Artist: The Get Up Kids Video: 'Automatic' Highlight: "When we started writing…
- Posted on Jan 26th 2011 2:00PM by Dan Reilly
Quality Hill Records
Featuring a dark tone and a keyboard-heavy sound, 'There Are Rules' is the Get Up Kids' most mature outing yet. Spinner recently spoke with singer/guitarist Matt Pryor about the band's writing process, the album title, starting a label and how they avoided getting into the fights that led to their split.
The album sounds pretty different from your classic material. What inspired that?
Well, [keyboardist] James Dewees is a pretty powerful force as far as keyboard players go and the way a lot of it was written ended up being pretty rhythm-section-heavy. That was the groove we were feeling when we were writing it. The thing about keyboards and effects is the more time you spend in the studio, the more s--- you can keep throwing at it and keep layering things. It wasn't a conscious thing. Some of the darkness of it was conscious.
Ryan Pope and Ed Rose
What topics did you cover this time that you hadn't written about before?
A lot of it's about relationships amongst people. That's a pretty common theme, but it's all pretty vague and somewhat angry but not specific at all. I don't think you can tell who I'm talking about. I know who every one of the songs is about but I don't know that anyone would ever really be able to figure it out specifically. That's what I wanted to do.
When I was younger and listening to Fugazi, I'd be like "OK, I've been told this song is about prison but he doesn't say this is a song about prison." You have to really get into it to figure it out. I was trying to have clever phrases that stand out. Oh, I totally just called myself clever. That's terrible. I'm not clever. I've had a couple of good lines in my day but I'd never call myself clever.
What's with that voice at the beginning of the album?
It's a "how to speak German" tutorial that we got off of YouTube and effected. I believe what she's saying is "This is good. You will like it" or something like that. It has yet to be determined what she's actually saying but we thought it was just kind of weird and strange. It sets the tone pretty well.
Why did you call the album 'There Are Rules'?
It's an inside joke from a friend of ours. It doesn't really make any sense, but the more we dwelled on it, a lot of what we're doing right now as far as just creatively and business-wise, how we want to present ourselves as a band kind of flies in the face of traditional rock 'n' roll record label logic. If doesn't if you talk about indie rock and punk rock, but the more I think about it, the more I'm like "Why do we have to conform to what this band used to be or the way the industry thinks it's supposed to be run?" The whole point is that it's supposed to be a creative medium so that's that -- 'There Are Rules,' because there really aren't. I'm totally making this up as I go along, but I think it works.
Ryan Pope and Ed RoseAlso, it's that line, "There are rules in bowling," from 'The Big Lebowski.' After everyone agreed on the title, I Googled it and that was the first thing that came up. I was like "Oh, OK, cool. We can do that." In the worst-case scenario, everyone will just think it's from 'Lebowski.'
It's similar to our first album in the sense that everyone in the band writes songs and we didn't approach it as like a songwriter brining in a song and the band fleshing it out. It was "Alright, who's got an idea?" and "what about this riff?" and we'd just take it. All of us in the room would yell at each other and mold it into something that we liked and hash it out.
At what point did you decide to forego a label and do this on your own?
We decided we weren't going to work with Vagrant anymore because we weren't sure what we were going to do, and quite frankly, we didn't put a whole lot of effort of looking into anything else. The more we talked to our friend Jason, who's helping us run the label, it was like "We can do this." I know all the cogs that fit into this machine to make it work, so we don't need the loan from the record label and we have the skills to do the legwork of running it, so why not? It's could totally fail, but so far it's going really well.
Ryan Pope and Ed RoseAre you planning on releasing stuff by other bands?
No. The label exists just in name. It's something to say instead of saying, like when you look at iTunes and it says what label it's on and says "The Get Up Kids" on it.
Did you do anything to avoid any of the tension that led to you guys splitting in 2004?
We took time away from each other. It's a lot of normal relationship kind of crap. It's like, "OK, we're all very, very, very different people and when we come together, we don't always agree on stuff. We need to stick to the topic at hand of things that we're here to do and that we're good at and not really sweat any of the other crap." We get away from each other and we can be in a good mood when we're with each other.
Ryan Pope and Ed Rose