Im Gespräch: The Soft Pack

Die aus dem sonnigen Kalifornien stammenden The Soft Pack sind zurzeit in Europa unterwegs. TrueTrash staunte anfangs nicht schlecht, als David (Bass) uns nur im Handtuch bekleidet die Hotelzimmertür öffnete. Für das Gespräch zog er sich dann aber doch etwas an und stand uns dann zusammen mit Brian (Drums) und Aaron (Saxophonist auf Tour) Rede und Antwort.

TrueTrash: Right now, you guys are on tour and played in a lot of different places in Europe. What is your life on the road like?

Brian: Well on this trip, or touring in general, you get to see very little of the city you are playing in, unless you get to go back and have a day off. Usually you see where you’re playing in and the area around it. But it is cool. We have gone out. Some of us try to go out as much as possible.

David: You usually just try to get up at a descent hour, but most of the time we were sleeping in and then go to the venue, soundchecking, hanging out for a few hours. Usually the time to go out for us is around dinnertime.

Any particular funny stories to tell so far?

Brian: Dave got stopped from the police the other day for G-Walking.

David: We got pull over for crossing the street, because we were walking on a red light in cologne. There were this three really big police officers that spoke to us in German. They were ending up speaking in English, but they were still very intimidating. They asked if we got a credit card and we asked, how much this is going to cost. They were pretty mean, ok not really mean but stern. They said it is only 5€ and we were like: ok.

Do you remember an especially good concert? Which was your favourite place to play until now?

Brian: I thought cologne was pretty good, wasn’t it?

David: Cologne was good.

Brian: Amsterdam was great.

David: And Paris was really good.

Brian: Paris was weird. They were filming the concert and they had cameras in front of us, which was a little strange. I was just not used to it.

Aaron: It was pretty hard to concentrate.

True Trash: And did you ever screwed up at a concert?

Brian: Oh, I screw up at every concert. But it is ok, because only the band knows, because they hear the song every night. Usually no one can tell, unless it is obvious – like when I drop a drumstick.

David: I had this time, when I thought a song ended half way before it did. Sometimes it happens. If you are not careful you get too much like a robot on stage.

What do you do when you get sick of each other on tour? Or is it just simply never the case?

Brian: I think we are having a good time.

David: Yes…[laughs]. You made that sound like a question Brian.

Brian: I think we are having a pretty good tour. We were in the UK before and haven’t been in Europe for three years. So it is nice to come back. We are having fun and enjoying it. We are happy that people are coming to our show and are really excited about our record.

To get away we just kind of split off. We spent a lot of time with each other in the van, so sometimes the van will park and you just kind of drift away for a bit. But it’s fine. Everything is good, no major incidents [laughs].

Ok, let’s go back in the time to the beginning of The Soft Pack. Your history starts in 2007 – How did you guys meet in San Diego?

David: Matt and Matty started the band in San Diego after they finished college. I know Matt since I am 12 years old; we were already friends for a long time. Everyone else became friends after college. So anyway. They started the band in San Diego and they had a few bass players and drummers along the way and about a year later Brian and I joined. So now we are already playing five years together. Wow – it has been a while. [laughs] That is the longest time I have been committed to something.

What kind of guys were you “back in the day”? Marching Band nerds or football players?

David: Matty was a great baseball player. I first met Matty in wood shop class, when I was a freshman. He was two grades above me. I think he got in a fight at his first day in school. He would wear this baseball socks with those stripes on the side like shorts and glasses. He looked kind of like Charlie Sheen in the movie …

Brian: Major League?

David: Yes! I think he got in a fight the first day. I didn’t really see him too much after that, but we became pretty good friends after college.

I know Matt since I am 12 years old. We used to boogie board together. He was a great boogie boarder, really talented actually. That is how we became friends.

Brian: And you were a skateboarder.

David: I was.

Do you remember the first time you jammed together? What did you think of each other?

Brian: I knew everybody. The others went to high school together and I met everyone through friends later at parties. I was in another band and I had a bandmate who lived with our singer. So I met him that way. So when I played with them, I already knew the band. I was a fan of the band before I was in it. I knew kind of what their songs were like. It was really good from the start. I liked it a lot.

Ok, let’s say, each of you has one word to describe the other one. What would that be?

