Another interview? Seriously? Yeah, I know. It's hard being so amazing and scoring such a large amount of interviews......be jealous. You aren't though - I know. I sat down with the fairly new punk fetus of Western Settings. It was a lot of fun and super intimidating to be honest - it was my first 4 on 1 - and that's exactly how it sounds.
JK: Let's go around (in no particular order) and introduce ourselves for those unaware:
WC: I am Will Castro & I play guitar in Western Settings.
RS: I'm Ricky Schmidt and I play bass and sing in Western Settings.
A?: My name's Adam and I play drums in Western Settings. (That's right Adam, nobody will ever know your last name since you didn't say it. You are "A" with a Question Mark.)
KEVIN: I'm Kevin and I'm a substitute.
Kevin said this so sadly to point out. I could hear a, "womp, womp, womp" after his introduction.
Kevin: I play guitar in Western Settings for tonight only.
JK: Western Settings is pretty new to the scene so explain how you all got started with this.
JK: What made you get together and form this creation?
RS: We have all known each other for a super long time. About 7ish years. Adam was in a different band & I was in a different band too but Will put out both of our albums under his label so that's how we met him.
JK: What label is that? (Like I don't know.)
WC: La Escalera.
RS: So those bands broke up. We convinced him to sit with us and listen to my music. We started playing together. Then we started writing music and then we started playing shows together.
WC: At a very fast pace, we started writing, performing, recording, touring - everything.
JK: Exactly how long have the four of you been an item? (See what I did there?)
WC: Two and a half years.
RS: When we were in those other bands we just had the idea to have some fun and play together - it just took off from there. Case closed. Right when we decided to do it we were like, "Alright, we're doing this" *snap*
KEVIN: Yeah it was all just one thing after another: touring, recording, ect
JK: Do you even know what you're talking about though, substitute?
WC: He knows, he knows!
JK: I found out about you guys through my friend, not substitute, Kevin. I always trust his suggestions and in one sitting I was hooked!
A?: Kevin's got good taste for sure.
WC: Well, for the most part. (BURN)
RS: He looks really good in lipstick too. (NOT BURN)
JK: And he poses really good with cats, AMIRITE? (Not plugged at all)
JK: I have seen you guys a bunch live and the vibe is just JFDKLAJFD;AFJ. (Literal quote) It's amazing the way you can wild a crowd up and produce an all around felt GOOD vibe. I'm all about those positive vibes. I am not trying to suck up to you all or anything either - but you're so fucking awesome more so live then your recordings. To me - that's what the goal is for performers/musicians/what have you - to outshine their albums when on stage. You guys do that every time.
JK; Here's a really basic question for ya'll, how long have you each been playing instruments?
A?: I've been playing drums since I was about twelve years old, I think? It's been off and on too because I moved around a lot to places where I couldn't have my drums.
RS: I started playing drums when I was in the 6th grade - I dunno how old you are in the 6th grade but that's when I started. I started playing guitar and stuff a few years down the road from that. This one over here *points to substitute Kevin* snuck me into my first show when I was underage and got me a drink.
WC: 2nd side note - the first band that Ricky was ever kicked OUT of was actually (substitute) Kevin's band. That's the story I tell at least.
RS: To clarify, I joined the military and it was pretty immediate.
WC: Actually, he got kicked out of Kevin's band first and THEN joined the military.
JK: I see - so you had nowhere else to turn to so you just did that.
JK: What got you back into music if you were in the military?
RS: That's when I started playing guitar, is when I was in the military. I didn't have anyone to play with either so I just wrote songs and played guitar. It was really bad for a very long time. (I doubt that) But then when I got out I played drums in a couple of other bands. THEN I started playing bass finally.
JK: Where does your inspiration come with writing? Do you all collaborate (besides substitute Kevin) or is it a mix or more of a solo thing? (Run on sentences)
WC: The storytelling is definitely all Rick.
JK: So none of you are like, "I want to write about this" or anything like that?
A?: Nope. He (pointing to Ricky) is all of the brains in Western Settings.
RS: It really comes from whatever is going on in my life at the time. Some people write about past experiences or stuff they've been through together but that's not me. I'll write about what's going on in my life currently.
I really intelligently chose a bar to interview these gents at that had karaoke of all fucking things that night. So during the entire interview there are all of these pauses because someone would be belting an off key "Hips Don't Lie". I am the best and not amateur at all.
