|Tavis Stanley, Sekou Lumumba
Katrina: What have you learned while touring?
Sekou: What have we learned? You can take this one. This is Tavis’ first big tour. I’ve been on many tours but not this big.
Tavis: I’ve learned many things.
Sekou: This is Tavis’ first big tour so he’s probably the best on to tell you what he’s learned.
Tavis: I think I’ve learned just about everything on this tour. I’ve definitely learned how to play all different sorts of venues, like we started
off actually our first tour was an arena tour with Nickelback so right away we were playing to 10,000 people. From there we went to clubs.
Just learning how to play all different venues and with different bands and there’s a lot of other things we probably learned that I shouldn’t
mention. What have you learned Sekou?
Sekou: No I think you put it well. I mean when you play clubs versus playing in a arena, you have to learn to obviously an arena is a way
less intimate venue then a club is so you have to learn to play a lot larger than life and tailor you’re playing to fit the space you’re playing.
So I think things like that, we all come from, Ian, Kenny and Tavis and I all play our fair share of clubs and going to an arena you definitely
have to. You just can’t stand there and play you throw your all into it so the guy at the back of the room of the venue is, you’re like a dot to
him, so you need to be seen as well heard so thing’s like that I think.
Tavis: Yeah just make sure everyone can see you and on the other-hand you play small clubs and sometimes and you gotta figure out how
to use a 2x3 foot space and make that work. So it’s the complete opposite.
Katrina: Who were your musical influences growing up and have they changed?
Tavis: Growing up for me it was Led Zepplin, Metallica, all the good great rock bands. Yeah I mean they have changed and they haven’t but
I mean, I just keep learning more stuff off of these guys and Queens Of The Stone Age now and Faith No More, bands like that they’re
getting me into.
Sekou: For me it was bands like, I was a big Metallic fan as well and Fish Bone and Sound Garden and Faith No More is like a huge huge
influence for me. As far as them changing I mean there’s always going to have new bands going to come out every year that you’re like
wow what are they doing. Something different like, we listen to a lot of Muse, the three-piece from the UK. Just kind of whatever. Even Ian’s
stuff with Big Wreck, I was a fan of that stuff too and when we play their songs I always kind of remember the kind of vibe they’re going for
and so stuff is still inspirational as well.
Katrina: Which artist would you like to tour or work with?
Sekou: I guess we’d definitely loved to work with Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age, he does a lot of producing for other bands.
We’d love to work with him, he’s incredible. As far as touring with, we’ve done some shows with Sevendust boys down from Atlanta.
Tavis: Yeah that was great.
Sekou: They’re definitely somebody who you can learn from and we have a good kinship with them. We’d love to do a tour with them in the
US. It’d be great.
Tavis: Black Label Society, too I got to say. We’d love to tour with. Our guitar tech Shane’s been talking with them a little bit and they’re
actually fans of our record as well so that could be in the works. Maybe next year, something with them.
Katrina: How do you write your songs and where do you get your ideas from?
Sekou: Ian writes the majority of the music. The way it kind of, he’s kind of a self-sufficient writing machine. The way it usually works is we,
he tends to bring a song to the table and we kind of flush out the parts together in terms of how long the chorus is going to be, when are
we going back to the verse, how long the bridge is going to be, how are we going to transition from that to that. That stuff the mechanics of
it we’ll do as a band but as far as the song goes, Ian tends to write from pretty much by himself and he’s the kind of guy that’s influenced
by like whatever. Like pretty much anything will influence him. I don’t think a lot of times he even recognizes that it’s happening so it’s
great to have someone in your band who’s that creative and all we have to do is bring what we do naturally to the table and just kind of
mold the song and it goes from there.
Katrina: What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Tavis: Again we can’t talk about these. Most embarrassing moment that we can actually say .
Sekou: Go ahead, go ahead it’s all yours.
Tavis: I don’t know if I can even think of one. You can probably think of one.
