What’s good in Nebraska?
Good in Nebraska… I don’t know if we’ve ever played in Nebraska.
Yeah, maybe. I’m trying to think. We probably have at some point, but I can’t remember.
Is it safe to say Signs Of Infinite Power is a continuation of the sound of We Must Obey?
Um, a little. I think with this record we wanted to get more of a live sound, like how we are on stage and not get everything so big and boomy. With this record we all sat in the same room with the drums. Reeder would count us off with the drumsticks and there we go. We’d do maybe two or three takes and that was it. Even if there’d be some screwups, we’d keep it, just because we wanted more of a live sound, more of a raw sound. I think We Must Obey was a little more aggressive, whereas this one has more mid-tempo stuff. It still has the weird breaks and shit, but yeah, it’s not too much of a departure from the last record, but sound-wise, I think this is, at least for me, what I like a lot more.
It’s interesting to hear you say that, because I was listening to the two to compare, and they are similar tonally, but there’s a different intensity to each one. I guess it is that live sound that makes the difference there.
Yeah. With We Must Obey, Reeder was in a different room, we were in a different room playing. We’re so used to practice where we’re all right in each other’s faces in the same room. With this record, that’s how we did it, and I think that showed in the recording. That’s how we write the songs, all together in one small room, and that’s how we did this record.
Was that something specifically you wanted to do differently this time?
Yeah, definitely. For us, playing in the same room as the drummer, it just seems easier to me that way, because we cue a lot off Reeder, going into the next part or stalling, we look at him when we stop and go into the next part. That’s a big deal to me, because that’s how we do it live; we always cue off Reeder for different parts. This record, being in the same room recording as him, it’s just a lot easier.
Was doing it the other way an Andrew Alekel [producer] thing?
That’s just the way the studio was. We could have sat in the same room and stuff, but with this record, we worked with a different engineer and a different studio. We just had Andrew mix it because we really liked the job he did on the last one. Plus, the studio that we went to was close to home and we’ve never been able to record and then go home for the night. Always had to stay in a hotel or whatever. We could surf in the morning and then go into the studio. To me, that made a big difference. Way more relaxed.
You always hear people trying to get away from home to record. I guess after doing it the other way for so long…
I swear this is the first record in 11 or 12 records that we’ve done that we’ve been able to be at home. I definitely don’t want to go out in the mountains or in the desert or the woods or wherever the hell. I just want to be at home and like I said, go surfing in the morning like we normally do, then go home and relax, then go to the studio. I think we’ll record close to home from now on. I’ve always wanted to do it and we finally did it.
You’ve had the same line-up for a while, but have all the personnel changes over the years had an effect on the band’s sound in your mind?
This line-up we’ve had the longest of any line-up. We went through two other drummers, so that was a big thing. Each guy brings his own thing and I’ve liked everything about every drummer we’ve had. Luckily every drummer we’ve had has been good and had good ideas and has added their own deals to the sound. It’s pretty easy. Usually we get people we know. We never get someone we don’t know in the band. We’ve been lucky to do that. Whoever we get knows about the band and is not gonna want to come in and, ‘Hey, let’s try and play a ska beat!’ you know? It’s easy because we’ve all known each other, so no one’s gonna try and come in and drastically change what we’re doing.
Any plans for the big anniversary, other than touring? Anything special you guys are doing?
We might try and work out playing entire records straight through for a live show, like In Search Of or Action Is Go. I know we’re gonna work on a DVD release last year that has everything from when we very first started up until now, we’ll record a live show. We’re gonna re-release a bunch of old stuff that hasn’t been available for years. So you know, I’m sure we’ll figure more stuff out.
Fu Manchu’s Signs Of Infinite Power is available now on Century Media. The band will be releasing their original Virulence demos on Southern Lord this winter. For more info, check out fu-manchu.com.