JK: (Here's a question that really shows how prepared I am for interviews:) You guys only have one music video out and that's for, "Carl's Concern" - right?
WC, A?, RS, KEVIN: No..
WC: It's more like four.
A?: They're not all good though.
WC: They've all been getting better though each time. We either shoot our own videos or our friends will for us.
JK: Okay so rate your videos then.
KEVIN: First one: terrible. Last one: great.
JK: I love Carl's Concern though - the choreography in that is magic.
WC: We actually just setup a tripod and two lights and that's it.
WC: We also have Duncan - off of the new record.
JK: I actually started watching that and didn't realize it was officially from you guys. It started playing and I thought it was more of a fan video. Oops...-_-
JK: Carl's Concern is so minimal though that as a viewer I was watching and took away so many different meanings from it. I thought it was effortlessly done in a kickass way.
A?: That's because there was literally no effort put into it.
JK: Well you know what then? Fuck you guys for not caring about your video! It was deep and meaningful, just let me believe that.
WC: I think that that video really comes from the way that we do shit. Most of the time if we are booking something and we don't make headway or don't know someone in a certain area - we'll just go out and do it. (Sponsored by Nike) With that video, it was the first time we actually sat down and thought about it - saying that we have to do something that is actually good. We all looked up and researched how to videos and everything else that comes with creating a music video. Ricky even learned how to edit on this one.
JK: Wow - so you DID put effort into it? See? Don't put yourselves down JEEZE guys!
RS: I have a funny story that may ruin that video for it.
JK: I personally love ruining things so go ahead.
RS: When we were making it, I knew I had to find a way to make these guys laugh & also make them do a "WTF" face. So I made this book - that they didn't see until we were actually filming - I photoshopped a bunch of pictures of them all playing live but I put a lot of dicks in their open mouths.
A?: We'd flip the page and just see ourselves holding a gigantic cock.
JK: *seal laugh* (obviously) I would have never guessed that - I thought you were all just phenomenal actors.
RS: What makes an interview a good interview in your eyes?
JK: A few things to be honest. I do my best to try not to be too basic but I also try really hard to keep it as natural as possible despite the recording happening, ya know? I try to research as much as possible as far as past interviews so I'm not asking the same exact questions the entire time - that's lame. So yeah. Does that answer your question?
RS: ....sort of. Okay so what makes a bad interview then?
JK: Luckily I haven't' had one yet. But -- I'd say something that sounds super rehearsed or maybe when you can feel like it seems like the interviewer or interviewee is just "doing their job" I hate that. I would never want to interview someone that I truly don't feel some type of connection with or that I wasn't truly interested in - that's whack. Also I don't want to solely ask you a set of specific questions -- I love just conversing organically no matter where the conversation goes. I think that's what makes a good interview stand out from a bad one for sure. Be a human being! It's more fun.
JK: ANYWAY GUYS - you're not interviewing me. Where did the name, "Yes, It is." Come from?
A?: That's a very good question.
RS: You're actually the first person to ever ask that.
JK: Oh? Awesome. I knew that...because I'm such a good interviewer. I'm...I'm smart.
RS: There's actually a story for it. Now I'm trying to remember it but.........I can't. Pretty much I was browsing the internet looking for ideas and I found this old school tale. It was about and old guy and a young guy ....
JK: I see - so you plagiarized this. Great. I'm talking to a criminal.
RS: So the old guy and young guy are talking and shit. The young guy looks to the older guy and just says something about how fucked up life is or whatever and the old guy just responds with, "Yes, It Is." It just clicked with me after that, I thought it'd be a cool name for our album.
JK: Well you have fantastic morals with being in the military, Googling that and stealing it. That's very commendable.
RS: I can't remember exactly how I came across it, but it was a really good story is all I can remember taking away from it. I'm definitely not doing it justice.
WC: Stuff like that - even naming the band - is really hard to do. You can come up with a list of two hundred names for of specific song and it may not have anything to do with the song...and it's just a hard process. When Ricky mentioned the name to me I was like, "That doesn't make sense." And I was totally against it. When you look at the album as a whole I ended up changing my mind thinking it's perfect. It's simple. People will wonder we call it that.
JK: Yeah I love it. It's deep but at the same time can be very shallow. It's so punk. ( do I even know what I'm talking about? ) It makes you think, if anything. Do you guys have any favorite tracks off of the new album?
