These Arms Are Snakes – 2004-09-27

Entstanden aus der Asche der Artrocker von BOTCH und den Hardcore-Helden aus Minneapolis KILL SADIE, versetzte diese Band die Welt erstmalig mit der "This Is Meant To Hurt You"-EP in ein Staunen. Danach war man fast ein komplettes Jahr auf Tour, u.a. mit den BLOOD BROTHERS wie auch mit HOT WATER MUSIC. Nach der Heimkehr kam der große Schock. Einen Namen hatte man sich gerade erspielt, da verließen mit Keyboarder Jesse Robertson und Drummer Joe Preson 2 der Gründungsmitglieder die Band. Mit der Minimalbesetzung machte der Dreier fortan jedoch weiter, man hat sich von MINUS THE BEAR lediglich den Schlagzeuger ausgeliehen, der aber schon wieder ersetzt wurde. Man sah es als Herausforderung an, auch ohne die beiden ehemaligen Bandmates ein Album zu schreiben, das dem Vorgänger in musikalischer Hinsicht um Längen überlegen ist. Man hat das mit "Oxeneers Or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home" tatsächlich geschafft.

SJM: What’s your self-understanding of THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES – what does your band stand for? Please introduce yourself and the THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES members and the idea behind your band.

TAAS: These Arms Are Snakes is Steve singing, La Bamba playing guitar, Bubblegutz (me) playing bass and keyboards, and The Beav playing drums. The band name is completely meaningless. we just wanted a ridiculous band name since we’re a ridiculous band.

SJM: Does THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES have a certain vision of the band? What should the people connect with the name THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES?

TAAS: We write music based on what we like. We write music based on what we find interesting. We write music that’s a little too difficult for us to play based on our limited abilities as musicians. Our vision is to continually evolve and challenge ourselves, and to constantly reinvent ourselves. Hopefully other people will think of us as that band that is always going to do something interesting and kick ass while doing it.

SJM: At what point in your life did you decide to become musicians?

TAAS: I can’t speak for anyone else, but I was 14 when I decided that I didn’t have a future in professional skateboarding because I couldn’t even kickflip, so I figured being a musician would be almost as cool.

SJM: Well, listening to your first EP I didn´t expect an album like “Oxeneers Or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home”? What sort of feedback did you get concerning that?

TAAS: I don’t know. The record just came out so I haven’t heard any feedback really. All my friends seem really positive about it, but I think for them it’s a pretty obvious progression. For people who don’t know us it might be a bit more radical of a departure.

SJM: Before the recording sessions two founding members of THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES left the band? What about the state of affairs at that particular point of time. Did you ever think about breaking up or thoughts like that?

TAAS: No. The people that left weren’t songwriters. Jesse, our keyboard player just played the parts that we wrote for him, and Joe (drummer) just sort of played along to the riffs we came up with. Joe was a great drummer, but Erin Tate (our friend who wrote oxeneers with us) is an amazing drummer with a lot of input and ideas that really clicked well with us during the song writing process. I think we’re too stubborn at this point to break up, but Jesse and Joe just weren’t used to being in bands on tour. not surprisingly, Jesse and Joe were the two guys that had never been in touring bands prior to These Arms Are Snakes.

SJM: Well, a definitely good choice to go on creating great music. One could read that you wanted to prove that you can write the greatest THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES-record you´ve ever done. I think you definitely reached that goal? But what do you personally think when you lean back and listen to “Oxeneers Or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home”? Are you convinced as well?

TAAS: I’m proud of it, but I’m ready to write another record. While I think oxeneers is good, I think we’re still developing as a band and still have yet to achieve all that we can.

SJM: Well, what about that crazy title of the album? Does it make any sense to you personally. Is there a personally idea behind that I´m too foolish to comprehend?

TAAS: The record is all about work and day to day routines. Oxeneers is a made up word combining an auctioneer and an ox. So an oxeneer is basically anyone that works a shit job, someone selling off their time as a beast of burden. the lion sleeps when it’s antelope go home is a line out of the last song on the record. it Refers to the employee/employer relationship. We couldn’t settle on one titles so we just combined the two ideas.

SJM: “Oxeneers Or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home” is – from my point of view – a very modern record. It combines smooth parts with the typical DC-Style and also electronic elements. Would you agree to me when I say that you definitely have to listen to this record several times in order to “comprehend” it?

TAAS: Yes. I hope that when people first listen to it, they are intrigued, but not sure if they like it. Hopefully they will be interested enough to listen to it over and over and slowly begin to appreciate it. My favorite records were never the records that I loved the first time I heard them. Good records take some work to appreciate.

SJM: Is this something you always wanted to create? A record that does not “work” after one listening session, but with a much deeper and darker atmosphere with different layers?

TAAS: Yes. The more subtle a record is, the more engaging it is. Hopefully you’ll hear something new every time you listen to it.

SJM: What can be said about your influences. It´s even hard to “define” your style, but which records are you actually listening to?

TAAS: We all listen to a little bit of everything. We kinda just listen to the really good shit from every genre of music. If you were to ride in our van, you would hear country, reggae, hip hop, rock, pop, electronic, etc. We like everything but mediocrity.

SJM: What type of success did you hope to gain with “Oxeneers Or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home”? What does success in relation to music mean to you anyway?

TAAS: If we can get away with not working the shit jobs that inspired this record, that would be awesome. Unfortunately, we’re too stubborn to do all that cheesy shit that would make us popular really quickly, like doing warp tour or wearing eyeliner and all-black clothes.

SJM: What can we expect of THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES in the foreseeable future? Are there any plans so far?

TAAS: More records. More tours. Time will tell.

SJM: What about building up a new band? When I´m informed correctly you just lent the drummer from Bear vs Shark?°¦

TAAS: No. Erin, who played drums on oxeneers, plays in Minus The Bear (Anm. d. Red.: Kann bitte mal ein Tag unter Gottes Sonne vergehen, ohne dass ich diese beiden Bandnamen vertausche?!). Maybe that’s what you heard (Anm. d. Red.: Definitely!). But now our friend The Beav plays drums. He played in Harkonen. They ruled!

SJM: Any final comments? Anything you want to add what hasn´t been mentioned?

TAAS: Thanks for your interest in the band and the interview.

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