Interviewers: Jennifer F., Jesica Fowler, and Melissa Lozano |
Tim: (referring to High Voltage) So did you guys start the website?
Tim: Rad. That’s cool man, so who does what?
HV: We’re all writers, some photographers… She [Melissa] is the webmaster, she does all the website stuff. But we all contribute reviews and all that.
Tim: So you do all the technical stuff? Ah, cool man. All right. We do all that on our site. Well, Brad does most of it.
HV: He’s the web geek?
Tim: Yeah, we’ve all got Macs, we all bought Macs. You should get one.
HV: (Melissa) I know, I love Macs, but they’re expensive.
Tim: We all bought one. That’s like our little life. Like, in the van, you’ve got no personal space, but you’ve got your Mac. You can put your head phones on and listen to music. It’s pretty good.
HV: Your albums coming out soon in the US, what was the recording process like?
Tim: Recording process? It was heaps of fun, it was the first time that we had done a full length album. I thought it was an awesome opportunity to get all our material down. Cause we’ve been playing together five years, and had done EPs, but we’ve never had something that’s full length to give out to people. So we were all excited about it. And we recorded it in a place called Henson Studios, which is like Jim Henson, the muppet dude, yeah, yeah, in LA. It used to be called A&M, but it’s quite famous. And so, it has four studios there, and we recorded in Studio 4, which is where, like, my favorite band, U2, did Rattle and Hum in there. And for me it was like whoa, far out, this is pretty crazy. And then all the famous people that were walking around the studio, it was weird. Me and Jared (drummer) were running around and Don Henley was around the corner, from the Eagles, and we were like whoa! And we talked to him. And one day me and Tyson were bored and so for some reason we just took our shirts off and started running around the corridors, and we came around this corridor and Limp Bizkit was sitting there, and we’re like Hey, wicked! So that aspect of it was real cool. But the recording process, Brad, you want to talk about that?
HV: How long did it take to record it?
Brad: We started recording on March the 12th, last year, 2003. And we finished, we mixed it in New York, and it took three weeks to mix it and we finished mixing about May the 20th, something like that. So something like three months. Then after that, there was one song that still didn’t get mixed, “Walkie Talkie Man.” They just did heaps of different versions of it cause basically what we did was we recorded the full song in New Zealand, like, real cheap, it was basically what got us signed. And we just did a real rough job, so they were spending all this money on trying to redo the song, but it ended up not sounding as good as the original. So in the end, they just ended up remixing the demo that we did in New Zealand, in Wellington, and it’s kind of funny in a way.
HV: So the album’s already come out in some countries, how’s the response been to it?
Tim: Real good. Yeah, it’s come out in New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. So we’ve been in New Zealand for years, so it’s kind of nice to get that out. When we went back last time we did a big tour and the album was out, and you could see people singing the words and all that, which is real good. Then we went to Japan, which is weird cause we’ve never been to Japan before, we’ve never played a show there. It’s kind of weird cause we didn’t put any groundwork there and the album’s out there and we did a show and the kids were just crazy, everyone knew all the words. So it was kind of weird for us cause we’d never been there but all these kids knew who we were and knew all the words.
HV: How did the band name come about?
Brad: Oh, I just made it up when I was a young guy. It’s just a name when you always think of band names, so we’d do this one week test, we’d just saying something over and over in your head for a week and if you don’t like it at the end, it sucks. But it you do, it’s like oh, I can do that. I used to do graphics on cars and stuff, logos and that, so it’s the same for that.
HV: Do you guys all live in LA now?
Tim: Well it’s weird, we live a weird lifestyle really. We did during the recording process. We had an apartment and lived there for like four months, but now if we have time off we’ll go back there cause the label’s there, but we’ll live in a hotel. We live in hotels pretty much.
HV: What are some differences between LA and New Zealand, or the US in general?
