It’s All Happening, is the latest offering from Iwrestledabearonce. The follow up to their EP once again combines a variety of styles and showcases the bands varied influences. From their inception, IWABO has refused to conform or be pigeonholed into any one genre. I recently spoke with guitarist Steven Bradley, about their new CD and their do it yourself approach to touring.
Every band has its musical influences. What are some of the other bands and artists that have greatly influenced you guys and your music?
Steven: I think everyone in the band would have slightly different answers, because all of our tastes in music are pretty all over the place… but some examples would be Boyz II Men, Aaron Neville, Radiohead, Refused, Bjork, Dredg, Nasum, Mr. Bungle (anything Mike Patton really), Deftones, Michael Jackson, Cephalic Carnage, Cynic, Vehemence, Tears for Fears, Nirvana, etc….
The name of the band Iwrestledabearonce is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Steven: We got the name from an episode of “I’m With Busey” where Gary Busey randomly blurted it out. He is totally fucking insane and we love him!
Now that your new record, It’s All Happening, is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Steven: We are definitely stoked on how it came out! We wish we had some more time to work on it, but I think every band always says that. Next time we will definitely spend more time on the writing process and make it way crazier, but this album was the next logical step from the EP, and we’re definitely happy with all the songs.
What was the writing process like for this CD? Did you guys all write together? How long did it take?
Steven: Well we basically wrote the EP and “Tastes Like Kevin Bacon” and booked (a) DIY tour until we got signed, and then just kept touring and touring! We barely had any time off between tours or before going into the studio to record It’s All Happening, so the album was pretty much written in the studio while jamming riffs and messing around on the computer. It was definitely rushed and crazy, but that helped out in some ways. Sleep deprivation and late nights went into the writing process for sure. I would say that aside from TLKB, we wrote the entire album in about two weeks!
How quick are you in the studio? Can you usually knock things out in a couple takes?
Steven: We definitely hauled ass in the studio… we were still writing and arranging songs when we first got to the studio, so time was of the essence. Some days Mikey our drummer tracked drums to songs he had only been playing for a few hours! It was insane! We could not believe how some of the drum takes came out considering the time frame he had to work on learning stuff. Everything else was pretty much the same way… doing guitar takes really quickly and trying to keep everything raw sounding. Some of the lyrics Krysta sang for the first time when we hit record and just tried stuff out! None of us are big fans of the new style of recording where you punch in every 3 seconds and make everything sound completely inhuman. Editing every pause to total silence, making sure EVERY hit is flawless, sound replacing every drum hit to 100% velocity so it sounds fake as hell… it takes the humanity out of the music and ruins it honestly.
How has MySpace and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?
Steven: The internet is one of the main reasons our band is where we are right now. It is not the ONLY reason, but it definitely helped dramatically. It helped get the word out at the start so when we were booking shitty DIY tours, some folks in random other states knew about us already and came to hang out at shows. It definitely levels the playing field for every band in the world and makes it possible for ANYONE to get their music to EVERYONE. Downloading helps out artists to some extent, but it also kills record sales and has definitely hurt labels. It’s a double-edged sword, because it helps new bands get out there but then hurts them when they start to get bigger and are counting on record sales to help them get on bigger tours and such.
The songs on your new record, It’s All Happening, are not exactly what you would find on your typical hard music album. You offer a welcome range of musical sounds and abilities. Do you think this is due in part to your varied influences and/or a desire to explore new realms of music?
Steven: Both. We have all grown up listening to lots of different styles, so it comes across in our song-writing for sure. Our main goal from the start was to say “fuck genres” and do whatever we please. We did not want to paint ourselves into any corners and be forced to write the same song/album over and over again. It is impossible for us to “sell out” in any way, because we have done all sorts of stuff from the beginning. We might write a pop song one day and then follow it up by a 45-second grind song. And, I think that as long as our stuff maintains the same “IWABO feel” we will keep the same listeners ya know? We put passion into everything and I think as long as we keep that up, it’s all good.
When you are on the road for a while, I am sure you see and experience many different things you might not even have known existed. Are there any stories that stand out in your mind as being exceptionally strange or odd?
Steven: We have seen all sorts of wild shit on tour! Fuck our stories, pick up an instrument and book a DIY tour and make your own.
When you are out on the road anything can happen and often does. Can you think of any disastrous events that happened while out on tour? How did you solve the problem?
Steven: We have blown tires in the middle of the desert with no spares, had our old van explode on multiple occasions, watched people die in car wrecks, almost died in multiple car wrecks, etc. etc. etc. To quote our BFFs Vanna, ya just gotta try and STAYYY POSITIVEEE and do whatever the fuck it takes to keep going! We’re lucky to be where we are, and nothing short of death in a fiery van flip will stop us.
What does the future hold for you guys as a band?
Steven: Hopefully touring every inch of the world and meeting as many cool folks as possible! Also writing more albums that explore more ground and challenge us… and going to Iceland and high-fiving Bjork and Sigur Ros.