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Far Less - 06.16.2009

Interviewed by: Jamie Pham (06/24/09)
Can you state your name and what you do in Far-Less?
JORDAN: Jordan. I play guitar.

WELCH: Brandon Welch. I sing.

HACKLER: Brandon Hackler, guitar.

TYLER: Tyler, drums.

FREEBIRD: Brian Freeman, bass.

Was there any particular reason you guys broke up? Or was it a combination of things?
WELCH: To be completely honest, I think after Mark and Joseph left the band we weren't Far-Less anymore. When you add a new guitarist and drummer and bassist (Brandon, Tyler, and Brian), you can't be the same band. We found ourselves exploring new and different things, which is wonderful, but we weren't a group of people on the same page anymore. I think that we all want different things out of music. That's not a bad thing. It just makes writing a little harder.

JORDAN: Well, Far-Less has been together now for 8 years. The terrain was rocky and being in Far-Less was always an uphill battle (albeit an amazing one), but I think people are just ready to move on with their lives both musically and personally.

HACKLER: I attribute it to something as simple as growing up. The way you choose to live and the things you need in life to be a HAPPY individual when you're 18 years old aren't the same things that comfort you when you're 26. Your needs change and your expectations change. I think Far-Less achieved more than anybody ever expected. We're talking about a band going from playing bowling alleys and used car garages to playing at Irving Plaza in NYC. It's a big accomplishment and as cheesy as it sounds, a dream come true in some ways. The legacy Far-Less leaves behind is something ALL the members, past and present, can be proud of. Near the end we looked at bands like Engine Down. They chose to go out on top, loving what they were doing, as best friends. We took a lot of inspiration from them. Their poise and ability to walk away with all their dignity and fond memories intact was something we wanted. I think we've achieved that for ourselves. We can all say that this band consists of not just 5 band-mates who love each other and the catalog of music we have but of a whole family of members, all the way down the line, who love each other and are proud of the things we were able to do.

TYLER: We had come to a point where it felt like we were treading water. It was better to call it quits now and go out as best friends with our dignity intact than be one of those bands that hangs on forever hoping that things work out.

FREEBIRD: Most definitely a combination of things. Nothing is simple, and our answers wonít be able to paint a complete pictureÖweíre saving that for our memoirs. I think we were just finding it harder and harder to meet the collective needs of the band, balancing art, business, and friendships with grown-up responsibilities, reasonable expectations. For example, it was very difficult to book shows that could take care of our expenses, while also providing us with an atmosphere we wanted to work in. It seemed like a conundrum within a conundrum at times. We found ourselves, more often than not, playing shows we werenít stoked about, because we knew it would take care of one issue, but often the other suffered. So, youíre stoked that one thing is covered, but the experience of making the music and the live performance lost some of its luster. That sort of thing can grind away at a band. Exploring every possible to make it better, without figuring it out, was disheartening, yet eye opening for the band.

Did Tooth and Nail have anything to do with it?
WELCH: No and yes. They did all they could with a band that they didn't know how to promote. We didn't sell enough albums to warrant pushing us overseas. We didn't sell enough albums to warrant them sinking lots of money into us. They have told us before that they didn't know how to "sell" us. We weren't a part of that scene. Maybe we alienated ourselves from the begining.

JORDAN: Tooth and Nail are some really busy folks with somewhat of a specific demographic of people who like their bands. I am not certain that Far-Less really ever reached that demographic. Our A&R at Tooth and Nail is one of my great friends for life and he put his neck out on the line for Far-Less again and again and I hope he knows just how grateful we all are to have had him in our court. F-L *hearts* Fraz.

HACKLER: Tooth and Nail afforded Far-Less the ability to spread their music to people it never would have reached. They're a great label full of great people.

FREEBIRD: The two sides had simply come to a point where they were no longer beneficial to one another. I wasnít there to see it get that way, but it pretty much was from the time I joined the band. I can't see any direct way the label broke up this band.

