1. How did you get your band name?
It's the name of the main character of a children's book I wrote a few years ago. I'm hoping it'll finally come out this year.
2. How did this band get started?
I really wish there was a more epic story, but to be honest It started because Pete and I just wanted to play some really fast music. I was in school, Pete was a DJ at KXLU 88.9 in L.A. and we started by doing shows in living rooms and practicing in his garage. We never had any intention of the band leaving said garage, but when people started getting behind what we were doing, we were thrilled to not fight the current. We started sneaking into recording studios after hours to make these early SG records, went on some structureless DIY tours and intense lineup changes until we met Keith... then we met Cole... and then we made "Fancy Blood."
3. What bands are you influenced by?
The spirit behind what we're doing goes back to all the punk rock I was exposed to at 13 or 14. I mean obviously Green Day was the gateway drug, but then it became about the Misfits, Minor Threat, Mission of Burma, The Stranglers, Stiff Little Fingers etc... That kind of energy and purpose has always been something important to us, but i'm also not afraid to admit that we've become students of pop and electronic music. It's an eclectic roster, but right now we're really into The Beatles, Elvis Costello, Metric, Television, Antony and the Johnsons, Squeeze, Bloc Party, Two Door Cinema Club, Daughters and even MJ. However, regardless of where my musical tastes venture off to, I'll never shy away from a great crowd vocal.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
Hmmm... It's tough to answer this because I have selfish choices of bands I would wanna watch every night even though the audience would be completely confused by the bill and then there are pragmatic line-up choices... For a band that is no longer raging, I'm going to say playing with New Order would be pretty great. And to be honest, I'd like to just do more tours with AFI... Being on tour with your friends... There is no substitute.
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
Chinchilla. Those goddamn things are as furry as it gets.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
The dreaded question... You know, I would hope the songs themselves would make their own case, but I will say that even though we are in an age of music where all bands are guilty until proven innocent and avoiding talk about the specific qualities of our music merits, I'm going to enter in the following into evidence... We listen to music made before 2006... We don't own any neon... We care about what we're doing... You won't find an 808 in any of our songs... We track our music live... We don't read Twilight... We didn't get neck tattoos at 19... We're nice and we're not bad for you. You don't have to like our band, certainly we don't expect everybody to... But believe me when I tell you, we're on the same side.
7. If you were chosen to be in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, what song would you want in the game? How hard do you think it would be to five-star on expert?
What song of ours?... Hmmm... I would say Mr. Sinister... It's the easiest and I'm a disaster in that game... I need all the help I can get.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
My parents... I don't even wanna think about how much money they've probably "lent" to us over the years... And really, anybody who ever gave us any sort of chance and I can count those people on two hands... Being an unsigned band in Los Angeles is crabs in a barrel, everybody wants you to fail. We've met so many horrible people over the last 4 1/2 years that when you meet people like AFI who give you an opportunity, at first you're incredibly suspicious. You almost refuse to believe it. If we ever get to the Grammy's, we're going to thank Mom and Dad, good human beings and The Grey Family.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
I'd be psyched to bring the ritual back. Going to buy an album at a record store was always such a huge part of being exposed to new music. Nobody cares about album art, or liner notes or who the bands thank... Those things were huge for me growing up... The fact that a band might toil over making a record for months and then upon finishing this huge sounding piece of work, it's sentenced to become an mp3 through a pair of earbuds is a tragedy. If the music doesn't hit you immediately, then it's over. A lot of my favorite records are the ones that I didn't get at first... Music could challenge you as a listener, but I guess people don't really have time for it anymore.