Brad: They’re just two completely different cultures. I mean the American culture, with the amount of people in this country, seems like it runs a certain way to work, you know? Like, say, you go to a Best Buy and anywhere, it looks the same and you know where it is. It’s like established, where in New Zealand, there’s more room for more off the wall kind of things. The one thing I like in New Zealand is the food is a little bit better, a little more fresh maybe. But the food here is all right, you just have to get used to it. The coffee’s good in New Zealand.
HV: Do you get to go back to New Zealand often?
Tim: We try to get back as often as we can. We miss it heaps. The good thing about this culture is though, the shows here, are killer. Everyone’s really enthusiastic about music. You can play every night of the week pretty much and you’ll get a crowd.
Brad: People in New Zealand won’t do that.
Tim: Yeah, it’s just shows all the time, whereas in New Zealand, it’s so small. We did a tour where we were just trying to get more play and we did high schools and we played for about 7-8 weeks and we played almost every high school in New Zealand. And after that you can’t play again, cause you’re over played pretty much. So yeah man, you can just go for years. And the kids love it. You guys, when we come off stage are like, “Hey, yeah!” In New Zealand, when you come off stage, it’s kind of weird, no one says anything. And I’ll pull up beside a guy and sort of give you a nudge and he’s like, “Ah, good show man,” and then they’ll walk off. (laugh)
Brad: it’s their way of saying you’re wonderful.
Tim: Yeah, it’s just different. So I kind of like the American culture like that.
Brad: People like the bands more. They want to buy t-shirts, they want to get their tickets early, but in New Zealand everyone?s last minute, like, “You want to go to the show?” “Ok, let?s go.” They’ll walk out the door and buy a ticket at the door. And no one?s going to drive more than 45 minutes to see a show. It’s kind of weird, you guys have lines. Like there’s a line out there today.
Tim: In New Zealand, if you sell tickets, you probably sell tickets at the door, that’s where you make it. And everyone will stay home and drink and then come to the show, so the supporting bands don’t get anybody, then a whole lot of people come in.
HV: What’s in your CD player right now?
Brad: I’ve been listening to the new Phantom Planet album. I just got a free one. It’s really good, man. So are The Thrills. We just got off a tour with The Thrills, and their album is so cool. It’s kind of like Travis mixed with The Eagles, but happy. Like really uplifting theme to it. It’s really soothing but it’s really just fun and happy. They sing about Santa Cruz and baby baby and stuff, but the guys are really cool too. They don’t speak much, they’re quite quiet guys, but we just got off tour with them and they’re great guys. They’re going to tour with the Chili Peppers now in Ireland. So yeah, much respect.
HV: So do you get along with all of Phantom Planet?
Brad: Yeah, we were friends with them in New Zealand, they came and played New Zealand and we met them and kind of kept in touch really loosely over the last couple years. Then this tour came up and they asked us to come out. So it was really kind of a good opportunity.
Tim: They’re really nice guys.
HV: What kind of musical influences do you guys have?
Tim: Oh, all sorts. it’s kind of weird being in a band cause you have five different guys that listen to different music. So like, I grew up on U2 and things like that, now I really like Muse and Radiohead and things like that. But then you’ve Jake, the bass player, he really likes Primus.
Brad: I don’t like Primus.
Tim: In the van you get to listen to really different things. And then we’ve got Andy, who’s our camera man at the time and guitar tech and he’s like a hip hop sort of guy. And it’s cool, you get inputs quite a lot. And then Tyson, he really likes the Beastie Boys.
HV: Then your camera man will really like St. Louis, cause they’ve got Nelly.
Brad: One thing that’s happened in our band is that all our different sounds come out one way or another to kind of evolved to what we sound like now. So we didn’t really plan our sound. One thing about Steriogram is that when we started, I was the singer, and Tyson was the drummer. And it was kind of like a melodic rock band, like Supergrass or something. Then a couple of years later it starts this hip hop thing and it just evolves into this other whole thing, you know? So now, in a way, we’re only here because I think that like, I’m not sure if I’m right to say this but it seems like there’s a lot of different boxes for like music over here. You’ve got the new metal box, then the new sort of Stokes/Jet/Vines box, then you’ve got to find a box but I don’t think there’s a box for us at the moment. Cause no one really knows, like, “What genre are you guys?” And no one really put us anywhere, so we’re just like, we’ll wait and see what happens. I mean, a lot of people like the music and we’re encouraging that.
