Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Interview - Show Preview - 5/3/10 - Brillobox - Pittsburgh

Cymbals Eat Guitars exploded on the scene over a year ago. They received very favorable reviews from journalists, bloggers and the like. Since then, they have been touring and creating their follow up to Where There Are Mountains. They will be appearing at the Brillobox on Monday, 5/3. Member Matt Whipple was kind enough to answer some questions for us. Below is the interview with tracks mixed in.

You have rcvd a lot of praise in a short amount of time. How have you dealt with it? Did any of it go to your head?

We did get a considerable amount of positive press attention when our record came out and still do. We definitely read a good amount of it, and that runs pretty contrary to what a lot of bands say about their own press, but we find it pretty easy to take it with a grain of salt. We're perfectionists, so there is way more self-critiquing than patting ourselves on the back.

And the Hazy Sea by Cymbals Eat Guitars

Did any of you have professional training? Play in the school marching band?

Matt our drummer played snare drum in high school and college marching band, and Brian our keyboardist went to college for music. Joe and I are pretty much a combination of self-taught and some instruction and mentoring. Joe spent some time with Charles Bissell from the Wrens learning some guitar tricks a few years ago.

I read you will be coming out with a new album. Will you be doing this with the support of a label or self releasing again?

We are still very much in the process of writing our second record, so that probably won't be for a good while, but we are planning on signing with a label this time around.

You appear to draw a lot of influence from 90’s indie bands (Modest Mouse, BTS, etc.). Did any of your parents music you might have listened to growing up have an influence?

I think that is pretty inevitable if there is a lot of music in your house growing up. My parents listened to a lot of really great music...Talking Heads, the Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen...we had a Born in the USA tour poster framed in our kitchen for most of my childhood. My parents have always been pretty hip to current music as well. My copy of Nevermind is a hand-me-down from my dad, and I can remember my mom listening to Wilco and Yo La Tengo when I was 12 or 13. It took me several years to become as cool as my parents.

Some Trees by Cymbals Eat Guitars

Is there an album or show that made you want to dedicate your life to music?

I think the first live concert I saw was pretty significant. When I was in the 7th grade I saw a New Jersey pseudo-jam-band called From Good Homes play a big old theater in my hometown. It wasn't so much the music but the lights and loudness and atmosphere that made me transition pretty quickly from "I am entertained by this" to "I am going to do this someday." The pre-adolescent contact-high probably helped too.

How far away are you from completing the new album? Would you say it’s an extension of Why There are Mountains?

We have 4 new songs completed and a fifth in the works. It takes us a relatively long time to put a song together, so we are still a good few months before we have even written enough songs for a new record. We definitely have an idea of the scope of the record at this point, though, so it is just a matter of writing the kinds of songs we need to complete that arc. It will likely sound very different from WTAM. That record is really Joe and Matt's studio project that they built a band around after the fact. With the next record, it will be a full-band undertaking with unique contributions from everyone.

What Dogs See by Cymbals Eat Guitars

What are the goals for the band? What would you like to accomplish?

We would just like to be able to put out records that people like and tour and play good shows. To just sort of be known as a hard-working band that puts out great music is all we can really hope for. Anything above and beyond that is gravy.

I read that Joseph D’Agostino usually brings in the lyrics and music when composing a song. With the new lp, has the song writing dynamics changed at all?

Joe still brings the lyrics and the general structure of each song, but the process of arranging the songs is pretty collaborative. On WTAM, Joe wrote all of the, bass, keys, and hey and Matt worked the drums out together. Now that we're a four-piece band, everybody is, at the very least, responsible for their own parts, but we bounce ideas back and forth with and for each other at this point.

Wind Phoenix by Cymbals Eat Guitars

Are you able to do this full time now? Without working day jobs?

We do this very much full-time, but I think the real question is "are you able to get day jobs when you need them?" The answer would be 'no', which means none of us are really living it up on the road or at home. Three of us live at home with our parents when we're not touring.

Where have you toured that you really enjoyed? What about the worst place?

Going to play shows in Europe is still a crazy concept. It is definitely harder to do costs a lot more and we have to rent gear over there, which is not ideal, but every time it is pretty surreal to think "We're in Paris, and we're here to play a show."

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

You can do anything, Pittsburgh. Reach for the stars!

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