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Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Greg, am: 02.12.2002 ]

Dass die Schweiz nicht nur ein schönes Land mit vielen Bergen und guter Luft ist, sondern auch ausgezeichnete Bands zu bieten hat, beweisen die äußerst sympathischen Jungs von Chewy, die mit ihrem zweiten Album "Somanydynamos" eine der besten Indie-Pop Scheiben des Jahres rausgehauen haben. Vor kurzem konnte man sich auch mal wieder von den Livequalitäten der Band überzeugen, was für mich Anlass genug war, bei Sänger und Gitarrist Greg etwas genauer nachzufragen. Wir sprachen über deutsches Essen, das Musikgeschäft und wie man ein Interview führen sollte.


Musicscan: When did you guys meet and how did Chewy start?

Chewy: Chewy started in 96 with Chris and Mat and me, the continuation of a band Chris and I had. Seb's been with us since May 2000.

Musicscan: What is your goal with the band? Is it a pure fun project or are you trying to make a living off of the band?

Chewy: We'd like to make a living off the band, but I have to admit it's really hard. Once you've paid for everything and everybody, there's rarely anything left to put food on the table. The music industry is going through a crisis, and small bands like us are paying the price.

Musicscan: What do you guys do in "real life"? Do you have jobs or go to school?

Chewy: I finished my studies last month, Seb will be finishing this year, Mat started art school, and Chris has been working for years.

Musicscan: When you are on stage, you are all funny and smiley. Is that only for the show or are you being yourself? Are you a rather happy and positive person in general?

Chewy: Tough question. I am not a particularly positive guy, but I like to think I enjoy life. I think what's especially important is to take everything with a sense of humor, otherwise you're fucked (the other way to take it is to be stupid, which can be helpful). As to why I'm "funny and smiley" on stage, I guess it's just because I'm glad to be there.

Musicscan: How do you feel when people think it's "cute" that you as a band are from Switzerland? I was just wondering because it seems like you are playing with that phenomenon since the Swiss flag is one of your t-shirt designs.

Chewy: We used to be ashamed of it. Now I think it's kind of fun. In any case it's somewhat of a handicap, because rock music and Switzerland are not things people tend to associate. I guess we take it with an ironic pride.

Musicscan: Where do you see the biggest difference between "somanydynamos" and "What took you so long"? In what way would you say you progressed and developed as a band?

Chewy: I think "What took you..." was the work of very young people. We were trying to imitate the bands that we listened to, trying to be cool. I like to think that with "somany..." we managed to do something a bit more personal. I hope we managed to integrate the members' various influences (e.g. country music, heavy metal...) and have them come out as something at least a bit more original than plain indie guitar rock. Of course, hoping for total newness in rock today is only an illusion, everything's just a combination of rip-offs, which is harder to detect in the better stuff.

Musicscan: Why do you work with John Agnello? How come he is such a "special" producer and engineer?

Chewy: I loved his work on the Dinosaur Jr albums, they're one of my all-time favorite! So that was reason enough. Plus he'd already worked on my brother's band Favez.

Musicscan: What are the best and worst aspects about touring, especially for longer periods of time?

Chewy: The best aspect is the bonds which grow between people on the road, the way you develop relationships that have a status incomparable to any other. At best, it can be like a holiday with a bunch of very special buddies, with a gig to crown each day and make it memorable. When it's not so good it can get pretty tiresome. On bad tours you repeat the same day endlessly, until you start to wonder why you're actually doing it. What I'd really love now is to graduate to a nightliner, so as to get free time during the days to visit the towns we go through a bit.

Musicscan: What are some of the most severe shortcomings of the music industry? What do you like least about the music business?

Chewy: There's just too much to say in that respect. I think the root of the evil is the oxymoronic combination of the words music and business.

Musicscan: When did you start playing your first instrument and how did you get into music initially?

Chewy: I got my first guitar when I was 15. My brother offered it to me, it was a Stratocaster. Generous guy, my brother.

Musicscan: Where do you hope to be ten years down the road?

Chewy: In a little house by the sea in Tuscany, with some buddies hanging around a ping pong table on the lawn and a recording studio in the basement.

Musicscan: What was the first record you bought? Do you still own it?

Chewy: I think it was "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straits, on tape. I still have it, and actually listen to it sometimes.

Musicscan: 3 favorite records, books and movies?

Chewy: Too hard! I'll give you 5 records: Bruce Springsteen "Born to run" or "Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ", Dinosaur Jr. "Where you been", Neil Young "Harvest", Leonard Cohen "Greatest Hits", Jim O'Rourke "Halfway to a Three Way" (though it's only an EP) Books: Steinbeck "The Grapes of Wrath", Auster "Moon Palace", and yes, adolescent-nerdly, Tolkien "The Lord of the Rings", to hell with coolness. Movies: "C'est arrivé près de chez vous "(Man bites dog), "Apocalypse now", "Dead Man".

Musicscan: Any last comments, words of praise, questions, shoutouts....

Chewy: All right. I loved all the second half of the interview, I think you'll find any musician will dig answering questions like that more than stuff about how the band came to be and all. Hopefully, people will enjoy reading about it more as well. Way to go! Other bands I would have wanted to include in the top 3 list: Yo La Tengo, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Pavement, Simon and Garfunkel. There you go. Just writing down their names makes me feel good. Other thing: The world is going nuts. Towns are becoming gigantic shopping centers, our consumerism has gone wild and it's taking the humanity out of everything. The only sense more and more people are managing to make of their lives is that their money enables them to spend Saturdays in huge centers in disastrously ugly commercial areas on the outside of towns to buy stuff they think they need. Your mobile phone is fine, don't buy another one. Your car is new enough, don't buy another one. We should read more, watch less TV, be selective in what products and behaviors we choose to encourage. And keep on rocking. And one last thing. The food in Germany is dreadful. The cooking time for pasta should be 8 minutes, not 80. And stop putting your damn paprikas into everything, they are not salt. But we love you anyhow.

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