Thanks to Twitter I managed to do an interview with Wes Fareas (guitars/vocals) of Name. He’s the main composer and lyricist and he had a lot to say about the new record, the background of his lyrics, crazy antics and everying in between. Prepare yourself for a bumpy ride through one of the most entertaining and interesting interviews I’ve done in a long time…
Congratulations on releasing such a sonic fragmentation bomb that is Internet Killed The Audiostar. How’s the feedback from press and fans coming along? Are you satisfied on how your new album turned out?
Thank you. The feedback has been better then we originally anticipated. We knew varying groups of people would enjoy the record because we were very confident in what we had accomplished, but we never expected it to be so widely accepted and enjoyed. There is definitely something for everyone on the album, so I guess it is appealing to different groups of music fans. That has been the ultimate success for us. That so many different groups came together in some way and wanted to understand what we were doing. It is incredibly humbling.
Internet Killed The Audio Star is an obvious reference to Video Killer The Radio Star by Buggles. Can you clarify the connection between them and how it translates into the lyrics on your latest album?
When Video Killed The Radio Star came out, it set the status for new music culture. It’s undeniable that the existence of MTV, when they still played music videos, was a defining cultural landmark. With Internet Killed The Audio Star, we see it as the next evolutionary step. I’m not saying our record is the next step, we’re just acknowledging the elephant in the room and saying “we’re all aware the times have changed, there’s no point living in the past”. The title is pretty self explaining, but the whole theme of the album is just a perspective piece. Throughout the lyrics, I use a lot of dialogue showing the connections between different kinds of people in different kinds situations. It allows you to adapt as if you we’re watching a film, or overhearing others talk. The whole underlining theme is just talking about our disgust with the current inadequate state of heavy music and the lack of a work ethic. So many bands rely on the available technologies and it makes them lazy. It’s one thing to use them as a tool; it’s another to completely depend on them.
On the Name Myspace you posted a statement that your lyrics are just as important as the music. You also says the lyrics represent what you for. Where doe you stand for and can you give some clear examples in connection with the band’s lyrics?
I just believe in honesty. Even if you’re lying, there’s a truth in that lie. My lyrics will always be my number one instrument. I’ve always wanted people to take the time to read them in connection with the music. It’s like making a film and this is the dialogue. The power of word is incredibly underestimated. As well as human interaction. In my songs I like to paint the picture of the situation and let your imagination do the rest. I’m not one of those singers that will command you to do things through my lyrics, things like: Fuck Shit Up!, Party All Night And All Day, Worship Satan, Worship My Shitty Haircut. I’m just a fucked up guy letting you into a vulnerable part of my mind. I’ve always been really interested in disorder and defiance of the human mind. It’s incredible how many terrible things we’re all capable of. I find peace in its simplicity. My lyrics are just an introspective social commentary on the ugly side of humans. The honest side. When I die, I’d like to be remembered for my words. It’s all that I am and all I really have.
How does the writing process work in Name?
Well, we’re all constantly writing and working with ideas that sometimes start off verbal, and then we find the sounds in it. Jeremy and I usually have a riff, or Jeremy has sequences in his head, and I have some personality I want to convey in the skeleton of the songs, and Bobby helps out to redefine the atmosphere. It’s an incredibly collaborative process. In a simple case, I’ll write a song, Jeremy comes in with a few riffs he had, I find a way to organize and make them make sense. Then Bobby and I take a full front seat with arranging process. Then we all do what we do best and add those subtle traits here and there, which, at times, have completely reshaped a song. I’ve gone in with completed songs before and they always come out slightly different and it gives a whole new personality to the song. I find that exciting. As an artist, it’s the only way I’ll grow; by working together with other like minded people.
When you look back on the recording sessions of your latest album, What are your most fond and worst memories?
The studio is always a unique beast to deal with. You’re under the microscope and no matter how big the studio might be, you still get a sense of claustrophobia. That’s the case for me anyways. We always feel like there’s never enough time. That, in turn, has helped us because we work well under pressure. It makes us vulnerable; We have to be impulsive and honest. It opens all doors for us. Most of the time, we aren’t aware of it. We have to take a step back and see what the hell is going on. I can be a pain in the ass in the studio because the hardest part about recording for me is getting the sound I hear in my head into the computer. We’re all perfectionists in everyone sense of the word and that is why we feel that we never have enough time. Tensions can run high because of that, some bad, some incredibly funny. My most fond memories are the impulsive actions we made which made the song sound that much better to us. We all start smiling and laughing cause it just worked so well. Those are my favourite moments. Also, talking shit through the talk back mic never gets old to me. Worst memories? Was just the lack of time we had with certain sections of the record. When we get into the studio, it’s all about our artistic integrity and having fun with our music. But, then the unfortunate realities of finances come into play and seriously threaten our mood. We find a way to make it work, like I said, we work well under pressure. But sometimes, it’s just hilarious getting drunk in the vocal booth and laughing at hearing Bobby and our engineer fighting, hahaha.
