that and there’s just the kind of people spending tons and tons of time on the internet, and there’s a sense in which there’s a devaluation over time of the experience of live music over interacting with the people and the physical space and all that kind of stuff, because people have the music on their iPod and they’re like oh I like this or I don’t like this. Or they only like it for a week. They certainly don’t like it long enough to wait for a band to come through on tour and make a point of going to see them. It kind of bums the bands out because if you want to actually be successful as a band right now, you essentially have to be a merchandising company that happens to write songs on the side. So if people don’t come to your shows, you know, lots of luck. It’s kind of a bummer. But I think that that situation is more prevalent on the east coast than it is on the west coast. I’d be pretty bummed if it turns into that on the west coast. But I do remember what it’s like when we were in high school and it was kind of like; whoa dude there’s a bunch of hardcore bands that you’ve never heard. But it’s a hardcore show so we have to go. It will be crazy, and that sort of thing. Yeah that doesn’t exist anymore, at least where we live. And I don’t know, some part of me wants to say that that’s just because all the bands around now are crappy bands, but another part of me knows that that’s not really true, it’s that the good bands aren’t getting out because there’s not enough opportunities for them to be heard and to connect with the right people.

CL: Because of the corporate–you know, having a program, having the circus come through, or something.

MA: Even in Philly, we can’t keep a basement open for shows in west Philly for longer than two months, if that because L&I comes through and shuts it down. It’s a shame because people can’t go out and learn about what great bands are coming around that want to play all ages DIY shows. We don’t want to play in bars, but it’s the only thing that’s left anymore.

MW: Well people are still trying.

MA: Oh people are definitely still trying. To their credit, they’re still trying.

MW: Jamie Getts(?) had Torch play in his basement in West Philadelphia about two months ago or something. Torch was in a bad spot because they had all of their stuff stolen, so he wanted to help them out. So Torch played in his basement In west Philly with Engineer.

MA: But Jamie Getts is an old man just like the two of us. He remembers what we remember. And I love Jamie Getts, I don’t mean to call him an old man, but he’s as old as we are. And you get these college kids now that turn these really weird venues and the reasons they’re getting shut down is because they’re not smart about it.

CL: Oh, thank you.

MA: You can’t keep a DIY venue open if you’ve got like nine hundred crust punks with their traveling dogs out drinking 40s and getting in fights. No resident wants that anywhere. I mean even as somebody who grew up loving small DIY basement shows, if some crusty kid opened up squat next door and there were fights out all the time, I’d want it shut down, too, regardless of the bands that were playing. You can keep a DIY space open if you’re smart about it and if you network with the right people about it. You can operate a DIY space legitimately letting people know what’s going on. You don’t have to hide your DIY space, you just have to respect the community in which you operated in. You know, that’s really the main point.

MW: Sometimes the secrecy is just a necessary evil though. The Loom guys in Salt Lake City have a new space called the Shred Shed that we played at a few days ago. And it’s a secret, and they do not want the address posted anywhere on the Internet and it’s totally understandable. It’s in a warehouse space. It’s in an industrial part of town. It is fantastic. They keep it super clean, they’re really respectful to the bands, they have a great sound system. They actually did a multi track live recording of us while we were playing, like top notch high level DIY kind of stuff. And they’re doing a really good job at it. But they’re not going to put that address anywhere. And we tweeted the address a day before the show because it had been moved at the last second and deleted the tweet as soon as the show was over. But the cops showed up anyway, they showed up anyway. They didn’t actually shut the show down, but there were just two cops hanging out out front and kind of like, if noise got above a certain level being like get back in there kind of deal, so people couldn’t hang out outside and that type of thing. And talking to those guys about that, I think of course somewhere deep down they’d want to have a legitimate venue that they could actually publicize it and call it something and have it have all the legitimacy accorded to it. But given a choice between having it be secret and not having it at all they’re going to opt to have it be secret, and I can understand that. They’re doing everything else so well there that—I don’t want to let it out, I wouldn’t want them to get shut down. So in some cases it’s a necessary evil. I understand the aspiration to something that feels more legitimate, but a lot of times its like, if you’re doing good shows and people are showing up and the cops are not showing up and the bands are playing and getting paid it’s like who cares, you know. That’s cool.

