In this interview we discussed the formation of the band and recording their debut album.
Were you thinking about doing The Mind Spiders record for a while?
While the Marked Men were going, I had been screwing around with side projects. I did this other thing briefly called The Crying Jags. There was at least one song I had with that band that I used with this record. I knew it didn't fit with The Marked Men.
Did you see it as a solo record?
The Mind Spiders started out as just a recording project. I didn't really intend for it to be a band. After the first 7-inch came out, I had written a bunch of other songs. I know lot of people that play in other bands so I got them to record with me. That's pretty much the extent of it and then all of the sudden we're playing a bunch of shows.
With you playing more shows, has the band developed a consistent lineup to the point where if you were to record another record, you'd have a full band again?
I'm going to try to record here in the next couple of months. I think pretty much everybody is going to be recording on it that's in the band now. I think the record will sound more like a band than a recording project. It's gotten kind of ridiculous because there are six members. Two drummers, two guitar players including me [but] I've been playing synthesizer recently.
Would you try to get everyone involved in some way?
Yeah, they are all going to record on it I hope. It's just hard because every member of the band has other projects going on. This isn't going to be a full-time band. I've gotten the opportunity to play more. We did SXSW and we're going to do the Mess-Around in Atlanta and Chaos in Tejas in May. I'm hoping to do more stuff. Maybe it'll become a band that the other guys will want to do more.
How'd the shows at SXSW go?
It went really well. It was kind of chaotic trying to fit everyone on stage. SXSW wasso crowded. To get everywhere was a hassle. I had a good time though. I got to see some other bands I really wanted to see so that was cool.
It seemed like SXSW this year was defined by insane amount of crowd traffic, riots and woman getting punched on stage. It seems like it's getting out of control. What do you think about it since you're from that area?
I've been going down there for years. My old band The Reds went down there in the late 90s. It use to be the off-shoot shows that weren't official SXSW shows were the shows all the punk bands wanted to do. Then official showcases started happening more and people would take part in that. Now, it's almost half and half. It really did seem this year was even bigger, if that's possible, then last year. I'm not sure if that's true in terms of numbers. It's gotten big enough to where there are certain elements that are not fun because you can't get into shows that you want to see. Whatever the fuck the band, this most unknown band, and you can't even go see it because there are so many damn people trying to get in to everything. I missed several bands because I was trying to get to the show and there were just so many people and so much traffic.
You've been involved with the garage rock scene for a while and something I've noticed a lot lately is the involvement of bigger forces with shows and records. For example, Scion sponsoring shows. Or something like Black Lips working with Mark Ronson on their new record. Do you think that scene has changed for the better or worse?
A couple of the guys in my band are in The Bad Sports and they did [the Scion shows]. In a way it's kind of cool because none of us make any money doing this and it's an opportunity and the band's actually get paid to play and be recognized. It is weird but it's also weird to me that I'm getting interviews for Mind Spiders. I really don't understand. It's just this recording project I did [laughs]. I've gotten a lot of press for this record. I feel like it's almost coming out the blue. I really didn't expect it. In a way, I think it's getting bigger. On the other hand, I think there is going to be a limit to that and it's always going to be somewhat underground. I don't think this kind of music is going to be anything that's going to get that popular.
With the record, one of the things I love about it is how diverse it sounds. Side A compared to side B is different but it all works seamlessly together. Were you intentionally trying to combine different sounds and influences or is it something that just came out in the studio?
I worried about it being cohesive. On the other hand, I really don't care. With The Marked Men and other bands I've been doing, those bands become very well-defined in a way. There's a certain kind of style within that same group of people. This was my attempt to be like "I wanna do a song like this. Let's see if I can pull this off." I have a lot of other stuff that I recorded that pretty much failed. Those songs were just fucking around and trying something different and it worked really well. So I kind of threw all that stuff together. It was just an attempt to push my own limits. I'm a big fan of other kind of music besides punk rock. Not being afraid of to do something else but that.
Was it a difficult record to make?
It was really fun. I'm just screwing around (laughs). If it works it works. If it doesn't then I just toss it out. There are a few songs on there that I had not intended to use at all. After I did them, and I was listening to them, I was like "well, why the fuck not? I like this." I've gotten into using other instruments. I get old organs at garage sales. The kind of old organs you'd have at your grandmothers house and I just screw around on that and I come up with something. I recently got a new synthesizer so the next record is going to have some synthesizers on it (laughs).
Since the record is so diverse, what were some of your influences while making it?
At first, when I heard Brian Eno's Here Comes The Warm Jets, I didn't really like it and then I really got into it. I like the weirdness of it and the experimental side of it, but it still kind of has a punk kind of feeling to it even though that was pre-punk. I've always listened to old rock and roll, 50s stuff like Buddy Holly. I like old rock and roll. I like the ambience of it. The kind of feeling you get when you listen to it. That's what I've grown up listening to and that's what I've always like. My taste in music has really fundamentally changed since I was four or five (laughs). I just try to not worry about it too much. It seems like the less that I give a shit, the better the things turn out and that's been really fun for me.
Do you want to try and book any full-fledged tours?
I said before that I wouldn't but now I kind of want to now. The SXSW show was a lot of fun. I recorded almost all the songs not thinking about how they'd come off live. With a lot of the new songs I'm writing, I think they'll come off better live. That'll make a difference on the set. I think I need some songs that work better live. A lot of the stuff I recorded I just can't really do. I'm sort of limited in how long I can leave. I'm flexible with my work but I can't do any really long tours.
How many new songs are you working with right now?
I have a whole album's worth of songs demoed. There was a week in February where everything shut down because it was snowing down here. I couldn't go to work so basically so I sat around and demoed songs. Over the last month, I've written another album. I want to record again soon.
The Mind Spiders have continued to put out records since we spoke a couple years ago. Pick up their LPs from the Dirtnap Records store.