Sekou: Most embarrassing moment. I would have to say we were playing a show in San Antonio and the day before the show, it was like
an outdoor gig and the day before, they have a noise bylaw, you can’t exceed a certain amount of decibels and the day before they had
done the same thing with a quiet riot. A reunion of quiet rioters or something like that and they just went screw that, they played as loud as
they wanted so it was so loud you could hear them miles and miles away. So the next day they were cracking down on them. So it was us
opening for Three Days Grace opening for Fuel. So we went first and our volume was so low there wasn’t even any stuff going through the
p.a. it was just stage volume. But even that was too loud, they shut it down after the second song and the whole event was canceled. We
felt so bad because it was the opening band us, played two songs and these head-liners that everyone else came to see in this huge field
nobody could see because they were like ‘that’s it, too loud’. Quiet riot ruined it for everybody.
Katrina: What’s your most memorable moment?
Tavis: For me it was probably when we played the Saddledome first time in Calgary. That was the biggest show we’ve done so far. It was
sold out, arena show, that’s one that I’ll always remember, probably the biggest show I’ve done to date. It was a great show too.
Sekou: I think for me it would probably be doing the Tonight Show with Jay Leno back in May. I mean it was surreal, while we were doing it,
it just didn’t make sense to us. So having your friends and family see it and call you like ‘dude I saw you on the Tonight Show, oh my god’,
that was pretty memorable. We just actually a couple of days ago in Vancouver got presented with our first gold records for reaching
50,000 units sold in Canada. So a pretty big landmark for us. I know Ian has a couple of platinum records and Kenny has some as well.
Tavis: Kenny’s like ‘oh I’ll put it with my twelve other ones, whatever’. We were pretty happy with it.
Sekou: It’s our first one so those were a pretty memorable moments. It’s just different, as a band you have different goals you set and when
you reach them you kind of site there and savor the moment before you move onto the next one.
Katrina: What’s the nicest or craziest thing a fan has done for you?
Tavis: People bring us cookies a lot.
Sekou: Yeah we get a lot of baked-goods. Which we love. Couple of the guys in the band, not me are potheads so any kind of baked-goods
lying around the bus is definitely appreciated. I mean a lot of our fans are unbelievable. We’ll do a show and again we’re opening for other
bands across the States and we find out that people have driven ten, twelve hours just to see us play a forty-five minute opening set and
when people do that it really, that’s an action that speaks.
Tavis: Even some people have followed us for like five or six shows in the States just to see us open for these bands sometimes.
Sekou: If it was our show it might make a little more sense to be because you know but we’re just an opening band and for people to feel
that strongly about it to drive across the country, completely across the country or other countries for some cases.
Tavis: Or fly across the country. People just fly out from wherever and say ‘oh I had a night off so I flew down to Atlanta to see you’.
Sekou: So I’d say that those are probably the nicest things people have done for sure.
Katrina: What’s your favorite song to perform?
Tavis: You still on “Clever”?
Sekou: No not “Clever” anymore. For me probably Easy. “Easy Comes”, it’s kind of a fast one for me and from a drummers perspective
there’s a lot happening and you can’t think about anything else when you’re playing because it’s just like a train going one-hundred miles
an hour, if you lose focus for a second, just, it’s gone. What about you?
Tavis: Well “Easy Comes” yeah that was always my favorite, lately it’s been “Falling To Pieces”.
Sekou: Yeah “Falling To Pieces”.
Katrina: What song do you think gets the best response?
Sekou: In Canada it’s a tie between our two singles, well two or three singles. “Come Again” and “So Far So Good”.
Tavis: Pretty much both get great responses.
Sekou: Yeah it’s ear-shattering sometimes. In the US it tends to be “Falling To Pieces” or “Easy Comes”. Just because a lot of audiences
don’t know our stuff and it’s a very visceral experience, it kind of clobbers you over the head those songs. So it tends to be those ones.
But when we’re home and doing our own tour they, mind you again it’s Big Wreck stuff, because they’re classic songs, get a lot of
responses too. Like “The Oaf” and “Blown Wide Open” and stuff.
