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Q & A with Wild Moccasins

Submitted by admin on May 21, 2010 – 9:03 amOne Comment
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By Ramon Medina
(Photo by Peter Lee)

Wild Moccasins’ new album, Skin Collision Past, is such a sweet mix of awesomeness that my MP3 Player just froze up on me right now!  I mean, c’mon, Mastodon, High On Fire, Black Sabbath…none of that stuff could kill my player but the Moccasins?  Sheeeit! That there is some epic “fuck your MP3 player UP” H-Pop going on!  And yes, I know some of you out there turn your noses up at the H-pop stuff but that‘s your problem.  For the rest of you, I say check out Andrew Lee’s guitar or Zahira Gutierrez’s voice on the CD or live because those two things alone should be worth the price of admission and on the CD they both are at their best.  And for those of you already familiar with the Moccasins, you’ll be happy to know that the new songs like Cake or Zylaphone (sic) are right up there with the band’s debut EP.

Being all excited about Friday’s album release show at Walter’s, we figured we might want to check up on the band and Cody Swann, Nicholas Cody, Andrew Lee, and John Baldwin were good enough to reply.    Here is what these lads had to say for themselves.

FPH:  It’s been a bit more than a year since Microscopic Metronomes was released.  How has the band progressed since that album was released?

Cody: It’s hard to say, but we all feel as if it is easier to write and record together. We have become closer as friends and as musicians through touring and I think both of those go hand in hand in progressing.

FPH: If I recall correctly, many of the songs in Microscopic were songs that you began writing before the band came together - back when you and Zahira were simply a duo.  How has the songwriting approach changed if at all with this new album?

Cody: Some of the songs on the album we wrote from the ground up together and on the EP I had written most of them out already. The songwriting approach for the album compared to the EP shares some of the same qualities. For the most part I would bring in a skeleton of a song (lyrics & chords) and it would change once we started practicing. Although, there were a lot more changes to the songs on the album after we started practicing them compared to the ep. Writing the songs for the album was definitely more of a group effort.

FPH: What’s the approach to lyrics, how have they changed between albums, and what do you consider to be the running thread in all your lyrics?

Cody: For the EP I would write the lyrics before having a melody.  I think that the melody can wind up suffering because of it. So for the album I would write them in tandem or sometimes start with a melody and a basic idea for lyrics. If there is a running thread in my lyrics it has to be that they sometimes revolve around incidents (good or bad) that cause an introverted way of (over)thinking to come about. A lot of Skin Collision Past is me dwelling on occurrences and trying to put myself back into that moment.

FPH:  Where was it recorded and how was the recording process itself compared to your first experience in the studio?

Cody: The album was recorded at Sugar Hill Studios with John Griffin as our engineer.  This experience was a lot different from recording the EP, but I think we can contribute that to having more time on our hands. We were in and out of the studio for 6 months recording the album compared to 4 days for the EP.  We really went for a live feel on the EP which I think worked well with recording in a short time span. However for “Skin Collision Past” we wanted an album with a lot of layers.   With 6 months on our hands we had all the time we needed to focus on each song individually to make that happen.

FPH:  You guys have toured extensively.  How has that you think helped or hindered the band’s music?

Nicholas: It has helped in getting more exposure for our music. We have met a lot of great people and played with some amazing bands. I think it has only pushed us creatively and been an overall positive experience.

FPH:   How do you find you music connects with people in other cities?  What bands did you meet on tour who felt a particular kinship stylistic or otherwise?

Nicholas: I think it connects with people out of the city the same that it does with the people here in Houston.  In some crowds there was a better reception than others, but we had good shows in plenty of cities.  I’m not sure if we felt a stylistic kinship but we definitely connected as friends and felt camaraderie with plenty of bands like Coffee Project, Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned, and Cloud Nothings amongst others.  Too many to name really.

FPH:  How do you feel the band has evolved in style since you guys began?

Nicholas: The musical style has gotten more focused, less sprawled out.  The new albums songs are more concise while also pushing what we were originally comfortable with in terms of song structures and sounds.  So there’s a kind    of balance with trying new things to push ourselves creatively and knowing what style we want for each song.

FPH: Since you guys started getting popular, there has always been an undercurrent of resentment from some quarters: they’re too cute, they are too poppy, etc.  Not to mention that there are some people who find all the H-Pop bands contemptible.  I’m not sure what the question is here but I guess… what do you make of that and how do you react to it?

Cody: It is a shame to read or hear, but it changes nothing about the music we have made or will create.   At the end of the day all we care about is recording music that we enjoy and touring on it.

FPH:  How have you seen the music scene change over the years?

Andrew: Having another all-ages venue like Mangos open up has really helped with exposure for local bands. Watching the Westheimer Block Party grow (and bands’ fan bases from it) over the years is proof that the music scene is vibrant and alive.  I think that by providing these tools for local bands, it has really made us as well as our peers more ambitious. It makes us all eager to see what we can do outside of our own city.

FPH:  You guys usually do something amusing when you do a show.  Anything planned for the record release?

Andrew: We are always trying to top ourselves — so we definitely have ideas in store for the show…can’t give away any surprises though.

Friday 21 May: The Wild Moccasins (CD release) with Roky Moon & Bolt / Giant Princess @ Walter’s $10.00 Free CD with Admission (all ages)

One Comment »

  • Deli says:

    “I mean, c’mon, Mastodon, High On Fire, Black Sabbath…none of that stuff could kill my player but the Moccasins? Sheeeit! That there is some epic “fuck your MP3 player UP” H-Pop going on!”-
    whoever said this gross comparison of a comment or much less a fucking report probably hasn’t left the loop in 10 years and hits on teenie bopper’s at some wherehouse off commerce. I mean Thats like saying The Dissent’s new record release {FUCKIN’ makes the beatles sound like sheeeeeeet!!!! Led zeppelin’s in Earl’s court couldnt blow my MP3 players head phones out but THe Dissent could} —- jackass learn how to right a column no offense to the wild moccasin

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