We were all sitting around smoking cigarettes or drinking coffee on Carter's front porch when Wayne and Travis came up with the name that seemed to represent a band we saw as being full of some unique ideas and unafraid to be itself. It seemed to be about getting another chance to try and do something that really reflected our own personalties and passion for music - a real fresh start. But Travis puts it pretty eloquently as well - "Names have always been irrelevant to us. Think about some of the bands people listen to the most, now repeat the names of those bands over and over. Few band names have ever really made sense in the history of rock and roll and ours is no different. One day the question arose as to what to call ourselves, AFTW was the first thing to spill out of someone's mouth and we all said 'Cool', and continued to write music."
2. How did this band get started?
We first met each other while playing a show together in Houston on a mini-tour we were doing together. We were in bands that were occasionally playing shows together at the time. Carter and Bobby had known each other and had been writing music together since 2006 while Wayne, Travis, and Greg had been performing music together since their formidable high school years. Our previous projects were still in progress but since we all really enjoyed each other's taste in music, performances, and personalities we decided to start a band after developing a close friendship.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
Carter and Bobby grew up in musical households and were fed album rock from the time they were born. Wayne, Travis, and Greg grew up together and have been listening to all sorts of music for as long as they've been friends. The diversity in our listening habits is a big plus. Carter will claim some non-standard stuff as huge influences for We've Been Here Forever, citing Kruder & Dorfmeister, Galactic, hip-hop like Five Deez as well as the more obvious influence of DIY rock like Superchunk, Fugazi, Meryll, and Guided by Voices. It just boils down to the fact that we are all music fiends. We all had teenage love affairs with Sigur Ros, Brand New, and The Early November. Carter and Bobby are huge fans of Jim Ward and both Sparta and At The Drive In. You can hear Greg's hardcore influences as well as Bobby and Greg's appreciation of groups like Death From Above 1979. Travis, Greg, and Wayne have all shared their passion for independent releases with each other since high school. Releases ranging from Telefon Tel Aviv, M83, Moving Mountains, and Moonlit Sailor all had a big impact on our production choices for We've Been Here Forever.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
So many of our favorite bands are back together again. There's no way any of us would be able to say no to 'now classic' groups like The Early November, The Promise Ring, Taking Back Sunday, or Sparta. We also like a lot of newer artists like The Dangerous Summer and Moving Mountains. Carter is hung up on the new Japandroids record - and that seems like a group that is going to massively blow up here in the next year.
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
Travis wants to be a long-eared desert bat. Because then he could eat scorpions. And he hates scorpions. Carter would be an Alaskan Malamute so he could cause a lot of mischief and eat and sleep a lot. Wayne would be a Pine Marten because weasels and ferrets don't give reach-arounds. Bobby would be a falcon. So he could fly, obviously. "Divebombing at 60mph? Fuck yeah." Greg would be one of those Russian circus bears that smokes ciggies and play standup bass.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
We like making good records. That's all any of this is about to the lot of us. We want to make good records for as long as we possibly can. If you're an indie rock fan of any sort, you'll find things to appreciate on We've Been Here Forever. It's sometimes loud, sometimes delicate, but always intimate and confident. The record says a lot in under 40 minutes without losing it's focus or intent. Give it a few spins at top volume.
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?
"Your Heaviest Light" has some great moving parts in it - we all shine on that track. Bobby's guitar on that is really fun to play. "Merkabah" is a jam, watching a group of folks trying to rock that on those games would be a blast. How hard would it be? I think we're about subtlety, layers, and rhythm more than complex technical passages‚ but we've all sort of lost any idea of how complicated these songs are after working with them as long as we have.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Our brilliant engineer Justin Douglas. He owns and operates Shine Studios in Austin, TX. He's a close friend at this point and we've worked with him on many projects. Making We've Been Here Forever sound like the vision in our head would have been near impossible without him. His knowledge of our band's chemistry and understanding of how we work in the studio was integral to the success of the WBHF sessions. We dedicated WBHF to our family and friends who we lost while writing the record - it was inspired by all of them - the album is for them.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
In our experience we have observed a general lack of respect. Respect on the artists behalf, the listeners behalf, and especially on the part of the industry that exists to prey on young musicians. Pay-to-play shows are a huge problem in our neck of the woods. Are they everywhere? There's so much music out there that it seems a lot of folks assume everything is shit and won't decide for themselves what they like and enjoy. When you hear a band you like, buy their record. When you listen to a song for the first time, give it an honest shot and a proper listen. Find stuff that folks poured their hearts into and you'll stop hearing music you don't like. I see so many casual music listeners around our age spew nonsense about the quality of music going downhill. It simply isn't true.
10. Memorable tour experience?
We met while touring with our previous bands‚ so that's gotta be up there in the top moments. We've played some great shows in town that rival any out-of-town experience with folks like Driver Friendly, Searcher, and Equals, who are all great local Austin, TX, talent.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
Anywhere you talk about music is fine by us. Being extra passionate about it is a plus.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
We're a very loud band live, so our loudest songs are a blast. Merkabah has people screaming with 'we came on chariots!' by the end of the second verse. Everyone always seems to know the words to "I Saw Jesus" and "The Coolest Dude At The Lake" from our first demo/EP - and that's always fun.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Wayne recently went to Maine to get drunk and eat lobster. Beaches are good times. Stay hydrated. I like visiting small towns - they intrigue me.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Paul McCartney and The Marshall Tucker Band. 90's ska. The Cars and Hootie & The Blowfish. MJ and Chicago and Stevie Wonder. Nancy Wilson and Tower of Power. Deftones and The Red House Painters.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Travis - The ability to warp time. I hate waiting for things and waiting on people. I also sometimes would like to go back and redo things (don't let anyone tell you they don't regret anything they have done because it's 'Made them who they are today.' That's a load of crap. Everyone wants redos. Carter - It would be hard not to abuse it, but any sort of telepathic mind powers, etc. Bobby - We all know Bobby wants to be able to fly, so we didn't have to ask him this question. Wayne and Greg both wish they could talk to animals.
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
All 5 of us have obsessed over making good records for as long as we've been able to think for ourselves. A lot of people heard our debut EP, Bonus Deluxe Version. We're pretty sure quite a few more will hear our new full-length, We've Been Here Forever. Our version of 'making it' is not congruent with many band's or critic's perception of 'making it'. If 'making it' means that you get to play music with your best friends and that people dig your music in some way, shape, or form; then yes, I guess we're 'making it'.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
How kickass our engineer is. How much we talk about philosophy and map out the stories for our songs while creating them - we map out so much stuff as we go. We really have a great creative flow when we get together and songs typically write themselves within an hour. How intolerant we are of bullshit.
18. What's your favorite holiday?
All Hallow's Eve and Christmas and Sys Admin appreciation day. And boxing day.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Play music in other bands. Work 9-5 jobs. Drink fantastic local beers. Scrape by. We all work heavy loads to be able to continue to make music together. Travis lives in San Antonio as of a few months ago and Greg just took a job in Killeen so their weekly commute to rehearse and write together in central Austin, Tx has expanded quite a bit. So yeah, we're all broke.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Wayne rocks at everything including baseball, drums, and doing funny voices. Travis can hold your attention if given a mic and a radio show for hours on end, we've learned. It's impossible to hate Bobby. Carter thinks he's good at defensive driving. Also, we all seem to be able to tolerate large amounts of alcohol.