Your music is a combination of many different influences from Jazz, blues and funk to deathmetal, progrock and grindcore. Is het so important for the band to be eclectic and how do you manage to make the compositions flow?
We all listen to many different styles of music, so we felt why limit ourselves. If we enjoy the music and we’re capable of playing it, why the hell not? I feel like we’d be cheating ourselves if we left out those parts in our songs because it would take it away from “sounding metal”. We never have had to force it. I know that might sound ridiculous and slightly pretentious, but I’m dead serious. We just started doing it when we were real young and we just thought it sounded good and gave the song a unique face. It didn’t alienate the 3 of us because we have such eclectic musical tastes. We’ve never had to go “Hey! Write a jazz part cause it’ll make us look artsy”, haha. We just do what we want to and that will always be the basis of this band. We just don’t care.
In my review I drew comparisons with bands like Mr Bungle, Cephalic Carnage, Between The Buried And Me, Fantomas and The Dillinger Escape Plan. What do you think of the aforementioned bands and are you by any chance influenced by them?
All those bands are incredible and we very much are fans of them. We get a lot of BTBAM and Dillinger comparisons. I think it’s just because they find comfort in relation by comparison. I don’t think we sound like those bands at all. I think we have incredibly similar traits because we all grew up listening to the same shit when we were young. There have been countles times where Greg (Dillinger) and I have just geeked out on bands. That helped me realize why the sounds, although unique in our own rights, are still very similar. It helped put it in perspective I suppose. I’m also very glad you said Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, and Cephalic Carnage. I have always been a huge Cephalic fan, so I’ve always been into the chaotic side of metal; and Mr. Bungle and Fantomas are definitely major inspirations. I still listen to Mr. Bungles California a lot and sometimes see where we might have gotten the inspiration to making things so unpredictable in the music. There’s nothing new under the sun anymore. So we take the pieces we’ve fallen in love with and find the sound that best describes our personality as music appreciators. We’re just channelling our youth into sound. We’re evolving.
Can you tell our readers some more about your own influences and musical heroes?
Shit, that could take all day. I’m already given you a novel with my answers, haha. But, off the top of my head. Soundgarden was a major reason I wanted to be in a band. Chris Cornell has a flawless voice. I’ve always took a great interest in male vocalists with higher voices. Jeff Buckley is definitely another. Robert Plant from Led Zep, Joe Anderson from Yes, Steve Brodsky from Cave In, Daniel Johns from Silverchair, Steve Perry from Journey. I’m also really into female singers. Ceu, Sade, Ella Fitzgerald, Bjork, Deborah Anderson, etc. I’m very into jazz and french bossa nova. Guys like Jean Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz. I also liked a lot of ambient works like Robin Guthrie and Clint Mansell. As far as heroes growing up, I like works of Chris Cornell and Scott Weiland. As well as heavier vocalists like Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory. Growing up I was raised with a lot of 80′s metal and synth pop. So Motley Crue, Scorpions, Whitesnake; David Coverdale has one of the best voices in rock and roll, hands down. Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears to Massive Attack, Portishead, Aphex Twin to Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Neurosis to Refused, Candiria, Botch to The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Tom Waits. I listen to so much music it’s almost disgusting. I even listen to just ambient noise like Fennesz, Zelionople, Hammock, Christopher Willits, The Holy See. Outside of music, I’m incredibly inspired by film. I’ve always been a huge film guy, getting involved with small projects here and there, which I would like to get more into. Beautiful films strike up a huge spark in me. I have a condition called Synaesthesia, my brother and I both do, so we find inspiration in the weirdest of places in the most unlikely situations. I’m also a very big reader. I love books like “God Is Not Great, How Religion Ruins Everything”, “The God Delusion”, Blindness”, Jim Morrisons poetry books, and especially the philosophy of George Carlin. Even as an artist, I still find myself geeking out over a lot of music, film, art and writing. It’s hard to pin point just one area that I draw from. Amidst all the shit this world is offering, there’s also inspiration ready to be found.
Name is touring quite a lot lately. When can we expect your guys on a stage in Europe and how “rock n’ roll” is life on the road for the band?