A?: Carl's Concern for me. It's simple but fun as Hell to play.
RS: I like Get it, Got it.
A?: I don't like playing that - dunno why but I just don't.
RS: I love how fast it is in the intro and going into the verses too. It's awesome.
WC: I love Mami's Revenge one there - the story in that is great.
JK: Do you have a favorite lyric from that song that really stands out to you?
WC: The first verse, as a whole, is really nice. Here comes summer again -- it reminds me of a struggle within yourself and then you just realize you need to have fun, I guess. That song makes me feel good.
RS: We don't play that song too much live but we played it the other night and were just like, "This is one badass song"
WC: The title track on that record is pretty good too. That's the one that people sing along the most with and it also has a very strong chorus.
JK: *turns to Kevin* What is YOUR favorite song? You know I was only joking when I said not to talk!
KEVIN: I'm a San Antonio fan. That was when I just moved to Florida so Ricky and Will were just sending me all of these tracks....and I was just driving in tears saying "IT'S SO GOOD! WHY DID I MOVE!?"
JK: Florida though? Why did you move there?
KEVIN: For a job. San Antonio is mine though. It has a strong meaning behind it. When I was in Orlando I did a Western acoustic of that song. I recorded it and stuff.
JK: He didn't even tell you guys. Now's your chance to sue!
WC: We were actually on tour when we heard it and it was funny cause I was like... "He's charging money for this????"
JK: Like where's my cut, bro?!?
RS: That shouldn't be his favorite song though. His favorite song should be Goodbye because that was written about him.
JK: turns to Kevin (he was sitting almost behind me FYI) You're an asshole, Kevin! That's not even your favorite song, sheesh.
KEVIN: it was the one that was making me cry the most...I was just like, "I can't listen to this!" The lyrics were so true. I played with these guys, I was in Caskitt and then they send me this shit.....
JK: it sucks being so popular, huh? Like having people love you?
KEVIN: it touched me - I'm red hot.
JK: Chili Peppers. (Could you expect less from me?) I bet they are your FAVE band. (Like I don't get enough shit for this.)
KEVIN: Yes, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favorite band.
KEVIN: The album title is definitely awesome though. It's such a positive spin for the band. Of course with knowing these guys so well I am impartial to it -- but it's SO good. It's kind of generic but...these guys just always have a good time and embrace everyone. It's so positive to represent a group of guys that love to have a good time and love everyone around them to have a good time.
JK: Exactly! That's definitely my thing as well - I don't care what you've been through....you can ALWAYS put a positive spin on life. I literally grew up in a meth lab and should be dead right now but....I want to say my mindset saved me and still does. I really don't care how negative your situation is, you can always put a positive spin on what you're going through. That mindset always wins.
RS: I think that everyone, everywhere in the world has their shit and what they are going through. We all have our own struggles and always will but it's all about that positive mindset, like you said. There's nothing wrong with talking about these things either but you can definitely have a positive attitude when discussing crappy things. A positive mindset definitely helps you get through it all.
JK: Yeah. To relate - I am going through a lot with my health right now so I don't think I'd be able to get out of my bed if it wasn't for my attitude. You guys keep it real, which is how I am, but deliver it in such a fun and energized way.
KEVIN: It builds a community too. Like when you have friends, musicians and bands, you build that portal of music that brings everyone together. You're right, you can control your attitude and if the environment is negative....it's gonna suck. A bad environment will change your attitude. That's what we do with each other though - we embrace it. (Positivity). That's been a big thing.
JK: I can't believe the community here. I remember growing up going to shows alone a lot - so I would try to socialize there. I'm talking when I was 13/14 - the shows I would go to over in Philly were great but the people were so ostracizing. I never made one friend at those shows - it was so clique-y. It sucked.
This transitioned into Kevin talking about his day job and us ruining his serious story by throwing in some dildos into the conversation. We rule.
JK: So since we are talking about big, throbbing, gigantic-ness - that's the name of your new album right?
WC: Yes. We are recording a new album now. The record's been done for about 6 months and is being released in September. We have a new record coming out Friday as well called, "Old Pain". Five songs and an instrumental track.
WC: Then in May we leave on a one month U.S. tour in support of that.
