Somojo Magazine

Mr VonTone

DEMO (October 2010)

Hi guys, how are you?
Jan: We’re Tony the tiger grrreeaat! Hanging back with a couple of beers and smokeables in our bass player’s living room, stoked for the interview!

Would you mind introducing us to your band members?
Andraž: Simon the guitarist, on my left, Jan the drummer, on my right, Medo the singer, standing clueless in the centre of the room and yes, I am the bass player.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard you yet?
Jan: Hippie rock’n’roll!
Medo: Best band ever!
Andraž: If you’re reading this you’re already on the web so, if you have 5 minutes to spare, hop onto our Myspace and check us out!
(Medo stands up with a determined look on his face and says his mom is waiting for him to go shopping for a new jacket. Before the rest of us realize he’s gone)

What can your fans look forward to in the next 12 months?
Jan: Uhm… better music, I hope.
Simon: A contract with Dr. Dre.
Andraž: Fans? (laughs intensively) Well, we’re working on having as many gigs as possible, some new recordings maybe... Stuff like that.

How did you meet each other?
Andraž: The other three guys played in some other band before, that band fell apart and after a few years some of them got back together, searched for a bass player aaand... that’s me!
Jan: Yeah, long story short that’s pretty much it. Sounds like every bands story of how they got together really... just a straange series of events.

How did you come up with your name for the band?
Simon: Looong story…
Jan: Wordplay! We’re way too stubborn to come up with a name we’d all like, so we just ended up throwing all the suggestions in a mixer, putting it on max and voila!   

Did you always want to be in a band?
Simon: Mmmm... I was seriously thinking of becoming a basketball player.
Jan: I wanted to be a race car driver! Since that dream never made it past preschool, being a drummer was my second choice. (laughs)

What music did you listen to while growing up?
Andraž: Kelly Family! Spice Girls! I remember Savage Garden being a big time favourite. Then bands like Nirvana, Nofx and Blink 182 came into my life. I think listening to them for the first time really made me want to be in a band.
Simon: I listened to stuff like Queen, Abba, Simon & Garfunkel, Kelly Family, The Rolling Stones and Buldožer, a great Slovenian rock band. My mom pretty much got me into all of it.
Jan: Yeah, my dad was a major Rolling Stones enthusiast too. Almost had a seizure the time Keith Richards fell of a palm tree so they were pretty much inevitable. Led Zeppelin, Yes and King Crimson came afterwards but honestly I’m just a little emo kid. Hearing Underoath for the first time blew me away completely. They still manage to do that. So that and bands like Rancid and Nofx.

What were your first music making experiences?
Andraž: Bad. There was a drummer at the first band practice, I was a part of, who was basically sitting behind a drum set for the first time in his life. Bad is the word to use.
Jan: Hardcore music and underground hippie pothead practice places.
Simon: Uhm, I started up playing the violin. Some time in second grade of elementary school or something.

What is your current equipment?
Andraž: Bass, drums, guitar...
Jan: Yeah, sometimes the singer manages to come around too… He’s a piece of equipment really.
Simon: I buy something new every month. Mostly guitar effects and such.
Andraž: Yeah, he’s got a disease.

Mr VonTone

If you had an unlimited equipment budget what would be on your shopping list?
Simon: A vaaaaaaan!
Andraž: A new member! Omar Rodriguez Lopez maybe…
Jan: (laughs) Yeah, I hear he’s ok. I’d buy a new pair of cymbals. The ones I’ve got now look like they were chewed up by a genetic experiment gone horribly wrong. And a practice place of our own would be nice. At the moment we practice in a music school with about 4 other bands so it can be a bit of an inconvenience.

Do you use the same equipment live as you do when in a studio?
Everyone: YES!

Would you sign with a major record company?
Everyone: No! Yes! Of course! Money!?
Andraž: I mean if they let us do what we want, not tell us what to create but rather help us create then yes, definitely.
Jan: Money tends to be a bit of a problem. As much as I wish it wasn’t. But, like Andraž said, having the freedom to make the music we want the way we want to is no doubt more of a priority. If a major record company contributed to the quality of what we do without interfering with the way we choose to do it, maybe relieved us a bit with booking, equipment, studio and gas expenses, that would enable us to focus more on just making good music, so it would be a dream come true.

Do you have any new recordings planned?
Simon: (shrugs) Maybe...
Andraž: Of course we do! But what we don’t have is money, time, a studio or a producer.
Jan: Recording up until now has been a very D.I.Y. kind of thing which has its upsides and downsides... A lot more of that in the future I guess! (laughs some more)

Is the production side of things something you’d like to get involved more in the future, maybe working with other artists?
Jan: Definitely.
Andraž: Agreed.
Simon: Hmmm...
Andraž: Simon hates ideas, which are not his own…
Jan: Yeah, bit of a musical Nazi, he is...

Do you have any favourite tracks from your album?
Jan: I just have a lot of favourite tracks of the ˝album˝.
Andraž: Yes, everything we haven’t managed to record yet, sounds so much better.
Simon: I’d say Monsters is my favourite.  

