- So I had a partner and now I don't.
- Yeah, like on your first one. Now, what happened to him?
- I knew I wasn't going to work with him long. We were already
going stale before the first...
- You were using him.
- No, no, no. Not at all.
- I'm just kidding.
- And so I get all defensive. I mean, it was just never meant
to be. It was just like a project and then we happened to get
a record deal, but I do a lot of things by myself, which I
would rather do.
- So you play the different tracks and then put them together?
- Yeah, I just do it in a different track studio. And now I'm
actually getting something I do live in the computer. I'm
getting something called Sound School.
- Now, how did you find the people that you play your tour with?
- You generally try and find them through advertising, but that
never works. So, it's just friends. Two of the guys were in
a band called Pet Club, and my producer, the guy works at my
studio, named Marty Von Moch, knew them, and Dan the guitar
player was going to play with us last year, but then it just
didn't work out for some reason. And John, the bass player,
John Goldman, went to my high school. He's about eight years
younger than I am, but he went to Crossroads. A lot of the
people I've worked with have gone to Crossroads strangely
enough. They weren't there when I was there, but the guy that
plays with Beck right now, Joe Warnicker, played on the last
record, and Tony Maxwell in a band called That Dog, played on
the record. So, it's just word of mouth generally.
- Did you take a different approach from the first album to the
- A different approach? Yeah, that's a good question. I still
went about things in a similar way, I think. It was very
similar, and I'm just starting to break away from that sort
of formulaic approach I've always had now because I'm way into
the third album now because I've had a lot of time; I've been
on the road a lot.
- You've just started this tour, right?
- Kind of. This tour we started yesterday, and we just went to
New York before that to play at CMJ.
- How did that go?
- Really well, surprisingly. We had just started rehearsing
about two weeks before. But, um, this record I was really
alone a lot, so I guess the different approach was that I
didn't have to compensate for someone else's tastes and style.
I could kind of do it by myself, and really it was a much more
pleasing way to work.
- Well, people who have listened to the first and second album
have noticed a difference in sound.
- Oh, yeah, it's different. A lot of it was that I could barely
play guitar on the first one. I was just learning how to play
at that point, so I was just doing some rhythm stuff, and I
wrote about half of the songs, and John wrote the other half.
This record is kind of me learning how to play guitar.
- And you're making money at it.
- Yeah, I'm going to learn how to play guitar and pay me for it,
then I'll know that I'm making money. Not really. No but,
yeah, there is a lot of differences, but I think I'm able to
do what John did pretty well. I learned a lot from him, his
vicious guitar feedback style.
- I know the first one a lot of people compared it to Joy
Division in a way.
- People actually still compare it. I think there is a lot more
in common between the two records than the obvious
differences. There is definitely a lot of the same stuff going
on, but it is not quite obviously dark and wallowing. It's a
little bit more...it's lacking John's personality.
- Was he kind of depressed?
- Yeah, very much so. I mean he's a great guy. Like I said, he's
my best friend, one of my good friends, but he's pretty
- He just needs Prozac.
- You know what, I think that's what it is. He knows it too, but
he just can't get it together. I'll shake him...
- Maybe he just likes to wallow. Do you have any certain kind
of goal with what you're going to with your music?
- The goal is just to keep it fresh, and to keep experimenting,
and to just keep doing something that's honest. I want to make
sure that I love it, always. I don't want to lose that
- But if you were tempted by the money would you?
- I've never thought that way; I don't know. We'll see what
happens. It could happen. I'm getting bigger record deal
offers, and after the third album with Caroline is up next
year, what am I going to do? I mean, do I decide independent
on an independent label? I mean Caroline, it's not like a
major, but it's one of the bigger. I mean, it's really hard
to send this band on tour if there's no money to pay anybody;
it's really difficult. With a major label I could maybe
realize more how I see this thing happening, and being able
to have a sound man that that's always there, and really wants
to learn the songs, and that would be nice, but I forget what
the question was.
- Most bands when they sign to a major label say, "well, we can
get our music to more people, wider distribution." Do you see
that as actually the case, or do you see that as a cop out,
that they want the extra money?
- It's different in many cases. I have friends now who are
signing deals, and it seems like they're really blowing and
they're just taking all this money, and the pressure that they
put on you is just amazing. I mean, we spend so little on
these records and there's a lot of pressure to go go go and
make the money back. I mean, it's a business. A cop out? It's
different in many cases, but it's tempting if you've got no
money. It's really tempting to take that $200,000 and then
that $100,000 advance. But people have to understand that
that's really not all that much money, that it is going to be
gone. So, that's not a good way to look at it.
- Do you think nowadays with major labels, they give more
freedom, are they offering you more leeway with what you do.
- Yeah, well, yeah, we haven't gotten down to the details, but
I will not sign anything that...I'll have a hundred percent
control of everything, artwork, everything.
- It seems like they are more willing to do that now.
