AFI

author TL date 17/05/07

It is still Friday the 11th of May, and after a quick date with a lousy McFeast, I find myself back at Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, more precisely in a quite luxurious tourbus with leatherclad seatings and everything the modern man needs, like coffee machine, tv, playstation and lot's curtains ensuring privacy from the horde of teens that are crawling all over the exterior of the bus. I've been joined with AFI's drummer Adam Carson, and after the bands manager has left us with the words "alright, twenty minutes guys", I plunge headfirst into the task at hand.

RF.net: Starting off, how would you describe your band to someone who has never ever heard about AFI before? What does such a person need to know about you?
Adam: Ohh.. Erhmm

RF.net: Yeah, Blindside almost killed me for starting with that question.

Adam: Yeah that is a horrible first question, it's too broad. Erhh.. However, I generally just describe AFI as a rock band because that's a very broad term, and I feel like.. Well maybe I'm full of myself, but I feel like the band is very broad in style and that we don't really fit into just hardcore or just alternative rock. We touch on all these different genres on music so I just usually say that we're a rock band and that's it.

RF.net: You're in a band that has been around for ages, and throughout that time there has got to be some events or bands, movies, books, that have had a larger importance to the directions you've taken as you've progressed as a band. Could you perhaps say what kinds of things have had a paramount effect on the evolution of AFI over the years?
Adam: All kinds of things. All four of us come from musical background as far as what the group listens to, and all four of us have sort of an eclectic and really broad taste in music. And I think that everything I listened to when I was a kid and when I grew up have shaped how I am as a musician, and it's really hard to say just one particular band or one particular style, because I think it's more of a combination of all of our life-experiences as musicians. How's that for a cop-out?

RF.net: We at rockfreaks who listen to AFI have had quite an argument going about your band, an argument quite similar to the one that exists in your fanbase at the moment.
Adam: Don't say emo!

RF.net: Haha.. No actually I'm going to skip that. It's more the fact that many fans say you guys haven't rocked since "Answer That Or Stay Fashionable" and some say the same thing about "Black Sails.." or about one of the other records, and while I know you've been asked this a million times before I'd like to know how you guys feel about people not really being willing to accept your changing as a band? If you could send out a statement to them what would it be?

Adam: If we were terribly concerned about erhmm... Actually no, that sounds so angry.. Both the band and I take pride in being confident enough to evolve. There's plenty of bands that make the same record year after year, over and over, and.. that's great.. That's just not interesting to us. We make music for us AND for other people but.. We make it for ourselves first, and that's really the most honest thing we can do. If we really tried to make music and decide what people wanted to hear from us, I really think it would be less inspiring and much different so.. You know I understand though, because I have bands and.. Like it's kind of human nature to gravitate towards the early stuff you know.. Maybe it's to be cooler because like "yeah I liked them way back when".. Maybe it's the first record from a band that you connect with is your favourite or something I don't know, but I think I understand that mentality and that's fine really.. The one time it does get frustrating is those times when you have someone who's like 13-14 years old who's saying that, because the first record literally came out in 1995 which means it was written in 93-94 and that gets really close to the year that these people were born, so they don't really have a clue.

RF.net: You were recently one of the headlining acts of the Give It A Name Festival, how was the festival as an experience for your band?
Adam: It was bizarre. I didn't like it particularly. I didn't care for the venue. You were there right?

RF.net: Yeah I was in London

Adam: Yeah the place was this huge kind of airplane size hangar, and it wasn't really made for live sound and.. The show was great, like it was all energy and crowd-participation but the music seemed to be an afterthought.. It was okay, the actual performance was fine but the rest of the day was just kind of.. Like the room was really dark and people had been there for 10 or 13 hours and by the time we got on things were getting a little lifeless. After being at a venue for that long it's just really dark and it's extremely loud and that's just two of your senses deprived right there, and from what I understand it was kind of poorly run, like there wasn't a lot of food.. What did you think?

RF.net: Well to us it seemed okay really..

Adam: Oh yeah I'm probably misinformed then.

RF.net: Okay so now you're playing here in a 600-capacity venue and that's a pretty small venue compared to that, so how does it feel to change back to such a small place like this after an experience like that?
Adam: It's fine. I enjoy the fact that as we tour we get to play both places where we're huge and places where we're not you know. The one cool thing is that no matter if there's 10.000 people or just 500, the fans always seem to be really passionate about it, and it's really the same kind of show, it's just slightly smaller. And about this venue, I was inside before and I think it's gonna be cool and really intimate, and it has been a while since we've played a place like this, so it'll be fun.

