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.
Inside Track interview by Paul Gunnels
FIn about my second week of being a staff
writer for antiMUSIC, I signed up to do a concert review for the band Adema.
Touring with them was a norCal band called Shortie which ironically I had
heard five years ago when I downloaded a song by them off the internet.
Based on what I heard then and currently already having Adema's first two
CDs I knew this was going to be a good show. Little did I know, there was
much more to come from this than just a concert review. Soon after I signed
up, I was asked by Earache (Shortie and Adema's label) to interview Shortie.
Despite the fact that I have never interviewed anyone before, let alone
a band, I knew that I wouldn't be able to pass this up. Within a few days
I was asked if I would also interview Adema which I really couldn't pass
up; so I agreed without a second thought.
A big thanks to this band for actually
making this interview happen because it couldn't have come on a worse night
for them. After my interview with Adema, I called Shortie's guitarist Pag
to meet up and interview the band. To my surprise the band was not even
there because they got lost on the way to the venue. Not only that, the
oil plug in the van fell out and drained all their oil. The concert was
on hold until the band arrived and people started getting a little antsy.
As Shortie ran around getting their equipment unloaded the local band quickly
jumped on stage to play a short set. In what seemed to be like minutes
later (but was more like a half hour or more) Shortie was ready to take
stage and I had not done the interview. Unfortunately for the bands playing
this night, the hometown Detroit Pistons were getting ready to play for
the NBA championship the same time Shortie took the stage. Since the venue
had a number of TVs, many attendees of the show chose to hang out by the
bar, watch the game, and just listen to the bands who were playing. After
Shortie's set, I spoke to Pag in person and he apologized (even though
one was not necessary given the circumstance) for not making it before
the show for the interview but he assured me we would meet later to talk.
After Adema's set was done I approached the band as they sold their merchandise
at their table to simply get an autograph and maybe just talk to them for
a bit. Before I even opened my mouth, Pag said "Paul! You want to do that
interview?" Despite the number of fans talking to the band, buying merchandise
and getting autographs, Pag and vocalist Pogus took the time to go in a
back trailer to talk with me. Feeling as if I was taking them away from
their fans, I was eased by the cool and collectiveness of these two guys.
Here's what they had to say:
antiMUSIC: Let's start off with
a little background info. You guys are from the Sacramento area, are you
all from Sacramento?
antiMUSIC: How did you guys meet?
Pag: uhh you know through
friends, bands we all played together in different bands. We were all friends
and s*** and we all just hung out.
antiMUSIC: About how old is Shortie?
Pogus: Well this lineup's
been together for about two and a half years but Shortie has been a band
for eight years.
antiMUSIC: There have been some
good bands come out from the norCal area, one of my favorites being the
Deftones. How has these bands influenced or inspired your music?
Pogus: The band that have
influenced Shortie from Sacramento would be Far.
Pag: Yeah. The bands have
influenced us by the fact that they always are a step ahead or a step above
bands in other areas. When we go out of town and they know you're from
Sacramento, everybody has this pre-determined [thought] you know that this
band has got to rock. It's like everyone from Sacramento has rocked.
Pogus: (jokingly) Well except
for Cake (laughs).
Pag: Well they (Cake) rock
in their own sort of way. But you know everybody has been like OK, you
have to live up to this expectation of Sacramento bands.
antiMUSIC: Well I would say you
guys definitely live up this expectation.
Pogus: Thanks man.
antiMUSIC: You guys already have
3 full albums, and EP, and a bunch of demos so you are not new to the music
scene by any means are you?
Pogus: No, not at all. This
is an album that's national or world-wide or whatever.
antiMUSIC: You guys sold
7000 copies of your second album and were signed with Go Big! Records.
After the release of "Worthless Smiles" you signed with Earache. How did
that all come about?
Pogus: They [Earache] licensed
[us] when we were on Go Big! for Europe and they saw a video and were all
about it or whatever and we kind of closed the deal with Go Big! Because
we were kind of at a dead end with them and what they wanted to do and
what we wanted to do. We had a demo and they [Earache] wanted to hear the
demo. So we gave them the demo and told them that was it, and they said
stop what you are doing and we'll sign a deal and we were like "cool".
Pag - Well Earache licensed it [Worthless
Smiles] as an album in Europe only. They had seen a video of us on a DVD
and the owner [of Earache] fell in love with it and was like "we need to
have this band" but they licensed the first record in Europe only and when
we it came time for us to record a new record that's when we sent them
some demos and they were like "don't send it to anybody else, we want it".
antiMUSIC: Recently however,
you were able to work with Michael Rosen who has worked with bands like
The Donnas and Santana and you also worked with Dave Dominguez who you
guys on your previous album. How did you end up working with Dave again?
