Paint Interview and On-air Performance on Thunderbird Radio Hell with Ben Lai

Paint Ė Live From Thunderbird Radio Hell Ė CiTR 101.9 fm
September 18, 2008, 10:00 p.m. PST

Ben Lai
: Host
Robb Johannes: Vocals/guitar
Matt Laforest: Drums
Paula McGlynn: Guitar/vocals
Greg Williams: Bass

* * * *

SONGS: "Donít Blow Me Away,""Jenny and Maurice,""Madonna."

Ben: Youíre listening to CiTR Radio, 101.9 FM, Live From Thunderbird Radio Hell. Weíre here live with Paint. Hello, how are you doiní?

Matt: Heeelllloooooo!

Paula: Weíre doing pretty well

Robb: Weíre doiní okay, I think. The pressureís off now. Bení s quarantined behind the glass with his sickness, so weíre safe from SARS.

Ben: Yeah, I apologize for my stuffy nose. Paint is gonna be coming out of myÖ my stuffy nose Ė I hope it doesnít sound like "Faint"or somethingÖ

Robb: You got it from sniffing Paint, didnít you?

Ben: YeahÖ this is unrelated but Iím actually wearing a ping-pong shirt, and Ė I didnít even think of this at all Ė and what it says on the shirt is "Paint the Line."As in ping-pong, you want to paint the line.

Robb: Nice.

Ben: Anyways, itís unrelated but it was pointed out to me by the DJ before this show. They go, "Oh, did you wear that Ė is that a band shirt?"

Paula: Youíre a subconscious fan.

Robb: Thatís actually our full name.

Matt: Itís funny when I first heard Benís voice, I didnít know it was you. I thought it was some radio trick that you put on your voice. I didnít think you had a cold.

Ben: I know how to hide it.

Matt: Itís like itís studio trickery.

Robb: Yeah, like a lot of records that you hear on the radio.

Ben: My voice has been pretty much highly processed. You would think it would be better with all the processing.

Robb: Itís not quite robotic like Cher but itís alright.

Ben: Did you want to quickly introduce yourself? That would be helpful to the people out there that are keep a log of all the events on radio.

Robb: Well, I have a stalker so Iím trying to avoid any inference to my identity. My nameís Robb Johannes, and Iím the singer and guitar player in Paint.

Paula: My nameís Paula McGlynn, and Iím another singer and guitar player.

Matt: My nameís Matt. Iím the drummer.

Greg: My nameís Greg, I play bass.

Matt: Gregís on a trial basis.

Robb: Yeah, Gregís just filling in right now.

Matt: Donít get too comfortable.

Ben: How did you guys get started?

Robb: It was a really long time ago actually. Weíve had more members than Spinal Tap, I think. It was something that I started years and years ago as this fusion, folk, funk band (laughs) and itís kinda changed as you can probably tell by the way we sound now. But skipping most of the history, Matt and I met at a New Yearís party through friends of friends. He used to play drums in a band called Astoria, which I was actually a really big fan of Ė without having known Matt personally, so itís kinda cool. He thought I was just sucking up to him.

Matt: I thought somebody was paying him at the party. He comes up to me and says, "Hey, didnít you play in a band called Astoria?"I was like, "Alright, someoneís let him in!"

Robb: I was managing Dawntreader for a while, and I booked a show with Astoria and the Februarys and Dawntreader, and thatís kinda how Matt and I met originally, and then we ended up meeting each other again through our friend Alana Worsley who was the keyboard player in Maplewood Lane Ė and Paper Moon, who I was playing guitar in at the time. This is like a giant, jumbled family tree. Itís like a Texas family.

Matt: If youíre keeping track at home with a box score, get out a big piece of cardboard.

Paula: Weíre gonna do a mind map.

Ben: Thatís why we needed name introductions.

Robb: Yes, and then Paula was in Paper Moon with me, and then when Paper Moon moved back to Winnipeg, Paula joined this band. And Greg and I played in Hinterland together for quite a while, and now heís playing in Stride Elementary and he helps us out on bass when we need it, which seems to be often because bass players donít seem to exist in this town.

Ben: And how is this band in relation to all the other bands? Is this band the main focus? Have you been playing a lot of shows? I know thereís a show coming upÖ

Robb: Tomorrow. At the Railway with the Hermit and the Get Down. Weíve done a fair amount of shows since this lineupís been around since January.

Paula: Weíve done about three. Two or three.

Matt: There was probably about a month in between when I joined and when Paula joined, and Robb and I did a couple of acoustic shows.

Robb: (laughs) Where Matt sat on a box and hit it. That was his instrument.

Ben: When did it stop being a fusion, folk, funk, you said?

Matt: The day I joined.

Robb: The day Matt joined. The day that I grew up (laughs).

Matt: I met Robb and he goes, "Yeah, Iím looking for a drummer, Iím in this band called Paint."So I went home and checked it out and my initial thought was, "Thereís 14 songs on their record and itís 14 different stylesÖ if Iím gonna be in this band, weíre gonna have to focus this!"And Robbís really submissive that way, so it worked out.

