Armada - 08.20.12

Interviewed by
Armada - 08.20.12The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:


facebook.com/ArmadaForPresident, armada-band.com (website links, as many as you want to include)

1. How did you get your band name?

We like to think we make a lot of noise with not a lot of people. The Spanish and English both used ships in their armadas that could be sailed back home with skeleton crews. We thought that was a good metaphor for our band.

2. How did this band get started?

Cody and Core linked up initially at the tail end of the making of the first EP under the Armada name. At that point, Cody was operating as a singer-songwriter but knew he wanted to make a band out of it. Cody and Core played exactly one show as a duo, then realized they needed a Jeremy. Fortunately, Jeremy was in the market for a project at the time. Our first show as a trio was at a spot that no longer exists over in Los Feliz.

3. What bands are you influenced by?

We always say that this is what would happen if Spoon, Wilco, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club threw a pool party with Queens of the Stone Age soundtracking the water ballet. That's what we end up sounding like but what got us there is absolutely all over the place: Bowie, Tom Waits, Nine Inch Nails, Elvis Costello, Secret Machines, Tom Petty, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.

4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?

I'd greedily pair us up with so many bands that we sound nothing like just for the sake of getting an up-close seat for their show. Modern day, Arcade Fire would be incredible. Queens of the Stone Age would be cool too, although I think they'd probably beat us up. Maybe Delta Spirit or Secret Machines... If we're talking past bands, it would have to be Neil Young, Otis Redding, or Zeppelin.

5. Best food to eat on tour?

Trader Joe's buffalo jerky is a favorite but it smells up the automobile. That stops mattering after the first few hours.

6. Why should people listen to your band?

I think we have something to say and we don't bullshit our way around saying it. That goes for the words for sure but it bleeds over into the musical side of things, too. We grew up in love with off-kilter rock music with a certain sadness about it that's more raw than it is hopeless. That's who we're writing for.

7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?

That's easy: Spud Webb. If Spud Webb was being a diva and didn't want to swap, it would have to be Hunter S. Thompson.

8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?

I bet everyone thinks they'd play it cool and not laundry list everybody in their life until they get up there and get hit with the moment. We'd definitely be one of those bands that gets cut off because even at our level we're already indebted to a mind-numbingly gracious pack of friends, family, and fans. We'd probably list out everyone by name, then thank the Beatles.

9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?

This is maybe the best time in history to be an independent musician. You have more control over the business that affects you. At the same time, all that control comes with responsibility for things that take you away from the creative center that got you into music in the first place. If one thing were to magically return from the music industry circa 1975, I'd want it to be the commitment to developing artists before pushing them out to the world. Give them an advance, let them get out from under their day jobs, rent them an cabin in Big Sur and just let them bloom for a few months while the business team lays plans back home. That would be heaven.

10. Memorable tour experience?

San Francisco always delivers because we generally crash somewhere within walking distance of where we're playing. That's about all we'll say about that.

11. What does AP.net mean to you?

The user-generated content piece of Absolute Punk speaks directly to the need for community in today's relatively fragmented music scene. Musicians being able to lean on one another and look to other folks in their position is important for the same reasons we mentioned in some of the responses above: the indie musician of today wears a lot of hats and sometimes you need guidance.

12. What is your favorite song to play?

We did a Pixies cover of "Where Is My Mind" a few months ago at a show in LA. There was something really special and haunting about the simplicity and immediate connection everybody in the room felt to that tune. Armada song would have to be "Pick Up the Pieces."

13. What is your vacation spot of choice?

Thailand, no question.

14. What music reminds you of your childhood?

The piece of recorded music I ever owned myself was the Wayne's World soundtrack, so Queen takes me back. "Siamese Dream" is another one that's been in my Walkman/Discman/MP3 player since the 6th grade. The entire "Suburbs" record actually gets me nostalgic in a weird way, too. I didn't grow up in the city and a lot of those images of ho-hum suburban life seeming so big in the moment ring very true to me.

15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?

Russia, circa 1985.

16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?

Cody used to always go on with an empty stomach but then he'd get too sloshy if he had a beer on stage. We tried doing a moment of silence but we're too immature to stay completely quiet. Now we just focus on not forgetting things like our instruments (which has definitely happened before).

17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?

We briefly considered starting a Twitter-based business that consisted solely of letting people know when there was no line at Pink's Hot Dogs.

18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?

Radio is interesting because it's been a while since it was the big kid in the sandbox. That's not to say it isn't still a great tool that provides a lot of value for bands like us. It's just that now you've got things like Spotify and YouTube and Pandora and Bandcamp that fill a lot of the music discovery functions that radio used to pretty much monopolize. We'd love to flourish on radio but I don't think being on it still signifies the "you've now made it" moment that it may have back in the day.

19. What do you like to do in your spare time?

Jeremy is a professional hobbyist--he gets good at a lot of things. He just taught himself how to ride a bike and now he does these giant 30-mile rides. Core kicks people in the face at his Muay Thai gym, edits video, and gets involved in other musical side projects. Cody surfs, eats, reads, and over-thinks his next tattoo. All three of us are constantly out seeing shows and trying to keep up with what's good in music. We also like good whiskey. And bad whiskey.

20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?

Cody can wiggle his ears. Core can drink his weight in iced coffee. Other than that, we've scoured ourselves for any last scraps of talent and tried to re-appropriate them for music. And for our million-dollar hot dog queue idea.
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