10. Memorable tour experience?
Usually my favorite tour experiences are the intense, off the beaten path restaurants I seek out... I try to find the most talked about little hole in the wall eatery in whatever zone we're going through and have at it, but I'll spare you talking about that in detail haha. I'm going to say on the last AFI tour, the obvious standout was Davey asking me to sing onstage with them during Love Like Winter in New Orleans. It was such a huge honor and without delving too far into it, let's just say it's something I'll never forget.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
AP.net was pretty much a taste-maker during my early days of music discovery. Who even knows what I'd be listening to without it haha. I have to admit, the fact that AP.net knows what SG is, is pretty surreal for me.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
I think "No Boys in the Ballroom" is my favorite... It's a real cathardic song for me to sing and it has this really contagious energy. It's always nice to get to it in the set.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
London. Although it's not like i can just pick up the phone and make it happen haha. We've been lucky to go over there twice in the last two years, and even though we're working it feels like vacation. Such an amazing city. I don't know what real vacation is anymore. Hawaii? Sitting on a beach? Sounds like a nightmare.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Buddy Guy. My dad loved Blues and my earliest memories of picking up a guitar and playing are to those 1-4-5 progressions. If I hear a Buddy Guy solo, sense memory definitely kicks in.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
I’m going to go with invisibility. I feel like it always comes down to ‘flying’ or ‘invisibility.’ Sure flying is alright , but it’s so limited. And it’s bombastic. People would take notice if you were zipping around the skies and they would not be into it. Heads would start trying to duplicate your power, marketing you and/or exiling you. No one would really know if you were invisible and that would be the key! The only risk is becoming evil like Hollow Man. I guess what I’m trying to say is flying is like signing to a major label and invisibility is keeping it indie. (what a fucking stretch)
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
No. To be honest I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like we’ve “made it,” just because I don’t even know what that means anymore. A label isn’t making it… MTV isn’t making it… It’s not the 90’s. Maybe I’ll feel that way if we stumble upon a new paradigm and but who knows what’s going to happen. 2010 is so much more insane than 2008. I can say that we’re dissatisfied with the limitations of our place in the audio food chain at the moment. That’s not to say we’re not proud with what we’ve done thus far and that we’re dissatisfied with the people who have been a part of our music and scene, because that’s absolutely not the case… We owe everything to the people who have been part of our foundation, we wouldn’t have anything without them. But I make no secret that my ultimate intention is to bring Scarlet Grey to a bigger arena. We’ll start with being able to afford a proper fan for our practice space and then we’ll talk about playing the Hollywood Bowl.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
I’m a chef… That’s actually what I was planning on doing with my life before this took over. I studied in Paris for a while when I was 20 and I’m a veritable Cajun beast in the kitchen. So, for me… if we garner any big successes, I know where most of that money is going. I can’t explain why I have such a love for it, but I just do. It’s funny, my professor in Paris was this 70 year old woman who could not fathom why I didn’t drink wine. The most peer pressure I ever had to drink wasn’t from a frat guy with a barbed wire tattoo but from a 70 year old French minx.
18. What's your favorite holiday?
Christmas. The thing about it, as with every holiday, I like the lead up to the holiday more than the actual holiday. Like every Halloween, the night is always a let down, but the anticipation is what makes it sweet. 1920’s Santa themed coke in the bottles, lights, treats, Mexican hot chocolate, coat-weather, mirth, Bing Crosby, buying shit for loved ones… I’m crazy into it… I kinda forget it’s a religious holiday… And I back that too.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I drink a lot of coffee. If we’re touring, I don’t drink coffee because it wrecks my voice. So I soak it up while I can. But to be honest, I don’t really have a surplus of spare time… Whatever free moment I have is usually dedicated to some non-creative facet of SG… It’s only lately that we’ve had any help with the workload, so I’m just finally being reacquainted with my spare time. It’s kind of blowing my mind.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
I can do an impression of you 5 minutes after meeting you.
Ben...I never wanna see you do an impression of me >.< You've known me more than five minutes now too.
I love this interview! I'm all for supporting SG and everything they do. Such awesome music...I wish I would've been in New Orleans to see you sing with Davey....That would've been epic! In all I'm so glad that you said you'd like to tour with AFI more, XD Then again I know I'm crazy bias on that, but hey...The two bands make a great duo on tour!!
I would love to see several Scarlet Grey songs on Rock Band...That'd be AMAZING.
It seems like so much is happening for Scarlet Grey. I know this because I've had to register at about 54 different sites and make up 54 new passwords and log-ins in the past two weeks. For these guys though, it's worth it. Excellent music, incredibly nice people. I don't think it can be said any simpler. I can't wait to see where SG goes from here, I know I'll be following along!
I went and saw these guys in New Orleans when they were with AFI and I had no idea who they were. They were just so amazingly fun and now it's like I'm hooked! I can't stop playing Fancy Blood! And I'd be interested to read that children's book....