Hello Matt. What are you up to today?
I’m stuck in my car. I’m just trying to get home from band rehearsal. It was good, really good. We wrote two new snippets of song from two new ideas. So yeah, it was good.
You design the band’s album covers and t-shirts. How serious are you about graphic design?
I wouldn’t say I’m too serious about that, in comparison. I do all of our stuff for the band, or at least I oversee it. I do stuff for myself and occasionally I’ll throw myself up in a gallery around Los Angeles or Long Beach or something. But I don’t do it as a money maker, you know. It’s an outlet. It comes in spurts, when inspiration comes.
Do you have any experience in magazines? Do you want to come and work for us one day?
Hahaha. Maybe, maybe. I’ll send my resume over for you. I wouldn’t mind living in Australia for a few years. It’d be nice. I love Australia. We’ve been twice, to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Byron Bay. City-wise I like Sydney the most. But vacation-wise I really like Byron Bay, that’s really where it’s at.
You’ve said that sometimes you feel “like a bit of a jukebox” when you’re on tour. How do you fight against that?
When you see people enjoying your songs, you try to connect with them as much as you can. When you see people enjoying your music, in different ways to the way you would enjoy it, the songs come round full circle sometimes. You know, a song like “We Used To Vacation” is not much, for want of a better word, fun for me to play anymore. When I see someone in the crowd enjoying it I try to like realise “wow, they might have only heard this song like two days ago”. You start listening to songs through different people’s ears and eyes. There are other ways, but that’s one way.
Do you notice crowds being different country to country?
Oh definitely. They are very different. I think Australia and France are our best audiences ever. I don’t know why. It’s just something about those two countries. We just played Italy and Spain for the first time and they were the most reserved crowds. But they weren’t bad crowds at all, they were very attentive. You start thinking, “wow, they’re so quiet, why are they so quiet?”. But maybe it’s because it’s your first time there. People respond very differently. The UK tends to be… always drunk. In a way when it almost hurts things sometimes – they are too loud. Then you play Birmingham and it’s the quietest thing in the world. I don’t know why. It’s weird.
There was a lot of hype around your first album Robbers and Cowards and many bands fail to live up to expectation. Is that something you’re conscious of?
I think we’ve thought about it. You try to create in a vacuum, at the same time you try to not create in a vacuum. We always want to think of our audience. It’s kind of like a trick you have to learn to do. You have to write music, but music you want to write. But then it’s like “wow, a lot of people are going to be listening to this”. You have to trick yourself into thinking, “we’re writing songs just for us”, but then… I don’t even know how to explain it. We’ve done pretty well without thinking of the pressure. It’s a little easier for us because we’re a band who never tried to make it in the music industry. We just kind of stumbled upon it, as a career. We were doing it just for leisure and it became our job. We’re not four guys who all moved to Los Angeles to make music. We’re all from the area and just started playing at parties in our friends’ houses and somehow it just kind of snowballed.
Your new album, Loyalty to Loyalty, sounds more mature…
We wanted to go more mature and by that I mean this record has a much more round sound, a much more warm feeling. It’s like a pint of Guinness. The first couple of sips are kind of bitter, and kind of, “what the hell’s that?”, you know. But after a while you start hearing something and feeling good.
In England you appeared on TV show Soccer AM as “Norwich City fans”. Are you really fans?
We are Norwich City fans because that morning we had come from Norwich, we had played Norwich and about 20 of the people turned up to the gig wearing Norwich jerseys and they threw a Norwich jersey on the stage and I put it on my amp and that’s how we became Norwich fans. I’ve never seen a Norwich game, to be honest, but they’re nice people.
Cold War Kids play Adelaide on 3 Feb, Melbourne on 4 Feb, Brisbane on 6 Feb and Sydney’s Playground Weekender Festival on 7 Feb. More info at www.chuggentertainment.com