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Hundred Reasons

Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Colin Doran, am: 28.05.2004 ]

Mit ihrem Debütalbum “Ideas Above Our Station” hatten Hundred Reasons einen Überraschungserfolg erzielt, der ihnen vor allem in ihrer Heimat England gehörige Aufmerksamkeit von Seiten der Fans und der Presse einbrachte. Dies spiegelte sich auch durchaus in den Verkaufszahlen nieder und man überschlug sich allerorts mit Lob. Zu Recht. Dass Hundred Reasons keine Eintagsfliege ist, bewies die Band jüngst mit ihrem zweiten Album „Shatterproof Is Not A Challenge“, das noch ein Stück ausgereifter und durchdachter daherkommt. Ich sprach mit Sänger Colin, hauptamtlich Rotschopf und Sänger bei Hundred Reasons, am ersten Tag der Europatour als Support für Incubus über Tourverpflichtungen, Plattenfirmen, Medienhype und Garrison.


Musicscan: I was wondering why you cancelled the scheduled tour with Garrison? I think a lot of people were looking forward to that.

Hundred Reasons: Yes, to be honest, we were, too. The time we had the tour booked for…basically the label said, we couldn’t do it. We had a single coming out and we had far too much press to do and just generally too much stuff to do. Unfortunately the label let Garrison know a bit too late that we couldn’t do it. We had all organized and we were all going to chip in money of our own to be able to do it, because we haven’t been over to Europe enough as far as we are concerned. Not anywhere near as much as we would like anyway and it was just the perfect opportunity to get in a van and go and do it. But then the label was like “this is not a good idea” but we were like “we want to do it, though”, but then I guess we didn’t do it after all.

Musicscan: In how far do you still feel connected to the whole DIY/punk scene in general?

Hundred Reasons: To be honest, we have never been a part of it anyway. We always just believed in…even bands like Incubus are just into treating bands well and helping bands out. That’s what you do, you know. If you are getting big I think you should do that. So whenever we play with bands that are from that scene we are just happy to have them on the road with us, because in England where we play bigger shows it is really cool to have bands like Garrison or Instruction out with us and things like that. They usually just don’t get a chance to play in England to a crowd like that. And it works the other way around, too. For example with Garrison, they probably pull even more people than we do in Europe. I don’t think it is a DIY ethic, it is just the fact that your friends and that you hang out and you have a good time and play music.

Musicscan: Do you think you generally play a different audience, because you have always been on Columbia instead of a smaller indie label?

Hundred Reasons: No, I think we are quite lucky actually. Being on Columbia has allowed us to spread to a wider audience, because you have the privilege of having songs that you have written be put on TV and more people get to seem them. The punk fans will hear about you anyway and they will either like you or won’t like you just like everybody else. So being on a bigger label has allowed us to have more people hear our music and that is kind of cool. I like to think that the kids who were into us from the beginning are still into us now, because I don’t think we have changed a huge amount. We never wanted to alienate our original fans, we don’t want to alienate anyone. We just want to carry on making good music.

Musicscan: So with six digit records sales and plenty of media attention, I was wondering if you ever feel pressured in some way?

Hundred Reasons: No, I try to stay away from it all. It is the easiest thing to do in the whole world, just to get swallowed up in it. And the easiest thing to do is to just stay away from it as well. You have got a lot of people that would tell you that you are really good and that there will be high expectations for the next record or whatever, because the first one went really well. The only thing you can do is sit down and write a better record. We didn’t really fell pressured with the second album. We sort of juts went away, we locked ourselves away. There was no pressure at all, we went at our own pace. I think there was even more pressure on the first album, because we were told that two weeks before we went to record it and we hadn’t finished writing it yet and again the label doing everything at the last minute was like “oh by the way, your flight is booked for two weeks time, finish the album in two weeks.” So we had to go and finish the songs within that time. That is another prime example. That was probably the bigger pressure. With the second one we realized that we did alright and the first one went far better than we thought we were going to do. So we just relaxed and made sure that the second album was better than the first one.

Musicscan: Do you read reviews or features about yourself?

Hundred Reasons: Yes, sometimes. It is kind of nice to be honest. Sooner or later I am sure that I will end up with children and it is kind of nice to keep stuff like that. I mean, I am really proud of what I have done and I am sure everyone else in the band is as well. So I think it is great. Even bad reviews you can read and if the criticism is constructive then why not. You can actually learn from it, when you can see someone’s point when they say that something is wrong.

Musicscan: Doesn’t that influence the way you perceive yourself and what you do musically?