Tim: Like when you play to a new crowd, the first few songs you can see them just going, “Do I like this, or don’t I?” Then by like the third or fourth song they’re more sure.
Brad: And I think then they understand the music a bit more too. Cause if they just hear it on the CD, maybe it would still be cool but be a little different.
HV: What other jobs have you guys had?
Tim: My first job I think I worked at Pizza Hut, making pizza. So I did that then I worked at a bike shop, a motor bike shop. So I’ve been a student and stuff like that.
HV: What’s the worst job?
Tim: Pizza Hut. Dude, I used to work with chicks that would spit in the pizzas and stuff like that. So you see some stuff that you don’t really want to. And now all we eat is fast food, you think…
Brad: I bet I’ve eaten a lot of crap.
Brad: I used to do a paper route when I was little. I used to do this thing, I had it down because I was delivering junk mail, you know what junk mail is? Yeah, so I was delivery pamphlets. I’d take them up to all the old people who I knew would have money. And they used to give me chocolates for pamphlets. I don’t know how that works, and at Christmas time they would give me 20 bucks, so it was pretty cool. (laugh) But anyway, then I did gardening down my road. Some lady used to give me 10 bucks an hour just to pull the weeds out of her garden. On Saturday morning I’d go do this so I’d have enough money to go out with my friends on Saturday night, go to the movies with them. Then after that I did a job called, it’s a company, Turners & Growers, they distribute vegetables around to the big warehouses, so you got to drive a big forklift and that. I didn’t like peeling vegetables all day. Then the McDonalds, I’ve done so many freaking jobs.
Tim: One of my funniest jobs I’ve had was working for a promotions company, so I had to dress up in different suits. We got Nesquik, I was a Nesquik bunny for like an event. I was hugging all these little babies, like (high pitched voice) “Hi, how ya doing?” Then the worst one, I had to be the Highlander at the supermarket selling condensed milk.
Brad: Do you have photos of that?
Brad: You should have taken photos of that, man. (laugh)
Tim: So I had a kilt that wasn’t a kilt, it was a cotton towel. And I had like white socks, and I have really hairy legs. And I was carrying this tray of Highlander?s chocolates sort of things. It was bad, dude.
Brad: I did one for the same company as him cause we were all pretty much broke and did the same sorts of jobs. I dressed up as a pint of Guinness and had to walk up and down a main street. I had like a beanie on and the froth like came up to here (motioning up to his nose) and I was just looking out and the whole glass of Guinness was this big hoop around me. And you’d walk up to people like, “Hey, this is Guinness.” No one recognized me, thank God.
Tim: It’s quite funny. With the Nesquik Bunny, I did that once in a supermarket and you come up on old people that were looking at meat, and sort of put your hand out and grab a pack of meat. (laughing) And they look over it was just funny. It was good times.
HV: What do you do between shows?
Brad: It all depends on how much time between shows you have. Like last night, we played. The rundown from last night, we finished the show, I went bowling, then we went out and had a good time out in Iowa City, then we went to bed at like 6 o?clock this morning or something. We woke up at like 10, got back in the van and drove here and now we’re with you guys. It’s pretty much what happens everyday.
Tim: And if we’re not sleeping, we’re usually emailing or whatever. We get a lot of stuff on our site, so we try to answer as much of it as we can. Cause we sort of do the merchandise and all that sort of stuff. It’s pretty full on. There’s not a lot of time where you’re really bored. You get bored of the van.
