You know that band OFF! that we keep freaking out about? Well their self-titled album is officially out today on the VICE Records label! You can order the album right HERE, should you want to. *cough cough* which you DO!
Curious as to how such a panty-blaster of an album came to be, we interviewed Keith Morris and he told us all about it.
VICE: From the initial idea of wanting to make it, to its release date (which is today,) how long did it take to make this album?
Keith Morris: This album took about three-and-a-half weeks to write even though DIMITRI and I told ourselves we'd carve out two months to try and be creative while the other half of the group was out doing whatever they were doin'. We don't function as a "full-time" band as three of the guys are dads so they've got all their family commitments and all that other nice stuff. I'm the only deadbeat flake in this music organization!
We then got together at ABC Rehearsal to learn the songs and this part of the process killed about six or seven hours even though we agreed on four three-hour practices. We'll hang out and tell jokes, talk show biz, drink iced coffee drinks, spew gossip, talk shit about other bands, take a few piss breaks and actually put our noses against the grindstone long enough to memorize the songs. We'd already booked time at Kingsize Sound Labs recording studio in the swell city of Eagle Rock and that consisted of a whopping three days equating to 36 hours. Now of course when I say 36 hours I'm lying because there's the first day where we show up and unload our equipment, set up in the studio, have the engineer place microphones, have the players strum guitar, bass, bang on the drums and have me yelling in the "vocal booth" to get sounds. This usually takes us close to dinner time around eight-ish so we'll send out the second engineer to get us some grizzle.
We've had a couple drink breaks and have taken about seven hours to put down a couple of tracks as we will run through the tunes four or five times each. We try to have all the songs finished halfway through the third studio sesh so that the "mixing" part of this scenario is allowed to go down. Mixing equals the longest part of this OFF! makin'-music mess at a week or two while we're trying to figure out what artwork's gonna be used on the cover and then it's off to the mastering peeps in Santa Barbara. That's a really nice beachfront community a few miles north of us on the coast of California. I don't know how long the guy who masters the recording takes but it's usually a day or two and I'm thinking somewhere near six hours a day to do this so the grand total's in the vicinity of 272 hours?
Wow. So how did you get signed to the VICE label?
We used an ink pen on the lines at the bottom of the pieces of paper that were sent to us! I'm friends with BRETT GUERWITZ who plays guitar in BAD RELIGION and owns EPITAPH RECORDS. I'd played him our first EP and that threw him for a loop. He was TOTALLY jazzed on OFF! and told us this was the best stuff he'd heard in five years and said he'd do whatever we wanted. The contract was written up and approved by both sides and at the last minute STEVEN McDONALD, who is my favorite bassist, asked why we were in such a hurry to sign with Epitaph. SMcD said that he wanted to get a second opinion and that he was pals with SUROOSH ALVI who's the main dude at VICE world headquarters! You read where this heartwarming tale is leading? Needless to say JAMIE FARKAS, the gal that's part of their decision-making team got back to us with a plan that was completely different from that of Epitaph. All OFF!/VICE peeps agreed and here I am writing you!
It was destiny! So what has been the most painfully stressful show you’ve played so far?
OFF! played our very first gig at BEERLAND during the SXSW music festival in Austin Texas a couple years ago. I guess that would've been the show that was most nerve wracking. We'd only rehearsed for two hours and SXSW's CRAZY and CHAOTIC! This confusion and sense of things getting close to going haywire or falling off the tracks adds to the hectic approach towards our musical presentation! I get nervous before every show and it's like the older baseball pitcher tellin' the new kid pitcher on the team that you've gotta get butterflies or yer' just not livin' life! I fuckin' LOVE life! Got to have those feelings because it makes you feel alive.
Would you say that this album has a theme at all?
The major theme of this album was to avoid themes. We could eventually attempt to make a "concept" album but the problem with this situation is that the concept or strings get in the way...
Have you ever started writing a song about a girl you were dating, and then broke up with the girl before the song was finished?
No, as the "love" songs I've written were post-breakup and a bit of sarcasm tossed in and then laced with some spite!
A lot of the VICE staffers are gonna be at your 5/29 show at the Bowery Ballroom. Will you bring us on stage for a song so we can feel cool?
Once again that's a big NO! If you want to get in the slam pit or do some nude go-go dancing while bouncing up and down on a trampoline we've got ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY no problem with this. If you do get on stage you have to remember the "THREE SECOND RULE"! The "THREE SECOND RULE" is that you can jump around on the stage while we're playing but you've gotta jump off the front of the stage in THREE seconds as we are more than capable of mangling our songs and we're not looking to add new members to our musical organization. Enjoy yourselves and have fun!