Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Interview with Eli from Killing the Dream

I recently interviewed Eli, lead singer for Killing the Dream, over email regarding their new record, Fractures, and some other good stuff:

So first question; who's gonna win the NBA finals this year?

man, good question. the way it's looking right now, i guess i'd have to go with the lakers...but honestly, all four teams left are pretty much on the same level, so it wouldn't surprise me if any of them won. but for the sake of not being an indecisive loser, i'll go with the lakers. lamar odom rules.

Speaking of basketball, you're quite the street baller, do you and Chris (bass player) hustle people for money while you're out on the road?

i wish...haha we try to play whenever we can, but we really don't have too much time when we're on tour. we haven't stepped up to playing for money yet, but maybe we and chris are a pretty formidable duo. he plays the defense and hustles, i talk the trash and get buckets.

also, you'll be happy to know that chris recently got his first street ball alias when we were playing at sutter middle school in downtown sacramento- he was killing dudes on the boards, and one of the dudes on the other team started giving his boy shit. to quote him- 'c'mon you gon' let the leprechaun do you like that?'

i tweaked it a little bit, but chris is now known as 'lep in da hood.' i think it's classy while maintaining street cred.

I remember back in the day when Chris lost a tooth diving for a loose ball in a basketball game, do you guys ever get injured during your shows?

not too bad, outside of the usual cuts/scrapes/bruises. there's been some pretty interesting injuries i suppose, but most of the time it's because we're running into eachother. i've had to get stitches in my face two or three times now, and i'm still missing the nail on my pinky finger from back in january, when my hand and dj's guitar decided they didn't like each other and needed to get in a fight. other than that though, we've managed to stay injury-free.

The new record, Fractures, is about to drop and everyone has been waiting for new music from you guys for like 3 years, why the long wait?

haha tell me about it's been a long time! there were a lot of things that happened that contributed to the time between releases, but we pushed through it and we can't wait to get fractures out. in order to save you from a real long answer, i'll give you the quick summary- joel and bart quit and it took a while for us to find new guitarists (dj and phil); 'in place apart' had just come out and we focused on promoting that for about a year; started writing new songs, but had to really figure out who we were again with the new members; lost phil in december 2006, had to find a new guitarist (patches); finally got some songs together, recorded them in may 2007; right after that, i started having some problems with my voice, and between tours and everything else, i didn't get the vocals finished until january 2008; after that, it had to get mixed/mastered/artwork had to be done/etc...and here we are.

What should we expect from Fractures? any surprises?

nah. nothing big. it's a different record for sure, and we definitely took some chances and mixed it up, but it's not like we're doing dave matthews band covers or getting 16 bars from dmx (i actually tried to make this happen, but my man was having some problems with the law haha). so yeah. no real surprises.

In a recent interview you were asked about your sound, how it sounds angry, are you angry?

i think you know me well enough to know that i'm not angry at all. i guess i can understand people saying in sound angry, but i haven't written too many angry's just how my voice sounds, you know? it's hardcore. hardcore has screaming. there's an urgency there, for sure...but it's not coming from anger. it's just what comes out when i open my mouth.

I know you and Chris have been unlucky in love with the ladies, does that fuel your energy and/or writing?

i think if you would have asked me this question when i was 18, or even 20 or so, i would have said yes. but honestly it's not much of a factor. i've been as lucky or unlucky as most people in their lives to this point. i've had a few relationships, some good, and some not so good...but it's not something that is on my mind all the time. i have written a lot of songs about relationships and things of that nature, but that's just because it was something that was going on in my life. anyone knows me knows that when i'm in a relationship, i'm in a relationship, and it's something i put my all into. relationships are really sort of an all or nothing thing with me, and it's really hard to find someone worth that sort of effort. i've really come to just enjoy life outside of relationships and not worry about finding something...sure, it would be nice, but it's not something i'm going to drive myself crazy over or force.

it's funny you mention chris in this question...i actually wrote the song 'if it rains' for him. it's basically just about being unsure about yourself and trying to find someone. after a certain point of being alone, you kind of build up your expectations for what you are looking for because you have gotten used to being by yourself, and it gets even harder to feel comfortable with someone. and you start to question yourself a lot...wondering if you are just being too picky or if you should be trying harder, or even what you are looking for at all. it's like you know exactly what you want, but you really wonder if you will be able to recognize it when you see it. it was a cool song for me to write, because when i wrote it, i was in a long-term relationship but i knew exactly how chris felt because i had been there for 20+ years of my life. and now, over three years later, i'm there again haha

I see you guys are heading to Japan again this summer, i think this is your 2nd or 3rd time touring over there right? What does Japan offer that the mid-west doesn't?

nice guilt trip. dude it's not a matter of one place offering more or less, at all. we've been through different parts of the midwest a few times, and we have loved every part of it. but this country is so damn big, and it's hard to hit everywhere. honestly i think it's more just a case of unfortunate's hard for us to get out to the middle of the country. it's easier for us to fly out, do a string of east coast dates, and fly back home. or, fly out to japan for ten days and fly back home. because we only have so much time to tour, we can't do those big month-long tours that a lot of bands do...and that's where the midwest really gets screwed. really, it's not something we try to do, trust me.

for what it's worth, we'll be in denver in august though. so brush up on your ktd lyrics so you can make another cameo during our set :)

Besides your hometown of Sacramento/Folsom, where are some of your favorite towns/places to play?

this might sound like a cop out, but i really can't choose one over the others. it's always nice to play places where we have old friends, just because it's so great to see them. but shows wise, everywhere has been great. the chain reaction has always been really good to us. gilman st. in berkeley has always been great. seriously, i can't choose one of two over the others. we have been really lucky as a band.