- Well, they kind of have to be. Times have changed and they
have to be, and that's good, it should be that way.. So that's
going to be an issue, and I'm not going to do a thing if I
can't keep all of that control.
- Do you have any certain musical influences or something that
creatively spurred you?
- I guess, a lot of it was instrumental music, a lot of jazz
ranging from old Duke Ellington to the Weathereport in the
70's affected me a lot when I was a teenager, and Brian Eno
especially. I mean, I'm more into ambient kind of stuff, and
I'm actually possibly going to do...there's a composition
Brian Long at Caroline does an ambient thing...there are so
many different headings for things over there, I forget which
one it was, but I'm going to do a piece for that. So really
it's mostly atmospheric kind of textural kind of music, and
I think that I want to get more into that and do records that
are half vocals and half instrumental.
- So do you think that you can get across more from doing
instrumentation rather than vocals?
- Well, lyrics for me are always a big struggle. I just
don't...it's a real painful experience for me, but I'm getting
better at it, and I'm finding a way into an honest kind of
subconscious part of me that can kind of just let it flow, and
I like what I read a year later and I think "ok, wow, this is
meaningful," and I think they're ok, but it's just hard for
me to do, and I like the sound of a voice and I like singing,
it's just that lyrics are such a struggle, and often they're
distracting, they don't mix with music perfectly, and that's
why I'm really tempted to blend them way in. There is a band
called Bailter Space, and they really do that.
- So, ok, well I've heard something about why you called the
- I'm almost forgetting how it happened. There's a band called
Lifter that just signed with Interscope, and this guy named
Mike Colter who writes the songs was in a band called Iowa,
and John and I just started doing demos and Mike really loved
them, and we really thought that Iowa was great. They're kind
of similar sounding, not that, similar enough, and he just as
a joke because we didn't have a name and they wanted to start
doing publicity, and he just said "ah, call it Idaho and we
can play shows together and it'll be funny," and we thought
that was great, but then I just like the simplicity of it.
People read meaning into it, but I didn't really...like it
could be a metaphor for L.A. being a lonely kind of a desert,
there, people in their cars, and there's not...you don't walk
around the streets together much. It's not totally true, but
it has that affect on people and so I thought that people had
thought that it's being called Idaho, and a band from L.A.,
meant something, but it doesn't mean anything much to me. I
like the way it looks, I like it, it has a balance to it...I
don't...band names are just sort of...when I started to try
to come up with a good band name it seemed like it was a joke,
kind of like lyrics.
- You don't like words.
- No, I do, I really do, but they've always been a real problem
for me. I mean, I was never much of a student, I couldn't
really write down my thoughts. I was bad at doing papers. I
was bad at, but I'm getting better at it, it's the slowest
thing to develop I think. Maybe when I think they're developed
they won't be any good.
- So you're from L.A.? What part?
- I'm from the west side. I guess I was raised in Brentwood and
- All your life; born there?
- Yeah, I mean I lived in London with my parents and I got
signed to Ensign Records when I was twenty there, and Sinead
O'Connor is on Ensign and so are World Party and bands like
that. They only had the Waterboys then, but I was just too
young, and we almost finished a record and they didn't like
it, and then I went home and I thought "eh, maybe I don't want
to do this."
- Is there anything you want us to tell people about Idaho?
- I'm always so bad at that. I mean, it's fun because I talk to
a lot of people on the internet, a lot of people. I get about
four or five letters a day, and I'm always talking to people
on that, and I send files of things over. We might do
something, a release, that just gets released on the internet.
So, I mean, computers are a big part of what I do, they're
going to become more a part of it, not too much because I
don't want to go crazy, but I want to keep rolling tape across
heads and we'll have a computer synced up to a tape machine,
so I'll be able to balance anything in, and work with it, and
I can rearrange songs. Because, not being a band I can't
experiment with things. I have to put a guitar track down on
tape and live with it. I can't change it, I can't go, "oh, the
chorus is too long." So, with a computer I will be able to
alter that stuff, experiment, and do what people do when
they're in a band.
- Wait, there was a question that you didn't quite answer.
- Yeah, that's generally what I do. What was it? I think it was
when I said I forgot what the question was.
- I think it was, what you want to tell people about you.
- Oh, I hate that question.
- Ok, then here's a different one. What's your favorite canned
- Oh, really, What are those peaches, those Glorietta peaches.
See, that's important too, the way things are packaged. They
always mess up the art work, the Idaho records were supposed
to look like how I designed them, but they always got messed
- I like the cover for this one though.
- Yeah, I thought it would be real stark, and I like yellow and
grey together. So, um, Glorietta peaches.
- Is there some kind of thing behind the title of it This Way
- I just had a dream and that was what the record was called and
I thought, "wow, it sounds kind of cool, This Way Out." The
music for me is therapeutic, not escape, but it can feel like
that. This way, I mean, the music is transporting, kind of a
healing thing. I was in a dream, and really that was what the
record was called, so I thought, wow, someone knows what the
record is called, someone up there told me, someone inside who
knows what's going on.
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