CL: Yeah I have a question. Do you play music recreationally? No specific objective, just for fun. And when you do, do you gain any special insight or inspiration coming from a different perspective?

MW: I’m assuming you mean playing instruments as opposed to like listening to music.

CL: Yes playing music.

MW: Yeah for me I have certain guitars and amplifiers that I only use at home. And there’s specific types of sounds that I can get out of and that I like making at home. And there’s something that’s restorative about doing that for me. But there’s also a lot of times where I’m at home and I want to play guitar and I just want to have fun. And so I’ll just sit at home and play death metal riffs. Which is really not me and it’s not even the kind of stuff that I listen to, but it’s fun. I don’t know, it’s just enjoyable to wank off on a guitar and just go nuts and play lots of really really fast stuff. (Mouths guitar)

CL: Do you and your wife ever play keyboard and guitar together?

MW: No, she and I have never played together. She’s–I’m trying to help her to be a little bit more confident in her music because she’s like, oh I’m tone deaf I sing so badly, and all that kind of stuff. It’s weird because she’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and she did a lot better than me in college and she’s got two degrees and blah blah blah blah blah. But it’s just weird in that one little area–I don’t know. She doesn’t want to compare herself to me and I can understand that. But I would like to see her–I would be totally stoked if we actually played together at some point. But it really is more of something that I do alone. It’s something that’s solitary for me. And it’s almost an expression of introversion more than anything else because when I’m playing I become unapproachable– and we have housemates and so we’re in a community living situation– and there is something about playing guitar and just messing around that does make me unapproachable and I can go in my shell and I can actually recharge a little bit and that is my space that I can be in. And it’s necessary. It’s a way of being alone that is better than just being alone, sort of in and of itself.  It’s an enhanced kind of aloneness for me.

MA: It’s very rare for me to do anything without there being some kind of over all objective to it. So I don’t ever sit back with my computer and, you know, whatever, analog instruments I’m using to generate tones without wanting to generate something that’s going to be useable in the long run. But I do this knowing that not everything is going to get used. So I just kind of trick myself into thinking that I’m meeting the objective here by sitting around and playing. I find it fun, but I also am cataloging everything that I make, because it might be useable one day.

CL: Do you guys have anything else you’d like to add? I’ve had a great conversation. I have 20 more questions that I won’t put you through.

MW: Actually I did think of one thing, because we just had this conversation and you guys are highly educated people and you have a lot of experience with a lot of different kinds of music and a scope of music over a long period of time. So, there’s depth there and that kind of thing. But to get back to this whole idea of, oh here’s these bands and they’re trying to do something that’s deep and it’s just pretentious, or whatever. I think one of the bummers that I run into on tour is the kind of false dichotomy of having fun versus having content that’s meaningful and that’s multi layered. I just get sad when people are weirded out by the fact that we have a sense of humor as a band and like to joke around and make fun of each other, and sometimes at a pretty base and slapstick kind of level. We like to have fun. We like to have a good time. So the pretentious label, that as a criticism, as a pejorative term, strikes me as kind of like based on an assumption that you cant push into high level concepts while at the same time being a person with a sense of humor who is personable and wants to talk to people. It somehow automatically brings a long with aloofness and arrogance. I don’t know, one of the things that’s important to me about touring is trying to get out there and relate to people on a level that says, hey I like fart jokes, I’m not going to lie about it. I like fart jokes and I like puke jokes and poop jokes and that kind of stuff, too. But I also like music that moves people and that you can dig into and find something substantial about and all that other kind of stuff and I don’t want those things to be mutually exclusive. So like BJ and I have a grind project called Pitchfork Colonoscopy because it’s just like–we want to try and have a sense of humor about this at the same time and not be all super serious all the time. So I’m not saying that I know how to do that just right, and that’s a tension that I feel within myself and that I feel with the other guys too. Because sometimes it’s like, oh I want to have a serious conversation but it’s too awkward so I’m not going to. But that’s something that I want to keep pushing into and something that I hope gets across when we interact with people on tour.

CL: How much longer is your tour guys?

MA: Three and a half weeks.

CL: And how long have you been out? Three and a half weeks to go, how long have you been out?

MA: Nine days, ten days.

MW: It’s 35 days total.

