Brian Sheeran, 2007

 

Written by: Jason Perlman

 

I just got done talking with Jared with Hed (PE) and starting out as a band, you were closely tied to Jarrod and the rest of his crew, so what is it like to go out on tour with friends?
It's better than going out with strangers. I don't mean to be flip about it. But obviously those guys were really good to us early on in out career which was a big help because it validated us as a band, as something that is real. And the fact that their band is still playing and together is just great and the fact that we are all touring together is just cool. There is a lot of familiarity there. Forget the fact that we are just fans of their music, and that is really how it all started was we were just fans that met them by going to shows. So to get on stage, get the crowd revved up then to get a drink in your hand and watch one of your favorite bands play every night is a cool thing.

 

You have played with bands such as Metallica and Slayer, and did a Warped tour as well. So for you as a musician, do you prefer the large audiences where most people are not familiar with Mower, or do you like the intimate clubs with your die-hards that go crazy at every note you play?
It is a tough thing to say yes to one and no to another. Obviously playing the big promoted shows with well-known bands you get to do like you say, play in front of people you wouldn't normally get at a Mower show. So it is kind of cool to see their reaction to what we are doing. And we are actually really fortunate that we do really well in front of large crowds, even a crowd that doesn't know us. There is just some stage energy that we have going on as a band and we are just fortunate that way. And the obviously playing the underground crowds where people do know our music, love the band and are hip to what is going on outside of the radio and video outlets is a cool vibe and everyone knows how to react and enjoy themselves there. So it is kind of a flip of the coin. There are pros and cons to both types of audiences.

 

After doing the Warped tour and those kind of shows, a band could easily say maybe we need to change out style a bit to try to find a label who will market that style and genre of music. But Mower has always stayed true to the music it creates. What is it like to be with a group of guys that really want the music to come first?
I don't anyone knows what anybody wants. I don't really know what the hell labels are looking for anymore. We just have to do what feels right to us because who knows what they are looking for at this stage in the game. Every other week it is a different train you need to jump on and the reality is major labels ought to be looking at bands like us because we are time tested. We've been at this a while and people are still into it. It is not a flavor of the month. We have a lot of diversity in the songs that we write anyway as the last record is like AD/HD. From one song to the next you don't know what kind of genre we are. So if you grab two songs of the record, you could get a totally different impression of the band than if you chose a different two songs.

Jared says the same thing of his music, and I was telling him that I think that says a lot about your fans that they do allow Mower to be diverse and do not expect just one sound coming from the band.
It is like we talked about earlier, that Mower itself is a bunch of fans of music as well. We are music fans first and foremost and the fact that we can get down with Slayer, we can get down with Johnny Cash and all across the dial we are pretty much into everything. If you hear us rolling down the road we could be bumping to N.W.A. or listening to the music of Mastodon. We are pretty much just into all different types of music and genres. Pretty much everything but the new country stuff, I am into everything. I can get down with any kind of music.

 

You have a Johnny Cash sounding voice; ever think of covering Johnny Cash song?
You know what's crazy; we just got done playing with one of the better Johnny Cash cover bands in California. We have another kind of emerging group called Slower, which is our music done Jazz and lounge style. So we take our songs and flip them and play them with Jazz and lounge beats with the old school singing styles and it is going over pretty well. We have done a few shows where we roll out with suits on and just give it to them kind of slower than we normally would. We are comfortable doing whatever.

 

I would love to get a hold of that!
We are definitely going to do some stuff with Slower, but right now we are working on getting this record together. Obviously we are out touring and do not have as much time as we would like. But Slower is definitely something that went from the backburner to reality as we have done a few shows and the reaction has been really good. And that, for us, is a whole different fan base right there. I mean anybody can get into that stuff. It is really slow, clean music and pretty much borderline acoustic. And the weird thing is it is all of our normal songs that we have been playing for years, only now maybe people can hear and understand what we are saying [laughing]. So that touches on that question of diversity. If you listen to the latest stuff from hed (PE) it goes all over the place. If you listen to Back 2 Base X from them it is all over the place, and that is very much like Mower in that from song to song you are going from genre to genre. You go from punk to reggae to something with death metal screams in it and I appreciate that and I think that is something that we like about each other's bands is that we are willing to do different things musically.

 

This is kind of a two-part question. First off it what is it like as a music fan to play with bands like Slayer and Metallica and secondly, how satisfying is it as a music lover to make your living playing music?
I think when you start playing shows with bands that are successful and have been accepted means that you are doing something right. Every band has to reach a certain level at some point and some bands blow up quicker than others, but everyone has been on the bottom of the bill at some point. So it was nice to have the opportunities to watch bands that have establishes themselves and that is all part of the process. You do get better the more you perform and the more touring you do and the more you record. At least, you should be getting better, so hopefully we are [laughing]. We have been at this a while and we seem to be doing something right. There is people into what we are doing and as a music fan you write a song, you listen to it and you have an idea of whether it sucks or not. I listen to music all the time so I will sit there and ask myself, "Is this something I would listen to?" And you have to trust yourself that if you write music you like other people are going to dig it, too.

So no high-priced focus groups to listen to your music to see it people will like it?
Yea, we can save a little bit of money on marketing that way. But the last record we did was called Not For You, and the reason for that title was we knew a lot of people were not going to jump at it. We know a lot of these retail outlets would go ballistic over it, but we knew music fans would see there was a lot to it. Of the 15 tracks on there, there are probably six of seven genres. So as a music fan you can listen to the whole record through and not be bored out of your mind. And we are fans of this stuff and like all these types of genres and we are just going to do songs from every genre that we are into and roll with it. And we have to trust that A: our taste in music is good, and B: that fans are going to want to get into different types of music that they don't want to have the same shit shoved down their throats over and over again. And so far it must be working out okay. I mean, I am not checking out Maserati's or anything but we are doing all right. I am not working.

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