You are starting a new album; does the release of a “Greatest Hits” mean you will change your signature sound?
Brandt Huseman: We’re still trying to define our signature sound, so it’s very likely what you hear on the next record will sound at least somewhat different than what you have heard before.
Matt Huseman: We have a signature sound?!?
Tony Waddy: As we talked about the concept of the next album, we have ideas about playing with the instrumentation and production, which should make the whole presentation different. When it comes down to it, though, the voices and hooks will still make it undeniably Splitsville. Of course if it doesn’t work, the hardcore fans would just blame me for destroying the band whether the changes were my idea or not. (laughs)
Early on you stated, “The kids hate power pop, but they need that sugar shock.” – do you still feel that way about today’s younger pop fans?
MH: As long as they eat their vegetables, sure.
TW: I’d like to think that an appreciation of 60’s pop flows though everyone’s veins regardless of age. If infectious hooks come from the Beatles or from the latest crop of meticulously tattooed suburban wannabe punk bands, it’s still that needed shock that you’re referring to. Let’s hope that it’s more of the substance that sticks rather than the cookie-cutter throwaways that all sound the same. I guess the real test is whether or not these “kids” have the patience and ambition to seek out things below the mainstream radar.
Over the years, your sound has gotten grittier as well as more sophisticated. Do you agree?
TW: Sure. I’d gladly take partial blame for that grittier part.
Has Brian Wilson or Paul McCartney heard “The Complete Pet Soul”? Did you get an opinion from them on its sound and commentary?
BH: We’re friends with some of the guys in Brian Wilson’s band, and they of course know the album. Whether or not Brian Wilson has actually sat down and listened to ‘Pet Soul’ is anybody’s guess.
MH: (Splitsville’s manager) Rob Toomey sent a copy to McCartney’s home address in St. John’s Wood in London, but I imagine it got tossed on the pile. Or tossed out. Your loss, Macca.
What are you listening to at the moment?
TW: (Splitsville bassist) Paul Krysiak’s iPod is my favorite radio station. The Decemberists, Elbo, Albert Hammond Jr, Death Cab for Cutie, etc. Oh, and KISS always.
MH: Tony’s demos. Lots of hot guitar licks.
Do you feel the state of the music industry is slowly evolving or slowly fading away?
BH: Evolving I suppose. Hopefully for the better. On the plus side it’s easier for independent musicians to get their music heard. On the minus side, it often means giving your music away for free.
TW: It certainly isn’t favoring the interests of the almighty record labels…finally. The entire landscape has changed and now the onus is on the band to promote since there’s an ocean of things out there competing for a presence in people’s MP3 players. Fortunately, everyone knows the plight of indie bands so people still are kind enough to pay for most downloads.
Ever think of starting your own label?
BH: Funny you mention that – yes. I started a label/collective called Public Records, which may be putting out the next Splitsville release as well as side projects (Able Archer, The Lucky Few, Pale Stars) and maybe some unreleased Greenberry Woods songs.
TW: Now, everyone can BE their own label. Again, the challenges of cash, promotion & publicity, etc, are still there, but the “middle man” is now an option more than an outright necessity.
Who taught you the most about survival in this business?
TW: Prince. He had a jump on everybody when it came to challenging the system and using your own weight and resources to avoid sticking to the rules. Over the last decade, during a time when it was thought that he was hiding in obscurity, he has made more money from touring and CD sales (dollars per unit) than probably anyone, all while avoiding major labels or even major distribution. He’s making tons and tons of money and people thought he was crazy when he said he would be avoiding major labels 15 years ago.
BH: Rob Toomey. He’s full of obscure rock quotes and carries a cricket bat around with him. It’s really quite inspiring.
Do you have a most funny/interesting moment on your last tour?
TW: There are several, but the funniest might be when all of us got drunk at this bar after our show in Murcia, Matt and I left separately and both got lost on our way to our hotel. Matt had to get directions from fans. I wound up having to catch a cab. The hotel was directly behind the bar.
MH: Did you know that ‘carne de cerdo nalgas’ is actually pork butt?
When do you expect to have the new album ready? Is there a title yet?
BH: I’m pretty sure you’ll see a new Splitsville album by Fall 2009. The working title is “Mobtown” but that could change.
Thanks for the awesome interview. I’ll be on the lookout for the nextr Splitsville album.