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|interviewed by robby sumner|
| Interview with Ty and Ian
September 28th, 2004
Steven Carr - Vocals
Ty Jontz - Guitar
Mike Horn - Bass
Ian Ingram - Drums
|E: Little Yellow Box is a band signed to Negative Progression Records that's been getting amplified recognition as of late... has the band been together for a while now?
Ty: Yeah... the band's been around for about three years, but we took about nine months off to write and reshape our sound. Around that time we started talking to our label Negative Progression about possibly signing with them. Our CD just came out Tuesday, but in the past couple months thereís been a lot of promo about us in places. We had our whole EP streaming up on PureVolume for about two weeks or so before the release, so that definitely helped out as well.
E: Has the workload gotten lighter for you now that you're on NP?
Ty: No, not at all. If anything it's tenfold. We have to do all we can to promote this EP and we're not just working by ourselves, rather with a label now, so we can't do most things at our leisure like we used to at times. We're a lot more proud of this CD so I think we're more excited to play these songs out and just get this music heard. Having this release be on an actual label rather than a burned demo CD we used to sell ourselves, thereís a certain amount of pressure to tour and play shows in general since its an official release.
Ian: Not necessarily, although there's a lot of stuff happening that would not be happening without our label. We've always recorded ourselves, and we did that for this record too. We also put together the artwork--with pictures by Robdobi.com. The record was being recorded, before we were even on NPR, and I think Seth, president of NPR, usually leaves that up to the bands anyway, and handles the rest. The rest consists of getting us strippers for all our post show parties, and lots of booze for all the underage fans who want to hang out, and party. Seth is great like that. Also he's handling things like getting the CD out to magazines and online zines for reviews. Putting out ads in magazines, putting up banners. That's all stuff we would never do with the demos we released ourselves. It's stuff we would maybe consider doing for this record, since we're all proud of it, but I don't think we have the financial means, so it's great to have someone who's into our music, and music in general, and is helping us out like this.
E: Would you consider yourselves a big touring band?
Ian: We don't consider ourselves a touring band at this point. We all work full time, and some of us are in school. Mike is a slave to the TLC show Repo Man. He does editing for them, and I hope the show gets cancelled so that Mike can practice more. We're doing a two-week tour in November though, and also doing a one-month tour with Adios, and our label mates Little Compass in January. Hopefully by next summer we'll be releasing a full length, and starting to tour on a more full time basis.
E: What do you think is the key to a band becoming more known on the scene?
Ian: Well to be honest, we'd like to know. I think promotion helps, and word of mouth. It's a mystery to me. Certain areas we seem to do great in, and others we seem to struggle a bit. I don't get it. I think making friends with bands is important. Associating yourself with bands who you enjoy so that hopefully your fans can rub off onto their fanbase, and their fan base can rub off on to yours. Sort of like swapping STD's. I'm not saying that fans are STD's, unless there are any good kinds of STD's. I've never heard of any of them if there are. That would be fantastic if there were more long-term benefits of having sex.
Ty: I think one of the main keys is just getting your name and music out there. Always writing new music to keep your live shows different, playing shows, etc. What also helps is going to local shows and just handing out CDs of a few songs to as many people as you can. Even if they end up not liking you, they still know your name and might have friends who might dig it. Also posting flyers of your naked bodies in parochial schools and other places is always going to win over the ladies. We tried that with Mike, our bassist, and it worked well.
E: What does more money mean for the band?
Ty: More money means more drugs, diseases, and mo' problems. Hah, well other than all those sweet things, we hope to one day make enough money to do this full time. Quit our jobs and just make music and be on the road. I think thatís been somewhat of a dream of mine, and most people who are in bands since they were little tikes. Ever since I started playing guitar when I was twelve all I wanted to do was make music and be in a band, and Iím lucky to be doing that now. I just hope one day we can make the funds we need to live and be on the road a good portion of the year. Music is about music, not money, but I'd much rather make a living off of this so I donít have to work a shit job I donít like the rest of my life.
Ian: The same it means for the average Joe. More hookers, candy, and video games. Also it means my bank account can go over the minimum amount and I donít have to get charged that stupid seven dollar fee every month. Wait, did someone tell you we were getting more money? 'Cause I donít have more money. Hypothetically though, I guess more money would eventually mean a van. Maybe a trailer. Some new underwear. Mine has lots of holes in it. More comics.
E: Who would you say are typically your biggest fans?
Ian: Over and underweight guys who don't get laid, and girls phonetically named Caty. They're our bread and butter. We've got this one kid who always sends us this email saying heís a big fan, and asking for a bunch of free stuff to hand out. Funny thing is though, he always sends the exact same email. Itís a saved email he has, and he sends it to bands all over the state. I donít really think heís a real fan. As for a real answer, I'm not so sure. I think our target audience is anyone who doesn't need very simplistic generic watered down music, and doesn't get turned off by moments of abrasiveness.
E: How does the newest album compare with older demos?