Hundred Reasons: No, it doesn’t, because the five of us still go into a room and write music the way we always do. We want to write songs that we like, because we are the ones that are going to have to play them for however long. So we are just very fortunate that other people are into our music, too. But I would never be influenced by a journalist who said “I like this because of that and I like this because of that”, because there are songs on the album that we like for different reasons as well. So I don’t think we would ever be influenced by what the journalists say.

Musicscan: How would you separate that, though? Is that at all possible?

Hundred Reasons: Yes, easily. You release your fist record and by the time you go to make another one is like a year or a year and a half away anyway normally. So you have forgotten about the reviews by then anyway. You have them in a pile at home in a barn somewhere, which is really cool. But it is very easy to forget about that and not have it influence you.

Musicscan: Ok, tell me a little bit about the new album. What is the biggest difference to the first album in your opinion?

Hundred Reasons: I think the songs are just miles better than on the first one. I really like the first one and I am really proud of it, but I think it is what a second album should be: it is better sounding with better songs. That’s what it is. We concentrated a lot more on the melody and the guitars are probably even heavier than what they are on the first one, but the melodies are just much better and it sounds so much bigger. That’s also what I love about it, it sounds like a better band playing better songs, which I think is what it is.

Musicscan: Yes, to me it sounds a lot more mature and thought-through maybe.

Hundred Reasons: It is totally. Like I said, when we did the first record we only had like two weeks to finish the record. We only had about seven songs and we had to write another four or five. When we went to New York to record the first album it was like that. We released a single in England and by then we had already started writing the songs for the second record. We thought that it could be a B-Side for the CD, but then we decided that it was really good and that we were going to leave it and work on it harder a bit later one, because the ideas were really good. So we always wrote songs.

Musicscan: Is there one major songwriter or does everyone bring in different ideas?

Hundred Reasons: We all contribute equally…

Musicscan: Isn’t there a lot of fighting, too?

Hundred Reasons: There can be. It is not even about right or wrong musically, but everyone in the band is pretty good with that, but is more like “well, we can make it better this way” and then it is like “no, it is fine as it is.” I mean you do argue, you are in a band. When we are on the road is when we don’t argue at all. We are all just excited about being on the road and playing the songs and we don’t have to worry about anything else. It is all about just getting on stage and having a great time.

Musicscan: Did the band chemistry change over the years?

Hundred Reasons: Yes, definitely. It has changed for the better, just because for the fact that we have been playing together longer. You get to know each other’s personalities so well. If anything, there is less fighting now than when we wrote the first album. There was so much fighting when we wrote the first record. It had to do with the pressure and we were all hauled up in a room and it was this smelly rehearsal room that was falling apart. We would just sit in there trying to write the album and everything was really tense. There were a few times when it got a bit heated. Now, however, we know each other’s personalities better and I think we would never get into this same environment again. The vibe does change, but it changes for the better.

Musicscan: Are the goals of the band still the same compared to when you first got together?

Hundred Reasons: I think the goals have probably widened a bit actually. I think we are more ambitious now than we were. I mean until a lot of people buy your record you don’t really know now to perceive yourself. But now we know we are a good band now and it is not egotistical or anything. We just know that we are a good band, because we wouldn’t have sold that many albums otherwise. So we just want to travel further and play more and get better and better. That has always been the band’s goal, but now we really believe we can do it. Before we were like “oh wow, we sold that many records, I wasn’t expecting that”. You are a bit shocked by it when you first hear about it. Now we know that we can do it and we have a lot more self-believe than we used to.

Musicscan: How long do you think you will be doing this? Do you think about things like that?

Hundred Reasons: Yes, I do. I want to be doing it for as long as we don’t get rubbish. There is nothing that I disappoints me more than a band you love releases a rubbish album. If I ever did that, I think I would leave and I think everybody else would as well. I don’t think anyone would sit their and put their name to something that they thought was crap. I wouldn’t be able to do that to myself for my own personal feelings and I wouldn’t do it to the fans either. If we get another album out, rest assured that we believe it is wicked.

Musicscan: Who is able to criticize you?

Hundred Reasons: We are very good at criticizing ourselves. We just did a tour in the UK and we spent 2 ½ weeks on the road there and we took out recording equipment so we could record all the shows every night. While we were doing that we could sit around after the gig and go “this was crap, sort this out”. We are our own biggest critic really. You have a management that turns to you and criticizes you, because you always need an outside opinion. It is very rare that we get off a stage and we all think that it was amazing. We played a gig in Norwich and our drummer had in-ear monitors and they didn’t work during the gig, but he played fine, he played amazing. But he went like “I was horrible, it felt horrible.” We are just very good at beating ourselves up.