If you had a chance to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
WELCH: I'm sure we would do a few things differently. That's just business, though. The music and the experience would remain the same.

JORDAN: I really donít know how to answer this question.

FREEBIRD: I enjoyed my time for the most part. It was a great opportunity for me to do something I loved and play with a bunch of talented and accomplished musicians. That meant a lot to me, so I don't know what I could change without fearing the "Butterfly Effect."

Why do you think kids are pirating music from smaller bands such as yourself but would spend money for music from bigger bands like Green Day?
WELCH: Pirating music is easy and cheap. I have been guilty of pirating music and then buying the deluxe edition of the last Smashing Pumpkins album. You download it to know if you like it. If you do then maybe you buy it. Money isn't so easy to come by these days.

JORDAN: I donít think the same kids that are pirating music from smaller bands are the ones that are out there buying Green Day records. I think they probably pirate the Green Day records too. Green Day sells millions of albums and probably has thousands pirated. Far-Less was lucky to sell a few thousand and probably have a few hundred pirated. I just donít think the two are very comparable.

HACKLER: Are they? Is ANYONE buying records? We're not really a band that obsesses over our Soundscans. We've never felt like the yard stick for success was in number of units sold. Technology has changed the game COMPLETELY. There are forces trying to oppose it and there are people embracing it. Look at what Radiohead or NIN have been able to do outside the umbrella of a label. The future is bright and exciting. I think illegal downloading is a moot point. If you give people a good enough product and establish that personal connection with your fans you will survive. That is a point a lot of people are missing. It isn't about suing your fans, it's about embracing them.

How have the music industry and the scene itself changed since you guys started in 2001?
WELCH: I haven't seen much of a change, really. Heavy music is bigger but dying at the same time. Earlier today, Ray Felts said to me, "The rock scene itself has become kinda pathetic. It's all negative vibes. It all sounds like a broken record. It's way less fun." I have to agree with him about that.

JORDAN: Times change, trends change and people change, but peopleís genuine love of music always seems to stay the same. We have honestly had some die hard friends and fans who have never left our side even since 2001. The music we played changed and even a lot of members changed, but the place it came from always was the same. Far-Less always prided ourselves on trying to do things a bit off kilter and I think we were successful. I donít even know if I really answered that question now, hahaha.

HACKLER: Like I said above, technology put the power in the hands of the BANDS as opposed to the labels controlling things. It's perfectly viable to NEVER sign a record deal now. Which in 2001 wasn't a true statement.

What can fans expect from your final show on August 14th in Greensboro?
WELCH: It's going to be a lot of fun. We will play a couple of sets. I'm sure I will lose my voice from screaming for the first time in years. Expect a big ass party.
JORDAN: Old members, old songs, and long sets. We are trying to make it a night to remember for sure.

HACKLER: A big party. We're playing songs from every era of Far-Less. Old members are coming back. It's going to be a gigantic celebration between people who shared in the experience. We are so excited for that day to get here. Although it's bittersweet it's going to be a great, emotional day.

TYLER: A giant party.

FREEBIRD: A bunch of guys getting together and having fun, playing music in front of a big crowd.

What are some memorable moments that happened over the past eight years?
WELCH: I will never forget visiting the Branch Dividian Compound in Waco, Texas. It was totally haunted. Spending a couple months in California recording Toast is also a very cherished memory.

JORDAN: One time Brandon hit me over the head with a rolled up magazine really hard and then jumped out of the van. It hurt like crap. I donít know why that one stuck out in my head. Mark threw a guitar in the air and hit a kid with it at a show in Seattle and hurt him pretty badly. I have no idea why I am listing violent ones right now. I swear there are so many awesome, hilarious things weíve done over the past 8 years; I could write a book about them all. In fact, maybe I should do that?

What has been the best show/tour you guys have played?
WELCH: The best tour in my opinon was the tour with Anberlin and Emery. We played in front of a thousand people a couple nights. That is a fucking amazing experience. Touring with Mae was also a lot of fun.

