I had the pleasure to sit with the members of Lullwater before the show and ask them a few questions.
Music Matters: You mentioned on your website that you had a tumultuous two years since the release of Revival, enough so that it influenced your music. Do you want to talk about the influence of external forces on your music?
John: You know, I think between strife and relationships, that we were all going through pretty much at the same time, which was crazy and added a lot of passion to the record. And along with the music business and dealing with people in the music business who didn’t necessarily have our best interests at heart. We dealt with that. We battled a lot of changes and things like that that shaped the record. A lot of it was the emotional pain going through breakups. A lot of the record is angry and confused and anxiety-ridden I think because it’s from a place of confusion. Confusion with relationships, confusion with business, confusion with who you are and what you want to do. And that’s where we were.
Binnie joined the band two years ago and I think it’s the best lineup we’ve ever had and the lineup that makes us who we are today. And I think the record kinda…it showcases all that turmoil and all the fight. We were fighting. We’ve been fighting for a long time collectively towards everything else to fight as hard as we can.
Ray: With everyone but one another.
John: We’ve been fighting for this band and the music for a long time and I think there were certain events that happened before this record that got us angry and not just angry but confused and vulnerable that it definitely came into the record.
Music Matters: It would probably be obvious that your lyrics would have reflected that but what about the music itself? Was that any different or not necessarily?
John: I think so. As far as the writing goes, we all collectively wrote the record. Binnie had some songs. Ray came up with riffs. Joe’s got some riffs. I came up with some riffs.
Ray: It wasn’t that the struggle of those few years influenced the way the music sounded so much as we continued to improve on our craft and then we added Bennie in the mix so we had a lot of new ideas coming in so we just did the thing that was do but more of it.
Music Matters: On American Glutton, your sound has a heavy punk sound as compared to a lot of your other work and although it’s a little slower and more rocky, it has a resemblance to Green Day’s American Idiot. I don’t know if you realize that.
Ray: I guess that makes sense. We hadn’t really put that one together.
Especially the guitar’s got that British distortion sound to it. I thought, well this sounds familiar I mean not like it was copied but it’s like it just has that feel. So is there any connection or any reason to break out to that more of a punky style for that particular song? Because it really stands out from the rest of your work.
John: I mean, I never really, I mean I’ve heard Dookie, I’ve listened to Green Day Dookie but…for us we really wanted to go back…for us it was more like a Nirvana kind of vibe but it kind of translated into a different sound and the fact that we did that on analog tape too, that’s what gives it that kind of crunchy, warm, fat sound. What would you say, Ray?
Ray: I guess it makes sense because definitely the music comes first, like as far as writing chronology, so we wrote the music first but that one, it did have that punky feel to it, it had that little tongue in cheek solo bit in the beginning, yeah that could have definitely influenced the lyrics. John writes all the lyrics so I don’t know but punk traditionally is the protest music in the rock world.
John: And it’s pretty political. You know.
Ray: And the video for it is even more political.
John: I didn’t get that but yeah, that’s cool.
Ray: And it blew up just as large as American Idiot did. (group laughter)
Music Matters: You mentioned Nirvana. Although I am a fan of Nirvana, many of my friends scoff at the mention of them. I guess because they were played on the radio, at least around here, and still are. One local station plays them every day. I see you are not ashamed to mention Nirvana….
John: I’m a big Nirvana fan.
Music Matters: So, from that, what have you taken from them?
John: I think a lot. I would say between Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana, those bands for me were the influence for me as a writer. You know, I’m a grunge kid through and through. I think what we take from Nirvana is that kind of punk mentality or try to have that punk mentality but it’s ok to have melodies and it’s ok to experiment a little bit and be able to go a different direction on songs like American Glutton or Liars and Thieves to where there’s a lot of influence from Nirvana for sure.
Music Matters: Sounds like the experience at London Bridge Studios was pretty remarkable. But it looks like you’ve used some other studios since. Any desires of returning there?
John: You know, I think the coolest thing that we’ve done over the last three records is that we’ve made each record its own experience. And going to Seattle for a month and London Bridge was…that was Wayne’s World. You’re not worthy when the grunge icons recorded in that same studio. But then again, we went to Texas for Revival and it created its own environment. So each record, I feel like…and I think we’ll just continue going to different places to use the surroundings to put into that record.
Music Matters: That’s probably a good idea.
Ray: Yeah, we’d love to go back to all of them but I think it’s cool that we’re doing something new each time. But we did do some additional recording at London Bridge which we haven’t done anywhere else. We did that Seattle Sessions EP so we had like one and a half recordings from London Bridge.
Music Matters: So, when are you headed across the Atlantic?
John: You know, we don’t know. I think we’re working on it and our team is working on it. That’s always been kind of a dream for all of us I feel like, is to play Europe and tour out there. So, I don’t know. Hopefully…we’ll see how the record does, you know.
Joe: Everyone talks about it. It just hasn’t happened yet. It will. But we don’t have a timeframe.
Ray: Hopefully pretty soon because that would be pretty wild and pretty cool.