Robb: Iím used to being a dom, but in the band contextÖ Iím actually wearing my leathers right now.

Ben: So, letís talk about the show tomorrow. Itís at the Railway Club?

Robb: Is it the "World Famous"Railway Club? Or is that the Marine Club? The Marine Club took a dive though.

Ben: Yeah, the Marine Club was supposedly world famous.

Matt: Didnít the Marine Club take a dive faster than the Titanic?

Robb: It was around for a long time.

Ben: Yep.

Robb: Since the Ď50s actually. They had the same bartender since 1954. Well, tomorrow is at the Railway Club. And weíre, uh, do you want to talk? Iíve talked enough.

Paula: Oh, sure. Yeah, tomorrow weíre playing. Starting at about 10, itís a show with the Hermit Ė I also played with the Hermit a long time ago Ė and the Get Down, who are another North Van band.

Ben: I donít know much about the Get Down.

Matt: They better be funky.

Ben: Yeah, the band used to be more rock and now itís more fusion-funk.

Robb: Yeah, weíve switched roles. We used to be called the Get Down.

Matt: Itís actually funny because since weíve kinda been re-energizing and re-focusing the band, everyone still has the old bio from like 2001. So weíre still getting calls like, "Hey do you wanna play on our funk-fusion-folk bill?"

Ben: Funk-folk fest 2005.

Matt: As much as weíre thankful for offers to play shows, itís like, "WellÖI donít think youíre gonna want this incarnation. Itís just a bit louder."

Robb: We play through Voxes and Shredmasters now.

Paula: Big Muffs and stuff.

Robb: Yeah, Big Muffs. Paulaís got a Big Muff. She sometimes uses it for music.

Matt: Sheís got two of them actually.

Paula: It usually just sits there.

Robb: Hi Paulaís mom! Sheís listening.

Ben: Weíre like on CiTR. Why donít you guys play a few more songs are weíll come back and talk about something nice.

Robb: Sure, weíll do that. Something pleasant, something PG. Well, this songís funny Ė well itís not funny.

Paula: Itís a little funny.

Robb: The first verse from this song was actually inspired by something that actually happened at the Railway Club, so itís kind of fitting that weíre playing it in preparation for a show at the Railway Club tomorrow night. Itís called "Strangers."

SONGS: "Strangers,""An Evening to Myself"

Robb: Sometimes we play this song before but itís called "AfterĒÖ if anybody else wants to jump in hereÖ

Matt: Itís more fun to watch you hang yourself.

Robb: Itís more fun to watch me die. Weíve got a lot of solidarity in the room, donít we?

Matt (chanting): Hang Your-self! Hang your-self!

Robb: Well, thereís enough drool coming out of your mouth, I may as well just slip on my back and die.

Matt: Actually, that puddle you see is not from me, itís from the beer machine.

Robb: Mattís water broke.

Paula: Thatís why youíve been so grouchy.

Matt: No, thatís not it.

Robb: This next song is actually pretty serious. Itís weird that we write such serious songs.

Paula: Weíre a very serious band.

Matt: I got cornered in the washroom at a wedding this weekend, and this guy says, "Hey man, youíre really serious."And I was like, "Yep."And he was like, "Iím gonna buy you a drink and get you fucked up."And I was like, "Ainít gonna happen."

Robb: Because he was really serious about getting you in bed.

Matt: Because I get more serious when I drink.

Robb: Yeah. He gets mean. Heís violent. He throws drumsticks at us.

Matt: Thatís why Iím so fun tonight!

Robb: Alright, we should play "After."Weíre on air, remember.

Matt: I thought this was rehearsal.

Robb: We just drop him off his wheelchair and he plays.

SONG: "After"

Ben: Weíre live on CiTR with Paint. So it says here on the website that there is some sort of release coming? Are you working on something? An album maybe? Or is that outdated?

Robb: Yeah, we decided to not put out an album ever again. No, all the songs weíre playing tonight are in preparation for a new record.

Matt: In the running.

Robb: In the running. Weíre kinda narrowing down songs. Weíre still writing.

Ben: How many songs do you want on the album?

Robb: Less than 14.

Matt: At this point I donít think we really have a number in mind. Itís kind of if weíve got 10 good ones, we do 10. If weíve got 12, we do 12.

Robb: I think weíre still a little old school in the sense that we want to make a record thatís a complete piece of work and you can listen to from start to finish and it just makes sense. So, however many songs it takes to allow that to happen is what weíre gonna do.

Ben: And I donít ask a lot of people this, but we do talk about this over drinks and stuff: how does a band go about ordering the songs on an album? Since weíre talking about how you want to make it a full album. Who would be ordering the songs? Would you put a strong song first and then build it up? The common wisdom is that you want to put a good song first. Track one. And then the second track is gonna build it up. And then the third track isÖ Did you have a theory on that at all?

Robb: Thatís like the "High Fidelity"thing, right?

Ben: Yeah.

