Minus the Bear Interview
Jake Snider (MTB), Monty Wiradilaga, Brian Kracyla
Moe (MTTracks): All right, we are sitting back here in some alley at Bonnaroo with Jake Snider, lead singer, guitar, from Minus the Bear…
Jake Snider (Minus the Bear): Howdy. Hello there.
Moe: Thanks for being here.
Jake: You bet. Thanks for having me.
M: Hell of a performance today man.
J: Thanks man, I appreciate it.
M: How’s the vibe of Bonnaroo compare to the other festivals you’ve played?
J: It’s definitely laid back. Everything runs pretty much perfectly, so its seems like seems like everyone’s just got it down. It’s just super easy, the crowd it just awesome, one of the best crowds I think of any festival that we’ve played.
M: Why do you think it’s one of the best vibes?
J: I don’t know. Maybe it’s the location, or maybe it’s just the history of the festival, the vibe that people expect from it. You know, kind of a more free-form situation probably.
M: You played a good bit of tracks from Planet Ice…
M: I think that an album’s true test is how it translates live…
J: Yeah, that’s definitely a good record. Live is usually better, hopefully. That’s the idea at least.
M: With listening to your music, I get sort of a sense that you incorporate a bit of jamminess into it. It feels like you’re translating that live performance into your albums and vice versa. You’ve changed your writing style lately haven’t you?
J: The last record, Planet of Ice, is a little more broader sounding I think. A little bit more ambient. It’s just not a tight as the other ones. Yeah, I don’t know, there are songs that are really fun to play live. And I think that that’s what our goal was, to write a record full of songs that we really enjoy playing live…and don’t get sick of.
M: Well, before didn’t you have more regimented songs. Didn’t you cut it short because you thought it would go on too long, and with this record didn’t you change your writing process to let certain parts just flow? Let um go where they had to go…
J: Yeah, totally. We kinda just laid back on that stuff. We used to be really concise, and it is really a lot more fun live and especially to be able to explore things a little bit more.
M: So, do you like this process a little bit more than what you were doing before?
J: Yeah. It’s a lot more fun.
M: What made you go in this direction?
J: I don’t know. It just started coming out that way, I guess. We’ve been playing together for years and years and years, and a lot of the same songs. At that point in time we felt like we needed to try some new shit, you know, basically.
M: It seems to me that you live a bit vicariously through your music…
M: First of all, I’m not gonna go into your funny song titles and all… (Laughs)
J: Okay, cool.
M: I know that you’re probably sick to death of hearing about it.
J: Yeah, totally.
M: What are the main topics that you think in your head that you like to live vicariously through?
J: A lot of the songs are about sex, and a lot of those are kind of fictionalized. So, I do kind of live vicariously through some of those songs. Mostly those songs. I guess most of the songs are about sex on some kind of level, or getting wasted. But all that stuff is just another way to imagine life I suppose.
M: I’ve heard you say that after every show there’s a disco. What are some of the craziest moments you’ve had being out on the road, being on tour, whatever?
J: Well, usually Florida’s pretty brutal for us. We have had some run-ins with the law in Orlando. One of us got a little too drunk one night and ended up getting arrested.
M: Oh yeah, what happened?
J: Oh, nothing. He went to jail for the night. We got him out. And then hauled ass to the next show. He had to pay a fine, or whatever.
M: A little rowdy?
J: Yeah, just a little rowdy.
M: Did you really have a site called Friction USA?
M: What was the deal with it? Was it a Suicide Girls…
J: Yeah, it was similar to that. It started almost exactly the same time as Suicide Girls. Just did it for a couple of years. My wife, it was her idea basically.
M: And it just never materialized or what?
J: It was good, the music thing just started taking over. Once I got into the band, there was just no time.
M: Well, you’re from Seattle, how’s the Seattle scene THESE DAYS?
J: It’s always good. It’s an amazing town for music.
M: What are some of the big things going on in Seattle THESE DAYS?
J: These Worms Are Snakes is a great band. I can’t even think about it right now, I don’t know why, sorry.
M: Question, have you done any sleep walking through walls lately?
J: Nope, only when I was a kid.
M: What happened?!
J: Yeah, my parents were building a cabin, and the walls weren’t sheet-rock yet. My bedroom was right on the hallway for the stairs, so basically, you would walk through the wall and fall right down the stairs, into the bottom of the stairs…
M: Holy shit.
J: Like a full story. So I slept walked through the studs and fell.
M: What happened?
J: Got a concussion and broke my arm.
M: Jesus Christ, that’s a pretty big fall.
J: Pretty brutal, yeah.
M: You’re band has a pretty distinctive sound. A lot of it comes from Dave’s guitar taping techniques. What do you think sets your band apart from the others?
J: I don’t know. We are always trying to find parts that we find interesting and try not to right the same stuff over and over again. I don’t know, that’s a tough question. The combination of personalities, it’s pretty hard to come up with something different. I think it’s just kinda crazy.
M: You guy are definitely always evolving with changing the lineup. How’s the new cohesive unit working?
J: Better than ever.
M: So, what’s next for Minus the Bear?
J: Um, next is a summer where we’re gonna play a few shows. We just re-released our They Make Beer Commercials Like This EP on Suicide Squeeze. That’s also out on vinyl for the first time now. And we’re writing a record…
M: How’s that going?
J: Starting it off, just getting it started, you know…
M: With the new album are you evolving to a new level, or is it something with the same equation that you’re doing now?
J: I have no idea yet.
M: It just comes together.
M: Awesome. Thanks a lot for staying with us.
J: Yeah, I appreciate it man.