Tuesday, February 24

Words with... Still Flyin'

. Tuesday, February 24

Can you briefly describe how, when and why the band formed?

The band started as a joke "reggae" band based around a joke "reggae" song I wrote in another band called Je Suis France. The song was so much fun to play live that I wanted to start a band around it, which is pretty ridiculous looking back on it now considering we're still a band. I'd recently moved to San Francisco and asked everyone I knew to join my new band, figuring I'd fill out a lineup if I asked a ton of people. To my surprise fifteen people showed up to the first practice and that's why the band is so big. As soon as we started playing we liked it so much that "joke" and "reggae" eventually morphed into "serious" and "party". Although the words "serious" and "party" don't seem to go together, do they? What I mean is it's not a joke band anymore. It pretty much hasn't been since the first couple of practices.

Tell us about the two singles you have released so far 'Good Thing It's A Ghost Town...' and 'Forever Dudes'

"Ghost Town" is a thunderjam about going to work hungover after a night of partying. I guess the lyrics are pretty negative for such a happy sounding tune. If you wanna look on the bright side I guess you could assume a lot of fun was had the night before? Although there is no mention of any kind of awesome time - just bad times at work the next morning. A very good song to play and to dance to. Put it on at a house party watch a hammjamm break out of nowhere.

"Forever Dudes" is a song about my buddy's bachelor party. Twenty dudes rented a party bus and we had a weekend of insanity. But really it's a song about loving your friends. It's the ultimate song to dedicate to pals in the audience. Say you're on tour and you're running late and don't have time to meet up with your friend before the show, dedicate "Forever Dudes" to them and all will be forgiven. I need to write more songs that will get me out of trouble.

What are the problems with being in a band with 15 members? Cramped sleeping conditions and no money I assume.

Well you've nailed two of them! Scheduling band practice is the one that most interviewers ask about, and that one is bad too. The logistics of this thing is like solving a rubik's cube in order to open a can of beer. One time we played in Uppsala, Sweden, and they told us they had an empty apartment for us to stay in. After the show they took to the basement of this dormitory and opened the door to a small room completely covered in IKEA mattresses. There was nothing else in the whole "apartment", not even a toilet. So we slept like sardines side by side. It was kinda fun I guess.

And what are the advantages to being in such a large band?

I've been in a lot of bands, some of which have released records and toured and all that stuff, and this is BY FAR the funnest band I've ever been a part of. It's like going on a big road trip with 15 of your best friends and it just feels like a big party. It's really chaotic and not for everyone, but somehow everything magically comes together and everyone has the greatest time. It feels more like sports team than a band. I've been in so many bands over the course of my life and going back to four person band just seems so boring, albeit much easier.

Would you say your music has a Californian style or is influenced by your home town of San Francisco?

A lot of people outside the US describe us as California or West Coast pop, but I don't even know what that means. I'm not even from California so I don't know if we have that style. Some of us are from California though. Probably half of us. San Francisco doesn't really influence us either. Right now there seems to be a big garage revival happening here and before that a bunch of shitstorm noise bands. For better or worse we definitely haven't followed any musical trend as of yet! Seems like San Francisco is known for hippies and stuff and we think it's pretty funny when the media refer to us as hippies. As far as lifestyle goes we're pretty far from hippies but I can see how it could seem that way with our worldview. I wanna start selling Still Flyin' frisbies - that will definitely seal the deal. I bet those hippies might like our music though. We should try to break into that market.

You are signed with Moshi Moshi in the UK, how did that come about? And why did you decide to work with them?

We're really good friends with Architecture in Helsinki and I think Cameron Bird told Stephen Bass to listen to us. This was three years ago or something, before we even had proper recordings. At that point we were too reggae for Stephen I think but he was intrigued. As I mentioned before, since then we've gotten progressively more "serious" and less "reggae" so by the time we recorded our album he was really into us. We decided to work with them because they seem like an excellent label we know several bands that have worked with them in the past and they all had nothing but great things to say about Moshi Moshi.

Is there an album in the pipeline? Is any of it recorded and/or written?

Yes! It comes out in April on Moshi Moshi. It's been done for soooooooooo long and we're really excited to finally get it out. Both "Ghost Town" and "F Dudes" are on there as well as nine other jams.

You recently played some dates in the UK, how did you find playing here?

We liked it. Right now I'd rank UK audiences above the US but below Canada, Scandinavia, and Australia. We'd never had to play a bunch of shows for journalists before so I guess we were feeling a bit of pressure to absolutely jam it to the bone. We played three shows and I'd give one an A+, one an A, and one a B-. B- is bad for us. We can't wait to come back and jam some more minds. Hang with some friends. Get an A+ grade on every show.

You are due to play SXSW, have you played there before? Are you excited about going to Texas?

I have played SXSW before but not with Still Flyin'. This will be our first time and I think we've already got seven shows in four days with possibly more on the way. It's gonna be wild. Plus a lot of spiritual members will be there with other bands so our lineup is going to be out of control. Probably upwards of twenty people at some shows! We won't even fit on the stage! Should be fun.

What are your plans for the next 6-12 months?

The album comes out in April in the UK, US, and Europe and after that we're gonna do loads of touring and try not to lose money if that's even possible. We've got some US touring in April and we'll be back in the UK in July and then probably again in the fall with US tours thrown in there as well. And then maybe back to Australia in our winter and their summer. We'd like to squeeze into the studio to record some new jams if we can find the time. Severely busy times ahead. I'm looking forward to it.

Finally, which is your favourite ghost town? There are lots in the UK to visit.

Do you mean old abandoned towns? If so I'd love to visit some of those. In an old band we'd look in the atlas on tour and try to hit as many ghost towns as possible. They're pretty fascinating. Most of them are in the southwestern part of the country. One time we got lost trying to find one and by the time we got there it was dark and no one was around. Kinda spooky. Then the cops showed up because we weren't supposed to be there at night. Cops are even scarier than a skeleton cowboy army.

'Forever Dudes' is out on February 23rd on Moshi Moshi


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