Because I'm 13, this conversation went back to dildos and Kevin's day job. COOL. Poop jokes, fart jokes, ....... You know. Adult stuff.
Then it got real. Will just HAD to ask me about some personal shit. So....we had a giant pity party for ME - which is why I called the interview in the first place.
JK: and THAT'S why I try to live the most positive life possible! (Yeah, you missed it) So don't feel bad for me.
WC: We don't.
THEN we talked about good ole owl shit. COOL.
JK: So you're going on your various tours soon (US and European). What are you goals with Western Settings?
RS: If we could we would do nothing else. We tour and make music as much as we can.
JK: So, this is it!
A?: Yes, It Is.
KEVIN, A?, RS, JK, WC: OOOOOHHHHHH *name drop*
WC: We are just trying to stay as busy as possible and play with as many good bands as we can and keep being a part of a positive community. Putting out great music too - we do it well.
JK: We do it, good.
KEVIN: We do it good'er then everyone else.
WC: We are looking forward to Europe. We have never been there for touring. I am looking forward to being in a lot of places for the first time. Even our U.S. Tour - we are going to a lot of places we haven't been to as a band together. We have been fortunate enough to be so accepted and we are excited to meet lots of new people / build new relationships.
RS: I'm the happiest when I am on tour.
WC: Sorry we aren't as good of talkers as Matt or Steffen..... 25 minutes were about Kevin, 25 Minutes of Caskitt and 25 minutes of dildos.
The best interview.
Alright so there you have it! Western Settings is the best. I had an incredible time hanging out and getting to know them. They are kicking off a new tour in May and have a lot of shizzle in the works ((listed below)) They killed it at La Escalera Fest so sucks if you missed it. Don't miss them in the future, knuckleheads. THX WESTERN SETTINGS FOR DIS.
WESTERN SETTINGS FACEBOOK
WESTERN SETTINGS TWITTER
WESTERN SETTINGS INSTAGRAM
WESTERN SETTINGS WEBSITE
WESTERN SETTINGS YOUTUBE
WESTERN SETTINGS TOUR DATES:
5/4 Tower Bar, Tour Kick Off show
5/5 Las Vegas, Dive Bar
5/7 Denver, CO
5/8 Laramie, WY
5/9 Ft. Collins, CO
5/10 Aberdeen, SD
5/11 Minneapolis, MN
5/12 Madison, WI
5/13 Bloomington, IL
5/14 Chicago, IL
5/15 Pittsburgh, PA
5/16 Kalamazoo, MI
5/17 Baltimore, MD
5/18 Brooklyn, NY
5/19 Long Branch, NJ
5/20 Norfolk, VA
5/21 Philadelphia, PA
5/22 Raleigh, NC
5/23 Charleston, NC
5/24 Gainesville, FL
5/26 Atlanta, GA
5/27 Nashville, TN
5/28 New Orleans, LA
5/29 Dallas, TX
5/30 Austin, TX
5/31 Ft. Worth, TX
6/1 Oklahoma City, OK
6/2 Flagstaff, AZ
6/3 Tempe, AZ
6/14 - Soda Bar w/ Bad Cop/BadCop, The Atom Age, Murderburgers
7/1 VLHS Pomona w/ Great Apes, GPB
7/2 Tower Bar w/ Great Apes
9/13 - Tower Bar - w/ Get Dead
9/29 - 10/25 European Tour
BAND OF THE WEEK
(besides Western Settings, of course)
Remember when I interviewed Justin Helland of The Bastard Sons of Ned Giblin forever ago? Yeah, me either. But Justin has started a new band called Kilmainham Boys with Steven Reno. Making any audience either swoon or rallied up - they play traditional Irish songs oh so flawlessly. CHECK THEM OUT! They rule live too - so if you're in North County San Diego, get off your ass and have a drink with them.
SPOTIFY SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK
(besides Western Settings, of course x2)
I was introduced (not in real life) to an artist who goes by the name of Chelsea Wolfe recently. I have not been able to stop playing her album, Apokalypsis. God this is my entire being. I haven't really listened to much else of her entire discography but this album is GOLD, or should I say black? It's really deep and hits me in the gut - it's powerful.
SNAP OF THE WEEK
Since we are on a music kick, and be "we" I mean "I", here's me living a role model life of Snapping while driving. I had to capture my gift of lip sync rapping. DON'T BE JEALOUS OKAY??