Friday, 16 April 2010

Christmas Island interview

I've talked about Christmas Island a fair bit over the past couple of months. But, like so many other bands that I just stumble upon by accident, I didn't really know much about them. So, I sent off some random, fairly general questions in the hope that one of them might answer. Eventually, Brian did. Hooray. In hindsight there's a bunch of things I could have and should have asked, but hey, it was an experiment....and it maybe next random spur-of-the-moment email to a band will contain more exciting questions. Anyway, here goes....I haven't edited anything...not even spelling mistakes. The unanswered ones remain unanswered.

So, hi Christmas Island. Thanks for doing this…and sorry if I'm being terribly amateurish. But, but…let's start with the basics. There's not a huge amount about you on the internet, so please fill us in. Who's answering these questions? Who's in the band? Names, ages (if you feel like telling us) What do you play? Where are you from? What's it like?
Brian: Me, 29, Vocals and guitar. Lucy, 26, drums. Craig, 29, guitar and keyboard (live)

Apart from being in an awesome band, what do you do? Do you have "normal jobs"? If so, how is that working out with touring etc?
Brian: I work a 9-5er at a local alt-weekly. It sucks for touring because I have to figure it out based on my vacation time but it beats being broke. Lucy works at a gelato shop. Craig works at a video store.

General band-related stuff. Band name, where did it come from? How and when did you start playing together? When was your first show?
Brian: I stumbled across the name somewhere and I liked the ring of it. It sounded mysterious. Once I found out A-bombs were tested there, it sealed the deal.
Lucy and I had already been dating a while and when both of our previous bands broke up (The Cowabunga Dudes and Holy Boys, respectively), we decided to play music together. Our first show was in April '08. Craig joined the band in June '08.

Your album, "Blackout Summer" was out last year but I only just discovered it at the beginning of this year…and I absolutely love it….it's just great. How/where/when did you record it?
Brian: Thanks! We recorded it in Fall '08 with Mike McHugh at the Distillery in Costa Mesa, California.

Some songs are really quite personal (Weird It Out for example), while others tackle lighter topics (Dinosaurs springs to mind). So, first I guess I'm wondering how you write songs? And who writes the lyrics? Sharing of duties? And how did you decide what went on the album? Was it ever a concern that the songs tackle such different subjects? Personally, I think it's what makes the album so amazing; that you go from thinking "aww…that's so sweet" to screaming "Brontosaurus! Tyrannosaurus REX!" in the space of a few songs. And then the Nineteen seven-inch has a completely different feel to it from the album. Any particular reasons behind that?
Brian: I write all the guitar parts and lyrics. All the songs are pretty personal. Even "Dinosaurs" is more about feeling alienated and being a misanthrope...but it's also about dinosaurs, too. It's always been my intention to have each song be about a different subject just because it gets redundant to sing about the same stuff. At the same time, though, I think there's common themes that run through all the songs.

Hmmm….maybe I should do that horrible "what are your influences" question…rephrased as please tell me some random bands of personal importance throughout your lives. What did you listen to in school? First record you bought?
Brian: Personal importance? For my whole life? Man, it's all over the place. In chronological order: Richie Valens, Metallica, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, The Descendents, Operation Ivy, Dead Kennedys, Jawbreaker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, CAN, Television, Urinals, Desperate Bicycles, Tronics, Alex Chilton, The Terminals.
The first records I ever bought were MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice on cassette.

What was the first concert you ever went to?
Brian: Nine Inch Nails at the Universal Ampitheatre in '92. Marilyn Manson (who was fairly unknown at the time) opened. He sucked.

The last concert you went to, as a fan, not as part of the line-up?
Brian: The Strange Boys w/ Heavy Hawaii at the Casbah. Love both of those bands.

How do feel about "illegal" downloading of your songs, blogs sharing your album on the internet etc. I have to confess to having downloaded everything I could find by you, which was the album and the seven-inch….oh and some demos of album tracks. However, I am planning on seeing you at least once at South By Southwest (any show in a place called Beerland simply has to be awesome) and if you have anything to sell, I'm planning on buying it. Really. I promise.
Brian: I don't really give a shit about illegal downloading. I do it all the time. If I really like something, I'll buy the record...and sometimes I won't. Who cares.
If people want to download our music for free, that's fine. I'm just stoked that people want to listen to our band in the first place. We canceled SXSW. Sorry! We got kind of overwhelmed.

Everyone in a band has friends in bands. What local/friends' bands should I check out?
Brian: The aforementioned Heavy Hawaii are always great. I've also really been diggin' Nude Boy.

Future plans? More releases? Any plans to cross the Atlantic and come visit the UK?
Brian: We're just finished the songs for our split 7" with Meth Teeth on Sacred Bones. After that is a 12" EP on Woodsist which is about halfway written. We're adding a bass player so it's going to sound a lot different. Christmas Island 2.0.
We're planning on coming to the UK and possibly Europe later this year. Stay tuned!

That's it. Thanks Brian for answering my rubbish questions. I was completely bummed out that they cancelled South by South-West, but shit happens. Hopefull I'll get the chance to see them soon enough.

Christmas Island myspace

Two songs that I've already posted, in case you still haven't heard them. Both are from the album Blackout Summer, which is rather awesome indeed. Buy it!

Dinosaurs (Mediafire link, mp3)
Blackout Summer (Mediafire link, mp3)

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