Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Interview with Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus

This was my second, last, and most impromtu interview of SXSW. It was very kind of Mr. Stickles to have done this interview with me and I truly appreciate it.

David Glickman: Around this time last year, you had just released your debut album and were pretty unknown. Now, your one of the most critically acclaimed and buzzed about bands of this time. What do you think of that?

Patrick Stickles: I mean, maybe that’s true on the internet, I don’t know if that’s so true in the real world but were trying, were trying our best.

DG: I was wondering if you could give me a quick history because you said "First we had three members, then we had eleven members, now were have five members." So what’s going on with the band exactly?

PS: Well, it’s really tough to keep people in the band because we, they’re usually pretty young and soon they have to go to college. But know we’ve all graduated from college and we’ve got nothing else to do, so know were just pushing through.

DG: So we should get used to this line up?

PS: I hope so! You never know with these kind of characters. I’m hoping this will be the last one, but I’ve said that about every line up so we’ll see.

DG: I’ve was wondering about the lyrics on the album, because they’re so essential and so meaningful, but you recorded them in a way it’s incredible hard to understand them. I was wondering why you choose this?

PS: Oh that was largely just because I’m a terrible singer and with a lot of distortion my voice can be very grating on the listener.

DG: I don’t mind.

PS: Well, thanks. (Gives a small chuckle) I hope that, between that and we’ve got the lyric sheet with the album so hopefully people can listen that and get the idea with that without hearing off-key warbling when unnecessary.

DG: Speaking of the lyrics, they are very unhopeful self-deprecating. Are you like this, are you a dark person, or were there a series of events that inspired you to give up on life?

PS: I mean I’m like that some of the time and I’m also quite happy and optimistic, but when I’m feeling happy and optimistic I don’t really feel much of a drive to create or do music. Because when I’m feeling good about something I just want to go and do it; spend time with friends and loved ones and stuff you know. That’s not really a time I feel the need to play guitar because I’d rather just do that, but when I’m feeling depressed then it’s a good time and hopefully channel that into something productive.

DG: So what are you going to do now that everyone loves you, what are you going to write about?

PS: I’ pretty sure that everybody doesn’t love me but um...

DG: Oh come on, the crowds obviously going to get big when you preform (the band was set to go on in about 45 minutes)!

PS: We’ll see, we’ll see if they do. We’re still very hungry. We’re not ready to rest on our lorals yet.

DG: I see on your myspace, a few a new songs. Are there plans for a new EP or CD on the way?

PS: I’m really hoping were going to record a new album soon, but it’s not really not up to us you know, cause we started making this album that’s out now almost two year ago, but it’s only really gotten a real big release like two months ago.

DG: Because you, did you sign with XL or did they just decided to rerelease your album?

PS: No, were are part of the XL family of recording artists now. I’m hoping that XL is going write us a big check soon to make another album but, you know, I feel they might want us to do to a little more work on this album before we can do that.

DG: They might be too busy with Vampire Weekend.

PS: Yea, they might,(Laughs)but, all of us on XL we’re really all just spending Vampire Weekend's money.

DG: Can I ask you about your song ‘Titus Andronicus’?

PS: You can.

DG: Do you really feel that way about your band, that no one is listening to you, that no one cares about what your saying? I mean did you write it about your true opinion of the band?

PS: Um, well the truth is when I wrote that song, without getting too personal, there was this person who was important in my life at the time and I had written a new song and didn’t care to hear it. So I felt a little down about that for awhile and wrote a song that latter became the song ‘Titus Andronicus’, but I tried to modify the language so it was a little more universal. But I mean like, I don’t know, being in a rock n’ roll band is kind of like swimming upstream all the time, but we truly do appreciate it when those people that do listen to us do, and we care a lot more about them then the people who don’t listen to us.

DG: You are being called the lo-fi Bruce Springsteen. Do you think this is apt or do you just think this is because your all from New Jersey?

PS: Springsteen was really important to me, I really love Springsteen a lot and he’s "informed" our music quite a bit, but I do think that if we weren’t from New Jersey, people wouldn’t be pushing the Springsteen thing so far. I mean I wouldn’t ....

DG: Totally disown it...

PS: Yea, exactly. I wouldn’t deny that Springsteen has been very important to me both as a musician and as a person from New Jersey.

DG: I saw on tour with Los Campesinos! and I saw you guys were getting along great. Our their plans for a collaboration?

PS: Um, well I’ve been talking to Tom, who plays guitar in Los Campesinos! about doing a remix of one of our songs, but who knows if that is going to be a reality. But they’re really great guys, we really came to be quite good friends with them.

DG: Ok one last question. Is it ever hard playing in Titus Andronicus because your doing a cross the globe tour and I’ve seen your live shows and their just frantic. Is it ever draining?

PS: I mean, we get pretty exhausted after the show, but that’s pretty much the only thing we do all day and it’s only for 45 minutes, so must of time we’re just sitting around, so it’s not like we’re running marathon and then doing the show. So yea, it’s not that hard.

DG: It looks like a marathon to me.

PS: We try. We try to do all we can, but that’s about the 45 minutes of honest work we do a day, so might as well do your best.

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