Not often do I get an interview back where every member answers every question, but Brickmower obviously give their all with everything, so why not?!
For reference, E=Eric, K=K. (deal with it.), and S=Steve.
How did you all meet, and who came up with the idea to start a band?
E: The band started when K. said she was bored from not playing for a while in summer ‘09. Our old band, Network of Halos hadn’t played for a year and a half, and I was drumming in some bands for a while. So I said let’s start a new one. I called my friend Eric Gieg and asked if he’d record us. 5 weeks later we had our EP done, sans drummer at the time. Steve fell into our lap last March when we were looking for a drummer, and it’s been awesome.
K: I met Eric back in 2005. We had been in a band from 2006-late 2007 together, but it was more Eric’s solo project with a few of us as his live band which was cool. But in 2009 we had both decided we wanted to start up another actual band. Then in 2010 Steve answered our desperate pleas for an awesome drummer and here we are today.
S: I found Eric and Kristin on Craigslist around March of 2010. After a month of only seeing ads for Nirvana and Pennywise wannabe’s I was pretty relieved when I saw their post for a drummer.
How do your songs get written? Is it a collaborative effort or is there a musical mastermind behind it all?
E: Initially, K. and I would woodshed some songs we’d be noodling around with. Some songs are more me, some more K. Some of the stuff on the upcoming album really came into their own with Steve changing around parts, and giving spots dynamics. Looking forward to starting a new batch of songs.
K: I think the majority of it is collaborative, but Eric is definitely the one that usually brings the core of a song to the table, and we all figure out what works best on our own and as a group.
S: I show up to practice and Kristin and Eric basically say “Ok, here are the 5 songs we wrote this morning” and that’s when I start hitting cymbals. I was really excited on the new album because they were the first batch of songs that the drum parts hadn’t already been written by Eric or a previous drummer (I think there were about 17 before me). It was awesome being the first drummer to play on them.
Obviously, there’s a strong punk influence in the band’s songs. What do you think of the status of the current underground and mainstream punk scenes. Do you ever try to steer away from things being too punk?
E: I think there’s a lot of great stuff coming out from people determined not to grow up & give up. A lot of exciting stuff coming out, and it’s great to know such a strong network of people who give a shit about something most people would find trivial is really strong. Then at the same time, I remember “sell 50 tickets to play shows” and shit like Jersey shows still exist and I get cynical again.
K: Too punk? Never!
S: Every show we played on tour we found some connection back to the New Brunswick basement scene or another band we already knew. Underground punk scenes will always be amazing thanks to the guys and girls who keep throwing shows in their houses and basements. If it weren’t for them playing this music wouldn’t be nearly as worth it.
What are your strongest influences that people might not know about? (The influences do not have to be music, but can be if you want.)
E: I used to watch a ton of movies. A lot of allusions to film lines or scenes pop into lyrics. Also, a lot of lo-fi stuff from the ‘80s and ‘90s was huge on me.
K: Good question. I worship mclusky, Big Black, and Shellac. Those are the only bands that come to mind that may be a surprising influence for a band member in brick mower.
S: My friend Mike from college told me: “Play drums like you’re making love to a woman.” I don’t really know if it made a difference in my playing but he was a really cool guy.
Your new album, “Under the Sink,” doesn’t sound exactly like your first EP, Floors. Instead, It seems to be a bit more hi-fi (though still just as good). Was that a deliberate decision or did the songs just come out however they came out? Do you plan on keeping things less lo-fi?
E: This was the first time we went went to record with someone who wasn’t a friend or with me screwing around with knobs. Our split cassette we did in ‘09, which is out of print is one for the lo-fi books. The “Floors” EP was recorded on the fly,minus a band member, and was rushed in many ways. “Floors” has since been remixed. But oh well, it’s already out, and Eric always does a great job at his home studio.
K: Well Lo-Fi still works for us, but then again I think Under the Sink would still be considered Lo-Fi for some even though it’s definitely a different quality. As Eric Bennett said himself about what is considered lo-fi these days; “I feel like if it’s not autotuned , people think it’s lo-fi.” But in any event I’m super pleased with the Under the Sink recordings, and I think it was a deliberate decision.