MA: I’ve just relinquished myself into accepting what we’re doing that I still have 3 ½ more weeks to go. I was real stressed out in the beginning over a variety of things and it’s one of these–you know, why am I here? What are we doing? Is this worthwhile? Just today I was like, yeah this kind of rules. And I’m just letting the wind take me, and just not worrying about anything.  And this is all right, because if I stress out about how rough it is or whatever, I’m going to be miserable. I’m not going to be happy on tour and, like Matt was saying, we want to be happy, we want to have a good time. So I just kind of relinquished myself. Just today, while we were driving I just had this epiphany of, don’t fucking worry about it. It’s going to be all right. [Laughs] And that’s something that when you do weekends only, or when you’re only in Europe for two weeks, you don’t think about that. It’s not until you’re like, man.  You know, and I’m sure that other dudes in bands are going to hear this and be like, man that dude’s such a girl, or excuse me, such a baby. Like a month tour wah. But we don’t do this very often and it’s one of these things where touring isn’t my life. Being in a band isn’t my life. I’m not trying to make a living off of this. I’m a high school teacher. I do this—I mean this band wasn’t even ever supposed to tour. We tour because people wanted us to. I don’t like sitting in a van in 120-degree weather with the heat on because we have to cool the engine down. That’s bullshit. Do you think I like not eating? Do you think I like being hungry? No, this is painful. Neurosis was right. Why should we tour? This sucks. So they don’t. They tour when they’re getting what they need. But there is something very fulfilling about being out with your friends, being goofy and silly, and just letting it happen. Jus today I got to the point where I was like, yeah all right, I can do that and just let it happen, without being miserable. Because there’s no point being on the road and being miserable.

MW: That’s the reason behind the gag with BJ wearing the shades while he’s playing drums because I’m sure a lot of people would see that and be like, that’s not appropriate for this kind of music. Somebody’s watching that and feeling uptight and threatened by the fact that real heavy serious band has enough of a sense of humor that we bet our drummer to wear shades on stage during the set and do more than three stick twirls while he was playing. We just like to have a good time.

MA: That bums me out, too, with a lot of the bands that we interact with who are on the road for nine months out of the year, and the road warriors, and blah blah blah. But that’s all they have to talk about is tour. I don’t want to talk to you about tour. People come up to me all the time at shows and they’re like, so how’s tour. Really? I spend all day living this. Can we talk about something else? Can we talk about a book? What are you reading? You know, what do you do for a living? I had a really interesting conversation with a guy in Denver. He really wanted to talk to me about tour. I didn’t want to talk about tour; I want to talk about something else. So I found out that he was a physical–massage therapist. So somehow, I got to blend the two where we could talk about touring and how much pain I’m in and the fact that I could really use a physical therapist. And we started talking about how he could actually make a pretty good deal for doing physical therapy for bands on the road for dirt cheap, doing massage therapy. And that was worthwhile, because I didn’t have to talk about the fact that the van broke down. I didn’t have to talk about the fact that I haven’t eaten all day yet. We can avoid these things and I can actually find out about somebody else and I find out something interesting about them. And it’s very hard to do that, I find, with a lot of bands on the road, that their whole life is this. For me, up until today, this past week has been a pretty miserable experience. Why? I don’t want to talk about that, can we talk about something else? You know, I don’t know.

CL: We’re glad you’ve been having such a good time in the Northwest though. Since you’ve been here.

MA: I’m not trying to dog touring. I love it. I really do. I love being in Europe and seeing different things and interacting with different people. I love being in Australia, and I’m very thankful for those experiences. I’m even thankful for the bullshit that we get put through sometimes here in the states and how hard it is, but at the same time, I’m digging my own hole here, I’m trying to get out of it. Yeah I know. I’m not dogging. I’m just saying, there’s more to life than this, than being in a band and being on tour. That’s the kind of thing that I think as a band were interested in and we shouldn’t be afraid to be silly on stage and do stupid crap and rag on each other. We don’t want that aura of pretentiousness about us. We’re real people, too. We put our pants on one leg at a time and that’s that.

CL: We’re glad you’re here in the Northwest, and we thank you so much for taking out the time to talk to us. It’s been a wonderful conversation I can tell you. [Laughs] Really thank you guys so much, I’ve taken up like two hours of your time [Laughs].