Pag: Dave has this love for
this band like an undying love for the band; he's like a fan as well as
a producer so when it came time for us to go record again we asked him
like "hey would you mind working with us and doing some songs?" and he
had no quorums about it. Pogus drove out to L.A. to pick his ass up and
drove him up here and he did it in like an hour
Pogus: He [Dave] slept in
my bedroom basically and he just lived there.
Pag: He recorded us and stuff
and was really down and those songs we recorded ended up [being] used on
the record. So that's how it got split between Michael Rosen and Dave Dominguez
because we really wanted Dave on the record and the songs came out really
good with Dave. Then we recorded some of the tracks with Michael Rosen
so it's kind of split.
antiMUSIC: In your opinion, how
is "Without A Promise" different from your previous albums?
Pogus: "Without a Promise"
is mature, diverse, and probably the most honest. The last album was put
out when not everyone's hearts and heads were there and, in my opinion,
it shows in the songs. This time around, everybody that's involved in the
project really got their heart into it and so I think it really shows in
the songs. This is the most honest album Shortie has ever done.
Pag: I think not only that
but going into the record nobody was writing songs for any certain reason
we were just writing songs to have fun and that could go back to where
it was in the beginning; writing songs and being a band and there's no
writing songs for record labels or anybody.
We're just writing songs. So it came out
kind of diverse because we have a lot of different styles.
antiMUSIC: How would you describe
your music to someone who has not heard you before?
Pag: I never like to answer
this kind of question.
Pogus: Good question. Everyone
says heavy-alternative because it's got some metal influence, it's got
some pop influence, it's got some melodic influence.
Pag: We [the band] all [have]
grown up with this wide variety of music. Sometimes we just want to be
like punk and the next minute we want to be like mellow and rock. We're
not like "we can't do that because it's not hard enough or soft enough"
we're just writing songs.
Pogus: It's probably like
heavy-alternative or just rock.
Pag: Maybe a rock band kind
of I don't know
antiMUSIC: It's been a little
less than 2 months since "Without A Promise" came out so we are going to
switch our focus over to a segment called Inside Track. I would like to
go through your new album one track at a time and ask that you tell us
a little bit of background information about each one. For example, anything
you can tell us about the track, interesting stories about how they were
written or recorded or even the meaning
behind the title and/or lyrics. Let
us start off with the first track "All This Time":
Pogus: All this time was off
the demo with Dave Dominguez. This is kind of a heavy rock song that was
kind of sarcastically written about people that were stupid. So the chorus
is "all this time you thought you were unstoppable".
Pag: It's kind of a faster
helmet riff, you know what I mean? It's kind of simple a simple rock, straightforward
up in your face.
antiMUSIC: This is one of my favorites
(Pag & Pogus: "Thank you") I like the "screaming" and how everyone's
yelling in their own microphone kind of thing.
Pogus: Blame is just about
it's just my little pun on religion and what people believe in and like
how people always point their finger at other people.
antiMUSIC: Truth would be your
first single and you have a music video for it. I read on your website
that you guys were looking for someone to host their home. How did that
Pag: [we] came up with a story
line for the video and the guy [doing the video] contacted us and asked
us what we wanted to do and we told him and he's like "well we need to
find a house" and he wanted to do it in Sacramento, he didn't want us to
do it in L.A. or anything you know because we wanted all our friends in
it. So the house kind of called for a suburban house with a pool. So I
had this friend that I went to high school with that was like the f*cking
perfect spot because I use to party there all the time when I was a kid.
And so we called him up and it just so happens that his parents were out
of town in L.A. (Pogus is laughing) that weekend so we did it.
Pogus: The whole casting and
all the crew was there and all the fans (Pag laughs)
Pag: 8 in the morning and
we f*ckin rolled in as his parents had just left.
Pogus: We shot it in one day
and we did everything in one day but it was a long long day. Once again,
Truth is just about getting the best of people and kind of you know egos
and stuff like that. I never right about one subject in one particular
song so I can't always tell you exactly what the song is about. The melody
is important to the band but I don't think that I'm any better than anybody
else in the band so I don't go "this song is about this"?.
Pag: We sometimes write songs
and we go to record them like we've all kind of helped kick in some lyric
ideas and get some ideas flowing. So songs are exactly about one certain
thing, it's more about a feeling.
Pogus: It's about being negative
and again someone with an ego.
