Written by: Andrea Janov, CC2K Music Editor
Remember last month when I told you all about Useless ID’s fantastic new album, Symptoms? Well, I got the chance to ask them a few questions, that may make you even more pysched on them. They have just announced quite a few Candian dates and will hopefully be heading to the Sates sometime soon (we can all cross our fingers).
Let’s start off with introductions.
Nice to meet you, and thanks a lot for the interview! My name is Ishay, I play Guitar and do a lot of interviews in Useless ID.
You have found a great deal of success in your home of Israel and here in the States. Is there any difference in your fans in each location?
People ask about these things, I really don’t know how can I describe a major difference… We meet A LOT of people at shows all over the world, and there’s so many differences between each person, I think it would be easier to say what similarities they all have, and that is their love for music and beer.
What is your writing process? Is there one main songwriter? Is it a collaborative effort? Do the lyrics or the music come first?
Our singer and bass player, Yotam writes all of the songs, He is very much into song writing and production as well as lyrics and dynamics, so he would usually come up with the music and the lyrics and the rest of the band can help out or change some parts but it is really like 99% Yotam’s thing. I think that usually he would have a melody first and then piece the lyrics around it, but he also has a notebook filled with lyric idea’s so I guess it’s a thing where a new melody would get started with an older lyrics and it would go further from there.
I loved Symptoms and was super impressed with not only the sound of the music but also the sound of the lyrics. Each track showed this fabulous control of language do you focus on the sound of the words in relation to one another as well as the music or is it an organize process that occurs during song writing?
Thank you so much for noticing that! We have been in the studio many times by now and have had some points where we would write some of the lyrics in a last minute kind of a situation and I think that it was very important for us to make an album where the lyrics are perfected before we hit the studio – this time. It didn’t hurt having Bill Stevenson around to help us make the best out of every song, which helped the lyrics thing so much.
The album has a definite progression where at the end the listener fell like they have been taken on a journey and then are able to sit down quietly to reflect. Was that the intention of the song arrangement?
I don’t really think so, but it’s surly cool to hear that you figured it out that way. Music is cool like that, everyone can have their own interpretation on why, how and what is going on when they listen to an album.
Did you sit down and write this album with the album structure in mind? Or where there a collection of songs that were written and in turn shaped the album?
I think the structure came to life while writing was pretty much over, for sure. It’s very simple with us, as we’ve been playing together for long enough so that we all know where the next album should head music and lyrics wise. We sure turned down a few songs, but the funny thing is that like 2 of the songs that eventually made it into the album were songs that we thought we’re not going to record, and have other songs (that did not make it to the album) instead of them, but while recording Bill Stevenson thought we were crazy to let these songs go, so we went and recorded them.
What is your favorite track on the album and why?
It’s very hard for me, Iguess i like them all at this point, but i’m pretty sure that Normal With You may be my favorite song to listen to, as it’s pretty huge sounding and it totally different than anything else we ever did.
I love Bill Stevenson’s work as a musician, songwriter, and producer. How did you come to work with him and what was the experience like?
We knew about his work ever since we were in a band, I mean, we are all big ALL/Descendents fans. We always wanted to get and work with him, which at some points was really like a dream and not something we can expect to really happen, but for our third album on Kung Fu, “Redemption” we actually wrote him and he said he would love to do it. We recorded 3 albums with him and Jason Livermore since and it has always been an extremely positive thing for our band. Their system and way of making albums is amazing and works so good for us, I don’t ever see us making albums with a different team.
Do you have any plans to tour the States anytime soon?
We are going to play in Canada in May and we planned to book some dates in the U.S, too, but had to keep it Canada-only because we were offered a really cool tour in Europe that will happen right after the Canada dates. So, a bit of a bummer, but we will definitely plan a new plan for the U.S and make it happen later in 2012.
What is next for you guys?
Mostly touring, now…we have tours planned for China, Europe, Russia, Japan, Canada and hopefully soon we will start booking for Australia and the U.S, so…yea, many miles, for sure.
And here are some fun questions…
How did you get involved in punk rock?
My skater friend gave me the “Fresh Fruit For Rotten Vegetables tape…that was it for me.
Best show you have played?
It was so good – i cannot remember a goddamn thing.
Best show you have been to?
Probably Bad Religion at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, 1998.
Dream line up for a show that you are playing?
We’re going to Europe with Lagwagon in June, so, every show on that tour.
What are you listing to right now?
What are your guilty pleasure bands?
Too many to mention.
100’s of them.
There are kids discovering punk rock every day, what bands should they be listening to?
XTC, Conflict and Propagandhi.