Who are the main songwriters for the band?
Andraž: Omar Rodriguez Lopez. (laughs)
Jan: And Dre of course. He owns our asses now. Uhm... The songs are pretty much made by jamming on certain parts or ideas, therefore it’s a mutual contribution. The rest is Dre.

Do you have a method for writing songs?
Jan: Music first! Then we try to build on that. It usually just starts with a guitar riff or a funky bass line then we jam on that and bounce ideas of each other.

Do you write songs only about personal experiences?
Andraž: Medo writes mainly about his personal experiences with nature… I mean the first song on the demo is called Waterfall and the last one’s Lavender... See what I mean?

Is there anyone who you would like to collaborate with on writing songs or performing?
Simon: That’s an easy one! Thom Yorke! Mike Patton! Then I’d say Jaka Burger and Bekko. Burger sang in Corkscrew and Los Ventilos, two more cool Slovenian bands worth checking out and Bekko is the former Psycho-Path guitar player, an independent artist at the moment from what I know.
Andraž: We haven’t really collaborated with other musicians much but it would surely be a great new experience. There are so many artists on my mind right now I don’t even know where to start.
Jan: Zach Hill!

Which countries have you gigged in?
Andraž: Slovenia. But Jan is promising a German tour. Jan?
Jan: LOL!
Simon: (sigh) One day...

Which countries would be at the top of your list to tour?
Simon: Germany!
Andraž: Japan! Big in Japan!
Jan: (laughs) Ibiza would be nice.

Mr VonTone

Who would you like to tour with?
Jan: Architects! They seem like amazingly fun guys. And any band with substance that don’t take themselves too seriously.
Andraž: As long as there are gigs and good company it’s alright with me.
Simon: (10 minutes later, after seeing a Jello Biafra poster in Andraž’s toilet): Jello Biafra! I remember saying this to myself the first time I saw that guy without even knowing who he was yet.

With all the various websites out there for independent and unsigned artists, is there still something that is missing from them that you think would benefit the lesser-known artists?
Andraž: Yes, there’s a lot missing. A properly working Myspace or some evil alien hybrid between Myspace, Facebook, Reverbnation and BandCamp maybe? And then there are local sites of course. We have next to no musical media in Slovenia, therefore some more internet music magazines like Somojo would be welcome!

How do you relax?
Jan: I always feel great after playing drums so that’s definitely a huge relaxant for me. The rest is pot and progressive rock! (laughs)
Simon: Either walking my dog on a sunny day or Counter-strike 1.6.
Jan: Quadrakiiill!
Andraž: Uhm... I just go for 2 hour long coffees or see a good movie.

Have you ever entered any ‘battle of the bands’ competitions?
Simon: (sigh) I’m not answering that one...
Andraž: We did just now. But it’s kind of still in progress, so we can’t really say that we won. (laughs)
Jan: Yeah, that’s how we lost our flute player actually. Poor bastard never stood a chance...
Andraž: Great guy... A little skinny though. Not much of a fast runner... But seriously, the thing with those competitions is that while most of them suck big time you can always use them to your advantage. We want to play as much as possible so if there’s a good gig opportunity or a certain level of promotion we can’t get on our own we’ll think about it.

What's your best/worst experience at a gig?
Simon. Two fat lesbians spilling beer all over my effects.
Jan: I remember getting to wasted to play once. But that was in the former band. Not cool! There’s a lesson in drinking responsibly! (laughs) I did get a pair of panties thrown at me on stage once... More as a joke I’d guess but nice none the less.

What are your day jobs if you have them?
Simon: Multimeda and design production.
Andraž: He’s a h4rdc0r3 g33k. I currently have four jobs… Still searching for the fifth one.
Jan: He’s not even kidding when he says that. I on the other hand am a lazy student.
Andraž: I thought that was Medo! You’re a momma’s boy.
Jan: I’m YOUR momma’s boy.
Andraž: Hey! (suddenly Andraž shoots a sonic death ray from his eyes, instantly incinerating Jan into a sad little pile of dust)

Would you like to be full time working musicians or are you happy with things as they are?
Simon: Yes pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease. Who wouldn’t want full time pleasure?
Jan: If Simon gets famous I’ll just crash at his place.
Andraž: Simon should be famous! As he mentioned earlier he is a multimedia and design producer who plays in a band, has a girlfriend, a dog, a strange liking for new age electronic madness and booze AND can make mind melting philosophy out of a patch cable.
Jan: Now there’s a genius if I ever heard of one.

Has your music been used on any film soundtracks?
Simon: Someday...
Andraž: That would be nice though. I’d like to make a piece of music for a film. Sort of a soundtrack kind of thing maybe? Talking to the director about the mood of the song, seeing bits and pieces of the film and just trying to generate something from that.

Is composing for film or tv something you’d like to get involved in if the opportunity came along?
Simon: Just film.
Andraž: Just tv.
Jan: (laughs) Well then, that’s settled.
Andraž: If Friends ever get another season going I’ll definitely beee theeere fooor theeeem.

Is there anything you'd like to add?
Jan: Thanks a lot for the interview! Oh and hi moom!
Andraž: I thought your marketing guy was taking care of the ads. OK, that was stupid of me …


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