SURFING MAGAZINE: SO HOW DID YOU GUYS GET THIS LINEUP TOGETHER?
NATO: Well, myself, Rory and Todd have been in bands together for about 15 years now. We grew up in Oceanside. I was with the Plug Uglies for a while, but when they split up I still wanted to play, so I asked Rory if he wanted to jam. So, we got this lineup and have been working together for about three years.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
I think our sound is pretty modern-sounding. I mean, I'm a huge fan of guys like Tom Waits and Nick Cave. And I love The Smiths as well, but I don't know if you'll hear a lot of that in our sound. I hear people compare us to Modest Mouse and Interpol all the time, which is fine, those bands are incredible. But if you're in a band, you don't want to be compared to the new bands. We strive to stay modern but I don't think we've found our distinct sound quite yet. I really like our new stuff we're working on right now; it's a step in the right direction.
AS FOR THE WRITING PROCESS, WHERE DO MOST OF YOUR SONGS COME FROM?
Well, it's funny because it's hard for me to like one of my own songs. But the process for me is like this: I'll write a song on guitar or piano and come up with the riff and mumble a melody. Then before I've finished, I show the guys to see if it's even worth it to keep working with it. Then I'll bring it into practice and we'll all build on it; they'll each take parts and make it sounds way better. Then I always write the lyrics last.
IS THERE A GENERAL THEME WITH YOUR LYRICS?
No, there's not really a general theme. Just life, I guess. And it's not necessarily about me, it's usually a made-up character. I really like singing about being in the shadows of stuff — like the creepier side of life. I guess that's why I like guys like Nick Cave and Tom Waits.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN THE BAND'S BIGGEST HIGHLIGHT THUS FAR?
We played Soho last year. We were the first band to play of the whole event, but just knowing the Flaming Lips were playing after us was pretty cool.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU GUYS?
We're working on a full length album. We'll be in the studio before summer's over and we're going to get a good nine or ten song full-length going. I'm thinking I want our next album to be really Lo-fi, to really bring that rough, live sound out.