Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Keeping Up with the Culpas

February 1, 2008

Keeping Up with the Culpas

The Felix Culpa put out their first full length album of highly artistic rock/emo/hardcore in 2004. Since then they’ve released an EP/DVD set, seen a member get married, added a member and remained the same guys that broke their drummer’s foot in early 2005 by sliding him down a set of stairs in a drum case. Though goofy (and self-described as the biggest suffers of ADD ever), the guys of The Felix Culpa are some of the most focused and motivated musicians in the scene. Despite the fact that Joelly was slightly intoxicated and the rest of the band did display the combined attention span of a flea, we managed to discuss everything from new band members to the new album to labels.

IC: So, let’s start out with the biggest thing. There is a new member since I last saw you guys.

Dustin (The new guy): He’s weird.

Tristan: Yeah. Dustin. The young’n. Actually, though, I always forget that he’s as young as he is. Dustin has always sort of just clicked with us. There are a lot of cases in life where age truly doesn’t matter… and I think Dustin fits in that category all too often.

IC: Awesome. So Dustin, what do you play? What role are you playing in the band now?

Marky: Dustin is magic.

Dustin: Well, now… I mostly play keyboards and second guitar. But occasionally I’ll make some noise with my mouth or some percussive things, and I might do some trumpet action.

IC: Ok, so I’m listening to the demos on Myspace and I’m really liking them. Are they part of the new album, and when can we expect that album?

Marky: Yeah they are.

Marky: We have no set release date yet. And we’ve have actually tracked 16 songs for the album… we’re about 60% done with the tracking as it sits.

IC: Wow, so we can expect a long album?

Dustin: Marky’s always got things up his sleeve.

Marky: Yeah.

Joelly: Approx 71 minutes or so.

Marky: We actually have cut it down from an approximate 25 or so songs that we’ve started/re-written/scrapped/demoed. We really wanted this to be the best that we had to offer…

Tristan: Yeah. It’s been crazy over the last 13 or 14 months what we’ve done with songs. Just… sculpting and reworking everything.

Dustin: I’m actually still going to be really sad to see some of those songs go.

Marky: We’ll record them somewhere… I’m sure they’ll all find a home.

Joel: I agree with Dustin… on some of the songs, anyways.

Tristan: same here

Marky: ::pats lil dusty on the head::. We could still record Peter…

Joelly: don’t tease.

Dustin: and shorty!

IC: are you currently touring on songs off the new album or are you still playing Commitment?

Dustin: both

Marky: We actually aren’t really touring at all right now. But the shows that we play locally are a mix of old and new.

Dustin: It’s usually a pretty even mix of new and old, when we do play shows

Tristan: We’ve sort of held off on any touring for the last 14 months to work strictly on the album.

Marky: …which has been consuming most of our time.

Joelly: Seriously.. 14 months!?! Geeze. We need to tour.

Tristan: I know.

Dustin: Can we please?

Tristan: I’ve been getting sad lately. I miss touring so much. haha

Marky: It’s been 2 years since we’ve had a proper release…

Tristan: But I guess I’d rather be a band that takes our time and makes sure we’re doing what we want, how we want, rather than just crank out crap that we don’t care about just to release something.

IC: very nice. I saw you guys are playing a show with Fall of Troy and A Wilhelm Scream. Is that an exciting show for you guys?

Dustin: I’m excited.

Joelly: It’s a strange show for us to play, considering the extreme differences in style… but it should be a good time still

IC: You guys don’t seem to fit the bill but it still isn’t a misfit billing

Joelly: We seemed to be well accepted by crowds that enjoy bands like them

IC: Yes, says the guy who has both bands in the same playlist.

Tristan: Actually, I’m curious to meet the Wilhelm guys. We’ve been told from numerous “industry” sources that they talk us up to people a lot, and we’ve never even had the pleasure of seeing their faces. So I think I just want to thank them.

Marky: I don’t know if that has to do with us not knowing where we fit as musicians right now, or if we just have had a bit of bad luck with bookings.

Dustin: The thing with a band like us, and a lot of our contemporaries, is there doesn’t seem to ever be a bill that we totally “fit” on, but that’s what makes shows more interesting

Tristan: I agree. I like diversity on bills. Not so much where like… nothing fits… but just enough to bring some things that are different… well… together.

IC: So have you guys been searching for a label or are you feeling an indie release?

Marky: let’s not go there. Really, we have no idea.

Tristan: I was simply going to type a question mark.

Joelly: Seriously – no idea.

Marky: That’s been the subject of many a conversation around here.

Joelly: If the right offer presents itself, and it doesn’t seem to contradict everything we stand for, then… who knows?

Marky: We’ll just see what happens, I guess.

Joelly: Again…when the time comes…

Tristan: Well said, Tipsy Action Joelly, well said.

Joelly: Is that a new action figure?