JORDAN: The biggest tour we ever did was with Emery and Anberlin. We also loved touring a lot with Mae, The Honorary Title, House of Fools, Paulson, Secret and Whisper and The Glass Ocean. All of those bands were so fun to be on the road with. Hopefully the best Far-Less show is the one that hasnít happened yet.

TYLER: I didn't do a lot of touring during my time in Far-Less, but the Mae/Honorary Title tour was a great, eye-opening experience. It showed me the high points and low points of being a professional band and is an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. Plus all of those guys are great.

Jordan said he was joining House of Fools. How did this come about?
WELCH: They needed a bassist and because we are so close with them it just seemed like the right thing to do. I think he will be very happy with those guys.

JORDAN: I think Hack answered that question perfectly. House of Fools lost their bass player right around the time that Far-Less decided to break up. Iíve been friends with them for years, not to mention they are my favorite band, so it really just worked out perfectly. I am actually doing this interview on Davidís (House of Foolsí) computer!

HACKLER: Jordan's a great musician and the House of Fools are a great band...perfect fit! HoF have always been like brothers to FL and are LITERALLY in everyone in our bands top 3 favorite bands of all time. As far as the circumstances leading up to JP joining, one door closed while another one opened simple as that. Fate intervened and the time lines worked out perfectly with Far-Less ending and HoF having an opening in their lineup.

And what are the other members going to do now? Any new projects?
WELCH: Werewolves in their Youth. Jack Devils's Band. I plan on doing as much with as many people as possible.

JORDAN: I think Hack answered this one perfectly too.

HACKLER: Brandon Welch, Tyler Hill and myself are doing a project called Werewolves In Their Youth. We have some songs in the works and are pretty excited to start getting that stuff out. Brandon and Jordan have the Jack Devils Band which will most likely release stuff in the future. Everyone in this band has always made music independently. We just dig the act of being creative.

FREEBIRD: Iíll keep playing, writing, and recording music, just as I did before I was invited to join the band, but Iíll probably be more focused on career goals than I have been over the last year, or so. I donít think the August show will be my last ever live performance, but I donít forsee joining a band any time soon.

If you had your own label, what would you do differently then some of the labels out there right now?
WELCH: I would only sign a couple bands that I truly loved. Then, I would bust my ass to make sure that those bands were heard.

JORDAN: I would never want to own a record label, so Iíve never really thought about that before.

TYLER: If I had my own label right now I would be trying to sell all of my investment in it off. The industry's struggles are the labels' struggles, so it's one of the most exciting times in recent memory to be an artist. We are the ones in the driver's seat at this point.

Any tips for aspiring bands out there?
JORDAN: If you want to be successful, just do whatever is popular at the moment. Either that or be as good as Radiohead or Wilco.

If you werenít in a band, what would you be doing?
WELCH: HA. I guess that I'm about to find that out. I plan on going to school. We'll see.

JORDAN: Landscaping.

HACKLER: I'd probably have a house, and money, and food yet feel crushing regret from the experience I missed out on by not being in a band. You really can't trade this for anything in the world. Money is nice but I really can't say it's a substitute for doing what you love.

TYLER: Finishing school and wondering what might have happened if I would have given music a shot. Life isn't fun without risks.

Any bands/friends you guys want to give a shout out to?
WELCH: If you know us then you know that we love you. I always want to give a shout out to bands that I haven't met that I love. So... Oceansize, Statleless, Candiria, NIN, Murder by Death, QOTSA... HELLO!

JORDAN: Go check out Toddís (our old drummer) new merch company he formed with our friend Seth. Its called Sound Volume design. Just search for it online. Their stuff rules!

Anything else you want to add?
WELCH: RC Cola rules.