S: I agree with Kristin. I absolutely love lo-fi but I think the quality of these recordings speak for themselves.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened at a Brick Mower show? (I hope you’re all aware that you put on a great live show, by the way…)
E: Thanks. Lansing MI was an interesting experience all around. Yikes. But probably the worst show was pre-Steve @ Pianos in NY. We played at 1:30 in the morning on an 8 degree January night to a bunch of zonked out NYU kids who were heckling the shit out of us. The sound guy didn’t put K.’s bass through the speakers for the first song. And the bartender was making a group of girls beg and bark like dogs for their vodka before pouring it in their mouths. Not quite my scene.
K: Oh boy well first off thank you. Second of all this is a hard question as almost every single show we have, there is a minor fiasco. Steve is almost never the reason for this fiasco. Something involving cables, plugs, or strings usually breaks or catches fire.
S: We played Meatown our first show back from tour, and on the first chorus of “Slow too Fast” I swung the drumstick back too hard and split open my lip. I Had to finish the set with blood all over my mouth. Trust me, I’m a walking fiasco.
What superhero would each member be, and why?
E: The Toxic Avenger. New Jersey born and raised. And kind of smelly.
K: I would would probably be Catwoman, but not for any cool reason. I’m just obsessed with cats. If not Catwoman definitely Jem. Not quite a superhero I just think she rules.
S: Danzig (ed. note: hahahahahahahahahahahah, yes.)
Was anyone in the band surprised by the way your recordings came out this time around, and was there any sound you guys were going for?
E: All things considered, for a 2 day marathon of purging songs in a studio that didn’t have heat in the rooms we played in, in mid-December, I’m pretty happy. And recording with Eric Bennett was the best. That guy’s hilarious, knows his shit, and is so easy to work with.
K: I’m surprised that that everything actually worked out and that everything actually came to fruition.
S: Like Eric said, considering we tracked everything in one day then mixed the second, the recordings came out better than I even expected.
What is next for the band? Are you touring behind the new full length? Or making another 7″ anytime soon?
E: 12 day tour in down to FL and back up into MA and CT in March. We’re doing a record release March 9th @ Meat Town USA in New Brunswick. A couple weekend tours to VA and NH in April in the works. 7’’ coming out in May or so, and hopefully recording a 7’’ in the summer. Think that’s it for the next fiscal quarter.
K: We are touring for a bit in March, and another 7” is in the works Why Are We Doing This? featuring my MOM in her glory days on the back cover. Stoked about that.
S: Stopping at South of the Border on tour so we can stock up on fireworks and switchblade combs.
If possible, would you guys play music forever? Or would you grow tired of it eventually?
E:I hope to be a cranky folk singer with blown out vocal chords when I’m 80. Or an angry, chain smoking jazz drummer. All that’s about 60% true.
K: I’d probably play it forever. As dumb as that sounds. I don’t think I could just do that, animals still need my help and there are plenty out there that still need to be saved/annoyed by me. But I could play music for a long time. Why not?
S: I’m afraid of turning into one of those pony tailed 40 year olds in a silk button down who spends each wednesday at the local open mic singing to his acoustic about motorcycles and glory days. Once I begin to crave that, I’m done.
Bonus Question!: Who would win in a fight, drummer Steve, a Chimpanzee, or twelve five year olds working together? Why?
E: The chimp. Did you ever see that orangutan on the Fox special who had a tug-of-war match with a sumo wrestler? Embarrassing to the sport of sumo. (ed. note: I can’t believe I’m not the only person who saw that. I think it was on right after Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction…)
K: A chimpanzee will always win. That’s just science. You’ll never win in a fight against a chimp and I’m not going to challenge anyone to prove me wrong.
S: I could take a chimp. It’s the 12 year olds I’d be afraid of, they aim for the groin.
Well there you have it, the good word from punkers Brick Mower. Apologies for copying too much of my interview template and asking about Tom Petty. That was my bad, but everyone should cover Tom Petty nonetheless. Here’s a track from Under the Sink for your enjoyment!