Have you ever wondered what a songwriter
was thinking when they wrote a certain song? With the “inside track” it
will no longer be a mystery as we speak with the musicians themselves and
they give us the inside story on songs, their inspirations, the stories
behind the songs and more.
Timmy Anderson and Alex Ebert joined up
in the early 90s and turned LA on its head with their unique electro-infused
take on modern rock. Over the years the band evolved with members coming
and going and they broke out on the international scene in 2003 when they
signed to Virgin and released their self-titled debut. Now three years
late they are back with a brand new album (Monument to the Masses) and
new line-up so we spoke with Timmy about the band's past, present and future
as well as asked him to give us the Inside Track to the songs on the new
antiMusic: The first obvious question,
where did your name come from?
Timmy: The name came from an insanely
hilarious inside joke that has somehow lost its HA HA over the years. Since
we were inebriated at the time, we no longer can figure out exactly why
the punchline "ima robot?" was so funny. It's not dissimilar to the famous
joke made famous in the documentary "The Aristocrats." Hopefully Ima Robot
will someday be the punchline to a very famous if not mythical limerick.
antiMusic: You turned a lot of heads
when you came out with your debut, the Beck connections aside, you were
one of the few bands that came out with something fresh and managed to
land the big label deal in the era of rosters being filled with cookie-cutters.
What do you think made you standout the most? And how would you describe
IMA Robot to someone that hasn't heard you?
Timmy: we were in fact lucky to
get signed in that strange "here comes the internet" era of scared record
execs and safe-bet politics. The president of Virgin at the time, as well
as our current A&R had vision however, and saw the band for what it
was, and not what it couldn't be made into. We had something good, and
they saw it.
We of course stood out because we did not
fall into any of the popular genre descriptions at the time. We hopefully
antiMusic: You guys were obviously trailblazers
with your style, you can't turn on the radio without hearing a band that
came after you that captures a bit of your style. That being said how do
you feel about the current scene and where you fit into it?
Timmy: we are excited about some
of the music that is breaking through to the masses, and we want to be
a part of that. We want people to experience our creations, and we will
fit in I guess wherever we do. I think there is a very positive movement
in music thanks to the availability of music through the internet, and
that will work in bands like ours favor.
antiMusic: You've had some lineup changes
since your debut. Can you tell us a bit about who is in the band now and
how they hooked up with IMA Robot?
Timmy: The band now is lovely. We
have lost members all over the place, but that has made us stronger. We
love everyone who has come and gone, and I guess in some ways it's a shame,
but we are one big evolving family tree that has finally started to blossom
to potential. The nectar we will produce in the coming years will smell
oh so sweet.
The guys now are Me (Timmy), Alex, Filip
(ex Jr Sr and overall musical maniac), Scott Devours (my cousin and prob
the best looking guy I know), and Andy Marlowe (the newest, youngest, and
probably the cutest looking guy I know). This highly effective krew of
rabble-rousing roust-a-bouts is "Team Forever," and we would love to entertain
antiMusic: Speaking of auditions. The
"Creeps Me Out" is hilarious. Can you tell us a little about the inspiration
behind the video concept?
Timmy: We wanted some media right
away, and we love doing it ourselves. The idea came from Alex, and him
and our buddy Ryan Rickett executed the damn thing, it was a lot of fun,
and any of our friend who missed it seriously regret it!! the main inspiration
was YouTube and the amazing new world of social exposes provided by the
web. It is the f**king best. nothing better than watching 14-year olds
lip-sync to your songs, then watching freaky roller-blading accidents,
then animals attacking humans. I love YouTube
antiMusic: Now on to the new CD 'Monument
to the Masses'. Did you guys take a different approach to writing and recording
this one than your last CD?
Timmy: This record needed to happen
in a less over-analytical / neurotic style of recording. We made sure the
songs felt good, sounded right, and flowed together, then we recorded them.
The beauty of this record is in the song-writing and intention more than
it is in the aesthetics. It is merely the natural progression for us, and
we wanted it to be very clear in sound and message, both musically and
lyrically. i think we achieved all our goals nicely.
antiMusic: What was it like working
with David Bendeth? Did he help open any new doors for you creatively?
