In this industry sometimes the music doesn't always come to you,
you have to go to it. In my case, the music came to Chicago (and not
KC), so I went. The music that I'm referring to, of course, being
the infamous Projekt Revolution. Now celebrating it's
5th anniversary, this tour is easily becoming a fan favorite. With
past tour artists including Cypress Hill, Korn, The
Used and Less Than Jake, this year was no exception to
the caliber of bands set in the past. For this tour, the line-up,
which was chosen by headliner and creator Linkin Park, featured:
My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, H.I.M.,
Placebo, Mindless Self Indulgence, and The Bled
(to name a few). With the help of some great publicists, I jumped
off the beaten path, went around the barricades and into the aisle
of tour buses for a few sit-downs with some of the brighter characters
and personalities of the tour. And in true festival fashion, the question
of the day was: "if you could be an animal for a day, what would
off was Cove aka lead singer for Saosin. Cove had a
unique entrance into the band, in that he had some big shoes to fill.
Those shoes belonged to Anthony Green, now lead singer for
Circa Survive. So as any "new" person would be in
a typical job, Cove seemed very eager. Not only about the interview,
but also the opportunities that the band had ahead of them. I came
out of that interview filled with a plethora of information:
Hybrid Magazine: You released your first EP on your own label,
is that still around?
Cove: No, that label was really just for that album. In actuality
it really wasn't a label, it was really just a means to put out that
album. There was no distribution.
HM: You've had some line-up changes in the past. Your current
one has stuck around for awhile. Anything specific to account for
the success of this one?
Cove: Besides the first album, there has really only been
one touring line-up. The longer you're with people, the more you're
going to get to know them and therefore the better you're going to
sound. It's definitely helped us to be as tight as we are.
HM: There's talk of a new album, is there any bits you can
Cove: No, we're not really focused on writing the record.
But everybody has ideas floating around, though there's no structure.
We're trying to decide if it'll be a heavier record or maybe a more
mellow one. Everything will come naturally. Between touring and the
studio, our next album will come out.
HM: You're at that hard part, right in between two albums
where you're simply fueling off releases. What are you doing to keep
your name fresh to fans?
Cove: New ideas, that will be the next step for the evolution
of this industry. Realistically, we'll really only have about 5 months
to write the new record. So naturally the concepts are already starting
to flow. In the end though, we will be keeping the fans entertained,
through the tours and our blogs and anything else we can come up with.
HM: So Capitol wouldn't let you give out your music to the
fans at Warped Tour. Is this possibly a downfall of major label status?
Cove: No, I don't think it's a downfall at all. I think it
taught us a lot about the business. We never really wanted to give
the music away to the fans. In all reality, with internet downloading,
it's always free. So what we did, we mixed like 5 songs just to be
released at Warped Tour. Basically, it was a way to tide over the
fans until we got this record done.
HM: If you could be an animal for a day, what would you be?
Cove: I actually have a dream of coming back as an ant. Making
those elaborate homes. If I had to be an animal though, it would be
second band was pretty much a 180 from the previous one in personality
and music style. Mindless Self Indulgence (aka MSI) could easily be
considered a veteran band, purely because of the fact that they can
trace their beginnings back 12 years, if not more. Being a seasoned
band presents some advantages over some of the other acts on this
tour; an established fan base, a library of music to choose from for
the set, and tons of touring experience. So like the headliner, MSI
had a packed crowd for their performance. Luckily for me, I had the
chance to meet up with them in a pre-sweat covered situation and figure
out the real method to their madness (prior to the interview I was
informed I literally had 5 min, so things moved quickly):
HM: It's been said that you use Atari-style effects in your
music. Have you ever actually used a physical Atari to make your music?
Mindless Self Indulgence: Yes, that's what we do. We use more
Atari style computers than sometimes the actual Atari system for the
sounds from the games.
HM: You've been at this over 10 years, any signs of calling
MSI: It's interesting to find that all of a sudden we're this
veteran band. We really wouldn't want to do anything else. This is
HM: What's a new way to describe your music?
MSI: Rock-tronic. The definition: MSI. No one else allowed,
just us. It's at least the one thing we've done. A whole section in
the record store for us.
HM: Why the 1980s? Why that decade as a primary influence?
MSI: It's not necessarily our primary focus. It is definitely
an influence. As far as decades, it has a lot of funny stuff. Between
bad technology, bad television and the cheesefactor. We're attracted
to the cheesefactor.
HM: You've pushed the envelope in your shows. Is there anything
you wish you hadn't done?
MSI: I wish we had not set up that precedent of going crazy.
Steve: I wish I hadn't broken my hip in NYC.
HM: How do you feel your music relates with the newer fans
that know less and less about the '80s?
MSI: If they don't know about the '80s, then they're going
to think we're the most original band. Essentially the '80s is really
more an ingredient to our music, as opposed to a main focus. We're
actually starting to broaden our audience on both sides of it, older
HM: You're all in a zoo, but as what??
Kitty: Polar bear
Jimmy: cute Datsun, porkchop
formed only about a year before MSI, Placebo followed along in the
vein of unique sounding, experienced band. This London based trio
of Brian, Stefan, and Steve have managed to give
us music stemming out of numerous genres all mixed together. One song
could be electronica, the next rock and the following pop. To be able
to do this and do it well enough that you're selling out major venues,
takes some creative minds. One of those minds, belongs to Stefan.
And for 20 min that afternoon, he let me pick at it:
HM: In '06 your contract with Virgin was officially spent.