If we had it our way, we’d be on tour constantly. We definitely plan on hitting Europe as soon as we can. It’s just a matter of finding the means being that we have no avenues of resources to do it ourselves. I guarantee it will happen though… A Name tour is incredibly “rock n’ roll”. We’re self contained out on the road, we know what needs to get done, so we do it. Yes, our music is serious and what not, but doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. Actually, even in certain songs like Killer Whales, Man, Dave Mustaine, and Mare we stray away in showing the listener to not take themselves too seriously. Music is fun. You start writing songs and start a band because you have so much fun playing music with your friends. That’s exactly what we’re doing. When we’re on the road, we just try creating the most positive and funning experience for anyone around us, because we’re all together for a common purpose. We laugh a lot and drink a lot. Sometimes, I feel our livers picked up, where Motley Crue left off haha. If we’re going to be dirt bags by sleeping in the hot van, driving hours upon hours with little to no money, eating shitty food if any, then might as well accentuate the positive aspects about tour. Like meeting new people, listening to good bands, partying hard with good people. I find myself being what some might call self destructive, but you know what? I’m having the time of my life.
Do you guys have any touring rituals and can you share some funny touring stories?
No real rituals. We stretch A LOT. If you’ve seen a live show, you know that it’s much needed. We look like we’re in a yoga class but with beers or glasses of whiskey in our hands. I usually have a couple drinks before going up. As far as tour stories, there are so many that would take up hours of reading time, haha. We post a lot of good stories on our BlogSpot (http://namefuck.blogspot.com) and a lot of good videos on our YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/name). A couple good ones off the top of my head, we played New Orleans while on the road with East Of The Wall earlier this year and met some cool people. Long story short, they got us incredibly drunk. I mean just LIT. Gone, hammered, dead. We all seemed to keep our composure, so I thought, but Jeremy (bass) was so out of his fucking mind that half way through the set he grabs the mic and just loudly starts offering to “suck everyone’s dick” haha… Lines like “You guys are all so fucking awesome! I love you! You’re such good looking people, I’m going to suck all your dicks!”. Needless to say it went from an awkward confusing, so just booming laughter. I sat there, walked to the bar, ordered a shot and a beer, and had both DONE before he gave me the microphone back, haha. Later that night he asked me “…hey… did we play tonight?” To this day, he does not remember playing that set. He has no memory of New Orleans. Good, good night. Another one would have to be our roadie Donk saying as we roll into New Jersey: “You know what? I want to face fuck me a Jersey girl”. Turns out later that night, he accomplished his goal with a totally “down for the party” girl because they did it in front of us all, hahaha. I know we sound like dirt bags, but why lie about shit like that? Why keep it to ourselves? Its way to goddamn funny and you fucking know it.
As my final question I would like to know what you’re listening to on your I-pod/MP3-player and what bands can you recommend to our readers?
Right now, I’ve been listening to a lot of Mew, a lot of Blonde Redhead. We listened to Genesis‘ entire discography on our last tour and it was amazing. The new Oceansize record is so goddamn good it hurts my heart. I wish I wrote that thing, haha. As far as some new stuff, I’m really in love with East of the Wall’s record Ressentiment and Iron Thrones The Wretched Sun. The new Tony Danza Tapdanca Extravaganza record is insane and heavy as shit. The new Deftones record knocks me on my ass, it’s incredible. I always find myself coming back to Cave In at least once a week. The new The Bled record blew my mind, their song Breathing Room Barricades makes me feel like my chest is caving in. Then there’s other constant rotations like This Will Destroy You, A Storm of Light, and The Depreciation Guild. I recommend listen to a Brazilian singer named Ceu, she has the sexiest voice i’ve ever heard. I recommend every band I just named, plus some others like: Helms Alee, Trap Them, Dead Weather, Sleepy Sun, Fleet Foxes, and if you want to know more, hit us up on our face book at http://www.facebook.com/nameband. Guaranteed we will respond and we can geek out on music together. We’re always willing to give you new recommendations.
Thank you for your time and effort. Can you close this interview in style?
Thank you and those reading this. A good thing brought to my attention was this; I like any reaction I can get with my music. I mean if you can get a whole room full of drunk, stoned people to actually wake up and think, you’re doing something. I love making music and I love sharing it with all of you. Keep in touch, don’t be fascists. Hit us up on all our forms of social networking. http://www.facebook.com/nameband, http://www.twitter.com/name, http://www.myspace.com/name. We plan on playing everywhere the world will let us, and even some places that won’t let us. Check out our record “Internet Killed The Audio Star” if you’re interested in honest music. Read the lyrics say hi on face book and let me know your interpretations. I’m always incredibly interested in hearing what you get out of it. We’re doing it together. We’re here as a celebration of surviving in a time where true people are a dying breed. Enjoy. Indulge. Cheers.
written by Raymond Westland