Musicscan: are you kind of nervous leaving the states to tour europe in a couple of
days? what are your expactations
for this first european tour?
The Underwater: well, from what we understand we're going to be playing some pretty decent
sized shows in europe so we're expecting some pretty decent shows, which is
great. europe is like a dream and i know that alot of people in europe think
of america as this really cool place but europe is definately a place that
we really look forward to playing. i, for example, have only been to england
and to be in the netherlands and germany and these other places is just so
hard to believe so i think great things lie ahead- regardless of the
turnout- although, i hope the turnout will be great too.
Musicscan: how much attention you put on europe in general? is europe one of your
The Underwater: europe is definately a target. i think europe is on top of its shit and
definately has been for a long time. to be recieved well there means as much
as the u.s. and people with such discriminating tastes are not to be taken
lightly. if we take off there before the u.s. i will certainly not be
complaining. we love alot of european bands and to find success there is a
huge compliment to us and if it takes long for the u.s. to come around we
Musicscan: what's your self-understanding of the underwater - what does your band
stands for? introduce the underwaters members
and the idea behind your band, please.
The Underwater: the underwater was a band that matt and i started two years ago. we had a
vision for music that was poppy and edgy at the same time, somewhere between
the deftones and tonic and i think we've kept true to that aim. member-wise
we come from several different places but are influenced by all types of
music from norma jean to brian mcknight to the dixie chix, you know? we just
seek to be true to our influences and to write music that has as much
integrity as our influences and that actually has something to say.
Musicscan: what have been your first rehearsels like and how did you get the members
for the underwater together?
The Underwater: matt and i started this band about two years ago with a pop-rock vision that
we still hold to today. we had been in a hardcore band called boywunder
(which is still around today and is incredible) and just decided that we
wanted to make a career of our music because we knew we could. we currently
are looking for a permanent drummer but have been through about 10 drummers,
3 guitar players and 2 bass players. brandon came along in about march of
2002 and has been such an asset as far as connections and hard work in
looking for anything that wiill take this band to the next level. for that
reason, brandon has become an integral part of this team because, by
believing in matt and i's vision and furthering it with his efforts, he has
earned a place in where we are going. aaron is a kid i went to college with
who was in the band at its conception, quit, and rejoined about a year ago.
he is someone who appreciates where we are and has been willing to make alot
of sacrifices to be with us at this stage. we hope now just to find a
drummer who shares our commitment and vision.
Musicscan: did you always had people who supported you? right from the biginning?
The Underwater: to be honest, no. not many people supported us when we started out. hardcore
kids called us sellouts, and local kids had no idea how far we coudl take
this. some of the former members who quit are still in bands trying to make
it and passed on our band because they didn't think we would have the
success we have had but we just continued to believe in ourselves and our
artistic vision and it has all worked out as we had hoped. i think the fact
that we have had like 15 members who quit, and a song called "the
capricious" demonstrates our difficulty in finding people who believed in
us. time will tell.
Musicscan: do you agree to describe your sound as mixture of rock and some hardcore
roots? i mean you play some kind of melodic but
still aggressive rock sound.
The Underwater: i would agree with this. the underwater will evolve in time. we don't want
to be stifled and hope to do some straight rock records along the lines of
feeder and third eye blind in time. but for now we are breaking out with
definate melodic rock and hardcore roots. i'm proud of this fact and am
totally happy with where we are now and where we're going.
Musicscan: i sometimes read something like "The Juliana Theory meets Filter meets Fuel
and Placebo" - is this close to what the
underwater is playing?
The Underwater: we do listen to filter and juliana theory and from what we've heard of
placebo we like them too. but these boxes are still a bit small for us. we
just write what hits us at the moment and this can be anything. these bands
are great company to be in and we have no complaints with these comparisons,
but i think that, both musically and vocally, we are spread out beyond these
Musicscan: has it been a "problem" in the beginning that a lot of people focussed on
the fact that jesse of zao is your drummer.
have you ever felt like being limited in peoples view? the positive aspect
is surely that you got a lot of attention...
The Underwater: jesse joined this band about a year after we started. we knew that jesse
joining would give us attention but we were also intent on being true to our
vision. 3 of the 5 songs we recorded with jesse we wrote without him, you
know? jesse is a great guy and i'm sure he will always find success in what
he does but there is more to this band than the couple songs he worked on
with us. in fact, i wouild still argue that every song we write gets better,
even 8 months after he left. we in no way regret our time with jesse nor
that attention we got from his involvment, but anyone who thinks this band
was started by jesse or was led by jesse at any point definately has a jaded
view of who we are. matt and i loved zao forever so to have jesse in our
band was a dream come true, but his fingerprints on the music itself are
definately less than some people think. so, basically, if you hate us don't
blame jesse, and if you like us don't credit jesse. that's about it.
Musicscan: hearing "bleed me blue" - it's some kind of musical journey between all
those emotions life have to offer. what makes you
write such wide music?
The Underwater: lyrically, i write in the moment. and in the last couple years i've had alot
to say about God, unrequited love and idealistic love. i've also written a
bit about friendships and relationships gone bad. nothing makes me write
these kinds of songs, they are just the release of what i hold inside.
someday it may be war and poverty, but for now i'm wrestling the demons of
Musicscan: describe the songwriting process, please. your songs are incredible
interesting and complicated but rarely ever stay in one
place for too long...
