I think this is like the 109th interview you've done with me for Absolutepunk, so you know the drill. Introduce yourself and your role (or lack of) in the band.
My name is Thomas and I sing and play guitar in the band.
First and foremost, what in god's name is a "Jubjub Bird" and why would you name your songs after one of these creatures?
Thomas: To be honest, I don't know what a Jubjub Bird is. I just know to be weary of them.
Thomas: That song title is from a line in the poem "Jabberwocky" from Lewis Carroll's "Through The Looking Glass".
Thomas: And since our album is called "Wonderland", and that song is specifically about a girl stuck in Wonderland, we just wanted to tip our hats to Mr. Carroll.
Frank: So if I come across a Jubjub bird, should I run, or pet it? Thomas: According to Lewis Carroll, you should probably run. Frank: Ok, thanks for the advice baby. Can you give us some general information about your new record, "Wonderland"? Thomas: There are 11 eleven tracks. It was produced by Casey Bates (Gatsbys, Portugal, This Prov). Thomas: All of the album artwork, and even the animations you see online every two weeks, were done by the incredible Dusty Diamond (www.growstudio.net). Frank: How was the studio experience this time around; how was it working with Casey Bates again? -Overall, how big of a role did Casey play in "Wonderland"? Thomas: Casey recorded our first demos. So he's seen our band grow a great deal. He knows where we came from and what we're capable of. So he played a big part in Wonderland's creation. More than most producers would be doing on an average album, at least. Casey would voice his opinion, where it would usually clash with mine, but we respect his opinion about our music, so we would also take it into consideration. Frank: "Wonderland" sounds like the title of a cheap porno, what is the story behind that title and what significance does it hold? Thomas: Well we originally wanted to make a cheap porno, but you weren't available because you were shooting for Indiana Bones IV, so that didn't work out. But seriously, we started writing all these songs about this city that just thrives off greed and corruption. From the outside, it looks like such a glamorous place but deep down it's just the center of deceit. Wonderland is basically the first name that just came to me. It just seems like a name that portrays a false image, which is what our city was doing. Frank: That sounds really interesting actually and I agree that the title suits the false image. To my understanding, you guys recently filmed a video for "Beware the Jubjub Bird…", when can fans expect to see that on the internet? Thomas: It should be online very soon, actually. Probably before we're even back from the UK. Frank: One of our forum members said this: "tell them to sell stickers online". That's not really a question so I guess you can't really have an answer for it, but yeah, sell stickers. Thomas: I think if you're on our street team you maybe get some. We also have them for free at all our shows right now. Frank: Cool, I'd pick some up if you guys played show on the east coast ::coughcough:: Thomas: We're playing Bamboozle and Flipside. Is that close enough?...I could even bring you some medicine for that cough of yours. Frank: Yes, I'll accept that. When do you tour the entire east coast? Thomas: We're playing the east coast with The Matches and then again when we're out with Gatsby's American Dream and Portugal. The Man. Frank: Amazing. Considering the Fueled By Ramen roster, and the recent success of Panic At! The Disco, do you guys feel any pressure with the release of this record? Do you feel like you have expectations and standards to live up to? Also, how do you guys think you fit well on roster? Thomas: We're really trying hard to go in a little bit of a different direction than some of the other recent FBR signings. If we were trying to take the same road as Panic then I would definitely feel like there's a lot to live up to. But we're aren't taking that path. We're very proud of the music we made on this record, and we're willing to take the long road with it in hand. I think our band definitely brings something new to the label. It's an amazing label that is capable of amazing things. We're really making them work their butts off in trying to make us work without using the 'usual system', though. Frank: Do you guys think you appeal to the same general fanbase as Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and The Academy Is...? Thomas: I think some of our songs do. One thing I'm very proud of with our music is that I think we've done a good job walking the line between immediate accessibility and a long shelf life. There's some songs on our record that people will love right away. Other songs are going to take quite a few listens before you 'get' them. Especially since all the songs tie together into a big story, there's a lot of details hiding deep within the lyrics. Frank: Awesome, perfect way to lead into this next question: Some of the band's lyrics are pretty obscure (and wacky). Where do you guys take lyrical inspiration from? Do you feel that symbolism and obscurity are significant tools when writing lyrical content? Thomas: Well I personally am a huge fan of lyrics that almost take some investigative work. I take a lot of inspiration from books, movies, and other artists. On this record, it was really fun for me to right lyrics because the majority of the songs are written form other's perspectives. I get to do the whole walk-in-their-shoes thing. But the catch is it's my opinion of their views. So I get to criticize and analyze a lot through that literary tool. Frank: So you wrote a lot of the story basing the ideas and charachters on your own beliefs? Thomas: Well I used the characters as a source of social criticism. I made up characters that represent stereotypes and used them to question some of our society's norms. Frank: I see. A lot of the users in our forum have made comments such as, "This band is a Gatsby's American Dream rip-off!". Without getting violent or over-aggressive (and without punching your keyboard in a fit of rage), what's your response to these sorts of statements? Thomas: I mean it's obvious that those guys have influenced us. I think it's also obvious that bands like Bright Eyes and Say Anything have influenced us a lot. The fact that we're from the same town as them and have the same producer probably doesn't really help. Bands like Gatbys and Say Anything are amazing. They've changed they way we listen to music and make music. Once everyone is able to hear our whole record, I hope they'll be able to see some of the diversity we tried to bring. There's other songs on the record that were influenced by people like Tom Waits and even musicals. In no way are we mad about getting compared to Gatsbys, I think we're just hoping some of our other influences shine through too. Additionally, I think that becuase most pop punk music can tend to sound the same. We've tried to follow Gatsbys in refreshing a genre that is growing tired. Frank: I like how you tackled that question head on, you are such a stud. Moving forward; how is "Wonderland" different from the E.P.? Are there any plans to re-release the E.P.? Thomas: Wonderland is just a step us in every aspect of our sound. The EP were some songs I wrote on an acoustic guitar that I taught to our drummer. We didn't put nearly as much thought into those songs as the ones on the new record. We were able to show a lot more of our ability to be diverse with Wonderland. We go from the most technical song we've ever written, loaded with horns, right into a straight up country song with banjo and slide guitar. No, there are no plans to re-release the E.P. Frank: A lot of our forum users were wondering, in step by step fashion, what is the Forgive Durden writing process usually like? Thomas: For the majority of Wonderland, we knew what songs we needed to complete the story. So I would usually have an idea and mood in mind for a song. Thomas (other one) would work on some riffs and progressions to fit the mood of the song. Once him and I agreed on the base progressions and riffs to use, I would go to work at basically writing the whole song with melodies and structure. Then we'd bring the song to the rest of the band and do our best to come up with some fitting drum and bass parts. This is usually when we run into problems as far as getting stumped by a song. I'd usually take the song back and re-structure some things and have another go at it. We tried to remain very conscious with matching the story line of a song to the music that is accompanying it. Frank: Let’s play a game, it will be the “This Or That” game. Which one do your prefer over the other (you have to pick one or you lose). Thomas: Okay. Frank: Gatsby's American Dream or This Providence Thomas: Blah, Gatsbys. Frank: Panic! At The Disco or Fall Out Boy Thomas: Panic Frank: Johnny Minardi or Chuck Norris Thomas: Chuck Norris isn't a real human, so Johnny Minardi. Frank: Touring or Recording Thomas: Recording. Frank: Singing or Playing Guitar Thomas: Singing.
awesome interview.....gatsbys is so influential that im sure we're going to hear alot of bands in the near future with a little gatsby in them. As for Forgive Durden, I cant wait to see them when they come through my area!