What I remember from this interview day was that it was boiling hot outside; the total opposite from current weather conditions. I had just gotten to the venue dripping in sweat from walking there and pants were definitely a bad idea on this day! To get away from said heat, guitarist and vocalist Matt Goud and myself went to Second Cup to do the interview where it was nice and air conditioned… and where I could get myself an ice cold drink. Unbeknown to any of us at the time, only a few short months later Means would be no more. It is even eerier then, that when I inadvertently asked Matt: “So Matt, do you want to give me a brief history on Means from start until finish?” Matt retorted with a quick: “Finish?” Needless to say I don’t want any blame for breaking the band up, but you’ve got to admit… that is pretty weird. In what is one of his last unpublished interviews, here’s what Matt had to say.
So Matt, do you want to give me a brief history on Means from start until finish?
[laughs] I mean until now…
Matt: In high school I started a punk band with Aaron my friend, and I was going to a boarding school and so we started kind of a political punk band and we jammed in the chorus room of the boarding school with this other guy named Blair. He had a baby right out of high school so he quit. That was kind of the first phase in being in punk rock, but we have gone through different stages and as the line up is right now, it’s been 2 1/2 years.
You guys are on a across Canada tour and you’re dipping into the States a little bit, when did this start?
Matt: It started on the 16th… or 14th… I’m not to sure, we’ve been out for about 10 days.
That’s sweet, how is it going so far?
Matt: It’s been great, we haven’t been to Ontario for about 5 months so it’s good to be back and having this new album out, it’s good to be here.
This is coming up on 8 years as a band… you’ve just released your newest album titled To Keep Me From Sinking. Tell me a little bit about the album.
Matt: It came out on June… 3 [looks over to Trishelle from Underground Operations for reassurance]. This is our second full length with this line up. It was recorded in New York with Mike Watts and it took about 11 days. We wrote the album on time off during the winter months. We wrote a little bit during November then December and January. I think it was influenced a lot by what was happening during those months when we were home from tour. We were working, it was so damn cold and I was pumping gas. We had just been getting things together from touring so much. So it’s kind of the just of that.
Tell me about your music making process, how you go about writing a song.
Matt: I’ll have a song fairly well written, and then Aaron and I will go to the jam spot with the drummer so it’s just like we did in high school. Aaron and I will figure out the arrangement of the song and then show it to Todd and Dylan. Those guys are more of the critics so they help to shape the song in a better way.
What sets you guys apart from other bands, the ones you can relate to?
Matt: I think what makes us interesting is that we just have a different attitude. I think we have a pretty good work ethic that comes from listening to punk rock and that kind of thing. We have been touring a lot and have a lot of experience as a band. One thing that is different about us is that we are influenced a lot by faith, especially when we first started the band. It has just changed now that were getting older but I think our music was being expressed in almost a spiritual way and so we can’t deny that that sets us apart a little bit and it still does so that’s always been apart of if what has been different then other bands we have played with. Also because of the melodies we play, it’s not straight up hardcore although it is mostly influenced by post-hardcore.
What kind of music influences you?
Matt: My favorite bands growing up have been Good Riddance, Anti-Flag and I still like them. I’m really into With Honor and stuff like that. With this band we have such a melodic influence to so its not exactly like that musically. One thing I like is the whole cerebral kind of punk rock hardcore.. I like bands like have Heart right now.
Have you heard their new stuff?
Matt: Yea he’s singing about his family and stuff like that. I mean main stream music isn’t bad or anything, I just always thought hardcore music should be more then that. More then just back round music because it’s something you can latch onto and you can take it with you. It shapes who you are.
Is there anything you guys keep yourselves busy with on tour?
Matt: Just like killing poachers and stuff like that. [laughs] I’m just kidding. In Tennessee it was kind of cold and I had a big jacket on, and I had a huge beard at the time. Some people were asking me about Canada and stuff like that, and I told them I kill poachers for a living. [laughs] It’s just a joke.
Give me the low down on all the members of the band, what are you each known for?
Matt: Well Todd our bass player is kind of spontaneous and rambunctious… really out there. Really fun loving, he’s really cool. Aaron is kind of the old man of the band. He’s just a drum nerd. He keeps everything sounding well, he’s obsessed with symbols and skins and stuff like that. He loves bad action TV. [laughs] Dylan is kind of the clearest thinker of us. He see through the fog, that’s Dylan.
And you what are you known for?
Matt: Drinking coffee. [laughs]
As you sip on your coffee…
Matt: And having the second hardest slap shot in hardcore. Second to the bassist in Ion Dissonance according to a poll I did. [laughs]
Last words for the world…
Matt: Come see us play in Toronto sometime. [ END ]