I would like to give a huge shout out to Sonia from Stunt Company for setting this interview up and thanks to Nate from The Format for answering these questions! The Format is on tour now with Steel Train, Reuben's Accomplice, Limbeck, and The Honorary Title.
Can you please state your name, your favorite color, and you do in The Format?
My name is Nate, my favorite colour is dolphin green, and I play sing in the format.
With a new album on the horizon, are you guys approaching this album (or E.P. for that matter) any different from the way you approached writing Dog Problems?
Completely different, we want to do this record as a band, more specifically a band that has been on tour for the last year, so I think that should lead a lot of the songs in a different direction. Plus there is no theme to the new songs, our goal here is to make a record full of great songs, nothing too profound, just good music. I think last year specifically was a terrible year for bad bands trying to do concept records because it seems like an easy out for poorly written songs. This isn’t the 70’s, and even then there were too many terrible concept records.
Can you describe what direction the new album will be in?
Not too sure. I hear a gospel choir a few times.
When can we expect it to be released?
The beginning of next summer.
Has the sales of Dog Problems met your expectations?
In some cases it has exceeded, its doing far better than interventions was at this time in its release, and that’s encouraging because records just aren’t selling these days. But it would be nice to sell even more records so that we can afford to spruce up the live show even more.
With illegal free downloading available to people at all times, how much do you think giving your CD away for free is going to help you?
Apparently it went mega (45,000 albums downloaded in 2 weeks). Which is a double edged sword, to say the least. I hope people don’t assume our records are always going to be free. I like to buy records and I like the mind set that goes into buying records. If bands were releasing singles constantly then it wouldn’t be a problem, but a record is something the listener should take pride in, they should want to hear every song and there should hopefully be a connection that is made between the listener and the artist. I like to think that in purchasing a record I am taking that step to invest into it. It is then something that I own, the songs belong to me.
What brought about your decision to give it away?
Records aren’t selling anymore, so why not give it away in hopes that people who were apprehensive now have the opportunity to see what we are all about. It has definitely helped in other ways, such as merch and ticket sales.
Do you think that fans who have already bought your album will feel ripped of now your giving it away for free?
No one has complained to me, like I said earlier, those people should feel privileged.
What are Nettwerk’s and your distribution’s thoughts on this?
We talked it out and everyone is alright with it. I’m assuming that major retailers don’t even know, nor do they give a fuck, we’re the format, who the fuck is the format?
What is your favorite part of running your label for yourselves? What is your least favorite part?
It’s nice to be in control of almost everything. It’s also nice to have an idea and be able to see it through in a minimal amount of time. At major labels I feel like it was someone’s job to put an idea in limbo and make you wait on it until the idea just wouldn’t work out. We aren’t as proactive as people give us credit for, we just have the ability to set plans in motion. The only real setback is having to dip into your own personal funds to get a lot of the things done.
You have one of the most amazing voices ever. Is that natural or have you ever taken singing lessons?
Haha really though? I think technically it is really strong, and its nice to hit high notes, however I wish that there was a little more “soul” in it. Lately we have been covering a van Morrison song, and van has one of the most beautiful voices ever, and it’s super strong. I can sing all of the parts really easy and that is problematic because I want it to break up and crack. At first I was hoping smoking cigarettes might help with that but instead it leaves my voice weak when I have to sing a lot of our songs that require me to belt it out. Plus it’s a disgusting habit. I never really had singing lessons, when we were recording interventions I had a few lessons on how to better preserve my voice for the road. But I lost all the warm up tapes.
What preparation did you and the band go through for the DVD taping?
Lots a practice, lots of worrying, lots of beating up my girlfriend.
What was going through your mind moments before you went on stage?
“Do the string players know the cue to ‘I'm actual?”….I sure hope so.”
How was the tour w/the AAR? Was their crowd receptive of your sound?
It was fine. Not really our thing. Helpful in knowing that it’s something we aren’t capable of doing or being. But it works out for them just great and they put on a “show” that suits their style and the rooms they were playing, which to me is a cool thing because arena rock was a thing of the past that I always wanted a rebirth of. We are just better suited for theatres. I think the crowd would have been psyched if we played the first single every other song.
Will Dog Problems ever be released on vinyl?
Yup, either now or in a couple of weeks.
Are you comfortable enough to be a role model?
What? Charles Barkley dawg.
What do you do when you’re able to find free time at home?
I like to run a lot, or play tennis. Sometimes ill write, and other times ill play a lot of video games.
What persons would you like to be in the show of for a day and why?
I dunno, someone who can play an instrument, or many many instruments…id record a record that day.
Does anyone in the band collect vinyl? If so, what is your most prized record?
Marko is huge on vinyl, he looks for a record store in every city. I lose everything so I am incapable of collecting on the road, and my most prized vinyl is “sparks kimono my house” and that was a gift on tour from Sam…and I lost that.
What are your top five CDs so far for this year?
Hmmm…not sure…the new Limbeck is amazing…the new steel train is going to change everything…Reuben’s accomplice has a new record they’re recording and the demos are already one of my most listened to things of the last year…otherwise I haven’t really been listening to a lot of new music…its been “Fleetwood Mac tusk” on repeat for the last year…oh the new Wilco and dr. dog records are super sweet.
What’s your favorite movie musical?
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
I have a ritual that involves driving to get coffee and eventually smoking a cigarette and reading hoopshype.coms rumors section
As a band, how many packs of cigarettes do you go through in a day?
Sadly, about ten.
Which artists to you have the best lyrics?
I’ve tried to make lists of my favorite lyricists before and I always kinda forget some people…the best lyricist still making music to me is Michael stipe from REM...His references to pop culture are genius, Andy partridge from xtc is huge on my list, as is paddy mcaloon from prefab sprout, Jeff tweedy and Jeff magnum, and john Roderick from the long winters are all phenomenal lyricists.
Who takes care of your dog while you're on tour?
Anything else you want to add?
I don’t think so. Go raptors!