Musicscan: Most people in Germany are probably not yet familiar with VISE!! So please give me a brief run down of how everything got started.
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: Sure. I was diagnosed with tendonitis in my wrists, so that pretty much ended my singer-songwriter career. I took up the casio and went to music school as a way to do something new, an absurdist pop band based on some classical music structures I was learning in school. I sent the demos to my friends John and Byron (our original guitarist) back in Austin and we dedided to form the Volcano. This was 2 years ago.
Musicscan: How have the first reactions to the album been so far? Do you have any expectations as far as sales are concerned?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: No idea what to expect from sales, but our 2 shows so far in Germany have been great. We got a good write up in Rolling Stone and that seems to have helped. WeÂ’ll see what happens from here.
Musicscan: I gather you pretty much writes all the songs. Could you also picture a situation where everyone is equally involved in the songwriting process?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: WeÂ’ve had a few joint songwriting sessions and one of them yielded the B-side to our Europe only 7-inch. I think this would be a good way to continue songwriting.
Musicscan: Mark, you intended to pursue a solo career and already had a deal with Mercury but then you were diagnosed with severe tendonitis. Can you describe what kind of disease it is? How did that change your life?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: Immensely. The disease is hard to describe. I donÂ’ really want to get techinical here, it changes everything I do. I write short answers here because time on a computer is also damaging to the hands. I have to write songs fast and loose that created the dynamic of this band.
Musicscan: In how far did the transition from Austin to NYC also influence your music and how you perceive it?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: The pace of NYC and its intensity played a major part in my injury. That move and my new music are nearly one in the same to me now.
Musicscan: Do you approach songwriting differently now that you have knowledge of classical composition and compositional theories? Does that knowledge also affect the way you write a pop song?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: Yes and no. I donÂ’t think that way while writing, itÂ’s instinctual mostly but, I will begin a song with a concept I learned in school like a Bach fugue or something. Then IÂ’ll try to materialize that concpet for pop like Â‘trunk of my carÂ’, itÂ’s built on rounds which I borrowed from learning about canons.
Musicscan: How did you get in touch with Polyvinyl Records and how has the relationship been so far?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: We played a show in Champaign and hit it off immediately. We have only the best thigns to say about those guys. Their new bands are kicking ass and the label is great to us.
Musicscan: Could you also imagine pursuing a film career if you werenÂ’t able to play music anymore?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: I am pursuing one right now. We have had our last two films sell from the Sundance film festivals and we are hoping to premiere our newest feature film there in 2005. Wish us luck.
Musicscan: What is the reason for not using a bass in the songs? I really enjoyed the record, but quite frankly I think a bass would have added further depth and well-roundedness to the music. Could you imagine adding a bass player in the future?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: Nope. We like having 3 friends in this band and it will stay that way.
Musicscan: What can we expect from you guys in the near future?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: Sleep. A lot of touring this year.
Musicscan: Current 3 favorite records, books and movies?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism, new Shins, Iron and Wine. Movies: Secret Lives Of Dentists, Bottle Rocket, Brown Bunny. Books: John is reading about buying real estate, Mark is reading Life Of Pi, and Craig is reading another Murakami book.
Musicscan: Anything you would like to add? Any comments or final words?
Volcano, IÂ’m Still Excited!!: Our band, I believe, is at its best now. Come see us now, it may be a long time before we are able to come back to Europe.