Interview with Army of Freshmen September 2005

Q1. After fighting so hard to get where you are, and after being almost completely underground for so long. How does it feel to be finally getting recognition in the music press, not just from the masses of faithful AOF fans?

A1. Hmm. Well it's strange cause I don't think we see it as much in our own country. I know it's going on in Japan, I feel like it's starting in the UK but we don't see it as much obviously since we don't live there.

Q2. Of all of the countries and venues AOF have toured. Where have you had the best crowd response?

A2. Well gotta say Japan. From the festivals we've played over there to the solo shows, they just have such an excitement and energy towards music.

Q3. Army Of Freshmen has an unusual sound. How would you describe it and where did it come from?

A3. Well it happened pretty naturally. We never set out to have two keyboard players and what not. The whole band started out by me, myself and an acoustic guitar and it took a good two years or so till we really locked in a sound that was original and we all loved.

Q4. You have toured with Bowling For Soup quite a few times now. How was it working in the studio with Jaret producing the new album?

A4. Amazing. I think Jaret is an amazing songwriter for starters. I think he's a master at mixing meaningful imagery based lyrics with a witty comedic vibe. Some people can't accept music having any sense of humor. If that's you- obviously steer clear. As for me- I love it. Beyond that they are hands down some of nicest guys I have ever met. With that said in terms of how they recording came about- Jaret and I briefly met on Warped Tour in 2003. We talked a bit. Kept in touch. They hooked us up with some shows and both our bands just really clicked as people. We all became good friends. I always felt he understood what Army of Freshmen was going for and if we worked together it would be a great fit. We were backstage in Cambridge and we were talking about the idea. We got the ball rolling from that point and it turned even better then I had hoped. It was a really great experience. To be sitting across from a songwriter you admire and working on lyrics together- that's a dream. Plus we got to live in a hotel in Texas or two weeks which everyone should do once in their life. I don't why… but they should!

Q5. How has AOF's sound developed since you released 'Beg, Borrow, Steal' in '04 and what should we look out for on the new album?

A5. Well it you liked the last album- you'll LOVE the new one and if you didn't like the last record- you probably won't like this one either. I know everyone says this but I think the songs are a bit more mature- not mature in the sense of bad 8th grade poetry wanna be serious stuff- just a few songs that maybe more people can relate to but by all means it's gonna keep the AOF quirk factor. For instance we just wrote a song that name checks an obscure Charlton Heston movie- so if you like that aspect- don't worry! I think hands down though it'll have some of the best songs we've ever written. We've only gotten better as musicians and songwriters.

Q6. Which Army Of Freshmen track do you most enjoy performing, and why?

A6. I'll go for the obvious and say, "Get Um Up". We always close with it so by that point people understand what we're all about and the chorus is incredibly easy to pick up, so the sing along factor is great. Ends things on a really upbeat, all inclusive note.

Q7. With a new addition to the band since you toured the UK in '04. Should we be expecting the same AOF ass-kickin' that we got last autumn?

A7. Wow- much more ass will be kicked. On our last tour over there- we almost felt guilty cause I had a sprained ankle which really limited me and we had a temporary drummer as our original drummer had just left the band. Point being we were rocking at half strength- this time we intend to make up for it.

Q8. Who has most inspired you most, both musically, and life in general?

A8. Great question! Musically They Might Be Giants. Songwriting wise Tom Waits. Personal inspiration Arlo Guthrie, a high school teacher in Jersey- Mr. Mathis, my dad for his attitude and career wise Jaret from Soup.

Q9. You have played some great venues over the years, if you could choose any venue, anywhere in the world to play, where would it be, and why?

A9. Well let's take out festivals cause that's like cheating- so actual clubs- House of Blues. Best sound, best catering, best backstage and there's a bunch of them. In the states they're like Carling Academies with a little more personality. Plus I love the food there!

Q10. Where are you at the moment, and what can you see out of the window?

A10. Wow. Waited a longtime to be asked that. I can see the wall of my neighbor's apartment! Wish I had more for you.

Q11. As a band, you have spent most of the past 3 years on the road together. What makes it difficult, and who is the hardest to live in a confined space with?

A11. Hmm. Got to answer this politically. We all have our characteristics that drive each other mad. Dan can get snappy and talks on the phone too much, Owen wakes up too early and wants to talk to everybody, I scatter newspapers everywhere and from what I've been told, cut in line a whole lot, Aaron sleeps too much and is lazy when he gets up, Kai let's his penchant for death metal cause him to threaten everyone's life on alcohol induced occasions, Mike has to stop to pee every 5 minutes and says it in demanding way that makes you not want to stop but beyond all that everyone's brilliant!

Q12. Aka 'when was the last time you splashed in a puddle?', when was the last time that you were spontaneous, and what did you do?

A12. I had to clean to up dog poop but I threw it in the neighbor's trash can. Don't tell him.

Q13. On your website you have a list of things which, you would appreciate to help make life on tour more bearable. What is the most memorable thing that you have 'ever' been given by a fan?

A13. There's been a lot actually but I have a decoration given to me by a Japanese fan that is literally over 5,000 pieces of colored paper strung together and it's beautiful. Someone also drew a great picture of me in anime style that I really like.

Q14. I guess that this one could be for Chris. Has your view of MTV etc, changed at all, for the better or worse, since writing 'last dance'?

A14. Still sucks dick. The music awards over here were embarrassing. It was like one long commercial for Puff Daddy or whatever his name is. Saw a commercial that says "It's myth that MTV doesn't play music anymore". Are they kidding? Of course they still play music - when no one's watching at 3 in the morning? Before that it's 800 episodes of Laguna Beach which is another problem altogether.

Q15. What has been your worst concert experience?

A15. Manchester, England. Last fall- not the amazing Soup show we played there but about a week before with Suburban Legends- my birthday actually! Well for starters- SL was on fire that night and we were after them. My ankle was feeling awful, the sound sucked, two instruments broke- I just gave a terrible show. Really embarrassing. Everything went wrong. We vowed revenge and a week later played with Soup in Manchester and had a great show! Shitty birthday though.

Q16. If you were going to be remembered for only one thing, what would it be?

A16. Best question ever- I would want people to say- "He was a nice guy who never, ever gave up on his dream." I wouldn't mind people saying I was great in the sack too but that's not true so I'll guess I'll go with the first one!

Interviewed by Talia Kane

Visit The Army of Freshmen Website