Brad: The van’s like your down time. Because basically you can’t do anything because you’re driving. So that’s when you get on the computer and reply to emails or watch TV or just hang out. We don’t have a tour bus yet, so, I think when we get a tour bus it’ll be a bit easier, a bit more room and stuff. We’ve been in that thing for 60,000 miles, 150 shows now.
Tim: We’ve crashed it four times.
Brad: Three times spun it, one time just completely smashed it. Sometimes you do get a little like oh my goodness, like I’m just so tired right now and it’s like, we just got to keep going. Then you stop and think for a second, hang on, aren?t we getting paid to be in a band full time?
Tim: This is pretty good.
Brad: Then you just shut up. But it’s only like now and then you just have a time when you don’t want to see anyone cause you’re just tired and grumpy and the other guys in the band are hassling you about something. But that doesn’t happen much. You just learn to love each other.
Tim: it’s brotherly love.
Brad: it’s brotherly love in our band. We’ve been together five years now, so we’ve learned to get along and love each other.
Tim: it’s kind of a weird, a pretty unnatural thing, for five guys to be together 24/7.
Brad: it’s been full time for the last two and a half years. Before that we all had to have day jobs. So Jake would be working your shift work at the Petrol station and every time we had to go on tour he had to get fired. Cause his boss would be like, “If you leave, you’re not coming back.” So every time we came back he had to get a new job. (laugh) And my boss was like, “Brad, no more time off for tour, not for tour.”
HV: So you just got off the Something Corporate/Yellowcard tour right? How were the fans for that, because I know the SoCo fans are pretty hardcore.
Tim: That was huge.
Brad: That was the thing. At first we were a bit scared cause the emo/punk scene, we’d never played for before. We played for Trapt scene, we’ve played for Saliva scene, we’ve played for 311 scene, we’ve played for all these, but to go to emo/punk is completely different. But it went off the first show in San Francisco, we just came out and we were ourselves. And I think, I don’t know, I think people just got it. I don’t know how to explain that. And I love Something Corporate.
Tim: And the shows were awesome, just huge.
Brad: 2000 kids a night, every night.
Tim: Yeah, it was like sold out.
Brad: And we’re d riving to keep up with the buses, cause they all had buses, we were driving like 12 hours almost a day. I was so sick by the end of it. But we wish we could still be on it as well, it was such a fun tour. It’s just when you get that thing with all your friends on tour, cause all the bands hang out every night, it’s just like a big brotherly love thing on the road, I guess.
Tim: It’s kind of funny jumping from that scene to now Phantom Planet. Just seeing the change in crowd and what you have to do to work a crowd. I think it’s safe to say that the Phantom Planet scene is a lot more mellow.
Brad: It’s almost like they’re more intelligent as well, they’re more of an analyzing crowd. They’ll sit back and “this is a really good song, I like that song.”
HV: How was the Yellowcard crowd, more crowd surfing?
Brad: Yeah, more crazy. We’d just walk out and it’d be (noise). And then Sean from Yellowcard would be like, “Man, you tired the crowd out again for us tonight.” (laugh) And we’d be like, sorry man. Yeah, it was great. But this tour is cool as well. We just played in Minneapolis, and that was the best show on the tour so far. The crowd was just great. Then when Phantom comes they go off cause they know the songs.
HV: Do you guys have a favorite city of all time to play?
Brad: Well, besides New York, cause New York’s kind of the biggest, Seattle’s probably my favorite city.
Tim: Seattle and I really like San Diego.
Brad: Oh yeah, that was so cool. We went off road skateboarding. it’s like being on California games. It was cool.
Tim: I think it’s most like New Zealand almost. San Diego. (about his food) The food in America is huge.
HV: Yes, our portions are generally larger, we’re a fat country.
Tim: I discovered Steak and Shake for the first time. Good fries. Frisco melt is great. I love it, man. And their shakes are wicked, with the fudge. I like it.
HV: Do you have any pet peeves?
