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The L: You’ve mentioned that one of the main goals of the band is to reach people who aren’t really all that into music. With the tendency of music communities to be so insular, the idea of wanting to grab people who have never really connected or experienced music in the way “music people” have is a really nice thought…
CC: It has to do with how diplomatic pop music is—you don’t have to be educated in a bunch of things to know about it or like it or listen to it. But at the same time, it’s very difficult to write. I feel like it’s easier to write punk or hardcore. So there’s that: I feel like we can talk to more people just because [our music] has less to do with some subgenre that you have to be educated in before you can listen to it. Everyone has the desire to communicate with each other. All humans. Everyone wants people to talk to in some capacity. I think it just has to do with our interest in communication or an interest in expression.
The L: Continuing on the theme of communication, you post a direct email address on your blog and invite people to get in touch with comments and concerns. Why is it so important to you to engage in conversation with fans—and non-fans?
CC: To connect directly to people? Because it’s more significant than casting a wide net. For me, that’s part of the reason why we never wanted to do press. It didn’t seem like it was something that was worth our time. I was like, “Well, we’re never going to hear from anyone, or no one is going to read it, or it’s just going to exist on the Internet and won’t do anything.” My perspective has changed I guess a little bit, but still, I’d rather be able to talk to one person directly than indirectly speak to a large number of people.
Like this whole CMJ thing, I think out of the two performances we did—the first night was a couple hundred people and the Bowery Ballroom was maybe in front of 700 people—I maybe had 20 people respond to me and be like, “This was great!” or “The sound was terrible!” But 20 people. I didn’t get close to even 10 percent of the audience. [laughs]
The L: I remember seeing on your blog after you reasonably, nicely explain why you’re asking for donations when giving your music away for free, the first comment posted says something along the lines as, ‘I’ve lost all respect for you three.’ You responded with a nice ‘Sorry to disappoint!’ but does stuff like that bother you?
CC: No! [laughs] I mean, there’s no point. Like, who is that person? That’s the number one reason the Internet is pointless. To spend any energy on that is just dumb. If they really wanted to say something to say to us, they would’ve emailed us; they wouldn’t have made it public.
When we put out our demo, we were maybe the most invisible band in the world. We had a CD demo and a tape and nobody supported it. Everybody thought it was weird. Hardcore kids didn’t like it because it wasn’t hardcore, and it was a little too strange and a little too poorly recorded to be pop. But of course now that we’ve changed [with the new album], people say, “Oh, the old stuff was so much better.” You just can’t pay attention to it. I’m sure we’ll lose people, I’m sure we’ll gain people. It doesn’t really matter to me.
And, you know, it’s our band. [laughs] If anything, we’re going to do the opposite of what people want us to do. We have no allegiance to any sort of politics. I have no allegiance to anything except the people I love and my friends, and that’s it. I’m never going to make a decision because I feel like somebody at some point at time thinks I should make it. Even if it fails, I’d rather it be my choice. We don’t have time to listen to any of these fools.
The L: That’s a good life lesson.
Yeah, yeah. [laughs] But it’s strange. It may sound like the answers come out of me really easy, but [none of this] is easy or simple. People are just fickle and weird and stupid. Especially Americans. They spend all their time being negative and spend all their energy in the wrong places, and it doesn’t make any sense. Our European fans aren’t like that at all [laughs]. It’s only the Americans that have this weird fucking attitude. We’ve been given the opportunity to work more in Europe, and we’re going to take it and tour there next year. That’s our next step. We have a pretty significant following in places like France. I feel like Europe is going to be our main demographic, if you wanted to use that word.