RF.net: A band who's been around for as long time as yours is bound to have seen the business from a whole lot of levels, so considering your experience I'd like to ask you what you think is the most and least encouraging things about being in a band today?
Adam: I think the most encouraging thing is that there's a lot of avenues to get your music heard that didn't exist when we started. The whole phenomenon of myspace and the fact that there's a whole generation of people who are actively looking for music through that. You know gone are the days of making a demo tape and trying to get it to someone's hands. Today it's so much easier to get your music to people so it's more about just awareness. That's one of the good things, and one of the bad things is probably also myspace because there's this vast amount of bands, and really the ones that are getting listened to aren't necessarily the ones that play the best, they're just the ones that have managed to market themselves best. At the same time I also think there are a lot of indiscreminate listeners out there who really don't know what they're supposed to like or maybe even what's good, and because of that they just listen to the bands that have marketed themselves the best. Bands can get really really huge without doing much or without being good. They can get huge by being good and marketing, but then that's, when you think about it, that's just showbusiness and it's like that in everything that has to do with media. The people that scream the loudest get the most attention. I don't know really know, I think it's simultaneously easier AND harder for the bands right now.

RF.net: Easing into some more casual questions, what kind of music do you guys listen to in your spare time at the moment?
Adam: Erhmm, gosh, okay.. I like the new Modest Mouse and I listened to Mogwai today and.. The.. Peter Bjoern And John is really good, I like that. Generally I listen to a lot of music that's not necessarily aggresive punk or hardcore like that. We definetely came up on that but.. I don't think anyone spends a whole lot of time on that anymore.. I like the new Brand New record a lot, and they're a band that I've been excited about for some time but I just never got the record till now, so that's cool.

RF.net: Could you nominate two bands, one being the band you'd say is the absolutely most admireable band in modern music, and the other being a, preferably a relatively unknown one, that everyone should check out straight away?
Adam: Well I think Tool consistently are making great music, and I admire them for just always doing their own thing. They don't seem to be too phazed by the music industry. They do their thing. They do whatever they wanna do and the sell the same amount of records even so, and they have an audience that's going nowhere. They don't have to worry about a lot of the pressure that comes from making new stuff because their fanbase has just become sort of built in and it's just not going anywhere. And musically they're always great. Then.. There's a band called "Darker My Love" from California and they play kind of a post.. neo-psychadelic.. kind of punk-slash-indie-rock that I would impose people to check out if they want to find out about a new and unknown band.

RF.net: Apparently AFI is enjoying quite a bit of mainstream success right now. Can you tell us what's the absolutely best thing about being a part of the band right now, and maybe also remember what thing or things you miss the most about being the small underground punk band you used to be?
Adam: Hmm.. I don't know, I mean I guess that one of the things that are exciting about right now, is that when we released a record we started touring and we've toured for about a year. When we did that before it seemed to be broken up a bit more, and it feels better to just be going out and going everywhere for an entire year and having kind of a beginning and end to it. For example tomorrow is our last show and then we start working on our new record and before we would just tour all the time, and then somehow we would find time to record it. So now it's nice to just have a big chunk of time to get it all done, and then when you're done you're done.. That wasn't a very good answer.. What was the other question?

RF.net: What things do you miss the most about being in the old underground AFI?

Adam: I don't know because we're playing fantastic shows right now, and some of the shows are really big and.. It's just that it's nice to have put out a record that was well received.. I'm not sure what I miss.. The nostalgic part of me miss being in a van, touring the United States and driving ourselves to the shows and you know.. Having to make it driving 12 hours to the next place but.. That actually really sucks too.. It's just memories without the pain I guess and that's why I'd miss it.. There's a lot of fun times when you're driving and delirious and everyone's just cracking up but it still kinda happens so..

RF.net: Okay, for this last question I'm gonna need you to contribute to was is pretty much becoming a tradition in Rockfreaks-interviews. In the music business everyone is continually discussing the theme of illegal filesharing, so we'd like to ask what your thoughts are on the whole topic of downloading music illegally off the internet?
Adam: I think everyone in the band feels a bit different about it.. I understand why people do it. If I was younger and if I was you know like 15 years old or in college and broke again, then I'd probably do it, so I totally get it. However, clearly it's damaging the industry, and it's easy to think something like "why do the label owners need more money?" but really, those are the last people to get affected by it. It starts at the bottom. It starts with all the bands that you were gonna find out about that you DON'T know about anymore because there's no money to try to break them. It's like you never know what you're missing and they could be fantastic bands. So I'm personally against it. It's not a green-thing, like "Oh you're downloading so I'm not gonna get my 30 cents royalty" or whatever. It's just that it affects our career because the label we're associated with and the label that enables us to make music is going to have to think twice about giving us money. Like in the movie-industry where people are pirating movies, if 50% of the people who see Pirates Of The Caribbean or whatever, see it for free, then next time they're only getting half the money to make the movie then it's only going to be half as good. So it all kind of feeds itself. Personally I'm against it, but I also understand why people do it so I don't blame anybody.

By this time the bands' manager was doing hectic "wrap it up" motions towards us, so we quickly thanked Adam for his time, and left the bus, in order to walk across the street, buy a load of beers and return to the cue-line to get more or less wasted (Which of couse by no means ever affect my gig reviews!)

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