With a new album in their sights, Annuals have splurged on their fans a little and released an EP full of bsides from their debut, Be He Me. They're currently touring all over the country – in a new van – in support of it and much more. So Adam talked to us about the trip, future plans, and a ton of other stuff.
QRO: So you're releasing an EP (Frelen Mas) on the 6th? Why digital-only?
AB: I don't know, it wasn't really my call. But it's cool, people can still get it. They'll be burning it as much as they'll be buying it.
QRO: You're just starting this tour, did you take some time off before it?
AB: Yeah, twenty more days. So I guess this is end of the beginning. And, yeah, we had to do some songs for the EP.
QRO: How's your reception in the UK?
AB: It's really good. It's really cool. And Scandanavia, actually. Like Norway, Iceland, and Denmark. They fucking love music. I don't think many bands go through there so much, so any band that does, I think they're extra appreciative of, so to speak. We did the UK for a long time, I think I've been to every district. I really loved Wales. The crowd was really cool.
QRO: How was the show with the Flaming Lips in Ireland?
AB: That was the first time we played with them. We've played with them five, maybe six, times. They were fucking awesome. They were really nice guys, and they're such a fucking good live band – their show is phenomenal. Usually, being an opening band has no pressure, but even just to stand up there. Being in a band that doesn't have a whole bunch of lights and fucking confetti and shit, and giving everyone in the crowd with a laser to point to Wayne cause he has a mirror so it reflects everything back out. It's a big production.
QRO: Do you want to get to that point?
AB: Yes, of course. That would be unbelievable. We want a whole steel tree of drums that we climb with mountain climbing equipment. That's like fifteen years down the road.
QRO: How's the reception in the last couple days been? How was the Halloween show (at Bowery Ballroom, New York – QRO venue review)?
AB: Yeah, it was really fucking fun. We were supposed to be characters from Deadwood, but we ended not having any money to buy costumes, so we did the best we could with it. It was really fun though.
QRO: So you guys are out on the road for another twenty days or so, spreading the word on the EP…
AB: Yeah, and there's been other stuff I've been working on. There's another EP that's going to be eventually coming out, maybe a couple months out after this one. It's more of just an EP-EP, not bside-ish stuff. We'd also like to get the record turned in in four to five months, so we have to really start cracking down. Really hoping for early summer. That all depends on how the studio bookings go.
QRO: You've been doing festivals as well as music conferences (CMJ, SXSW). How have they been?
AB: Music conferences are a lot different from festivals. You're just playing seven shows like this in a row. It's exhausting. It's extremely hectic because the sound people just don't care. They have like twenty bands to do that day.
QRO: Are you touring with a sound man?
AB: Yeah, there he is right there, Jay. He's cool. The festivals are almost all really great, except for the one that was really rough. The shows were great, but Glastonbury – just cause it's the biggest fuckin festival in the world. We ended up camping with everybody else and we were seven people trying to stay together in this mass of like two square miles of just tents. It was fun, though, but the other festivals were definitely a lot easier at least. Bonnaroo was really fun. Lollapalooza. Bonnaroo is another one of those hectic ones, but it wasn't as bad cause Glastonbury's in a valley and it's filled with mud. You can barely walk in it. Right after it rains, it's just standing water so people who have been going for ten or fifteen years just get their sleds out and have a good time.
QRO: You guys are from North Carolina and you don't hear a ton of bands from there…
AB: Definitely, the guys and the girl in the band – we've all been playing together for such a long time, and we have like three or four different projects just because there aren't that many dedicated musicians from that area, and that's the main problem. People don't seem to be as concerned with it.
QRO: What's going to change with the new label (Canvasback)?
AB: We're hoping for just a bit better distribution – that's our goal. Just because you can't find our record in every store. That's the ultimate goal, because I feel like if everyone could find it, it'd be easier. And also mainly because we're just trying to take those baby steps toward being able to pay bills and stuff.
QRO: Has it gotten to the point where it's really overwhelming and you say to yourself, "I can't believe I'm doing this?"
AB: Yeah, it's kinda unbelievable just because I'm poorer than I've ever been. Even when I was a freshman in high school and I didn't have a job. So, it's really weird in that sense, but I wouldn't want to do anything else, and if I stopped right now I'd really hate myself probably for the rest of my life.
QRO: How are you liking all of the comparisons to "the young Broken Social Scene", etc.?
AB: Oh, yeah, I haven't heard that one in a while. It's great.
And they're a good band, and so is everyone else we've been compared to.
QRO: Your brother, Patrick, wants to know when he's going to get his winter coat back.
AB: Mom has that. She wouldn't let me take it with me cause it was too dirty. Tell him to ask Mom.
QRO: Favorite places to play?
AB: I really love the northern West Coast in general. I can only go off of cities, cause clubs just blend together. Sometimes I can have an image of what it looked like as soon as I walked in the door – like if it had a tall or short stage or what color the walls were and shit. But, I really like Boston as a big city. Chicago's cool. Not a New York fan, honestly.
QRO: New York's pretty frantic.
AB: Yeah, exactly, and I'm from fuckin' North Carolina and can't take that shit. I really love Pomona, California. Anywhere in California, man, that place is so pretty. Just the mountains, I mean, cause generally, what we do is drive around and we're on the desolate highways so we get to see the landscape without all of the cities there. The West Coast is definitely the most topographically pleasing places in the world to me.
QRO: So you've got seven folks in a bigger van…
AB: Seven including the sound man. Yeah, it's a new one actually. The old one kept breaking down, and there was no more A/C in it so it was getting kinda smelly at times. So we got a new van, and that's one of the reasons we're so broke right now. It's a nice van, though.
QRO: What do you eat on the road?
AB: Oh, man, I eat total horseshit. It's really bad. Just cause nice food seems to cost money these days unless you go to a grocery store, and we don't find those on the road that often. I really like Nature Valley cereal bars. I eat way too many of them at a time though.
QRO: You're a vegetarian, aren't you?
AB: I'm not, I was for a while though. I just couldn't do it. It's really hard to find food that you can actually enjoy on the road that doesn't involve some sort of meat or dairy.
QRO: Have you seen those projects where people have bands cook with them?
AB: Yeah, we actually just got offered to do something with the Food Network. My tastes aren't that refined though, so I'm just going to embarass myself. I may just let Anna and Zack go up there cause they're foodies and they watch it all the time.
QRO: When I was at Bonnaroo, I survived on the Tennessee Pizza, which was a slice of white bread with ketchup on top.
AB: I've had that before. Trying times, man.