Song - Artist -
Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple -
Chelsea and Drew Interview Minus the Bear—March 17, 2013
[Drew, Jake Snider, Chelsea, Dave Knudson. Also, the Minus the Bear guys insisted that we take this picture in front of the TV, which was playing "The Day After Tomorrow."]
On St. Patrick’s Day, Drew and I drove to Poughkeepsie to see Minus the Bear play at The Chance Theater. It felt much colder than usual for the middle of March, but that did not stop concertgoers from being in a cheerful mood and wearing absurd amounts of green clothing. Actually, there was one guy who got really angry at the bouncers in line because it was taking forever to check people in. But that’s a different story. After waiting in the cold for close to a half hour, we were told that we could find Minus the Bear on their tour bus, so we wandered over to an alley adjacent to the already sketchy alley that the venue was in, got creeped out by a homeless dude trying to sell us something that was in his garbage bag, and eventually were let inside by MTB’s tour manager, Nolan. We sat down in the back room with vocalist/guitarist Jake Snider and guitarist Dave Knudson, and this is the conversation that followed…
Chelsea: How is the tour with Circa Survive going so far?
Dave: It’s going great. We were in the cold Mid West for a while but now we’re starting to go south towards Florida so we’re all excited about that. It’ll be a good change.
Drew: So you guys are on the road a lot. What’s one thing you absolutely have to have with you on the tour bus?
Dave: Jack Daniels. [laughs]
Jake: Food stuff?
Dave: We need water to survive.
Jake: Yeah, water’s literally the most important thing.
Dave: And then the second most important thing is Buddha, our guitar tech, because he does a lot for us. He’s great.
Drew: What’s your favorite city or venue that you’ve ever played?
Dave: The North East is always really fun for us, like Boston, New York, Philly… it’s always a great region. I don’t know if I have a favorite venue.
Jake: I don’t either.
Dave: There’s a lot of really great ones. There’s this place called The National Theater in Richmond, Virginia, and then there’s another place called the NorVa in Norfolk, Virginia, which are just amazing clubs with huge green rooms and they have like a half basketball court and like a sauna and hot tub and the stage is always really great and the people are awesome. So those are pretty—
Jake: Those are top.
Chelsea: Have you been to [The Chance] before?
Dave: No. I think Circa’s been here before, but we haven’t.
Chelsea: I have a music-related question: your last two albums have been released on Dangerbird Records and have gotten mixed reviews because you’ve kind of been experimenting with your sound more. Personally, I love both of the albums, but how do you respond to fans that say you’ve “sold out”?
Jake: They’re just not listening right.
Dave: [laughs] Yeah, I don’t know. Sometimes people go through different musical cycles like we do or whatever, and sometimes you put out a record and shed some fans that were with you for a while but you’ll gain a bunch of other ones. So it’s kind of cyclical. I think people sometimes get into bands for a certain phase of their lives or for a certain period of time or because of who they’re hanging out with. And then sometimes they get exposed to other stuff.
Jake: Yeah, and for some people a new record without the nostalgic connection could be harder to absorb… But they’re just so judgy sometimes!
Drew: Do you have a favorite song off the new album, Infinity Overhead, or a favorite song to play live?
Jake: “Toska,” I think is my favorite these days.
Dave: We’re doing on this tour “Diamond Lightning” and “Toska” back-to-back like it is on the record and that’s always a nice two-song, nine-minute journey to play live. That’s probably all of our favorites off the album.
Chelsea: Speaking of the new album, I want to talk about the music video for “Listing” that just came out, because it’s really trippy. I was wondering where the idea for that video came from.
Dave: We’ve been working with Jesse Ledoux—he’s been doing the tour posters for the last few years. He’s an amazing animator, and so we wanted to see if he wanted to animate a video. And then he came up with pages and pages and pages of characters that you see in the video, and backgrounds and all that stuff. He had never done a video before, and he was super excited about the project, so we kind of just let him do his thing, and that was the end result. It was all from his mind, pretty much. He’s a great dude. Ledouxville.com is his website.
Chelsea: How did you get the ideas for some of your other music videos? Some of them have more of a story line, like “Steel and Blood.”
Drew: I watched “Steel and Blood” for the first time this morning and went, “What???”
Dave: Yeah. “Steel and Blood”…what did we want to do with that video?
Jake: We just wanted to have a narrative, cinematic kind of video with actors. We hired real actors and looked at head shots and were like, “Yeah, that seems fine.” [laughs] “They seem like perfectly acceptable people to have in the video. Sure.” It was an awesome video to make. I thought it turned out really well. Turns out my mom hates it.
Drew: What bands or artists are you currently really into? What are you listening to when you’re not playing music?
Jake: What’s that band we’ve all been listening to?
Dave: Everything Everything.
Jake: Yeah. They’re a British band.
Dave: There’s another British band called Led Zeppelin that we’ve been playing a lot lately.
Jake: A LOT of Led Zeppelin. I’ve been listening to a lot of Mark Lanegan Band.
Dave: There’s a nice mix of stuff that we play on the bus.
Chelsea: Any guilty pleasure songs?
Dave: It was Katy Perry for a while.
Jake: It’s almost all guilty pleasure music.
Dave: Nothing has replaced Katy Perry yet. We’ll have to find something. We’re guilty of playing “Teenage Dream” at sound check every once in a while.
Chelsea: What do you guys do when you’re actually at home in Seattle?
Jake: Take care of the kiddos.
Dave: Write music, rehearse. Decompress from being gone for a long time [laughs] and try to salvage our relationships. It’s more difficult now because most of us have children.
Drew: If you could sit under a table and listen to any two people talk, who would they be?
Jake: Do I have to be under the table?
Chelsea: Well what if you could just be in a room with any two people?
Dave: Dennis Rodman and Kim Jung Un! [laughs]
Jake: Obviously! No, I’d like to be in a room with you two and see what you guys talk about.
Chelsea: Aw, thanks.
Chelsea: What’s the best way to spend St. Patrick’s Day besides getting drunk… is there another way?
Jake: I don’t think there is. I think the only way to observe it is to drink it, you know? You just have to drink the holiday in.
Dave: Going forward, we should probably play Poughkeepsie every St. Patrick’s Day.
Drew: This is the second of my completely ridiculous questions: would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses?
Jake: A hundred duck-sized horses. I’d just crush those motherfuckers.
Chelsea: Once this tour has concluded, what is next for Minus the Bear?
Dave: We go home for a few weeks, and then we go to the UK for a couple weeks, and then we come home and do some fly-out shows over the summer.
Jake: It just keeps going.
Dave: We’ll be home for most of the summer, so we’ll try to relax then.
Minus the Bear’s most recent release is their fifth studio album Infinity Overhead which you can order from Dangerbird or Amazon. They also recently contributed a song to the “Injustice: Gods Among Us” video game soundtrack called “Walk on Air.”
Check out their newest video “Listing” below.