David [about Brian]: gentle.

Brian [about David]: Dave is…Damn, just one word. It is hard to just pin one word on you.

David: [laughs] I know I am complicated.

Brian: Dave is…hmm…this is a hard one.

TrueTrash: I think we need to go with complicated.

Brian: Yes. That works. Dave is complex.

Ok, I’m sorry, you are probably sick of that question, but I need to ask: You first called yourself The Muslims before you changed it to The Soft Pack. Can you tell me how it came to the change?

David: After the band started getting more popular in the internet and everything, we started to get more attention. We got some concerning Emails and weird reactions to The Muslims. Even some Muslim people wrote us a couple of times and were really offended. And people would make really untasteful jokes about it. We didn’t want to be associated with that bad taste. We ended up changing the name. It was a bummer to change the name; we all really liked it and wanted to keep it. I guess we didn’t want to keep it enough to keep it.

Brian: It was also before we started touring as often as we do now. We hadn’t travelled outside the US with that name and that was a little different.

David: And also the manager. She was pretty keen changing the name.

Brian: No. She wanted us to keep it. Everyone wanted us to keep it.

David: That was a while ago. It is kind of a blur; we have been touring a lot.

Brian: Ya. It has been five years. I actually remember that I had a job back then and I had a co-worker who was a Muslim. It was weird when I told her: This is my band, we are The Muslims. She was really weird about it. It was a weird thing. Either people were offended by it or they were indifferent. It wasn’t the kind of statement that we were trying to make. And it was not that important to have that name; we just wanted to be a band and write music.

Did this experience shape your music?

Brian: I don’t think so.

David: Well, in a way. While we were The Muslims our songs were written by Matt and Matty. When we started to make the The Soft Pack record it was the first time we started to be more collaborative. We all do contribute ideas now, but I would say that Matt and Matty are still the primary heads.

When you changed the name to The Soft Pack was it a way to say “screw you”? Was the name a statement?

Brian: A little bit. The Muslims sounded really punk. It wasn’t the original intention, but it sounded confrontational. The Soft Pack sounds gentler. And I am a gentle guy according to Dave.

So far you made three records. How do you guys work? You said back in the day it was Matt and Matty who wrote the songs. How do you work now? Do you all just sit together and talk about ideas?

David: It changes. The self-titled one we wrote together. Strapped we did mostly together too. There are some songs on there that Matt did by himself. But right now we are living kind of scattered. Now the writing process is more like everybody comes up with their own ideas and we come together and pitch it through the committee I guess.

Brian: Yes. Maybe just pick and choose the best stuff from each person. I don’t know because we haven’t really gotten far with it, because right now we are living in different cities. It will be interesting to see how that works out with the writing. We all just work on music on our own, you know, just for fun. Hopefully some of it will make it on the next song.

How did it come to the point that everyone is living in another cities?

David: Matty got a girlfriend in New York.

Brian: He wanted to live in New York; he has family and friends out there. It just made sense for him.

David: Brian and I are still living in L.A. and Matt lives close. His girlfriend lives in Ensenada (Mexico). He just decided to go there, to be with her for one. Also it is just a pretty amazing place. She works kind of at a modern gourmet restaurant. She manages the farm that grows all the vegetables for the restaurant. So they live in this beautiful valley. It is pretty mellow down there.

TrueTrash: That sounds like a fairytale.

Brian: I know. It sounds really nice.

David: And it is close to L.A. He can come up easily. Also Mattys Mom is a flight Attendant, so he can fly basically for free. So even so we are scattered, we get together quite often. I guess we are living in a modern world where you can do that.

You really worked long on your last album, Strapped – almost 2 years. What did you do in these years?

Brian: We did a lot of just getting together, jamming and recording ourselves – and getting better at recording ourselves and recording better quality demos. And we just wanted to take our time on that one, because the record before we had such a limited amount of time that it had to be out by. We had a really busy touring schedule for that one and had not as much time to sit and work on it. So it was just nice to take a breath and really work on it. But it rounded up taking longer, like it always does. We thought we had it out much sooner, but things happened and it just didn’t work out quit like that.

Did you play everything yourself? You included a lot of saxophone parts – like in the song Bobby Brown. Who is playing those?

David: We had a friend, Tony Bevilacgua, who played the saxophone on that record. And Aaron played too.