The Underwater: at first matt and i wrote entire songs musically and would bring them to the
table- now matt writes most of the music and i write the lyrics and
melodies. so matt will bring a song, teach it to the band, and i will chew
on it and bring in lyrics and melodies later. matt, like me, writes in the
moment based on his own ideas and what he's listening to- which makes our
music very diverse and very cohesive all at once.
Musicscan: is it an intentionell drive to make the songs as varied musically as
possible? do you like to challenge your listener?
The Underwater: we don't intentionally write varying music, it just ends up that way b/c we
listen to tons of different styles and just write whatever strikes us. if
our listeners are challenged in the process- great. we just don't want to be
boxed in and won't be as long as we aren't afraid to listen to anything, be
it 50 cent, brian mcknight, poison the well, filter, silverchair, third eye
blind, beck, whatever. fuck genres- we're aiming for songs.
Musicscan: i also have the feeling that you guys don't take yourselves too seriously.
am i right? just tell me a bit about your
motivation to play especially this rock sound you are doing.
The Underwater: what makes us a great pop rock band is that we both respect our predecessors
as well as have our own demons to fight with. we abuse our bodies, piss of
the wrong people, impress the right people at times and piss them off at
other times- pretty much just do our thing and welcome anyone who's down
with our vision and our music. we're not looking to kiss anyone's ass or
piss anyone off on purpose- we just do what we do and put our music and the
fans first. we joke around alot and are have no problem making a scene. call
us gay, call us stoners, call us sellouts- we don't care. all that matters
in the end is our music- and that's a big part of what rock and roll is to
Musicscan: what's your main focus creating new songs onto? to have a good melody and a
The Underwater: for me that's what i look for. matt writes whatever he feels and i try to
tie it together with my gnack for catchy melodies. regardless of the style-
i'm a sucker for a catchy hook. i think it's fun taking different styles of
rock- hard and mellow- and catering them for mass appeal. because i can find
pop in hardcore, rap, rock, r&b and whatever else so i try to just bring
that common catchy element into whatever i sing with a touch of artiness.
Musicscan: what are you guys doing when you enter your rehearsal room?
The Underwater: as i said before, matt brings in music and i bring in a melody and lyrics.
that's about it. just teaching stuff to the other members and getting the
overall feel for the songs that matt and i are going for.
Musicscan: what is the thing concerning the band and its music you guys feel especially
The Underwater: i think we're heavier than most bands with "pretty singers" and our music is
alot more indie than alot of those bands as well. this is what i think sets
us apart. alot of people, when they see us live, mention how we're heavier
than they pictured from the recordings. i love that. i also love how our
indie roots have us thinking outside the box while our love for pop keeps us
right aiming for the mainstream.
Musicscan: can you take one typical song and explain what you hope people are getting
out of it, please.
The Underwater: "to find you" is an easy one because it's a semi-popular one. this is a song
that i wrote about my relationship with God that many people think is about
romance. many of our songs have to do with the role religion plays in
society and how important it is to live our lives by our own instincts and
not by tradition or how we were brought up. i hope people hear this song and
songs like "disaster", "bravado" and "everyone" and see that we have alot of
love for God and seek to know what he wants but fear that the world is too
watered down and fucked up to ever really know what God wants. call me an
agnostic, but this is the message of alot of what i write these days.
Musicscan: if you would have to summarise the message and atmosphere of the underwaters
music in one sentence. what would it be?
The Underwater: our music and lyrics seek to nurture an atmosphere that is dark and poppy at
the same time - something you can sing along with and yet something that
makes you think about everyday experiences in a new (and perhaps more
critical and skeptical) light.
Musicscan: the underwater is a band with christian background. have you ever had
problems with intolerant people while playing a show?
stefan (lifeforce) told me that some german magazines did cancel planned
interviews when they got to know about it. i can
not understand it, but it seems to be true...
The Underwater: we haven't had problems with our backgrounds to this point. when this band
formed we were intent on it not being Christian. in fact, to say that i, the
band's lyrciist, is a Christian would be incorrect. as i said before, i am
an agnostic. i don't think that eternal answers can be found on earth
anymore and i have no Christian message to send. no good news. i am someone
who was a pastor's kid his whole life and who graduated from college with a
degree in Bible. box me into my past if you must, but i assure you that time
and experience has made me a different man. we are all in different places
on our spiritual journey and, i hope that even if we were a Christian band,
people could respect our views and beliefs. wherever we end up in time will
be a belief system we worked very hard to get to and a belief system not to
be taken lightly. religious faith is not a weakness if it is arrived at with
blood sweat and tears. anyone who ciritizes us for our past can fuck off.
anyone who respects us for always taking a stand for what we do or do not
believe in has our respect.
Musicscan: are there any messages that you guys are trying to get out into the scenes?
The Underwater: yeah, give up the scene. live life with the rest of the world because when
you reside in a scene you are defying pop-culture while they are ignoring
you. this is a useless endeavor. music is music. nsync - hatebreed, it's
music. support good music.
Musicscan: what are principles you would never give up to as a band?
The Underwater: good music, respect for those who came before us, staying true to what we
believe in and our artistic vision.
Musicscan: your biggest wish to happen for the band?
The Underwater: alot of money because i'm tired of being poor. it would also be nice to get
critical acclaim and infliuence people with our music- but who's to say? it
would just be awesome to have musicians of the future look to us as we look
to our role models. biggest wish, though? u2 meets aerosmith- ha.
Musicscan: something you would like to add?
The Underwater: come see us play and let us know what you think. we want to reach the world
one person at a time, so your opinion matters. tell us we suck- whatever. we
just want to get under your skin whatever way we can.... ;-) thanks, dan