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Interview von: Matthias Rauch mit Robert Suchan, am: 05.07.2005 ]

Es hat manchmal fast den Eindruck, als würden die Herren aus Los Angeles alle drei Monate hierzulande die Clubs und Jugendzentren beackern und so lässt sich mit gutem Recht behaupten, dass Koufax eine der aktivsten Bands in den letzten Jahren war, nicht nur was ihre Livepräsenz anbelangt. Natürlich hat man auch wieder ein neues Album im Gepäck, das mit seinem treffenden Titel „Hard Times Are In Fashion“ so etwas wie den momentanen Zeitgeist sehr gut einzufangen versteht. Da mischen sich plötzlich explizit politische Ansagen unter die persönlich gefärbten Texte, wie man es bei vielen amerikanischen Bands in den letzten Jahren beobachten konnte. Hat sich hier ein neues Cliché etabliert, das sich dazu noch recht gut verkaufen lässt, wie zahlreiche Beispiele belegen oder ist das neue politische Bewusstsein der amerikanischen Künstler ganz einfach aus einer Notwendigkeit geboren. Wir fragten bei Robert nach.


Musicscan: In how far do you think your perception of your own music and the band in general has changed over past years? How has your relationship to music changed since you first started playing music?

Koufax: There is a tendency for myself to go between what kind of music I'd like to create and what kind of music I know people want to hear. That is why I try to incorporate all elements of music that seem universal (melody and dance) and still keep on with what I'd like to try with music (different sounds and lyrics from record to record).

Musicscan: Please tell me a little bit about the creation of “Hard Times Are In Fashion”. Did you approach this album any differently than you did your previous efforts?

Koufax: It was the only record of ours that was not done with a full band practicing in the writing stages of the record. It was done in so many stages from August 2004 to February 2005 from small town Kansas to Phoenix to Los Angeles. We used by far the most amounts of different musicians to get what needed to be done, so it felt more like a collaboration and project than a traditional band.

Musicscan: What makes the album special for you? What makes it stand out from tons of other pop albums?

Koufax: I think the record stands out from other pop albums because it is not a traditional pop album. There aren't any "ooohs" or "ahhhs" or really big sing-along choruses, but some of the songs are still catchy with melody, only more subtle with it. Also, there is a bitterness and slight sense of gallows humor that most bands in pop music aren't doing lyrically.

Musicscan: What happened with the contract with Vagrant? How did you experience the time in between record deals? Did you ever contemplate closing the Koufax chapter? What made you decide to continue after all?

Koufax:Simply put, we decided to leave Vagrant based on the fact that we were maybe a different sounding band for what they were successful at selling at the time (emo hardcore punk), so it was the idea of just starting over with a new label. We were always quite certain we'd figure out a way for the record to come out, even if it was us putting it out ourselves. Today DIY is easier than ever with technology being so easily accessible. The prospect of spending another year or so touring (especially Europe) made us want to continue.

Musicscan: What were some of the other options you could imagine pursuing in your life besides music? Are there any other passions in your life?

Koufax: Soon, I'd like to further my education with a master's degree in either political science or some form of media / cultural studies. I could see myself in something other than music quite easily. I look at music as a life long passion, but a youth full time commitment.

Musicscan: What have Ryan and Rob contributed to the band and how has the chemistry changed since they joined?

Koufax: They added their style of rhythm (very tight and locked in), as well as just a new feeling of fun to be playing with old friends for the first time. They are not touring with the band right now, so I'm not sure who will be on the next Koufax tour or record. It is always difficult to put together a band when people are getting older and not able to tour as much.

Musicscan: The new album appears to be a politically charged album in many respects. It seems it has been almost obligatory to position oneself politically for American bands since 9/11. Do you see a risk of becoming a cliché with respects to political statements?

Koufax: Being political or active in politics is always unfashionable via hegemony. That is the way people in power want it to be, so they (usually mainstream media) go out of their way to villainize or humiliate anyone questioning things. Never before has this country seen such a rush towards global fascism that most people are getting fed up with things like Patriot Act and the Iraq War that there might be a moment of politics being more important in everyday people's lives. I don't see these lyrics as cliché, but rather an honest social commentary (anti-American sentiment rampant throughout the world) and many Americans feeling awkward because of this. There is a sense of humor in a song like “Colour Us Canadian,” so it is not as if I'm chanting "WE NEED A REVOLUTION." I am far too pessimistic to believe in that...ha.

Musicscan: In “Back And Forth” you are referring to the divide between the States and Europe or the rest of the world for that matter? Where do you see the reasons and possible solutions to this increasingly wide gap between the cultures as you experience them?

Koufax: There are thinking Europeans who know that not all Americans are what their government is doing or saying and vice versa for Americans. It is their (our) job to educate others as to what is really going on and to never allow what nation's leaders and powers dictate a country (or people of a country) identity. Humans can be such cattle, that it is difficult to get through to some of them after they hear propaganda from their government. It is like in the new Star Wars film when Natalie Portman says, 'So this is how liberty ends....in applause."

Musicscan: Where does music come in? Where do you think music and politics can intersect and feed off each other?

Koufax: Of course! The 60's in America had a musical scene that made the political the personal and thus made it quite fashionable to care about things. Problem is now that only a small handful of corporations control the media, so they would never cover something like that now. They did just do LIVE 8, which is a good start, but still not many people watched that for reasons other than the musical acts playing. Once politics become kosher for conversation in America, then there might be a chance to push things back to a more sane level.

Musicscan: In how far have your experiences in Europe changed your perception of your own culture? What are some of the worst shortcomings of national American politics?

Koufax: There are far too many to list. It is not to say that European governments are any better. Let's be honest here, the bloodlines of old monarchs are still in power, just much more covert (banks, multi-national corporations). So what is happening in American politics will / does happen in the world. The main thing for my reality is being in a place where everyday living is far superior. I strongly dislike a lot of American culture (fear based society, awful food and beer, and everything being designed around the automobile) European cities most always follow the centrum idea, where it is quite easy to live without a car and still have access to many things with public transportation. Other than New York, there are not many places like that here.

Musicscan: What can we expect from Koufax in the near future?

Koufax: A year's worth of touring, a new video for "Isabelle", and hopefully a new record in a year or two's time. We hope to be in Europe for over a month in September to continue the support of “Hard Times are in Fashion,” and also maybe continue our search for a new place to live.

Musicscan: I know you like to list books and the likes, so here you go, 3 current favorite records, books and movies?

Koufax: ”Illuminatus Trilogy” by Robert Anton Wilson; “Letters from the Earth” by Mark Twain; V: The Original Television Mini-Series.