Tristan: yes! that’s exactly what I was going for. =D

IC: feel free to ax this next question. What ended the relationship with Common Cloud? Was it just time to move on or was there an incident?

Marky: It’s rad…karate kicks and stuff.

(Thirty Second pause)

Marky: Wow.

Tristan: Can that be the answer to Scott’s question?

Marky: We actually haven’t really ended our relationship.

Dustin: I actually live in the apartment that Common Cloud has been based out of for the last however many years.

Marky: we have a 7 inch split with another band slated to come out on CC in 2008

Tristan: Yeah… it’s, again, not really a black and white topic… hopefully that split will be used as part of a platform to help hype the new album a bit.

Marky: Yeah. we had a two-release contract with them… we put out Commitment and Thought Control, and we’re all still really good friends and we don’t really have a label home.

Tristan: Yeah, what Marky said is about as accurate as it gets. We had a business relationship with some friends that was mutually beneficial. The contracts have sort of ended and we’re both going our separate ways as business partners, but as friends… I don’t think that will ever come to an end.

Marky: We just mostly want to be open to doing what it is that best suits the community of artists that we believe in. If that’s putting out this album independently, then I think we might try that… if we finally nail down that contract that has all the right things in it, then that will obviously be the route we go. But I’m not sure what will happen with Common Cloud. There will always be an ongoing relationship with them, in some form.

IC: On that note, what would the dream contract contain?

Marky: I think at least…

Joelly: There are a lot of really disappointing things happening right now in the industry. Marky and I were just sort of talking about this the other day.

Marky: Booze and hookers…J/K

Joelly: oh.. i mean.. NO.

Marky: um… We have gone around that again and again and at this point I think we’re not really sure.

Tristan: I think that one thing we can all agree on

Marky: Maybe someday it will present itself, and we’ll know, but until then we’ll keep on writing and recording and playing out.

Tristan: is that our “dream contract” would HAVE to include is being able to control who we are, what we are, and what we create as an entity

Marky: Absolutely. That’s non-negotiable.

Tristan: Like… we never want to be made to do things that we know we don’t stand for or believe in.

IC: One thing that has always impressed me about you guys as a band is that you didn’t jump into that ring of corruption after the Ernie Ball contest.

Joelly: That or…no one wanted to talk to us. ha.

Marky: We scared everyone.

Tristan: Yeah. honestly.

Marky: We had no reason being there… we were not what ANYone there was looking for.

Tristan: As much of a joke as both those statements were…

Marky: But, we were happy to do it. It was a nice vacation. Hollywood in December, right?

Tristan: We stand for everything that’s the opposite of that. And I think it was a huge turn-off to the labels and industry people that were there. I LOVE Brian Ball. he’s been nothing but generous and kind and amazing to us. I just think that… we don’t belong.

Marky: and we really honestly have nothing bad to say about the Ernie Ball people… they were amazing.

IC: So guys, who are you guys listening to?

Marky: so C’mon Scott… when are you going to ask us the biggies… fav color, fav food, what do you dream about???

Marky: yes!

Dustin: currently, lots of the colour revolt

Joelly: All of our musical tastes differ quite a bit… a lot of common ground though too… that’s such a hard question

Scott Landis: holy crap, you just cited a band I don’t know

Dustin: they’re great

Marky: YOU WILL LOVE COLOUR REVOLT. Go now. Interview them instead of us. Seriously.

Dustin: Incredibly unique, honest, heartfelt music.

Marky: Totally.

Joelly: Yeah – those dudes are amazing.

Tristan: I would say the albums in my constant daily rotation right now are: Dillinger – Ire Works, Thrice – Alchemy Index, Up Up Down Down – Worst Band Name Ever, 2 new, unreleased Mercury Program songs

Dustin: I also just remembered today how much I love The Cure’s Japanese Whispers as an album

Marky: Nobody cares, Dustin…also for me… Brand New’s newest CD is still freaking unbelievably good.

IC: Well guys, I have to cut it off there. I need to catch a bus to LA. Any parting words you’d like included?

Marky: Sorry that we didn’t actually answer any questions that had any relevance towards music.

Tristan: If you ever want to interview us again and have us say… you know… meaningful things that don’t make us look like we’re mentally handicapped… please – feel free to ask us again. haha

Joelly: Ha… Yeah – do we get a part 2? We are soooo ADD. Sorry Scott.

Marky: Let’s do a part two where we actually talk about music or something…

IC: Don’t worry about the ADD – it makes for a great interview. And I would totally be up for a second round.

Tristan: Yay for redemption!

Marky: Thanks scott!

Dustin: That’s what she said

Joelly: Who wants to see me ON THE MOON!!!?!?!

IC: Joelly, good luck getting sober.

Tristan, Felix Culpa: HAHA

Marky: DO IT JOEL!

Joelly: haha… I’m seriously not drunk. The dudes over exaggerated.

Tristan: I said you were tipsy!

-Scott Landis

scott@independentclauses.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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