How has the record situation been this year?
Stefan: It's kind of a sensitive time with it right now, so
we don't really want to talk about it. But yeah, our contract is up
with Virgin. The state of industry is interesting right now and it's
an exciting time. So we'll see what happens.
HM: You've had a pretty steady line-up over the years. What
do you think has attributed to the band being so happy and keeping
Stefan: We spend so much time together, about 10 months out
of the year. So if we didn't have respect, friendship and understanding
we wouldn't still be here. If the core of the band is not healthy,
then how can we exist, how can we make records?
HM: "Running Up That Hill" was such a unique turn
on music videos. What's the story behind it?
Stefan: That was something that we wanted to do together with
our fans. We put up a song to download and allow them to film themselves
singing. We cut and fit the various clips together and that's pretty
much the video. We had about a thousand people send in clips. The
fan response has been great overall.
HM: Changes in media seem to have been more of a hindrance
for your band than a helper. How have you adjusted to the changing
Stefan: The '90s was the golden era for record companies,
the CD was selling by the bucket loads. They were basically sitting
on a mountain of money and didn't think that things would change.
Then the internet came along and slapped them across the face. So
of course we were very disappointed when they were leaked. But, if
you're a good live band with a strong fan base then you'll be ok.
In a way, it's actually increased people's interest in music, because
of the ready availability.
HM: Do you think being considered an international act has
given you any advantages over the typical acts from the U.S.?
Stefan: I think the States are still very much focused on
homegrown talent. And it's very hard for international bands to really
break in here. We've planted the seed and just keep watering each
year, in hopes of really taking off. But we've always had a global
outlook and toured the world. For us the States is just a portion
of it, though a big portion.
HM: What do you think it is about your music that appeals
to multiple generations of fans?
Stefan: We've don't really sit down and analyze the process
of creation or what makes a Placebo song a Placebo song. It's very
much an organic process. In summary we're a rock band, we like to
turn it up and play fast.
HM: Place yourself as an animal for a day, ready go...
Stefan: An elephant would be quite fun. The grace, the size
and the gentleness.
Last and certainly not least, was the man and the band that were
the whole reason I was able to get into Projekt Revolution. About
2 months ago I met Matt from Madina Lake for the first
time, when they opened for Papa Roach. In our interview I had
expressed my interest in catching them on the Chicago stop of Projekt
Revolution. Well thanks to him and their publicist, there I was a
couple months later, sitting down with Matt again. This time a completely
different setting, a completely different tour and a completely different
state. After I thanked him profusely for helping me get there, we
started on what was more a "follow-up" interview:
HM: The last time I saw you guys, it was pre-Projekt and the
excitement had been building. Now you're one stop away from the end.
How was it?
Matt: It was the most spectacular experience we've had as
a band. For a multitude of reasons: one being we're on tour with the
two biggest rock bands in the world right now and they are the most
down-to-earth people we've met so far. The second is being motivated
and inspired by these bands and connecting with them.
HM: Congratulations on being named "Best International
Newcomer" by Kerrang. Is the that reason behind heading overseas
after this? Do you feel the need to get back to that crowd?
Matt: That's been our bread and butter over there. We actually
did our first tour with Paramore over there and were very successful.
So we got really excited to go back over there with Gym Class Heroes.
We decided to do a headlining tour before Kerrang and so since, the
venues have been selling out, which is awesome.
HM: You mentioned how it's harder to be an opening band in
the U.S. than it is in the U.K. With festivals it can be argued that
everyone's the headliner. Do you feel that Projekt was a little easier
than a typical tour?
Matt: I would say that it is easier, in that you have a more
diversified and open minded crowd. Based on the number of bands on
the bill. But everyday is a war in this business. You have x amount
of kids in front of you everyday that you have to win over.
HM: Where do your songs come from? What would you say your
lyrics stem from?
Matt: Enduring life. We're definitely inspired by musicians,
but we also read a lot. Drawing on personal life experiences and how
those connect with world experiences. Also harnessing how everyone
else has those same experiences and feelings. Then putting all that
down on paper.
HM: The average age of your band is slightly older than most.
Do you feel that this gives you any advantage?
Matt: Definitely yes. We've had the chance to master our skills
as musicians and people, before we started touring and making music.
I think a lot of younger bands might not have lived enough life to
really talk about it. Tragedies, heartbreaks, losses, etc. It's all
just stuff that you HAVE to go through.
HM: Come up with your own genre, just for your music:
Matt: Thinkers, music for thinkers. Good music makes you think
about the musicianship, great music makes you think about yourself.
We try to make music that makes people think about themselves.
HM: Animal for a day??
Matt: Penguin, that's easy. I adore those things! They look
like they're frustrated humans.
After that experience, this now has become my favorite of the touring
festivals. To me it was a scaled down version of Warped Tour. Still
all day, still skateboarding and BMXing, but at least the amount of
bands was manageable. You got to see who you wanted to see and all
of who you wanted to see. The top three headliners of: My Chem, TBS
and Linkin Park all put on unbelievable sets. Linkin Park played for
almost 2 hours and the energy never once stopped. From the first band
Madina Lake to the last Linkin Park, this festival was impressive.
All the way down to the sponsors like MLB baseball and Etnies, that
actually gave you something to do, while waiting for bands. I applaud
Linkin Park for the success of this tour and hope that it keeps going
for years to come. But hey, consider stopping in Kansas City, why
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