You can click Read More to check out the interview.
Please state your name and what you do in the band.
My name is Jeff and I play guitar.
We're just like "you know, this is still fun, but let's just try to do something totally different.You guys are playing Warped this year again on the Smartpunk stage. Has it been any different from last year so far?
It's been hot; crowds are a bit better. The Smartpunk stage is better than the outdoor stage we were playing last year, which is a good thing
How and when did Kara [Dupuy, keyboardist / occasional vocalist] come into the picture?
When we were writing the new record, we [realized] we needed a female vocalist on certain songs and some piano and synthesizer. Kara was in a band before with Brian [Southall, current drummer] in Detroit, and he suggested her so she came up with the stuff; we all clicked and it worked really well so we just went with it.
Can you pinpoint the moment you guys realized how stagnant your musical genre had become and thus wanted to grow out of it?
It didn't really happen all of a sudden. It was something that was just kind of a gradual build-up. After we put out Make Yourself Sick and started touring all the time, we started to realize we're touring with all these bands and being surrounded by music all the time and being completely submerged in it was kind of like -- we just started to get really bored. It was really, really tired to us fans of music. It came to a head around the time of our headlining tour we did late last year. We're just like "you know, this is still fun, but let's just try to do something totally different." We didn't set out to break genres or do anything earth-shattering, we just kind of wanted to challenge ourselves and to write music we could be really happy with.
When did you start writing the story that would become Trainwreck?
I don't even remember when I wrote that. It was written without the album in mind; me and Connor just kind of wanted to have a story for the record, kind of like a movie or a book or whatever. I said "well, I have a bunch of stories written," and maybe we could work something that we can turn into an album. So I brought that story to the table and me and Connor just kind of looked at it, picked it apart, changed it around a bit, and then decided hypothetically "this record's gonna have 12 songs; let's break up the story into 12 tracks," so each track'll tell a part of the story; we went from there.
Were either of the main characters inspired by people you know?
No, I don't think so. I wouldn't say it's any[one] we personally [know] in either of the main characters, or it wasn't really inspired by anybody. If anything at all, the one thing that kind of applied to the band and us is later on in the record The Patient -- he's really frustrated inside that he's starting to hear the song, [wanting] to communicate the music that he wants to write and he can't do it, has no outlet for it, and he's really frustrated about it. Just kind of a small, little metaphor for our own situation being very unhappy with where we were and trying to make this record.
If someone came and approached you with an idea to make the album into a movie, what would you say?
I'd love it. When we first started giving a few demo tracks to Carl at Ferret, I sent him the treatment and he's like, "Dude, don't make it into an album, make it into a movie." I was like "If I had the money, of if you had the money more importantly, yeah, let's do it." Yeah, I'd love it, I think it'd be really cool to turn the album into a full performance all at once -- make it into a stage show with actors and us as the band in the orchestra pit coming up. We have lots of crazy ideas but I'm sure none of them will ever come to fruition.
It seems like "Purging" is the only aggressive, awkwardly cluttered track on the album, but intentionally. Was this to show The Patient's actual state of mind following his hospital release in "Medicating?"
It was definitely intentional. We knew [when] we wrote that song, it definitely stood out from the rest of the record musically; we knew we had to fit in there. It's one of the most important if not the most important physical part of the story where he's fooled The Doctor into letting him leave the hospital and he goes and draws these lines around his wrists and then goes back to work at the steel mill and saws both his hands off. We knew this is a really crucial part and a really intense part, one of the most physical/violent parts of the record so it made sense to [use] that song.
I thought it was a pretty original style of production, but I have read Make Yourself Sick was recorded on a shoestring budget. How was it to actually have some money backing the band this time around? And how was it working with Machine [producer]?
It was amazing. It was [a] very, very new and crazy experience for us. Make Yourself Sick was done in our friend's basement for next-to-no money at all. We'd never been in a real recording studio ever, let alone work with a producer, [especially] someone like Machine, who was just amazing. It was a crazy experience for us, and it was very, very cool and very positive...amazing.
Word is the character in the "Medicating" video was played by your merch guy...?
Yeah, that is true. That is our merch guy Dave.
How did that come about?
He's an actor. He's been acting for years and years and years, and all of our best friend; pretty much the funniest, craziest dude in the world. He's just a great dude all around, and when it came time to do the video, we knew we wanted to get some aspect of the actual storyline in it and we [told] him, "Hey man, we need someone who can act...do you want to do it?" He's like "Fuck yeah I'll do it," so it was perfect.
I know it says right in the liner notes that Trainwreck's layout was done by Switzerland, but who or what is that exactly?
Switzerland is a new design company that started up by a [few] of our friends and are all amazingly talented artists. Shawn, our guitar player, does all the web design and all the actual graphic design work, so he designed our record more or less. My friend Gordie does all the photography; he did all the pictures for the record, which all are amazing. So they came on to do the record, and they do all kinds of stuff. They're just a really, really neat design company. They did the new Every Time I Die layout, all kinds of cool stuff...they're awesome.
How many albums do you have left on your contract with Ferret?
I think we only have one left after Trainwreck.
They have given you a lot of support it seems for this album and Make Yourself Sick, but is there at all a desire to eventually move onto bigger things?
Who knows. We've been approached before and through the band that we are now, and [being shown] other bands that have gone on to do major label stuff; it's a very scary thing. I don't think any of us have ever really sat and thought of it in great length. We'll go with the flow and if something like that is gonna come in our laps, then we'll take it in stride and do whatever's best for the band, without compromising anything we hold to our hearts, like how music is the first thing to go in that situation. So we'll see what happens.
You guys have a spot on the Nintendo Fusion Tour this fall with Fall Out Boy; besides Warped, this has to be your biggest tour yet, right?
This is definitely our biggest tour yet. I'm super stoked, it's gonna be crazy.
What was your major listening rotation during Trainwreck's recording?
I think it'd be really cool to turn the album into a full performance all at once -- make it into a stage show with actors and us as the band in the orchestra pit coming up.Ryan Adams [?]; lots of Minus The Bear; lots of Cave In; lots of Led Zeppelin; Pedro The Lion.
What are the plans for beyond the fall?
After the Fall Out Boy tour, we're gonna definitely take the holidays off and be with our families for Christmas and stuff. Next year, depending on how this record goes over, we'd like to go on a headlining tour, but I think we're looking at some other [options] right now.
[insert sound of phone disconnecting, though this was the end of the interview anyway so a last call was made to confirm such]