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- Posted on Feb 28th 2010 1:00PM by Donna Rodgers
How did you start the band?
The band was born about three years ago. Matt [Lamkin] and Matty [McLoughlin] are old friends. They decided to combine their talents [Matt plays guitar, writes songs and is lead vocalist] and Matty [as lead guitar] form the core of the group. Matt wanted to play simple, catchy, smart rock songs like the British rock bands of yore and believed there weren't many--or any--of these in San Diego. That was the start. Matt and Matty then put together what I think of as our sound, with guitars, bass, drums and a kind of distinctive delivery. They dead-pan sometimes. We've appeared with some greats, including the Breeders, Franz Ferdinand and the Last Shadow Puppets. Before last year's SXSW, we released a limited edition 12" Muslims EP [our former group name] that sold out immediately. Matt and Dave have also known each other a long time. Matt, Matty and Dave haven't been part of other bands, I have. It's a challenge to find a good drummer in San Diego, from what I hear. I am very excited to be part of the Soft Pack. We've got tremendous focus.
Where do you like to play?
Everywhere! I'm at the Travel Lodge in Nottingham right now, we are playing in Nottingham tonight. We love New York City, and the Cake Shop is especially fun. Our debut album was actually crafted with a producer, Eli Janney, at Saltland Studios in Brooklyn last summer. We spent some quality time there. We love the Casbah and the Tower Bar in San Diego, and it's always great to be there. It's our home town. We really enjoy playing with larger bands, because that's always a good experience. We learn from them.
How would you describe your sound?
We're a rock and roll band. I read we're razor sharp and that's true. I've seen some other comments about us being snarly and angsty. We're a rock band.
What are your musical influences?
We draw from everything, all over the map. some of our greatest influences are Notorious B.I.G., Pavement, the Fall, and James Brown. And classics like the Modern Lovers and Buddy Holly.
How did you choose your band name?
We found our name on a site that sells fake genitalia, like a fake penis, and it sounded cool. We were formerly known as the Muslims, and I think that many people weren't ready for that. While it's not really important any more, the name referred to Holocaust victims--a professor of Matt's called them "Muslims" and [it was] meaningful to Matt. Most people knew we weren't trying to be disrespectful to those who call themselves Muslims, but it's important for others to hear and write about our music, not about the name and why we are named that.
What's in your festival survival kit?
This is my sixth SXSW, I'm a veteran. I love the festival. There are always at least a couple of books in my bag, because I'm always reading more than one book at a time. I like to read rock biographies, I'm reading Everett True's 'Nirvana: The Biography.' It's ridiculously sick! I also bring lots of underwear, probably more than everyone else, because I sweat a lot. We all do when we play, but I probably bring more clothes in general than anyone I know. It's challenging to find a place to wash clothes, especially on tour. We're not thinking about that kind of chore anyway.
What kind of mischief do you usually get into on the road? Do you have any vices?
We can party a little too much on occasion, but we've been pretty good over the past year. If any of us ever does venture into a party, we go with another band member. It's really easy to get drawn into the party atmosphere of SXSW, but I have learned from experience that if you party, you're going to miss much of the value of the festival. The chance to hear other music, to meet other people, make friends, interact, and draw inspiration from others is not something to be missed.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
We like a lot of different music, and I guess a few years ago I might have thought soft rock was a guilty pleasure. Hall & Oates is great, for their songwriting mostly, or even Billy Joel. Yeah, I admit I liked 'The Stranger.'
Beatles or Stones?
That's a good question. I like both of them. They're both awesome. Overall, I am a bigger fan of The Beatles because of how far they took their music, from pop to the beyond, from the place they started. The Stones are great because they kind of invented the cliches that are now cliches. They weren't cliches then, and Keith Richards probably likes being Keith Richards but in my opinion nobody else should try to be.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
What's the craziest/creepiest thing you've ever experienced on tour?
We were in Barcelona at Primavera Sound, and we were out really late, at least it seemed really late for us, not for the people in Barcelona. It was about 2:00 a.m., and Trevor, Matty's little brother, fell and it looked like he hit his head on a stage barrier really bad from where I was standing. I kind of went into shock. Thankfully, Trevor didn't hit his head but he did hurt his leg. The people around us were acting crazy, it was a carnival-like atmosphere, and I was really glad Trevor was okay and that night ended.
What's next for the Soft Pack?
We just released our debut earlier this month and this tour is huge. We are having the time of our lives. We made it home to San Diego for the holidays and were were demo-ing some new ideas then, we'll see what happens with these naturally. We can't wait for SXSW this year. We are going to take part in all the cool things the festival has to offer. We're very excited.
Donna Rodgers is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.