Ballyhoo! Interview

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Being more reggae and rock in contrast to Warped Tour’s traditional punk sound, how do you think fans will react to your set?
Howi: Hopefully like they do everything. We throw down an energetic, fun set. We try to get everybody involved and have a good time. They paid the money to be here. We just want to put on a good show and give them their money’s worth and then some hopefully. It’s a lot of fun.

Being your first year on Warped, how has your reception been?
Howi: It’s been great. We definitely made a lot of new friends. We see people all the time walking up. We’ll have our little crowds and sometimes they’re big crowds. Then other people will walk by after they’ve checked out another band or some are on their way to check out the next band and they stop and see us and they’re there until the set’s over so we see it working and we see the exposure happening. Everything’s been great. We have lines at our merch table every day after we play so we’re taking pictures and hanging out with people that are digging it. It’s been very well received.

Have the other bands on tour been nice?
Howi: Yeah it’s been cool. Anybody that we’ve talked to or anybody that I’ve bumped into has been like “Hey man, what’s going on.” There’s not a lot of weirdness. It would be dumb to say that everybody’s cool; it’s just people are people but everybody understands why they’re here and they know it’s a level playing field. The bigger bands have the bigger draws and they’re on the bigger stages but it doesn’t matter. Nobody cuts in front of you in the catering line. It’s good.

Going into the making of Daydreams, what were some goals for the album?
Howi: The same as everything when we go to record. We’re like “Okay, we’re gonna do the best fucking record we’ve ever done. Let’s make sure it’s the best thing ever.” This time we actually had time, we had signed with LAW Records, those guys gave us some money to go in and we’d never had that before. It was enough where we could lock ourselves up in a studio for three weeks solid. So it wasn’t really an on the clock sort of thing where we feel the pressure like “Oh, we gotta get this done.” The first few days we could work out new songs. We only had a handful of songs. A lot of it was jams and stuff and ideas. We just kind of built the record right there. And within three weeks we had a product.

“We have this full album that’s been kicking ass now over the last year. Very proud of it. It’s the best we’ve ever sounded.”

It was finished in three weeks?
Howi: We finished the album in three weeks. [laughs]

It’s a big album! That’s impressive!
Howi: It’s a big album. Yeah, we couldn’t believe it. We went from almost nothing to, we had maybe I’ll say a quarter of the album, you know three songs or something, three or four songs, and the rest were jams and ideas. We have this full album that’s been kicking ass now over the last year. Very proud of it. It’s the best we’ve ever sounded. The production is great on it. The sound’s awesome. We’re pumped.

I’m still flabbergasted that it was finished in three weeks.
Howi: [laughs] We do work fast. It would’ve been cool to be in for a month you know, or a month and a half, but we just knew where we wanted to go. It wasn’t anything like “Let’s do a record like this.” It was just what felt good. It definitely became our hardest record that we’ve done, and a lot more punk energy. We’ve sorted of always had that but this was a lot more guitar driven. We even experimented with new textures like pianos and stuff. We’re really happy with all the songs on it. It turned out really cool.

Where did the inspiration come from on the album?
Howi: I write a lot from personal experience, real life situations. And I find that lyrically when I go real deep that after the song comes out, people come up to me and say “Wow, that song touched me this way.” I get people telling me and telling us that we’re helping them get through whatever, you know. And for me, that’s amazing because that’s how I feel about my favorite bands. It’s an honor to have someone tell me that. The inspiration can come from anywhere but first and foremost, just things that happen to me because they in turn happen to other people.

Were you really musical as a child?
Howi: Yeah, my brother and I, he’s the drummer, Donald, our dad used to take us to concerts. Like we saw Poison, Ratt, Def Leppard, and noise bands before we were seven years old. He always had instruments. He was in bands when he was growing up. We always had instruments, drums, keyboards, guitars and things like that. We never got fully into it until early teens, 12/13 years old. And we realized “Okay, I really want to play guitar now” and “I really want to play drums” and we decided to start the band. The whole creative side has always been there. I was always drawing and stuff. The idea of writing songs, that’s always been there. That’s a wonderful outlet.

Do you have new music in the works?
Howi: Yeah, we’re always working on songs. I have demos for crazy and different ideas. Some are full songs and some are just little ideas. I’m always writing. There’s never a time when I’m not working on music. It’s just a matter of when we’re gonna have time to get back in the studio and get it done. I think when we have a nice solid half a record then we’ll feel comfortable. It’s all in good time. We’re gonna let Daydreams ride out for a little longer. We’re coming up on a year so we think a year is a good amount of time and then maybe think about getting back in there.

Are you still writing songs while you’re on tour?
Howi: Oh of course.

It never stops?
Howi: Never. I made a goal for myself, like I want to write our entire next album while we’re on the Warped Tour. This summer I just want to do it. Because there’s all kinds of inspiration out there musically and we want to try different things. I have no idea what the next album is gonna sound like. Whatever it is, it’ll sound like us. We’ll see. I’ve got a handful of stuff to throw down on my GarageBand on my iPad and everything. I’m pretty stoked about it.

Ballyhoo! is Howi Spangler, Donald Spangler, Scott Vandrey, JR Gregory.

Connect:
http://ballyhoorocks.com
http://facebook.com/ballyhoo
http://twitter.com/ballyhoo_md

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Nancy Hoang created Hopeless Thunder in 2007. She conducts the interviews, writes the articles, photographs the concerts, and handles the site's coding & design. (Basically, she's a control freak.) Her work can also be seen on music publication, CMJ. Contact Nancy for image licensing, assignments, or just to say hi.

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