The Subjects : Q&A

<img src="http://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/thesubjectsinterview.jpg" alt=" " />Right after playing their <u>second</u> show in Brooklyn that day, hometown boys The Subjects sat down for a well-deserved beer (or three…) with QRO....

  In a long conversation that ranged far and wide (including QRO’s first-ever video interview clips), Jimmy Carbonetti (guitar), Matthew Iwanusa (drums), David Sheinkopf (vocals/bass), and Joseph Smith (guitar) talked about their plans for their next records, the down side of playing two shows on one day, doing everything from SXSW to a metal fest in Michigan, going down Mexico way, and much, much more…

QRO: Have you guys been off the road for a while?

David Sheinkopf: I guess we haven’t traveled since November.

QRO: Are you planning on any further dates, past this?

Matthew Iwanusa: At this point, we’re playing just one show in Cape Cod.  But we’re going to be doing recording instead, in July.

QRO: Ah – where are you guys on a new record?

DS: We pretty much are just finishing up the final arrangements for our record.  So that’s mostly while we’ve been laying low, as far as touring.  Plus the gas prices…

We’re recording in July, and we just wanna make sure we get everything ready to do it.  So we’ve just kind of taken a focus off the playing for a little bit.

This time is the first time we’ve ever gone into a studio to record.  All of our other stuff, we’ve done our on own.  It’s really different, because, when you do it on your own, you can take as much time as you want.  We don’t have as much time now.  So we’re just going to make sure we have all the parts written, try out a lot of ideas on our own before we go into the studio.

That way, the things that are not up in the air, we can get done, figure out the way we want them.  There are a few that we want to be able to explore them, while we’re in the studio, so we want to have enough time.  So the things that we’re set on, we want to make sure we can do.

QRO: You guys did a thing earlier before this show?

MI: We played a hardware store/art show with Frankpollis (QRO live review), The End of the World.  I grew up with John Frank [from Frankpollis] – he’s my buddy.  That was a fun show – free food, free drinks…  On a loading dock.

DS: It was so tempting – it was ninety-five degrees, and they had all this free beer.  And we don’t drink before we play, so we knew we had a later show…  Even after we played, we were so hot, and the beer looked really good.  We ended up watching all these people.

Other than beer, they had these energy drinks – that were so repulsive.  We were trying these energy drinks, and every one was worse than the next.  We ended up drinking a lot of electrolyte-enhanced water.  Probably a hundred to two hundred dollars worth.

MI: It made my stomach hurt…

Joseph Smith: Everybody looked so happy there, drinking beer – and we were drinking the energy drinks.

DS: We have big problems…

QRO: Was that indoors?

MI: It was indoor/outdoors.

DS: It was on a loading dock: there was a tent, but covered.

In the hardware store, they had art exhibits – in the aisles.

QRO: Do you do anything differently when you play outdoors?

MI: It seems like you can’t really tell, when you’re playing outdoors.  It’s hard – it’s much different.

DS: It’s such a tough environment, sound-wise.

JS: My boy Georgio said, ‘When you get to a place, feel the room’.  I’ll do it as he would say, [fake Italian accent] “When you go somewhere, turn it up to where you’re going to play.  And then you feel the room speak back to you – and then you play to that…”

But I don’t know how you do that outside, ‘cause you’re not ‘in a room’…

DS: It sounds really different, so it makes you want to play more, maybe – when we played today, and it was really outside, we played quieter stuff, more folk-ish stuff.

We played this metal festival in Michigan a bunch of years ago, and it was outside.  It was when we just started – all these other bands were total metalheads, with huge portable lighting rigs…

JS: It was in Michigan – to reiterate…

DS: We just went and asked if any of the bands had cancelled, so we could get a spot, ‘cause we were looking for a chance to play.  One of the bands cancelled, and it was towards the end of the festival–

JS: The third top headliner…

DS: So we were between two bands with pyrotechnics, and we were playing with tiny amps…

It was so strange to see, this strange line-up – it was this beautiful day, Michigan was probably eighty degrees, really sunny…  And there will all these kids in all black, with white face-paint, like Marilynn Manson.

MI: It’s like the South Park goth kids.  That’s what everybody looked like.

Jimmy Carbonetti (guitar): A lot of people were huddling around this one huge tree, ‘cause they had to sit in the shade, with their cloaks…

DS: Somehow, it seemed really inappropriate to be outside on a beautiful day.  So you can see how being outside influences what music makes sense.  You can imagine someone sitting in a tree – not me – by a tree, with a guitar, maybe singing ‘Kumbaya’ with some friends…

JC: The band after us had pyro, so it put a little more texture…

QRO: How was your cross-country tour last year?

MI: In November, we played a West Coast trip with The Walkmen.

QRO: You guys played [Music Hall in Williamsburg] with The Walkmen (QRO photos) then, didn’t you?

JS: We had to prove ourselves to them – we didn’t even really know if it was going to happen.  But after that, they said, ‘Do you want to do these shows?  Do you want to drive our van?  Do you want to drive our van and our stuff?…’

We did go across the country – we didn’t play any shows, though…

JC: We drove out to California in, three days?

