Thursday, September 07, 2006

Central Services interview

Normally when I send people questions for profiles here on the blog, I edit them into some sort of "article." Well, my friends in Central Services responded with such humorous and entertaining answers, that it would do them a disservice to edit them.

And you're doing YOURSELF a disservice if you don't come to their CD release tonight (9/7) at Chop Suey.

Here's the full interview for your reading pleasure:

1. You guys seem to ride the (given, blurry) line between rocking powerpop and lighter indiepop with a good balance of both. Tell me how you guys write and come up with sounds. How has that changed or evolved with this recording?

Kevin: We’ve found that people have a hard time categorizing our sound. We never consider what we’re writing when we’re writing music. It’s all about what’s compelling to us in the moment- coming up with melody and music that really engages us, and then among those, finding subject matter lyrically that resonates. Writing songs, for me, is about working stuff out. Some emotions require “the rock” as it were, and some require a "sad acoustic", brushes and a weepy slide guitar, as it were.

We all listen to lots of different kinds of music- One day you wake up with a Fountains of Wayne style pop hook in your head, the next it’s a 1973 Genesis riff. It doesn’t make any sense to me to try to make yourself a specific style. Nobody ever criticized the Beatles for Revolver, but that album is all over the map genre-wise. Not trying to draw a comparison there, just saying is all.

Jeff: One of my favorite bands has always been Led Zeppelin - not just because they're the greatest rock band ever, but also because they took on so many completely different styles of music. They go from something like No Quarter to Communication Breakdown to Hats Off to Roy Harper to Gallows Pole and do them all so legitimately. I've always wanted a band where that same type of variety fits under the umbrella of a single band name.

2. What are your feelings about the state of pop in the Northwest and Seattle in particular? Where do you guys think you fit in?

Kevin: We like the scene out here. Compared to Boston, where Jeff and I once rocked, the Seattle scene is a little more DIY. I agree with people who describe Seattle as a small town, even though it’s a big city. My experience is that it’s about 98% about who you know, and 2% about the music, until you get some exposure. That said, I love the people I’ve met on the scene out here.

Jeff: Kevin has a few retro-ish t-shirts, and Jeff has a sport coat, though. Mark wears a bandanna sometimes. Oh, and Ethan plays a Tele. That's about where we fit in.

3. How do you think others would describe Central Services, and is that the same or different than you'd like to think of yourselves?

Jeff: We're really just a side project of Math and Physics Club, and we're pretty content with that description.

Kevin: A recent review described us as “boundary breaking,” which is awesome and hould always be said aloud with a booming reverb voice, or by William Shatner.. I would hope that others would describe us as “good,” or more so, “I like them.” Ultimately, we think of ourselves as guys in a band, who challenge ourselves to make the best music we possibly can. We also enjoy the term “cute”.

4. If you could open up for any band (any time period, any location), who would it be and why?

Ethan: Why? Do you know of any shows that need an opener? Because we're probably free...

Jeff: Central Services circa 2008, because I'd love to blow those arrogant jackasses off the stage.

Kevin: I’d like to open for Journey circa ’83, after Escape, before Frontiers, on the tour where Van Halen opened for them, and parachuted into the open air stadiums. I would gladly settle for the 1993 David Lee Roth, Cinderella, Extreme tour, which I saw at a two-bit amusement park in Connecticut. Okay no, actually, how about Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young” tour, which I went to with my high school girlfriend Jenna? Cause then she might have thought twice. . .

5. Who are your favorite Seattle bands and why?

Jeff: The Elephants (whose name has changed I think) because they're almost as brown as early Ween. I also like the guy that plays the tuba at Safeco because low notes played on a brass instrument are funny.

Eric: Andrea Wittgens. Her songs are well-crafted and musically, very interesting. She's got an amazingly beautiful voice, and her band is top notch.

Ethan: The Electric Kisses. Love their new album. It's loud even when you're trying to play it quietly.

Kevin: I like Friday Mile. Jace is a jerk and should be stopped before he writes all the good moody melodies in town.

6. You've got a recording coming out next week (blogger's note: obviously I sent them these questions last week - the CD comes out TONIGHT!). What's the scoop? What's your favorite song on the record and why? What do you want people to know about the record?

Jeff: We're pretty happy with how all the songs turned out, so there's really not much in the way of a favorite or least favorite. It was nice to see how well it plays from start to finish - everything fits together nicely, and there are no "OK, I suppose we gotta let Ringo have his song here..." sort of moments. We want people to know that there's a prize for spotting the typo in the liner notes, and if they find it, they win the chance to pay the bill for 1,000 reprinted, corrected CDs.

Kevin: We want people to know that an artist named Alice Tippit did the artwork, and made the record an album. Seriously. She’s a dream. Overall though, we want people to know that we’re not fucking around about the rock. Song ’89 was the song on the EP that people latched on to most, and thus, we want them to be prepared for the level of rocking of which we are now capable. It’s dangerous. Hell, this album should come with a warning label about the rock of which we are the unholy purveyors.

I think we’re all in some way proudest of Settle Into Gray- every time we hear it it’s like: we did that? All the way back to the beginning, convincing Jeff to release that song from its secret polymer suspended-animation chamber, we felt like it was unique. I’m proud of It’s Not My Day for a similar reason. I hear it and I’m like: “huh, what do you know about that…” Those are also two songs that would probably be low on the ‘hit potential-ometer’ too.

7. What's the future (beyond this record) hold for you guys?

Jeff: A nomadic lifestyle to avoid credit card debt collectors.

Kevin: Well, there’s an A-line business plan in place, which obviously involves tour busses, organic coke, and skin, I mean, there’s pretty much no getting around that, is there? I recently heard that on their Hysteria tour, Def Leppard had glass panels in the floor of their “In the round” stage, with gyrating groupies beneath. So that’s been added to the business model. I would say the B-line plan involves anti-depressants and a has-been lifestyle of turning our kids into prodigies in order to compensate for our own failings, then watching their lives self-destruct in the spotlight.

Speaking of Def Leppard. . . Well, nevermind.

8. What's something people don't know about Central Services?

Jeff: That we exist.

Eric: Kevin is a published novelist, Mark has opened for Ben Folds, Eric is aspiring to be a film composer, Ethan has starred in a movie, and Jeff does a pretty mean Michael McDonald imitation.

Kevin: That despite the veneer of grace and stardom, we’re just normal guys like everyone else, with the same foibles and insecurities. I mean, for example, I too spend a good hour every morning debating whether or not to parlay the Tahoe house into a Sierra Club annuity while sipping a mimosa in my jet tub, suspended in the water by therapeutic netting.

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