Hey Kevin, I'm Raphael from the german Hardcore/Punkrock Fanzine allschools.de. Hope you are doing great.
Thanks Raphael Im well. Riding on an Amtrak train right now leaving New York City for central Pennsylvania to pick up the van for this upcoming Get Up Kids tour. We leave Sunday (its Friday now, about 9:45am New York time).
Tell me something about the "Brothers Blood" record. You worked more with a Band than on "Put your Ghost To Rest", i think. Why did you work so much with a band?
Well, all my records going back to Circle Gets The Square have had other players, other instrumentation. There are songs on all the records that are just me, voice and guitar or whatever, and there are songs that arent; I tour solo alot because its easier and because I like the challenge of presenting the songs in so stripped down a format, the way they were written. But Ive been playing with some kind of band the whole time.
I write the songs and the arrangements and, on each record, have played most of the guitars, some bass, some keyboards, a bit of percussion, etc. This record was written and demoed pretty live with the collection of players Ive toured with for the better part of the past three years; the songs were tested and rehearsed and worn in before we got to the studio, which was a bit different than the past. I just trusted the guys a lot and thought this group of songs would work really well if, for the majority of the record, i kind of opened up and let the players write their own parts rather than learn parts Id written and recorded. And it worked out great.
Song 3, "Another Bag Of Bones" reminds me of BRAND NEW and their "The Devil and god are raging inside of me". One of the best records i've ever listen to. And, really, i think your song is a little bit better than the whole new brand new record. Do you listen a lot to them, or is it just imagination for my part?
I like Brand New a lot, and theyre close friends of mine, but I started messing with a really early version of that song probably a month or so before Id heard that record. I think more accurately both of us are kind of nodding at Modest Mouse and Built To Spill, especially in the vocal cadences and guitar sounds, and thats a lot of what youre hearing. I also think, though, that friends unconsciously influence each other a lot, and Ive spent a lot of time around those guys and vice versa in the past three or four years, so Im sure Ive picked up some of their mannerisms and approaches, definitely.
In Germany your record will be released on "arctic rodeo recordings". Why did you change to them from defiance records?
I love Hoffi, Roland, and Defiance, and I feel proud of the work we did together, and grateful to them for working with me for so long. Between myself and Miracle of 86, Defiance released 5 full-length records, one 7, and one EP over 6 years. I think this upcoming string of dates in December will be the eleventh or twelfth time Ive toured in Europe since January 2003, which is pretty remarkable for an independent artist, and Defiance, along with Matze and Julia at Melt!, Ralf at 2fortheroad Booking, and Frank at Target Booking, have enabled me to build a following and make relationships in Germany and throughout Europe, and Ill always be thankful and indebted for that. I dont think it made sense financially for Defiance to release the new record; it would probably be a question they could answer better than me, but I trust and understand their motivations and count them as friends. Im also really looking forward to working with Arctic Rodeo and have been very happy with the experience so far. I know the guys there a bit and they seem passionate and smart and like they do this stuff for the right reasons. I think itll feel very much like home.
You are touring the whole year around the world. Is there time for a family and stuff like that?
I probably end up spending about half the year at home and half the year traveling and performing. I turn 30 this year and dont really have any plans to stop; I still love doing it. At the same time, it definitely does make certain things about having a relationship more difficult. Im figuring it out as I go and, I think, getting better at managing both parts of my life and making them make sense with one another. At least, I hope thats the case.
Do you miss some things when you are on tour?
Sure. People, my apartment, my routine at home. Cooking dinner. Relaxing in your own space. I love touring but its a completely different experience than life at home; some of its thrilling, some of its a little alienating, Just a very different speed and rhythm to your day.
Some last Words to the Germans?
I know youre not exactly a sentimental people, so bear with me: You guys have been very welcoming and accepting of me for a long time, and I feel lucky to have been able to see so many places there, meet so many people. Looking forward to continuing that relationship for as long as youll have me.
Thank You very much! Raphael