Speaking of Sacramento, if i were to head out there, where would be the most likely place to run into you guys during the day?

probably our jobs. but besides that, anywhere pizza is served. dj could probably be found at a skate park taunting aspiring tony hawks. isaac would be perusing the fine polyester rags at banana republic. patches is dude's night out seven nights a week, and the only reason he's crying is because of the adrenaline. chris is probably doing a chris farley impression or hanging out with his dog jacob. i'm usually eating ice cream at my house, or playing basketball, or trying to learn the dance from bell biv devoe's 'poison' video. we're a pretty wild bunch.

Which hometown band are you more proud of; Papa Roach or 7seconds?

lance briggs.

It seems like you guys have a different set of guitar players for each record you do, whats up with that? does that make it difficult to write music having a different group every time?

it just happens man...when you do a band, sometimes things change and things don't quite work out. it sucks, and i love all three of the dudes that have been with us, but i don't know if it's realistic to expect a hardcore band's lineup to stay the same from start to finish. it complicates the writing process, but as long as your core group is staying the same, you learn to work through it.

I know most of you guys were listening to punk rock growing up, and you can hear that influence on your sound. But your vocals and your breakdowns have a serious hardcore feel, do you feel like you guys have a unique sound?

i don't know. i guess so? vocally at least, it's not something i'm really trying to do, it's just what my voice sounds like. musically, i guess we sort of combine all our other influences, and hopefully that comes through. we've always just tried to make honest music that hopefully could express some sort of emotion people could identify with. the rest just kind of falls into place after that.

what are some bands out there, maybe on the Deathwish label, that people should check out?

there are so many awesome bands on deathwish right now. BLACKLISTED just put out a new full length called 'heavier than heaven, lonelier than god' and it is great. THE CARRIER is about to come out with a new 7" right around the time our lp comes out. TRAP THEM has a new record, and of course our dude andy rice's band MELTDOWN, if you are into that old nyhc style. i also have to mention our northern california bros LIFE LONG TRAGEDY...check out their record 'runaways' if you like hope conspiracy (another great dw band) or modern life is war (also put a record out on deathwish).

what about your ipod, what are some artists on there that might surprise people?

man, A LOT. i don't even want to get started. i like every kind of music. i guess just check it out for yourself-

speaking of ipods, what are your feelings about P2P file sharing?

it's good and it's bad...i mean on one hand you can't deny that it's easier and more convenient to just download a record rather than go out to the record store and buy it, or order it online and have to wait for it. and i'm not going to act like i've never downloaded a record without paying for it. on the other hand, it is way cooler to have the album as it is supposed to be- with the layout and the artwork, and the jewel case and all that. it makes for a much cooler 'experience' i guess. in some cases, where it's a band or record that means a lot to me, i really want to have the real disc/record. in others, it's just more about casually listening or trying the band out, so i'll take it any way i can get it.

as a band, it's the same. on one hand, any exposure is good- the more people who hear your band, whether they paid for the record or not, the better. and i think that a lot of times, if a kid downloads your album and likes it, then they'll end up essentially repaying the same money they would have spent on the record had they bought it- by coming out to a show or buying the vinyl version or a hoodie, or even just telling friends about you and getting them hyped on your music. the problem, though, is that it hurts the label that put money/time/sweat/work into producing the album. in the case of major labels, i could honestly care less, but for labels like deathwish, or rivalry, or bridge 9 (amongst other independent labels), they can't absorb that kind of blow and if enough people stop buying records, they could go under. i can't tell you how important labels like the ones i just mentioned are to hardcore/independent music. they are the ones who make it possible for bands like us to tour, make records, and be heard.

i guess what i'm saying is, if you like a band or a label, support them. buy records, buy shirts, go to shows, bring friends. especially to ktd shows :)

You said recently that if you weren't fronting Killing the Dream you'd be rapping, what kind of style can we hope for Common, Dre, Kanye...?

haha that was really more of a joke just because i like a lot of hip hop and stuff. i can't rap to save my life, but if i ever tried, i would definitely be trying to emulate dudes like jay-z, rakim, biggie, even know, guys that were more smooth with their flow. i feel like those kind of mcs are less restricted by the beat than most- they don't let it confine them, they make it theirs. i'd also get a bunch of dogs like dmx.

What advice would you give for someone who has never seen you live? What can one expect from experiencing you guys live?

not sure about advice...haha probably 'don't expect too much.' really though, i guess you can just expect to see five dudes doing something they love and something that is important to them. i hope that comes through when we play. also- if you know the words, come up front and sing along! it's more fun than standing in the back watching, trust me.

What are your current touring plans?

world domination! haha we go out east for a little over a week june 14-21. then we have our sacramento release for fractures june 28th at the vfw. japan is july 4-13, and we do a two week us tour august 15-31. check,, or for more details and updates.

On your last US tour you guys were killing time with Super Strikers on gamecube right? Do you know how you will be killing time on this tour?

making fun of patches, probably. haha if we are lucky enough to have a tv again, hopefully we'll have a new video game to wear out. but i doubt it. so we will probably have to resort to the usual van banter, which is always highly intelligent, informative, and enlightening.

Any chance of making a music video for a song on the new record, maybe get on MTV2 like Comeback Kid?

our joint for 'fractures' is gonna debut on sucka free sunday sometime in july, followed by my sucka-free freestyle that i uploaded on my webcam.


Well, we're all excited for the next record, the new tracks i've heard so far sound awesome, any last words?

eat pizza. have fun. do something nice for someone today.

thanks for the interview man...come back to sacramento sometime! we miss you.

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