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Something Fierce

Submitted by RamonLP4 on January 1, 2009 – 3:01 amNo Comment
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Photo S. Garcia

Something Fierce has been one of Houston’s most prized exports with their mix of punk energy, catchy melodies, and an undying DIY ethos. Their newest album - “There Are No Answers” - easily surpasses their debut album with songs so sharply written that they will run you through like a katana with Toshiro Mifune at the other end. We loved the new album so much that we immediately poked and prodded Niki Seven and Steven Garcia with questions as they prepared for their upcoming tour and here is what they had to say:

On the new album vs. the first album:

SG: We’ve definitely fine-tuned our love for powerpop over the last few years. I know that I’ve gravitated to writing razor-sharp pop songs, while maintaining an even darker tone in the lyrics. We took more time [on the new album] and that gave us a lot of opportunities to think about real production for the songs.

n.7: I’ve definitely enjoyed the freedom that we’ve had with this album. ‘Bastards’ was recorded in two days from start to finish; ‘There Are No Answers’ has been a long two-year road in writing and months of recording. We’ve had more time to explore with the songs and figure out what sounded right. Most of the songs on this album don’t sound anything like they did when they were originally written.

On writing songs and tracking albums:

SG: I start writing a song with a feeling in mind. I pound away for hours at a time on my own or through various band practices. We can feel the song “working” or sense it slowly dying. It’s a real disappointment when a song dies out because I feel like I missed an opportunity to seize what was there. When the song does work, we pour our hearts into thinking about what the final version will sound like.

n.7: We’ve all developed an instinct we can tell right away which direction [a song is] going to go.. whether it’s going to be great, whether it needs work, or if it just needs to be put out of its misery as quick and painless as possible. “Modern Girl” has been recorded at least three times. I would have been disappointed releasing one of the previous versions, but this version I think has captured the very best this song has.

SG: There has to be real thought injected into your recordings because those are what will live on beyond the band. Making a good album is very much like making a mix tape. The track listing matters to me, and I had this one song that I could not fit anywhere. The pacing was so different; the beginning and end too abrupt. Finally, we made the decision to cut it from the album, and I think it was a good choice.

On Singles:

SG: We got the idea [of including songs from singles] from looking at punk bands like The Buzzcocks, It’s a fantastic way to keep the songwriter away from writing an “album” and instead just focusing on each individual song.

n.7: The Buzzcocks are my absolute favorite band. ‘Singles Going Steady’ is an amazing record and the notion of creating an album out of singles released for years and years is incredibly genius. For us, I think it just keeps us thinking about the present. It keeps us focused on writing new songs and not re-hashing old ones time and time again. It’s also a great way to keep people interested in a band. It looks like you’re doing more if you keep releasing all these singles than if you just do an album every two or three years.

On lessons learned:

SG: I’ve learned how to design lots of artwork, master for vinyl, play bar chords, fold a map, order at Hot Doug’s, record with two amps at the same time, book national tours, clean a bird off of a windshield, clean beer off of my guitar, share a van with five other people, wear a tuxedo for my brother’s wedding, maintain sanity on a 16-hour drive, find ways to get a free motel room, wear thermal underwear, and most importantly, I’ve learned that water freezes if left in a van overnight at freezing temperatures thus causing the unfortunate result of being temporarily non-potable when you are dying for a drop of something to wash down the previous night’s…everything.

n.7: Don’t give Andrew a glove. Don’t sit next to Andrew when a rap song is on. Don’t give Andrew a camera and access to your laptop. Steven knows most of the words to some Spice Girls songs. Don’t share a blanket with Jeoaf (Monocles) .. he will take it all. Steven is willing to pay me $5 every time I change his strings. 80’s music is good for driving 8 solid hours through the night when everyone else falls asleep. Wisconsin beer has a higher alcohol content than Texas beer .. pace yourself!! iPods and books are essential for keeping up your sanity. Yes, boys can pee anywhere and in anything (and if they manage to pee into a sprite bottle, they will carry it around like a trophy). [While on tour] I have now seen more of Andrew’s ass then I ever hoped I would.

…I love it and I can’t think of any other way I’d rather waste my life.

Links:
Something Fierce on Myspace (Link)
Something Fierce.com (Link)

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