Timmy: David was fantastic. he comes
from a more traditional background as far as arrangement and production,
which i personally enjoyed. When you have a band full of songwriters and
producers, it is easy to be overly sly, tricky, or avant-garde when it
comes to production. We have a lot of hip-factor leaking out of us, so
it was nice to have someone to reign that in and capture the songs and
antiMusic: Since we're covering the
obvious questions, what is the significance of the title Monument to
Timmy: This sprang from Alex's mouth
one day, and it was obvious that it summed up our subject matter on this
album. Where our previous record was a Sculpture for the Underground, this
one is a Monument to the Masses. The previous cut from Onyx, The
new Carved from the same Stone used to erect the great Sphynx. Hauled through
the desert by men like us over many lifetimes, finally reaching its resting
place in the landscape of our imagination.
antiMusic: Now we get to the Inside
Track. If you can give us a little insight into each track on the CD; whether
it's the background story or inspiration for the song or a funny story
associated with it.
Timmy: 1. Disconnect
A song I wrote at my house 500 years ago,
only materializing in sonic form last October.
2. Creeps Me Out
This song JMJ brought to the table in a
totally different form. We were going to scrap this one, and another amazing
song Filip and I did, until Alex took the vocals from that song and put
them on JMJ. A few tweaks here and there, and Presto Chango... a "Creeps
Me Out" is born.
3. Cool Cool Universe
Alex did this whole song as a sort of grimy
hip hop trak. It was f**king dope. Then we turned it into a rock song,
and I'm still crossing my fingers in hopes that it is as good as it was
when it was just a beat and him. Oh well, such is life.
4. The Beat
Just a great song
5. Eskimo Ride
Started out as a track about LA with these
freaky vocals about out of town club-goers on sunset blvd and drugged out
hos. Hilariously good, but now it's even better. ya heard
6. Chip Off The Block
First song I ever wrote on acoustic guitar
in ima robot I think. Those days are foggy. I think Alex and I can honestly
say that this is our oldest song. It predates Korn and Limp Bizkit, which
is f**king crazy weird yo
7. Happy Annie
One of My favorite Alex Ebert songs ever.
So out there and so right. We really nailed this one.
8. Pouring Pain
A song that Oli started, and i just happened
to be there to be involved. He's like Sasquatch..... totally awesome, but
impossible to find. Check how we modulated the bass down a 3rd as the 2nd
chorus starts moving towards the bridge. I love that feeling. This song
is electric for us live, so just imagine you are at the show when you listen
to the cd for effect. hahaha
9. Stick It To The Man
Sometimes it's good to remind people that
even though we care, we just don't give a f**k. Life would be far too depressing
without the ha-has and the holy-cows.
10. What Comes Tomorrow
Just another great song. I'm really starting
to love this record. Just writing about it is making me hungry.
11. Lovers In Captivity
My current fave. Alex Ebert on ice, hold
the ice. This song reminds me of real butter, not that imitation crap.
12. Dangerous Life
Filip brought this song to the table, and
god bless him. I think this song feels very Ima Robot. This song is fun,
and it makes you feel like there is fun to be had when you hear it. This
is the song that comes on when the end credits have been rolling, and only
the weirdos and geeks are still in the theater. It comes on to pleasure
those loyal few who will go the duration because they need to take in the
piece in it's entirety to appreciate its bits. The beauty of the sum is
in its parts, but the parts dont make sense without being strung together.
The songs are holding hands if you will, and we really hope you will.
antiMusic: Any plans to take the show
on the road in the near future?
Timmy: we will no doubt be touring,
hopefully with No Doubt!
antiMusic: Speaking of touring, what
would be your dream gig? If you could play with any artists who would it
Timmy: prob the Velvet underground,
just so I could've been there, playing or not
antiMusic: Finally, what's next for
Timmy: hopefully, everything. We
want to play for everyone, and experience everything, everywhere.
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