QRO recently chatted with Timmy from Ima Robot in the calm before the storm. Their second album, Monument to the Masses, comes out on September 12.
The band created a ton of material for the album, so much so that they released a nine-song EP themselves, which features some of their most artistic songs to date. Following up the release of MttM, the band will spread their infectious alt-punk dance virus on several tours around the world. The good shit’s about to hit the fan.
QRO: What’s up with the Search & Destroy EP? Explain how you chose those tracks from the 100 songs recorded for your upcoming full-length album.
Timmy: We had a lot of time to write all of those songs, and were writing a song a day–or two songs a day. And it was, like, six months before we started making our record. So when we went to make the album, we had a lot of songs that either didn’t fit on the record, or just weren’t right in general, that we couldn’t just let disappear.
QRO: But you felt compelled to put them out?
That’s why we made the EP. We were like, ‘We gotta make another record and the label can’t have anything to do with it. We’ve got to just make it on our own, like when we were young, and put it out.’ And, legally, we can only sell them at shows as merch, so that’s what we’re doing now to stay out of trouble. And it’s actually probably got some of my favorite stuff that we’ve ever done on it.
QRO: How did the song-choice for the full-length work? Was it all label-chosen?
Timmy: No, but we are signed on a label and we are deeply in debt.
This record label signed us and wants us to do good things, and if we want our art to exist and for people to really know about us, we had to try to make a second one. We got lucky that they wanted us to make a second record. So when you go into making that record, you’ve got to put your best songs forward that are you, but [that] can reach people. You know what I mean? It’s a whole fucked up process.
QRO: So are you more excited about the EP?
Timmy: Probably frankly, yeah, probably. Because it’s just raw. I produced the whole thing. We did the whole thing at my house.
QRO: How long did it take?
Timmy: We mixed them in probably a week, got them up to snuff [and] added some things here and there to come out the way they are.
QRO: What are your touring plans? I know you’re playing Fashion Rocks…
Timmy: Well that’s like — I don’t know how it’ll work. It’s cool exposure and it’s kind of nice cause it’s in fashionable mags. It’s something that we dont usually get to do. I don’t think we’ll win that – I don’t see how we would. We just did it for the exposure and free phones. We’re looking at a bunch of tours. All I can say is, they’re really, really, really fucking good. They aren’t confirmed yet, but we’re looking at three tours over the next couple of months. It just depends on the politics. They’re perfect tours for us. That’s all we want to do really is play. All the other crap is good, but it all just comes down to having a product so you can go out and play.
QRO: How did "Creeps Me Out" come about?
Timmy: Well, Alex as a singer wrote that. The music was our old bass player and I writing all that stuff. And we were screwing around in the arranging sessions, not fully recording, and that song was so good but it didn’t have lyrics and was just going to fall by the wayside and I just changed a few chords and Alex took the vocals from another song that I really like too but he wasn’t feeling it. [That other song] wasn’t working – it just wasn’t jiving. We took the vocals and put it on this music and all of the sudden we had it. It was about his girlfriend at the time. I think it’s more about the truth that every guy, if they would admit it, knows about. Guys are not instinctually commitment-oriented. When we are loved unconditionally it feels very icky and confining.
QRO: It keeps you own your toes.
Timmy: Yeah, I live with the woman of my dreams. I have to be careful when I’m talking about this stuff. But it’s the truth, when someone loves you like that, you’re just like… shit. It’s tough to beat. Tough to own up to the good things.
QRO: You toured with Duran Duran. How was that?
Timmy: It wasn’t great. I think going into it we were convinced that–well, we were offered it a couple times. I’m a huge fan since back in the day. Their shit is so dope from the early 80’s. It’s amazing. They’re one of the biggest bands ever, and they’re cool as fuck, and cool guys. It was about exposure for our agents and label. And for us, it was like we’re getting to meet our heroes, so let’s try it out. But a band like us, where we’re more into the performance–like going nuts and the punk experience–it’s harder for us to just jump onto arena stages without the support. They were all, like, hockey arenas. There were thousands of people. Some of the shows were really good, some of the shows were great for us, but for the most part, it was just something that we’re not really good at yet –playing a show and having no real connection with the audience. We don’t really like that.
That’s what it’s all about. I play music because I was so into it when I was kid, and when I get to meet those kids after every show, it’s like they have the same loyalty to my band as I did to Primus, Jesus Lizard, and all these bands I was into when I was a kid. That’s the shit. That’s what it’s all about.
QRO: What are you guys doing now?
Timmy: I produce bands, I work with a bunch of guys in L.A. Everyone is doing their own work, and art, and music. Filip DJs a couple nights a week, Alex does some movie stuff and DJing. [He] directed a short film that he’s working on now. We try to do as much as we can. Once you hit the road, there’s not a lot of time to do stuff at home, so we’re trying to just enjoy it.
QRO: What’s the last thing you downloaded?
Timmy: The new Knife record. It’s pretty sick. I’ve been into their stuff for a while. Their new one’s really cool. It’s cool to me because it’s so fucked up. and avant-garde. It’s all over the place, and people are talking about it in every direction. I like Hot Chip’s new record. They’re ridiculous. I’m really, really into them. They’re great. We’re trying to get them to remix one of our singles. So, those are the standouts for me. I was into the whole Gnarls Barkley thing early on. It’s really dope. You can’t deny them. That’s a real artistic thing. I actually got offered to play guitar with them and tour with them, but it was right when we were going into the studio. I don’t take side jobs anymore, but I was like…shit. It’s cool, we’re hoping to maybe tour with them soon. That’s one of the tours we’re looking at.
QRO: Going overseas?
Timmy: Yeah, we toured Europe and we have some places that are really into us. Germany, Belgium, etc. We gotta go back. We’ll probably be over there at the beginning of the year.