Katrina: What advice can you give to people wanting to create a band?
Tavis: I wouldn’t say it’s going to be easy but you have to get, the toughest thing about being in a band is getting four people to do the
same thing and have the same direction and keep it together. Because sooner or later someone gets a day job and leaves and then the
band gets broken up and it just gets harder and harder to make a living and sustain it so you just have to really commit and give it. Put your
life into it, it’s the only way to make it.
Sekou: Keep practicing, practice is the key.
Katrina: What’s one thing you can’t tour without?
Sekou: X-Box. Like right now we don’t have, most buses come with a satellite dish so you can watch whatever.
Tavis: Ours is broken.
Sekou: Sometimes you can’t get it because especially when you can’t get a strong signal having a video game consol whether it’s a PS2 or
an X-Box in that case an X-Box is invaluable. You waste hours and hours and hours.
Katrina: So which is your favorite game?
Sekou: We’re playing all the new stuff like Halo 2, Ghost Recon 2.
Tavis: Ninja games still my favorite games though.
Sekou: He loves ninja games.
Tavis: Can’t even get into Halo 2 yet.
Sekou: I mean, if it’s new, we buy it. No questions and we all, Ian, Kenny doesn’t really play. Kenny just kind of sits back.
Tavis: He likes to watch people play.
Sekou: It’s like watching a movie for him.
Tavis: And he’s always baked so.
Katrina: What do you think makes a good live show?
Sekou: Energy. Like the bands energy. We’ve toured with a lot of people and we’ve seen people like, not trying to name names but people
who have sold millions of records, who they don’t have to do a lot on stage, they really don’t because the fans know their songs and they’
re already fans, they know all the words, they just have to play them and that’s good enough. For us, we spend so much time on the road
going out and trying to win people who maybe weren’t as familiar with our stuff that we like to put so much energy into our live shows and
because we don’t have the benefit of lights and pyro and stuff we put so much energy into our live shows that we don’t feel comfortable
unless if we can walk off that stage and we haven’t left ourselves on that stage, then it’s not, we didn’t really give our all.
Tavis: And then come back to Canada and start doing our own shows now it’s just like we put that kind of energy behind a crowd that
knows the tunes and is into the band and now that just makes it through the roof. It’s amazing.
Katrina: How do you come up with the concepts for your videos?
Sekou: Our videos are, we don’t, do not get involved in the process of video directing, or video story-boards, or any kind of treatments.
What usually happens is we just kind of our record company sends out the song that’s going out and different video production
companies send back treatments. We want to do this, we want to make Ian look like this, we want the band to look like this and blah blah
blah and we kind of go through them and go no, no, absolutely not, no way, no, no, maybe, maybe, yes and that’s usually it. It’s our job to
play music. It’s not our job to be directors, or like visual artists because we’re not very good at it. We’re musicians. That’s what it is. You
just kind of hope at the end of the day that you’ve made the right choice in somebody and they’re going to make the right choices in turn
for your video.
Katrina: Which one was your favorite to do?
Sekou: Definitely “Come Again”.
Tavis: Yeah probably “Come Again”. I mean none of them were all that much fun to do, I mean it always sort of seems like work when you’
re trying to, you’re not really performing, kind of playing along to a track and you’re wondering what you look like and try to make it come
across. I mean that was the most enjoyable one because that day we weren’t freezing our asses off that time.
Sekou: Yeah we’ve had some bad video shooting experiences.
Tavis: Yeah we’ve had a couple of bad experiences. But that one was pretty smooth.
Sekou: Videos tend to be very long. You start out early in the morning and you end really late at night. But this one was pretty painless.
Tavis: It was just organized and it just went right down.
Sekou: It turned out the best of all three we’ve done so far.
Katrina: What do you think about how Canadian music is being shown around the world?
Tavis: I think it’s doing pretty well these days. We’re right up there.
Sekou: Now more than ever it’s like so many bands that are making it past the border and as you put it around the world that are doing a
great job of representing this country for sure.