JS: It was four days.

DS: The way out was great!

JS: The way out was amazing, getting hotter and hotter every day.  We took a day to party out in Mexicali.  We met a lot of really cool dudes.

DS: We still get a lot of letters from all those people.  We made a good first impression.

JC: ‘Cause we got electrocuted…

JS: ‘Cause they paid us money to get electrocuted.

JC: This one Spanish guy was walking around with a battery pack, and two metal things with wire.  We said, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll do it.’  It was us three (Carbonetti, Iwanusa, and Sheinkopf) holding it, and then he turns it on, and all of a sudden, “UGH”.  It hurt so bad – I kicked him to stop it.

MI: People were laughing at us…

DS: But they paid for us to do it…

JS: Was that when we slept in the car for a little while?

MI: No – that was when Jimmy destroyed the TV in the hotel.

JC: We got a single room…

DS: Something happened with the hotel, we were supposed to get two beds, and there was only one, and they said they couldn’t change it, so I guess that was when Jimmy turned the TV on and poured an entire beer into it, while it was hot.  It was amazing, just “PFFT!”

JS: That’s why you should never stay at a Motel Six…

MI: We went to Super 8’s after that.

QRO: It’s two better

The Subjects discuss the test audience reaction to “Gigli” backstage @ Music Hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY:

QRO: You played one of those ‘Kidrockers’ shows, for adults & kids.  What was that like?

MI: That was amazing, really amazing.

DS: Lot of hot chicks, and their parents were totally cock-blocking us…

JC: It was kind of confusing, ‘cause all of the kids had shakers, and they were just going nuts.  And we had to play so quiet, ‘cause everyone was like, ‘Can you turn it down for the kids?’

JS: There were some holding their ears…

MI: Jimmy and I were talking about, it would be really great if adults would act the way kids did.  Kids were sitting there, shaking these…

JC: There was one kid laying on the stage…

MI: And we were saying, wouldn’t it be amazing if one of the adults would do that kind of stuff at shows.

JS: I would definitely do one of those again.  Except I’d drop more acid…

QRO: Do you prefer opening at larger places like Music Hall in Williamsburg (QRO venue review), or headlining at smaller places like The Cake Shop (QRO venue review)?

JC: They’re different vibes.  Like, The Cake Shop, I love that place, it’s one of my favorite places – it’s like playing in your grandfather’s basement.

MI: Playing at big places is great, though.

DS: They know what they’re doing a little bit more, and the sound is so good.  And usually people are really, really nice to you.  Some small places – Cake Shop’s an exception, ‘cause they’re amazing…

JC: Cake Shop is more of a party show.  We did a New Year’s show there; it was so fun.

QRO: How was South-by-Southwest (QRO Festival Guide)?

MI: It was great.

JC: Don’t really remember much of it.

MI: I heard we were great…

JS: I heard we were there…

DS: We were there for four days, and two of the days we had shows, so, for those days, we were completely sober.  It was a totally different experience.  Those two days we played, we were completely sober, and the two days were didn’t play – Did we go home during those days?…  I don’t remember anything about them.

It was amazing, ‘cause then we’d see people on a day – one day, we saw Drug Rug (QRO live review), on a day we were playing, we were talking to them, and they were acting kind of weird.  They were looking at us, “Wait a minute – are you guys… sober?”  And we’re like, ‘Yeah, completely,’ and they were like, “Oh – I knew something was weird…”

And we’d just seen them two days before, and we were like “WHOO!”  We’d picked them up run across the street.

JC: For a while, Dave had his sunglasses on, but under his sunglasses, those rainbow–

DS: The red & blue 3D glasses.

In the day, during the sunset, it was so incredible, and then it got dark, and I was like, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna go with it’.  So when it was dark, I was wearing those blue & red glasses, and I couldn’t see anything

I remember that night – I woke up the next day with all these bruises.  It felt like I’d gotten punched a bunch of times?  I was like, ‘Oh, I must have just bumped into something.’  Two days later, we get back, and there was some photo session that night, and we got sent all these pictures that had been taken of us, and in one of them, I’m holding my arms up, and there’s a girl wearing boxing gloves, and I’m like, “OOH – punch me harder!”  It looked like she had just punched me, and was about to punch me again.

MI: I felt the same way.  My face was hurting really bad on the plane ride home.  And a few days later, Matt [Clark] from White Rabbits called me and was like, “Man, that was awesome…’

I guess he and I went to a VICE party, and had gotten into a full-on fistfight in the middle of the VICE party.  It was amazing.

JC: Lots of topless pictures…

MI: Lots of topless pictures of all of us…

JS: Not of girls – of us

QRO: Do you do anything differently, at ‘industry showcases’ like that or CMJ (QRO recap)?

MI: We don’t have industry showcases…

JS: CMJ was basically for our friends.

JC: We just threw two awesome parties at a rehearsal space.

MI: We try to do the exact same thing.

DS: We try to play as best we can.

The Subjects recounting South-by-Southwest backstage @ Music Hall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY:

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