Ian: One of the differences is parts. There are so many goddamn parts on this new record. A couple of the songs on the new record--"Et Cetera" available at all fine online retailers, and if some online retailer does not have it they are not fine--have like nine parts each or something ridiculous. We relied less on repetition in an attempt to keep a person interested not just on a verse and a chorus, or hook, but a long series of continually changing parts that were good. Hopefully it worked. We've since gone back a bit more towards traditional song writing. The other difference is that Tyler, our guitarist, wrote all of the guitar parts on this record. That's often where everything starts. We all structured songs together, but in the past songs were usually written in whole by one person--either myself, Tyler, our bassist Mike, or our old guitarist George. The other main difference with this new record, ďEt CeteraĒ... available online and in stores nation wide... wink wink... is that we're more proud of what's on this than anything we've done before this.
Ty: The older material we wrote when we first started was all pretty basic structured material compared to the new. We did a lot of verse/chorus writing and not that its bad, we just wanted to try to branch away from that with our new material and distance ourselves from bands in the genre. We used to play a lot in drop D tuning, but all this new material on the EP is all standard tuning which does make a huge different in sound and the way you play. I think one of the main reasons we made this change is because we sort of grew out of the older sound we used to have by listening to more creative bands which has made us focus a lot more on our individual instruments, and reminded us that there's always room for improvement. We tend to spend a lot more time writing songs now than we used to, and at least to me and others I've talked to, you can tell the difference. Our newest material that were writing for our full length does move back towards a more structured style, but still obtains aspects of our EP style writing.
E: Do you think that fans of the older material will be equally into the new stuff once they've heard it?
Ty: It depends. We're going to lose fans as well as gain new ones, and also keep some of the same ones we've had. It really all depends on what people listen to overall. I think one of the good things about this record is all 5 songs are really different from one another for the most part. Some songs might attract some people, while others will attract people with different tastes. At least thatís what I like to think... I could be completely wrong though. A lot of our older fans like the verse/chorus structures we wrote, but in these new EP songs they might be thrown off and not like how some of the songs progress.
Ian: I'm very curious about that, but ultimately it is not too important, because we like it better--I feel like I keep saying that--which is what really counts. I'm pretty sure we've separated ourselves from other bands in our genre, which will hopefully help in finding new fans. As far as the fans of the older music, we have gotten a good response, which is nice, because we don't want to alienate them or turn them off. Hopefully they can respect the changes we made in our music, and be willing to accept changes we will still make in the future. I know one kid got mad cause there wasn't screaming on the new CD, but that was never a big part of our band anyway, and there's plenty of bands with screaming so Iím sure it won't take him long to fill that void.
E: Does the band ever get musical advice from outside the direct group?
Ty: For the most part not really. We write everything at practice in Ian's four by four looks-like-its-soundproof-but-its-really-not-cause-the-neighbors-complain-its-not-our-fault-they-have-a-baby room. But I think the baby likes the Box. I heard it singing along.
E: Are there still songs that you've never recorded that might be performed live?
Ian: There are a couple of new songs we have that we have yet to record, but we are a spoiled band in that we have recording equipment that I slaved at a music store when I was fifteen to get, so we almost always record our songs as we're writing them. It's a way of demo-ing it to make sure we don't need to change anything. We actually get kids who request our older material, but having one guitarist as we do now, and making the conscious effort to change our music the way we did for specific reasons we sort of shy away from playing them. It's like reading your first poem to a group of people when you have all these new poems that you like so much better. Not that I've ever written a poem.
E: What evidence is there that tells you that you will most likely be following a career in music for a pretty long time?
Ty: Well, as I said before all I've wanted to do was play guitar in a band since I was a little kid, so I think I'll always be playing no matter what... unless I get offered a job like serving coffee or something. Iíve been in other bands before, and after being in this one I can definitely say that these are the best musicians Iíve played with. Ian's sexy playing just makes me want to write sweet rocking grooves. Mikes bass tends to make people wet, from what he says, and Steve just brings the vibrations--like that Marky Mark song... or is it ďfeel the vibrationĒ? I think we all have the right chemistry to make this a more successful band and I'm in it as long as they are. How loving and sweet is that? So unless they decide to be a Cinderella cover band, Iím in... well... Cinderella is pretty rocking...
Ian: Myself personally, Iím not very good at many things. I'm very mediocre at most things, but I think Iím like a tic tac sized notch above mediocre on drums, so that skill stands tall above the rest--num chuck skills, drunken monk kung fu fighting skills, and moon walking skills. Music, and playing drums, and playing in a band has held my interest longer than anything I know. It's longer than any relationship Iíve had aside from my parents and siblings. I realized that, and had to take note because I chew up hobbies, and spit them out. One time I read a John Grisham book, and I was like "This is sweet. I'm going to be a lawyer, and defend innocent people," but then I got this law book, read like four pages, took a nap, and never picked it up again. Then I got a little older, and picked up another Grisham book, and thought it was kind of lame. He's no Gregory McDonald.
E: Well, thanks a lot! Good luck with your careers.
Ty: Hey, thanks for the interview.