Pag: I guess if I maybe had
to put a finger on something that we have wrote about musically or felt
like when we were writing these songs its kind of like Shortie kind of
looks like an underdog and we kind of want to prove to people that we're
in it to win it and we weren't going to f*cking let anybody stand in our
way. We were going to go out there and do the best we could every single
day, every single night, whatever it would take. So we kind of incorporated
that into the aspect of what we were thinking we were going to do.
Change of Heart
Pogus: Change of heart is
basically that sarcastic love song on the album. It was, once again, written
about people wearing their hearts on their sleeves. It's a sarcastic mark
at someone you know. All that they can have is being in love and embracing
that and not getting that ever again.
Pag: That is one of my favorite
songs probably. That and blame are my two favorites.
The Way Things
Pogus: Just more or less just
a rock song about getting through trial and tribulation; there's nothing
special about it.
Pag: The music kind of just
came written from we were listening to a lot of like Queens and the Stone
Age at the time and we wanted this riffy
Pogus: Just kind of you know,
not really an arena rock song, but you know what I mean.
Pag: Kind of a riff rock song.
We wanted to start off with a good ol' vibe and just come in banging, like
kickin. That's kind of where it came from.
Every Single Word
Pogus: Same thing, just a
rock song that [there is] no real in-depth meaning to it, just a fun rock
song. There isn't a whole lot of meaning behind the words.
Crash and Burn
Pogus: Just taking advantage
of what's around you and what's in front of you and not being happy about
what you are in life.
Pag: That song just kind of
came from a jam I think too. We were just jamming for a while on some different
parts and it just kind of flowed together. Actually it's structured a little
differently than most of our other songs. We didn't really know where to
go with it, kind of like just let the music take control; we didn't want
to force anything into that song. Because it kind of goes from a mellow
to this whole screaming break thing and it's kind of like an odd song but
it kind of worked though.
Pogus: Its one of my favorite
Pag: It's actually one of
my favorites too. I like the song a lot.
Pogus: The interlude was just
a stem off of that song.
Pag: We actually wanted it
to be a little more noisy because it came from a live show. We kind of
like make a bunch of noise and have the drums keep going with the music.
It kind of came out a little more solid that what we wanted but it's cool.
Meant to Fail
Pogus: One of my favorite
songs once again, more like not about being happy with who you are, trying
to get away from the situation that you're in that's uncomfortable but
kind of realizing that your good where you're at.
Pogus: Basically self explanatory,
it's in the chorus. Getting loss and
Pag: That was one of the first
songs we wrote actually.
Pogus: Probably one of the
oldest songs we have.
Pag: That was one of the first
songs we wrote that we wanted to change what we were doing from prior.
Just our outlook on music and that was one of our first songs we wrote.
Tired of Running
Pogus: This is kind of a song
we tried to branch out.
Pag: We were listening to
a lot of Coldplay [the band] at the time (laughs). It's kind of a mellow
Pogus: It's about not being
good enough for someone we wanted to try to write something different.
We wrote melody first and vocals first and wrote guitar to melody so it
came out a little different. Once again no in-depth meaning to it.
Into the Night
Pogus: Kick ass rock song.
Once again about loosing your place. Just, I think, one of the cool rock
songs on the album; I think its one of my favorite songs as well.
Pag: Just straight foreword
Pogus: Prolly one of the most
shallowest songs on the record vocally; it's just more about f*cking rock
once again there's no tail to tell in that song.
antiMUSIC: We kind of touched
about this as we were going through the CD but what are your personal favorite
tracks on the album?
Pag: I'd have to pick "Blame"
and "Change of Heart."
Pogus: Mine are "Change of
Heart" and "Meant to Fail". All these songs were well we had some songs
that didn't make the album; these songs were what we felt were the strongest
(meaning the ones that made the album).
antiMUSIC: Are you guys currently
writing new material while you tour or are you just focusing on your shows?
Pogus: Actually we're already
up to six songs right now.
Pag: Right before tour we
had a bunch of songs we recorded in our practice studio that we have. Hopefully
we remember them when we get back (laughs).
Pogus: Hopefully we'll go
into the next album with (Pag: a lot more) and just take the best
of those and kind of take the best of the best. But yeah we already have
six songs written to go.
antiMUSIC: According to your website,
the tour with Adema is going to wrap up early next month. What plans does
Shortie have after this tour is over?
Pogus: This ends on the 10th
and the 18th is the start of another tour with a band called Aphasia which
Trapt, we believe, just signed. And then we have another tour tentatively
planned after that.
Pag: We're off for like four
days [before] we're back out.
and purchase Shortie's new CD online!
the official site for Shortie