JORDAN: Thanks as always to the kind folks at absolutepunk. We love you guys.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 19.
07:18 PM on 06/24/09
#2
hydraulicheart
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I was just thinking about these guys earlier while watching the Sullivan farewell show DVD. That was a night to remember. I recall being so stoked to finally see Far-Less. That was the first time and only time I had seen them after becoming a fan in '05-'06, and it certainly won't be the last. They were far too talented to go so unappreciated for so long.

Best of luck to them. They represented Virginia well.

Also, props to B. Welch for namedropping Oceansize.
08:39 PM on 06/24/09
#3
Shatter_Glass
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i hate that their calling it quits. ill be there at the end like i was for sullivans though for sure.
09:09 PM on 06/24/09
#4
sevinw0rds
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Saw them during that Anberlin/Emery tour and I loved every second of it, except for the fact that they only got to play about 6 songs. These dudes were legit as fuck, and if their last show means the original line-up will reunite for a few songs, I'm even more bummed that I won't get to see that.

Best of luck to these amazing dudes.
09:09 PM on 06/24/09
#5
Ryzenfall
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I was just thinking about these guys earlier while watching the Sullivan farewell show DVD. That was a night to remember. I recall being so stoked to finally see Far-Less. That was the first time and only time I had seen them after becoming a fan in '05-'06, and it certainly won't be the last. They were far too talented to go so unappreciated for so long.

Best of luck to them. They represented Virginia well.

Also, props to B. Welch for namedropping Oceansize.
Great interview, and I was going to say the exact same thing about the Oceansize namedrop. Wish these guys the best.
09:51 PM on 06/24/09
#6
Aphasia17
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Saw them during that Anberlin/Emery tour and I loved every second of it, except for the fact that they only got to play about 6 songs. These dudes were legit as fuck, and if their last show means the original line-up will reunite for a few songs, I'm even more bummed that I won't get to see that.

Best of luck to these amazing dudes.

I also went to that tour (the Chicago date) and I was upset that their last date on the tour was the night before Chicago. I bet they were awesome live..

RIP Far-Less
10:15 PM on 06/24/09
#7
doritoz
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Quote:
Any tips for aspiring bands out there?
JORDAN: If you want to be successful, just do whatever is popular at the moment. Either that or be as good as Radiohead or Wilco.

Pretty harsh.
11:11 PM on 06/24/09
#8
Nick Le
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Great interview, I'm gonna miss these guys. Wish I could have seen them on the T&N tour w/ Emery and Anberlin. Or even go to their last show. But best of luck to them, they seem like awesome dudes.

And seeing the two up there talking about Sullivan and their last show, I miss them too! Wish I could've seen that, I didn't know there was a dvd for it.
12:50 AM on 06/25/09
#9
hydraulicheart
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And seeing the two up there talking about Sullivan and their last show, I miss them too! Wish I could've seen that, I didn't know there was a dvd for it.
All I remember is them filming and taking preorders at the farewell show for a DVD and my brother ordering one. The show was December 2007, and we got the DVD a month or two ago, haha. Not sure if there is anywhere else it can be ordered, though.
01:14 AM on 06/25/09
Nick Le
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All I remember is them filming and taking preorders at the farewell show for a DVD and my brother ordering one. The show was December 2007, and we got the DVD a month or two ago, haha. Not sure if there is anywhere else it can be ordered, though.
Haha ooohh okay I see, haha yeah they're probably not selling it anywhere else. I'm glad I got to see them 3 times that year before they did break up though. They were very nice dudes.
04:27 AM on 06/25/09
trappedintime
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Good guys. I really wish I could make it to one of their last shows.
05:22 AM on 06/25/09
cereal4life
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One could say that we'll be seeing far less of them now that they're breaking up.
05:52 AM on 06/25/09
superichie
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I love Far-Less. I really wish they were coming back to Orlando for one last show.
05:53 AM on 06/25/09
superichie
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but pretty true.
09:48 AM on 06/25/09
n1asfan
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This sucks. At least they went out with a CD like "A Toast to Bad Taste" which was incredible. I'm definitely glad I got to see them last year w/Mae before they called it quits :(
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