Robb: You goota do one, and two you gotta ramp it up, and you donít wanna blow your load for three so you gotta bring it down a little bit.

Ben: Is that what you were thinking?

Robb: Itís a little early to say at this point in time.

Matt: I think the songs will really dictate that.

Robb: Weíre really at the behest of the songs.

Ben: Maybe not even for you guys in general, what about albums you like? What is your favourite track on your favourite albums?

Paula: I sually find the 11th song.

Ben: Really?

Paula: Because thatís usually when they throw in the ballad.

Robb: I like number 3 and number 9 usually.

Matt: My lucky number is 7.

Ben: Really?

Greg: Number one!

Robb: Number one.

Paula: No, number 11.

Matt: I think it really depends on the band. Some bands have awesome openers. Like the Cure is one of those bands that does awesome openers. But thereís other bands where I donít like the first two songs.

Ben: I always find it very interesting how the bands decide to order the songs. Although at this day and age maybe it doesnít matter anymore. Like the days of iPod shuffle and mp3s and people only buying one or two songsÖ

Robb: Well, it doesnít so much and the day of the concept album is almost gone but you gotta admire it when a band still does that. It acknowledges that thereís a place for it. Every song should stand out on its own and it shouldnít really matter what order theyíre in but itís kinda nice when they do.

Ben: Because I find that I usually do listen to an album from beginning to end.

Robb: Youíre archaic like that as well.

Ben: I only have a tape player.

Robb: Wow, youíre advanced! I only have a record player!

Ben: So the album is in the works. Should beÖ

Paula: Should be starting soon.

Ben: Maybe after the Olympics?

Robb: After 2010? I donít think weíll wait that long.

Matt: Originally when I started playing with Robb it was kinda like, "Okay, letís get some songs together, Iíve got some songs, letís just go in an record an EP."And then we kinda stepped back and said, "Well, if weíre gonna in, rather than just going in and recording the first five things we come up with, why donít we do a bit of self-editing and see if we can better ourselves, and say ĎWell thatís a good song, letís see if we can better ourselves and write a better one.í"Rather than going in and wasting our time, our money, someone elseís time.

Ben: Yeah, itís no rush. People, weíll still be here.

Robb: Yeah, the humans will be around for a couple more years. The way weíre treating the earth, I donít know, but weíll be around for a little bit longer. Itís also that weíre really fully entrenched in collaboration right now and writing together as a unit, which is taking us into completely different directions, which are exciting; the songs are more of a reflection of all of us.

Ben: Is this the reason thereís only one song on your Myspace page?

Robb: Thatís an old song, actually.

Matt: That weíre not playing.

Robb: We still play it sometimes. But that one was recorded with a previous lineup and Caleb Stull of Parlour Steps produced that at Vogville Studios. He had mixed our previous record and weíve done some shows together and weíre pretty good friends. And we just wanted to do a one-off of a new song and now itís kind of obsolete. So weíre looking forward to laying some new stuff down.

Ben: Are you eventually even just in between going to put some new songs on there so people get a feel of what you sound like now compared to then?

Robb: If anything goes well tonight, we might use something. Iím hesitant to put up demos on Myspace. I like to present the finished product, but thatís just me. Maybe we can have a fight over this right now?

Matt: Iím gonna have ot actually agree with you this time.

Robb: OooohÖ Okay, everyone write down the time and the date. Matt agreed with Robb.

Matt: Well thereís no sense in putting something thatís half-assed up. Especially when youíre a new band. People are asking, "What do you sound like? Thereís 50,000 bands in Vancouver, why should I come see you guys? What do you sound like?"And thatís a good way for them to check it out. But if youíve got a half-finished idea up there itís gonna go either way: people are gonna love it or theyíre gonna think itís crap and not come to your show.

Ben: Itís better to get them to come toyour show and check you out.

Robb: Which everyone should do tomorrow night, by the way.

Ben: At the Railway Club. Starts around 10:00. Railwayís always a great place to play. Fantastic.

Robb: Itís a great room. Especially when Johnnyís doing soundÖ Now, if someone else is doing sound theyíre gonna beat the crap out of me tomorrow night.

Ben: Itís like, "Where are the vocals?"

Robb: That guy seems to be moving around a lot but I donít hear anything coming from his guitar or his mouth. Theyíve inserted a track of Sid Vicious singing "My Way"where my vocal is supposed to be.

Matt: Better than them overdubbing your voice with that Cher tone.

Robb: Weíre leaving that one to Ben, itís okay.

Ben: Live on CiTR with Paint, and more songs for us to enjoy.

Robb: Yeah. Breakups suck. And this next song is about one.

Paula: I really enjoy breakups. I usually get into relationships just so I can break up.

Robb: Because itís such a gentle art, isnít it?

Paula: It is. And surprisingly thatís the title of this next song.

Robb: Yeah, and we didnít script that either.

Matt: Paula only dates bass players.

SONGS: "A Gentle Art,""Can You Hear Me?"

A podcast of this interview and performance can be downloaded at CiTR's website.