Tim: Jared, our drummer, has the most high-pitched voice that anyone has got. It’s super high, I don’t know how he does it. And he just gets excited and he’s just like a kid and screaming all this stuff in the back. But it’s not too bad when you’ve got your laptop, you just put on your headphones, and the whole world goes away. But I don’t know. You don’t really know what annoys you until it does.
Brad: I’m the guy that stays up too late but I?ll just be working away and someone’s just like, “would you just freaking go to sleep,” so I’m like, ok, sorry. Because I just can’t sleep sometimes.
Tim: Everybody’s got their different quirks. After awhile, we’ve done well to deal with stuff like that, you have to.
HV: Do you have any weird fan stories?
Brad: We can’t talk about this in an interview, last time we said something we got in so much trouble.
Tim: They found out. As soon as it’s on the website, they’re all on us.
Brad: I know they’ll be reading it tomorrow.
Tim: People forward them around to people.
HV: So you’re not going to say?
Brad: Oh, I’m not going to say anything. (laugh) Oh, no way. it’s not a thing with the guys, we’ll just leave it at that. The guy thing usually is guys want to be in a band a lot of times. So they’ll talk to you for hours about random stuff but the thing is, I was the same way at 16. If I could hang out with a band, man, I’d have a billion questions to ask them, so I don’t mind that. But if it’s some girl who doesn’t know what to say and keeps on emailing you every day saying the same thing. Then when I don’t reply to them because I’ve got about 100 emails coming in a day. It’s like they take for granted they can have a relationship with you one on one when that just physically and realistically can’t happen But it’s like they get offended because you’re not giving them the attention they want. At the same time, you’d love to give it to them of course, but you can’t. Is that a good way of explaining it withou t getting us into trouble?
Tim: But we haven’t had any stalkers like in the shower yet or anything. (laugh)
HV: What kinds of movies and TV have you been watching?
Tim: We watch a lot of Pay-Per-View in the hotels. So Butterfly Effect, have you seen it? I thought it was going to be kind of crap, but it was like really good. It freaked me out a bit.
Brad: Along Came Polly. I love Ben Stiller. And Jennifer Aniston is a beautiful creation.
Tim: I watched a psycho one the other night, called Monster. She’s real hot, but in that, she’s not hot.
HV: I think she won the Oscar for that, didn’t she?
Tim: I can see why, she did really well. Yeah, she’s a prostitute and then the first guy was going rape her, then she got in the habit of killing. it’s a true story. It freaked me out.
Brad: I just watched Whale Rider. It was filmed in New Zealand. it’s just one of those films that reminds me of home a lot. The area and scenery made me miss New Zealand, but at the same time it’s such a beautiful story about this one girl. I don’t know what it would be like for you guys to watch it. But you should watch it, it’s good. Have you guys seen Lord of the Rings?
HV: Of course. We love it. We have pictures of the characters on our staff photos for the zine.
HV: What kind of older movies do you guys like?
Brad: When I was 16, I used to love that movie with Tom Hanks and Liv Tyler in it, called, That Thing You Do. My band at the time covered that song for our prom or whatever. (sings a bit from the song) Anyway that was a good one, what other movies, Predator. That movie’s great, we watched it in science. We had a really bad teacher. We also watched My Girl 2 in science.
Tim: My favorite movie of all time: Top Gun. We always walk out to it, on stage.
Brad: Have you seen us play live yet?
Tim: Well you’ll hear it tonight too, the opening track is off of Top Gun. So I love it, I don’t know why.
HV: How about TV shows?
Brad: Quite a lot. I love South Park, and Family Guy. I actually, this sounds pretty gay, but me and Jared, we’re like buying a series of Friends each so we’re up to six now. I just love Joey and Chandler heaps. Cause in the van, you do 20 hour drives, and you can just watch a whole season of Friends, and it just keeps going one after another. But that’s probably embarrassing.
Tim: I just got into The Sopranos. I heard this big buzz about The Sopranos, so it was one of those I had to see. it’s quite full on.
