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Joe Wong, drummer on Receivers (2008) and Constant Future (2011)
How did you meet Dan and BJ and get involved with the band?
I was on tour with another band, and a friend told me that Parts & Labor needed a drummer. I had never heard of them, but after listening to some of the music, I thought we might be on the same page creatively. I learned a few of their songs in the van. When I passed through NY, I met up with Dan and BJ and we played together for the first time.
Receivers marks a considerable change towards a more melody-oriented sound. Do you feel this was reflected in people's reaction to the album? Would you say it helped your fanbase grow?
What appealed to you guys about incorporating user-generated samples into the album, and then again in a live setting on tour?
I thought it was a bit gimmicky at first. Now I think it was gimmicky in an interesting way.
Truth, now that it's all said and done: Were there any user submissions you didn't use on the record?
We used them all, some much more prominently than others.
Around this time, the Brooklyn music scene as a "thing" — a trend — reached its climax (case in point: MTV's video essay). Did the attention on Brooklyn affect the band's sound at all?
Were there any Brooklyn bands surrounding you that you'd say directly influenced your drumming or the band's overall sound at the time?
After I joined the band, we toured with Battles. It was great fun to watch them and certain aspects of John Stanier's style influenced my approach to playing. John Colpitts and Jaleel Bunton are two other Brooklyn-based drummers that inspired my approach to the band.
A lot of local bands that rose to the top in terms of popularity eventually gave way to half-formed songs and drummers standing up, nonchalantly slapping a tom. Given how integral drums are to your music, and how detailed and deliberate the songs are, did the outcome of what became popular ever bother you? Is it something you ever talked about as a band?
By the time I joined the band, I had long accepted the fact that my aesthetic sensibility wasn't necessarily in line with popular taste. I don't believe there is a direct relationship between artistic quality and financial success. We found it difficult enough to reach our artistic goals without worrying about our popularity as a band.
The energy that runs through Constant Future makes it feel like the most anthemic, most optimistic album of the band's career. Was that the goal going into it?
Our intentions were to write concise, anthemic pop songs. The recording process was much more confident for this album, and that might be why it sounds more optimistic.
What will you miss most about the band?