Musicscan: Is there a special person outside of the band whose critique you value?

Hundred Reasons: Our managers. Our label has nothing to do with criticizing us in any shape or form. We don’t really listen to them and we don’t really value their opinion. Close friends, of course, too, you always respect their opinion, because those are the people who have seen you a lot because they are fans and come out to shows to see us.

Musicscan: I have a little problem believing the Columbia never pressures you or tries to shape you in any form.

Hundred Reasons: No, they can fuck off. It was one of the best thing we ever did when we signed to Sony, because they knew for a fact that we were going to do what we wanted to do. They didn’t even hear the album before it was finished. They didn’t hear any writing, any recording or anything. The journalists did, because they came over to do news features and studio reports while we were recording but the label wasn’t allowed, we didn’t let them.

Musicscan: It sounds like you have a fairly good business relationship then.

Hundred Reasons: It is not too bad. I mean I wouldn’t want to go on record and say anything else, but it has its ups and downs. Just like anything else with any other label probably. I mean there are politics involved, but they were just happy to let us get on with it really. We just wouldn’t have them sit there and have them go “you have to change that.” It happens sometimes that the label calls up the studio and the producer in the studio going like “it doesn’t sound as good as it could, change this and change that.” It misses the point of exactly what is going on, though. We are very good at that.

Musicscan: What inspires you on a daily basis?

Hundred Reasons: I think the other guys in the band inspire me more than anything, because everyone is really focused and everyone is really good at what they do. When anyone goes up a level, everyone else goes up with him. It just really challenges. That is what inspires me, just the constant challenge. It is silly to say it again, but it is just about getting better and better every time.

Musicscan: In how far do you think the personal and the political is connected?

Hundred Reasons: I am not a very political person. I have my beliefs but I don’t wish to shove them down anybody’s throat and I don’t think there that different to anyone else’s either as regards to the way America runs the world. I think I don’t have anything life-changing to say politically. I just prefer to write about personal things, because it means more to me and that is what I like (laughs).

Musicscan: What I was trying to get at was when you write about personal things do you think that also has a political dimension to it?

Hundred Reasons: No, not really. There is a song called “Song to Savannah” on the new album which does sound semi-political anyway and if anything it is probably the only political thing I have ever written and I didn’t even do it consciously, it just kind flowed. When we wrote the song it was done in like half an hour, because everything just came together. The lyrics do the same thing and of course it does sound a bit political to me when I looked back on it. The “get on your knees for saviour”- line is probably more sarcasm towards these bigger countries that think they can own everybody else. There is a bit of it here and there.

Musicscan: Have you ever consciously thought about why you are doing music?

Hundred Reasons: Of course. We had a big changeover in our label while we were writing the second record and a lot of good friends that we worked with and worked really hard with the first record were replace by new people who don’t know who we are and some of them don’t even care. That questions why you do it. I mean we don’t make a lot of money out of this at all. We probably get paid less than most people, but we are fortunate enough to do things full time. And being away from home and from your girlfriend for a month that makes you question it all the time, but we love making music and we love playing it.

Musicscan: How is your normal social life back home when you are not on the road?

Hundred Reasons: Definitely. When you come back for like ten days or a week at a time, all you want to do is chill out, because you hang out enough when you are on the road. I generally just stay in when I am at home and hang out with friends’ bands and my girlfriend. That is all you do really. It is kind of nice to play games, watch movies and catch up on films that have come out and bum around. At the end of the day it is really cool, because everyone else has a normal day job so you can see your friends in the evening. When you are home you get the time to yourself during the day, you get to wind down.

Musicscan: Are there any good tour stories with Incubus since this is already your second tour with them?

Hundred Reasons: The last time we were in Europe with them was amazing. We just spent a lot of time going out at night and getting drunk, it was great. We had an amazing night out in Spain. We drove all the way from Portugal to Barcelona in one go, which is about twenty hours and we were just all really tired on the buses and really tired. We drove in a little convoy, so we had a little fight with their crew bus. We were just out at the top hatches, throwing stuff at each other, which was quite funny and then we all went out into town and ended up in some bar at 4 in the morning totally drunk. It is not really an out of the ordinary tour story, but the guys are just fun to be around and they are really lovely people.

Musicscan: Are they down to earth?

Hundred Reasons: Yes, they are really nice people. They love music as well. They know why they are doing it. They are not doing it for the drugs or woman. They are just doing it because it is great.

  Hundred Reasons
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