Brian: And Aaron is touring with us now.

Aaron: Hey. Yes. That is me.

Brian: He plays the Keyboard as well.

David: We produced this record ourselves. We paid for the recording time ourselves. That is also part of the reason why it took us so long – we needed to save up some money and pulled the resources that we had together. We ended up getting an engineer, who worked the technical – the elements of the mixing boards and microphones. We told what we thought sounded good and this type of things. We were jamming and thought a saxophone solo would be cool over here and there. And so we tried it out, and if we liked it we kept it. And Bobby Brown, well Tony did a great job and Aaron did too.

What would you say, inspired you for that album? What music influenced you?

Brian: Bobby Brown for instance, Dave came up with the guitar part for it. It is like a funky Grace Jones kind of thing.

David: I was listening to Grace Jones a lot back then. And I still like Grace Jones very much.

Brian: We were all listening to different things other than what our bands sound had been before. We tried to include those elements. So we had all those little rough ideas and some of them got developed into full songs that made the record. And we still have a lot of weird stuff lying around. I don’t know what we are gonna do with that.

David: They are just sketches.

Brian: So we were listening to everything that wasn’t garage rock.

How do the new songs differ from your older ones?

David: It is not as driving rock as the last one. Although there are some rock songs.

Brian: Not as tightly package concise, because on the last record most songs are within 3 minutes. This one has a little more freedom.

David: [laughs] Maybe you should tell us how it sounds.

TrueTrash: I think, and that is gonna sound stupid, but I think it sounds more grown up. You tried more stuff and included a lot of cool elements.

Brian: Ya. That is definitely a part of it. We like all different types of music.

David: We did want to open it up and challenge ourselves and tried to go into different areas. And we are still kind of searching I think.

If you had the opportunity to make a feature with another artist on the next record, who would you choose for that collaboration?

Brian: Uhhh.

Aaron: Glass Candy. I didn’t even know how that would come together but that would be cool.

Brian: Wow. I never really thought about that.

Aaron: Maybe that is the next step. We have to put our feeler out.

David: We should follow the rap model a little more.

Brian: Ya. That is good. That is really cool. Let’s just say: Beyoncé!

Aaron: Yes, that would make everybody really happy.

Brian: She is on a break right now. She did the Super Bowl last night. And Jay-Z can come in and rap on it. Let’s just make a rap record.

To what kind of music do you listen right now on the tour? Did you discover some new bands?

Aaron: The band that we played in London with was good. Actually they were both really good: Novella and Primitive Parts.

Brian: Primitive Parts are a couple of people from Male Bonding. We toured with that band and became friends with them.

Aaron: There was also a band that opened in Glasgow and this one guy broke his guitar in the end of the set. He kind of had a freak-out moment.

Brian: Yes, but he stood on the drum kit, so he is disqualified. And the club banned them; I guess he knocked over a mic-stand. We don’t get that wild on stage… We probably won’t be banned from anywhere.

Do you guys have plans for after the tour?

Brian: I know Matt, our singer, is planning on taking a trip to Hawaii. His parents live out there and he can stay there for free. I am just going to hang out – I don’t know, I haven’t really made plans.

David: Go back to L.A. and work on things and do things.

Brian: Well than I am going to hang out with Dave. You know, we both live in L.A. We stick together.

Do you sometimes wake up and think, damn, everything was just a dream and you need to look for a real job? And what kind of job would that be?

Brian: Everyday! Every day I worry about those things! I don’t know. And I am getting older. I don’t know what I would do right now.

David: I will just have a little bit of downtime.

Brian: I would try to get a part-time job, probably work in a bar or something like that. But I don’t know. It is really hard to find a job right now in L.A.

David: Well, we just need to make another record.

Brian: Ya! We make that rap-record and get Beyoncé on the phone!

Ok here is an alternative for a job: Superhero. If each of you could be one, which power would you choose?

…everyone is thinking hard for a long time…

Brian: I wanna breathe under water. That sounds cool. Like Aquaman. But he already has that, so I don’t know. But still, I breathe under water that is cool!

David: Just that I can go on without saying something stupid [laughs]. And that’s it.

Brian: I go back to an earlier question. My word for Dave is pensive!


Das Interview wurde geführt von Rike.


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