What have been some of the best places you've seen while touring?
Christopher: We love California. It's a blast there, Northern California specifically. Colorado we've had really great luck in and reception. We've found some great people in a lot of great, interesting places… Lone Tree, Iowa, we have a great group of friends. We've met people that we'll never forget.
So you guys tour pretty much relentlessly and voraciously. How do you keep it interesting?
Christopher: Well, the music is different every night. It's based on the vibe in the room and the state of mind of all the people in the band, what we've been doing that day, how much sleep we got last night. We don't really write set lists very much, which is kind of unusual. We actually rarely do it, so that really makes all of us feel the energy of the crowd and combine forces with them.
Yeah, I think you can definitely pick up on that flow from the crowd perspective.
Christopher: We did 180 shows in 2007 and in 2008, which I thought was really funny.
Yeah, I saw that. That's pretty crazy. So you guys spend a lot of time traveling in the car. What gets a lot of play music-wise?
Christopher: You know, when I drive I like no music, which is very bizarre. But, we're one of those bands that gets stuck on our favorite stuff and plays it until we'll never wanna listen to it again. I'm definitely one of those people. I burn stuff out hard. But yeah, we listen to a lot of reggae, a lot of funk music in the band.
James: I would say the van gets listened to the most, like van sounds and road sounds. And there's often instruments. There's a lot of jamming that goes on in the van, so you'd hear a melodica or a resonator guitar or an acoustic guitar, or steering wheel hits. So that's a lot of the music that goes on, and singing. We've never had a real stereo in any of our vans, for no terribly good reason.
How has being from Rochester influenced the band?
James: That's a very good question.
Christopher: It has influenced it in infinite ways, but one is that there is a very cultural music scene there, a deep music scene that's been going on for quite a while, and we've had the honor of being able to get advice and learn and jam and share stories with a lot of those people that have been around the block a couple times, and that's been a real pleasure.
James: Reggae has been in Rochester -- original reggae music -- since the mainstream world started listening to reggae in the late '70s. Lee Scratch Perry moved there in 1981, and we ended up kind of melding into a community of musicians young and old that all have played in a lot of different bands together. And Dylan Savage, our guitar player, is a little bit older than us and he played with a lot of these guys that ended up coming to our shows and started talking to us about the good and the bad of what they thought we were doing. It was also really cold, so you know, staying inside and playing loud bass-heavy music… I think everybody thinks it's a pretty warming experience. So we did a lot of that. It always feels like it might be kinda nice outside when there's reggae going on. When we did residencies in clubs in Rochester, during the winter months it seemed to be the most crucial for people, like they were really thankful that there was some loud reggae music going on in the dead cold.
Christopher: It was like going to your psychologist for a lot of Rochester folks.
You guys recently converted your van to waste vegetable oil, is that correct?
James: It is being converted as we speak, which is why we're in two rental vans right now. We're very, very excited. That's been a goal that we've been working on for a couple of years, just researching and getting the right vehicle in order to do it. As far as going around the country and trying to express yourself, trying to share in community and stuff like that, one of the worst things is having to... You're essentially a trucker and your prime motive is that you have to support what you're doing, and that means buying gasoline, which supports many things that are very contradictory to the message, so we're really psyched to not have to depend on that as much.
Are there any other common environmental beliefs? Vegetarians for example?
Christopher: We're about down the middle on the vegetarians.
James: Being really interested in reggae culture, for myself personally, and I also think many people in the band have exposed us to very natural feelings of being conscious about the environment and the food that you eat, how you keep your body.
Matthew: Nobody really eats pork. Pigs produce more carbon dioxide than cars.