Monday, February 15, 2010

Q & A with lead singer Tom from Cobalt and the Hired Guns

Q:  What has been your most memorable show you have played?
A:  Well, after playing together for 5 years, you develop quite a few, so it's hard to name just one. Opening for Dashboard Confessional last spring was a lot of fun, because we got to have a rider and ask for starfruit and twizzlers and ridiculous stuff like that. It was a sold out show at a 1200 person theater in Durham, NC. Playing to a sold out house is always memorable. And Chris Carrabba was really friendly.
This summer, we played in DC twice. The first time was the Velvet Lounge, and it was packed. Jesse grew up there, so it very much had a home town feel to the show, and it was loud and tightly packed and sweaty and a little drunk but not too drunk. The second time was probably the sweatiest show we've ever played. It was in a basement, and the ceiling wasn't 6 inches from our heads. The floor was slippery it was so hot. It had been raining as we loaded in and it was still really muggy, but we cooled off afterward with an epic pool party.

     Q:   Explain how you all came up with the name Cobalt and the Hired Guns?
A:  It took a long time, because we all wanted to agree and be excited about the name. So usually we just lie and tell a story about Mount Vesuvious and Penguins. But the Cobalt idea came from a collection of glass that my family had picked up at the beach...we had lots of brown and green and clear, and about 2 pieces of that cobalt blue glass- the arizona iced tea and skyy vodka's rare. So it became the only stuff we would bother looking for. That's what we want the music to be for people when they discover it. Something they were looking for, something worth keeping. The Hired Guns came when we were making Jump the Fence and we realized that our sound was changing a lot and we had started working pretty closely with some outside musicians to expand our sound a bit. We were just really excited to be building a community and making friends with other musicians and to collaborate with them on that project, and we wanted to include the importance of those outside influences in the name.

Q:  What is a typical band practice like for you all?
A: Well, usually we snack first. It keeps us from being cranky. If it's in the evening maybe we'll have a beer as well, but we spend time picking apart harmonies or reworking a piece that hasn't felt like it fit during shows. It's a collaborative arranging and editing process. It takes a long time to learn to trust your bandmates enough to hear their critique, but it also helps us really capture the sound we're all going for. When everyone can get excited about what's happening in the song, it's much easier for the fans to feel that and get excited too.
Q:  What are some goals you all have? Where do you all see the band in 5 years?

A:  Playing the Metro has been huge for us. We've wanted that since we became a band, and opening for State Radio has been a long time goal as well. So it's really gratifying to watch it come to fruition. Showcasing at events like South By Southwest and NACA and CMJ are some future goals that I'd like to see checked off in the next 5 years. Less really, but I've always been impatient.
Touring in support of larger acts is also certainly a goal, and these two shows we have scheduled with State Radio are an excellent first taste of that. We've been big State Radio fans for a long time- it's how we found our producer, Brian Humphrey who worked on Jump the Fence with us and will be helping to produce our upcoming record. It's really an honor to share the stage with them.

Q:  What band do people typically compare you guys too?
A: The Hold Steady is a band we've been compared to before. That has a lot to do with how much fun we have on stage, and how excited we are about sharing that with the crowd. There's a lot of love up on that stage. We're also inspired by bands like the Clash who were true to their genre without letting it define their boundaries, or what sort of sounds they needed. Josh Ritter is a songwriter everyone in the band really admires as well. Really we are fans of any band that is willing to lose themselves in the excitement of the show and connects with their fans instead of remaining aloof to them while playing.

Q:  What’s a typical meal consist of when you are on the road?
A:  One of the best meals we had one the road was in Brooklyn. We had just pulled in from driving all day from Pittsburgh. We drove through a torrential downpour on our way and then raced it all the way to the city. We pulled into the house where we were crashing for the evening- an old family friend of my fathers - and we had about 20 minutes before we had to leave for the show. We walked in to a fully set table with steak and mashed potatoes, veggies and salad. (Jesse doesn't eat animals, and is allergic to wheat, so seeing out meals can be tricky on the road.)  We stuffed ourselves and they let us run off with one of the wine bottles too, as I recall. Just as we pulled up to the club the storm caught us and we had to load in during very heavy rains, but the dinner we'd been served kept everyone's spirits high.

Q:  When not playing music what do you all enjoy doing?
A:  We love riding our bikes. Jesse is the most hardcore and is riding through the winter, but I've got mine hooked up to a trainer indoors (most boring activity ever, by the way). We enjoy a good beer (or a bad one) and a glass of jameson now and then as well. Occasionally we'll have movie nights; we're still trying to get Jesse through the first Star Wars movies (the good ones).  Mike nicknames EVERYTHING. The van is called Seabiscuit, for instance.

Q:  If you could only use one word to describe your band, what word would you say?
A:  Love.

Q:  Playing at the Metro again? Name some words to describe how excited you are?
   A:  Bottomless Mac'n'GoatCheese, In-Ground Pool, Barbeque Softball Tournament, 100-person-neighborhood-wide-capture-the-flag, That moment when Devin Hester ran the ball back for a touchdown in the Superbowl a few years ago (but not the rest of the game), Margaritas for breakfast, we're just getting started.

Q:  What’s the bands power color?
A:  Blue, right? Cause of the whole....Cobalt thing. Possibly a good plaid though. We do love a good plaid.

Q:  Any words of wisdom to someone starting a band?

A:  Well, lots of words, and they can judge how wise we are. But make sure you love it because it's much more work than you can understand when you begin.   Follow up with folks you meet and be friendly and polite. Don't talk shit (ok, only sometimes talk shit). Understand that you are not the most important person any of these people has ever met so be humble and not a diva. Do your homework. If you want to tour, read a book about touring, if you want to record, read a book about recording. But more than anything, go out and do it. Don't wait to be perfect, don't wait until you're fully prepared. And if you love it, let 'em know.

Chicago by sticoftheweek

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...