Brad: Is it filmed in New York?
HV: I’m pretty sure.
Tim: I don’t know. It looks like New York. Cause he drives over a bridge it looks like New York.
Brad: I like The Office. If you guys have worked for a psycho boss before, like an egotistic boss. I’m sure you have at one time in your life. If you even work for the slightest egotistical boss who totally has no clue what he’s doing it will be the funniest thing you’ll watch. I was on a plane from Sydney to Melbourne five weeks ago. I’d already been into The Office for like a year or so. And there were all these corporate people on my flight and they were watching it on TV and they were laughing so loud that the airline attendant tapped me on the shoulder and was like, “what are they watching, what are they watching?” ’cause they all thought it was the funniest thing. It’s just funny. It’s like a tragic comedy. The guy’s an absolute moron, but he’s so lovable.
HV: I think that’s all our questions.
Brad: You didn’t ask what sports I do.
HV: Oh, what sports do you do?
Brad: I don’t do any sports.
Tim: I used to do rugby. Rugby’s our national sport. But I’m too skinny.
Brad: I used to be a soccer player.
Tim: I got knocked out seven times. It was good times. It was fun.
HV: Any broken bones?
Tim: No. We played cricket as well, you know what that is? I broke my fingers playing cricket. I caught the ball wrong, cause it’s a hard ball.
Brad: I like rally driving.
Tim: Oh, rally driving is great.
Brad: Do you guys know what rally driving is?
HV: Not really.
Brad: You have a really fast turbo driven car that’s a really small car. Like a Subaru WRX. There’s not many in America, it’s big in New Zealand. It’s basically hanging really fast across country roads. You need a good driver to do it.
Tim: I saw this one picture when we were younger this guy hit this sheep at 180 kilometers per hour and the sheep just exploded. They put roll cages in and the cars are real strong, but they’re fast. You have about 20 teams or 20 drivers.
Brad: You have to be the fastest time through a certain amount of miles or something.
Tim: Then you have a real tight corners.
Brad: That’s what I want to become. Cause of those expensive sports I need some money to buy a car. Costs a lot of money to be in a band.
HV: So it’s not like race car driving here?
Brad: That’s one thing I can’t understand about America like that. You got Nascar and just drive around and around a circle. How boring is that?
HV: But they have some hardcore fans.
Brad: Yeah, I’m not saying they don’t, it’s crazy big. I’m not saying it’s not big. I’m saying I can’t comprehend it. We have this thing in Belfast, in Australia and New Zealand, like Australian Holden. Like Ford versus Holden, which is kind of like GM versus Ford over here. And it’s the biggest event of the year, all the Holden’s versus Fords. And the track is like 6 kilometers long and it’s winding and there’s like all these corners, like famous corners, and all the different passings. And they do 100 laps or something but it’s like a proper circuit. it’s so much fun to watch. But Nascar, it’s just like round and round. it’s like another thing I can’t understand is that in America, they used to have rugby, you guys were the Olympic champions of rugby in 1924. it’s like our national game. And then in like 1925, somebody invented American football. And I can’t understand that game, I’ve tried so hard to watch it. But Tim’s starting to get into it.
Tim: Like Madden. Yeah.
Brad: But it takes so long to do a move. you’ve got to strategize it out.
Tim: And you’ve got to change a whole team pretty much. If you’re like defending, you’ve got to change it all.
HV: Do you have a favorite team?
Tim: No. No, not really. We watched the Superbowl, so we all picked a team for that.
Brad: Did our team win?
Brad: What team was it?
Tim: Got me. (laugh) We picked the right one anyway.
Brad: It’s pretty hard, you’ve got a 50 percent chance. But my two teams for NBA, I’ve got a west coast team and an east coast team. My east coast team is Miami Heat, Rafer Alston’s my man. And I’ve got Koby on the west coast with the Lakers.
HV: Well, thank you guys so much.
Tim: Thanks a lot, man.