Q&A with Jared Piccone of Innerpartysystem
Innerpartysystem knows all about the DIY approach. Since their formation, the members have spent countless hours dissecting technology, transforming it to suit their needs. Their light show, for instance, aside from a few stock lasers, was all hand built. Any fan that has seen the act more than once has also taken note that its show is in a constant state of transformation. No two have ever been alike. Innerpartysystem's brings a high intensity presence to its synth-rock grooves that is only surpassed only by the serious content of the lyrics. The outfit was recently dropped from Island Records and have since been on the Warped Tour, gaining new fans and appeasing old ones. We recently caught up with drummer Jared Piccone and asked him about being dropped from Island, the atmosphere on the Warped Tour and what we can expect from Innerpartysystem in the future. Read the entire exchange after the jump.
Westword (B.A Frederick): How has the tour been treating you guys?
Jared Piccone: Pretty good. I'm sure everyone on the Warped Tour says that it's very trying; it's a lot of work but it's definitely the most rewarding. There are so many kids to play in front of every day and then at night everyone hangs around their buses so there's parties everywhere, it's a ton of fun.
WW: How have the crowds been in each city?
JP: I mean, it's hit or miss. There are a lot of variables, depending on what time you play at or who you play against. There definitely have been some huge surprises though. If we get 35 people to play in front of we're stoked, but there are some days where there have been 2,000 or 3,000. It just depends on how the day lines up. It's definitely going to be a huge help to the band when it's all said and done.
WW: Coming off Island records are you stoked to get on to something new?
JP: To tell you the truth, I'm not sure where we're at right now. It's kind of cool the way it went down. We got dropped a few weeks before the tour started and we just starting writing new songs. We've got a pretty good fan base in a few other countries right now, so if something else comes along and it makes sense to the band maybe we'll do it. Right now, nobody's bummed about what happened and we think it was honestly best for everybody. We're excited to get some new songs out there and see what people think. It might just come up that we'll be an independent band, release the stuff, and keep touring. The main thing is getting good shows and that's kind of all that matters to us.
WW: Are you going to put everything out independently and see where
it takes you?
JP: It happened so quick. It's hard to write on tour. So we just put all of that on hold, just play music and try to make a bunch of new fans. As soon as Warped Tour is over we're going to get in the studioimmediately and pump out a bunch of new tracks, and we're going to release them. If somebody wants to pick them up and it makes sense we'll figure it out. As of right now it's just kind of up in the air.
WW: Describe how much different it is going on tour with hundreds of bands versus only a few like you have on your earlier tours.
JP: We have to get up around eight and lug all our equipment on what seems like a mile on concrete or rocks or whatever. So there's a lot more work involved. It's a lot more hectic, like, I think the stage we play on there's twelve bands on it and we're right next to a stage with 21 more bands. As soon as one band is done the next band is playing.
It's just non-stop all day. Every day, I'm tired. When it's time to go to bed, I'm ready to go to bed. That's a big difference -- there's not a lot of down time. It's honestly a lot more fun because there's so many cool acts. Everyday I can go see a new band. There's new bands who hop on for a week, or, only on for a little bit and they become new friends. I'm here as a fan, as well, and I'm here in a band. It's cool to hang out and see great bands.
WW: A lot of interviews with veteran bands in online blogs and articles have the older bands coming down on some of the bands with no instruments, or relying on laptops to do their work for them and don't feel they belong in a 'punk scene.' How do you feel being in between those?
JP: To be honest, we're in a funny place for that. I feel like we're really caught in the middle of that whole thing. We've toured with 3OH!3, and bands like Underoath, and there's actually some metal bands who are into us like The Devil Wears Prada, and I feel like we're getting respect. Mike from NOFX came out and bought our CD. I feel like some of the veterans are digging our band, so we really haven't been shit on so much. We thought that would happen and get grouped in those kinds of bands and the way I feel about it man, is whatever people are into.
Warped Tour isn't where it used to be but neither is the music scene. Warped Tour came up when punk was so much bigger than what it is now. They could fill a whole tour with that, the skate culture too. Now, there's so many other things that are popular that go along with that. To ignore it, is, it would be cheating some of the kids. It comes down to a financial thing, too. At the end of the day Kevin Lyman, I'm sure he does it because he loves it, but he's also got to make some money...it's his job. You have to put on bands who draw.
Some of these electronic acts are killing it. We try to stay very neutral in the whole deal. There's definitely some bands who I'm not into on this tour, but I'm not going to talk shit. I've hung out with them all and they are all really good dudes. I may not be a fan of what they do, but I'm a fan of them personally. I feel like those guys who are talking some real shit, I feel, end up looking like the stupid ones. What are you bummed about? When your band was young, I'm sure people shit on you the same way, but it's like ten years later now. I'll probably do it too. I'm 26 now when I'm 36 I'll be like, "What's all this newfangled shit that's going on?" [laughs) You know what I mean?
WW: A major component of your live show is the LCD lighting boxes and strobes you guys built on your own, complimented with lasers and others -- have you been able to use those on the tour?
JP: No, we didn't even bring them along. It's never been dark enough even when we've been last. Honestly we were actually stoked to do this tour for that reason. We love the lights, we're proud of them, we built them ourselves, it's a big part of our show. At the end of the day, though, we're still a rock band. We do use tracks, but we're up there playing live as much as we can. On the tracks we do have, we actually run through midi controls that we built that we can effect ourselves.
We want to show people at the end of the day we are still a band that performs and not one who just pushes buttons. We're not hiding anything. It's nice to play so people know who we are. I can't tell you how many people come up to our merch booth and are like, "Oh I've never seen you before; I've never seen your face." We're not really in many pictures and even in promo shots we take we always end up doing something artistic, which sabotages our faces. Now people can see what we look like. So it's actually been very awesome. I'm stoked to go back to the lights in the fall. We have new ideas for some new shit. But for now, this is definitely the best thing we could have done at this point for the band, is go on warped tour.
WW: Where does Innerpartysystem go from here?
JP: Um, we definitely are trying to take it to a little more 'community' based right now. We started Innerpartysystem.net instead of Innerpartysystem.com [which is owned by their former label]. Innperpartysystem.net is more of a forum and a place to go. It's more of a place for people to go and see what we do, instead of just looking at pictures of the band and stuff. We put all our tracks up there for download, so kids can go and download, mix and make things of their own. We've been posting remixes of what we've been doing, some of our deejaying stuff. We just want to see what fans think. We want them to download it and interpret it their way. It's like a big IPS community instead of just being a fan to the band.
We've got a lot of remixes coming. We've been bugging 3OH!3 to get their new single remixed. We're going to do a lot of that stuff this fall; it's what we end up doing anyways, so why not just get it out there. This fall, as well as a new album, we're going to try a new look. I don't know what it is yet, but maybe some video or sick lasers or just some new shit. It's all a matter of strapping together some cash in the end.
Innerpartysystem performs this Sunday, August 9 at Invesco Field as part of the Warped Tour.